All the right ingredients

Choosing the right honeymoon destination can be difficult…especially when you have to take into account special needs, like a serious food allergy. When I met with these lovebirds, we quickly focused in on all-inclusive resorts, in  English-speaking destinations (no risk of mis-translating a menu), with lots of restaurants to choose from, and plenty of hand-holding from attentive staff (can’t get much better than a dedicated butler!)  From the post-trip email I just received, it sounds like we made the right choice. Sandals La Toc in Saint Lucia had all the right ingredients for the perfect honeymoon 🙂


We are SO sorry we have taken so long to get back to you – it’s been quite the whirlwind getting back to the real world! But, we’d love to share our thoughts about the honeymoon.

First of all, thank you so much for all your help. We absolutely loved our honeymoon. Sandals Regency La Toc ended up being the perfect place for us in every way. Our room was wonderful – very spacious and comfortable, and remarkably quiet. We were so impressed by the lack of noise from neighbors, which led to us feeling like we had a much more private bungalow, rather than a room in a block. Also, we were indeed upgraded to a room with a sunset view, and WOW was it amazing! Every night, we had the most spectacular sunset view from any window in our room, as well as the balcony.

sunset over the ocean at Sandals Regency La Toc resort

The resort itself ended up being a perfect fit for us. We spent most of our time in the Sunset Bluff area. We loved the pool up there and preferred it to the main pool (much quieter and less crowded). We also rented cabanas twice on the beach, which was such a special, wonderful treat. We thought the landscaping was beautiful, and we loved the hilly nature of the property. It made it feel quite spacious and quaint all at the same time. We also liked that there were a variety of ages, from newlyweds in their 20s to older couples in their 60s and up. We weren’t really sure what to expect in that arena, but we felt very comfortable right in the mix with everyone else. We did notice that the Sunset Bluff area skewed a bit older, which we liked, whereas the main resort area had many more young couples.

firepit and couches look out over the ocean in st. lucia

As for the food at La Toc, our favorite restaurant far and away was Armando’s. We found the food to be phenomenal and on par with some of the best Italian food we’ve had elsewhere. We really enjoyed the rest of the restaurants as well, but none of them compared to Armando’s in our opinion. The main buffet was spectacular for breakfast, though we didn’t visit it for any other meal. Also, I felt like my food allergies were handled as well as, if not better than, they would have been in the US, which made me very happy!

We were really glad we chose to have butler service, though we did experience a little bit of nervousness about how to best handle tipping. We ended up having 4 different butlers throughout the week, and we never were sure when we would see someone for the last time, or when it would be appropriate to tip them. We saw other guests tipping per service (as in, cash in hand for a ride down the hill), but we weren’t really prepared to do that nor did we want to carry cash around all week. We ended up giving envelopes for all our butlers to our final butler at the end of the week (some advice we received from another couple who were Sandals pros), but it left us wondering if we would have received more attentive service had we been tipping throughout. We had one stellar butler (Tana), and the rest were pretty mediocre, and we weren’t sure if we would have had more responsive service had we been tipping throughout the week. I think, should we go back to a Sandals, we would probably come better equipped to tip throughout if needed.

a view down the sandy beach with beach-side cabanas in St. Lucia

While we were there, we did visit both Halcyon and the Grande and were really glad we did! We totally understood what you said about Halcyon having the more traditional Caribbean vibe. It was so relaxed, and everyone was congregating in the middle at night, even swimming at night in the middle of a torrential downpour. We loved eating at Kelly’s and visiting, though we were glad we stayed at La Toc in the end (we enjoyed having a little more space from the main entertainment area than would have been possible at Halcyon). The Grande was amazing – we had no idea how glitzy it would feel in comparison to La Toc! We didn’t spend too much time there, but we really loved eating at Gordon’s, and we definitely would consider returning to the Grande at some point for a visit. That said, we still really felt great about our decision to stay at La Toc. It felt more secluded and quiet than the other two, which really was the perfect speed for us.

breakfast from a balcony that looks out over the ocean Sandals La Toc St. Lucia

We didn’t do any excursions because we were so tired, but we would consider them on a return trip. We just stayed by the pool and beach and were very happy. It really was a wonderful honeymoon, and we would love to have the chance to go back to the Caribbean sometime. If we were to go back to St. Lucia (which was stunning and beautiful!), we would probably try to split our time between La Toc and the Grande in terms of a stay. We’d be curious to try out the Grande, but would definitely want to go back to the Sunset Bluff area of La Toc.

Thank you again for all your help – it was a magical, wonderful vacation!

– S&J

Once you go “butler”, you’ll never go back!

Clients often question whether they would want or need the butler service that comes with the higher-level suites at Sandals resorts, and I explain that it’s not something you “need”….but that once you experience it you will want to bring your butler home with you!  Honeymooners Dana and Kevin just returned from a romantic honeymoon at the Sandals Grande Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and they did a fantastic job of describing exactly what their butlers did to make their trip so memorable:

Hi Ann

So sorry I’m just now getting back to you! We bought a house right before we left for Jamaica so we’v  e been caught up in moving madness. But we had the BEST time! The resort was amazing and so beautiful. And our room [Butler Village Honeymoon Romeo & Juliet Sanctuary One Bedroom Villa With Private Pool] was beyond incredible.

Dana Rebel 3
When we got to the resort on the first day, they brought us into the Butler’s Lounge and set us up with some rum punch while our butler took care of checking us in, getting our room key and setting up a charge-to-the-room account. When that was all set, our butler drove us up the hill on her golf cart to our room and gave us the grand tour. It was amazing! When we walked in the door, we were in an open-air courtyard with a private jacuzzi, pool (complete with a waterfall and floats), lounge chairs and an outdoor shower. To the right  was our living area with a couch, tv, table and a fully stocked bar with everything we could imagine. The resort also had a bottle of champagne on ice, ready for us to toast. To the left of the courtyard was our room, which had two sets of doors. We could literally open one of the sets and step straight into the jacuzzi if we wanted. The bedroom was so comfortable and the bathroom was beautiful. Our butler gave us all the information we would need to know what was going on, and gave us a cell phone so we could call her at any time. And best of all, when we went out to get some dinner, our butler had our luggage brought up and unpacked everything SO nicely!

We had two butlers, Josie and Christa, and they were both wonderful. We are pretty independent people, which I think they picked up on, so they did their best to get us to ask for things. They would call each morning to check in and see what we wanted for breakfast. When we were done lounging (we liked to start the day by having breakfast in the room and floating around our pool with a mimosa) they would drive up and pick us up to take us to whichever part of the resort we wanted. During the day, they would find us and surprise us with specialty cocktails, snacks, coconut shrimp platters – basically everything we wanted without knowing we wanted it. They would also set up surprises for us in our room while we were out and about. Anything from flower petals on the bed and towel animals to special baths, romantic set-ups in the courtyard, and surprise cakes made to celebrate our honeymoon. They also took care of making reservations at any restaurant we wanted for dinner, and always managed to get us set up with whatever table had the best view. They would even take care of errands for us, and always found a way to go above and beyond. One night I bought a watch in the jewelry store for my husband’s birthday and asked our butler if she could pick it up for me while we went to dinner. When we got back to our room, she had it gift-wrapped and presented nicely on the bureau, with receipts tucked away in an envelope next to my purse in the closet.

Dana Rebel 1

The resort itself had so much to do. It had two sides – the garden/hill side (which our room was on) and the beach side. The hillside had a GIANT pool with swim-up bar and a couple of restaurants and bars. It also had a basketball court, shuffle board, life-size chess, and ping pong to play whenever we felt like it. There was also a gift shop next to the hotel lobby that had a lot of great stuff (we bought a lot of souvenirs :)) When we wanted to go to the beach side (which is where we spent most of our time during the day), there was a shuttle that ran every few minutes from the lobby on our side. It was only a couple of minutes at most for the shuttle ride – it just took us down the hill and across the street. There was everything you could imagine on the beach side. Two pools with swim-up bars, tons of other smaller pools and jacuzzis, a dozen restaurants and bars, several beach spots and tons of activities. We were able to go snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and aqua triking.

The restaurants had some of the best food I have ever had! We always ordered room service breakfast (I’m still craving those omelets), tried out a casual place for lunch and then dressed up for dinner. The buffet-style lunches were delicious, but my favorite was Bella Napoli pizza next to the Amphitheater swim-up bar. By far the greatest pizza I have ever had. We got the seafood pizza, and the guy who made it made it in the shape of a heart after asking if we were on our honeymoon. And, we were able to enjoy it in the pool at the bar. Awesome! Every dinner we had (aside from the sushi, which put all other sushi I’ve had to shame) was either four or five courses of amazing. No description I could use would do it justice, but I’ve never had fresher seafood or more perfectly cooked steaks.

The bars were a lot of fun and there was always something different to try at night. During the day, we loved soaking up the sun and enjoying the pool bars. The bartenders were all really personable and fun, and everyone had a signature drink. We’d order what we wanted from time to time, but more often than not, we’d end up getting an amazing drink just by telling the bartender to surprise us.

We went on two excursions: the Dunn’s River Falls Catamaran/Party Boat Ride and the Mystic Mountain Ziplining and Bobsledding. Both AMAZING, but the river falls was definitely our favorite. We took a catamaran out and they anchored so we could snorkel. WAY cooler fish than the free trip we took from the resort (even though we still enjoyed that one). Then, they took us to the falls. Climbing it was so much fun and the guides did a great job! Then, on the way back, they cranked the music on the boat and opened up the bar for a full-on party on the hour back to the resort. Such a blast!

Dana Rebel 2

Overall, it was amazing and we wish we didn’t have to leave! Everyone we encountered was amazing at their job, wicked friendly and beyond willing to do anything you might need. We couldn’t have had a better time. It was the perfect combination of fun, romantic and relaxing. The only recommendation I would have is for the resort to have a checklist on the website for scuba diving requirements. We knew we would have to get certified, but I am asthmatic and didn’t know I’d need a note from my doctor clearing me to sign up. Completely understandable, but I wish we would have known before we left so we could have (hopefully) gone. They did have a system in place where you could fill out a form to fax to your doctor to get approval, but I don’t have a general practitioner here yet that would be familiar enough with my condition to approve anything without seeing me first. Otherwise, there wasn’t a hiccup!

Sorry for writing a book, but I figured too much detail was better than not enough :). We are thinking of doing a cruise for our anniversary next year, so we will definitely be contacting you for help with that. Thanks so much for making our trip easy on us!



You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)