Stolentime by Rendezvous

Sweet creativity at St Lucian art retreat at Stolentime by Rendezvous

A tropical island is just the place for busy people to unplug from the matrix of everyday life. As an always-on-the-go busy working mum, I jumped at the chance to fly off to Saint Lucia for four days for an artist’s retreat at StolenTime by Rendezvous for a pre-Christmas break. The idea of immersing myself in a landscape that inspires creativity and engaging in activities that promote health and well-being was a very appealing way to end a busy year. 

It was the perfect opportunity to unplug and recharge amidst tropical scenery that inspires creativity and engage in activities that promote well-being. The resort is an adults-only 100-bedroom oasis designed for adults on the northern tip of the island, close to the capital of Castries. What I loved most was the combination of art and travel. It’s been proven to reduce stress and help express your creative side. The art-focused retreat was led by a London-based artist named Venetia Berry, centered on sparking creativity and joy. I was able to relax, learn something new, and connect with like-minded people.

StolenTime by Rendezvous was originally a coconut estate, it has a rich history dating back to the 1950s owned by the Bernard family.  The resort has gone through several transformations and rebrandings, with the latest being StolenTime by Rendezvous.  Now catering to solo travellers and groups of friends, it has daily activities focused on health and wellness so you can unwind and recharge in a stunning landscape and relaxing atmosphere.

Despite arriving late in the evening, my excitement to explore the stunning StolenTime by Rendezvous resort was palpable. The entrance was breathtaking, with a wall of running water. We emerged onto a jungle-lined path, and at the centre of the resort was a 150-year-old giant Samaan tree, a beautiful and enormous flowering species that belongs to the pea family. Its huge branches were lined with tiny lights that cast a romantic glow, and the familiar lullaby of tree frogs and waves crashing against the shore filled the air. We made our way down the jungle paths to our various accommodations.

My poolside suite was spacious, with luxurious amenities, including an oval bathtub and a bottle of champagne on ice. After indulging in a bath, I headed to the champagne bar, where the pianist played As Time Goes By, from Casablanca, one of my favourite tunes. A glittering Christmas tree completed the ambience. Our welcome meal at the Terrace restaurant was a delicious a-la-carte affair. I chose the freshest local catch and savoured every bite and if this was the start, I knew this was going to be the holiday of a lifetime. 

Away from the pressures of the modern world

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of raindrops tapping against my window and was excited to explore the beautiful beaches despite the showers. As I walked along the soft white sand, friendly stray dogs and the resort’s cat Bubbles greeted me. Listening to the waves breaking against the shore was relaxing, and I felt Zen to start my day. 

I have recently started to work on my fitness, so I was delighted to learn that the coach of our fitness class was World Champion former athlete Derek Redmond. Not only that, but my classmates also included Jamie Baulch, a world champion, who won silver at the Atlanta Olympics and his wife Cheryl Hicks. Afterwards, I was ready for my traditional St Lucian breakfast at the Terrace Restaurant, which was beautifully presented. I particularly enjoyed the delicious salt fish and fresh avocado. 

A tour of the property

We toured the majestic StolenTime by Rendezvous property with its 100 unique rooms and suites. The premium garden view rooms were housed in a three-storey West Indian-style building that had glass doors with serene garden views, while the premium veranda suites were romantic with cathedral ceilings and ocean views. The signature beachfront rooms and cottages were luxurious retreats with private terraces, while the beachfront suites had split-level bedroom/sitting areas and spa-like bathrooms with sea-facing balconies or terraces. We felt grateful for the opportunity to stay at such an extraordinary resort.

Getting Arty

It was time for our art class which was in the cool champagne bar, Venetia set up an art session with all the materials we needed to create whimsical landscapes. Soothing jazz and blues music inspired creativity as we painted and surrendered to our imaginations. I was inspired particularly by the Piton peaks and tropical foliage. It felt very liberating to be able to paint freely in such a wonderful supportive group and to ask for advice from a top artist.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a rum cocktail at Malabar Beach Club, where we ate lunch under an open sail overlooking the sea, digging our toes in the sand. I chose the Creole pork dish and paired it with a bottle of Piton beer. Later, I went kayaking and also took a Hobie Cat out to work off all the food. This was the perfect way to spend my afternoon.

Sunset Ta’i Chi and street parties

StolenTime by Rendezvous offered Sunset T’ai Chi on the Rotunda, a peaceful way to practice ancient martial arts while watching the sun go down. I instantly felt a sense of calm I had not felt in a long time. It was local night so we enjoyed a traditional beach barbecue at the Terrace restaurant thoroughly enjoying the Caribbean food and island flavours accompanied with lively steel drum music. This set the mood for the evening as we ventured to Gros Islet for the Friday night street party, immersing ourselves in the vibrant atmosphere and local traditions. It was a great way to connect with the locals and learn more about their culture. We danced and laughed, reflecting on the best of local culture while still enjoying the luxury and relaxation of the resort.

Beachfit and activities

Derek hosted another intense body fit session on the beach, and then his wife Maria joined along with Jamie and Cheryl. Not only did I learn about Jamie’s fantastic achievements but he in turn was keen to understand my fitness goals. I recently started a programme with Stride and Glory to get fit enough to a park run and they gave me some great tips about how to keep motivated. They were all so genuinely down to earth that soon we were chatting like old friends. Adventurous guests can try water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, and scuba diving to experience the vibrant coral reefs and colourful sea life. For those who prefer land activities, there are tennis, Caribbean dance classes, board games, cycling tours, beach volleyball, cricket, and a fully equipped gym.

Rum Tasting

Another highlight of our trip was a visit to the Bernard Rum Distillery, owned by the hotel proprietors. We drove through the Rosseau Valley past varied Caribbean landscapes, including banana plantations and tropical rainforests. When we arrived, we watched an educational video that explained how sugar impacted the island’s society in the late 1700s. St. Lucia used to have many small plantation distilleries, but now only two remain operational. The Barnard Family Estate in Dennery is known for producing strong white rums. In 1972, the Barnards partnered with Geest and moved their operations to the Roseau Valley. They now import molasses, the raw material, from Guyana and transport it to the distillery. We were fascinated by the vats of fermenting liquid, the smells, and the distillation process that took place in beautiful copper stills. The ageing process in oak barrels that previously held bourbon and port was the most interesting part, as it gave the rum unique flavours and colours. A highlight was being able to sample over 30 varieties of rum and liqueurs at the end of the tour.  Merrily we hopped back into the car with our tour guide who happened to be a local popstar in his spare time with an active YouTube following. We visited a banana plantation to taste some of the sweetest fruits fresh from the trees. 

At a roadside store overlooking Marigot Bay, we saw locals selling intricately made banana leaf baskets, and I decided to buy one to take home. As we dipped into the bay we had a quick pitstop at Hurricane Hole for a beer. From here, you can access great diving opportunities or explore further to see the mud baths of La Soufriere, the drive-through volcano, and the Pitons beyond. St. Lucia’s dramatic west coast is an area of natural beauty, protected by UNESCO. We made sure to try some of the famous chocolate too but I will have to leave a visit to the famous Hotel Chocolat for next time.


As we headed back to Castries, a tropical storm breezed over us, but we were handed a glass of bubbles and enjoyed a scenic ride back, past forts and lush green landscapes. The tropical rain kept us nice and cool until we moored into the Castries dock, close to the cruise ships. We had a brief opportunity to tour the neighbourhood as we moored at the crowded harbour, smack in the middle of the Saturday market with merchants selling the juiciest local mangoes, prayer beads, and colourful scarves. Shopping at the market was a unique experience where you could haggle for mementoes such as Caribbean dolls. After exploring, we returned to Rendezvous just in time for the afternoon tea service and to catch some rays before getting ready for dinner at the Thyme French restaurant where we enjoyed a three-course a-la-carte dinner and I enjoyed a delicious seafood bisque and a steak with chunky chips washed down with red wine. This is the place to get dressed up and enjoy a fine dining experience. 

Spa time

The next morning was spent relaxing in the oasis of beautiful private garden river pools on a sun lounger before a massage at the spa. The spa is housed in a traditional West Indian-style building surrounded by trees and a reflection pool. 

The staff, trained at the hotel’s sister resort, BodyHoliday, had won numerous awards for the best spa in the Caribbean. I was booked in for a full head, neck, and shoulder massage, and my therapist, Avril, was so good that I booked her again for a full-body massage the very next day to release the tension I had built up. Guests can choose from a variety of massages, including Swedish, Deep Remedial Tissue Therapy, Aroma Stone, and Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, to name but a few. As soon as Avril laid her healing hands on me in the cool ambient room, I felt a wave of relaxation wash over me. She told me she sensed some blockage in my head, which allowed me to open up to her about my stresses. She worked her magic, and soon all my worries left my body completely. The second massage was a full-body massage, which released some of the toxins in my legs in particular. I felt rejuvenated and ready to take on the world after my sessions. The spa was truly a haven of tranquility and relaxation and I felt grateful for the opportunity to indulge in such a luxurious experience. I floated back to the champagne bar for our second immersive art experience where we painted landscapes onto muslin. Venetia who had lots of tips to help us out. Soon we had created our masterpieces and laid them out under the sa’aman tree, it was a very natural experience where I felt connected to the natural world and the tropical scenery which was my muse. 

Bay Gardens Hotel

I was invited to the Bay Gardens Beach Hotel in Rodney Bay for lunch. It was a 20-minute ride to the beach resort and I was pleased to find a  family-friendly resort which is important to me when I return with my family. During lunch, we sat overlooking the beach and I ordered conch fritters and the pepperpot along with a pina colada. It was nice to hear the music and I was amazed by the great array of watersports and activities on offer, with a huge splash park at the resort making it a place for water babies. With just  78 rooms, but 29 more being built, it feels like a home from home. This is a nice alternative if you are visiting with family since Stolentime is couples only. I was able to have a stroll around this complex and head down to the Rodney Bay area to gaze at the boats before catching a taxi back to the hotel.

Back at Stolentime, I was reunited with my travel buddies and we met for a cocktail on the beach and watched the sunset before heading over to the Malabar for our final evening meal and a toes-in-sand experience. At night the restaurant takes on a special ambience with flame torches lighting up the pathway and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. We were treated to a bottle of Moet Ice and I chose a traditional West Indian Curry for my final meal.

We all laughed and reminisced about our favourite moments and realised that we were so lucky to experience such a magical holiday together at this special time of the year. Stolentime by Rendezvous gave me memories which I will treasure forever. Overall, my experience was nothing short of magical. The resort offered the perfect blend of luxury, relaxation, and adventure, making it an ideal holiday destination.

Fly to St Lucia with BA 

Stay at Stolentime by Rendezvous, an adults-only resort in Castries. Those travelling with children can opt for Bay Gardens Beach Resort in Rodney Bay.

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About The Author

Donna Richardson – Travel Journalist