We had the pleasure of staying at the St. James Club & Resort from 22 May thru 1 Jun 2013. Unlike other “all inclusive” resorts, you are not issued wrist bands. Whenever you go to a restaurant or bar you are simply asked your room no#, name, and you sign a slip. Nice!
Our initial reservation had been made for a beachfront room; however, after reading various comments here on trip advisor we decided to upgrade to a royal suite. Upon our arrival we were quite pleased that we had made that decision. Previous comments indicated the royal suite was quite like a 5-star accommodation. It is true. The bathroom is tremendous: a walk-in his and her showers, 2 separate pedestal sinks, and a huge 2-man garden tub. We had a king-size bed with plump pillows and quality linens; then a sunken living area with 2 small sofas, coffee table, flat screen tv, a granite mini-bar with sink, coffee maker (with coffee, tea, cream/sugars), actual silverware (not plastic) glasses, ice bucket, and a stocked refrigerator (see “Things to Keep in Mind”).
The grounds are beautiful and maintained daily. If desired, there is a daily power walk (0715) which takes you all over the property (gentle hills and gradual slopes); daily aqua exercise in one of the larger swimming pools, a morning yoga class….no reservations needed, you just meet at designated area. On the ocean side there are plenty of lounge chairs with umbrellas—a constant breeze flows in from the breakers in the distance. Entering the ocean there is not any sudden drop off. The seaweed which comes in from high tide is briskly swept up every morning. There are some smooth rocks in spots as you enter the water—you may desire to wear aqua socks or equivalent. Due to this being a private beach—there are no vendors. Alfred, one of the St. James’ bartenders, drives a small cart and frequents both the ocean side and the bay side to offer guests drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol).
On the bay side the water is calm with no sudden drop offs, and has the same types of chairs & umbrellas…but not a constant breeze. There is volley ball, corn-hole games, and a grill with a bar (hamburgers, hotdogs, rum punches, etc.) There are 4 vendors set up inside canvas-type cabanas selling t-shirts, beach bags, jewelry, paintings, conch shells, etc. They will not approach you as this is against resort policy. We found them all extremely reasonable and typical prices were $10 for a t-shirt, $25 for a huge beach bag, $20 for a local artist’ painting, $5-10 jewelry. They are in competition and prices with certain items can vary, and all are cash-only. You can arrange for a snorkeling trip and there is also an independent dive company for you to arrange a diving expedition. The beach grill is quite good.
There are 5 restaurants (the beach grill, Cocos, Rainbow Garden, Docksider, and Piccolo Mondo); all have bars. In addition there are bars near all the swimming pools, and a lobby bar (Jacaranda) . We ate and drank at all of them. On some nights you must make reservations at the restaurants; and this has to be done either on the same day or day before. The lobby and customer service desk is manned 24x7 so this is NEVER a problem. We never had a problem with getting a ‘time’ that was good for us; however, we were there in the slow season (May). The food is excellent at all the restaurants. There may have been a few things that I personally didn’t care for but it wasn’t due to it being poor quality or ill-prepared. My husband enjoyed everything. Every night had a theme; and you were always welcomed to order off a menu. The drinks were fantastic; highly recommend the mango smoothie (or daiquiri) and the carbonated lime squeeze. Piccolo Mondo is the only restaurant where there is a fee of $35/pp for a meal. Wine by the glass is included but a specialty bottle of wine is additional and will be added to your room. The wine offerings are top notch.
High tea is served off the lobby under a gazebo mid-afternoon for a couple of hours. There is a hot tea, iced tea, and coffee. There is tea sandwiches, scones, cakes, cookies. While the food tends to go quickly; the beverages are there throughout the day. We usually had coffee first thing in the morning before we ever sat down for breakfast.
Be sure to check the lobby for the daily postings of menu’s and other resort activities. Again we learned this from this trip advisor forum! This will help you decide where to dine and what you may desire to do as far as activities are concerned. The day we arrived we saw the next day’s posting for a rum tasting! How fun was this! Thanks to Rodney and Inez for making this a blast! (wink to Rodney! remember: the BIG Tsunami Warning!) Later on in the week we also saw a posting to learn how to Caribbean dance! (wink to Shannan!) Much fun! Since there is an internal cab office; you can arrange to take a personal island tour. Let was our tour guide and he gave an absolutely wonderful tour of Nelson’s Dockyard, Shirley Heights, and other nearby spots. His fee was extremely reasonable.
We used the Spa on numerous occasions. Between the two of us we had massages, facials, pedicures and manicures. Nekim (Spa receptionist) is an absolute love! And so is Joycelyn! Highly recommend enjoying any of the Spa services.
The shop inside the lobby has souvenirs, clothing, food, shampoo, soap, diapers, beer, wine, band-aids, suntan lotion, etc. You can charge it to your room or pay on the spot.
There is nightly entertainment (local steel pan bands, jazz bands, vocal bands) but it does end at 10pm. The lobby bar stays open until 1am.
Things to keep in mind….
Our package included a one-time stocked refrigerator (3 bottles of water, 3 bottles of beer, 2 cans each of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Ginger Ale). Check into this if this is your desire.
Please tip the waiters/waitresses. They work hard and while tipping certainly isn’t expected; it’s just a nice thing to do and so very much appreciated.
Sunscreen. Even on a cloudy day you will need it. If you need to purchase it; it is $23-25 a bottle at the lobby store. Keep in mind this is an island and everything is imported—hence the higher cost.
Dress code. For breakfast we saw bathing suits under cover-ups, and normal daytime beach type/resort wear. Same for lunch. For dinner, however, most people dressed and wore resort-type wear. For women this meant sundresses, skirts, dress pants, knee-length shorts with nice tops, and sandals. For men this meant polo shirts (or another type of collared shirt), dress shorts or pants, men’s sandals or shoes. No sneakers or flip flops for either men or women at dinner time. There is only one restaurant that is fairly strict with the dress code (Piccolo Mondo) and they do enforce a night time resort dress code.