Saturday 16th July, 2016 marked 50 years to the day since a hotel was founded on the site presently occupied by Rendezvous Resort. To commemorate this golden anniversary, a party was held at Malabar Beach Club, the beach bar and dining area that opened this February at the resort.
With live entertainment, fireworks, fairy lights and special edition champagne, it was evident that Rendezvous Resort had paid the same attention to detail for the celebration as has made it such a success in catering to the needs of guests.
Andrew Barnard, the resort’s managing director, outlined the interesting history of how the property came to be owned by his family. He explained that his grandfather married a lady from Barbados who, not used to living up in the mountains, persuaded her husband to purchase the land at Vigie and make it their beachside home.
The couple garnered a reputation for entertaining, with the able assistance of their butler, Lionel. This inspired the grandfather to build twelve cottages which he opened to paying guests on 16th July, 1966 as Malabar Hotel.
During the late 1970s, when many hotels were struggling, the Barnards decided to operate on an all-inclusive basis, coming under the Couples franchise in 1981. Nine years later the Barnard family took back the reins of independence, welcoming guests to the newly-named Rendezvous Resort. The resort now styles itself as ‘The Place of Stolen Time’ – an oasis to which couples can escape and indulge in each other’s company.
The family’s expertise in ensuring that guests enjoy every aspect of their vacation has always been bolstered by the dedication of proficient and friendly staff, some of them employees for many years. Andrew Barnard acknowledged their contribution, aware that it has helped the resort to earn consistently high occupancy rates and an enviable level of returning guests, some of whom were delighted to be present at the party.
Andrew Barnard, with his own young son next to him, recalled some of the happy times he spent at the property as a child. Almost overcome with emotion he described days of windsurfing and sailing, summarising that “growing up in an all-inclusive resort is a hard bag.”
Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee, congratulated the Barnards on their success over the years, proclaiming, “There is no other hotel here in Saint Lucia that can say it has been in the same hands for fifty years, and that is an accomplishment.”
May Rendezvous Resort enjoy many more decades of success.