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“Kind of Disappointing”

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Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa
Ranked #4 of 12 Hotels in Castries
Certificate of Excellence
Ontario, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Kind of Disappointing”
Reviewed January 25, 2009

My spouse and I wanted to spend the yuletide holidays at an adults-only resort and selected Sandals Regency St Lucia. Viewing their web site, the Resort looked beautiful and, indeed, the grounds are lovely, hilly with lots of vegetation, and well maintained.
During the long, twisty drive from the airport, we discerned that this is a poor island. While on the grounds of the Resort, one is inside a kind of unreal bubble from the reality outside the barb-wire topped fence, and we felt rather ill at ease.
Arriving at the hotel, we received a glass of sparkling wine and seated in the lobby, where we provided check in information. Detracting from a positive first impression, though, is the filthy carpet and bedraggled, dirty sofas in the lobby. These items of furniture really should be replaced.
After checking in, we were brought to our room via a “smile mobile”, a minivan that drives around the grounds in case guests don’t want to walk up and down the hilly roads to the various restaurants, etc.
We had a suite with its own balcony and pool—alas, because the pool was mostly in the shade at this time of year, the water wasn’t warm enough for swimming. This was also the case for the Resort’s three swimming pools.
As for the room’s furnishings, the curtains, bedroom and couch were kind of carnival-ish in their colours; the bedroom curtains had some holes and didn’t close properly, letting in light. The carpets were stained, the bedroom dresser drawers had a weird odor, and the bedroom’s air conditioner was very loud. The initial musty smell in the suite dissipated after a day. The style of bathroom door was slatted or vented, so it wasn’t very private. There was a big crack in the sink and counter, with ants in the bathroom and around the door leading into the suite. However, the water pressure was always good, plenty of hot water, adequate thick towels and very nice Red Lane Spa toiletries and it appeared to be a new shower curtain liner. In addition, our room was always cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast and our morning outings.
We tried all the restaurants except for La Toc (French) Restaurant—our clothing wasn’t formal enough for that one! Our favourite was Armando’s, followed by Pitons. Pavilion was where we always had breakfast because the buffet was convenient, but all the birds and flies were definite negatives, especially the tiny flies on the pastries and fresh fruit. They had installed some bird deterrents which didn’t help much. In addition, a couple of the Resort kittens sometimes found their way to the restaurant.
On New Year’s Eve, only Armando’s and the Pavilion were open, as festivities would be held at the main pool area. Apparently, the buffet ran out of food by 9:30 p.m.—not good! Fortunately, we arrived at around 7:00 so we were able to eat.
I would imagine that when the Resort is at full capacity, there may be some difficulty procuring pool/beach chairs, but that wasn’t a problem in our case; it was more difficult to obtain shade parasols than chairs. Some people “reserved” chairs with a towel which is a bizarre concept as guests were just as likely to depart without removing the towel, thereby making others think the chair was “taken”. The pools’ water temperature was on the chilly side, so not many people swam.
As others have stated, the beach is public and hotel security kept a close eye on non-guests, particularly the children who sometimes pestered people.
So what was the disappointing aspect? The fact that the waters of the Caribbean were extremely rough and unswimmable—there were “red flags” nearly every day and even strong swimmers were NOT permitted to swim. Apparently, this is the case approximately 80% of the year. A few days, we saw non-guests surfing! Because of these conditions, it was impossible to use any of the water sports equipment. Part of the cost for this Resort includes water sports and kayaks, catamarans, etc. We were both extremely disappointed by this. Sure, we had access to the other two Sandals properties on the island and we went to the Grande one day, which is a minimum 45-minute shuttle drive each way and chairs were extremely difficult to obtain. Their beach is nice and calm and guests can use their equipment. But travelling to another locale just to use the beach is a hassle, and the beach was packed. According to guests at the Halcyon, they couldn’t use their beach, either, because the surf is too rough.
Snorkeling could be done by reserving in advance and being brought out by a minimum ½ hour boat ride to an area about 20’ deep. The one bright spot in the water sports activities was that you could scuba up to three times a day, and my husband said that they went to a few nice spots and that the procedure was well-organized. The guys who worked at the water sports kiosk were pleasant and helpful.
So, although the property is nice, the accommodations tolerable, the meals okay, and the service good, there is no way that we’d return here because of the inability to use the beach and water sports. Our mistake was in not thoroughly researching it ahead of time and assuming that “water sports included” meant we could actually use them. Perhaps we’ll try another Sandals in the future, but it won’t be in St Lucia.

  • Liked — no kids
  • Disliked — waters too rough to use water sports/pools too cold to swim
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
11 Thank tkdnomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
South Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 24, 2009

We booked everything through the Sandals website. Everything went so smooth. We really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the resort and took advantage of the fun activities they had planned. Did almost any tour or trip available. Zip lined through the rainforest, rode horses on the beach, scuba dived, snorkeled, and more. Everyone is so friendly and concerned about you like you are the only guest at the hotel. Never had one negative experience. The pools were great, the food was great, and the drinks as well. I would go back in a heartbeat and it was not over crowded where we couldn't enjoy ourselves. Definately the place to go!!!

  • Liked — The relaxing atmosphere
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank JennyRa804
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, FL
Level 3 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2009

I'm going to be totally blasphemous and actually post a POSITIVE review of Sandals Regency! We had a wonderful time there, and I'm really puzzled about all the negative reviews!

This was our Honeymoon trip, and we're mid-ish 20s young professionals. No, we had never been to an AI resort before, so we didn't have anything to compare it to. But we have been to many lovely and expensive hotels and restaurants in the past, so I feel that we can generally judge places pretty well.

The Regency is beautiful and well kept-up. Our room was great, and we didn't encounter any problems at all with water, cracked bathroom fixtures, or bugs. We were upgraded to room 6 on the bluff, and we really loved it. We were within walking distance to the Sunset bluff pool, and that was the only pool we went to. We could always find a spot in the shade, and the swim up bar was fun.

The restaurants were generally great to excellent. We felt that the Arizona was pretty ordinary, but their wood fired pizza was delicious. All the other restaurants were very tasty. I saw one woman's review where she said she hated the lasagna at Armando's. I also had the lasagna there, and I thought it was wonderful! And I can be very critical of lasagna, as it's one of my favorite dishes. The Pitons was also great, and our server there was so funny. I ordered a midori sour, which she had never heard of, so she had me repeat the drink's name a couple times, so she could write it down and remember to try it sometime. We thought that was cute :) The buffet at the Pavillion was yummy, but the flies got annoying sometimes. Kimono's was a lot of fun, and La Toc was excellent! I loved the salad that had the goat cheese. The atmosphere there was really nice.

We were a little frustrated on our first 2 days there because we got the timing wrong with some of the restaurants' hours. Do remember that they're not open 24/7, so make sure you know when they open and close, so as not to get there too early or too late, like we did in the beginning! If you want food after 10 pm or so, there's a guy near Arizona who cooks up hamburgers and hotdogs. They're not very good, but they get the job done when you're starving and nothing else is open! So that's a criticism-- I do wish they had at least something to eat that was available at all times, since room service is not available to all guests.

In terms of liquor, it's true that they don't have a large assortment of brands. This wasn't a problem for us, as we didn't drink too much. My husband ordered Heineken a few times and was positive he was being served St. Lucia's Piton beer instead. But we weren't bothered by that- we just enjoyed some wine at dinner and some Dirty Banana drinks by the pool!

We found the Regency staff to be very friendly and accomodating. Many reviews mention rude employees, but we didn't encounter any at all. All the servers, housekeepers, and shuttle drivers we dealt with were great. No complaints there! And the resort's shuttle was always there when we needed it, so as not to walk up the "big hill" in my high heels.

Another thing to mention about Regency is the beach. We couldn't swim in it at all due to the red flag. This didn't bother us in the slightest, and we took the shuttle to the Grande to enjoy their beach instead. It was beautiful there, and we had a good time kayaking and sailing. Back at the Regency, it was fun to walk in the sand or admire the (big!) waves.

All in all, we had a fabulous time. We absolutely loved the intense relaxation we took part in! We were hoping to sit by the water, sip a drink, and enjoy good food, and all those needs were certainly met.

I feel sorry for the reviewers who had such a lousy time, and seemed to hate everything. I can see being disappointed with small things here and there, as that's human nature, but this is a beautiful resort in paradise! And you're away from your job! Why not just enjoy everything that's around you?

We certainly did!

  • Liked — Great atmosphere, Beautiful views, Good food
  • Disliked — Can't get food later at night
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank lauren9317
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 23, 2009

After reading a few reviews I felt it was in my best interest to let all know how our TWO WEEK honeymoon was at the Regency. The first day our room wasn't ready and lunch took extremely long that day to get as we waited for our room. Finally we got our room and neither of us liked it. The room looked fine, but I don't like numbers that end in 3's so we were upgraded to a pool side room facing the Pavilion. At first we thought the night time events would bother us during those down days and nights, however the room turned out to be a blessing. We were able to go in and out of our room through the sliding door through the day as we did for a couple nights as we were close enough to grab some plates of food for supper from the Pavilion buffet and head back to the room with the food. We had various couples who we had met there marvel at the convenience of our room, not to mention each of the couples had two floor honeymoon suites. Getting a coffee in the morning wasn't the easiest, but other than the coffee the rest of the service in the restaurants went just as one would expect in Caribbean. It's a very laid back place and the service will be the same after all who's in a rush on a vacation. There were many honeymooners, which was awesome for us as we got to meet many people who we've stayed in contact with since we've got back. The night shows ended around 11:00pm each night, which was perfect for us. The staff in charge of running all the resorts activities did an amazing job. The first week we were there consisted of exploring the other two Sandals and relaxing on the beach. The second week I decided to par take in the day time activities and it was blast. I'm far from a professional at any of the sports, but nobody was which made it so much fun. We did one excursion through Son of Man Tours and it covered everything we needed to do as they took us to all the tourist attractions on the island via bout as well as van, gave us a terrific lunch at a local restaurant as well as took us snorkeling where they provided all the equipment and life jackets of course. We ate a couple times at the tables by the pool in the pavilion and we were just normal guests, but I guess if you take the time to know some of the staff at the resort then you become a name and a friend to them....even if it's for a week or two. If you want to get away to a quite place than the Sandals Halcyon Beach resort is for you.

  • Liked — Location of room and playmakers (those in charge or running all the resort's activities)
  • Disliked — checking in and time it takes to get a coffee
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Rammajamma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2009

My wife and I's first holiday in 6 years so I decided to pull out all the stops and book a luxury vacation. We did not get one. The resort is looking tired and is in need of shutting down and being brought upto standard instead of workmen painting and touching up during our stay. I accepted an upgrade from our Garden room to a "luxury" beach front room for 50% off before we left. The room was about 50 meters from the beach, overlooking the pool so the location was great. The downside was that we were close to the Pavilion where the nightly entertainment went on until 11pm every night. Fine if you're a 20 something kid, not fine if you're a little more mature and enjoy a bit of downtime occassionally. We did manage to adjust to this and slept through it. The room itslef was average and need of a spruce up (bathroom tired and obvious water damage around the aircon unit). Good tip: always, always take your complimentary water with you if you go on any excursions or to another resort. The other Sandals resorts will charge you for bottles water! Very cheap. The Grande also would not give my wife a cup of coffee to take away with her! Again-cheap in the extreme. The excursions are on the expensive side and not real value for money. We enjoyed the horse riding and snorkelling but the catamaran cruise is basically a booze cruise (very Club Med). Overall, we were disappointed with the level of service; as the staff don't generally receive tips, they can't be bothered to go the extra mile. In fact we found some of them to be surly and in need of a constant reminder of what you ordered. In some cases we just helped ourselves. Another annoying thing was there was a definite class system. We wanted to dine by the pool at the Pavilion and was told that those tables were reserved. The only 2 restaurants requiring reservations were the French and Japanese so this was a bit of a surprise. Obviously they were reserving these tables for the Millionaire suites. We complained and received a complimentary bottle of wine-big deal. Overall, we heard from people who had experienced Sandals at other locations without any problems so this particular resort must be the duff one of the Carribbean. This resort is aimed primarily at the wedding market for 20 somethings and dare I say it-the Club Med type of holidayer in search of free booze and games in the pool with alot of whooping and hollering-not a luxury vacation resort for a more discerning and experienced traveller. We also felt that we were just a number during our stay, again, probably due to the attitude of some of the staff.

  • Liked — Proximity to the ocean
  • Disliked — Proximity to the nightly entertainment
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Maxhead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2009

My boyfriend and I just spent 7 days at the Sandals Regency in St.Lucia. Having done a lot of traveling and having stayed at many all inclusives before I thought I would give Sandals a try since they are supposed to be the luxury all inclusive.
Service was fantastic! I have read reports that say otherwise and we are both not sure why. Everyone was friendly and helpful and very efficient. The resort itself is quite large so they have shuttles to drive you around 24 hrs/day. while we walked the majority of the time it's nice to know its an option. Weather: it rained a bit every day - which is likely why the island is so lush - but it didn't spoil our trip- in fact it was necessary to cool things off. The beach at Regency is only ok. (sand colour is a bit dark and pretty wavy) We preferred the beach at The Grand (we heard that is man made but it didn't matter). There are shuttles all day to the other two resorts. Halycon was nothing much. It seemed to be the least attractive of the three. Regency is situated in a bay and built on some nice hills so there were amazing sunsets at Sunset pool.
Food: Armandos - Italian - only ok. we both thought our food tasted stale
Pitons - This was very tasty
La Toc - very very nice restaurant for an all inclusive
Pavillion/Buffet - This was the buffet breakfast and lunch place. I was surprised that they only offered buffet dinner twice. This caused a few hiccups for us as it wasn't really written in any of the material and when we went down expecting to eat we found we had to wait 25 mins for a table. If it is not a buffet night - go early for dinner otherwise you will have to wait at most places (I didn't like that)
Service - like I mentioned: Awesome
Pick up from airport was smooth, fast and efficient
Return to airport was nice in a Toyota suv type car so lots of leg room and very comfortable.
It was sometimes hard to get a drink during the day - the pool bar was the only one open and you had to either access from the pool or walk all the way around and over this bridge to order.
Overall a great experience and its really nice to be able to visit the other resorts. Scuba was excellent and very well organized. I would recommend this hotel and experience

  • Liked — Service and being able to visit the other resorts
  • Disliked — Buffet
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank liketotraveltoronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2009

We decided to stay at the Sandals resort because of many family and friends who praised their experiences with Sandals. While none had come to St. Lucia, all were certain that we would not be disappointed. The Sandals website assured us of the same. We arrived at the airport and took our private car to the resort (this was a 1990-era Nissan Sentra covered in door dings for $125). We were delighted to see we received a free room upgrade but quickly brought back to reality when we found no hot water in the room. We also found that orientation takes place at 10am the day after you arrive...the same exact time they allowed us to book our massages for. We spoke with the manager and received assurances that the hot water would be fixed immediately (it was fixed by the time we returned from dinner) and that the massage appointment would be changed. He promised to call us at 8am the following morning...which never happened. After awakening at 9:30am and calling the spa myself I was able to make the change (they were very gracious and helpful, by the way). We quickly found that we would not be pampered or catered to on this trip. Everything became do-it-yourself. The staff could not have been unhappier. Some were even rude. Don't finish your drink before you're done with your meal - you'll never receive a refill. My husband had to find the wine bottle and refill our drinks for us every night of our stay! It took us 2 days to get a clock in our room and our honeymoon kit (champagne and an order form for breakfast in bed) did not arrive until 2 days after we arrived. We placed our order for breakfast in bed and were not surprised to see that it had never been picked up the night before. We were counting the days until our stay would be over - not the ideal honeymoon thought! We did spend an afternoon at Sandals other resort on the island - the Grande. We received exceptional service with a friendly staff when we visited - we were even trying to figure out ways to move to this property instead. All in all - the island excursions were fun but I would not recommend this place if you are looking for a romantic get-away that includes any sort of customer service or satisfication.

  • Liked — The
  • Disliked — Staff was unhappy, unfriendly and unwelcoming
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank melba1228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa

Property: Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa
Address: La Toc Road, Castries, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Castries Quarter > Castries
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Castries
#3 Romantic Hotel in Castries
#3 Family Hotel in Castries
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Castries
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 331
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 Golf Resort And Spa St. Lucia/Castries

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