Flight Centre’s Kerryanne Holness travelled to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to experience the island’s three Sandals Resorts, and what they have to offer. As a weddings and groups travel specialist, she has plenty to say about how a Sandals Resort destination wedding or honeymoon in St.Lucia could be perfect for you or someone you know:
I recently had the pleasure of visiting St. Lucia and I must say, it has quickly become one of my most favourite islands to visit. It truly is paradise – one of those places that no matter where you are, there is always beauty and breathtaking views to be seen.
I had the pleasure of experiencing all three Sandals Resorts while I was there, and was pleasantly surprised at just how unique and gorgeous each one is. I am so excited to be able to share with you why I truly believe that if you are planning a destination wedding, renewal of vows, or a first, second or third honeymoon, you should definitely consider a Sandals resort to celebrate your special occasion.
I will let you know a little more about all three resorts and give some suggestions on which would be the best match for you, but before I do, I want to share why I believe you should choose a Sandals resort in St. Lucia as your next stop for a dream vacation, honeymoon and/or destination wedding:
1) The Beautiful Beaches
For starters, the waters are a gorgeous Caribbean blue and turquoise colour. I am not much of a swimmer, but they have some of the warmest waters I have ever been in. One of the things I loved and was surprised to see, was the darker coloured beach sand, unique to St. Lucia compared to other islands I’ve been to. The beaches are gorgeous and well kept. I don’t believe I saw any seaweed while I was there, just perfect sand, great for walks along the beach barefoot. I loved the beaches so much that I ended up bringing home some sand in a zip-lock bag to remind me of just how pretty and soft it is!
2) The Landscape
The Island is tropical and mountainous. Flying into the island was exciting because I got to see from an aerial view how gorgeous the island really is. While driving from St. Lucia Hewonnorra Airport in the North to the Sandals Resorts located on the South part of the Island, the views were just spectacular. While driving to and from the resort, I felt like a kid, excited by every beautiful view of the sea and mountains.
3) The Excursions
The island is perfect for excursions. There are lots of different things to do from hiking up the Piton Mountains to zip lining, island tours, and lots of fun water sports. Sandals resorts have a tour desk at all of their properties to provide you with more information. Island Routes Adventure Tours is their main source for tours and excursions.
So, why choose a Sandals Resort in St. Lucia for your destination wedding?
Three words: MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS.
I deal a lot with destination weddings and helping couples chose the right type of wedding package that best suits their interests. Out of all the wedding packages offered out there, none compare to Martha Stewart Wedding packages. There are six different packages to choose from which include: Beautiful Beginnings, Flutter of Romance, Vision in White, Seaside Serenade, Chic and Natural, and Island Paradise. I visited the wedding offices at all three Sandals resorts in St. Lucia and can verify that what you see on the Sandals Website is exactly what you get. The packages are gorgeous. All offering a sense of romance, sophistication and elegance. One thing that I absolutely love, is how Sandals allows you to customize your wedding package. So if you want a little bit of something from each one, you can customize it to make your big day that much more unique and personalized.
The wedding coordinators know their stuff and are very professional, kind, helpful, and full of ideas. From my experience with couples in the past, I find one of the biggest challenges for them is having to deal with language barriers that may arise when booking a resort on a foreign island. This is something you will not experience here, whether it is St. Lucia, or even Jamaica, Antigua, Turks and Caicos, or the Bahamas. Dealing with a Sandals Wedding Coordinator is a very smooth process. Another thing I love about all three Sandals Resorts on St. Lucia, is that they all have beautiful Gazebo’s and other unique places to hold your wedding ceremony and reception.
Sandals Resort Options in St. Lucia:
Of the three resorts, the first on my list of favourites is the Sandals Halcyon. The Halcyon is a smaller, very intimate resort, that is all over gorgeous. Lush, and filled with beautiful gardens; there are countless small unique romantic spots to share moments with a loved one. From visiting, I found this resort to have a more mature atmosphere, which is perfect if you’re looking for a resort that is quiet and relaxing all over. While there, you must try the Caribbean Restaurant, located on a pier directly over the Ocean. Aside from the spectacular views, the food is simply amazing.
Second on my list is the gorgeous Sandals La Toc Golf Resort and Spa. I noticed that this resort had a younger clientele. During the day there is a lot to do and the main pool area is very busy. This resort has some of the most spectacular suites I have ever been in, such as the Millionaire Suites, Honeymoon Hibiscus Concierge Beachfront walk-out suites, The Romeo and Juliet Penthouse Sunset Bluff one-bedroom suites, and the Sunset Bluff Oceanfront one-bedroom two-story villas, all perfect for Honeymooners. These rooms and many more are breathtaking, with some of the most spectacular views. If you chose this resort for your honeymoon, you will NOT be disappointed!
Honeymooners should be sure to book a room that offers Butler service. The resort is huge and one benefit of the Butler service includes being escorted around the hills in golf carts, where some of these gorgeous suites are hidden from the rest of the resort.
In addition to honeymoons, I love this resort as a wedding location as well. One of the highlights for me was the viewing deck where many couples hold weddings and receptions. The viewing deck is outdoors, features mahogany furniture, and offers a spectacular view of the whole resort, beach and the Caribbean Sea. It was so gorgeous.
Sandals La Toc is a very big resort, so not recommended for those with mobility issues, unless you’re interested in booking a butler suite. The Golf Course located right on the property. If you are not familiar with Sandals but love golfing, their golf courses are designed by Greg Norman. Golf is included in the Luxury Inclusive service that only Sandals offers, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra for green fees. Sandals also offers training clinics from actual golf pros that can help you improve your game. What other resort do you know that offers this? Clubs and other equipment are available at the resort for rent, but if you decide to bring your own, Sandals offers complimentary storage for your equipment.
If your not a Golfer, Sandals offers something else: Red Line Spa. The Spas at both the Sandals Le Toc and Sandals Grand Riviera Beach are first class. Some of the best spas I have ever been in. The products they use are top of the line, and they offer many different treatments for couples and individuals. Sandals is now famous for using Dermalogica products in their spas. I brought some of the Dermalogica products back home with me, which I found to be some of the best products I have ever used on my skin.
I had lunch at the Italian restaurant, Armandos one afternoon when I was there. What stood out to me is that out of the group of about 8 people I was with, everyone at the table had a special request on how they wanted their meal prepared, differing from the menu. The chef made 8 different requests and everyone got exactly what they wanted, and enjoyed it. This experience set an example of how Sandals will go above and beyond for their guests.
We also had a great night out dining at the Teppanyaki-style restaurant, Kimono’s. The servers were a riot and had us laughing and just enjoying the night. It was a really fun experience. Booking a reservation for this restaurant is highly recommended!
Last, but certainly not least on my list is the Sandals Grande St. Lucian. This resort has the best beach of the three properties, with seaside gazebo’s and romantic dining huts, perfect for romantic beachside dinners.
A couple of things that stood out about this resort is that they have an a-la-carte restaurant for breakfast. Not something you find often at an all-inclusive resort, adding to what makes Sandals stands out, and why they are called Luxury Inclusive. Also worth noting is that there is not a single bad suite in the resort; Even the entry-level suites look like Deluxe suites. They are beautiful.
Another great feature of the Sandals Grande St. Lucia, is the beautiful ballrooms, perfect for conventions or wedding receptions. I found a mixture of both a mature and younger clientele at this resort. One of my favourite nights at the Grande St. Lucia was at the Old London Pub and Restaurant, modelled after a traditional British pub. Karaoke is a popular nightly ritual here, where many couples choose to gather.
The most important thing I would like to reiterate about what makes Sandals stand out from every other resort is that everything they do, from the type of alcohol they serve to the type of products they use in the spas, to the Golf course, to butler service, to the beds you sleep on is all top of the line, best of the best!
I touched on it briefly, but be sure to book the Butler service. It really is the ultimate experience. I have booked couples the butler service many times and not once had anyone come back and say it was not worth it. In fact, on my way back from St. Lucia I met a wonderful couple who told me about their time at the Sandals La Toc. They loved the resort, however, they were extremely disappointed that the travel agent they used to book their honeymoon with, talked them out of booking the butler service. The Butlers that are trained at all Sandals resorts are trained by Sir Robert Watson. If you don’t believe it, I actually saw this man with my own eyes holding some training sessions while I was there. And if you don’t know who Sir Robert Watson is, he is the man who actually trains the Queen of England’s Butlers. So as you can see, Sandals resorts go all the way for their guests!
Booking a Sandals Vacation is truly worth it. You will never be disappointed and if you are having any challenges while you are there, let guest services know. Sandals truly want you to walk away from their resorts with the best experience, and they will do whatever they can to be sure you have the best time.
Also remember that whether you book the Sandals Halcyon, Sandals La Toc, or Sandals Grande St. Lucian, you have exchange privileges at all three resorts. There is a frequent shuttle that goes between all three resorts throughout the morning, day and late evening. In fact, be sure to visit all three resorts and take in the uniqueness of each, I highly recommend it.
There is so much more I would like to share with you about my experience in St. Lucia. If you are considering this island for your special occasion, give me a call. I would love to tell you more!