Sandals Holiday 2013
We had a very restful holiday at Sandals Halcyon Beach, but were somewhat disappointed as it did not quite live up to our expectations of a Super All Inclusive Resort.
The staff were really great and made the holiday for us, for the most part going out of their way to make us feel welcome and make sure we had everything we wanted.
The grounds, although showing their age, are very well maintained except the area around the Paradise Pool which needs a large amount of remedial work and some of the pathways which are uneven. The gardens are glorious, immaculately kept – it is worth having the nature walk with Edward, he really knows his stuff!!
Our room, 306, was rather small for this quality of resort, but has the best air-conditioning unit of any of the hotels we have stayed in the Caribbean, silent and efficient with a silent fan above the bed. The bathroom is also small but the shower was good with constant temperature and flow but the floor and wall tiles are cracked and showing their age. The main room decoration is tired, again with badly repaired flooring and inadequate lighting – trying to find items in the drawer unit after dark was difficult as there is no lighting in the centre of the room, although the room had the most storage space, ie. more draws and shelf space, of any hotel we have visited in the Caribbean.
The buffet breakfast and lunch food at the Bayside Restaurant was nothing special, we have had as good at 3* and 4* hotels in the Caribbean. There is a good variety for breakfast although the fresh fruit selection mainly consists of melons which occasionally were ripe and sweet, banana, pineapple and papaya with the odd grapefruit sadly no mango when we were there, lunch is as good as an evening buffet with salads and a variety of main courses and desserts.
The Bayside in the evening – Friday night is international Buffet which was OK, Monday is Barbeque night, which is not our thing so did not partake, and the rest of the week is French cuisine a la carte which we did not find very good (and although the menu has French titles to the dishes the staff did not understand when ordered in French – as we regularly go to France we do speak reasonable Parisian French, which we found amusing – this was the same at La Toc French restaurant at La Toc, but that is a different story!).
Kelly’s was our favourite restaurant but it seems a waste of an opportunity as it is spectacularly placed as a pavilion in the bay, but is only open in the evening when dark – it would be fantastic to have the odd lunch in there to fully appreciate its position in the daylight.
Marios is the Italian restaurant and reasonable – we enjoyed the meals we had there.
Kimono’s is a show meal – fun and very entertaining, but basically the same main meal cooked as the showpiece and the same dessert. Once is a must, a second visit is fine but after that ????
Soy is a sushi snack bar basically – fabulous if you enjoy sushi and a great experience.
The beach bar is great for all day snacks and burgers, tortilla’s, etc – but is prone to being a little noisy.
One evening took the shuttle to the Grand and had a good meal at Bare Foot on the Beach after the meal we went to the bar near reception for a drink. After ordering our drinks I asked one of the bar man where I could get a coffee he asked me where we were sitting and offered to get a coffee for me which he did. I think this was above the call of duty and would like to thank him for it.
We also went to the Regency La Toc on two occasions. The first time we went to the La Toc French Restaurant with white glove service – shame the staff do not understand their own menu items when ordered in French. We had been advised that this was superb and to order every course as the portions were small. The restaurant although large was quiet intimate. Our meal was revelation as the pre starter was a prawn with lobster mousse, but the prawn was covered with jerk seasoning not a thing a French restaurant would do as they have too much respect for the subtle flavours of lobster and prawn. My next course was scallops I received 2 on my plate, I have always been told you use an odd number of one items on a plate, I could not decide whether this course should have been hot as it was tepid on a cold plate or cold and had been warmed, but they were perfectly cooked. After a long delay our salad arrived which was good but as soon as we finished it the plates were removed and our main course instantly delivered. The duck that both my wife and I had was superb. Having said that we wished to get the 8pm transfer back to Halcyon it took a while to receive the desserts, they arrived at 7.50 pm – we were on the point of leaving! I had a (ONE) fruit crepe but again could not decide if it should have been hot or cold as it was tepid. We did not stay for coffee and liqueurs as we wanted to catch the coach back to Halcyon at 8 pm rather than wait at the Regency till 10 pm. It is a shame there is not a 9pm coach to The Halcyon and The Grand as this would mean you would not have to rush your meal. With White glove service I would expect all courses to be served at the table not pre plated and the table only cleared when all people on that table had finished the current course - it would also be easier for the waiting staff to serve the courses if their gloves fitted.
Our second visit was to Neptune’s where had a very nice fish meal, but again had to rush to get the coach back to Halcyon.
The extra’s on sale at Sandals we found to be extremely expensive – photographs taken by the site photographer were $16 each for the first 9 burned onto CD, or $14 if you purchase 10 or more with digital photographs at next to nothing as they can be wiped from the SD card and CD’s costing pence even taking into account paying for staff, equipment and office/shop front accommodation this is exorbitant. If you purchased wine with your meal rather than having the house wine, a bottle of Zinfandel was $40 – yes I know it all has to be imported but !!!!! We did not take a laptop or other WIFI connective equipment as the WIFI was $14.99 per day or $40+ per week – Why? Even cafe’s have free WIFI.
We enjoyed our stay at our first Sandals but feel there just too many little niggles to make it perfect.
- 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