Seven resorts and several restaurants form the core group of the Rodney Bay Village Collection in St. Lucia, designed to highlight accommodations, entertainment, sports and dining in the Rodney Bay area on the island's northwest coast.
According to Berthia Parle, general manager of Bay Gardens Beach Resort on Reduit Beach, more hotels and tourism-related businesses are expected to join the collection.
"We plan to launch co-op programs to promote the collection and Rodney Bay Village as a complete entertainment, lodging and activities center for St. Lucia visitors, and we want to grow the U.S. market," Parle said.
"We are promoting Rodney Bay Village as the place to stay in St. Lucia with accommodations in all price ranges," she said. "The properties in the collection offer 24-hour security protection with high service standards and the ability to customize guest experiences."
In addition to the Bay Gardens Beach Resort, participating resorts include the two Rex resorts on Reduit Beach, the Village Inn & Spa and the Coco Palm. Parle's other two properties, the Bay Gardens Hotel and the Bay Gardens Inn, also are founding hotel members of the collection.
St. Lucia's first casino, which is slated to open in April for visitors only, and the 120-store shopping complex next to the gaming facility will be Rodney Bay's newest attractions. "The casino will add another dimension to the entertainment value in Rodney Bay Village," Parle said.
The Bay Gardens Beach Resort recently added a spa to its list of guest amenities. The spa includes an anti-aging clinic. Meanwhile, Parle reported that the 87-room Bay Gardens Hotel will complete a renovation of all guestrooms in time for the winter season.
"We can cater to all rates because there is flexibility in our room sizes and configurations," Parle said.
The three properties "have done very well, given the economic climate," said Parle. Occupancies averaged over 80% last winter, with July numbers totaling 75%, and August in the high 60% range.
"The problem with the Caribbean is the high cost of airfare, which has seriously affected recent travel," Parle said. "Room rates have plummeted because we have been forced to drop rates to remain competitive. Rates at the hotel and inn start as low as $50 plus tax per room, per night, double, to Dec. 16. At the Beach Resort, we give a $150 resort credit, the fifth night free when four are booked, a massage and breakfast, also to Dec. 16."
She said that fares on the new JetBlue flights, which begin this month from New York Kennedy, start at $359 roundtrip three times a week. "We are very excited and hope that JetBlue will move to daily service," Parle said. "To help the flights succeed, with high load factors, we must continue to add incentives to the hotel packages. Our winter room rates will be accompanied by discounts from 10% to 15%, with a possible extension of the 10% discount beyond the peak season."