nonstop flight from New York is a must-have for Caribbean
destinations looking to increase visitor numbers from the
Northeast. If it's easy to get there, people will go.
With the New York
area representing a major chunk of Caribbean-bound travelers,
negotiations between the airlines and Caribbean officials have
resulted in additional flights to sunny climes, including
American's three weekly flights from Kennedy to St. Lucia that
launched Nov. 15, followed by twice-weekly nonstops to St. Kitts on
through December are nearly full with wholesalers like Gogo and
Travel Impressions having done a remarkable job," said John
Lisiew-ski, American's regional sales manager for the
travelers, double frequent-flyer points will be awarded on the St.
Lucia flights through Feb. 12 (promotion code NYCRB with
registration on AA.com).
Air Jamaica, the
Caribbean's largest carrier, welcomed the new competition on the
St. Lucia route.
"When the tide
rises, all boats in the basin rise," said George deMercado, Air
Jamaica's vice president of sales.
He said that
American flights will boost tourism, which in turn should help his
"Everybody is going
to benefit from whatever is done to promote St. Lucia," he
Martinique and St. Vincent with the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern
shore, the Caribbean Sea to the west and its drive-in volcano and
the Piton Mountains in between, St. Lucia is in the midst of a building
boom. High-end properties are being built at a rapid
I visited several
resorts recently and found similarities and differences in each,
much like the colors on the madras plaid cottons worn by many
island women and children.
For clients seeking seclusion who can pay for high-end luxury and
do not mind a bumpy, 90-minute drive from Hewanorra Airport, Cotton
Bay Village is idyllic.
Located on a sandy
beach on the untapped Atlantic side of St. Lucia, surrounded by
mangrove trees and purple passion-fruit vines, Cotton Bay Village
is designed for discerning travelers.
Butlers swathed in
white tunics and pants cater to every whim. The suites and villas
with kitchenettes lend a homey feel to the place.
Perks include the
use of a dedicated cell phone to reach the butler should an urge
for a club sandwich strike at an off hour.
There's also scuba,
kite surfing, golf and a variety of treatments at the Casuarina
Spa, including the 19th-hole massage, aimed at getting golfers in
shape for another round.
The open-deck Beach
1461 seaside restaurant, named for its latitude and longitude, is
the only spot at the resort with wireless Internet access, although
plans are in the works to enable Wi-Fi for the entire
Felix suggested a sunflower seed-encrusted mahi mahi as my entree,
accompanied by a glass of South African Nederburg
"Dinner with a side
of sunset is what I recommend," he said.
A piano bar, a
cafe, a deli, a sushi bar and a champagne bar opened in
For rates and
packages, visit www.cottonbaystlucia.com.
" On the west coast of St. Lucia,
the Coco Kreole and Coco Palm are favorites of British tourists,
although the boutique properties are catching on fast with
Americans looking for a laid-back, Caribbean vibe.
"We support village
tourism, which is why we are not an all-inclusive resort," said
Jean St. Rose, general manager of Coco Resorts. "Guests can charge
their bills at nearby restaurants to their hotel accounts in
addition to enjoying dinner at Ti Bananne, our Creole
information, visit www.coco-resorts.com.
" The seafront Bay Gardens Beach
Resort in Rodney Bay is reminiscent of St. Lucia's colonial history
with its Georgian-style architecture.
The Bay Gardens
Beach is a sister property to the nearby Bay Gardens Inn and Bay
Gardens Hotel. Guests staying at one property can use the
facilities at all three.
The Bay Gardens
Beach, an all-suite resort with timbered balconies, is arranged
neatly in six blocks of three-story buildings. The lagoon-style
pool, open-air Creole restaurant and an inviting sundeck are
proving popular with families and couples.
"We offer a mix of
natural charm and contemporary design," said Berthia Parle, general
information, visit www.baygardensbeachresort.com.
" In the northern part of St. Lucia,
tucked in a cove, the tranquil Body Holiday at Le Sport has earned
a slew of awards, including Best Destination Spa from Conde Nast
Traveler and a AAA Three-Diamond rating for Tao, Le Sport's
information, visit www.thebodyholiday.com.
" On the west coast, the new,
five-star Discovery at Marigot Bay offers suites with cherry
hardwood floors, Kiehl's personal-care products and free Wi-Fi
Movie fans will
appreciate the Pink Snail Bar not only for the raspberry bellinis
and pink glass chandeliers but also for its cinematic history.
Scenes from the 1967 film "Doctor Dolittle" were shot
"The giant pink
fiberglass snail used in the movie remained here for decades but is
now missing," said owner Judith Verity. "We think folks in the
hills may be living in it."
More than an hour's
drive from Hewanorra Airport in the south, the eco-chic property
overlooks Marigot Bay, described by author James Michener as "the
most beautiful in the region."
The resort offers a
novel form of transportation to transport its guests across the
"We use a
solar-powered ferry, which suits our environment because it is
powered only by the sun," said Capt. Marvin Adams, as he shuttled
his passengers to the nearby Rainforest Hideaway
The resort is part
of a $60 million project that includes a 40-slip marina and a
information, visit www.discoverystlucia.com.
" Slated for a July opening is Cap
Maison, a beachfront hotel built on the grounds of a former sugar
plantation with clear views of neighboring Martinique.
The Ritz-Carlton on
Half Moon Bay in the south of St. Lucia is expected to open in
2009. In the north, Raffles Hotels signed an agreement to manage
Raffles St. Lucia, which will include a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].