Official Publication of the St Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association


Le Paradis - An invitation to paradise

Nestled in the coastal foothills along the east coast of St. Lucia, Le Paradis is a secluded yet accessible tropical haven that is different from any other hotel in St. Lucia.

Le Paradis sits on the Atlantic Ocean. It is spread over nearly three miles of coastline that includes a variety of startling features. Small inlets, distinctive peninsulas and a system of interlocking reefs that protect the resort from the Atlantic swells, are all part of this unusual St. Lucian development.

This international resort will consist of luxurious accommodation with one, two or three bedroom residences, all overlooking the 18 hole Greg Norman signature-designed golf course and the Atlantic Ocean. Conference facilities will accommodate up to 600 people. Starwood will manage the hotel and residences, as well as the voluntary rental programme available to owners under the up market Westin Hotels & Resorts brand.

“Our aim is to deliver the amenities of cosmopolitan living for the most discriminating, amidst the harmony of a lush, naturally preserved, tropical habitat,” said Kierron Dolby, developer and Managing Director of DCG Properties Ltd. “St. Lucia is rich in history and culture that occupants and visitors will be able to savour at Le Paradis.”

The resort will also offer a 15,000-square-foot health spa with 26 treatment rooms.

The 18-hole Greg Norman championship course will feature ocean views from each hole. The signature hole at the 14th green, Shark’s Bight, is a 175 yard, par 3. It is elevated to 115 feet above sea-level, and is one of the most challenging golf holes in the world. The green is situated at the end of the peninsula, almost completely surrounded by ocean with vertical cliffs that plunge to the ocean below. The 19th hole is located at an elevation of more than 275 feet. The golf course and clubhouse amenities are managed by
Troon Golf.

“We are thrilled to work with DCG Properties Limited at this unique location,” states Troon Golf President and Chief Operating Officer, Hud Hinton. “Guests and residents of Le Paradis can be assured that our management philosophies and superb playing conditions will provide an incredible golf experience on what is sure to be a marquis course in the Caribbean.”

Construction of phase one of Le Paradis is under way. The golf course and the hotel are scheduled to open in 2007. Phase two, which will extend around the bay, will feature a marina and marina village and include inland waterways and moorings.

The final phase of Le Paradis will include future real estate development together with signature buildings and a gated community sanctuary. Oceanfront condominium and villa residences with dimensions of up to 4,000 square feet will sell from $495,000 to $ 3 million.

Le Paradis is a short drive from the Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort, with direct air access from major cities in North America and Europe. Accessibility to such a secluded location can easily be scheduled into plans for a two-week vacation or a weekend getaway.

Bay Gardens: A St. Lucia sucess story

At the beginning of 2007, the new Bay Gardens Beach Resort opens for business at Rodney Bay. With 30 rooms and 36 suites, this resort is the third hotel in the Bay Gardens chain. The company is 100% St. Lucian owned. Its first hotel, the Bay Gardens, opened in 1994. At that time, few St. Lucians invested in the hotel industry. The sector was considered the domain of foreigners.However, husband and wife team, Joyce and Desmond Destang, decided that the hotel business was a good investment.

Mr. and Mrs. Destang were teachers with no previous experience in tourism. “I had traveled so I knew what I liked. We decided to offer people good service and value for money,” says Mrs. Destang. “Frankly, I was not too afraid about going into this business.”

St. Lucian development banks lent them the necessary funds. Bay Gardens, with 71 rooms, opened in the early 90’s to excellent reviews. The hotel was voted one of the best small properties in the Caribbean. It appealed to the regional business traveler who later returned on vacation with his family. St. Lucians living overseas were also targeted through special marketing programmes. Bay Gardens is also a reputed conference centre in the region.

To satisfy the business market, a complement of 16 suites was added. “People who come to work need more space,” says Mrs. Destang. “Our business travellers sometimes stay up to three weeks.”

Three years ago, the Destangs acquired a small property next to Bay Gardens. The 33 room hotel is now the Bay Gardens Inn. The Destangs recruited the best brains to run their hotels. Berthia and John Parle have managed hotel operations since 1994. Mrs. Parle, the first female president of the Caribbean Hotel Association, is a pioneer in regional tourism. When she talks tourism, governments listen. Mrs. Parle is also a former pupil of Mrs. Destang. “I always knew she had great potential,” she says.

The Destangs have invested over EC$60 million in St. Lucia. They employ more than 200 people. All of their staff are Caribbean nationals.

Bling Bling
Diamonds are forever

In 2005, a Diamonds International outlet broke the company record. It sold a diamond for 2 million dollars. With over 110 stores around the Caribbean and on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Diamonds International is among the most reputable names in gem trading.

It is a privately owned corporation. The parent company has been in the diamond business for four generations and is one of only 90 international site holders. This prestigious label means that they trade directly with DeBeers, the world’s largest diamond cartel. The Caribbean has become a magnet for jewellery shoppers, especially among cruise ship passengers.

Hugh Jones is manager of St. Lucia’s Diamond International operations: “We do as much business daily as a high street jewellery store does during the entire month of December.” Jones has over 22 years of experience in the diamond business and in corporate jewellery purchasing. “We guarantee choice, quality and best price and because of our network we are able to wholesale diamonds in a retail market place,” he says.

Cruise ship passengers stay in port for less than a day. Therefore, the company has devised a procedure where clients select a loose diamond that is then set according to their specifications, within an hour. As a result of such rapid turnover, diamonds are tested daily for authenticity. Each stone comes with a grading certificate.

The company started operations in St. Lucia in 2002 with a staff of ten. Today, Diamonds International employs 90 people. Staff members have studied diamond and gem grading in India. An employee has also completed training in watch making and repair in Geneva. “It is important to have specialists,” says Jones.

Diamonds International has invested over 15 million dollars on the island. Their stores are at Pointe Seraphine, La Place Carenage, Windjammer and Coconut Bay in Vieux Fort. New stores are planned for Soufriere and Rodney Bay. Diamonds International operates three subsidiaries: Tanzanite International, a jewellery store; Kids International and the Italian Connection, clothing outlets for children and adults.

Baron Foods gives salads a Caribbean twist.

At the end of 2006, in time for Christmas, Baron Foods, St. Lucia’s most popular condiment company, launches its new line of salad dressings and mayonnaise. Traditional favourites such as Ranch, Thousand Island, French and Italian now have West Indian zest. They are married to Caribbean flavours like tamarind, mango, citrus, ginger and passion fruit. The new mayonnaise line also gets a similar refreshing transformation.

Baron Foods uses fresh Caribbean farm produce in its range of sauces and condiments. The company has an exclusive partnership with over 25 St. Lucian farmers. This relationship with the agricultural sector has attracted international attention. The American multi-national, Kraft, impressed with the St. Lucian company’s agricultural policy, gave Baron Foods access to its special technology in the preparation of salad condiments.

Baron Foods already makes 125 products. Their sauces, condiments and beverages are household names, appreciated in St. Lucia, throughout the Caribbean and internationally. The company’s success began in 1992 with the debut of Baron’s West Indian Pepper Sauce. Today, the hot condiment is recognized worldwide. It has won countless awards for its heat and flavour.

Blue Coral Mall: rejuvenating Castries
(Barbara Jacobs Small)

The Blue Coral Mall is poised to define the Castries experience whether day or night. The building is pregnant with history, beginning from the rebuilding of a city twice destroyed by fire.
Standing on the corner of the William Peter Boulevard and Bridge Street, the former M&C {now Blue Coral} building, is the junction to banking and financial services and essential shopping in Castries. Twice remodeled, this third time around focuses on a holistic socio-economic picture that accommodates a whole regeneration of the city centre.
The designers call it a destination. The layout of the interior spaces will flow within the building to achieve a seamless shop-ping experience that is different from the regular shopping mall layout. Leisure is carefully considered in the grand scheme. And grand it is…
A colour-coated aluminum rain-screen system is used for the external cladding. Along its northern facade, the fenestration is designed to form vertical display strips and provide light ventilation-wells into the store. On either side of these display-strips, full height vertical perforated anodized aluminum screens are set perpendicular to the façade to shade the glass-bays from the sun. At night the perforated screens glow with the illuminated "display strips" and enhance the ambience through the louvered canopy of the "Sky" garden restaurant.
The main entry to the building is via the Boulevard. It will be a generous foyer, housing the vertical drift of movement to the floor above, and through the ground floor. The sidewalk will be expanded into the street to take up the space now occupied by cars. The new sidewalk will incorpo-rate semi-mature trees, and the reclaimed areas will be rough-cobbled between the trees to discourage squatter trade.
Anchor shops, accents of heritage, elements of élan, fine-dining and fast-food, nighttime entertainment, juvenile amenities, business and leisure conveniences are all being developed.

Blue Coral Mall will be standard bearer for resident and visitor patrons alike.

Stay connected with Cable & Wireless

One hundred and thirty years after opening its doors in St Lucia, Cable & Wireless is still the island’s only full-service telecommunications provider, offering a wide variety of mobile, fixed-line, Internet and wireless IP solutions.

Thousands of visitors who come to St Lucia every year welcome the services provided by Cable & Wireless, including its world-class bmobile GSM prepaid and postpaid service. The GSM service operates on an 850/1900MHz frequency that enables you to use your mobile phone to roam in St. Lucia and over 200 countries worldwide. To roam in St. Lucia just choose 358 11, 358 110 or Cable and Wireless, on your mobile phone. Alternatively, you can rent a mobile phone for a small daily fee from any Cable & Wireless outlet. An electronic replenishing service allows you to top up your phone without the need for phone cards or a pin number. Simply provide the Sales Representative with your phone number and you can top up any amount between EC$5 - EC$200. In addition, you can use your credit card (VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) to access Cable & Wireless’ proven and reliable fixed-line service from any touch-tone phone, to call anywhere in the world. To call the US, dial 1-800-Call-USA (225 5872); to call other countries dial 1-800-744-7777.

You can also stay in touch via Cable & Wireless’ Internet Service. The company offers wireless, high-speed Internet service with the use of wireless cards and public hotspots across the Rodney Bay Marina, at the Hewanorra International Airport and the George F. L. Charles Airport in Vigie. Additionally, a VOIP Internet service allows laptop users who have Ethernet access, or who are Wi-Fi enabled, to make international calls via the hotspots. Customers can also access Internet service via a telephone line.

Cable & Wireless not only provides vital, state-of-the-art communications solutions that help to keep St Lucia connected to the world, the company is also one of the island’s biggest corporate sponsors. It provides generous support to virtually all of St Lucia’s major national events, including the world-renowned St Lucia Jazz Festival. The company is the original sponsor of St Lucia Jazz and has supported the event for the past 15 years. In 2006 Cable and Wireless sponsored all the official St Lucia Jazz venues. Such a broad level of corporate support is unprecedented in the 15-year history of the event.

Cable & Wireless is also a major sponsor of St Lucia’s carnival celebrations. Visitors travel to St. Lucia from all over the world every year to enjoy this spectacular event. In 2006 the company sponsored all the major carnival events, including Parade of the Bands, the semifinals and finals of the Calypso competitions, the Calypso tents and the Carnival Queen Pageant. Cable and Wireless also sponsors the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the world’s largest trans-Atlantic race which concludes every year at the Rodney Bay Marina. The company also provides assistance in the areas of education, sport and health.

Number one for weddings

According to the latest American Express Travel survey, St. Lucia is the preferred destination for British couples getting married overseas. In 2006, the island overtook Las Vegas as the number one wedding location. Even in the United States, couples love getting married abroad. Every year, 26% of all American weddings take place out of the country.

St. Lucia is also becoming known for celebrity weddings. Recently, Tinker Juarez world mountain biking champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, married Terry his micro-biologist fiancée at Anse Chastanet in Soufriere. Attracted by the romantic setting, Juarez and his lady could not resist exchanging vows close to the mountain bike facility, particularly as there is a trail that carries the champion’s name.

Harry Edwards Jewellers—for fine watches

Harry Edwards Jewellers sells more watches than jewellery. Watches are the new fashion statement and certain examples are ‘must have’ items. Big watch faces are all the rage because they stand out on the wrist.

“Most of my customers who come on a cruise ship buy at least one watch a year,” says Antoinette James, manager of Harry Edwards Jewellers, the exclusive agent for Rolex in St. Lucia. Watch collectors prefer Swiss-made watches. The Swiss invented the automatic movement and create the most complicated mechanical watches. From an investment angle, watches never lose their value. In some places, a Rolex is accepted as collateral.

Indeed, today’s most coveted watch is a Rolex. In order to acquire the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, clients put their name on a waiting list. Each watch takes about a year to make. At US$6000, it is one of the more reasonably priced Rolex watches but because of its popularity, it is the hardest to get. Even expensive Rolex models are easier to acquire. “It’s the thing to have,” says Mrs. James.

Breitling is another Swiss company that is growing in popularity. Known for their aeronautic designs, the timepieces have a lot of ‘complications’ or features. They are specialist watches designed for the adventurous. Some even come with antennas that capture control tower frequencies. In cases of emergency, the wearer can be located. The limited edition Breitling Emergency Mission was tested by NASA.

The French company Cartier is also popular with watch collectors. Each timepiece is called a ‘creation’. At the moment the Roadster is the “hottest thing in Cartier”. It is a thick, chunky timepiece that stands out on the wrist. However, all discerning watch collectors also possess the classic Cartier Tank Francaise.

Chopard, a French company, floats diamonds in the mechanics, while Rado produces ceramic coated timepieces with tungsten carbide.

David Yurman watches are becoming as popular as their jewellery.

Harry Edwards Jewellers is at Pointe Seraphine, La Place Carenage, Hewanorra International Airport and Discovery Bay in Marigot.

British editor gives new Caribbean novel a five-star rating

There I was at my desk in Cornwall, UK, having just finished an unfavourite task – unravelling linguistic knots in a technical paper – when winged its way into my inbox a message e-broadcast to members of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), my trade association.

‘Urgent!’ it said. ‘Non-fictional novel – A Caribbean Tale - needing proofing in THREE DAYS! Starting tomorrow. For Rudy Gurley, first-time novelist from St. Lucia. Can anyone take this on?’

I know that St. Lucia is a tiny Caribbean island, spectacularly beautiful, and a popular tourist destination – and that somehow, miraculously, it has produced two Nobel Prize winners. But I didn't know what to expect from this novelist. I’d just been told of a week’s delay in another project, so I emailed Rudy. We negotiated, we agreed; 10 hours a day, three days.

‘So,’ you may be asking, ‘what did she do?’ Well, editing isn’t just a matter of grammar, punctuation and spelling. A writer is ‘someone blinded by their own knowledge’. Writing, unlike conversation, is a one-way process, so if something’s not clear a reader can’t ask questions. An editor approaches the text from a reader’s perspective, and asks all those questions – and more – and gets them answered, to make the text clear and reader-friendly before it gets published.

Working on A Caribbean Tale was a mind-blowing experience for me – not because I was being paid to read an inspiring novel that I found utterly unputdownable, but because it led me to reassess my own perceptions and prejudices. Just read it – A Caribbean Tale – and see for yourself what I mean. But I’m still at a loss to fathom how tiny St. Lucia could have produced two Nobel Laureates … and now this novel – on course, I believe, to become an international bestseller.

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CHIC! restaurant earns 2006 AAA four diamond award

CHIC! Restaurant at the Royal St. Lucian by Rex Resorts has been awarded the prestigious AAA four Diamond rating for the year 2006.
According to General Manager, Roland Paar, “CHIC! Restaurant delivers premier experiences, complete with superior personal service, first-class amenities, and impressive surroundings.”

Only establishments that meet extensive quality criteria receive an AAA Diamond rating.
CHIC! Restaurant joins a select group of AAA Four Diamond Award winners. Just 3 percent of the nearly 25,000 AAA Rated restaurants were awarded the prestigious AAA four Diamond designation in 2006.

The Diamond ratings are included in each lodging and restaurant listing in the 2006, AAA TourBook guide, and on AAA’s Web site, AAA’s more than 48 million members depend on TourBook guides to assist them with their travel-related decisions. An establishment’s Diamond rating is often the deciding factor when members choose a lodging or restaurant.

More than 65 AAA/CAA tourism editors visit over 70,000 lodgings, campgrounds, restaurants, and attractions each year throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Tourism editors conduct unannounced evaluations of lodgings and restaurants, scrutinizing areas for cleanliness, ambiance, amenities, and service.

AAA has included lodging information in its travel publications since the early 1900s. The association began rating hotels and other accommodations in 1963.

The first class Iyanola lounge at Hewanorra airport

For business and leisure travelers in search of comfort and convenience, the Iyanola Lounge, the Hewanorra International Airport is a well-appointed and finely furnished place that offers departing passengers private surroundings to relax or work before their flights, away from all of the airport hustle.

The Iyanola Lounge staff members ensure personalized service. Complimentary snacks are served and premium beverages are available from a well-stocked bar. The Lounge boasts a newspaper and magazine rack with up-to-date periodicals, cable television and computers with high speed Internet access.

Smokers are also catered for with an elevated smokers’ gallery complete with cable television. Non- smokers will not be affected. For persons looking to do some last minute shopping, Harry Edwards Jewelers has an outlet in the Lounge offering the finest jewellery and precious stones.

Membership packages are available for frequent flyers and benefits extend to the Executive Lounge at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados. Travelers can also purchase a one-time pass for US$50 and enjoy all the amenities of the Iyanola Lounge. Call (758) 454-8556 for more information or stop by the Lounge in the upstairs departure area at the Hewanorra International Airport.

Big Chef attains 1000 pound Steak Challenge record

Big Chef Steakhouse is renowned for large, uniquely flavoured steaks. With its 32-ounce “Steak Challenge”, big eaters test their capacity by consuming two pounds of steak. Each successful candidate wins a free one pound steak to eat right away (some do) or at a later date.

This year Big Chef Steakhouse celebrates a milestone. Five hundred Steak Challenges have been successfully consumed. The biggest Steak ever served was to a medical student who put away a whopping 67 ounces. Big Chef eats what he sells, and consumes at least two pounds of steak a day, accompanied by his favourite red wine. (see photo).

A Master Chef and TV personality, Big Chef is also reputed for his seafood dishes. Big Chef Steakhouse serves snapper, local crab, mussels and jumbo shrimps.

This year Big Chef, also known by his real name, Peter Richard Kouly, was the head judge at the National Chablis Fish Dish competition sponsored by Moreau & Fils and their local distributor Peter & Company.

A little advice from Big Chef: “Keep your kitchen clean, EAT OUT! preferably at Big Chef Steakhouse. A day without wine is like a day without sunshine,” and that is why Big Chef Steakhouse has the most extensive wine list on the island. Bon Appetit.

Digicel in St Lucia

The Digicel Network is based on superior GSM technology. Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) is a European standard that is now commonly adopted worldwide.
When traveling to St. Lucia, you can stay connected on the Digicel Network. Digicel gives you access to over 200 roaming partners in almost 80 countries around the world! Digicel gives you the ability to send and receive calls and text messages while vacationing in St. Lucia!

As a visitor to St. Lucia, Digicel offers SIMS for EC$50 which comes with EC$20 call credit. To use this service, visitors will need an unlocked mobile phone. The visitor SIMS can be purchased at any of 3 Digicel outlets and both airport centers of the Guy’s Car Rental. With
this Digicel visitor SIM, visitors can take advantage of the local Digicel rates and can top up/recharge using Digicel Flexcards. Digicel has a total of 700 Digicel Flexcard dealers island-wide. Just look for the Digicel sign outside various business places on the island.

Remember…when dialing internationally with the visitor SIM you will need to dial 1 plus the area code and then the number.

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