We booked this trip to St Lucia 3 months prior to its opening (the trip was a long week-end escapade). The resort, as of March 2017, was still being completed. Two of the buildings were not room-ready and landscaping was still being worked on. That being said, the Royalton St. Lucia has been an exquisite experience. Here is a list of the all-inclusive package:
- 352 beautifully decorated luxury rooms and suites in various categories
- Unlimited reservation-free dining
- All drinks – domestic beer, cocktails and select international brands
- Premium handcrafted Dreambed™
- Unlimited free calls to North America and parts of Europe, free Wi-Fi resort-wide, USB recharge station and Bluetooth audio station
- Royalton signature rain shower
- Satellite television
- 24-hour concierge service
- Sports Event Guarantee
- Non-motorized watersports
- Fitness centre
We flew in from St. Maarten and arrived at George F. L. Charles Airport at 8:30 PM. We were greeted by a professional taxi driver named Clinton who drove us from the airport to the resort for a flat rate of $35 for the 20 minute ride. We highly recommend Clinton as he was courteous and willing to share all sorts of information about the island with us during the ride. International flyers landing in Hewanorra International Airport will need to take a shuttle or taxi to the resort. The international airport is located on the south side of the island and it will take you 90 minutes to reach the north side where the Royalton is located. If you book your trip through an all inclusive flight/hotel package, the resort shuttle will be provided for free.
Once cleared by the guards at the gate, we were making our way to check in. We stepped out of the taxi van and were handed delicious rum punches as to say: You are now on vacation! We were staying at the adults only part of the resort called “Hideaway” and had been dropped off at the wrong lobby – our mistake. One of the smiling reception clerks escorted us through the resort, pointing out all of the many bars and restaurants all the way to our Hideaway lobby. Within 5 minutes, we were checked in and drinking a cocktail in our very own heated swim out pool. (March in the Caribbean is warm but the water can be cold so a heated pool was welcomed, especially during a nocturnal dip.
We stayed in a Junior Suite with swim out pool, meaning it is on the ground floor. The bed was extremely comfortable with high quality pillows. The room was spacious with a large shower for two with three shower heads: 2 rainfall and 1 standard. Make sure to check out the videos to have a brief view of the room at Hideaway.
The Food, Bars & Pools
The first morning was spent exploring the resort as well as stopping by the “Gourmet Marche” for breakfast. This is the main buffet area where you can find everything under the sun. The stations are beautifully set up and the staff is friendly. Pastries, fruits, eggs any way, smoothies made to order, etc – it’s all there to satisfy any palate. The buffet area is open to all guests (kids included), so if you wish to have a more grown up experience for breakfast, you can make your way to the exclusive Hideaway section (adults only) and have “a la carte” breakfast (note: this is only available to guests with the Hideaway or Diamond Club bracelet).
After breakfast and a few mimosas, we decided to spend the rest of the morning by the infinity pool. The water was cold refreshing. The bars open at 10 AM so this is not the kind of resort where you find students during school break drinking all day and being rowdy (no offense to party people everywhere but this is not exactly the place for it).
Our first lunch was at “Grazie’s”, the italian restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Grazie offers delicious Italian food and even has a stone pizza oven in the kitchen. The seafood linguine was a favorite on that day with a starter of perfectly fried calamares.
The hideaway pool was our next stop for some refreshing drinks. We swam right up to the bar and ordered frozen mojitos, which were very tasty. That night we had dinner at Armadillo, their Tex Mex restaurant and it was by far the least favorite experience of the trip simply based on the quality of the food. I would pass on that restaurant and go next door to Hunter (their steakhouse) or Calypso (Caribbean cuisine).
The following night we had reservations for the Japanese Tepaniaki restaurant called Zen. Let’s call it a Beni Hana with less frills. The food was great and we had plenty but there were no onion volcano or big fire burst. A reminder; the house wines in most restaurant are the same and are decent but you can get some very nice bottles for an extra reasonable charge (20$ and up).
Volcano & Hot Springs
We like wandering around and getting lost and are not huge fans of organized tours so we decided to rent a car for a Saturday escapade to the volcano. We got a decent deal with SIXT with a 4 door sedan, a Garmin GPS and the daily St. Lucia license for 85$ for 24 hours. It’s not the cheapest we’ve seen for an island rental but we did get a 2016 model that was very comfortable and had incredible AC (a must!!). Driving on St. Lucia is done on the left and roads can be narrow at times so use caution. The GPS was a little overkill but we rested easy knowing we would get to the volcano eventually. It took us nearly two hours to get to Soufriere with a few detours here and there. The roads are good if you compare them to other Caribbean islands but pretty rough compared to North American standards. The whole way is up and down mountains with sharp turns and very little room to wiggle by when other motorists come your way, not to mention the huge ditches on the side of the road for water drainage. We read somewhere that Soufriere volcano was the only drive through volcano in the world and they are not kidding. You can drive right through it or park mere meters from the steamy smokey rocks.
Once you get to the volcano, you pay 12$ to walk up the stairs to take pictures and check out the bubbly terrain to then walk back down and head to the hot spring mud bath area. The mud bath was definitely our favorite. First you apply the white mud all over your body and face. 5 minutes later, once the mud is dry, you apply the black mud for effect. We were told both colors are the same mud and provide the same soothing action to the skin. And what a feeling it is as you walk back to the hot communal bath where you scrub off the mud off of your body. The water is hot!! The whole thing takes maybe 20-30 minutes and your skin will feel soft for days. We could only imagine doing this every week – what a feeling.
Treasure Bay Casino
Driving back we stopped in Castries to check out the only casino on St. Lucia. They have blackjack, three card poker and roulette tables and roughly 80 or 90 slot machines. The drinks are NOT free but very cheap and as long as you tip your waitress early and well, you will get your drinks quickly. They have a sports bar section inside the casino where you can order pub food and watch sporting events.
Royalton Beach,Kids, Spa & Last Words
We are fortunate enough to live in the Caribbean and experience the beach and the weather all year round. The Royalton resort in St. Lucia has a man made beach that is nothing extraordinary. Don’t expect white sandy beaches that go on forever, this beach is small, darker and short in width. The resort is nested in a bay which protects it from big waves so swimming is safe for kids of all ages (a lifeguard is also on duty everyday). They also have a kids club (at a cost) for organized activities during the day as well as a kids pool with impressive games, slides and water sprinkles.
We didn’t go for the spa as we were running out of time but toured the facilities which seemed nice. They offer everything from massages (couples, singles or on the beach), facials and body care to simply access to saunas and cold/hot pools.
The Royalton Resort & Spa in St. Lucia is a gorgeous place with incredible potential that will cater to people in search of high end services and facilities. By the end of 2017, you can expect the resort to be fully operational with knowledgable and friendly staff, but with a spike in rates. As of early 2017, the rates are as low as 60% off and maybe even more depending of your package deal with flights – now is the time to experience the Royalton in St. Lucia.
UPDATE – 2018
Rates are still incredibly affordable for a high end all inclusive resort. For example, this Summer you get an ocean view suite for 2 at a rate of US$ 500.00 /night. (minimum 3 nights) January goes up US$ 600.00 /night for the same room. Not a bad deal considering the top shelf drinks and top notch restaurants and services.