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Trip Report St Lucia Trip Report 2014 Bay Gardens Beach Resort

This is a long overdue trip report from our October 2014 trip to St Lucia from 10/10/14 to 10/21/14. I tried to post it earlier but had problems with the paragraph breaks so I'm trying again.

Saint Lucia was on my radar since planned our 2009 trip to Grenada. That year we went back and forth on which island to visit. From then on I wanted to put St Lucia on the itinerary. Bay Gardens Beach Resort is what first attracted me to the island. I’m always looking for small boutique resorts that meet our criteria of being affordable and fun with a good beach, food, drinks and service.

When we were looking at the flights to the island I read that there is a long rough and twisty road from the airport to Reduit Beach. I saw that there are private cesna type planes that fly to a smaller airport closer to the area. The Serenity Express air shuttle that we booked was one of the more unique experiences that I’ve had. Our pilot, Manny found us after we cleared customs and had to bring us back to where we could enter to go on the private plane. I felt like a celebrity being led by the pilot who took my large bag and said follow me. It was very cool. It felt claustrophic in the plane due to how small it was. There was only room for four people on the plane. I wasn’t sure that all our bags would fit but the pilot said that he had people who packed more. That was the wrong thing to tell me because it will encourage me to pack more next time. We had to be careful not to bump our heads on the plane outside while walking around it.

When we were flying, my husband let me sit in the front for the flight to the hotel and the deal was that he would sit in the front on the way home. The pilot went one way around the island and he said that on the return flight he would fly around the other side of the island. It was so calm of a flight that it barely felt like we were moving. The pilot let me hold the second steering control but I was too scared and after only a few seconds I told him I didn’t want to anymore. My husband would have loved to have had the chance but the flight was very bumpy on the way home so he couldn’t try. He was disappointed.

The Hotel

Bay Gardens has three resorts on St Lucia and we stayed at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort (BGBR). It was built in 2007. I was talking it up to husband for a few years. When we got there he said it looked so much better than the pictures and he wished that we would have gone there sooner. I always tell him to just listen to me since I do a lot of research to find new places for us.
We were given a welcome glass of spiced rum punch on arrival. The front desk workers were friendly and always called a cab for us for dinner. We met a really nice honeymooner couple at the hotel who kept going back to the front desk for more rum punch. They were funny.

Bay Gardens Beach Resort is on Reduit beach which is a nice horseshoe type stretch of beach. The beach loungers seemed to get filled up early since people play the towel game. We prefer to lie on the beach and listen to the lullaby of the ocean. BGBR has a large pool that tempted us away from the beach for a part of a few of the days we were there. The pool is a little under five feet deep and is in a circle shape with a hot tub in the middle which you access via a bridge. I loved doing laps walking around the pool talking with my husband. Vaughn was our beach waiter and was friendly and quick with drinks. We also enjoyed sitting at the bar and talking with the bartender whose name eludes me. We only tried the hot tub once since it was too hot to stay in.

The food was very good at BGBR. They had an outdoor buffet beach party one night and the stand out item was callaloo soup. We had it in Grenada and I was so excited to be able to have it again. Their breakfast selections included a little of everything but no real stand out items. I liked that they had made to order omelets. The best part was that it was in an enclosed room with a door on it which kept out bugs and birds.

The hotel had entertainment a few nights a week. The Wednesday night cocktail party served spiced rum punch and ginger ale which was a favorite of ours. They also served beef patties, spicy bruschetta, beef w hot sauce, pumpkin soup, spicy mussels and ginger fudge. We saw a band and a local group of dancers that included fire dancing which is always fun to see on vacation. They had a steel drum player at dinner one night and we were able to dance to a song or two of his. .

Since we’ve been to the resort they added a waterpark type feature in front of the resort on which kids can climb and jump into the water. We don’t have kids and really don’t like having a lot of noise and yelling around us especially when we’re trying to relax on vacation. We thought that we’d be going back to the resort at some point but this sadly is a deal breaker.


We walked down the beach to the other end where we went to Marie’s beach shack. Marie is a very nice welcoming woman who runs the beach shack. Petra is another friendly woman who works with her. They make a very good rum punch and fish cakes that were homemade and delicious.

Our hotel had an escorted bus trip to the Gros Islet jump up street party which had reggae music and food carts on the street. A staff person went along to look out for the guests. The street party was a little too crowded and loud for my taste but I’m glad we went since Hurricane Tomas halted our chance to go to the street party when we were in Grenada.

We went on a private island tour and saw many sites including the Cathedral, the Governor’s house, the Marigot Bay overlook the Anse la Raye fishing village, Soufriere, the waterfall, the Cassava bread bakery, rum factory, the volcano and the Maranatha gardens. We had a very friendly guide named Hans who seemed to share our sense of humor. He introduced us to Tablet Candy which was delicious. It’s made of coconut, ginger, allspice, cinnamon and a type of peanut brittle. We also had apple, cherry and raison Casava bread and some fresh coconut. We visited a wood carving store where we bought a beautiful round carving to hang in our kitchen that has a palm tree and the Pitons carved on it. The artist signed the back of it for us. We love having items in our house to remind us of our travels.

The Sulphur springs mud bath was the highlight of the island tour. We went into a hot water bath and then our guide gave us a bucket of mud to put on our skin. He carried our cameras so they wouldn’t get ruined and took some goofy pictures of us covered with the dark and light grey mud. I was hesitant to put the mud on my face but later I wished I would have. When we washed it off, our skin felt so smooth which lasted for a few weeks. We had heard that the mud bath had a sulfur odor so we wore old bathing suits which we threw away when we got back to the hotel.

We stopped for lunch at the Beacon restaurant which overlooks the Pitons. Our private tour included eating upstairs. They have a buffet downstairs but we were served the same food upstairs at our own table. We had to share the area with another couple. They should have put the tables in that section side by side so both couples could have an unobstructed view of the Pitons instead of having one behind the other which gave the couple in the back a blocked view.

We saw the famous Massave tree in the center square near the Cathedral and were told the story of how it got its name. A writer asked someone the name of it and the local person said “Massave” which is the phrase for I don’t know. When the article came out it noted that they visited the Massave tree and the name stuck.

We saw the fruit boat on many pictures before we went and I wanted to partake but the water was too deep for me to walk out to the boat. It was difficult for my husband to walk out and carry the rum punches back. I don’t think we’ll be trying that again.

We went to the Castries Market where we bought all the souvenirs that we needed. Our favorite find was the Tablet candy that we first had on the island tour. We bought the vender out of her supply at the marketplace.

We went on an off road Segway tour into the mountains. Chad was our guide. This was our second time on Segways and we had a great time. The tour stopped at a minnow pond, at a scenic outlook and at Marie’s shack. They took some cute pictures of each of the couples on the Segways at the top of the mountain.


Our favorite restaurant of the trip was Flavors of the Grill where had huge spiny lobsters with sides of plantains, sweet potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes and coconut ice cream for dessert. Everything was prepared perfectly. We ate outside on the side deck.

We ate at Golden Taste in Gros Islet on Saturday but there was no one around. Nothing really stood out from that meal. We didn’t want to walk the streets alone so we called a cab at the restaurant.
We walked down the street from the hotel to eat at Fire Grill. Our shared appetizer had one scallop in it. One!! It also had two shrimp with cheese and bread. This was as skimpy as the shrimp entrée that I had at Coyaba Restaurant in Turks and Caicos. For our entrée we each had rib eye steaks with large potatoes. My husband orders his steaks more rare than I do and I think they made them the same because for my taste, it wasn’t done enough.

Spinnaker’s was down the beach from the hotel. They were crowded but we enjoyed the spicy puri puri shrimp and creole dorado. They had a bell that they rang when it was Happy Hour. It reminded me of Pavlov’s dog who salivated when the bell rung. The people came running from the beach for Happy Hour when they heard the bell.

We had an elegant meal at The Big Chef. The stand outs were an appetizer of escargot with cheese and their lobster special for a main course. I really enjoyed the food and the cozy atmosphere at The Big Chef. We ate next door at Tapas on the Bay and had a huge serving of tapas with tasty sangria. They needed bigger tables to fit all the dishes. I love tapas and was very happy with our selections. Their credit card machine was down which was a bit annoying.

Several restaurants that were on our list to try were closed for the season including Trios at the hotel, Buzz’s and Froggy Jacque’s. When I was doing trip planning I read about the restaurant called Delirious. In preparation for the trip I downloaded Prince’s song of the same name. We never did make it to the restaurant but whenever I hear that song, it reminds me of St Lucia. It’s so sad about Prince’s death. His music was always something that I enjoyed.

The people on the island at Lucia were very friendly. It’s nice when bartenders and staff make you feel welcome and make conversation with you. Aruba and Mexico were two of the more friendly islands that we’ve visited. We loved Grenada but thought that the islanders were a bit too reserved. We enjoyed talking with the people St Lucia. After our driving fiasco trying to navigate around Grenada we decided not to rent a car in St Lucia. We relied on cabs and could always find one when we needed one.

I imagine that someday we will return to St Lucia. I’d like to go back to the mud baths and some restaurants and eat some tablet candy and callaloo soup but I think we’ll have to find a new resort since Bay Gardens seems to be catering more to families with children at this time.

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