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Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia Trip Report and Thanks

Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia Trip Report and Thanks

Apr 3rd, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia Trip Report and Thanks

We are back from our spring break trip with our 6-year old to Windjammer Landing in St. Lucia. First, thanks, several posters answered lots of questions and I appreciated the information.

We flew from BWI and I was concerned about the potential length of the trip, but it was fine. It is 3 hours to San Juan, a very quick layover (note: bring lunch, there were very few places to get lunch in San Juan and LONG lines--it took 20 minutes to get a Dominoes pizza and I walked directly from there onto our plane to St. Lucia); I don't like small planes, but the plane we took to Castries (SJU) was a 50 person prop plane that was fine--it is a 2 hour ride but wasn't bad; if you go to Windjammer and can, I highly recommend that you fly into SJU; folks who flew to the other airport talked about a nightmare 1.5-2 hour winding trip along a road that is not in great shape--not fun after a long plane ride; there is a helicopter service from the airport that some people were taking; the ride from SJU to Windjammer is a maximum of 10 minutes.

Windjammer Landing is a beautiful property, but I am amazed that there is not more of talk of how hilly it is--it is literally one of the steepest places I have ever been to; yes, there are shuttle buses around the property, but it was very crowded when were there and the buses took forever (and several times when we called them to our room, they never came)' also to some of the villas there are as many 20 steps--I am in good shape and I was winded by the time we got to our room. If you are not a good walker or don't care to, I'm not sure this would be the right place for you. We were lucky enough to be able to walk to our room.

Our room was what they call a 2-bedroom unit--it is basically two separate rooms--one with a queen, one with twin beds, connected by a stairway; we had several balconies and two bathrooms; the rooms and villa have a Mediterranean feel to them--very pretty; reminded us of a place we stayed in Tuscany; we also saw a friend's one-bedroom which was much nicer--more room and had a kitchenette; our room was fine since we were never in it, but if you are travelling with small children, the one-bedroom looked like a better deal. For those of you who know the property, we were over down the road from Papa Don's restaurant, above what we finally figured out was the staging area for the construction (more on that later); it was very noisy in the morning and in the late afternoon and there was a strong septic smell--if we had been planning to use the room more or use our balconies, we would have asked to be moved. Our friends room was 110, near the spa, it was great and also was walking distance so you weren't totally dependent on a ride.

More later,

Mary
marymarra is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2006, 04:16 PM
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There have been several threads on the construction at Windjammer--it is definitely there, there is a huge swath of earth where they took down villas damaged by sliding earth;now they are levelling the area which involves dump trucks and loud noises throughout the day; honestly, you forget about it after awhile; it will be months before it is done because they need to go through a rainy season to find out if the earth is stabilized before they can rebuild.

The biggest disappointment was the food--we had read that the food was good, but it was really uneven and at times awful. Several guests noted that it had detoriated since there had last visited.We did the all-inclusive and I'm not sure it was worth it since Dragonfly, the high-end restaurant where the food was very good was only available once during our stay (buffets two nights and closed one night).

They run a very nice kids camp; it is free of charge which is great since it is geared towards dropping in and out; the activities were very low-key--arts and crafts, shell walks, etc. but the great thing is an evening program every night movies, limbo--so that adults could eat by themselves if you wish.

I made two amateur mistakes--failing to bring plenty of $1 bills for tipping--the front desk wouldn't change money and so you end up not tripping appropriately or buying extraneous things to get change and failing to make the first several nights dinner reserations before we got there--that has tripped us up at other resorts and I know better--sure enough, when we got to the Windjammer we found out that the first three nights at all the restaurants and special beach BBQ were completely sold out so we had to eat at the less-desirable beach restaurant. The rest of the nights were a bit of a scramble for dinner reservations, so it is a good idea to book ahead.

All in all, we had a great time, frankly, we went in with very high expectations and while those were not met, it was still fun and knowing what we know now, we would consider going back.

And for those who remember all my silly posts, I saw no snakes!

Please feel free to ask questions,

Mary in D.C.

marymarra is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2006, 04:17 PM
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P. S. Forgot to say that we saw several weddings when we were there so I am happy to offer observations on that subject.

Mary
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 04:35 PM
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Last, but not least, wanted to say that St. Lucia is a beautiful property--this was a very low-key vacation for us,so we didn't explore much, but it is lush, the people are lovely and they very much want visitors and seem to be doing alot to promote their island. The trip was long, but so worth it, since the weather was wonderful and warm. Oh, I know everyone says this, but all those forecasts of rain every day--it never rained!

Mary
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Apr 3rd, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Thanks for the trip report MaryMarra. Sounds like a fun vacation although I would have been disappointed, like you, not to enjoy dinner. But the setup of the rooms sounds nice.

So here's the question....if you could choose the Buccaneer or Windjammer Landing for your next family vacation, which would you chose? And how would you say the prices compared? Just curious, of course.
ccrosner is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Thanks for posting your trip report. We did not stay there when we were in St. Lucia but I always enjoy reading other people's experiences.
So sorry about the food. I would have been disappointed as well.
Don't you hate that you forgot some small bills? I did that once going to Mexico. I was so annoyed at myself.
You're very lucky that it didn't rain on your trip.
Well hopefully better food on the next island trip!
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Apr 4th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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Carol--I was waiting for your question and we actually talked about it while we were there because there were so many similarities between WJ and the Buc. The positives for the Buc are: easier to get to, we liked very much going out to dinner (and the fact that it is so easy to do in St. Croix), the service is better at the Buc; positives for WJ landing are: the rooms for families are nicer (the family cottages are fine at the Buc but seem a little tired), better pool, the nighttime kids camp, bigger beach.

We would definitely go back to either--since our daughter is still young, the kids camp is important for us (we don't live near our families so getting a break for us is key on vacation) and there are not actually that many resorts with kids camps (esp. complimentary like the Buc and WJ which is nice if you just want to drop in and out).

The demographics of both places are virtually the same--American families from the East and Midwest with kids (lots of tweeners at WJ) and some British families--actually alot of English families at WJ, because Virgin Atlantic has a nonstop flight to St. Lucia and does packages with WJ. There were a few couples at WJ, but the place was really overrun with kids because it was the mid-Atlantic private schools' spring break, an Illinois public school vacation and British private schools had holiday.

The cost was virtually the same between the two resorts.

CT--realized my mistake early on when I spent all my ones to watch the movie on the way down then when I bought the pizza in San Juan, I asked for my change in ones and she said, "No, everyone wants ones!!"

Happy to answer any more questions,

Mary
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Apr 4th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Thanks, Mary. WJ sounds like a great alternative to the Buc if we ever tire of it. And we may as our children become teens (although there are now more teens at the Buc than before--more kids in general). I totally understand how nice that nighttime kids camp would be....we are finally at the point in our lives where are son is old enough to take care of both himself and his sister so we get out plenty back at home. Still wouldn't leave them at any resort.

Glad you had fun. And appreciate your candid comments about the pros and cons of each.

Have a great spring!

Carol
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Apr 12th, 2006, 01:35 AM
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Hi Mary
I recently read two reviews on Trip Advisor this week where there were complaints about the construction work at Windjammer Landing. I went in January 2006 and it was quite noisy. Are there still trucks going up and down near the reception area? Going back in June and I am a bit concerned.

Thanks

CL
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Apr 12th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Hi CL--the construction is in full force! You hear loud booms all day long as they load rocks (I think) into dump trucks and then, of course, the trucks going in and out. Our room was not near the site, but we were impacted by being near the launching area--where the trucks came in and out and it sounded like where the workers hung out.

A guest whose timeshare was in one of the destroyed buildings told me that once they clear the site they need to go though a rainy/hurricane season to see if it "holds" so it may be that they are done levelling the site by June and then are waiting before they start constructing the villas.

I would say to call the resort, but they are very defensive about the work and don't really answer questions about it. For example, I evidently asked one too many questions of the women in the Kids Camp about and they kind of dismissed the whole thing (it seemed like a pretty big deal to us!).

Hope this helps; we were able to ignore it after a few days.

Mary
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Apr 17th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Thanks Mary. We are taking family out this time and I am a bit concerned. Where we normally stay is far away from the beach area but it might be different this time. Last June the beach was very crowded and we had people smoking in our faces so we spent most of our time off resort. It meant that we did discover some new places to visit rather than spending all our time on-resort!

Thanks again for your very informative review.

CL
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Jul 9th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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mary - i'm looking at the windjammer for a wedding next year. i'd love to hear your thoughts on the weddings you saw at the resort. thanks!
bambii is offline  
Aug 13th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Hi Bambii--sorry, don't know if you will see this, I've been off this board for a while, but let me know if you see this post and I'll tell you about the weddings.

Will say one generalization and I observed this in June in Bermuda too, (three weddings there),the wedding is on the beach, which is lovely, but inevitably open to everyone else at the property--so lots of swimsuit-clad strangers watching your wedding which may be fine with you, but something to consider.

If you see this, let me know, because there were two weddings during our stay at Windjammer.

Mary
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Aug 14th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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hi mary - thanks for your response. i'd appreciate any insight into weddings at the windjammers. i've narrowed it down to windjammer and 2 resorts on the mayan riviera. thanks!
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Aug 14th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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Hi Bambii--we saw two weddings when we were at WJ and they were both the same so I assume it was sort of the same "package." The actual ceremony took place at the very end of the beach at a point which was very pretty and they had decorated nicely; it was at the end of the beach which cut down on the number of guests "hanging around"; the reception took place back down on the beach under a tent--I did notice both times that the staff barely finished decorating the tent before the bridal party arrived which, as a Type A, would have made me nuts (perhaps you are lucky enough to be laid-back!!); but know that the reception was on the beach where guests still enjoying the beach, playing games, etc. In other words, the staff can't ask other guests who have paid alot of money for their vacation to move--I will say that most people were accomodating, but there were plenty of gawkers, but I think that goes with the territory.

It is a very nice property, I will say that when were there last April, the food was not very good so you may want to find out if that is still the case.

If it rains, there looked to be a nice banquet hall which would be a nice backup plan for your reception.

Please feel free to ask specific questions.

Mary

P.S. Don't know what your timeframe is, but do find out what the status of their construction is--it is a big deal--they try to downplay it, but it they had a rockslide that took down several villas.
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Aug 19th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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I vote Windjammer....had friends stay there.
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