Who are we:
A very active couple in our late 60's / very well travelled / professional long-haul UK commercial ship's captain (retired) ex. cruise & general cargo
Time of year: E
Early November / end of the rainy season. Temperatures 23 x night and 31 x day. Frequent showers / plenty of sunshine
Why did we choose this hotel:
Watersports, mainly good reports on Trip Advisor, price
What is the airport like on arrival:
Quite small, lovely people, easy immigration, transfer bus courtesy desks outside the terminal. Little hassle from locals. No bother. Enjoy!
Where is the hotel:
About 5 miles north of Castries on the west coast. Is this good? Yes,.....not far into Castries and Rodney Bay to the north. Sheltered coastline from the mainly easterly winds
Travelling to the hotel:
Takes about 1 hour 20 minutes from the Intl. Airport, which is right on the southern tip of he island.Boring drive through lush hillsides. Mini vans holding about 8 people. AC available. A hilly island so lots of ups and downs to the hotels which are 90% on the north western coast. Paved roads. A helicopter option is available from the Intl Airport to the city airport at Castries. Then you transfer by taxi to your hotel. (between 10 minutes to the closest and 45 to those in the far north of the island ).
Arrival at St James Morgan Bay Resort
Lovely approach. What you would expect. You will not be disappointed.
Arrival M & G:
As you climb out of the minivan, staff will whisk your bags to one side / hot towels/ some paperwork to complete / fruity cocktail to sort out your dry throat! Room keys are all laid out. Quite easy and not stressful. You will be asked to sign a waiver....in event of injury both within the hotel or during watersports
Beautiful. Large / expansive / clean/ nice/ impressive
If you can, ...go on the webside to download a site map. This will help sort out where to stay & help with my description below.
The resort is divided into 12 'blocks' scattered around the beach / pool / hillside. Where you are allocated of course depends on what type of room you have paid for.
The good blocks to be in and why (in brackets):
500 & 600 (close to the beach/ little walking / suitable for older folks / views of the Caribbean Sea / quiet).
Block 12 is good but there is a steep climb up. (Good because of the views)
Not so good: Blocks 100, 200 , 300 ( at the back of the hotel so no views of the sea apart from the top floors) Ok if you have paid a low price for your holiday and happy just to have a decent room without a view,..apart from the gardens...which are very nice) Blocks 100 & 200 could be noisy from the evening 'shows'. Rooms may be slightly shabby as yet to be renovated
So-so blocks: 400.... if you don't mind quite a walk (you are on the young side!). Quiet / nice views from the balconies. Not for older folks
So-so-so Blocks: 900, 1000 & 1100: all up on the hillside. Quite a climb. Not for older folks
Avoid at all costs: Block 700 (close to the pool & entertainment. Noisy! Block 800 (too far away and out on a limb)
Suimmary: pay for a beachfront deluxe room on an upper floor in Blocks 500 or 600 (suitable for everyone / close to everything). Avoid ground floor terrace rooms.
Note: when you arrive at the hotel,....that is the time to ask "where am I going"? Possibly upgrade or check other availability. Ask to see the room / leave your bags on the buggy. Unhappy??...go back to reception and ask to see another room.
Rooms: The rooms in the hotel are all basically the same no matter what Block you go in, except there are some suites. We were in Block 600. Room recently painted. Beautiful. Large/ cool. Very large bed which was comfortable. Flat screen TV with lots of channels (CNN/BBC). Not alot of drawer space (3 drawers). Hangers (20). Tea/coffee facilities. Safe. Iron plus board. Nice balcony for two and child safe.
Beware.....British plugs only in this resort so our N.American friends must bring an adaptor. Also..220 volts. Room has tiled floor (cool!) and very clean. One comfortable easy chair and footstool. Good bedside lamps to read before sleeep.
Good size. Not large,..but quite adequate. Shower over bath / good
Hairdryer very powerful so no need to bring one. Toilet part of bathroom. Towels (3 provided) could be hard at times. Plenty of smaller face/ hand towels. Usual goodies.
BIG CAUTION: be careful of young ones alone in the shower as quite easy to turn the handle and get very hot water!!!
Travel to your room:
By golf type buggy
Where to eat: there are three choices by day and four by night. The main eating area is the Palms Restaurant. Very relaxed / open aspect. Somthing nicer at night is the Bambou or the Pier. Something posh and expensive ((you pay $30 or so each) is Le Jardin. By day,..you can eat BBQ food at the Pier. By night it transforms into quite a nice dining venue. The best choice? The Bambou. If you are with a young family or group ,..maybe the Palms is best.
Downside to all of the eating areas: poor dress code from about 20% of the guests. Do not be surprised to have someone in a cut-down vest having dinner with you on the next table. The hotel does not enforce the dress code. Big downfall for this resort,.....and the MAIN complaint we have.
Pools: two main pools, both have a good temperature,..one for children and the other for adults. Quite large / clean with nice seating area to the perimeter to watch the world go by. The adult pool has a swim-up bar. Very popular!!!
The bars: mainly two in the pool area. Easy to get a drink / fun staff / good range of fun cocktails. Also,..water available from a machine, plus OJ. Note.....you must pay if you want bottled water!!
All plastic glasses.
There is also Tommy's Bar which is quite nice to go up to (near Block 1200). Closes at 6pm. Quite nice to escape the crowd.
About 175 metres long / really nice sand. Just fine. Plenty of very nice sun loungers. Try to be early and get one positioned under an unbrella or swaying palms. Towels are available from the Watersports Base Office. The beach was very clean with rubbish bins everywhere. Also raked each morning by the staff
Swimming in the sea:
Quite safe if the safety flags say so. Can be some large waves coming in. Lovely temperature (early November). Nothing to worry about or that may hurt you. Good fun.
Watersports: come to this hotel for the best in the world!!!! 5 Hobie Cats available and very safe sailing. All in good condition. Many kayacks, windsurfers, body boards you paddle whilst standing up!! Great team of fellows run this. Do not be afraid to sail a Hobie. You will be given a lesson then off you go. The bay is sheltered so few strong winds to worry you. Just be careful and with very little experince,..you will be fine on a Hobie. Also free water-ski-ing with lessons available. Banana ride every afternoon! You can really enjoy yourself here and keep active.
The staff watch you carefully out on the water and will be straight out if they think you have a problem' The rule: If you cannot see the beach whilst out enjoying yourself,..the staff cannot see you!! Be kind to them and stay within YOUR sight of the hotel beach. It is your safety they are concerned with.
Small gift shop (cards & stamps) plus a very upmarket diamond shop
Other facilities: tennis / kids play park / massage & spa treatment. Internet (2 desks in the foyer area) but costing $5 for 20-30 minutes
Excursions: large range available
Use of buses:
Just up to the road from the hotel (3 minutes walk) brings you to the bus stops (minivans). Get some advice from the hotel. Frequent and easy to go anywhere
Weddings: you can get married here and plenty do. Renew your vows?
The staff at this hotel are just lovely. It is a beautifully kept hotel / very clean / lovely kept grounds / great beach and watersports. Big downside is the lack of any dress code. Whilst ladies will try at night to look nice, men turn up for dinner in a T shirt and shorts. The hotel has recently been taken over by the Elite Group (based in Florida) from the Almond Group and do not enforce dress code. They appear to be spending money on the hotel which is good. Men,..do not bring a jacket for evening wear/ not necessary. Ladies.......long soft flowing dresses to to be the order of the day.
Very good. Patrolled by day and night by a number of uniformed secuity personnel
Can be wet and slippery around the pool area and bars
Would we stay here again:
Yes,.....it is really nice. I have stayed in some lovely, very up-market hotels in my working life,.and this hotel is very acceptable. Never going to be a high standard with the lack of dress code. The watersports is the big attraction.