If you are reading this and considering travelling to St Lucia, either for business or pleasure, then you really are very lucky indeed. You can pluck the term “jet-setter” from the lexicon of existence and add it to the mental CV that you are compiling as you go through your life.
That said, you may find that a stay at the St Lucian doesn’t really match the image that you probably have of what being a “jet-setter” is all about...
Please don’t get me wrong, since I am actually rather fond of this hotel, but I always find that I’m much happier when I get somewhere and I know exactly what to expect – think of this article as me paying forward the favour for when you write your own reviews:
I was here for a conference being held at the next hotel along the road, the Royal, and had stayed there for my first night in St Lucia. The Royal is an excellent hotel - a fact which may have unrealistically raised my expectations as to how it’s sister hotel might be (I’ve posted a review regarding the Royal which I’d advise you to refer to if you are thinking of staying in Rodney Bay.).
Where to start? Reception is probably the logical place – Occupied by a very friendly and professional team who manage to give the impression that you are the most welcome and interesting person that has ever graced this hotel. I can’t completely disallow the notion that I actually WAS the most welcome and interesting person that has ever graced this hotel, but for the purposes of modesty (probably too late) I’ll assume that you will be equally blessed.
The reception area itself is nicely laid out: a spacious lobby stretching out towards the westwards-facing beach where a member of staff was very respectfully lowering national flags as six o’clock and dusk approached. That sort of attention to detail goes a long way with me.
The hotel accommodation itself is arranged to give every room a beach view (something else which goes an awfully long way with me) although the blocks themselves are quite old. The rooms are, in my opinion, a little on the small side for anything longer than a stay of a few days, and my bathroom was positively cramped. The ancient fixtures and fittings in the room were oddly juxtapositioned with a brand new flat screen telly on the wall, let down only by the fact that the batteries in the remote were flat. Despite the room’s age it was spotlessly clean. My good friend Roundy, whose own contribution appears below, was part of the same conference that I was here for and I’ll refer you to his scrupulously fair review for further information as to what it is like to be in Rodney Bay out of season. Roundy compared the accommodation blocks to a Butlins holiday camp – Due to the absence of an iron in my room I was reminded more of a barrack block thanks to the little room on each corridor which houses the platoon ironing board. I had much fun queuing and chatting to a Grenadian policeman dressed in his slacks and (incredibly, incredibly white) vest whilst he ironed his shirt for the evening... The accommodation blocks do have further issues in so far as when it rains, sandbags have to be placed across the entrances to the ground floor corridors.
So, let’s talk about the rest of the hotel – It sits right on the beach, and it is a pretty good beach. It is a little narrow though, so I’m going to imagine that it gets pretty busy in the high season. The sandy bit was clean and swimming conditions are excellent although I was disappointed at how little of the beach front was set aside for non-watersports participants. I’m all for jet-skiing, sailing, windsurfing and all the other stuff that people like to do when messing about on the water, but when I’m having a swim I do like to know that I’m not about to have my head removed from my shoulders by an enthusiastic but inexperienced water-skier. That said, when I was having my pre-breakfast swim each morning it was simply glorious.
For non-beach enthusiasts, firstly I would ask, “Why have you bothered coming to the Caribbean for your holiday?” but then, in a conciliatory tone I would advise that the hotel has adequate space behind the beach for sun beds and suchlike, spread out on patios and lawns beneath the palm trees. I was surprised at how small the swimming pool is, but as I alluded to earlier there is a perfectly serviceable ocean just a few metres away – Get over yourself and get in the sea for heaven’s sake. It’s good for you.
The restaurant is right on the beach and a more glorious setting for your meals could not be had – I’m going to spare you my usual tirade regarding hotel breakfast buffets on this occasion since there was a lovely lady cooking eggs and omelettes to order. Frankly, have bacon and eggs or an omelette each day and you’ll be quite happy and well set up for the day ahead. The hot buffet lunch I had there was very good as well, although I must confess that all the carbs I had in my aubergine lasagne were not the ideal set-up for the afternoon of presentations and meetings that I had lined up. We learn from our mistakes...
We had two bars to choose from – the lobby bar is small but adequately stocked although it does look a little like an afterthought that has been tucked away in a corner of quite a large area. It is an old-fashioned drinkers’ area in that very little though has been given to ambiance or presentation. It is simply where you go to get drink. Incidentally, I inadvertently wandered through here whilst a –for want of a better word - band was playing “lounge”-versions of Bob Marley classics. The word “tragic” came to mind and I was very sad at the way that one of my all-time favourites (Redemption Song) was ruthlessly slaughtered on the altar of lobby musak.
The beachfront bar, which adjoins the restaurant, is blessed with the same amazing views of yachts and Pigeon Island. Once you get over the same lack of attention to detail that the lobby bar suffers from you’ll really enjoy a couple of sundowners here. Like Roundy I never really got the sense that the bar staff were as enthusiastic about their role as they might have been. One takes into account the fact that we were out of season, but serving drinks rather than texting or simply vanishing from sight for an indeterminate length of time didn’t seem to be preferred option.
So, good value for money in a fantastic location. But be realistic in your expectations – this is what it is like to be a jet-setter.
Oh, by the way - If you are in Rodney Bay on a Friday night you must go to Jump Up in Gros Islet – You can’t go to St Lucia and not experience this! Most of the taxi drivers will, for about sixty East Caribbean Dollars (about fifteen pounds) drive you from Rodney Bay to Gros Islet, wait for you whilst you party like its ninety-ninety-nine until one in the morning, and then drive you back again. If you ask nicely they might even take you to a really good “local” (and I mean that it in its most exciting and interesting sense) eatery on the way.
Thank you for your attention. That is all. Carry on.
- Also Known As:
- St. Lucian By Rex Hotel Castries
- St. Lucian By Rex Hotel
- St Lucian By Rex Hotel
- St Lucian Rex Resorts
- St Lucian Rex
- Rex St Lucian
- St. Lucian By Rex Resorts St. Lucia/Gros Islet
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