St. Lucia is Welcoming U.S. Travelers to Return for Socially Distanced Stays
Nobody would argue that these are the best of times for travel.
But despite restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, travelers can still visit some of the best tropical resorts in the world on the island of St. Lucia, which reopened to international visitors in July – including those from the U.S.
About a dozen St. Lucia resorts are now open to visitors, each having been certified as meeting St. Lucia’s COVID-19 protocols. These include:
- Sandals Grande St Lucian (www.sandals.com/grande-st-lucian/)
- Ladera (www.ladera.com)
- Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort (www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com)
- Stonefield Villa Resort (www.stonefieldresort.com)
- Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa (www.baygardensresorts.com/beach-resort)
- Jade Mountain (www.jademountain.com)
- Anse Chastanet (https://ansechastanet.com)
- Marigot Bay Resort Spa & Marina (www.marigotbayresort.com)
- Serenity at Coconut Bay (https://serenityatcoconutbay.com)
- Tet Rouge Resort (www.tetrouge.com)
- Caille Blanc Villa & Hotel (http://cailleblancvilla.com)
Additionally, Cap Maison (www.capmaison.com) has been COVID-19 certified and will reopen on Oct. 1, and the Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort (www.windjammer-landing.com) has been certified and will reopen on Oct. 8. The 14-room eco-lodge Boucan by Hotel Chocolat also has announced plans to rebrand as the Rabot Eco Escape (www.hotelchocolat.com) and reopen on Sept. 1.
Island-wide, about 20 percent of all hotel rooms are now open, according to the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association.
Air service to St. Lucia has been trimmed significantly from pre-COVID levels, but JetBlue has resumed its St. Lucia flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, while American Airlines is flying from Miami to Hewanorra International Airport and Delta Air Lines has flights from Atlanta. British Airways also has service to St. Lucia from Gatwick, London.
Phase one of St. Lucia’s COVID-19 reopening plan including a requirement that all visitors get a coronavirus PCR test with a negative result within seven days of traveling. Travelers also must complete a health status form, comply with all local rules regarding mask-wearing and social distancing, and remain at their resort for the duration of their stay in St. Lucia.
Karolin Troubetzkoy, executive director of marketing and operations of St. Lucia’s Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts and president of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, said that the island’s reopening has gone “exceptionally well” after an initial adjustment period when both guests and staff had to become comfortable with the COVID-19 restrictions.
With 600 acres of property that includes two beaches, a mountain biking center and myriad other activities, the sister Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet properties have been well-positioned to accommodate visitors.
“Even pre-COVID, many of our guests would not have left the property,” said Troubetzkoy, adding that Jade Mountain, with its spacious and private “sanctuary” rooms, “is practically built for social distancing” (the record for guests not leaving their Jade Mountain room currently stands at five days and nights).
Like all St. Lucia resorts, Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet have continued to offer water-based activities like sunset cruises, which are permitted under St. Lucia’s COVID-19 first-phase rules. Other resorts have added more on-site activities to keep guests entertained. Like Anse Chastanet, for example, the Viceroy Sugar Beach resort is now offering chocolate-making classes, while others have added more on-water experiences.
St. Lucia officials recently extended the first phase of its reopening plan until Sept. 30, with the minor adjustment of allowing visitors to split their stays between multiple resorts rather than requiring that they remain at a single resort for the entire length of their stay.
Phase two, should it be implemented, would allow for diving operations and some other attractions to open, as well as permitting villas and Airbnbs to seek certification to reopen. “Given that we have successfully managed to reopen, I think the entire island is in agreement that we need to continue to be cautious and vigilant,” said Troubetzkoy.
“St. Lucia has welcomed U.S. visitors from the very beginning,” she said. The fact that St. Lucia’s reopening has gone smoothly should offer some reassurance that travel plans to the island, once made, will not have to be suddenly changed or cancelled.
“We need to build more confidence in travel, not only among travelers but among travel advisors,” said Troubetzkoy.