Travel specialist Karen recently travelled to Saint Lucia for a week courtesy of the island’s tourist board. Below she talks about all the hotels and resorts she visited during her stay as well as a couple of cultural excursions.
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Call Karen on 01752 880880 to hear more about her trip or to discuss your holiday to Saint Lucia.
We started our trip by flying from London Gatwick to Saint Lucia Hewanorra Airport, arriving mid-afternoon where we were greeted by a driver with a cooler of Piton beers – welcome to the Caribbean!
From here we drove about 90 minutes to Cap Maison, travelling up the island’s east coast, across the centre then almost to the northern tip.
Arriving at the resort in the dark, we were shown straight to the rooms we would be staying in for the next two nights – I was staying in a first floor Garden View Room which had a lovely balcony overlooking the courtyard where one of the resort’s pools was located.
We had a short amount of time to settle in before dinner in a stunning setting at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, The Cliff at Cap. We dined by candlelight on a wooden deck overlooking the water, enjoying a beautifully presented meal accompanied by fantastic wine.
CAP MAISON, THE LANDINGS RESORT & SPA AND PIGEON ISLAND
I got up early for a quick dip in the Caribbean Sea, before returning to The Cliff for breakfast with beautiful views towards Pigeon Island, a popular tourist destination that we visited later that day.
We then set off on a tour of the resort, where pretty clifftop gardens surround Mediterranean-style buildings with terraces and swimming pools. As well as the many private pools, there are also two main swimming pools, one in a courtyard at the heart of the resort and the other boasting sea views from its setting beside the main restaurant. Below The Cliff at Cap is Rock Maison, a wooden deck at the water’s edge where guests can enjoy a special private dining experience, while a second restaurant, The Naked Fisherman, is located on the resort’s beach. Reached by wooden steps, the small yet pretty cove has shady sun loungers as well as a small selection of non-motorised water sports.
Most of the resort’s villas are two storey with a rooftop terrace and are split into Rooms, Junior Suites and Villa Suites with a private pool. The majority of the suites face the ocean, with the first floor villa suites boasting spacious rooftop terraces with plenty of space to relax with wonderful views. Rooms and suites connect to provide options with up to three bedrooms – perfect for families and groups travelling together. A small number of duplex Ocean View Villa Suites are set overlooking the resort’s beach and are perfect for honeymooners thanks to the private location and private Jacuzzi tub on the balcony. All the rooms I saw were lovely, with luxurious furnishings and pretty tiled bathrooms continuing the Mediterranean theme.
After spending a few hours at Cap Maison we drove just a few minutes south to visit The Landings Resort & Spa, located at the start of the causeway to Pigeon Island just outside Rodney Bay.
A recent addition to the Elegant Hotels group which had previously only featured properties in Barbados, The Landings is a large resort set beside an 800ft stretch of sandy beach. Most of the one, two and three-bedroom Villa Suites are set around the private marina while some overlook the beach with panoramic sea views, with an optional plunge pool on the balcony of the larger suites. The resort is a really great destination for groups and extended families as all suites have a well-equipped kitchen for maximum flexibility and a private bathroom for each bedroom. Ideal for those who are looking for privacy and independence, there are also plenty of facilities including three swimming pools and a vast spa as well as complimentary inclusions such as a kids’ club, non-motorised water sports and yoga twice per week.
After quickly popping in to the Sandals Resort which is just next door to The Landings, we continued a few minutes further to Pigeon Island National Landmark.
The hilly promontory has the Caribbean Sea on one side and the choppier Atlantic on the other, and is a popular tourist attraction thanks to the 360 degree views from the summit. We wandered about 20 minutes uphill to reach Fort Rodney, a superb viewpoint where we could pick out Cap Maison to the north and The Landings and Rodney Bay to the south. From here you can either continue to another part of the island for even better views to the north or return along the same path (as we did).
At the base of the hill is a restaurant and a beach where you can snorkel, as well as a garden area where local families were enjoying a day out with a picnic and games – definitely a good way to spend a few hours!
That evening we returned to The Landings for dinner at The Beach Club Restaurant & Bar, set overlooking the water at the entrance to the marina. We had an enjoyable evening with a live band playing while we were served a selection of sharing platters which showcased the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
BODYHOLIDAY, WINDJAMMER LANDING VILLA BEACH RESORT, EAST WINDS AND RENDEZVOUS
After breakfast we checked out of Cap Maison and drove just a few minutes up the road to BodyHoliday, one of our most popular resorts which I was looking forward to seeing for myself.
The resort was smaller and more intimate than I had imagined, with everything close at hand and the beautiful beach never more than a few minutes’ walk away. The focus at the all-inclusive property is on the facilities and activities available – the spa is exceptional, while a packed schedule of activities is displayed on a blackboard, with an extensive list of options for every hour of the day. BodyHoliday also prides itself on serving high quality food and drinks in each of the dining venues, which will soon include a new restaurant serving produce straight from the organic garden. Menus change daily and cater for all tastes and diets although there are supplements for some dishes. A great feature of the resort is how well it caters for single travellers, who can meet a host in the Piano Bar before dinner then dine at communal tables to make it easier to meet other guests.
I also saw a couple of rooms including the Standard Garden View Rooms which are perfect for single travellers, some with an outdoor patio area; and the Grand Luxury Ocean Front Rooms which have recently been refurbished, offering open plan accommodation with a freestanding bathtub taking centre stage and a balcony with stunning sea views.
Next we drove southwards to Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort. The large resort is set overlooking a lovely beach with villas stretching up the hillside, with those at the top accessible by golf cart and promising spectacular views out to sea!
We saw a few of the villas, all with beautiful furnishings and wonderful views, some even featuring a private plunge pool on the terrace. The Hibiscus Suites are located at the heart of the resort and are perfect for those who want to be close to the restaurants, swimming pool and other facilities. After our tour of the resort we ate lunch at Jammer’s Restaurant, a beachside dining venue serving excellent food in a lovely setting.
I really liked the resort as it felt friendly and relaxed with a buzzing atmosphere and lots going on – somewhere I’d definitely go back with my own family.
Just a few minutes away from Windjammer Landing is East Winds, another Tropic Breeze favourite which was exactly as I had expected! I loved the elegant hotel for its friendly staff, idyllic setting beside a beautiful beach, and beautiful cottages with lovely terraces. Recent upgrades looked stunning, including new soft furnishings in the bar, a renovated pool area with honesty swim-up bar, a new gym and an additional deck overlooking the sea.
We left East Winds and headed further south to Rendezvous, the sister hotel to BodyHoliday where I was staying in a Beachfront Cottage for the next two nights.
These lovely rooms are located in a quiet area at one end of the beach, featuring a beachside patio with sun loungers on the sand just a few steps away.
Before dinner we visited the Champagne Bar, where guests can enjoy one hour of complimentary Champagne each night with an engaging French sommelier introducing that evening’s chosen Champagne. We then headed to the beach for a private dinner on the sand, where wine was again an important aspect accompanying delicious food.
RENDEZVOUS AND ST JAMES CLUB MORGAN BAY
I started my morning with a run along Rendezvous’ beautiful beach before spending a few hours discovering the couples-only resort, my favourite property in St Lucia. The resort offers a vast range of experiences which allow couples to spend time together – we enjoyed a cookery demonstration and a wine tasting session which were both great fun. On arrival at the resort guests are given a schedule of activities for the week to allow them to plan their time, as well as a dining guide detailing when each dining venue is open and what the nightly specialities are at the Terrace Restaurant.
We then ate lunch at Malabar Beach Club, a toes-in-the-sand restaurant at the water’s edge where guests are encouraged to take off their shoes and relax! Service is fantastic throughout the resort but the staff do not accept tips, instead there is a box for donations in the lobby which are given to a local charity.
A couple of miles north of Rendezvous is St James Club Morgan Bay, a large resort where blocks of rooms are spread out with the main facilities at the centre. The large beach stretches back towards the swimming pools, providing plenty of space to recline on a sun lounger beneath palm trees. The family-friendly resort offers great facilities including an adults-only pool, a programme of daily activities, good dining options including Morgans Pier which stretches out into the sea, and a fantastic accommodation. Located only 15 minutes by bus from both Castries and Rodney Bay, I thought this was a great value resort in a fantastic setting.
Dinner that evening was back at East Winds where we experienced the lovely atmosphere of the beachfront restaurant – there was a pianist playing and all guests were dressed up, socialising with other couples they had met during their holidays.
COCO PALM REsort, SEGWAY TOUR AND ROYAL BY REX RESORTS
We checked out of Rendezvous and drove north towards Rodney Bay, where we stopped off at Greenwood Terrace to enjoy a guided tour of the hillside gardens. We learnt about local plants and history, admired the beautiful views over the lush surroundings, sampled island delicacies and local fruits including guava and soursop, and tried on traditional Saint Lucian headpieces.
Next we headed to Coco Palm Resort, an excellent value Creole-style property just a few minutes’ walk from the beach and the many restaurants in Rodney Bay. All rooms are similar in style but my favourites were the Luxe Swim Up Rooms, located on the ground floor with a small terrace leading straight into the swimming pool. Dining at the resort is superb and is popular with locals – we even bumped into the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia as we were eating lunch!
After lunch we set off on a Segway tour from Rodney Bay. We spent a few minutes going around in circles on a flat area to make sure we’d got the hang of it, then headed up a bumpy path which led up the hillside of a small headland. We learnt about the island’s history as we went, stopping for photos at the summit and taking in the panoramic views across Rodney Bay towards Pigeon Island. We ended the tour with a Piton Beer on the beach – a perfect end to a fun experience which is highly recommended!
We were staying at Royal by Rex Resorts, located within spacious gardens beside Reduit Beach, with dinner at the fine dining Chic Restaurant which served delicious food in a lovely setting.
BAY GARDENS BEACH RESORT & SPA
After breakfast we walked a little further along the beach to Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, where comfortable rooms and suites surround an attractive pool area. All suites feature a full kitchen while some rooms are due to be refurbished soon. Those who don’t wish to self-cater can choose to stay on an all-inclusive basis which allows guests to dine out in Rodney Bay three times during their stay.
A highlight of the resort is Splash Island Water Park, a floating playground which is located towards the end of the beach so guests could sit further down the beach without being disturbed.
We ate lunch at Hi-Tide Restaurant where classic Caribbean dishes are served in a beachfront setting, before returning to Royal by Rex for a relaxing afternoon. That evening we went out and sampled the nightlife of Rodney Bay, visiting a couple of bars before having an early night!
ANSE CHASTANET, JADE MOUNTAIN, SUGAR BEACH AND MARIGOT BAY RESORT & MARINA
We checked out of Royal by Rex Resorts and travelled by boat from Rodney Bay down to the south of the island, enjoying the beautiful views as we went. I loved seeing the lush island was from the water, and catching sight of the iconic Pitons for the first time as we headed towards Soufriere was truly memorable!
We disembarked on Anse Chastanet beach, an idyllic setting where sumptuous sun loungers are placed on the dark sand, bordered by palm trees and tropical vegetation. We were greeted by staff wearing colourful traditional costumes and enjoyed a tasty welcome drink by the beach restaurant. The resort winds up the hillside, with some accommodation down near the beach and the rest higher up to make the most of the spectacular views. The rooms were as special as I had expected, with brightly coloured furnishings and thoughtful designs making the most of the tropical breezes. The most luxurious options are the Piton Pool Suite, boasting a beautiful bathroom and an amazing terrace with a private plunge pool; and The Beach House, a spacious suite featuring a private patio and garden area right by the beach. The resort has been open continuously for 43 years and is very popular with repeat guests, a great testament to the stunning setting and suberb service.
From Anse Chastanet, we walked further up the hillside to the hotel’s sister property, Jade Mountain. Jade Mountain is an exclusive and special hotel with a truly unique design– I’ve never been anywhere like it and can’t put into words just how beautiful it is! The awe inspiring views take centre stage wherever you are, whether you are crossing the suspended walkways that link the suites to the public areas or relaxing on the rooftop terrace. When you can laze in your own private plunge pool, dine in your suite with views of the Pitons and lie in bed looking out to the stars thanks to the missing fourth wall, why would you want to leave?!
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Jade Mountain Club (wrapped around an infinity pool with the resort’s signature views of the Pitons) then visited the hotel’s chocolate laboratory where guests are able to make their own chocolate.
Unfortunately we had to drag ourselves away from Jade Mountain and return to Anse Chastanet Beach to board another boat for the short journey to Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, located right between the majestic Pitons. Sugar Beach is a pristine resort with a white sand beach, attractive grounds and a chic style throughout. Rooms feature dark wood floors and crisp white furnishings with a private patio and plunge pool, most with beautiful sea views.
After a short tour of the resort we left and travelled north along windy roads to reach Marigot Bay Resort & Marina. I checked into a Resort View One Bedroom Suite, a sophisticated room with excellent amenities including a fully-equipped kitchen – there is a supermarket nearby for those wanting to make use of the cooking facilities.
Once we’d settled in, we headed to the Rum Cave to take part in a rum tasting session which offered an interesting insight into the typically Caribbean spirit. Our final dinner in Saint Lucia was at The Grill at 14⁰61⁰, a waterside restaurant with an open kitchen where we enjoyed a fantastic meal with a wonderful selection of desserts.
MARIGOT BAY RESORT & MARINA
We had the morning to explore the pretty surroundings of Marigot Bay Resort, taking in lovely views across the sophisticated marina towards forested hills. Although there is not a beach at the resort itself, guests can take advantage of the complimentary boat shuttle service across the bay to a small beach where there are sun loungers and resort representatives on hand to assist.
The Auriga Spa is a beautiful and relaxing setting where there is a small spa pool and treatment rooms are located amid the well-tended gardens – we took part in the facial class where we learnt how to concoct face masks from everyday products!
Our final stop was the Hurricane Hole Bar & Restaurant, where we dined on an open air deck overlooking the marina. While we were eating, a Christmas party was being held for children of the resort’s staff, featuring ‘lime and spoon’ races and other games – a charming insight into local life!
Sadly it was then time to leave Marigot Bay Resort and head back to the airport to catch our flight back the UK, the end of an extremely useful trip where I learnt a lot about beautiful Saint Lucia!
Call Karen on 01752 880 880 to hear more about her trip to Saint Lucia and the hotels she visited. Many of our travel specialists have also visited Saint Lucia so will be happy to help with any enquiries!
Find out more about holidays to Saint Lucia on our website.