My husband and I went to Halcyon the beginning of June to celebrate our honeymoon. I looked at Trip Advisor reviews daily because I wanted to know everything I could before I went. St. Lucia was absolutely amazing. It reminded me of Jurassic Park, very green and mountainous. It's crazy how long the trip to the airport is considering a boat ride is only about thirty minutes. I heard some other sandal's travelers took a water taxis to get to the hotel, but the sandal's airport transfer is free, and you do get to see a large part of the island. You’ll get used to the honking. The drivers honk to say hello or to warn other drivers they are coming.
The weather there was perfect. It was hot, but not humid. It rained daily, but only for a few minutes. It was overcast parts of the day also, but the temperature was nice. We were surprised at how early it got dark there. We live in the same time zone and it was getting dark at home around 8. It was fully dark in St. Lucia by 6:30.
The resort was wonderful, very quiet and peaceful. When we went, the front desk said they were about 95% full, but it really did seem as if they were only half full. Never had any problems getting a cabana, beach/pool chairs, reservations for dinner. There was a ton of private and secluded areas. They had hot tubs scattered all around the resort, and there was no problem finding an empty one. We never even had to wait to sit down for meals that did not require reservations. We had a honeymoon oceanfront walkout suite. The location was perfect and we never had a problem with noise.
We ate at Kimono's, Mario's, Kelly's, and La Toc for dinner. The only one I did not prefer was Kimono's. I LOVE Japanese food, but it was just mediocre. The carbonara at Mario's was amazing (manager and Sherri Ann very friendly) and the filet at Kelly's was delicious. La Toc (French cuisine) was very good, the manager did an excellent job making you feel comfortable and wanted you to have a great experience. I tried Frog Legs there, which I have never had before, and they were surprisingly delicious. We also ate at Bayside for Breakfast and there was a good selection. I did not find the drinks watered down. Each bar has a selection of frozen drink “specials.” I enjoyed going down the list each day and trying them all.
The beach was not pristine clear water, but if you did any research you would have already known that before arriving in St. Lucia. And they do have beach vendors, but they were incredibly nice, and do have things worth buying. When you buy something from them, they will remember your name and periodically talk to you if you walk by them just to see how you are enjoying the island. The people in St. Lucia are one of the reasons I want to go back. They are incredibly friendly, and want to share their culture and history with you. They also will not nag you and when you say “no” they leave you alone. I think a lot of people did not want to be “bothered” by the beach vendors so they mainly stayed at the pool, which pretty much leaves the beach nice and secluded.
Before I left, I read that a lot of the guests were older. Maybe because it was June (popular wedding month), there were a ton of people that were the same age as us (mid-20’s). Everyone who was on our bus ride and on our welcome tour was on their honeymoon.
We took advantage of the snorkeling while we were there. I thought they would just give you snorkels and then you could go out from the beach. They actually take you to a marina and bring you by boat to a beautiful snorkeling spot. All of the employees at the Sandal’s snorkeling were SO friendly and answered any questions you had. Make sure you book at least a day in advance or book early in the day for the afternoon trip. You can bay $50 a person for their super snorkel, but I was satisfied with their free snorkeling.
All of the staff was very friendly and would go out of their way to make sure you happy. We did not have any problems throughout our stay.
Excursions- We booked through Island Route Tours prior to arriving. We did the Deep Sea Sports Fishing, Hike the Pitons, and Joe Knows.
Deep Sea Fishing- I got sea sick about 45 minutes into it. I have never been sea sick on a boat before and have been on boats my entire life. There were very rough waters that day. The cool thing was that you go out pretty far and can see Martinique from the boat. If you are prone to getting sea sick then do not go because they will not bring you back, and you will be stuck throwing up on the boat for 4 hours. Also, they do NOT provide any snack- just beer, soda, and water (so bring something to snack on). Our bus driver was very friendly on the way back. One of the other couples was asking about a local drink that they sell in the super markets. The driver brought us to one close by the resort and showed us where all of the local drinks were. He recommended a Desperado beer (which was new to St. Lucia, but is a European beer). It was a tequila flavored beer (it reminded me of a sweet Corona). My husband and I bought two of them, and the other couple bought a St. Lucia energy drink, not sure which one.
Hiking the Pitons- This was a pretty cool experience. As I figured it was not going to be a leisurely hike, I did expect the first part named the “easy trail” to not be very difficult. The ENTIRE hike is strenuous. After the first 10 minutes I was completely out of breath and sweating like crazy. A tour guide will walk you back down if you need to go back. The tour guides were great. I had Margaret (I think that was her name). She took her time with us and stopped every few minutes for a couple seconds break to catch our breath, which was helpful. Bring as much water as you can carry. I think I brought three 16oz water bottles with me and drank them all. They give you one 16oz, but I saw some people only got an 8oz, so pack up that morning from your mini fridge. The “half-way” point has a beautiful view of the petit Piton. I wasn’t really impressed with the view from the top, but I was really proud that I made it up there. You are mostly climbing the entire time. I’m only 5 foot, so I had to get on my hands and knees sometimes to climb up the boulders. The climb is STEEP, and would not recommend to anyone who is afraid of heights, because you can see to the bottom as you climb. There were two dogs that made it up the hike also which was pretty cool to see. I tried to take pictures during the hike, but you really need both hands to hold on and there are only a few “safe” places to rest. FIY- the tour guides said that Oprah never climbed gros Piton (I suspect she saw the view from a helicopter), so don’t bother picturing her as inspiration as you hike up. After the hike, they take you to Still Beach resort for lunch. The food was AMAZING, as well as the view of both pitons.
The day after the Pitons, I booked a massage. I was definitely sorer then I have been in a really long time, and the massage helped a lot. My legs were killing me.
Joe Knows- I know everyone says this tour is great. AND IT REALLY IS. The tour guides are knowledgeable and personable. They really know how to make a group of strangers have fun together (by giving you unlimited rum punch). The speed boat was really fun and they blast music. The mud bath was AMAZING and your skin feels so smooth afterwards. The waterfall was really fun. Our tour guide (Snoop dog) took pictures for everyone during each stop. They also bring you to Still Water for lunch. The meal was completely different then the first, and equally delicious. They also take you around the island to the different cities on the boat, and you learn about Soufriere and Marigot Bay. The snorkeling was really fun and they brought you to a different place then where you go for the Sandal’s snorkeling
Few negatives- The Beach Bistro is not good. Sometimes it was the only thing that was open so if you are hungry you are forced to eat there. I tried a lot of things on the menu-sandwiches, burgers, Panini, salad, and I did not enjoy anything they offered. It was pretty gross. Also, we did go there on our honeymoon and were supposed to have the honeymoon package (which they e-mailed me to confirm months in advance), and we did not get it. We also had ants in our bathroom. Not even enough to complain, but I guess there was enough to worth mentioning on here. Lastly, we really enjoyed snorkeling there, and were really interested in going to Sugar Beach (not sure if that is exactly the name). We were disappointed to find out that none of the excursions brought you there, even though it was supposed to be THE BEST place to snorkel in St. Lucia.
Here are some tips for fellow Halcyon visitors:
- When arriving at the airport politely decline having anyone take your bags. The trip from customs to the Sandal's lounge is about a 15 second walk.
-The restaurants had no problems with ordering particular items or adding things to your entree. My husband wanted to add shrimp to his meal (pasta) a few nights and they had no problem adding it in.
- Make reservations for dinners ASAP. We did it within hours of being there and were able to choose from any restaurant we wanted at any resort.
-If you do visit other hotels, plan what time you need to get on the bus. (Rude guests will try to cut you).
- Buy the Marigot Bay Coconut Rum. They sell it at the gift shop for about $14. It’s worth it. The gift shop will also let you taste some of the rums if you are curious and seem interested in buying.
-There are vendors at the water fall and the Pitons. They sell things like the hot sauce, banana sauce honey, and rum (not the coconut rum) for cheaper than the resort.
We really did have a lovely experience, and it was an amazing relaxing honeymoon. La Toc and Grande are more active and for the “younger” crowd, but we were on our honeymoon and had no desire to spend time with other couples. There was a block party at La Toc one night with St. Lucian cuisine and drinks. There is a ton to do at the other resorts, but Halcyon was perfect for our honeymoon. I would definitely visit the Halcyon again, and would go back to St. Lucia any day. The island was beautiful and the people are incredibly friendly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Friendly to the physically challenged with low rise architecture •Fully air-conditioned Caribbean cuisine restaurant on its own 150 ft pier over the •Caribbean Sea •Houses 169 Rooms with true personal service and intimate experience •English-style afternoon tea served at the Paradise pool •Tableside service at the Beach Bistro •“Stay at one, play at three” free shuttles to Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa and Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort•Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row •Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand”, 18 years in a row ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Halcyon Beach St. Lucia Hotel Castries
- Sandals Halcyon Beach Castries
- Sandals St Lucia
- Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort St. Lucia/Castries