Today our journey is taking us to the beautiful island of Saint Lucia that truly is all about the island flavor. It’s an island of rejuvenation and relaxation and a place where you can really just find your Zen.
I recently had the pleasure of welcoming marketing guru Kelly Fontenelle to one of my video chats. Kelly is the owner of KFMC, a Marketing and Consultancy firm and a representative of some fabulous boutique hotels on St. Lucia including Calabash Cove Resort and Spa, Bay Gardens Resorts and Elite Island Resorts.
So, let’s turn our clocks to island time and check them out, shall we?
So pretty much everyone flies into UVF – the Hewanorra International Airport which is situated on the southern end of the island – and there are a number of different airlines to choose from to get you there. However – all three of the properties that we are going to talk about today are located on the northern end of the island, closer to George F.L. Charles Airport which is the smaller of the two. It takes approximately 90 minutes from your arrival at UVF to transfer to most of the properties. Kelly did say that it is a beautiful drive as your literally getting an island tour along the way. You’ll be driving along the coastline – no huge highways here – just beautiful coastal waters and quaint villages.
The other thing that’s great is that if you wanted to, you could opt to do a helicopter transfer which of course I can arrange for you when creating your itinerary. But Kelly did recommend doing the helicopter one way and then opting for the car transfer the other way so that you can take advantage of that free island tour. She typically recommends that you take the helicopter transfer on arrival when you’re tired and just want to get to the hotel and the car ride back – kind of like your way of saying goodbye to the island.
Saint James Club Morgan Bay: This beautiful all-inclusive resort property belongs to the Elite Resorts portfolio.
- Type of Traveler: It’s great for families because some of the rooms have connecting doors so that you can have your own space but be close by.
- Size: With 334 rooms this is a large beachfront property that boasts its own beach.
- Accommodations: They consist of both regular rooms as well as villas. There are a number of different categories, but the number of beds and the location is the biggest difference between each. Categories include Garden View, Ocean View, Premium Double, Beachfront, Deluxe Ocean View, One Bedroom Garden Spa, One Bedroom Ocean View Suite and Family Suites which feature interconnecting doors.
- All-Inclusive Amenities: Since its all-inclusive you pay one price and then you are able to enjoy all the amenities it has to offer – such as a variety of restaurants – everything from a coffee shop to a seafood restaurant to an Italian restaurant. There are also a lot of other types of amenities. There’s a kids club for the young ones that offers fun and educational activities – so it’s not just playtime – it’s also very educational. Then there is a lounge in the evening for families that at 9:00pm turns into it turns into an adult only venue. So really there are lots of options for not only families but for groups and even single travelers and to enjoy on this property.
Bay Gardens Resorts: Bay Gardens is a boutique hotel in St. Lucia that consists of several different properties including Bay Gardens Inn, Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens Marina Haven, Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa and Water’s Edge Village – so there’s absolutely something for everyone. Thanks to each different section there’s different budget opportunities as well so you can actually enjoy the different parts of the property on your budget.
- Type of Traveler: It’s great for families because it has its own water park, but it does keep everybody entertained thanks to a great beach – it’s actually located on one of the nicest beaches on the island.
- Vibe: Kelly shared that one of the things she always says about the Bay Gardens properties is that once you arrive you become part of the family as it is a locally owned hotel – i.e. – owned by St. Lucians that make you feel like a St. Lucian as well.
- Splash Island Water Park: Having the distinction of being the island’s only open waterpark, it doesn’t matter which of the Bay Resorts you stay at – all guests have full access to the water park and that means that you guys get first grabs at making sure you get in before the capacity fills up. Kelly noted that the water park also plays a big role for incentive travelers. So, say if perhaps your office would take everybody on vacation, they can arrange lots of team bonding activities with some centered around this fun amenity.
- Gastronomy: The Bay Gardens resorts have an all-inclusive option for purchase if you like and though each property has its own restaurants as a guest at any of the properties you will have access to all of the other property’s restaurants via a free shuttle. For instance, the Bay Gardens Beach Resort has the Seagrape restaurant right on the beach – where you can dine and enjoy a beautiful sunset. There is poolside dining available as well here.
Kelly also noted that if you want to do the all-inclusive at the Bay Gardens properties, they actually offer their own inclusive program when you are staying for seven nights or more that includes restaurants in the Rodney Bay Area. This way you are getting a dine around plan where you can go and explore restaurants in the area and not always eat at the hotel – although eating at the hotel is fantastic because the food is scrumptious! But you have the option as well to experience that local flavor. And getting there is easy because the shuttle service is not just from one hotel to another, they will also take you down into the Rodney Bay Area. So, not only the property will make your dinner reservations for you, they will also transfer you to the restaurant if you would like. However – from the Bay Gardens Beach Resort if you want to walk you could do that too as it’s just a few minutes away – or as Kelly said it is literally right round the corner.
One thing that Kelly and I agreed on was that even though most of the hotels will have a local fare on the menu as well as international meals – when you travel to any destination you should you go out at least one night and have a local meal.
- Romance Travel: So, let’s talk a little bit about romance because there are opportunities for you guys who want to do either a destination wedding or a vow renewal or even bachelor and bachelorette parties – or anything along those lines – that is definitely available here at Bay Gardens. Plus, Kelly pointed out that the nice thing about Bay Gardens (and also Calabash Cove) is that they do just one wedding per day – so you will not find numerous brides running around the property – it’s just you – you are the only one – it’s your special day. And in addition to the destination weddings and vow renewals and bachelor and bachelorette parties they also do rehearsal dinners and anything else you need. You just give their team your color scheme and they take all the stress away and prepare it for you.
- Bay Gardens Hotel – Offering great views as well as their own little pool – actually all the properties have their own pools – it also has a uniqueness about it. And Kelly pointed out they each cater to a certain type of guest as well. Quite often when guests return, they even request the same room they stayed in before!
- Bay Gardens Inn – Offering a great deal of seclusion Bay Gardens Inn is the smallest of all the properties and offers a wonderful opportunity for a buyout. So, if you wanted just your family to be in at the inn, we actually could do that. Whether it’s for a destination wedding or family reunion or whatever the case – it is totally possible to have that privacy just for you and your peeps.
- Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa – So this property sits directly on the beach giving guests ocean front room options. And it is important to note that the Bay Gardens Beach Resort is on the only one on the beach but they do provide shuttle service from one property to the next so you could be at any of the properties and be able to grab the free shuttle to the beach. This is also where Splash Island Water Park is located. The nice thing about this property – and all of the Bay Gardens properties is that they are small and it’s quite easy to social distance. Most of them are 300 rooms or less so when it comes to social distancing – no problem!
For those of you guys with families you’ve got two-bedroom suites here as well as one-bedroom suites so you and your family can all be in one unit. What I really like about these units is they come with a full kitchen so if you have small children and you want something in the evening when you know when the restaurant is closed you have the ability to do that. And since the properties are located in the Rodney Bay Area you have restaurants, bars and supermarkets nearby. And if you want to explore and see what’s happening on the island as opposed to just staying on property it’s very convenient to do from here.
The spa here really allows not only for couples to enjoy some time together but of course you can always go it alone – and I can plan them ahead of time for you. They have the option of spa treatments on the beach or even in your room – your choice! But just think about having a couples massage on the beach
at sunset – how beautiful and relaxing would that be?
- Water’s Edge Villas by Bay Gardens Resort – The villas here are huge and if you want villa living, but resort life, Bay Gardens Waters Edge Villas gives you just that. Each villa has four bedrooms and can fit up to ten people, so if you want the privacy of your own personal pool and access to your own your barbecue grill overlooking the harbor this is for you! The Bay Gardens resorts will cater your meals for you too – so don’t feel like you have to cook if you don’t want to!
Calabash Cove Resort and Spa: This is a luxury experience – so this is definitely a little different than what you just saw from Bay Gardens but an opportunity here for you guys to really have that higher level of service and product.
- Vibe: It’s a very laid-back atmosphere. Picture a lobby where someone at any given time is playing the piano while you sip on your drink and take in the beautiful ocean. They do have live entertainment every night – but it is laid back – think a piano player and a soloist. The nice thing about Calabash Cove it’s almost like luxury living – it’s not the kind of property where you have you have too much noise or disturbances. Even the restaurant keeps low occupancy as they space out guests over different seating times.
- Accommodations: Featuring just 26 villas this is the perfect resort for social distancing. The Water’s Edge Cottages are beautiful – it’s like having your own little home inside the resort. They feature a bedroom, a separate living area, tubs, a fully stocked mini bar a secluded plunge pool, an outdoor hammock for some private relaxation and an amazing outdoor rain shower. Kelly shared this is her favorite and joked she could stay there two weeks, and nobody would find her! They also have Swim Up Junior Suites that are just steps from the infinity pool and feature private access to the pool from your patio. The Sunset Ocean View Jr. Suites is the third category you can book here and can be found directly above the pool and offer both pool and ocean views.
- Amenities: One of the beautiful things about Calabash Cove is that since it is all -inclusive everything is included including your premium foods and drinks – even room service is included at no additional charge. The onsite restaurant was designed to take full advantage of the resort’s dramatic sea views. There is a small gym on property should you want to work out and spa treatments available that incorporate local ingredients (for an additional cost). They also have Wi-Fi throughout the property as well so you can still get connected with the outside world should you wish. And they have direct access to a striking beach along Bonaire Bay that is very secluded – so again perfect for social distancing!
- Type of Traveler: Also great for a destination wedding – and we can arrange a buyout since it is a smaller resort. But that’s not all – groups, girls’ getaways, guys getaways, bachelorette parties and bachelor parties too!
There are a lot of different activities to enjoy in Saint Lucia and all of these things can be easily planned while we are curating your itinerary. There’s are Piton climb, rainforest and waterfall hikes, a zipline and an aerial tram, whale and dolphin watching, ATV tours, Sulphur Springs and Mud Bath, rum tasting and distillery tours, horseback riding and mountain biking and even a “Cook like a Lucian” experience to really have a cultural local immersion while you’re staying at an all-inclusive. Once again – we always recommend that you get out of the hotel and do something off-property. You don’t want to travel all that way and just stay in the hotel! Get out and immerse in the culture, to know about the people and taste the flavors of the destination!
Kelly assures us that when you visit all you need to do is to simply practice the policies they have put into place. They have gone out of their way to make sure it’s safe for you and also for their staff. Wear your mask, use your hand sanitizer, practice social distancing and you’re going to have an amazing vacation! And I want to point out that and a lot of these properties have their own private pools – so while you’re at your own private pool you don’t need to wear a mask obviously. Same thing with the beach – because it is private and there is quite a bit of space – there you can also be mask free as well. But when you are in the public areas of the the properties, or downtown as well as when you’re in the airport and things like that they do ask that you that you follow the rules of the country. This way it actually makes it easier for them to continue to open their doors to us.
Updated COVID-19 Information: The following entry requirements are MANDATORY FOR ALL ARRIVALS:
- ALL travelers 18 years and older must complete and submit an online travel registration form to receive Travel Authorization
- ALL travelers 5 years and over must take a COVID PCR test 5 days or less before arrival in Saint Lucia and submit the negative results to the travel registration form for review and approval. Note – Your test must be based on a nasopharyngeal swab, saliva samples are not accepted.
So, what do you think? I for one am super excited about being able to have number of properties available in Saint Lucia where not only do we have this great opportunity for wellness, but where I have a great contact like Kelly. Whatever you guys need to coordinate she’s my go to, and she and I are going to make sure that whatever you want in Saint Lucia is going to happen.
For more details on things to see and do in St. Lucia where to stay, it’s price points and more – contact your Travel Guru! Oh, and if you need a payment plan to fund your travel adventure – we got those too!