By Shannon Kaiser
My feet are buried in the white sand in the top honeymoon & wedding destination in the world. I have arrived in Saint Lucia. The over grown lush jungle mountain range makes for a perfect backdrop to any romantic get-a-away. The island is home to abundant sources of sleeping accommodations, but there is only one that overindulges in romance, the Rendezvous.
The first couples only resort in the world that caters exclusively to people in love. This couples only sexy oasis, is the ying to love birds seeking the yang. The property sits comfortable in Castries, one of the islands most popular cities, resting on Malabar Beach. Saint Lucia’s longest stretch of white sand beach, spanning 2 miles, designated to any one property.
Every nuke of this 7-acre property is designed to entice intimacy. Two-somes holding hands in the secret tropical garden, lovers rocking gently together in one of many hammocks tied to the palm trees. All of the couples look settled into one another; most celebrating there continued love with an anniversary trip or renewed vowels. The air is filled with calm, sensual energy and an attitude of comfortable stretches throughout the property. Guest walk around in bathing suits, wrapped with white cloths. The men look charming in un-tucked polo shits, khakis and sandals; everyone is comfortable in their own skin, and satisfied with life.
In spite of all the cupid darts flying around, it feels more like a posh elite social retreat for everyday friendly couples. Everyone seems to know one another as they pass by stopping to laugh at once a stranger’s jokes. Once unfamiliar faces meet here and become life long couple buddies sharing tropical travel stories for years to come. When people arrive on property they are treated like royalty, everyone looks like they could be famous, but it is really just your friend from next door. That is what can happen when we reconnect with love. It has a funny way of making us glow from the inside out.
Walking through the Rendezvous property is like escaping into a tropical utopia because of the properties most popular spot, the Secret Garden. Hundreds of exotic flowers burst into the air, with seductive love seats laid out on the ground. There is a series of four hidden pools connected by small channels tucked behind dense banana trees. The mentality is whatever you want to do is available to you. Couples can relax the day away letting the Caribbean air, brush through their hair, or they can opt for a more active time, choosing one of many activities. Perfecting their game of tennis with complimentary professional lessons, or sunrise yoga on the beach, sweating in the upscale fitness center, scuba diving for free or booking a trip with the activities director on property to zip line, sight see, horse bike ride, or explore the air in a helicopter tour. The island is the guest’s oyster and it is waiting to play with all visitors.
Rendezvous is the sister property to the Conde Nest Traveler 2011 winner: Best Hotel Resort & Spa in the World, The BodyHoliday Le Sport. Travelers who want a more adventure experience bounce over to La Sport and are greeted with the same-papered perfection and detail.
In 2009 Rendezvous went through a 12 million (Eastern Caribbean) Dollar renovation to encourage guests to have a more unique experience, including the refurbished Spa in the Water Garden, which is the jewel in their crown. The renovation of the resort originated with the guarantee to guests that the best treatments and therapies would be offered. The entire therapist staff is trained at the BodyHoliday wellness center and training facility. The Spa in the Water Garden offers everything from manicures to pedicures right through to Swedish massage, Deep Remedial Tissue Therapy, Aroma Stone Massage and thesignature Hawaiian Lomi Lomi.
I decided to spend some quality time with myself so I went on an adventure to the spa. In the spirit of trying something new, I made my first date with the Lomi Lomi Massage. Upon entering the spa, the fresh citrus blend of passion fruit and lime tickled my nose. I am lead into the changing room, and given oversized cotton white rob. The embroidered cursive Rendezvous logo makes me feel like I have stepped into a royal Saint Lucian club. I move into the treatment room, and the white walls, and natural light flood the room, it feels like I have stepped into a cloud, soft, comfortable and transcendent. I lay onto the massage table and my therapist begins to drip passion fruit oil onto my body. Her hands perfectly sculpt to my sun burnt figure, filling in all of the gaps of tension, and relieving the sun soaked stressed skin. She pulls the pains out with each new stoke. The Lomi Lomi massage is an ancient Hawaiian technique traditionally called Lomi meaning, to rub, press, squeeze, massage; to work in and out, it’s a holistic healing tradition beyond a simple massage. The spa does not play predicted new age acoustics, but rather the soundtrack to my experience is tropical tweets outside the window. I finish the 50-minute session feeling like a baked potato. Relaxed, soft and mushy.
I realize my belly is rumbling and my nose catches whiff of fresh cut pineapple which carries me to the eating area. Rendezvous is an all-inclusive hotel with buffet breakfast, lunch and elaborate dinners created fresh by Kenyan Chef, Peter Juma. Fresh squeezed guava fruit, and pineapple juice with pulp are signature favorites. There is nothing mass produced, packaged or processed in this kitchen, aside from the morning Fruit Loops for the American Tourist who crave the comforts of home. The restaurant is perched over the beach, with towering palm trees that paint the open air against the blue green Caribbean Sea folding up onto the beach.
I meet up with Yhasmine Remy, the general manager as she gives me a personal guided tour of the resort. Her soft subtle voice speaks gently as she tells me, “We try vigorously to protect the atmosphere for our guests, and it starts with the staff and hospitality.” Authenticity is the pulse of the island, and the team at Rendezvous executes every detail with extreme attention and care. The rooms are sophisticated, plush, classy and comfortable. There is no cookie cutter approach to this hotel, each room is decorated with different large acrylic paintings of voluptuous bodies, and marble statues of lovers intertwined. Everything at Rendezvous is focused on the exquisite experience of love. What makes this couples retreat resort unique aside from its sophisticated neo-classical charm, and the genuine hospitality, is the visual transformation of each guest. Couples frolic to Rendezvous, overworked under-joyed and leave with butterflies turning in their stomachs with the sense that they have reconnected and found love again. Rendezvous is a lover’s utopia waiting to pamper your relationship, and pamper they do!