|Walking barefoot in the sand, intimate dinners on the beach, cruises at sunset—romance and the Caribbean go hand-in-hand. So the bar is set pretty high for winners of Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Award|
for Sexiest Romance/Honeymoon Destination in the Caribbean. That makes Saint Lucia’s win this year a big accomplishment, one that’s all the more impressive when you note that it’s taken home the award for seven years running. But according to Nerdin St. Rose, v.p. of marketing and sales for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, it’s only natural.
“The island is romantic by nature,” she explains. “The Pitons—our natural couple—the natural beauty and topography are all mesmerizing, and if traveling with a partner or spouse, the experience is overwhelmingly romantic.” And the island’s hotels and resorts have taken notice, capitalizing on their inspiring scenery. “Our accommodations sector also enhances the island’s romantic nature. The properties are unique in their style; their location and vistas, the service offerings and experiences which they offer to their guests draw more travelers to the island seeking to renew or solidify their romance,” St. Rose says. This is, after all, the island that popularized the open suite concept with resorts like Ladera and Jade Mountain, with rooms built into the sides of mountains featuring a view to the sea entirely unencumbered by walls or windows. St. Lucia’s also strong in the all-inclusive market, with threeSandals properties across the island, and also boasts a wealth of intimate boutique hotels like Calabash Cove and Coco Palm.
Those are just a few examples of the benefits for couples at St. Lucia’s resorts. All across the island, practically every hotel property offers “tailored, romantic packages for guests, whether it is complimentary weddings, vow renewals, or special honeymoon packages with exciting options,” St. Rose says. Those packages are supported by the tourist board as well. “We also try to implement policies to better facilitate activities in this niche market, as well as launch exciting programs that will allow us to stay ahead of the competition,” she continues.
The coming year will bring even more exciting offerings in the wedding, honeymoon and romance sector. “In 2012, our focus will be on further developing our romance product to ensure we keep our competitive advantage,” St. Rose says. Though further details were not available at press time, the tourist board plans to launch a new program for couples in January. And the hotel product itself is getting an upgrade as well. Though no new hotels are scheduled to open in 2012, Sandals Resorts, another Readers’ Choice Awards winner, plans to develop a collection of suites that sit over the water at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian at Pigeon Island—further innovating and upgrading the island’s accommodations options for couples. Scheduled to be completed in late-2012, the new suites “will be an extraordinary addition to our product,” St. Rose says.
Agents interested in becoming specialists on this island-nation’s tourism offerings, can access the Saint Lucia Travel Agent Specialist Program at edu.recommend.com.