Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia recently held its annual Reunion Week for returning guests of its Sandals Select Rewards loyalty program, which included a farm-to-table concept lunch for its Diamond level guests at the Sandals Golf and Country Club at Cap Estate, where the star of the festivities was the beauty, bounty and prodigious talent of St. Lucia itself.
According to Winston Anderson, Managing Director for SRI in the Eastern Caribbean, Reunion Week is designed to celebrate and recognize top returning guests from around the world, those who keep coming back to enjoy the brand’s signature luxury-included style of vacationing, and to highlight the moments and memories that make visiting Sandals Resorts a priority for them.
“And what we know is most important to these special customers are the connections they have made with our team members and the opportunities to discover and enjoy the flavors, sounds, products and people of our local Caribbean communities,” said Anderson.
So important is the “link” between local suppliers – from farmers and craft distillers to artisans and entertainers to the Sandals experience – which Anderson chose to literally “bring these two worlds together” and invite several local Saint Lucian partners to showcase their products and talents during this special event.
“Beginning with our late founder Gordon “Butch” Stewart and carried on by our Executive Chairman Mr. Adam Stewart and our entire executive leadership team, there is a firm belief in the adage that a ‘rising tide lifts all boats.’ It is with that commitment that we deepen the linkages with local stakeholders, including purchasing from local suppliers first. In fact, if you look at our overall economic footprint including local purchases of foodstuffs from seafood to fruits and vegetables, payroll and benefits, taxes, utility payments, taxis and transfers, entertainers, local tour operators and so on, Sandals injects over XCD$250 million annually into the local Saint Lucian economy, providing employment for around 2,000 Saint Lucians” said Anderson.
“This is important and powerful. We are a Caribbean company, supporting other Caribbean businesses and in the process, we are delighting our guests who demand the freshest farm-to-table foods, local expertise and talent and the assurance that their dollars are going to preserve a local economy and experience they love.”
Sergin Jn Baptiste, Marketing Manager of Saint Lucia Distillers Group of Companies, producers of the renowned Chairman’s Rum, lauded Sandals for the initiative, noting that many local suppliers, aside from those present for this event, have benefited from their relationship with Sandals over the years.
“There has always been a fantastic partnership [with Sandals]. I think both of us are selling the same thing which is the experience St. Lucia has to offer to visitors to the island, so we are really happy to be part of this,” said Baptiste.
Guests at the event had the chance to sample Saint Lucian rum and beer, chocolate, fruits and vegetables, sugar-cane juice and more, all while meeting local producers and makers and learning more about production and manufacturing processes. They also enjoyed performances from local entertainers including Pan Time Steel Orchestra, violinist Yannick James as well as a special performance from students of the Castries Comprehensive School music department, which received rave reviews from all present.
Another event highlight happened when Executive Chefs of all three Sandals properties in St. Lucia – Sandals Grande Saint Lucian, Sandals Regency La Toc, and Sandals Halcyon Beach, came together to produce a Sandals’ signature Five-Star Global Gourmet lunch using all the local products that were on display.
Sandals Select Rewards member Paul Rothstein, a 22-time returning guest to Sandals described his experience getting the chance to interact with the people behind many of the local products he has enjoyed at Sandals, including gift shop purchases.
“This is my eighth trip to St. Lucia, and I always tell people that the nicest people in the world live in the Caribbean, and the nicest people in the Caribbean are in St. Lucia,” said Rothstein. “This is the most beautiful island I’ve been to in the Caribbean. I love it.”
Sandals Resorts International, which celebrates its 40th anniversary and its 30th year of operation in Saint Lucia, recently announced plans to deepen its investment here, with plans that include 20 beachfront, two-story villa rooms featuring large balconies and five Rondoval suites at Sandals Halcyon Beach, and an innovative new “resort within a resort” concept planned for Sandals La Toc of a village comprised entirely of 20 of its highest category Rondoval suites.
“When finished this will add an additional 150 permanent jobs,” said Anderson adding, “We will continue to celebrate our incredible destination and invest in Saint Lucia, creating more jobs and growing the economy.”
Source: Sandals Resorts