I decided to update my initial review since, when I wrote the original one, I didn't give enough detail that Halcyon deserves!
My husband and I went to Sandals Halcyon last May and, as my title says, it was 8 days that we shall never forget. After doing months of research about different resorts and various islands we both knew this was the place for us. As many have said, if you want to party til dawn...this isn't the resort for you. La Toc is the party resort of the three. DO YOUR RESEARCH...I can't stress that enough.
We are in our 50's and were looking for a relaxing holiday/anniversary resort and could not have chosen better! We are lucky enough to be able to spend more $ on our trip so we decided to hire the private car instead of going via the Sandals Van. It was one of the best decisions we made. Yes it takes a hour and half both ways but the drivers gave us alot of information about St. Lucia and pointed out various landmarks. The roads aren't horrible, twisty yes. But these guys know the roads like the back of their hands. We felt completely safe.
Another thing I can't stress enough...if you can swing it get Butler Service. Our butlers, Will and Silveria, were wonderful. We aren't fussy people so we didn't run them ragged...but they would have done anything asked. Basically, we had them make reservations at the various restaurants both at Halcyon and at La Toc. We never made it to The Grande. They also reserved chairs for us at the 'quiet' pool and arranged our trip to go Dolphin Watching. Amazing...we didn't have to worry about anything and just relaxed. Oh, and we had champagne and a wonderful bubble bath waiting for us after our Dolphin trip! These details made the trip extra special.
Unlike other reviews, we didn't have problems with the food being cold and unedible. Bayside does take a bit of getting used to due to the fact that it is an outside restaurant and the heat can get to you, but it only took us a day or so to get acclimated to the climate. Bayside has a HUGE breakfast buffet which was our favorite. Lunch was ok. We only ate dinner there once (bbq night) and it was meh. My husband enjoyed it though.
The PIer was fabulous. Their conch soup and ahi tuna salad was out of this world. And their filet mignon was top notch.
My favorite was Dinos the Italian restaurant. I had mushroom risotto three nights of the seven and I still miss it. Lovely little restaurant. Antipasto bar can't be missed.
The beachside grill was fun. Food was good...it's a grill for goodness sakes! Hot dogs, Hamburgers and nachos.
Drinks weren't watered down as far as I could tell. We went to the 'quiet' pool every morning and I have to join the others giving kudos to Agnes at the swim up pool. She is a joy!
On to our room. We stayed in room 135...one of the Romeo and Juliet Beachfront Walkout rooms. It is small but very comfortable. No complaints at all. The bathroom needs updating but nothing so bad that turned us off. If you don't want to be on the main pathway to the restaurants, ask for this block of cottages. We were able to sit on our patio every morning and feel a bit more private than if we had the walkouts directly on the beach. Yes there are cats but they are shy and yes there are tree frogs that start chirping at dusk but we were able to get used to it after two nights. Think of it as 'white noise'. And the grounds staff...can't say enough about them. Always happy and friendly. We didn't meet one surly employee the entire time.
We met many lovely couples during our stay...ranging in age from late 20's to 70ish. It didn't matter if you were American, Canadian or British. Fun times were had by all!
I can't comment about the beach since we aren't beach or water sports people..but yes, it's not pristine white sand. St. Lucia is a volcanic island so the only white beaches are manmade (such as the one at The Grande). And yes, the vendors do hang out but just say 'no thank you' and they will leave you alone.
There are shuttles that run between the three resorts...I agree with others that they should run them every hour and not every two. Another great thing about these resorts is that if one of the shuttles was full, they would have another one pull up immediatley. It's small details like that which impressed us with Sandals.
I could go on forever..we loved Halcyon and will be back. Next May, on the advice of a couple we met, we have booked Sandals Negril.
Thank you Sandals for the wonderful vacation. We will be back time and time again.