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Lockdown-An Island Story

Six months ago, life changed. And at this point in the COVID pandemic’s relentless progress, we are uncertain whether the ‘normality’ we used to recognize is gone, or whether life has changed forever.

Looking back over the past months, what have we learned? What can we say about Saint Lucia and those on whom we rely for our livelihood; North America and Europe, mainly the UK?

In common with our neighbors, St Vincent, Grenada, Barbados, Martinique, and Antigua, we rely on tourism for the more significant part of our income. Our target markets’ protocols prevented travel, but as islands, we also had the challenge presented by a lack of flights.

.In Saint Lucia, however, even before lockdowns overseas, the government was swift to act. Closing our borders and introducing strict internal protocols was a wise yet brave decision. Other than supermarkets and other essentials, every business closed down. In the tourism sector, all hotels, restaurants, bars, entertainment places, and tours ceased to function, resulting in thousands of staff sent home.

We had the stress of a 7 day, 24-hour curfew, along with a temporary ban on alcohol, but this is the Caribbean, and so somehow, rum was always obtainable if you knew where!

St-Lucian-Beach-Lockdown

Although the government managed to finance a furlough scheme, we learned which hotels and resorts were ready to stand by their employees and provide support, some even launching guest appeals to raise money.

Most impressive was the overall response of Saint Lucians to the crisis and to appeals made by the government. Everywhere you looked, masks were being worn willingly, social distancing observed, and frankly, a determination to cooperate and get through the ordeal the best way possible.

Crime has been at an all-time low, and in general, a bonhomie existed along with a spirit of caring for one’s neighbor. At that point, we knew we’d probably come through this reasonably unscathed. Having said that, closing down the economy is not without consequences. Businesses have failed, many people have been impoverished by the calamity and no-one can say life isn’t tough right now.

We’ve been spared the embarrassment of selfish people, arguing about wearing masks in stores as in first world countries. We’ve learned to be patient in our inimitable Caribbean way. (“Don’t worry ’bout a ting. Cos everyting gonna be irie”). St Lucian’s will persevere.

COVID-19-in-St.-Lucia-2-1030x579

Unlike a bomb or a natural catastrophe, a virus doesn’t destroy the landscape. Saint Lucia is as beautiful as ever. Is it possible that the beauty we wake up to every day, coupled with a global realization of how quickly the planet can recover with such a dramatic drop in carbon emissions, has focused the hospitality industry on sustainability?

It would be fantastic if that were so, but it is noticeable that some hotels in Saint Lucia are looking to sustainability as the next big thing. We’ll see some evidence of this as travelers themselves are statistically more interested than ever before on the sustainability rating of where they will stay.

We’ve recently begun welcoming visitors back to the island at this moment in time, providing specific protocols are observed. So if you are someone compliant with those rules and are coming to visit us, you will receive a warm welcome.

Don’t just come for the beauty, the soft sand, and the suntan. Come and get happy. Our island is full of smiles.

Footnote: Officially, Saint Lucia is the only country to date with a 100% recovery rate. (eg, No deaths have resulted from Covid-19)

CCR-during-closure-2020
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Calabash Cove Resort & Spa: an Oasis of Tranquility on the Island of St. Lucia

The following article was featured on the Journal de Montreal website on February 1st, 2020. The article has been translated from French into English. The link at the end of this post directs to the original article.

In Bonaire Bay, on the northwestern part of the island, between Rodney Bay and Castries, this romantic boutique hotel is perfect for lovers of design, nature and refinement.

No queues for loungers on the beach here, no buffet, noisy echoes from pool bars, or aqua aerobics that resonate in your eardrum. This all-inclusive boutique hotel is one of the most refined hotels in Saint Lucia. Recognized for its steep coastline which shelters small beaches in its coves, its luxuriant vegetation, its splendid sunsets, this pearl of the Lesser Antilles is an ideal destination for honeymoons and Calabash Cove, reserved for adults, is the place to be.

Nestled on the hillside, at the end of a winding dirt road, you are immediately dazzled on arrival by a contemporary design lobby with a spectacular view of the sea, the hotel’s airy bar and restaurant on the second level, then the infinity pool below.

From level to level, through paved paths and alleys of tropical greenery, we descend a slightly steep terrain which leads us to the quiet beach of Mosaic Beach. Wooden lounge chairs and palapas, kayaks, snorkeling equipment and a nice pontoon await vacationers.

Situated in a secluded location away from everything, guests of this hotel spend most of their time on the property.

Mahogany chairs, day beds with large blue cushions are distributed on different levels around the infinity pool, which, it must be said, is splendid. The perfect place for lounging. Drinks and small snacks (healthy salads, crab cakes, grilled shrimp or squid, fish & chips, old-fashioned beef burger, etc.) are offered at the pool bar.

The hotel also has many nooks and crannies for seclusion. The room called Whispers, inside, is a space for meditation with large bay windows on the sea, comfortable sofas, books and magazines. We are lulled by soothing ambient music. The clientele is mainly composed of couples. The overall atmosphere is most relaxing.

The suites and the cottages

The 26 rooms are divided into three categories. Each has modern, bright decor with white walls, dark wood furniture, and tiled floors. Decorative cushions, curtains and burnt orange bedding add beautiful touches of color to this sobriety.

For even more luxury and privacy, small cottages made of mahogany wood, stone and other natural materials have two separate rooms, including a living room and bedroom, and a bathroom with an outdoor rain shower. The ultimate! Each cottage has its private porch with sea view, jacuzzi, hammocks and lounge chairs.

Dining

The hotel restaurant, Windsong, offers panoramic views of the sea and the lights of the city of Castries in the evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served with an à la carte menu of Asian and international inspiration, and dishes cooked with fresh, local ingredients.

The specialties of the Lesser Antilles are of course in the spotlight: root vegetables and cassava, callaloo leaf soup, tuna steaks or other fresh fish in Creole sauce and the typical breakfast of islanders consisting of “bakes” (small breads), salted fish salad, green banana, avocados and fried plantains. The restaurant menu can also be ordered through room service.

A Tropical Paradise

With more than 1,300 species of plants and wild flowers, Saint Lucia is known for its lush, still wild vegetation and spectacular flora: exotic flowers, succulents, bougainvillea, hibiscus, frangipani and fruit trees (passion fruit, walnuts, coconut). The hotel gardens are flamboyant and attract a beautiful variety of birds whose songs mingle with the natural sounds of the island. Luxury, calm and pleasure: a little paradise!

On Property

26 rooms, including 11 in the main building, 11 in independent buildings and 4 swim-up pools
9 cottages
An infinity pool
A restaurant with storeroom and two bars
A library and a reading room
A gym
A spa
Wedding and honeymoon packages

Things To Do Nearby

The nearest shopping centers and restaurants are in Rodney Bay, 3 km by car, and Castries, the capital, is 5 km away. It’s imperative to go there on Saturday morning for the market.

Pigeon Island National Park, 10 km from which you can see Martinique, also offers the opportunity for a beautiful hike while discovering a piece of history, taking advantage of its beautiful white sand beach.

The more athletic can enjoy a private excursion: the ascent of Mount Gimie, the highest peak in Saint Lucia, at 3,117 feet. Of volcanic origin, it is covered with a tropical rain forest. The tour lasts all day with around five to six hours of hiking in steep terrain.

Things To Know

1 hour and 15 minutes from Hewanorra International Airport.

Most of the island’s attractions, including the Pitons of Saint Lucia and the town of Soufriere, are a 90-minute drive away. The capital (Castries) and Rodney Bay are 10 minutes away.

Such luxury has a price! This hotel is offered by Air Canada Vacations, with a daily departure and a stopover in Toronto. The package for one person is from $ 3,790.

Pros

The place is idyllic, the food varied and excellent. Every detail of the installations is studied and the service is very personalized.

Cons

You can’t go anywhere on foot. You have to take taxis or rental cars.

Read the full article (in French) here.

Calabash Cove Resort & Spa has no control over posts from external sites, and while each post is vetted prior to sharing, content is subject to adjustment by the original author without notice, and the resort thus makes no assertions as to the accuracy of external content. If you find a broken link, or an article with inaccurate or misleading content, please contact us.

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Romance Around the World on Valentine’s Day – Millennium

The following article was featured on the Millennium website on January 21st, 2020.

Still trying to come up with plans for your significant other this Valentine’s Day that’s not like those in years’ past? Well, if you’re one who has trouble thinking out of the box, yet still want to totally wow your Bae, consider leaving plans for Sweetheart’s Day to Naya Traveler’s experts.

Naya Traveler can craft unique experiences far beyond the well-trodden romance resort path. Discover Naya Traveler’s “Roam”-ance Journeys, a different and refreshing take on couples’ travel to unchartered destinations including Cambodia, Myanmar, Kashmir and Ladakh, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and more. Each curated trip is fully tailor-made. Here are a few favorites selected by Millennium Magazine:

Better than a Box of Chocolates: Calabash Cove Resort and Spa

One of the most popular all-inclusive, adults-only boutique hotels in Saint Lucia, Calabash Cove Resort and Spa offers seclusion, beauty, and mesmerizing views. With old Caribbean charm, 26 villas are accompanied by the Windsong restaurant, lively C-Bar, and the peaceful Ti Spa. Ti Spa offers special Valentine’s spa packages – with treatments including the Chocolate Decadence Body Polish ($100USD pp), with a chocolate full body scrub; a Couples Moonlight Escape ($300USD), combining a hot stone and Swedish Massage, a chocolate peppermint foot scrub and champagne and chocolates under the moonlight; and the Couples Massage Lessons ($100USD), where lovebirds learn how to pamper each other with techniques to help reduce tension and stress. The all-inclusive concept includes a Valentine’s Day dinner, with highlights including a grilled half spiny lobster, five-spiced foie gras with papaya chutney, and escovitched shark with sweet potato chips and edible moringa flowers.

Read the full article here.

Calabash Cove Resort & Spa has no control over posts from external sites, and while each post is vetted prior to sharing, content is subject to adjustment by the original author without notice, and the resort thus makes no assertions as to the accuracy of external content. If you find a broken link, or an article with inaccurate or misleading content, please contact us.

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Travel Getaways – Recommend

The following article was featured on the Recommend website on January 16th, 2020.

Hotels and resorts across the globe have created special, romantic experiences to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and in some cases, the entire month of February. Here are a few travel getaways that might appeal to your clients.

Calabash Cove Resort and Spa

A popular all-inclusive, adults-only boutique hotel in Saint Lucia is Calabash Cove Resort and Spa. With old Caribbean charm, 26 villas are accompanied by the Windsong restaurant, lively C-Bar, and the peaceful Ti Spa. Special Valentine’s spa packages include the Chocolate Decadence Body Polish ($100 pp), with a chocolate full body scrub; a Couples Moonlight Escape ($300), combining a hot stone and Swedish massage, a chocolate peppermint foot scrub and champagne and chocolates under the moonlight; and the Couples Massage Lessons ($100). The all-inclusive concept includes a special Valentine’s Day dinner.

Read the full article here.

Calabash Cove Resort & Spa has no control over posts from external sites, and while each post is vetted prior to sharing, content is subject to adjustment by the original author without notice, and the resort thus makes no assertions as to the accuracy of external content. If you find a broken link, or an article with inaccurate or misleading content, please contact us.

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Romantic Travel Experiences Around the World – Culinary Travel Guide

The following article was featured on the Culinary Travel Guide website on January 13th, 2020.

Forget the boxed chocolates and flowers! Celebrate your love on Valentine’s Day with one of these dreamy romantic travel experiences far beyond the well-trodden tourist path.

One of the best ways to grow your love is to share new experiences together. When you travel and try something new, all your senses are heightened. Just by feasting your eyes on fresh sights, tasting new foods, and inhaling exotic aromas, you add to the sensual pleasures of the day.

Being somewhere unfamiliar has a way of making you feel more alive. So does taking time to delight over small pleasures. And when you travel with someone you love, you’ll create shared memories to last a lifetime.

Celebrate your love on February 14 and throughout the year with these globetrotting romantic travel experiences.

Better than a Box of Chocolates: Calabash Cove Resort and Spa

One of the most popular all-inclusive, adults-only boutique hotels in Saint Lucia, Calabash Cove Resort and Spa offers seclusion, beauty, and mesmerizing views. With old Caribbean charm, 26 villas are accompanied by the Windsong restaurant, lively C-Bar, and the peaceful Ti Spa.

Ti Spa offers special Valentine’s spa packages – with treatments including the Chocolate Decadence Body Polish ($100USD pp), with a chocolate full body scrub; a Couples Moonlight Escape ($300USD), combining a hot stone and Swedish Massage, a chocolate peppermint foot scrub, and champagne and chocolates under the moonlight. Don’t miss the Couples Massage Lessons ($100USD), where lovebirds learn how to pamper each other with techniques to help reduce tension and stress.

The all-inclusive concept includes Valentine’s Day dinner with highlights including a grilled half spiny lobster, five-spiced foie gras with papaya chutney, and escovitch shark with sweet potato chips and edible moringa flowers.

Read the full article here.

Calabash Cove Resort & Spa has no control over posts from external sites, and while each post is vetted prior to sharing, content is subject to adjustment by the original author without notice, and the resort thus makes no assertions as to the accuracy of external content. If you find a broken link, or an article with inaccurate or misleading content, please contact us.

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Saint Lucia’s Home Away From Home

Only a day into our stay at Calabash Cove, we felt our Watersedge Cottage had quickly become a second home. Was it the smell of coffee freshly brewing? Or the comfortable king size bed? Our own private pool? What really was it that made me feel such comfort on vacation?

To begin with, imagine drinking fresh coffee on the patio daybed while your partner swings in a nearby hammock. Every morning we looked over into the vast ocean fascinated by the different shades of blue. These shades, only a stone?s throw from our beachfront cottage, changed with the angle of the rising sun. Who would have thought there were so many shades of blue to be seen?

Majestic St Lucian Flora

Of course, the exuberance of life in St Lucia did not end there. The blues only competed with the shades of green exploding from the lush gardens all around us.

Naturally, the garden is made up of a variety of local flora. Most plants I encountered bore exotic names like Bougainvillea named after French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville or Allamanda in honor of?Swiss?botanist?and physician?Fr?d?ric-Louis Allamand. Every one of these names meant to tell a story, the story of St Lucia.

Remembering these names now, with their histories described to us by Alban, the properties head gardener, I’m disheartened to be away from our perfect getaway at Calabash Cove. I often wish I had written down every plant name.

Comfort We Couldn’t Resist

We are not usually the type of people who stay within the walls of our room… and this wasn’t even our honeymoon. With the warm feel of the living room and it’s (believe it or not) old fashioned books, we were too cozy to leave. Even with all of our technology, the books added such comfort on vacation. Although, I will also admit that the all-inclusive bar with a real fridge may have contributed to our feelings of happiness and occasion.

For now, I can only dream about our Watersedge Cottage with the coffee smell and the old fashioned books. One thing is for certain, we will be back.

Author: Heidi? Berger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tempura Lionfish and Bean Thread Noodle Salad

A word about Lion Fish

Until the Nineties there had been no sightings of lionfish in the Caribbean or western Atlantic, but some reefs off Florida and South Carolina now harbour 1,000 per acre. Lionfish rodeos, in which spearfishers hunt down the species, frequently harvest 1,400 in a day. Numbers have doubled annually since 2010, and the invasion has spread from the United States throughout all the Caribbean islands to Venezuela, then westward through the Gulf of Mexico.

Nobody knows for sure how the lionfish got here. Some blame it on an incident in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew smashed a seafront aquarium in Florida, releasing lionfish into the wild. It’s more likely the first specimens came in the ballast tanks of ships from distant oceans or were discarded by amateur aquarists who had simply grown bored with them.Seeing them on Soufrière reef, it is hard to see how. Confident of their place in the food chain, they never dart or hide but float gracefully above the coral with their venomous spines extended like a mane and twirl slowly like ballerinas, as if to say: “Look at me.” It has clearly never occurred to them that anyone might take a potshot – pot being the operative word, since a campaign has been launched in St Lucia by the Department of Fisheries, dive operators and others to encourage fishermen to catch lionfish and sell them to local restaurants.

WHY?

The Lionfish has been a terrible plague to the Caribbean especially, being called the worst invasive marine species in history. With reefs already suffering from climate change and bleaching, Lionfish are predatory fish that feed on smaller reef fish. They’ve been known to wipe out entire reef fish populations. The problem is that here in the Caribbean, the Lionfish has no natural predators, so they’re going on eating and reproducing unchecked. Actually, it’s said Giant Grouper can be predators to Lionfish, but there are no longer sufficient numbers of them here in the Caribbean to really make a difference. The solution: Have them on every restaurant menu. The fact is they are delicious.

Ingredients yields 4 Servings

  • 6 ounces wide bean thread noodles
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2oz soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large cucumber julienned
  • 12 oz lionfish filet
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 cup torn fresh cilantro, divided
  • 3/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted cashew nuts, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro
  • 2cup of tempura batter

Preparation

Place noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let noodles soak until tender but not mushy, 15?20 minutes; drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and pepper in another large bowl. Add soy sauce, cucumber, and carrots; toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.

Fry the marinated lionfish with tempura pad try and keep warm

Add noodles, oil, half of cilantro, and half of cashew to bowl; toss to combine. Top salad with lionfish filet remaining cilantro and cashew.

Tempura batter

  • 1cup cornstarch
  • 14 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  1. In bowl mix first 5 ingredients;
  2. Add water and egg and then mix to a smooth creamy batter.
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Mount Gimie: St Lucia’s 8th Wonder of The World

Restaurant with a View

Next time you are sitting in our Windsong restaurant, on a clear day, take a moment to survey the southern horizon. It is hard to look at anything else ther then the unmatched view from the dining tables over the deep turquoise Caribbean sea, but the surprise is that looking south, there nisa unique view of Mount Gimie.

Breakfast munching on sweet, homegrown fruit such as bananas, pawpaw, passionfruit, pineapple, and mango whilst lazily gazing across the turquoise bay, taking in the colorful roofs of Castries, is something else. However the greening hills behind us and Mount Gimie in the distance with its peak bearing a hat of puffy white clouds, watching over the unspoiled and magnificent tapestry of nature, sits like a god from Mount Olympus.

With such surroundings, you enter the calmest state of mind. As a result, nobody fights with the red breasted finch, edging his way closer to your food and stealing morsels of the freshly baked and delicious smelling croissants.  In fact as they dip their tiny beaks into the cool, fresh coconut water, one’s calm state lends itself to helping them get whatever they desire. Luckily, none dare to challenge you for the French brewed coffee, so it stays all your own.

Mount Gimie

Standing at 3117 ft. Mount Gimie is the tallest peak in St. Lucia. It is located in the rainforest, smack in the center of the island. For those of you in search of a true Jurassic Park style adventure (without the Raptors and T-Rex), you will experience just that. Once in the Rain-forest, if you’re lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of the shy Lucian Amazon Parrot.

Climbing Gimie is not for the fainthearted. The mountain is covered in a bounty of interesting and beautiful vegetation: grasses, ferns and palms, rich woods (think bamboo, cocoa, mahogany), and fruit trees galore (tangerine, coconut, grapefruit, etc). Accompanying such lush vegetation is an array of waterfalls and miniature pools, presenting themselves to cool your body, mind, and spirit.

On a good day, you enjoy a clear view of all St Lucian coastlines. Along with the coastline, Gimie also provides you with a view of the Maria Islands. There too from it’s peak, Gimie provides you with a vista of its more famous cousins-Petit and Gros Pitons, standing at the gates of the Val de Piton, like two sentinels on guard.

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Calabash Cove’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Recipe

Here’s an old but simply delicious favorite to add to the recipe book

Ingredients
yields 48 cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate

 

Method
Prep 15 minutes | Bake 10 minutes | Cool 45 minutes

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. 2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. mix in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate.
  3. 3. Drop dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  4. 4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown
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Kestrels at Calabash Cove

When in Saint Lucia, you’ll be struck by the variety of birdlife on the island. The more common or garden varieties such as the Grackle and the Lesser Antilles BullFinch, can be annoying ss they are inclined to steal food right from your plate. That is when you are dining al fresco, which tends to be the norm in the Caribbean. All in all though, Saint Lucia’s birds are beautiful. One of our favourites at Calabash Cove is often mistaken for a Hawk and indeed there are plenty of those as well. We like the Kestrel however.

They look similar to the average hawk and they swoop majestically through the air in search of prey just like an eagle. They are the largest native bird of prey on the island and hoteliers love them for a reason. They tend to scare away the annoying Grackles.

At Calabash Cove, their favorite perch (to take off from for long glides through the air above the resort) is the Pimento tree next to the C-Bar. In spring, they can easily be seen, while you are enjoying sundowners at the bar. If you have the patience, you can watch them put on a hunting show – chasing other birds, lizards and sometimes small critters.

Guests at Calabash Cove like them for their looks, of course.

The manager loves them for the simple fact that they make life miserable for pestering black birds. These black birds, called the Greater Antillean Grackle,  seem to be addicted to sugar, fake or real, and given the chance they love to eat right off of your plate!

Helping to keep these annoying birds at bay, the Kestrels like to plunder Grackle nests when on the hunt, which serves to keep their numbers down or to encourage them to move away altogether.