Is there anything better than hearing from a client who LOVED their honeymoon? How about one who takes the time to write and share a lengthy, detailed review about the experience?! Thank you Kristen (and Chris). I know my other honeymooners are going to love this:
My husband Chris and I had an amazing time on our honeymoon in St. Lucia!! We stayed at two different Sandals resorts – the Sandals Grande and La Toc. There are three total Sandals in St. Lucia (the third is Halcyon Beach), and Sandals provides free shuttles to all the locations so you can go to different restaurants, try out the different beaches, and explore the other resorts.
Overall, I liked the Sandals Grande the best. Everything was all in the same area – you walked out of the lounge and you had the 3 different pools, beach, and restaurants all close together and easy to walk to. This resort had a younger, rowdier crowd. The main pool would get pretty crowded during the day, so we ended up walking about 200 feet to the “quiet” pool which was nice. Sandals Grande also seemed to have the best beach, with a dock that went out into the ocean so you could sit in lounge chairs overlooking the water.
Chris overall liked La Toc better, he thought the restaurants were nicer. La Toc is very spread out though – we had a butler service when we stayed there, and they drove us around on golf carts to get to places (really convenient). We visited Haylcon Beach twice for dinner, and it was very nice, but seemed quieter and smaller than the other two resorts from our brief impression.
We left Boston very early Monday, took a flight to JFK, and then to St. Lucia. When on the flight to St. Lucia you will have to fill out a form to bring to customs – bring a pen on the plane with you!! They don’t give you a pen on the plane.
When you get to the small St. Lucia airport, you wait a little to go through customs, and then you go toward the “Sandals Lounge”. This part was a little hectic – someone came up to me and told me to wait in line with the other women who had just arrived, and they told Chris to follow him with the luggage. Turns out the women waited in line to check in while the men took the luggage and waited in the lounge to board the shuttles to go to the various resorts, but without any explanation it was a bit confusing.
There is an option to take a 15-20 minute helicopter ride to the resort instead of the hour and a half ride. We had thought of doing this for the trip home, but it was going to be an extra $35 taxi ride on top of the $165 per person cost. We didn’t look into it because we put our money towards another excursion instead.
The shuttle ride itself I had read about online from other travelers. It wasn’t as bad as everyone said it was, but it was bumpy. There are no real speed limits in St. Lucia and the roads are very narrow and windy, and people pass each other erratically and at any time. So it wasn’t the best hour and a half of our lives, but they did have air conditioning.
Prior to arrival, we had e-mailed a copy of our wedding invite in order to get the “honeymoon” deals (aka a bottle of champagne in your room). When we got to the resort our room wasn’t ready yet, so they brought us to the Sandals Lounge where they offered us drinks and snacks. The room was normal sized, not really big or small, but only had 2 USA power outlets for phones, etc.
Advice: They have an orientation the next day where you can go over booking everything, but if you don’t want to wait in the long lines while everyone else books, come back and book your restaurants and excursions that first night. If you don’t have a butler you need to make all the reservations yourself. Some restaurants require reservations (Tuscanini’s at the Grande, Kimono’s at the Haylcon and at La Toc, Kelly’s at Haylcon Beach) so you might as well make them the first night you’re there to beat the rush and make sure you get reservations.
You can also book your excursions at the Lounge, too. But for the water sports and snorkeling you have to make reservations at the area on the beach. I’d recommend trying to book snorkeling early – there was about a 1 day wait time.
After we booked a few things (including a couples massage since we had free credit when we booked), we hung out at the pool, grabbed food, and took in the beautiful St. Lucia views 🙂
We woke up early Tuesday and went to orientation to learn more about the resort. Then we went to the beach. It’s so nice that you just walk out and the beach is there! One annoying thing is that there are plenty of people trying to sell you tours and souvenirs on the beach. One tip is to not walk on the beach if you do not want to get nagged about tours from people outside Sandals. It was the worst at the Grande. We preferred going to the pool over the beach for this reason.
My husband and I knew we wanted to do a tour of the island, and had looked at a few different tours online. There are TONS – Joe Know St. Lucia, Charlie’s Tours/Ocean Angels, Spencer Tours, Exxodos Tours, etc. Charlie from Charlie’s Tours/Ocean Angels (two names for the same company) ended up stopping us on the beach, and was selling his tour which included a boat tour, visit to the mineral springs, mud baths, lunch at a local place, snorkeling, and other sightseeing. We also asked if we could do zip lining, and he added that in. If you want to zipline, definitely bring it up.
The cost originally was $200 a person, but we were able to haggle. MAKE SURE YOU HAGGLE!! Also bring cash. Charlie took cash or credit cards, but we felt more comfortable giving cash. We paid a $100 deposit, and then were told to bring the rest of the money tomorrow.
The rest of the day we spent hanging out at the pools. We grabbed lunch at the creperie/pizza place. If you go there, make sure to get a milkshake (not listed on the menu)! And ask for ice cream with your crepe 🙂
There was a cocktail night in the Sandals Lounge, so we went to that which was fun. The Sandals lounge has a few events going on during the week, so be sure to take advantage of them.
Wednesday morning we went to the dock to go on our Charlie’s Tour. Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen – it’s over $20 a bottle at the resort if you forget.
The tour was AMAZING! I’d highly recommend it. Charlie had told us there would be 2-3 couples max, but when we got there that morning there was about 6 couples on the boat, 12 people total. However we ended up seeing a Joe Knows tour while we were out, and there were about 30 people crammed onto a really tiny boat. We heard from other people that that tour gets really crowded, so we were happy to be in a smaller group. Our tour guide was Garth (like Garth Brooks) and he was great.
The day started off with a boat ride and sightseeing on the water. Then us and another couple got off the boat to go ziplining which was awesome. I had never ziplined before and it was scary at first but then once you did the first one it was fine. After that we met back up with the rest of the group and went to the mineral springs, the volcano for a mud bath, lunch, and finished the tour with snorkeling. It was beautiful and well worth the money. We got to do everything we wanted on the island in one tour instead of paying through Sandals to do several excursions.
One thing to note is when you go to the mud baths, they make you get into this water first which is SO HOT!! It must have been over 100 degrees since it’s coming right from the volcano. Then after you put mud on, you have to go back into the water to wash it off. I recommend not putting too much mud on your face since you have to wash it back off in the really hot water 🙂
They had a “honeymooners” event on the beach that night with appetizers and drinks. There are a lot of events going on during the day and evening (volleyball, pool tournaments, etc.) which was fun. Then we went to check out Haylcon beach for dinner. We couldn’t get into Kelly’s dockside (you need to get there right at 6 to get in) so we went to another place.
This was our last night at the Grande, so we spent the day at the pool and tried kayaking. We had a couples massage done which was so relaxing. The only annoying thing is at the end of the massage they try to sell you a bunch of lotions and other stuff. Overall that was the most annoying part of the trip – all of the pushing for selling – additional trips in the future, photos from dinner (a guy takes a photo of you and they have a shop to see the photos), scuba diving, zip lining, horseback riding, etc.
A few people we met walked up a mountain trail near the Grande for $7 each, but neither of us are big hikers so we opted to hang out in the pool. At night there was another cocktail night in the lounge, which was fun. Then we had reservations at Toscanini’s which was yummy Italian food.
We checked out and transferred to La Toc. At La Toc we had the butler service, so we met our butler and he went through everything he had already booked for us. Advice: Ask for menus to all the restaurants! Then you can order take out at any time and know exactly what you want. The room was nice but was set up awkwardly – bed post was blocking TV, full size mirror in front of bed, bathroom was small but had more US power outlets then the other resort!
We went to the water sports area and booked snorkeling for the next day. That night there was a Friday Night Street party where they had a bunch of local food.
We hung out at the pool, grabbed lunch, and then went snorkeling. The water is so beautiful and clear!
That night we took the shuttle to our reservations at Kelly’s Dockside at Halcyon Beach. The reservation was at 6:30 when the restaurant opens, but you need to get there by like 6:15 to get a seat. It didn’t even seem to matter that we had reservations, they just seated everyone who had been waiting. So if you want to go there, make sure to get there early. Also be sure to review the restaurant dress codes – Kelly’s was a fancier restaurant with a specific dress code. All the dress codes are listed online.
We had another excursion/spa credit at La Toc, so we spent it on a horseback riding excursion. This was my favorite part of the trip. We set it up the day we got to La Toc because they only do certain excursions on specific days, so if there is something you want to do, sign up early so you are able to do it! We went through a few trails, and then stopped to go in the water with the horses. It was so cool. If you are not an experienced rider, make sure you make that clear with the employees so they can pair you up with a horse that’s less challenging.
We had hibachi dinner that night at Kimono’s. The food was delicious.
We got some pool time in in the morning, then it started downpouring. June – November is the rainy season, but most days there’s just a quick shower that clears up. We went to dinner at the Pitons restaurant, and the service was extremely slow. It took over an hour to get our food.
We checked out and left early. The ride back felt a little worse than the ride there since we were leaving the beautiful St. Lucia!
The sun sets really early in St. Lucia. It had set by 6:30 pm every day.
The wifi is awful in the rooms, not like it is slow awful, like you are using DSL modem back in 1995 awful and spotty, but you get very decent service by the pools and in the lobby areas
We brought $460 cash on us, and spent exactly that in cash. You can charge anything extra you buy at Sandals (we just bought some souvenirs and also paid a slight different for our massage because our credit wasn’t enough). We didn’t realize we’d be buying a tour in cash, so that’s where the majority of our money went to. Then we bought a few souvenirs when on our excursions. But while Sandals does not accept tips, everyone else pretty much looks for them (ex: external excursions) so bring a few singles with you. For example, when we arrived at the airport to leave, someone rushed over, grabbed our bags and rolled them the 50 or so feet inside the airport (something we easily would have done ourselves), and then stood there with their hand out asking for a tip. Also at Sandals if you have the butler service, you can tip them on your credit card when you check out. We read online that most people tip each butler (we had 2) about $20 a day depending on the service.
La Toc has golf, but it’s extremely expensive if you don’t bring your own clubs.
There are stray cats everywhere, but they are very friendly.
My husband liked to time all the restaurants, so here are some expectations on time to get foodBayside Dinner @ Halycon -27 min
- Pizza and Crepe @ Grande – 10-15 min
- Bayside Dinner @ Grande – 25 min
- French food – get the onion soup – yum!
Tuscanini Dinner @ Grande – 20 min
Regency @ La Toc – 9 min app and 20 min meal
Armandos @ La Toc – 25 min
Kelly’s Dockside @ Halycn – 27 min
Pitons @ La Toc – 23 min app, 55 min meal
Make sure you get your credit for staying at the resorts and don’t forget you can use it for massages and other activities (we had $160 credit at both places and used it for the massages and horseback riding).
Ladies – definitely bring a cover up for your bathing suit! I bought one at Target before going to St. Lucia and ended up wearing it every day. You can just throw it on after lounging by the pool and then go to the restaurants which is nice.
Enjoy your time together!! St. Lucia is beautiful and full of lots of honeymooners, so you will have a great time. And make sure to put on your sunscreen – the sun is strong there!