The pool at Rendezvous Boutique Hotel // © Kelly Dawson 2010
Last August, Rendezvous Boutique Hotel underwent a $15 million renovation. For more than 50 years, the seven-acre St. Lucia property had blended the comforts of Malabar Beach with a penchant for casual intimacy; last year, however, the hotel’s management decided it was time to refurbish and rethink the resort in order to stay competitive on an island that is booming with more than 250 hotels and resorts.
Among the most significant changes to the all-inclusive couples’ resort are the new Pavilion Spa — built in the style of a traditional West Indian colonial building and offering a wide variety of treatments — and the addition of a large, open-air dining and lounge area at the center of the hotel. The redesigned Terrace Restaurant serves buffet-style meals throughout the day in a room where birds perch on the beams atop tall, white ceilings. Also new is the Hospitality House fitness center, which offers Pilates, yoga and aqua aerobics classes as well as guided walks to a lighthouse in the capital city of Castries. Next to the Hospitality House and behind the spa, the resort has added several secluded lagoons.
Rendezvous’ 100 guestrooms are offered in six different categories: 36 gardenview rooms, 24 veranda suites, 21 luxury oceanfront rooms, eight oceanfront cottages, eight seaside suites and three luxury oceanfront suites. Each room is decorated in rich Caribbean colors with king-size, four-poster beds and spacious bathrooms. And, since Rendezvous wants couples to stay connected, no televisions are in the rooms. For a romantic night, couples can request a service of rose petals on the bed and chocolate cake on the dresser.
“The guests are just allowed to be,” said the hotel’s general manager Yhasmine Remy. “In most all-inclusive hotels, you have to have an armband or it will be an issue. Or you have to sign for things at the restaurant. We’ve done away with those formalities, with the red tape and the bureaucracy.”
Remy suggested that couples stay in the oceanfront cottages and have dinner at the Trysting Place, Rendezvous’ fine-dining restaurant. She added that couples who wish to tie the knot there will receive complimentary wedding packages with stays of seven nights or more in the veranda suites class of accommodations or higher.
Daily activities at the resort are outlined by the hour on a board on the terrace. Soft water sports, such as windsurfing and scuba diving, are available, but guests can also participate in games at the pool bar. As for non-scheduled activities, the staff is more than helpful in recommending what to do both onsite and downtown.
“The approach we have is not to do what is convenient for us, in terms of structures, systems and staffing, but to do what would please our guests,” said Remy. “That is what we use to guide the growth of our product.”