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Finally, after ten years of talking about and dreaming about St. Lucia, we set off for a belated anniversary trip at the Sandals Regency La Toc Resort. It was as beautiful as we remembered and had a relaxing eight days in paradise.

Airport Arrival & Transportation

Upon arrival in St. Lucia, and after a quick stop through customs, we did get suckered into using the sky caps wearing St. Lucia island branded shirts when they asked if we were there for Sandals. We said yes without thinking. Unless you have many bags, you really do not need these people. Politely decline their services, exit the main doors just behind them and you will immediately see the legit Sandals lounge and employees.

Our reservation was confirmed and we were invited to relax in a nice, air conditioned lounge. We tipped the sky cap for the two small carry on bags he carried from one door to the next for us and took a quick inventory of the lounge. We enjoyed a local Piton beer from a ready tap and some snacks while waiting for our vacation-included transportation to our resort.

In no time, we were off in shared transportation to the resort. The roads are well maintained but very narrow and winding. I suggest anyone that struggles with motion sickness to seek van seats near the front for best viewing and air conditioning. The drive from the main airport, Hewanorra International Airport, to our resort was about 75 minutes.

The resort is as beautiful as the pictures you see in reviews and on the official Sandals website. Sandals proudly offers quality service. We experienced that from the moment we arrived as we were offered cool towels and champagne. Each couple checking in was greeted and guided through the process with individual tablets pre-populated with their reservation confirmation.

We got settled in, enjoyed a tour of the resort and quickly transitioned into relaxation mode. We opted for the Honeymoon Luxury level suite with a tropical view. We don’t typically spend much time in our room so we didn’t find the need to upgrade to a different view, secure concierge services or to secure a butler for our stay.

We had noted on our reservation that we were celebrating our anniversary so we walked in to a room with a little extra something from the resort.

Room Upgrade Options

If you are interested in upgrading your stay, the butler service appeared to go above and beyond. They cared for their assigned clients by reserving beach chairs, managing dinner reservations when needed, and providing individual coolers of water and beer throughout the day. They also can deliver lunch to you by the pool if desired.

Another upgrade option offered is concierge level service. The main thing you get with that is room service, plush robes for duration of the stay, and concierge-booked dinner reservations.

Upgrade or not, be sure to take advantage of the shuttle service offered to guests. Sandals offers to all customers the option to stay at one resort and play at all other resorts. So, in St. Lucia, we stayed at one but played at three resorts. Shuttle service times and routes are published in the lobby of each resort. And they actually ran right on time. Don’t think you can get by on “island time” for this service.

Pool & Beach

For this particular vacation, we chose to forego any excursions or spa experience to enjoy the main pool and beach. There is a second pool area near Armondo’s Italian Restaurant but we did not utilize that pool. At the main pool, the swim up bar was managed well by the bartender and the resort floats were pretty easy to come by when desired. While we did have to arrive fairly early (8am or earlier) to secure a preferred beach chair, we had decent views every day of our eight day stay.

Despite many chairs being reserved by butlers, the staff did go above and beyond to ensure guests were happy. We had two particular encounters that stood out. There were some very strong winds one day early on in our stay which required that all umbrellas be closed. Because of fair, sensitive skin, I am unable to sit in direct sun on an island. A lifeguard went out of his way to create a new place for us under some palm tree shade. And a day or two later, as management was greeting each patron around the pool, I politely asked about the “best view” chairs along the pool that face the beach. I specifically inquired as to if they were set aside for butler patrons only since it seemed near impossible to secure a seat along the beach area. The kind lady from management dismissed the idea and returned a few minutes later to let me know that she had found and made a place for us with a view of the beach and sea. She even had the lifeguard move our umbrella and things to the spot she reserved for us.

View from our chairs

We were also pleasantly surprised at the calm tone of the main pool area, which we prefer. Despite fun music playing in the background and many patrons having polite conversation getting to know each other, the vibe was very calm. This resort was full of honeymooners and couples on anniversary trips. The entertainment team did a great job of offering activities throughout the day but were not pushy or obnoxious about it. It was not a loud active scene as we have experienced at other resorts.

One thing to know about the beaches of St. Lucia is that they are public. There were a few people selling excursions and goods along the beach but were respectful. They were the same sellers each day and recognized most guests. So, after we told them no thank you to a sale, they left us alone. Overall, we enjoyed our lounging time around the pool and beach tremendously. And much of that is due to the higher level of service.

Dining

At our specific resort, there were only two restaurants that required reservations which we acquired quite easily at the dining concierge desk. The lovely lady was also able to make a dinner reservation at the other properties for us as well when needed. We do recommend you do that first thing after check-in or first thing your next morning to ensure you get your best choice of evening, time and restaurant.

Overall, the food was good and we were surprised at how casual you could dress for most of the dinners which is great to help with packing light. Though our particular resort did not have a coffee bar or cafe, the espresso machine was always available with cookies for a quick snack. We definitely enjoyed the pizzeria multiple times throughout our stay and the lunch restaurants were good too. A word of warning for the hot sauce that is readily available at all restaurants. The primary heat source for spice on the island comes from a scotch bonnet pepper which is pretty much like a habanero pepper. We tend to like spicy food and this sauce was almost too much for us to handle.

For dinner, we tried almost all of our options. The two restaurants for which we needed a reservation to try were Kimonos, your typical hibachi dinner, and La Toc for a nice French dinner experience. We also enjoyed local Caribbean fare at The Pitons Restaurant despite the slow pace to the meal (two hours total). They were all good, but our favorite dining experiences were at Armondo’s for Italian and Kelly’s Dockside at Sandals Halcyon Beach for steak and seafood. Kelly’s is a perfect spot to watch the sun set as you dine if you can get an early reservation.

One great benefit of an all-inclusive resort is the opportunity to try new drinks. The daily drink special at the swim up bar seemed to taste very similar day to day. However, each restaurant also has a signature drink of the day and those were both intersting and fun to try. For example, at Kelly’s Dockside, we got to try a spicy watermelon margarita that was fantastic.

Entertainment

Each evening, the resort’s entertainment team had a different themed event. We enjoyed a chocolate buffet with chocolate martinis on white night, watched limbo dancers at the beach party, danced to reggae music, and learned a bit of the islands culture on St. Lucia night. The live music didn’t disappoint.

While we did not take advantage of it, the Sandals Regency La Toc does have a 9-hole golf course on property. Green fees are waived but there is a mandatory cart rental. They also have clubs available for rent if needed.

It is beautiful enough that you don’t even have to explore the island but there are great options at reasonable prices if you decide to be adventurous. We spoke with many people that went on excursions that felt it was worth their time and money. A couple of excursion examples:

  • Zip lining adventure that has 10+ lines to ride
  • Full day event that goes to a volcano and includes a mud bath

Sandals Resort Loyalty Benefits

We visited with the team in the Loyalty and Travel Desk. We did sign up for their rewards program at no charge and was able to start accumulating points towards a free stay. You can earn a free week after 70 paid nights. Similar to the cruise industry, the Sandals Loyalty desk also has an offer while on property to put down a deposit for a future trip to secure extra savings not available to the public. This is a great program if you plan to visit many Sandals resorts in the future.

Final Thoughts

We really enjoyed our eight days in St. Lucia and at a Sandals resort. The tropical climate was tolerable with only one afternoon that was solid rain. We enjoyed a board game borrowed from the entertainment team that afternoon to pass the time.

The gentleman in charge of final departures gave us a nice surprise with a private transfer back to the airport rather than the group shuttle. And our driver was great, too. In making small talk, the driver learned that we chose to not take any excursions and he wanted to be sure we got another great view of something besides the beach from our resort. He made a quick stop at the Dennery Lookout for us to snap a quick picture and enjoy the island a few minutes longer.

Dennery Lookout, St. Lucia

We have stayed at many all-inclusive resorts and the service we received at Sandals is a step above. While it is a bit more expensive than other brands, we would definitely consider a stay at another Sandals resort in the future.

Want to experience the Sandals service? Book a free call today to start planning your next adventure.

Dell Adventures Travel Agency
PO Box 3651, Grapevine, TX 76051

817-291-7841

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