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jennh34 Mar 12th, 2005 12:46 PM

St Lucia Honeymoon-HELP
 
Message: My fiance just booked our honeymoon at the Sandals Regency in St. Lucia. I'm a nervous wreck about it after reading all the the negative reviews on tripadvisor. We booked through a travel agent and I'm not sure what my options are at this point but at the very least I'm considering changing to the Sandal Grand. Is there anyone who has stayed at both who can offer some advice? I'm also considering changing completely to the Jalousie Hilton or Ladera (if possible). Any advise would be great. Thanks.

ejcrowe Mar 13th, 2005 06:03 AM

Personally, I think it's a shame to visit St. Lucia and stay on the northern end of the island where all of the mega resorts like the 3 Sandals are. But I should also warn you that I am definitely NOT a Sandals fan, or a fan of AI in general, so read my words with as many grains of salt as you please. :)

Lots of people book honeymoons with Sandals because they either don't have a lot of time to do research on their own, or they're relataively inexperienced travel-wise. It's easy to fall for the air-brushed, picture-perfect Sandals brochures if you don't have something real to compare it to.

If you want more of a traditional resort atmosphere, you can't do better on St. Lucia than the Jalousie Hilton. It's in a spectacular setting, its rooms are large and in detached cottages with their own private plunge pools, you've got watersports, a spa, hiking, etc all on site. You also have air conditioning, which many people consider a necessity. It's a fairly well-run large resort (I think 111 rooms) in a very romantic and secluded setting. You won't go hungry with the food options there, but the food is definitely outclassed by the setting.

If you want something beyond the traditional resort, you should definitely consider Ladera and Anse Chastenet. Ladera is set high on the hillside about the Jalousie, so the immeediate drawback is that it's not situated on a beach. (They provide a shuttle to one, however.) It's small, intimate, romantic, and with really drop dead gorgeous views. The rooms are open on one full side to take in the panorama of the Pitons and the sea below. Many (possibly all) of the rooms have private plunge pools. The food at their restaurant, Dasheene, is really good. This place is not for everybody, however, so before you book it you need to evaluate what precisely you want for your honeymoon.

Anse Chastenet is somewhere in between Jalousie and Ladera. It's a larger resort, set both on the beach and up the hillside. It's also in a beautiful setting, very lush and tropical, but just slightly less stunning than Jalousie and Ladera. Some rooms are on the beach and their best rooms are higher on the hill and like Ladera, they are missing a wall and open to the panorama of the Pitons, but a slightly farther distace.

An ideal vacation for my husband and me would be to combine a few nights at Ladera with a few nights at Jalousie--we would love to stay at Ladera for a few nights while exploring the island and then have a few days of being beach bums at Jalousie.

Another option to consider is the Ti Kaye Village, which probably offers the best value of any of these resorts. It's situated midway along the coast between the northern and southern parts of the island. It's smaller in size, offers free-standing cottages, optional a/c, has stairs down to a lovely beach, its restaurant gets raves, open garden shwoers, and some rooms have a private plunge pool.

I think any of these would provide a MUCH better honeymoon than a Sandals any day of the week. Anse, Ti Kaye and Ladera also offer a much more original experience.

If you're feeling nervous, ask your travel agent to switch bookings for you. If you went to her/him with no real idea of what you wanted in mind, it's possible that s/he recommended the Sandals Regency solely because of the commission Sandals gives travel agents. It's your honeymoon, so you owe it to yourself to do as much research as possible to make it as wonderful and memorable as possible. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

KVR Mar 13th, 2005 07:24 AM

We are in the process of booking the Regency for Nov. We've previously stayed at Sandals Royal Bahamian in the Bahamas and loved it. It is not our tradition of staying at resorts like Sandals as we prefer the lower end AI's. We've been to Mexico several times and a few select places in the Caribbean. With a trip planned to St. Thomas in May. One thing I don't like about Sandals is their room catagories. They are too expensive and you get a lot of nothing for a big price. We are an AI fan and try only to go AI whenever possible.

As for reviews on Trip Advisor. I've read so many that are just down right picky and high maintenance. Weed through the actual complaints and then ask yourself if what they complained about would really bother you. In our case most wouldn't.

One thing about the Regency, if you are going for a great beach, then you might not want to stay there. We absolutely loved the pool at SRB and are going to the Regency for the pool and the dining choices. It all depends on what you are looking for in your vacation/honeymoon.

I have pics of SRB on our web-site if interested. You can compare real pictures to the so-call air brushed ones in the Sandals brochure. Also is you go to Sandals web-site they have 360 pics and a movie brochure of all there resorts.

I also use the Fun Jet web-site as they have pics and 360 views of several hotels. On the home page click "destinations".

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn

sailor Mar 13th, 2005 11:05 AM

jennh34,

We stayed, at Ladera, the Jalousie Hilton located below Ladera,stayed at Sandals Halcyon, visited the Sandals Regency and visited the Sandals Grande (Hyatt at the time) and spent the day at Anse Chastenet.

I can't agree more, with everything that ejcrowe, stated in her post! She has done a fine job in her synopsis of each resort. Ladera, Jalousie, Anse Chastenet and Ti Kaye, and her ideas, of the Sandals resorts on the island. It, really is to your benefit to do your research (and read the reviews !!!) about each of these different resorts and locations in St.Lucia.

I have been following the reviews of each of these resorts, and all of the Sandals resorts on the island, since our trip to St.Lucia in 2001. I do agree that some reviewers can be of the most critical of types, but I can say when resorts SCREAM DO NOT go there, you must take warning and sort through, what this is all about. It is extremely important, if you have not been to a Sandals or any other all-inclusive chain resort.


I certainly appreciate and understand more now, of why some really love and praise the Sandals resorts. They are worthy of what they are, IMPO, moderate all-inclusive resorts, with swimup pool bars and the social activities with lots of people that go along with this type of atmosphere. Sandals has done a excellent job in their marketing of these resorts in such a way for those that like or want to be a part of the (Sandals family) in their return guest programs and perks. This can be that some are looking for at these resorts or on their vacations and can be a big hit for some and not for others.

The accommodations at these resorts, very so greatly, that for a Sandals newbie, this can be very distressing to pay the very, very overly inflated prices Sandals charges for some of their extremely moderate to poor accommodations. I also think, there is great discrepancies in the prices that some pay for their Sandals trips, also causing also the discrepicies in reports. If one is going to a Sandals resort for $3000.00 and under, for a week with air included, they, won't be looking at the resort, or reporting on the resort, in the same way as the customer, that is paying in the $4000.00 +++ for their week, that might be expecting a luxury level 4/5 star resort. When you get into the upper level price range vacations to the Caribbean you can and should expect 4/5 star level room, service, amenities, etc., and I do personally believe Sandals falls very short of any constancy in these areas causing again the distress, you will read in many reports. Far to many people are expecting because Sandals charges such high rates, that the Sandals resorts, are or should be at the same level as you would find at a non-all inclusive luxury level resort. Sandals can be so hit or MISS for some. You really need to understand just what you are getting into. You can see from reports, that they really do fit the bill so totally for some people. You just need to sort out if they will fit into your expectations.

I have found it interesting, that Sandals patrons, and those that have fallen into the Sandals marketing phenomenon, (that might be thinking these resorts are the best thing going), will only ask for suggestions of which Sandals resort to book, on an island, rather then what resort, all-inclusive or not, would best fits their own personal needs, ideas, of what they personally would like to experince on their vacation.

Any one of these resorts, including the Sandals resorts could be the prefect fit for you on your honeymoon

What were you looking for and or expecting for your honeymoon in St.Lucia?

I also have lots of photo links of the various resorts and beaches, in St.Lucia that might also be helpful in your decision making.

[email protected]

Donna







jennh34 Mar 14th, 2005 08:00 AM

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I am also a little angry with our travel agent. She really did not give him any options. As soon as he told her St. Lucia, she suggested Sandals. She got him with the idea of the AI (something we've never done). I normally book all of our vacations and I research, etc. My fiance doesn't. We're spending $6000 on this trip and with all the other stress of planning our wedding i want to feel good about the honeymoon choice, and I just don't. I also don't want to hurt his feelings, but we like to explore and try different restaurants etc., and I'm not sure why he got sucked into the AI. Anyway, thanks again for all of your help and suggestions.


brenandg Mar 14th, 2005 01:34 PM

We stayed at The Regency twice and it was fine for us, but we tended not to spend a lot of time at the resort during the day and used it like a home base to grab a quick breakfast or lunch. One comment that I will make is that I don't think Sandal's is worth $6000 for a week, that is with air I presume. I have only booked when it was 33-40% off the rooms and we stayed in lower end rooms as long as we had a good view and a balcony. We also ate dinner off resort twice at The Coal Pot in Castries. When it comes down to it, it really just depends on what you want and like to do. You might start by deciding which part of the island you want to stay on and go from there. Relatively short distances can take a little time to get to. Whatever you decide, I hope that once you get off that plane, you have a wonderful honeymoon and not stress about anything.

croix Mar 14th, 2005 04:05 PM

Jennh34, I would say this: We spent two weeks there last year with children at Jalousie Hilton. It is the best spot for scenery---between the Pitons, good white sand (imported), good snorkeling etc., good variety of food---Food as a whole in St. Lucia is best if local. So the beach bar etc and other meals at Jalousie--some are good some just fair. There is any nightlife in the South.

Sandals-----We went by those places----one is better---can't remember which one. The north has more to do, good beaches, some snorkeling and nightlife to some degree---mainly restaraunts/bars. We loved the Coal Pot---was there for lunch and loved downtown Castries.

It comes down to if you want an all inclusive, in the developed part of the island etc. or to be in the most scenic section---Jalousie between the Pitons or on top of the mountain at Ladera which is also very romantic.

Feel free to ask me anything about the South---since we were there two weeks. If money is not that big of a deal I would split it between Ladera and Jalousie.

Blossom1022 Mar 15th, 2005 08:50 AM

Jennh43:
For the type of money you're spending ($6,000) you can easily afford ANY of the other resorts on St. Lucia WITH an AI package. Has your TA actually stayed at any of the resorts? She's probably getting a kick-back with Sandals.
I stayed at the Jalousie, and they do have an AI option if that is really important to you. They also have an option that includes breakfast, which I highly recommend if you choose the Hilton. I also ate dinner at Ladera and it looked very appealing with a heart-stopping view of the Pitons.

Quick story: When my husband and I arrived in St. Lucia we got off the plane with about 80 other newlyweds. They ALL went to Sandals and were herded on a bus there. We were the only ones going to Jalousie and at first thought it was kinda weird.

Then, when the taxi driver asked us where we were going he replied: "If I were coming here on my honeymoon, the Jalousie would be my first choice!" He went on to explain that the Sandals resorts are nice, but the Jalousie is far more romantic. He was sooo right! We felt SPECIAL at the Jalousie, not just one of hundreds of other honeymooners. Just my opinion.

In any case, don't allow a travel agent to pick your resort, do your own research and evaluate the cost/value for yourself. Since you booked with an agent they can change the resort for you. It's usually the air travel that's non-refundable.
Best of luck!

ejcrowe Mar 15th, 2005 03:19 PM

I have to say that for $6000, you could probably do 10 nights in one of the better resorts near the Pitons/Soufriere area. Sounds like your fiance might have panicked when presented with the travel agent's persuasions. If you think he would be open to your gentle suggestions of switching reservations, by all means do it. Most of the Sandals are fairly cookie-cutter places and IMO nothing special, especially in the price range you're talking about. While part of an international chain, the Jalousie Hilton is in a spectacular setting that does not bear the look of a chain at all.

I understand and commend your not wanting to hurt your fiance's feelings about the choice he made, but I'd bet that if he knew you were this upset about his choice and that you weren't absolutely looking forward to the honeymoon, he would rather know now while there's still time to change reservations, rather than when it's too late to do anything about it. GOod luck--and let us know what you decide.

starrsville Mar 16th, 2005 06:39 AM

$6000 seems very steep for a Sandals resort.

I'm not a fan of AI at all, but I think you could do a combo of Ladera and the Jalousie WITH their AI option and have a spectacular honeymoon.

I've stayed on the north end and at Ladera and Jalousie and there is no comparison.

Enjoy your honeymoon in any case, but I think you would enjoy it more if you and your hubby-to-be investigate other options together and check with the travel agent to see what your change options are. Even if you end up staying at Sandals, you won't be spending 10 days wondering if you made the right choice FOR YOU.

bigredspring1 Mar 16th, 2005 06:49 AM

I spent my honeymoon at Ladera in 2000. I totally agree with those who comment on the difference between the North and South of this island. The Northern part is unspectacular with only fair beaches. The South part of this island is amazing- still with only fair beaches. My recommendation would be Ladera Jalousie or some combination of the 2. If you want to wake up in the morning and start drinking and eating without worrying about your wallet maybe Sandals would be the choice.

cdt Mar 16th, 2005 06:52 AM

I don't think the original poster said when this trip is scheduled - if it's in "high season," $6000 for Sandals is certainly not surprising, esp. since airfare to St. Lucia tends to be rather high.

tizzylishy Mar 16th, 2005 08:39 AM

Me and My husband and another couple just returned from Sandals Grande in St Lucia. I have to say, we were more than satisfied. We stayed for 5 nights, and enjoyed every minute of it. There's 5 restaurant choices, with a nightly theme held in different places each night. We like to try alot of different food, but never felt it necessary to even leave the resort to eat. Many couples were married while we were there, and all commented on how nice it was, and every little detail was worked out for them. They have beautiful gazebos around the resort, near the beach, and some right ON the beach. Beautiful place for a wedding or honeymoon. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone. In fact, I'm working on my daughter now to get married there so I can go back!!
If there's anything else I can answer for you, email me at [email protected]!!
PS Congratulations on your wedding!!


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