What happens when you cross an adults-only resort in St. Lucia with the personal – and personable – service of a B&B? You get the love child that is Têt Rouge Resort, an intimate 6-suite property where guests are made to feel at home not just by the staff here, but by the owners themselves. And because those owners designed this property themselves (originally for themselves!), no luxurious detail is overlooked when it comes to catering to their guests. But not to worry: if you’ve come to this island to canoodle as a couple, the management and staff at this tropical retreat are as discreet as they are hospitable.
A Private Retreat
Têt Rouge Resort didn’t start out to be a resort initially. Romanian-Canadian owners Sorin and Diane Moldovan originally purchased the vacant land here after falling in love with the views it offered of both the towering Gros Piton to the north, and the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines across the Caribbean sea to the southwest.
Inspired by such an idyllic location, the Moldovans’ plan was to construct their own personal vacation enclave where they could escape Canadian winters with their friends and family and enjoy everything that St. Lucia has to offer. To this end, and to offer their guests their own private spaces, Sorin and Diane began by designing spacious semi-detached guest bungalows surrounding a common pool area.
But it was when a representative from St. Lucia Tourism dropped by one day and saw the potential for the property as a boutique resort, that Sorin and Dian decided to reimagine their vacation home as a business. Serial entrepreneurs themselves, they too saw that their property would be a perfect addition to the island’s Collection de Pépites, an assortment of independent accommodations and resorts, so they made a few additions and modifications and opened their doors to the public as Têt Rouge Resort.
The Guest Suites at Têt Rouge Resort
Henk and I are definitely fans of Bed & Breakfast style properties, their local feel, and the level of individual service that they usually provide. At the same time, no one wants to find themselves sharing someone else’s personal space. Which is what makes Têt Rouge ideal: even before they designed it as a resort, the Moldovans understood the desire for privacy that even family members might need, so the property’s suites are not just luxurious, they offer guests their own living space.
The split-level suites are large enough to even include kitchenettes so Henk and I could enjoy morning coffee and tea on our own schedule, and each suite has a private deck where we could spend – or – end our day.
Of course, what’s a tropical St. Lucian getaway without those signature Caribbean touches, like vaulted wooden ceilings, and French Colonial style furniture, including a four-poster bed draped in netting, and both indoor and outdoor shower facilities (our outdoor one had whimsical mosaics that Diane actually did herself).
Ti Coco Restaurant
Like a ‘traditional’ B&B, breakfast at Têt Rouge is always included for all guests at the resort’s breezy, open-air Ti Coco restaurant and bar, but there’s no super-strict schedule, just a generous window of time in the morning that will accommodate both early risers and late sleepers. And since your meal is made-to-order, there’s no worry about a buffet getting stale, like you might find at some other larger resorts.
Just having breakfast at Têt Rouge would be a missed opportunity, however, as Henk and I enjoyed some of the best food on St. Lucia during our visit here! Every meal we had was delicious, perfectly prepared and super-fresh (one of the staff even proudly showing us a giant red snapper brought in for that night’s catch of the day!) Tuna ceviche: had it twice! Frenched pork chop: perfectly seared. Creole fish: delish. The list could go on. Oh, and the freshly-baked St. Lucian bread that came with everything was the absolute BEST.
The restaurant is cozy but large enough to accommodate all the resort’s guests; however, chances are you may only overlap with a few of them at a time, depending on your individual schedules and activities. And for couples who may be celebrating a special occasion (St. Lucia IS the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination after all), there’s a private outdoor gazebo for those particularly romantic dinners.
TIP: In addition to complimentary breakfast for all guests, Têt Rouge offers half board (dinner) and full board (lunch and dinner) meal plans as well as an all-inclusive package that include all meals and drinks.
Meet Up (or Swim Up) to the Bar!
If you do want to get to know your fellow guests, the bar is always a good place for breaking the ice (or enjoying some in your favourite cocktail). During the day you can swim right up and order something exotic and refreshing to enjoy in the pool, or step it up a notch in the evening with a sophisticated before or after-dinner cocktail. There’s even live music on some evenings to add to the atmosphere.
Hilroy, who acts as the resort’s welcome host, staff manager, bartender and more, can usually be found at Ti Coco and is pretty adept at mixing up whatever you might request from fruity blender drinks to classic martinis (make mine vodka with a twist, thank you!) Not to mention he’s also great company and seems to anticipate what you might like even before you do.
This type of service no doubt comes from Hilroy’s previous experience working at some of St. Lucia’s larger, most well known properties, but even he admits he prefers the size of Têt Rouge Resort and the personal service he can deliver here.
Add Restauranteurs to the Moldovans’ Resume
Judging by the meals Henk and I enjoyed at Têt Rouge, it’s obvious that Diane and Sorin know good food and they take the restaurant component at their resort very seriously. So seriously in fact, that they will soon be launching yet another business venture: a stand-alone restaurant named Soley Kouche (Sunset) located not far from the resort. The Moldovans have partnered with Argentine chef Juan Bochenski (formerly of Jade Mountain, one of St. Lucia’s most renowned properties) and sommelier Alessandro Camatari, and together they will be building and operating this new fine dining restaurant.
With Henk’s contractor background and Sorin’s training as an engineer (and now skilled woodworker), they immediately started talking about the construction details of the new build, and we were invited to visit the site and check out the work in progress. The construction was nearing completion, and we particularly loved how Diane and Sorin have designed a group of terraced outdoor ‘mushroom pods’ that offer guests an intimate dining experience while still capitalizing on those fabulous views out to St. Vincent.
TIP: Soley Kouche is slated to open in 2023, so be sure to keep this on your radar if you are visiting St. Lucia as I have no doubt this will be a popular destination for visiting and local foodies alike.
Activities at Tet Rouge
Relaxation and romance is the focus at Têt Rouge given its quiet, scenic location far from St. Lucia’s bigger beaches and towns. Most guests come here for exactly this reason, and spend their time soaking up the sun on the resort’s large poolside deck and enjoying the 40-foot long infinity pool (which has a decidedly ‘adult’ 8-foot deep-end.) And if that doesn’t help relieve stress or pamper you enough, you can also arrange spa treatments right in the privacy of your own suite.
Explore St. Lucia
Of course most people who come to Têt Rouge will want to see some of St. Lucia during their stay and Garvin, the resort’s guest manager is happy to arrange for excursions to the Soufrière area, which is only about a half hour away from the Resort. This is one of the most visited parts of St. Lucia thanks to attractions like the Têt Paul Nature Trail, Sulphur Springs Park, and more, and it is a compact enough area to take in several attractions in one day.
Anse L’Ivrogne Beach
Henk and I had already visited many of these sights before arriving at Têt Rouge, so we decided to check out nearby Anse L’Ivrogne beach, an off-the-radar local beach at the foot of Gros Piton and not far from the resort, so we called on Garvin who drove us there himself. This particular cove, whose name means ‘Drunken Beach’, was once used by the British to collect molasses for their rum-making enterprise. Today it is definitely off the beaten track, just like the road we took to get there – but all the bumping and bouncing on our way down just became part of the adventure. (I’m only glad it wasn’t our car!)
Once we were dropped off, Henk and I followed a short path through the trees and across a stream before it spit us out onto the beach, where the only people we encountered were some local fisherman keeping an eye on their lines in the water, and a family from the area who had come for a swim and to enjoy the beach.
If you are looking for a rustic, unspoiled beach on St. Lucia where you can swim at the foot of Gros Piton, you’ll love this place. With the late afternoon sun gilding the palm trees, this really felt like authentic St. Lucia and the kind of place most visitors would never find on their own.
TIP: There are no ‘tourist facilities’ here at all, so if you are looking for a beach with long stretches of white sand, a staffed bar, beach loungers, or even washrooms, this may not be the beach for you. So bring whatever you need with you if you plan to stay a while (you can probably arrange to bring a boxed lunch, too, if you give the staff notice.)
Gros Piton Hike
Many hiking enthusiasts who come to St. Lucia make it their mission to do one of the signature trails on the island: the one that takes you straight up Gros Piton, the larger of the two volcanic spires that form St. Lucia’s most famous landmark. If this is your thing, you couldn’t ask for a better location for proximity to this trailhead than Têt Rouge Resort, as it is only about 5 minutes’ drive from the property (meaning you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to do a morning hike).
Henk and I chose not to do the Gros Piton hike, (because it’s pretty much a climb the entire way), and instead opted for a more luxurious excursion: a sunset catamaran tour on Têt Rouge’s private catamaran.
Private Catamaran Sunset Tour
It was Sorin’s idea to purchase a catamaran for the resort to offer excursions for guests, and he actually helped sail this 40-footer from Cape Canaveral to St. Lucia, getting to know every inch of ‘Jobel’ (the creole name for the boat that means ‘Jezebel’) along the way. And now that it’s part of the offerings at Têt Rouge, Henk and I were very happy to join another couple and get out onto the water with it so we could see more of the island.
We chose the sunset cruise because it included a bit of a tour of some of the coastline, including the Pitons, but also allowed time for a snorkel before a dinner (my first time using a full-face snorkel mask and I LOVED it!).
Post-snorkel it was back on Jobel for a dinner of chicken and fresh mahi-mahi and red snapper barbecued right onboard for us by the Captain and his first mate. As we waited for the sun to drop lower towards the horizon, we sipped our drinks and waiting to see if there would be a ‘show’.
Lucky for us, a very cooperative Mother Nature provided an amazing Caribbean sunset to top off the day.
Petite Makes All the Difference
There’s personalized service that is promised at a resort with 100 guests, and then there’s the kind of personal service you get at one with only 12 guests – and this is what sets Têt Rouge apart.
Hilroy, Garvin, the kitchen and housekeeping staff, and of course Diane and Sorin can’t seem to do enough to ensure their guests have an unforgettable stay here. Whether it’s helping to celebrate milestone anniversaries or wedding proposals, personally going to pick up locally-made flower arrangements for guests, or catering to special dining requests, everyone at Têt Rouge seems to invest that little extra in making you feel welcome.
Whether you come for its beautiful, serene location, wonderful food and drink, or the warmth of the welcome you’ll receive here from its staff and owners, Têt Rouge provides an intimate tête-a-tête experience you don’t find in many places. It’s why this petite property is included in the island’s Collection de Pépites’, and lives up to that description as one of these ‘golden nuggets’ of St. Lucian hospitality.
Henk and I want to extend a special thank you to Sorin and Diane, St. Lucia Tourism and Total Public Relations who arranged for our hosted stay at Têt Rouge Resort. However, they did not review or ‘approve’ this article, and all our opinions are our own.
Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established GrownupTravels.com in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.