We celebrated my 60th birthday by going to our first Sandals resort, in a place we hadn't been to before, St. Lucia. For no real reason, we decided to go to the Sandals La Toc Golf Resort and Spa.
Airport Transfers: Excellent. Sandals has a reception building with facilities adjacent to the airport where we enjoyed complimentary drinks. Sandals provided the transportation, and they had things very well organized no matter which resort of the three was involved.
The Resort: The resort looked clean, and seemed to be pretty well maintained. This was our first adults-only vacation, and it was different. While we missed the energy of kids, it was still nice.
The beach area was very nice, who cares if it's man-made? There are some reefs off the beach and decent snorkeling was had there (though nothing like Montego Bay!). We were somewhat surprised at the wave action, considering we're on the Caribbean, but storms at sea might have been a contributing factor. Water visibility was good and snorkeling off the beach was enjoyable, but you definitely could see the suspended sand in the water.
Sandals La Toc has one main building with guest rooms, and several other buildings for more private and larger guest residences. It has several restaurants, one fairly large main pool, one small pool by the "residences" area, two hot tubs by the main pool, a billiards room, an amphitheater area (yoga and other classes, other?), a decent workout room, and shops. The resort has WiFi available, and laptops were cheap to rent.
Check-In: No problem at all. We were all greeted with a glass of champagne, welcomed, registered, and sent to our rooms.
The Room: We were upgraded from a garden-view room to an ocean-view room RIGHT by the lobby area below the La Toc restaurant, so it was very close to the "action" ... and the noise. The noise really wasn't an issue late at night, however, as dining and entertainment stopped well before the wee hours. The room was kept clean, and the resort has a green "you tell us when to change the sheets" policy, which we like. The hair dryer didn't work in the bathroom outlet, though, due to mismatched voltages; it had to be used in the outlet by the bed and dresser. There was a large screen digital TV which got a decent number of channels, including HBO and CineMax. The room's plumbing worked just fine. The bed could have been firmer, but that's my taste. At least it wasn't so soft we couldn't sleep. I DID miss not having a balcony so we could put things out to dry after being in the water, but perhaps that's deliberate so the resort doesn't look messy from the outside.
Service: Very good, generally. The one thing to remember at meals is that you generally have a designated waitperson, and requests to others may take a bit longer getting carried out. Service at the various bars was very responsive. I thought all the staff was friendly, as well.
Food: Very good. We ate mostly at the Pavilion Restaurant (the resort's main dining facility), the La Toc Restaurant (French-themed) , the Neptune Restaurant (seafood-themed), and at the Caribbean Street Party, and all the food was very good and fresh. As far as we could tell, food was not "toned down" for people who prefer blander foods. I guess due to the lack of kids, the grilling areas with hot dogs, french fries, and soft-serve ice cream were not available -- but a grill area with pizza slices and Jamaican meat patties was. And I really like Jamaican meat patties! Non-buffet meals had good-sized portions, nothing too large or too small.
Drinks: Excellent. The house wines, Beringer's Stone Cellars, were good (we LOVED the pinot grigio, but indulged in the merlot and cab, too). A semi-dry champagne was also readily available, even at breakfast. We also had several mixed and specialty drinks, and they were all good, nothing watered down. A good selection of other wines was available, for an additional cost.
Activities: Sandals is a really all-inclusive resort. Snorkeling and scuba diving excursions were included, even BCDs and regulators! I don't know about wet suits and dive computers since I bring my own, but I suspect that wet suits were available, too. Since snorkeling and dive excursions that we've been to across the years run anywhere from $50 to $130 plus (for me) scuba equipment rental, savings can add up quickly. Windsurfers and hobie cats were available, and people used them quite often (unlike another all-inclusive we were recently at -- they had them, but just didn't let people use them!).
I liked the fact that there were no motorized sports at Sandals. They always make for much more restricted swimming and snorkeling areas (can we say Cancun?) and can scare away the local fish that help to make good beach-based snorkeling (such as in Montego Bay).
Check-Out: As easy as check-in.
Our only real complaint: Cricketer's, the sports bar/pub, which refused to turn off the music during the NFL playoff games and to turn the TV sound on, even in the main room populated only by people watching those games. Music? In a sports bar? During the big games? At the same time, they also insisted on running some stupid general knowledge/trivia contest ... via microphone ... gimme a break! I doubt this would have happened during a World Cup match. On the other hand, the food and service, in keeping with the rest of the Sandals resort, was good, and the bad wasn't really bad enough to downgrade our rating.
All in all, an excellent stay, definitely recommended.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Elevated Millionaire Suites come with 180 degree views, rotating 46" plasma TV's, a private whirlpool and infinity pool and fully opened glass walls •Airport transfers and 24 hour room service available•Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Course located directly on the resort •10 minutes from George F.L. Charles Airport (SLU), Shopping and Castries and 1 hour from the Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) •"Stay at One, Play at Three" free shuttle exchange privileges with Sandals Grande St. Lucian and Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort •Three magnificent freshwater pools, sixty-five personal plunge pools, and four whirlpools •Voted Sandals Resorts "World's Leading All-Inclusive Company" 20 years in a row •Voted Sandals Resorts "Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand", 18 years in a row •Voted Saint Lucia's Leading Spa Resort •Five Star Diamond Award - American Academy of Hospitality Sciences ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals La Toc Golf Hotel Castries
- Sandals St Lucia
- Sandals Regency St Lucia Hotel
- Sandals Regency La Toc St. Lucia/Castries