On St. Lucia's southern coast, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa has its sights on adventurous small meeting and incentive groups. So-called "soft adventures" like zip-lining and ropes courses in the St. Lucian rainforest canopy, all-terrain-vehicle treks on the coastline, and paintball in an on-site facility are just some of the teambuilding attractions arranged by the 254-room, all-inclusive resort.
Like most Caribbean resorts, Coconut Bay has traditionally catered to the leisure market. But now that St. Lucia's airlift has been beefed up by American Airlines' thrice weekly nonstop service from New York – JFK, the resort sees a ready pipeline to corporate meetings and incentives business of up to 150 attendees.
In addition, AA flies direct from Miami daily, while American Eagle serves St. Lucia from Puerto Rico five times a day. All flights arrive at Hewanorra International Airport, five minutes from the resort.
Coconut Bay sales and marketing director Audrey Best notably highlighted the property's plethora of outdoor meeting and event spaces during a recent, three-day media tour, including a beachfront pavilion that seats 75 attendees theater-style and has its own gazebo for breakouts or receptions of 40. Two pool areas, one of which has an amphitheater, can handle cocktails as well as dinners in small-round format.
While the pavilion also can handle 60-seated diners, planners can take meals inside by buying out Silk, an Asian-theme restaurant, or Bellagio, the Italian-style eatery next to Silk and adjacent to a lounge that can serve as pre-function/reception space.
For those who prefer docile pursuits, St. Lucia has memorable sightseeing, led by the signature twin Piton mountains, which can be viewed from numerous vantage points. Groups can bus to Sulphur Springs—billed as the world's only drive-in volcano—and nearby Diamond Botanic Gardens to take a dip in the waterfalls and mineral baths.
Coconut Bay can further indulge meeting-goers in its eight-room Kai Mer Spa with massages, facials, steam and aromatherapy, and full salon services. Yet, the spa's "Pedi Patio" provides pedicures and massages under palm trees and amid Atlantic Ocean breezes for those who want to take it outside.
Originally published on July 21, 2008