For starters, St. Lucia is 27 miles long by 14 miles wide. We stayed at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort in Gros Islet which is located on the Northwest tip of the island [1 hour 30 minute drive from the airport- a nice tour of the island on the way to the resort. Or you can take a helicopter to save time.] From Northwest Arkansas, Delta offers single connection flight service. It’s about a 2 hour flight to Atlanta and then a 4 hour flight from there to St. Lucia. [They offer an in-flight movie, GOGO inflight internet and some free snacks. I recommend the biscoff cinnamon biscuits but if pretzels or peanuts are your desire, they have those too.] Sandals Grande St. Lucian is located on a beautiful peninsula. To the North [oceanfront rooms] you have Martinique and when the night lights are shining you can see it off in the horizon. To the South [beachfront rooms] you have the beach and Rodney Bay with wonderfully calm waters in the Caribbean Sea.
I’d like to share the top 10 highlights of our St. Lucia vacation [in no particular order]. Sit back, grab a fruity island drink and take note. By the end of this read you’ll be boarding the plane yourself for paradise [but before you do, call Destinations]. Side note: there were well over 10 highlights, so I have a lot of other nuggets and gems tucked away. If you have questions or comments feel free to email me [firstname.lastname@example.org].
1. The scenic views. Coupled with the beautiful Caribbean Sea and the Piton Mountains, St. Lucia is set in a picturesque background. On our last day we toured Piegon Island National Park [just a short walk from Sandals Grande St. Lucian and a small $5 entry fee per person]. This counted as our workout for the day too. We climbed to the top of Fort Rodney and took in the beautiful scenery and enjoyed the wonderful breeze. For all you history lovers, Fort Rodney was a signaling station for the U.S. during World War II. Before that, it was used to protect British interests in St. Lucia from the French over in Martinique.
2. Rainforest Canopy Tour aka the Zipline. Saturday we set off on a 4 hour excursion into the rainforest to swing through the trees [and yes, I felt like Jane and I’m pretty sure Bill = Tarzan]. We did 11 lines total. The longest being 1500 feet [great for taking in the scenery] and the highest measuring 250 feet. Note: if you think this might not be for you, because you are afraid of heights, think again and dominate your fear. The worst part is the anticipation. By the second platform you’ll be taking a running jump start.
3. George of the Jungle, as our tour guide called himself. George picked us up at the resort and filled us full of St. Lucia tidbits during our 1 hour 20 minute drive to the zipline and back. He was phenomenal. He not only taught us about his island [and boy could you sense his pride], but he also gave us hands on encounters with a cacao pod, cinnamon leaves, fresh coconut and candied coconut making for a tremendous experience.
4. Dining at La Toc. Sandals offers a great value-add in St. Lucia. You can stay at 1 resort and play at 3 [all are within 30 minutes of each other and complimentary transportation is provided]. We took full advantage of this and had dinner at the French restaurant at Sandals Regency La Toc one evening. I highly recommend La Toc and its entire chic ambiance complete with petite lamps with blue and white striped shades on each white linen clothed table. The service was impeccable [Bon Travail, Oriel!] and the food was divine. The chef perfectly prepared my bacon scallop appetizer followed by a succulent rack of lamb. We topped off the night with crème brulee so smooth and silky. I can’t wait to dine at La Toc again, until then I’ll dream about the menu.
5. Our Honeymoon Grande Luxe Beachfront Room. Our room was conveniently located to the main pool area, restaurants and beach and offered a breathtaking view. I loved the King size Farmhouse bed complete with cozy white linens you could dive into every night. We had a nice sitting area with a loveseat, ottoman and coffee table. We had a 40” plasma screen tv that could be adjusted toward the sitting area or for viewing from the bed. [We happen to be Winter Olympic lovers, so we enjoyed catching bits and pieces of it from our luxurious room.] The bathroom had a standard bathtub and shower and a his and her double vanity.
The view from our balcony
6. Gordon’s on the Pier. Our last evening we dined at Gordon’s which is set out over the water and you dine in the open air with the cool ocean breeze hitting your back. It is a lovely setting. [Gordon’s is included for guests staying in Butler Suites, or $130 per couple if not.] This seven course fine dining experience was coupled with wonderful service. Our server, Aston, made it an enjoyable laid back evening. We started with the amuse bouche, which was duck. For theappetizer, I had ahi tuna, a shrimp ceviche and a phyllo pastry with goat cheese and spinach. Next, I had a grilled apple and walnut salad. I skipped the soup, but Bill had the conch chowder and raved about it. Then to cleanse the palette, we had sorbet [who doesn’t love dessert before dinner?] For the main course [as if I had any room at all for it] I had red snapper with vegetables and rice [oh and I had them add a couple scallops which were to die for]. Lastly, we finished off the evening with an excellent chocolate mousse and cheesecake. Then we basically rolled ourselves into bed because we were filled to the brim with rich food.
7. Champagne Breakfasts. Each morning, with the exception of the last, we had breakfast at Toscanini’s where they serve a la carte breakfast served from 7-10am. We would start off with a mimosa and then order from the menu. Among some of our favorites were the egg white frittata, breakfast sandwich and steak and eggs. They had wonderful pineapple too. It’s nice to be served for all your meals and that’s one of my favorite things about Sandals. I don’t think I did a buffet once on my entire vacation. [Although, if that’s your style Bayside is open for buffet breakfast and lunch.]
8. The Millionaire Suite. As fate would have it, I ran into two Sandals Executives from the U.S. who were at the resort on business and we chatted a bit before our dinner reservation at La Toc. I simply stated that I’d love to see the Millionaire Suites and poof; we were whisked away in the Butler Mobile up the bluff to tour one. [Okay, this was paradise.] Oh my goodness, this might possibly be the very best room category in the Sandals lineup. There are 4 Millionaire Suites and they are located on the highest bluff at Sandals Regency La Toc Resort offering total privacy. Simply brilliant is what these Butler Suites are. [I kept thinking, if only I had packed my bags for the night surely they would have let me stay in it.] I’ve got two words to describe this suite. Macked out. In fact, it’s worthy of its own blog post, so be on the lookout for that soon. Oh, and be prepared to drool when you see the pictures.
9. The Sunsets. The sunsets from Rodney Bay are breathtaking. I love to stay out until the sun disappears off in the horizon [it marks the end of a great day when you can say you saw a gorgeous sunset.]
10. Five Star Service. Throughout the resort, I found the service to be exceptional. So much so, that I took it upon myself to let the General Manager know my last day there. I was thoroughly impressed from the front desk staff to the room attendants. It seemed that everyone was interested in how we were enjoying our stay. And, one lady in particular called me by name each time I saw or spoke with her. What a nice touch to really have great customer service. It really adds to your vacation experience taking it from good to great. On the day we left, I noticed both Hotel Managers were thanking everyone for choosing their resort and bidding farewell by shaking hands and helping with luggage. What a nice note to leave on. It definitely made a lasting impression on me. I’ve traveled to a lot of places and was caught by surprise when I saw these two gentlemen and their genuine gratitude. It brought a smile to my face.
It can’t go without mention that this resort also has great junk food in addition to fine dining. Creamy milkshakes in three different flavors, brick oven pizzas and calzones, nachos, cheeseburgers, crepes and pub food. The list could go on and on [and yes, in answer to your question, of course I tried it all.] As they say in St. Lucia, No Pressure. No Problem. So I just went with it. [I can work it off later, right?]
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