I’ve never been to an all-inclusive resort before. In fairness, I’ve never really considered them when looking for a vacation. I think a few things had kept me from keeping them top of mind:
1. I didn’t think I could afford one
2. I love exploring “local” and I didn’t think I could get anything local out of it
We still actually weren’t considering our next trip – let alone an all-inclusive resort – when we booked this. We were gearing up to go to Iceland when some close friends announced they were getting married in St. Lucia at Regency La Toc in March… and would we consider joining them?
We sprang into action since it was Black Friday and there were some deals on the rooms. Did you know you can fly direct from Charlotte to St. Lucia? Well now you do. Keep in mind though, those flights are pricey! $$$$ We were fortunate enough to have points that almost had us totally covered to go direct so that wasn’t a huge impediment. We basically booked everything and let it go to the back of our minds since Iceland was approaching.
Fast forward and it was time for St. Lucia. Seriously…felt as if no time had passed at all. And the weather in Charlotte wasn’t feeling like spring was coming. Needless to say, I was extremely excited for 80 degrees and sunshine.
First of all, that plane ride is forever! And there weren’t many people on it. However, when landing in St. Lucia, we landed with three other planes. Customs there is tiny and while our friends were lucky enough to speed right through, it took us about an hour of just standing. The process was relatively quick once you got up to the window though, which was nice. We then went back to the Sandals waiting area where they had light refreshments and chairs. In no time, we boarded the bus that was taking us the hour to the resort. We stopped once along the way to take in the beautiful view.
And then we got to the resort. Let’s walk through what I liked and didn’t like – some of this is specific to the resort and some of it is a little bit more general:
What I liked:
• A super chill and mostly quiet environment.
Wow. I really didn’t realize the extent of calm the resort offered until we went back to the airport to return. At the airport for the return I remembered that children exist. I’m not even kidding, I totally didn’t notice until I saw them again.
• The beach access.
I’m not huge on beach life. Sand isn’t my best friend. But being so close to the water meant you always had an awesome view of the ocean and constant waves crashing.
• Swim up bars.
It’s just the way to live life. Sit in the pool. Drink. Use a floaty to keep your drink buoyant. Who needs a regular bar?
• Constant activities.
We really weren’t there long enough to take in everything there was to do. Almost everyone we met was there for at least a week and regardless if you were there relaxing for an event or there on your honeymoon, there were a ton of extra activities you could do. Because most of them took a good portion of a day, we didn’t really get into the swing of them.
• Weddings are what they do.
And I think it made things as easy as they could be. I can’t speak for the bride, but they appeared to make sure she had what she needed and when. They always knew the bride and groom, too, so if we went to dinner somewhere, they checked in to make sure everything was as it should be. Happy wife, happy life!
What I didn’t like:
• Our AC was terrible.
I know what you’re thinking. Island life is the good life and AC shouldn’t be expected. Sure, I was on that train. Until we went into our friends’ room – that was newly remodeled – and had amazing AC. We didn’t complain because we were there for such a short time, but it was a bummer.
• The pools aren’t open that much.
My thoughts on this may be skewed since I lived in a state where pools are almost always open, but the pools were closed as soon as the sun was setting. But that’s a miss to me – the weather was beautiful and sometimes a night soak is even better than a day time one. And the bars opened even later than the pool did so…
• There actually isn’t quite as much access to food and drink as I expected
Sure you can eat and drink all you want… assuming the bars and restaurants are open. And to be frank, the hours were kind of weird. You had to keep track of what was open and what wasn’t. They also didn’t have a room service menu in our room, so we didn’t get to take advantage of that either. More than that, I thought most of the food was just okay.
• The ceiling leaked in our bathroom.
On the day of the wedding we came back to get ready for dinner and there was water everywhere in our bathroom. I look up, and sure enough it’s clearly leaked there before. The most concerning part was that the water was streaming down from the light – yikes! We told the front desk and while we were at the dinner they patched it. Sure enough, they next morning, it was leaking again. Since were leaving that morning, we just packed up and left. I was really frustrated though. We paid enough money to go there that expected more than a leaking ceiling. More than that, I expected more to be resolved than just patching it and not following up with us. I was disappointed in the extra communication efforts.
So that leads to the ultimate question:
Would I do it again?
Yes. I would. Probably on a different island.
And honestly, maybe with a different resort
company. I’d need to experience it with
someone other than Sandals to see if what I
didn’t like was because of the company in
Regardless, the wedding was awesome. The
views were amazing. And I had some stellar
company. That’s all that really mattered.