Soaking up the sun in Saint Lucia
Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa’s unique location sets it apart


After a scenic morning sail, our catamaran came to a stop at the foot of one of Saint Lucia’s most iconic landmarks – the Petit Piton. The view is postcard-worthy but we’re not actually here to hit the white sandy beach. We’ve arrived at Anse Piton Marine Reserve, one of the best snorkelling spots on the island, so it’s all about what awaits us below. 

With my head submerged under the water, I’m in the middle of spotting a variety of tropical colourful fish and coral when I hear the excursion leader announce a sighting of something I have yet to come across during all my snorkelling adventures. I make my way over to him and catch a glimpse of two iridescent squids maneuvering around like otherworldly creatures. It’s truly amazing what you can see under the sea. 

“Saint Lucia is one of those gorgeous destinations where there’s so much to do beyond the beach — hiking, biking, snorkelling, diving, zip-lining, the rainforest, the waterfalls,” says Natalia Greene, VP of sales and marketing for Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and Serenity at Coconut Bay. “What’s great about our two resorts is our location. Because we’re located in the south of the island, we’re within 30 to 40 minutes of all the top attractions on the island.”

In fact, for guests looking to experience some of the best attractions Saint Lucia has to offer, one of the top excursions is the Land and Sea Adventure day tour exclusively for guests of its resorts. For US$139, clients will be able to set sail past the Pitons (and pose for an obligatory photo with the mountains as a backdrop while holding a Piton beer), stop at two snorkelling stops, have a local lunch overlooking the Pitons by land, visit and swim at the Toraille waterfall, and finally, head to the drive-in volcano to hit the Sulphur Springs for a soak and some rejuvenation by applying mud that’s said to help detoxify the body and heal sunburns, eczema, arthritis, and the likes of sore joints.

“They don’t have to leave the resort, we’ve got enough activities on property to keep them busy, but we highly recommend that you send your clients off property,” Greene says. “You want them to see the Pitons, you want them to go to the mud baths. Coming to Saint Lucia and not seeing the Pitons is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, you just wouldn’t do it.”

Location, location, location 

Unlike many other resorts that are between 1.5 to two hours away, Coconut Bay is conveniently located within minutes from Hewanorra International Airport.

“Why that’s great, especially after coming off of that five-hour flight, especially if they’re travelling with children, is that the vacation starts within five minutes once they leave the airport,” Greene says. “Clients don’t lose their arrival day and they don’t lose their departure day because when you’re sending clients to the north of the island, the arrival day and the departure day is lost — they have to leave super early to get back down to Hewanorra and they don’t get to where they’re going if they land in the afternoon until evening time… so from a selling standpoint that’s something for you to keep in mind.”

Fun for the whole family 

Divided into the family-friendly Splash wing and the adults-only Harmony wing, the 250-room resort is set on 85 acres with one mile of beach. 

“Splash is where the waterpark and the lazy river and the kids’ club is, but I’ve got to tell you, most of the time I see more adults floating around the lazy river with their sippy-cups with a little something, something, in their sippy cups,” she laughs. “A lot of the time it’s filled with more adults than kids!”

Aside from the 1,500 foot lazy river, Greene says other standout features include the island’s only resort petting zoo, the island’s only resort paintball course and the island’s only resort kite-surfing facility. 

“Our kids’ club is 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The kids’ club has its own splash pad. All of the staff that work in the kids’ club are childcare worker certified, they’re also first aid certified, but our kids’ club is not babysitting,” she says. “We have the Cocoland SCOUTS club — which stands for Seeing, Crafting, Observing, Understanding, Tasting, Saint Lucia — they will go on nature walks, learn a bit of St. Lucian Creole. We want them to take home a little bit of Saint Lucia.”

Not only do they accept babies three and under, they have customized programming for three various ages. Every child gets a CocoPack kit of goodies (complete with a water bottle, backpack, t-shirt, and hat) and creates a personalized scrapbook documenting their stay as a keepsake to take home.

“We also do turtle watching on our beach. We haven’t had as many the last couple of years but when we do and the turtles hatch we work with the Saint Lucia Department of Fisheries and have turtle releases,” she says. “We teach our guests, especially our child guests, about turtle conservation. We’ve got three species of turtles that nest on our beach.”

Coconut Bay also has its own coconut mascots, Coco and Loco, who turn up at various times for photo opportunities with guests.

“It’s more than cartoons and crayons,” she says. “It’s the largest kids’ club on the island by far with the most activities. We have an age divided activities schedule every day of the week. In addition to the daily activities, because the kids’ club is open from 9:00 a.m. to five p.m. every day, five nights a week we also do kids activities and again that is so mom and dad can have dinner on their own.”

The services are entirely included. The only thing that’s an extra charge is if parents decide to book babysitting services at off hours. 

Another fun twist on a typical swim up bar is that here there’s a surfboard menu with adult beverages as well as another board with mocktails for kids.

Authentically Caribbean 

On Saturday nights, there are two special things happening to give guests a taste of the island. First, there’s a rum tasting to sample some of the most popular rums that can be found on the island from Bounty to special editions of Chairman’s Reserve.

Then the Splash pool area is transformed into Caribbean night. Not only is Caribbean food on offer (including dishes like oxtail and curry goat with several executive chefs hailing from Jamaica) but there’s also entertainment like a mini-carnival, steel drums, stilt walkers, fire breathers and more. 

“The one thing I’d like for all of you to know is we are not part of a chain,” she adds. “We are independently owned and operated — our owner is Jamaican. What that means for your clients is they get an authentically Caribbean experience. There’s nothing corporate about our hotel and I think that sets us apart.”

Dining delights 

In addition to more formal dining spaces like Silk and Calabash, there are also casual eateries like The Jerk Treehouse, which like its namesake indicates, offers staples like jerk chicken, rice and beans, plantain and festival in a treehouse setting, and FlipFlops a laid-back spot featuring custom pizzas and tasty items like gyros.

There’s also a buffet-style restaurant, which Greene calls more of a marketplace because it has made-to-order cooking stations.

Relax and unwind

And for those seeking a bit of pampering, the onsite Sanctuary Spa offers treatments using local ingredients for services like chocolate scrubs and coconut oil massages. For clients who want to enjoy an au natural massage to the sound of waves crashing, the spa has doubled the amount of its beachfront spa cabanas. 

For clients considering the resort for a destination wedding, Greene says they limit it to one wedding per day. “We don’t want to be a wedding factory,” she adds. “She can have her day, her way, fully customizable.”

Another unique feature on the Harmony side is “sun tracker beds,” which are designed on a moveable platform so guests can follow the sun — or seek the shade — any time of day. 

Interestingly, the property used to be a Club Med before reopening as an independently-run venture in 2005. 

“I like to tell people that anyone who knew it as a Club Med does not know us as it stands now. It didn’t have a waterpark. When our owner bought it, he added a 15-ft seating area to each of the rooms, which gave us the opportunity to have balconies on the upper floors and a seating area for the ground level rooms,” says Greene. “In addition to that, over the last 10 years we’ve put a significant amount of money into the resort and into products because we close every September. In those closures we’ve added pools, we’ve added restaurants, we’ve added bars, we’ve added a new wedding venue, a bridal suite.”

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