We recently returned from vacation at Sandals in St. Lucia. Thankfully, it was less eventful than our previous trip this year. All our flights were on time (or early). It has been a long time since we’ve had a trip without any travel shenanigans.
We spent 5 nights at Sandals Regency La Toc in St. Lucia. We would have preferred to stay a couple nights longer, but when we booked there was no availability for a stay any longer in the room categories we were interested in. This time we booked a beachfront junior suite with balcony. And similar to our Sandals stays in Montego Bay, Jamaica and in Barbados, at Sandals resorts in St. Lucia you have access to the other Sandals resorts on the island (Sandals Grande St. Lucian & Sandals Halcyon Beach). Here is how it went:
- 10/29 – Flights to St. Lucia: Our flights to St. Lucia were uneventful. We even had an empty middle seat on the ATL to UVF flight, which allowed us to spread out and get comfortable. During our trip in August we had a snafu during arrival process in Barbados that required us to quarantine for almost 24 hours. They didn’t like that CVS had us self-swab for our COVID tests. To prevent that this time, we got our tests at the health department where the tests are performed and swabbed by medical professionals. Ironically, during arrival processing in St. Lucia they didn’t even ask if the test was self-swabbed or performed by a professional. Anyway, no quarantine was required so we were happy about that. On the other hand, one minor point of irritation was the transfer from the airport to the resort. For our stays at Sandals in Barbados and Montego Bay, the transfer was maybe 15 minutes as the resorts were very close to the airport. Well, the international airport in St. Lucia is on the other side of the island from the resorts, so the transfer took 60-75 minutes. But everything was great once we finally arrived at the resort.
- 10/30 & 10/31 – Relaxing Days at Sandals Regency La Toc: The first two days we stayed entirely at La Toc without visiting the other resorts. After breakfast each day, we spent our mornings at the beach. We had lunch at one of the beach side restaurants and spent the afternoons at the pool. In the early evening, we had dinner at one of the many restaurants at the resort. Speaking of evenings, St. Lucia also has the whistling frogs that we first encountered in Barbados (see this post for the video from the Barbados trip).
- 11/01 – Visit to Sandals Grande St. Lucian: On the last two full days of our stay we decided to visit the other Sandals resorts on the island. We loved this feature when we stayed at Sandals in Montego Bay in 2016. You could take a shuttle and spend the entire day at one of the other resorts and even eat at one of the restaurants at the other resorts in the evening. Sandals’ marketing information calls this “Stay at 1, Play at 3”. In Barbados, the two resorts are literally next door, so no shuttle was needed. Given the great experience we had with this in Montego Bay, I was surprised to learn that the earliest shuttles between resorts in St. Lucia started at 12pm each day. For people like us that prefer early dinner reservations, this limits the time you can spend at the other resort. At first, I thought this was just specific to the St. Lucia resorts. But I later found this page on the Sandals website explaining that the shuttle scheduling was due to COVID and curfew restrictions. Really? You already require that all guests using the shuttle be vaccinated. What does it really impact what time that fully vaccinated people move between resorts? You really can’t start that shuttle service at 8am or 9am or even 10am? The people being shuttled are still vaccinated at those times. COVID doesn’t magically go to bed at 11:59am. This kind of policy really diminishes the utility of the “Stay at 1, Play at 3” feature. This feature is why we chose to stay at Sandals each time. Anyway, we spent the morning on the beach at La Toc and then took the shuttle at noon to Sandals Grande St. Lucian. Another complicating factor on this day was that there were two cruise ships in port. We’re guessing this added extra traffic on the island and so what should have taken us 30 minutes to get to the other resort ended up taking a little more than an hour, further limiting our time at the resort. We enjoyed the time we were able to spend there, but I would have preferred to be there the whole day.
- 11/02 – Visit to Sandals Halcyon Beach: After spending the morning at La Toc, we took the shuttle to Sandals Halcyon Beach at noon. The traffic was much better, so the shuttle only took about 15-20 minutes. Halcyon is the smallest of the three Sandals resorts on St. Lucia. But it was also the least crowded. We had a relaxing afternoon before returning to La Toc. After dinner that night, we watched on TV as the Atlanta Braves become World Series Champions!
- 11/03 – Flights Home: We checked out of our room and waited for our transfer to the airport.
Compared to the miscommunication and poor execution we experienced at Sandals Barbados, the departure process at La Toc was much better. The transfer dropped us off at the airport and our flights were completed without any drama.
In contrast to our previous trip, we’re happy to have had a much less stressful trip this time. Anyway, I’ll post the link to the pictures once I’ve finished processing them.