NEW YORK -- When Lawrence Samuel became general manager of St.
Lucia's Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort two years ago, he set
some impressive goals for himself, his staff and his property.
If achievements at a resort were tallied in the same fashion as
Olympic events, Samuel has medaled in gold in several
"We've accomplished what we set out to do initially, and now we
can focus on what still needs to be done," Samuel said, crediting
his staff at the 219-room villa resort.
Samuel's background and prior experience span both front- and
back-of-the-house operations, including cost control,
administration, accounting and food and beverage.
All of these skills came into play in the past two years.
Windjammer's results to date follow:"One of the costliest re-dos in the last 18 months was the
$250,000 spent on a new air-conditioning system," Samuel said. "It
was worth it. Repeat guests love the new system, and first-time
guests expect it."
Although overall refurbishing of guest areas is an ongoing
project, guest units are now computer-ready and dataport links for
rooms are in the works.
Samuel recently brought the resort's Web site operation in-house
so that the site can be constantly updated. New links bring viewers
to St. Lucia's attractions and events.Public areas are the current focus. The pool area has new
furniture and cafe umbrellas for outdoor dining.
Mango Tree, the resort's signature restaurant and one of four
found on the property, has a new chef and a new fusion menu that
melds Caribbean cuisine with continental dishes.
"We've put in rattan armchairs for more comfortable restaurant
seating and added a coffee and ice cream cafe," Samuel said.Expanded water frontage includes a 400-foot boardwalk
connecting the resort with the watersports area and beach.
"Hurricane Lenny's wave damage last November made us rethink
that whole area of the resort," Samuel said.
Windjammer added a ski boat for waterskiing and made the dive
center more accessible to resort guests.
To publicize and promote the resort to and through agents,
Samuel blocked 5,000 room nights per year for the past two years so
that agents from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. could visit
He set a 3% rate increase this winter over last and reduced
prices for the 10-night Christmas period.
The five privately owned estate villas on Windjammer's grounds
are available for the resort's rental pool at the discretion of the
owners. A sixth villa is under construction.
Windjammer will open a full-service spa and a separate gym next
"The gym will be built above the spa," Samuel said. "Windjammer
will own the spa but we will hire outside trainers for our spa
Services will include massages, reflexology, body wraps, scrubs
Based on guests' requests, Windjammer plans to open an
after-dinner cocktail lounge with live music and theme nights and
will soon add a game room for the "young and the restless,"
according to Samuel.
Strong growth markets for Windjammer are family and
honeymooners; the resort's biggest share of both markets hails from
"We opened our Jacquot Fun Club for kids two years ago and
continue to improve upon it," Samuel said. "Families love the villa
accommodations for space; honeymooners book them for privacy. Both
markets co-exist here very well."
A new sports option for guests is St. Lucia's first 18-hole
public golf course at Cap Estate, a six-minute drive from
The price tag of $85 per round of golf covers transfers, greens
fees and the use of a cart.
"Tee times can be booked in advance, and we will offer a golf
package," Samuel said.
He hopes to split prebooked sports options with agents so they
can collect commissions on vacation extras as well as on