A Brief History of Marigot Bay Resort
The Man Who Loved Schooners
Nestled in the embrace of "the Caribbean's most beautiful bay', Marigot Bay Resort gives every visitor a feeling that its always been there, welcoming travellers from around the world to this peaceful place for centuries. Not quite true, but the evolution of our award-winning resort, spa and marina is a fascinating and colourful one, instigated by a man of the sea who fell in love with Marigot Bay.
Born in 1918 in Nova Scotia, Canada, Walter Boudreau began sailing as a young boy. After spending three weeks at medical college, he decided the call of the sea was stronger and embarked on a professional sailing career, working his way around the world on board a range of yachts. At the end of World War II, he bought his first boat, a former rum runner, that he sailed from North America to the Caribbean.
It was on board his schooner, Doubloon, that Boudreau first visited Marigot Bay around 1952 - years before it was featured as the Giant Pink Sea Snail's landing place in the iconic 1967 Hollywood movie 'Doctor Dolittle' - and the image of this beautiful place remained indelibly etched in his memory. To Walter Boudreau, Marigot Bay was magical, so after years sailing charter guests around the Leeward and the Windward islands, he and his wife Terry returned there to settle with their three young children.
In 1959, they purchased 40 acres on the southern side of the inner bay. In 1960, Boudreau continued to run his yacht charter out of Marigot Bay and the following year, the couple decided to build a small hotel called Yacht Haven.
The hotel was largely hand-built from local blue stone — brought by gommier canoe to the bay by local fishermen — along with greenheart timber from Guyana and tiles from Martinique. The furniture was made of teak salvaged from decommissioned British warships, even down to the plaques with ships’ names on them.
The theme of the original hotel was thoroughly nautical. Electricity was provided by generator which was switched off at midnight, and telephones worked only sporadically. Terry took care of the running of the basic, yet charming Yacht Haven accommodations, while Walter continued to run sail charters.
The couple sold Yacht Haven in 1974 to Pat and Nick Bowden, budding hoteliers who carried out a major renovation, as the hotel had been closed for a number of years, renaming it The Hurricane Hole. Although the name was understood by sailors like experienced mariner Nick, it was less attractive to non-sailing guests, nevertheless the Hurricane Hole Bar became a legendary drinking haunt for locals and visitors, while the hotel itself was filled with Hess Oil staff while a new oil storage facility was being built closeby in the late 1970s.
In the early 80s, Hurricane Hole was sold to The Moorings yacht charter company, with accommodations being used primarily for guests at the start or end of their yacht charters, and the bar remained a popular hangout for sailors and locals.
Then in 2002, British couple Judith and John Verity, with development partners, purchased the hotel and transformed the old site of the Yacht Haven/Hurricane Hole Hotel into a five star resort, marina and marina village called 'Discovery at Marigot Bay' which opened its doors in 2004, bringing a new level of elegant luxury to the bay and the island.
Discovery was eventually sold in 2009, underwent another refurbishment and was renamed Marigot Bay Hotel. Subsequently, the Marigot Bay Resort and Marina was branded as a Capella property, but in August 2018, once again returned to its former glory days and became independently operated with a team of welcoming and highly professional Saint Lucians at the helm.
All of which brings us to the present day 5-star luxury destination known as Marigot Bay Resort, Spa and Marina, but if you look closely there are still some reminders of the hotel’s nautical past, like The Rum Cave, our retro nod to the original Yacht Haven hotel and Hurricane Hole bar, as well as the influence of Walter Boudreau — the man who loved schooners: One of the masts from his own beloved schooner, Doubloon, hangs outside The Grill at 14°61°.
We like to think Walter would approve.