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.
- 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