First off I have to say that I read many of the reviews on this site before our trip and I was a bit nervous about many of the things that I heard posted here. That being the case, I never write reviews but felt compelled to do so being that many of these were helpful to me as I hope that mine will be helpful to others. I will break the items up as I am planning a detailed post for those interested in knowing everything. I will also include many full disclosure points to help you decide how each applys to yourself.
Airport arrival and transport –
As many have stated the airport is a good distance from the resort itself. Upon landing you will breeze through customs, took us about 5 min and you are off to grab your bags. Once grabbing them you head for the door through a check point which they randomly stop people for bag searches, we were not selected, looked like they maybe stopped 2% of people. Key tip: as others have mentioned, right after this check point there will be bag people racing to you to try and grab your bags and throw them onto carts for a tip, and yes many will yell Sandals etc trying to trick you into thinking that they are affiliated with the resort. Things are confusing but just know this, if you head out the main/only exit door, on the other side is the taxis, shuttles etc. just walk straight ahead through the doors and after about 30-40 feet you run into the Sandals desk where they check you in and an actual Sandals employee them grabs your bags and helps you to the shuttle. If you feel like tipping, have the bag people roll your bags the 30-40 feet for you.
The shuttle was a SMALL and I mean Small little van that they pack 8 people and your entire luggage into. I was thinking it would be a sandals bus or maybe a small airport like shuttle, nope, it’s basically a personal minivan. Long story short, being 6’4 my knees were up around my ears for the hour plus ride, not enjoyable at all! However, I will say that other than the comfort, we enjoyed the scenic part of the ride. All through the island and at one point through a part of the rain forest. Very scenic and a nice free tour for some. After about an hour and ten minutes, we were at the resort.
Upon arrival you are greeted and escorted into a conference room where they serve you some champagne and quickly run through your invite package. Nothing terrible and didn’t take long. Once complete, if your room is ready they will take you along, if not, as ours was not, they offer you the Cricketeer’s pub for some food and drinks and being Sunday, some NFL football while you wait. We took that option and towards the end of our meal the room was already finished. They brought our keys into the pub and said we could head to our room at our convenience and the bags would be there for us. As promised, they were.
The Room –
Probably the low light of the trip, which means it was a pretty good trip! Small is not even the word, I felt like we were in a closet. We booked the emerald deluxe oceanview which basically put us in the #8 buildings on the map. It is the ones with the extra large balcony giving your 2 lounge chairs and a separate table, umbrella and more chairs. The balcony sure was spacious but I would have preferred more inside room. There was a king bed, one of the most uncomfortable beds I have ever slept on, I usually sleep great on vacation but this week found myself waking up all night long. It’s pretty much an old hard spring mattress on a platform, no box spring. Hard as a rock! There wasn’t much else in the room other than a few night stands and a dresser. There was maybe a few feet to walk around the bed on each side and that was the size of the room. Very small. The bathroom features were updated and very nice but again, my wife and I couldn’t even maneuver around at the same time as it was so cramped. Definitely would never stay in this room category again. We are simple people, usually stay in a local Marriott or Hyatt etc when travelling so don’t think we are Ritz people but a comfortable bed and a little bit of space are usually pretty key to a good room.
The only other quick points on the room are the location of it were both good and bad, the bad was that it was a hike to get to as it’s not attached to the main building, probably a good 30 stairs or so and a couple of hills to get up there, a good little workout though to burn off some calories and drinks On the flip side, it was a positive in that it was more remote and quiet that the other closer rooms so this made it nice. Beware the tree frogs though, they are LOUD!!!
The Food –
Full disclosure here, we are not seafood eaters so I can’t speak for most of that although we did try some which I will mention.
The restaurants overall were very good so you will enjoy and I’m pretty sure with all of the variety will be able to find some things that you will absolute love. The ones we tried were Komonos, Armandos, La Toc, Pavillion, Neptunes, Pizza and of course the Cricketeer’s Pub.
Komonos – Group style, guy good in front of you type experience, you’ve probably done this before. I’d rate it overall a C+. The food was pretty good, we tried Mahi Mahi here for the first time and absolutely loved it so that was a nice little surprise. Overall the downer is that the whole thing takes about 2 hours and yet of that the chef cooking for you is really only about 20-30 minutes. The rest of the time is very slow service from another person. Summary I guess is worth trying to say that you did it.
Armandos – Our absolute favorite! Everything was amazing and delicious! One of the best cuts of beef I have ever had in my life and I live for steak no matter where I go. Pasta bar fabulous, soup great, everything was wonderful. We went back twice for dinner and another time for lunch. Overall A++
La Toc – This is the 5 star, and I will say it was ok, not great not bad. I think the service made this one as they were definitely 5 star class with the service. So friendly and attentive! Overall B+
Pavillion – This is the buffet breakfast, lunch and main dining for dinner. There was a very good variety, I loved breakfast there. Be advised that yes the reviews are correct that there are lots of cats at this resort and they gather in this restaurant at food time. We have a cat so it didn’t really bother us, I admit to tossing a little Mahi Mahi the way of one little guy. They aren’t overly aggressive and just wander around meowing to see who will toss something there way. I’ll have more on the cats later. Dinners here were nice as they would sometimes have themes and even live music while you dine. One night was a great saxophone player which was very romantic.
Neptunes – had lunch one day, mostly a seafood restaurant, I was so disappointed to find out that this had replaced Arizona’s tex-mex as that is my favorite kind of food. Lunch was ok.
Cricketeer’s Pub – Enjoyable, burgers, shepards pie, etc. It’s pretty much what you would expect at your local pub. They are super friendly and so quick to get you drinks that you would never know you are at an all inclusive. We were watching games on many nights and they would swing by an bring you drinks constantly whenever your glass got low, you didn’t even have to ask for one. Good times!
The Pools –
There are 3 pools and all were very enjoyable in their own way. The main difference: The main pool is the party pool, fun, loud, games, huge pool, great time when you want to get crazy and be around a lot of people. The Piton pool is like an exclusive resort for you and at max 10 of your friends. There is no bar at this pool, it’s a short 2 min walk down a few stairs to a bar, but I think the lack of a swim up and that this pool is smaller is much less of a draw than the others. We spent a few days around this one as it is sooo quiet and exclusive, we loved it. No music, drunk people, crazy bingo games, just relaxing sounds of the ocean waves and nature. The last one was the Sunset pool at the top of the hill. Smaller version of the main pool but it does have a swimup bar and a much smaller and more subdued crowd. Basically a perfect middle ground to the first two and amazing views of the sun setting in the West.
For you golfers, I did take a day to play the on-site course. A nice time to play and say that I played in St. Lucia but do not expect anything in terms of this one. The views are pretty and the new layout is enjoyable although a very short course. But as far as the shape of the course, don’t expect anything beyond your local county course, public course, or hackers special, it is beat up! But when it rains so much you can’t really do much. It was fun, the caddie was very nice and it was well worth the money. Yes, although the greens fees are included, you will still have to pay for the caddie (required) plus a tip for him at the end of the round, club rental if you don’t bring them, and a cart if you don’t want to walk. I walked, enjoyed the exercise but a few holes were killer hikes!
It’s an island so there are many creatures, none bothered me but they may some. First are the cats, which I call pets, but some would call creatures when on vacation. There are lots, they roam the grounds, lay in the hammock and find their way into the open air dining areas. They are harmless overall but non animal lovers may not be so happy with their presence and sometimes cat fights in the dining room over scraps.
The tree frogs as I mentioned are tiny but so LOUD! You will pretty much hear them all night long. And be careful if you have a balcony room up where we did, they will be all over the place and you must be careful not to sit in chairs or step on them. Other than that nothing too crazy or life threatening
Summary for those who skipped the categories and just want the overall impression – We had a great time, St. Lucia is a gorgeous island and the people are amazingly friendly. Sandals was overall a B- in terms of expectations but that is pretty good. We will definitely return to St. Lucia someday but I doubt it will be to this resort, don’t worry it’s fun, but I don’t think it’s somewhere you go more than once. At the end of the day keep one thing in mind. Your vacation is what you make of it, I think the bad reviews you will see are by people that have wayyy to high of expectations and will never be pleased or they had something bad happen to them which clouded the whole trip and experience. On that note, while we were there we were privy on accident to see and hear about a couple whose room up in an exclusive area of the hotel, not the main building areas so don’t worry, they returned to their room to find it broken into and someone in the room. Their safe had been broken into and some things had been smashed etc. I could never blame these people for writing a bad review. Could you? We were accidentally put into the shuttle escorting them back up to their room right after the break in with tons of security so that is the only way we heard about this. But don’t worry, there are lots of security around all of the grounds and as I mentioned, this was a remote area I would never have stayed anyways so far from the main areas. If you want a great trip, go, enjoy and remember, you are on vacation….have fun!!!!
- 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