Seduced by St Lucia.
The final leg or our Caribbean island hopping adventure brought us to the beautiful island of St Lucia. It is the ancestral home of my mother’s family so I am no stranger to the island, but it’s many years since I last visited and a first for my partner. On extended trips in the past I’d rent a villa on a long-term basis so choosing a hotel or resort for the duration of our trip was actually quite a new experience for me.
We’d selected The Landings, in Gros Islet, for a few reasons, though not having stayed here before, many years ago we had been huge fans of the infamous Sunday Brunch they used to serve, the highlight of every week. We knew the beach was nice, the food was good so hoped that in years gone by all was still well. Having researched on line, we’d joined Iprefer.com, and booked the hotel through this site, it did mention the potential of an upgrade, but we’d already opted for beach-front accommodation so didn’t really hold out much hope of anything else. We’d chosen to stay in the north of the island as it’s the busier end and knew we wanted the combination of quite relaxation along with a little hustle and bustle when desired visiting the South on excursions.
Again, we arrived during the evening, another wet one (end of rainy season) so our taxi swiftly drove us from the small George FL Charles airport near Castries to the hotel. Such a feeling of joy and excitement upon arriving at the gates and then pulling up at reception, seeking the look of awe on my partners face as we entered the entrance lobby taking in the stunning setting and architecture. The grand colonial style elegance, the space and ambiance, an amazing, breathtaking moment happens when you enter The Landings, immediately there is a feeling you have entered another world.
We sat and enjoyed our welcome drinks whilst checking in, of course more Rum Punch and juice. We were given time to chill, met Eric the delightful F&B manager and upon his recommendation booked the exclusive Palms restaurant for the following evening for dinner. Then the receptionist brought us details of the package of goodies which came with our booking such as a massage for each parent, 3 hours free babysitting, 2 free hikes one to Mount Du Cap and one to Pigeon Island, free wine, and then we were given room keys and told our porter would be along shortly to take us to our room. No porter arrived. What did arrive was a Butler, dressed impeccably, friendly, smiling, he had already loaded our luggage so we simply hopped onto the buggy and sat back for the ride.
When we arrived at our room, 201, it it was dark, we were escorted into the most fabulous apartment, given a tour, 2 immaculate stylish bedrooms both with ensuite bathrooms, a small separate toilet complete with utility area washer and dryer, a gorgeous living area with a fully self contained kitchen, a beautiful terrace complete with jacuzzi hotbed and a path leading directly onto the beach in front of our room!
We turned to look at the dining table which had been decorated with rose petals, a bottle of red wine, glasses and a note welcoming us, it was from our Butlers! We looked confused, the butler laughed and said, that’s right you have been given two butlers who will be along to meet you tomorrow. He asked of our dinner plans for the evening and if we needed him to assist with anything before smiling and leaving.
We all let out a big breath, did he really say we had two butlers! Surely by the morning they’d realise they’d got it wrong. We read the lovely note left by Antonicious and Peronilla our butlers, from here on referred to as Tony and Pero, It was a beautiful simple welcoming note, we unpacked and rand down to dinner at the beach restaurant for a hearty dinner of Curried Goat for the adults and a cheeseburger for the child. Many more drinks and cocktails later we made our way back to our apartment to check it out fully, still unable to believe this was really all for us.
Well, in the interest of brevity, the next morning we were given a Butler phone, a mobile on which to call them whenever, from wherever we were on the island with any requirements. I won’t give you a daily countdown of all the many wonderful things our butlers did for us, but to say both Tony & Pero proved to be invaluable and an integral part to our trip.
So super professional, always very well presented and gracious, always anticipating our needs, for example after booking us on one of our excursions and waving us off, to monitor what time we would be returning and have baths runs complete with roses and petals, beautiful displays and always a cute little message. Our every care and whim was taken very seriously by this pair and they truly liaised with everybody on island and at the resort on our behalf, everything from sightseeing, booking trips, restaurants to having all of our pool inflatables blown up and ironing taken care of, nothing was beyond their remit. Even when a dog stole my partners shoes, they were found hours later and arrived looking almost new having been freshly polished.
A memorable moment was lazing on the beach having mentioned earlier to Tony that our son fancied trying out kids club around 3pm for that days particular activity. At around 2.50 I managed to raise myself from my sun lounger on the beach to go back into the apartment and saw Tony strolling along the beach towards us.
” Hi” I said enthusiastically, “what are you doing here, I’m just off to take P (my son) to kids club.” Tony smiled, nodded his head and said ” Yes, I have come to take him to kids club” I was astounded, broke into almost hysterical laughter, “you’re really here to take him?” He nodded yes, and held out his hand and away my son ran enthusiastically, looking forward to another buggy ride. I went into the apartment to peep through the front windows, expecting my boy to be looking back longingly for me and to feel a pang of guilt for not taking him, but no, I saw the young Prince, or so he must have thought himself to be, sat on a buggy with both butlers and the member of staff from Kids Club Carol who would be taking care of him ( and subsequently became his babysitter the following evening) all seated and setting off, all looking very happy. This is just one example of the many things they did to ensure our every moment felt very special, and from having a ‘little talk’ to anyone who hadn’t perhaps met our expectations outside of the resort to negotiating things such as private charters on our behalf, they were fabulous. Peronilla did a fantastic job organising my partner clothes for dinner, I dread trying to compete!
Tony having spoken to and confirmed a charter we’d booked with a passing salesman on the beach got all the correct information we were perhaps too deep in Rum Punch and Pina Colada’s to consider, he asked us did we require snorkel equipment, flippers, lifejackets, none of which we had an answer for, so he telephoned the proprietor and promptly turned up the evening prior with equipment for us, details on the style and size of the boat and the morning of the trip saw us off with fresh towels for the excursion. Of course, we returned to an immaculate apartment, flowers, a message and a bath with the gorgeous Molton Brown Green Park toiletries used by the resort. Peronilla was ready to escort me by buggy to the wonderful spa package she and Tony had arranged on my request with the fabulous Aleena, a very talented masseur whom both my daughter and I visited twice each during our 8 night stay.
None of us wanted this part of our extended trip to the Caribbean to end. Our Butlers ensured we had a late checkout due to our night flight and the continued use of our beach front accommodation for the entire day. Booked our taxi to the airport, ensured we could get postcards and anything else we required on site before departure and basically made this trip magical. We knew we didn’t want to go and missed them before we’d even left.
Now, we did actually leave the resort also whilst in St Lucia, there are so many things to do in an area rich in cultural heritage, fun and entertainment. A special mention must be given to Purnell, our guide for the two hike’s which came complete with our package, a truly fun jovial young man full of energy and enthusiasm. He guided us in a group tour up to Mount Du Cap, gave us all wonderful discussion along the way about the plants, the place, the sites, the location. It was exercise, fun and informative and a stunning place to view the island from.
So good was he, we turned up the very next morning for the hike to Pigeon Island, this time with both children (the daughter being 21 the son being 6) which is no easy feat. Again, Purnell engaged every member of the group, he spent a little time with each of us through out the hike, joked, educated us, encouraged us to think about the historical facts and the actual experience of the British Soldiers at their time of inhabiting the Island laying in wait for the French. He showed us the cannons, even got us to feel a cannon ball, again he was effervescent and passionate about not only his island, it’s history, the location and his role. A credit to the resort and brilliant customer facing member of staff.
We also took a day trip excursion on the catamaran Endless summer, arranged for us by our butlers with the concierge. This trip was so much fun and is certainly a must do if in St Lucia. We were collected at the resort and driven to the Marina in Rodney Bay where we boarded the boat. We were treated by the team, given a brief safety talk and of course with Welcome Drinks in hand (yes Rum Punch or Piton beer) we were off to pick up some more guests by boat from Windjammer Resort, from there we sailed towards Soufriere taking in lots of sites along the way with a fantastic running commentary from Heidi, informative about history, economics of the island and filled with jokes too, lots more drinks with music and fun.
We approached the mystical majestic Pitons, took lots of wonderful photo’s then disembarked in Soufrière to be transported by bus to the Diamond Waterfalls (as featured in the film Superman) for a quick dip.
Once back on the bus we headed further towards the Volcano, unfortunately our engine overheated and we had to jump out, it was all handled very smoothly and within no time, two taxi buses had been arranged to transport us for the rest of the trip, on to the volcano where half the group went to swim in the bud, the rest of us took the guided tour. A fantastic, once in life-time activity which all enjoyed. We the jumped back on the bus and headed to Fond Du Plantation for a very brief talk about the chocolate growing and harvesting process before being taken through to the restaurant for our buffet meal. Once more, back on the bus, back to the boat and then cruising along, going via the beautiful Marigot Bay and then on to a fabulous spot for snorkelling with amazing fish and fantastic reefs beneath us before the party vibe really kicking up a notch as we sailed on, dancing and singing home all the way to the beach at The Landings where we were dropped. A fantastic day out.
All of our excursions were memorable in St Lucia, especially the snorkelling just off Sugar Beach around the Pitons on our private charter as well as bathing in the mud at the volcano, magical, as were all of our meals. From the fabulous Fire Grill in Rodney bay, where we ate so much food we felt fit to pop, the cocktails are excellent too to many others along that strip. No holiday in St Lucia is complete without drinks and dancing at the hip and happening Delirious in Rodney Bay, hot tunes, happy hour cocktails, dancing into the early hours of the morning, a very memorable experience.
There are many fabulous restaurants and bars including Spinnakers, a long established favourite on Reduit Beach with great happy hour deals ideally suited to watching the Sun go down. We had a fabulous meal at Cap Maison, true fine dining in a stunning setting, again, if possible get there early for drinks and watch the sun set way before dinner time, then just kick back and soak up the ambiance and the very engaging staff. The Palms restaurant at the Landings is a total class affair, fabulous food in an amazing setting, complete with piano player, every bit the sophisticated night out, even the 6 year old tackled a huge steak so impressed were we all with the food. The service of course was as always, exceptional as is everything in The Landings experience.
But to experience the real essence of a good local night out, one simply must visit the Friday night street party held at Gros Islet to see the island at it’s best. Local, and tourists, mixing, drinking, eating the freshly barbecued street food. Sink a Rum punch or two or swig on a Piton beer, enjoy the music and entertainment and sample the stalls selling souvenirs and real genuine treasures made by local artists themselves. Sample the realness and the rawness and the simplicity that encapsulates the heat, the spice, the good feeling vibe that is St Lucia. If you’re game, you can always continue the party back in the bars of Rodney Bay after you have sample the delights of Gross Islet. Sample the vibrant Castries market by day to buy your souvenirs and experience local life. Visit some of the historical sites the island has (see tourist board like below), beautiful churches, do not leave without trying and taking home some Chairman’s Reserve or Bounty rum.
St Lucia, oh how we all miss it already, less than a week home in good old blighty, being lashed by winds and rain, battling storm Barney with the threat of snow. Rather than having the sea lap at our feet or listen to waves hitting the shore from the hot tub on the terrace. We, came, we saw but it is we who were well and truly conquered. Totally, utterly captivated and already desperate to see when we can return (clearly video reviews are needed so a return is a must), we admit, we have been absolutely seduced by St Lucia.
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