St. Lucian Hotelier and Entrepreneur Awarded Gold Medal of Merit

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On the occasion of the island's 41st independence anniversary, Joyce Louisa Destang, one of St. Lucia's most successful homegrown entrepreneurs was honored with the St. Lucia Gold Medal of Merit for her long and meritorious service in the field of entrepreneurship.

One of the most accomplished female hotel entrepreneurs in the Eastern Caribbean, Mrs. Destang was conferred the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2005 and recognized as St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014. 

Mrs. Destang is the Managing Director of the Bay Gardens Resorts chain of hotels, co-owner of Stardust and Company Limited, and owner of several commercial and residential real estate properties.

Destang allowed she was inexperienced as she took her first steps in the hospitality industry but she had a vision: "I wanted a hotel that was heavily service-based, offered excellent value for money and offered an unapologetically authentic Caribbean experience to the discerning traveler with a particular focus on Caribbean clientele and the Caribbean diaspora."

Honing her entrepreneurial skills in real estate and retail after retiring from teaching, she launched the 45-room Bay Gardens Hotel in 1994 growing it to five properties with some 240 rooms over 25 years.

Mrs. Destang acquired the former Palm Tree Hotel, reopening it in 2002 as the Bay Gardens Inn, which won the Best Small Hotel in the Caribbean Award (Gold) from Virgin Holidays in 2006.  

With the fearless vision of a skilled entrepreneur, she made up for the properties' lack of a beach by investing in the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa in 2007 which launched her into the luxury accommodations market. From there, she entered and thrived in the uncharted waters of timeshare properties. Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa currently has over 500 Interval International-affiliated timeshare owners.