Never did I think I would end the year writing a post about visiting the Caribbean and better still Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia has been on my list of ‘want to visit’ places and I am so happy I got to visit it this year and with Danny. We were invited by Sandals as part of their #JustAddLove campaign to stay for a week at the Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort on the North of the Island in Castries.
I’ve always thought of Sandals as a place where people get married or go on honeymoon and I guess never considered it as just a general holiday choice. And yes those things do happen, the amount of times everyone thought we were on honeymoon or I was called ‘the wife’ we found funny but if you are looking for a couples holiday to explore the Caribbean I would definitely recommend it. There is an obvious reason why it’s chosen as a honeymoon location, because from the minute you land your are picked up and whisked off to your resort for a holiday of complete luxury and who doesn’t want that!?
We flew with Virgin Atlantic to Saint Lucia, the flight was just over 8 hours and it pretty much flew past, but maybe that was the upgrade to Upper Class we luckily managed to end up with that made it so enjoyable. I have never managed to have that lucky upgrade before so I was over the moon and loved every minute of it. I was able to lie down and have a snooze on the seat which turns into a bed, which definitely had me feeling refreshed for landing.
At Saint Lucia airport arrivals is the Sandals lounge, where you can freshen up and await your transport to the resort. We had a private car, which I would recommend as the journey time to the resort is about one hour fifteen minutes. We drove through the island and even though it’s quite a long transfer it was amazing to see everything along the way. The island is a sea of green, like a giant rainforest and you won’t find it hard to spot a banana tree.
On arrival at the resort we were greeted by the manager and also a cold flannel which was a perfect way to freshen up. We then were taken to the club suite. Sandals has different levels of accommodation you can book and our room was a club level room, so we had access to the club concierge who can help plan out your stay and also help with booking any restaurants or activities. In the club concierge there is also a bar, coffees, snacks and general info on display, including the daily newspaper which keeps you up to date with all that is happening in the resort that day, such as the activities and the evening entertainment.
It also has the dining options and times and whether the dress code for these is smart or casual, which was really helpful. It also lists these for the other two resorts in Saint Lucia, Sandals Grande St.Lucian and Sandals Regency Le Toc, as when you stay at one resort in Saint Lucia you can play at the other two, with a free shuttle throughout the day taking you to each of the others. We visited Regency Le Toc on one evening and it only took about 10-15 mins to get there.
Our room was absolutely lovely. It had a large kingsize bed, flatscreen tv and plenty of space for unpacking. I hung my clothes up and also filled up the drawers so it was like a home away from home and I wasn’t living out my suitcase for the week. The bathroom was a good size with a powerful shower and toiletries from Red Lane Spa. There was also a large balcony with large bathtub and a great view over the resort. I kept saying to Danny I felt like I was on a film set as the resort was so cute, lampposts, curvy pathways and well looked after gardens with pretty flowers. Our balcony was slightly larger at the end than some as it was on the end of the block, so maybe something to request if you can.
Not forgetting all the drinks in your room are included, there is a mini bar with water and fizzy juices and then you also have bottles of rum, vodka, gin, whisky and champagne. Each of which if finished gets topped up at no extra charge.
Everything was a stones throw away, we could simply get up and walk to the beach or restaurants and bars. I’d read that Halcyon was generally a quieter resort of the three in Saint Lucia, we found it very chilled and just the right pace for us, but that didn’t mean there weren’t any fun activities and entertainment in the evening as there was plenty, we especially loved the karaoke night. But if that’s not your thing and you just want to relax you can easily do that do. There are two pools, one nearer the bar area which has daily activities and the quiet pool behind our room, which we went to most.
I have never been on all-inclusive holiday before, so I’m going to admit I was a bit worried – about the food. I am a bit of a picky eater so it slightly fills me with dread. However I was pleasantly surprised by the food at Sandals. At Halcyon Beach Resort there are six restaurants ranging from Japanese cuisine to Italian and French. We sampled all of the restaurants but my favourite was Kelly’s Dockside which was located on the pier building and had a mixture of food including seafood, chicken and steaks and vegetarian options. I was really impressed by the food here and we booked to go to this restaurant twice in the week. It’s the only restaurant you have to reserve at the resort, with the others you can walk-in as you please. Another favourite was the Bistro, with its nachos, burgers and BLT’s, it was the perfect lunch spot everyday. Randomly deserving a mention was the popcorn machine by the pool, I’m missing my afternoon snack now.
Sandals wanted us to experience the resort so had booked in various things for us to do, but at our own pace as the Caribbean they say is all about relaxing, which was perfect for us. One thing was a candlelit dinner on the beach – I mean does it get any better? We chose our four-course meal and on the Monday evening we headed down to the beach where we had the most lovely meal and champagne, all served from our lovely waitress Fina, who went out of her way to make sure we had a lovely time. All of the staff at Sandals were lovely and one thing to note for staying is that everyone went out of their way to help, whether it was to hunt down a mint tea at breakfast or just make you feel welcome at some of the events, it didn’t go unnoticed and I definitely think it helps add to the experience.
There is also the Red Lane Spa in the resort so we got to enjoy a couples massage in one of the gazebos. We were right next to the beach so instead of the ocean sounds cd, we had the real thing. The massages were so relaxing and a great way for us both to unwind.
One thing you will notice is the ‘paparazzi’ which every so often pop-up to take pictures of you. It was more endearing than annoying and of course your own choice. Danny and I took a few photos throughout our stay with them and decided to purchase one at the end of our trip, which I absolutely love as we never really get the chance to take photos together on holiday, Danny is usually behind the camera, ‘one more photo please!”.
As I mentioned Sandals also booked us in activities, these were with Island Routes. We firstly had a sunset party cruise, which was amazing. We headed out on the Carnival boat to watch the sun set as we sailed round the South West of the island, with plenty of rum punch and music. It was a fun party and nothing to crazy, plus plenty of photo opportunities (even behind the wheel when the captain let me take control!).
We also went horse-riding along the beach, which has been a childhood dream now completed, we even got to take them in the water for a swim, absolutely amazing. Each Island Routes trip was well organised and put together and I would definitely recommend booking in some experiences with them.
We had such an amazing week at Sandals Halcyon Beach in Saint Lucia. I loved the ease of all-inclusive and how the Sandals team can help organise the best trip tailored to you. They really do think of and look after everything for you. It’s easy to see why so many couples we met were on their fifth if not more stay at Sandals. If you are looking for a couples holiday I would highly recommend it. We had an amazing time and wouldn’t hesitate to go back or try one of the other resorts in the Caribbean.
If you have any questions about our experience, do let me know as I’d be happy to try to help.