Andy Mossack enjoys all-inclusive benefits when he stays at the Harbor Club Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton, in Rodney Bay.
I’m in the middle of a coconut and honey wrap spa treatment and therapist Chantelle is hard at work exfoliating me. I did happen to mention the futility of doing any renovating on my aged skin, but she wasn’t having any of it. “it’ll take years off you” she grunted as another layer hit the dust. I clung to that thought as I lay there later cocooned from neck to toe in cocoa leaves and cling film, almost comatose following an Indian head massage that was nothing short of stellar.
Which is precisely the experience The Harbor Club Hotel manages to pull off for anyone looking for sanctuary in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia’s most popular resort area. Exclusively perched between short walks to Rodney Bay Village and the marina, it’s an oasis of calm to combat party fatigue, and an ideal base for exploring St. Lucia’s northern sights.
Unlike the island’s many classic luxury colonial resorts, the Harbor Club Hotel is the exact opposite; a privately-owned purpose-built resort right on the water, with four outside pools, a swim up bar, five restaurants, (each very different but all of them excellent), 115 very spacious guestrooms (some with swim-up private pools, others with marina-facing terraces), a spa, a gym, and above all, at its heart, an outstanding commitment to guest service under the all-seeing watchful eyes of veteran hotelier Managing Director Lester Scott.
It’s a challenge, which by his own admission, has been “an interesting journey” recruiting talented locals and teaching them the art of luxury hospitality. Perhaps a world away from the easy-going island culture, all the team are on board and delivering his message loud and clear.
The theme here is nautical laid-back luxury. So, no sun bed towel fighting necessary thank you. There are more than enough sun loungers spread around the four pools, some are even half-submerged in the water if you prefer to slumber and stay cool. If you want to add a touch of glamour to the proceedings, why not rent one of the private cabanas which come with their own pool, so no need to mix with the main herd. The fully stocked pool bar is always open with attentive sun bed service providing plenty of hydration to order.
There are a variety of stays available and I have the all-inclusive option. This comes with added benefits; a white wrist bracelet that not only opens all the food & beverage doors but the actual door to my own room too. There is something quite hedonistic about all-inclusive. I tend to drink and eat a lot early on, thrilled at waving my bracelet at any team member approaching with a receipt to sign and see them do an about-turn. That soon wears off of course and the mere fact I know I can pick and choose any food and beverage I want (apart from premium branded drinks) is enough to curb my enthusiasm down to acceptable.
Talking of food, the Harbor Club Hotel’s dining offer is very impressive.
Julia’s, the main all-day dining restaurant, offers authentic Caribbean dishes, from snacks to main courses. Whether it’s a day-boat ceviche, lobster, a curry, or a simple burger or spicy chicken wings, everything is thoughtfully placed where it should be on the plate. My lunchtime pumpkin and coconut soup is delicious, followed by an equally impressive black bean and sweet corn wrap and salad. The outside terrace offers up dramatic bay views day and night, and soft reggae sounds make the whole experience pretty magical.
Opposite the pool bar, the Dockside Pizzeria has a proper wood-fired oven and freshly made pizza dough. I can be particularly critical with pizzas. Either the bases are bought in and rock hard or the toppings are meaningfully meagre. No such problem here. Each pie is hand made to order with generous toppings and added extras if needed. I spend a memorable evening sipping an excellent red wine, eating a belter of a pizza with all the trimmings, while enjoying the lights of Rodney Bay twinkling in the distance.
Market Street, a discreet space running along the side of the property, is the brainchild of Lester’s, and, a genius move. It offers an opportunity for non-residents and locals to sample the hotel’s hospitality from an excellent sushi bar restaurant, and 7th Heaven, an in-house artisan bakery open daily for breakfast, lunch, and tea. They told me it was a lifesaver during the pandemic, offering regular deliveries to locked-down locals.
Fortunately for me the sushi bar is part of the all-inclusive option and I find myself gravitating to it on numerous occasions. Chef Len may be Vietnamese by origin, but let me tell you, her sushi-making skills are world-class. The menu offers made-to-order sushi and maki rolls, sashimi, nigiri and spicy salads and a clutch of signature dishes that are the standouts for me. Crazy Sailors are rolls made up of tempura shrimp, fresh tuna, spicy salmon, avocado, eel sauce and spicy mayo.
Garden greens is another masterpiece: spicy tuna, fresh asparagus, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, and wasabi mayo. All washed down with a chilled sauvignon, couldn’t be better. A Bob Marley tune begins playing and the barman proudly asks Len “You heard of my man Marley?” Len: “Nope.” I nearly choke on my maki I’m laughing so much.
Whilst 7th Heaven is the only outlet not covered by the all-inclusive option, I nevertheless have to give it a try, after all, who can resist just-baked baguettes, crusty farmers’ bread and croissants? I have a personal obsession with avocado and the perfect breakfast for me is avocado toast topped with poached egg. Imagine my glee when I find precisely that on the menu. Still my beating heart!
Given its perfect position, the Harbor Club also organises regular paid-for excursions which are curated by the concierge. A daily river taxi from the hotel wharf directly across to Pigeon Island, a romantic sunset cruise on Saturday nights, a party cruise on Wednesday nights, and a selection of guided tours to the South, the home of the iconic Pitons.
The Harbor Club Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton ticks all the right boxes for me if you’re looking for a more contemporary luxury stay on St Lucia’s lively north. You just might get to enjoy all its facilities if you can tear yourself away from that cocoon of cocoa leaves and cling film and Chantelle’s Indian head massage.
Tell me more about the Harbor Club Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, in Rodney Bay
Harbor Club Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton, in Rodney Bay, Rodney Bay Marina, Gros Islet, St Lucia.
T: +1 758-731-2900 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
A seven-night stay at the Harbor Club Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, Rodney Bay, starts from just £804* per person – including a saving of up to 38%. The all-inclusive rate is £1,325 per person
*This price is based on two adults sharing an Island View Room on a bed and breakfast basis, when departing on 10 May 2022. Direct economy flights from London Gatwick and in resort transfers are also included.
To make a booking visit Tui Holidays or call 020 3451 2688 for expert advice.
For a more detailed look at what to do on St. Lucia please visit the Saint Lucia Tourist Authority