Lasting Love in St. Lucia

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The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote that, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” And in a place like Saint Lucia, it’s hard to deny that’s true. The island took home Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Award for Sexiest Romance/Honeymoon Destination in the Caribbean for the sixth time in a row, and, according to v.p. of marketing & sales for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Nerdin St. Rose, love is not, obviously, in fact, blind.

“I’ll start with the Pitons,” she says, referring to Saint Lucia’s iconic, green mountains that sit at the edge of the sea. “They’re twin peaks. You could say, why did that happen? It’s not one peak, but two—a couple.” There’s more to romance on the island than honeymoon packages and private dinners on the beach, she continues. “The landscape itself is romantic as well.”

But the beauty of Saint Lucia is more than skin-deep. “I also can’t forget the people, our people, who work at the hotels and restaurants. They give the warmth and friendliness that our visitors speak about over and over. People here on honeymoon feel pampered.”

Saint Lucia’s sexy side received a lot of buzz this year, thanks to the TV show “The Bachelor,” which filmed its season finale at various spots on the island, including two of its most romantic resorts—Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain—that offer spectacular views of the Piton peaks. “What it really helped us to do is increase awareness of the destination,” St. Rose explains. “It cemented what other people have been saying, that St. Lucia is a place for romantics.” And, she continues, that has made the island even more appealing to a wider range of clients—and easier to sell. “We continue to capitalize on the success of ‘The Bachelor.’ People are still saying they’re coming here because they had seen us on ‘The Bachelor.’ It was a good plug for us.”

In the coming year, Saint Lucia is aiming to continue to build on its recent TV stardom. St. Rose says agents can expect “more products, activities and services. We’re focused on catering to that [romance-oriented] clientele, as well as our regular guests—we can’t forget our regular guests.” She points to resorts like Sandals, which operates three properties on the island, that continually upgrade and expand its wedding and honeymoon offerings. And other resorts focused on the couples market are upgrading their facilities to maximize the romance. Jalousie Plantation, a breezy colonial property sitting at the base of the Pitons, will re-launch as The Tides, Sugar Beach in 2011, sporting a $100 million renovation that includes a new spa with treehouse-style treatment rooms.Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort will also sport a $500,000 refurbishment that will touch 20 of its villas, and The Landings is expected to roll out new rooms in the new year as well.

And hotels aren’t the only attractions expected to get a touch up next year. Preliminary discussions are underway to give Saint Lucia’s famous sulphur springs, set in the mountains just above the Creole town of Soufriere, a facelift. “We’re interested in developing it into more of a natural spa that visitors can come to, and to make it more accessible,” St. Rose explains.

Agents interested in becoming specialists on this island-nation’s tour-
ism offerings, can access the Saint Lucia Travel Agent Specialist Program at edu.recommend.com.