Our family (two adults, two kids 13 and 10) stayed at The Landings St.Lucia the first week of February 2011. It was our first time to St.Lucia and we had an absolute great time.
First, the destination: we picked St.Lucia because of its unique topography and the diversity in potential activities; aside from the beach & sun, you can hike the rain forest, climb the beautiful Gros Piton (a Unesco protected site), visit a volcano, make a day trip to Martinique, sail on a boat used in Roots and Pirates of the Caribbean, and so on. The downsides to St.Lucia are that we like to play in the water and "body surf" and on most beaches we encountered there weren't much waves and certainly nothing like we had experience in places like Barbados (of course this is a plus if you are traveling with a toddler); also, if you are an avid snorkeler you might be disappointed - even the best snorkeling spots are average at best and since St.Lucia is a volcanic island the sand is not "sandy white" and the water is never as crystal clear has it can be on some of the other islands so lack of good visibility underwater can be frustrating.
Second, the area: Rodney Bay is great for a number of reasons; it's only about 20min from Castries where cruise ships stop for a day of visiting and shopping (including several duty free stores); it offers several decent options for grocery (supermarket prices are about 15-20% higher than what we're used to) and of course it has a many restaurants to pick from when eating out. We ate at Delirius a couple of times and food was excellent and the place was always busy. For those interested, it's also near a decent golf course and the historical site of Pigeon Island. The downside is that it's a good 1h30 drive from Henaworra international airport which makes for a long journey when you include flight times but the roads aren't too bad and the view is very pretty so it actually didn't really bother us. We can't really comment on the bar scene as that's not really our thing (but it didn't look like the place was hopping at 9:30pm the time we were finishing dinner).
Third and last, the Landings Resort: we were initially looking at renting a villa and since this was our first time to St.Lucia we opted instead to go for accomodation where we could do our own cooking; all inclusive resorts are not a fit for our family because we drink very little alcohol and our experience with food quality at all inclusives has been average at best so we'd rather cook our own at least for breakfast and lunch/snack (but we even cooked dinner a couple of times and watched movies we brought with us). The rooms at The Landings are so well finished and equiped that you could live there year-round. At The Landings, we initially booked a "harbor" view on our travel package; we knew there were availabilities after checking their website the night before our departure so we negotiated an upgrade to an "ocean" view when we checked in. Let's just say that the room and the view were well worth the $100 per day more the upgrade cost us (we thought that to spend a few thousand dollars for 4 people to come this far it would be a mistake not to take the upgrade...like running 99% of a marathon but not finishing it!). And negotiating the upgrade on site was a lot cheaper than booking it upfront...
Our two bebroom was huge with both rooms equiped with en-suite bathrooms, flatscreen tv's (great for the kids), lots of storage, washer-dryer well tucked into the hallway's powder room and most importantly for us a fully equiped kitchen with all stainless appliances, china,cutlery and decent wine glasses (and let's not forget the marble counter top!). Lastly, we were told by several people locally that The Landings is arguably on the island's best beach so localswould come by on Sunday to enjoy the water and the sun (all beaches are public in St.Lucia, as in Barbados). This wasn't a problem for us as The Landings is clearly marked for guests and residents and there is 24-hour security patrol on the beach.
The piece de résistance is the view from the main living room/kitchen and the large balcony offering a breathtaking view of the Caribbean sea framed between Rodney Bay and Piegeon Island. I intentionally woke up early several times to see the daylight hit the ocean and the horizon...We literally had smiles on our faces each time we entered the main room and this is a case where the actual product you experience is at least as nice as what the website is promising. At the end of each day, we watched the sunset from the comfort of our balcony's hot tub, cooling it off with a cold Piton beer...
We also took advantage of the very nice on-site gym and the two tennis courts (they lend rackets - good ones - and you need to pay $10 for the balls). We didn't use the on-site spa but it looked very well furnished with a steam room etc.
Some additional comments on The Landings: it's a relatively small and very quiet resort (all 120 rooms are owned by individuals and some of them like the one we were in are simply put back in the rental pool by the owner). If you are looking to get entertained with evening shows this is not for you. Also, the main lobby was a good 5-7 min walk from our room which didn't bother us but some people might need to hitch a ride in the complimentary golf carts.There are only two restaurant options on-site, we ate a couple of times at the more casual Beach Club and food was good. We didn't try the formal dining option in the main lobby building. Also, there is a free shuttle 3 times daily to Rodney Bay for shopping and dining but its last pick-up is at 4pm so for dinner you need to use the cab service provided by the hotel which is not cheap (about $30 US) for what is only a 7-min ride each way. We rented a car for a couple days which we felt gave us more bang for the bucks as we could go for grocery shopping, sightseeing and eating out.
All in, the people of St.Lucia are very friendly and staff at The Landings were both professional and friendly. It was noticeable enough that at a complimentary cocktail event offered by the Resort, I asked the Landings' GM if he was able to handpick only the best people because of the recession and he said St.Lucians are just genuinely like that - customer service 101 comes to them naturally.
Just to be clear, this is not a "cheap" destination for those seeking all inclusive bargains - we had been to Barbados a couple of times before and it's not cheap there either. However, if you're looking for the comfort of a home away from home, with breathtaking views and plenty of things to do to stay active, St.Lucia and The Landings are a good fit. For us, it was a perfect fit!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Landings is St. Lucia's premiere beach resort featuring one, two and three-bedroom all suite villas. Accomodations include full kitches, state-of-the-art amenities, private terraces and personal plunge pools. The resort offers, beachfront dining, a full array of water activities, 80-slip yacht harbor and Soleil Spa. Free Internet Beach Largest Suites north of St. Lucia ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Landings St. Lucia, a Rock Hotel Castries
- The Landings St. Lucia Gros Islet