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Friday, 3 January 2014

Destination St. Lucia! (Part 2)





Destination St. Lucia! (Part 2)

Le Sport Bodyholiday

Enjoyed a site inspection and complimentary spa session at Bodyholiday. I have to say, the property
was very busy and hence we didn’t get to see many of the rooms. From the brief glimpse we had, there were far more luxurious rooms on St Lucia. The reason to come to Le Sport is the wellness experience. To be fair, they do it very well – albeit with blackboards listing activities and buffet style dining, it does have a little of a luxury holiday camp feel to it. With Le Sport, you tailor your holiday to suit you and can do as much or as little as you like. Spa sessions, tennis training, yoga, beach activities – it can all be done. Its predominance of English guests is catered for with afternoon every afternoon at 4.30 and its attention to detail with individual guests, from the ones I spoke to, is first class. Not a property to bring children to (most of the year the age limit is 16 plus – couples and certainly groups will fit in ideally here and more significantly, single travellers. The management are at pains to cater in a sensitive way to single travellers ie strategically seating them in an area where they can mix with other single travellers over drinks and dinner.

Rendezvous 


The sister property to Le Sport, this couples only resort has been converted into a hotel/resort from a family home. The property has a beautiful beachfront location and has burgeoned from a family residence into a resort of 100 rooms, whilst still retaining charm and intimacy. It naturally is solely aimed at couples and honeymooners but does cater for weddings as well.

The open air buffet style dining area has an excellent beachfront location and the quality of food was excellent – especially the choice of around 7 desserts!!! The bar area – which was part of the original family home – was charming. Typical with the rest of St Lucia, it had an excellent Spa and great gym – with options to do many other both indoor and outdoor activities.

From the outside, some of the accommodation blocks did look rather Spartan but once inside were of a very high standard. The Beachfront cottages were my favourite but the categories at the property would suit for all tastes and budgets.


East Winds Inn


Our group sent one night at East Winds Inn. The Caribbean style property is made up of only 30 rooms – made up predominately of split level semi detached style cottages. The cottages were beautifully decorated with very expensive Italian bed linen and had a very rustic feel to them.
The bathrooms included a sunken shower – very quirky – and the cottage as whole had a kind of jungle feel to it. Sadly, in terms of space, it was probably the smallest bedroom we saw on the whole trip and coming immediately after spending 2 nights in a 2 bedroomed Deluxe Suite, was made to feel even smaller.

The unique selling point of East Winds is really its unique charm. It has a great beachfront location (with a beautiful beach) and prides itself on its tropical gardens – guests can do walks around the property with pre-marked trails - and its restaurant has a strong Caribbean feel to it. The service and quality of food and drink in the bars and restaurants was superb. Personally I didn’t really get the concept myself. Whilst there was nothing wrong with any aspect of the property, I couldn’t think of clients that I would place there. However, from speaking to a number of guests – many of whom were repeat clients and certainly in the 50 plus aged bracket – they absolutely loved the place and “wouldn’t stay anywhere else in St Lucia”, highlighting the service and relaxing intimate nature of the property as the reasons why they return again and again. Rated no 1 in Gros Islet on Trip Advisor, that many people can’t be wrong can they???!!!



Calabash Cove


Quite simply my favourite property of all we saw. Sadly only had chance for lunch and site inspection. Located at the end of quite a bumpy route (as many of them are) off of the main road between Gros Islet and Castries, you are immediately wowed by the fa├žade as you approach. Not sure how to describe it, reception is in kind of an open air atrium (if that’s possible) with the most spectacular views out to sea – leading into a sea front restaurant area – again with amazing views.
Steps took you down to the pool area with swim up bar – with accommodations on either side – with the beach area further down. It provides the most wonderful romantic hideaway – I can immediately name 4 or 5 clients I would place here!!! The place is an absolute paradise. Yes, as many of the luxury properties in St Lucia, it isn’t cheap but even the lead category of rooms are fantastic – as long as you can get over the fact that the bath is located in the main body of the room!
I loved it and the large balcony affording those stunning views, even better. My personal favourites were the swim up Junior suites – only 4 of them I think. They had their own balcony/terrace with steps down directly to the main pool area – the terrace area shrouded in beautiful foliage - but with the options to have privacy if required.

Food in the main restaurant was excellent and to be fair, the menu at the swim bar looked absolutely ideal as well. Again the property had an excellent spa but on the downside, is really not suitable for the less able bodied guests or children. If you did choose to leave this idyllic location, the hotel were keen to stress the many activities they could offer guests. I wouldn’t bother!!!


Windjammer Landing


Not really knowing the property, in my mind, I imagined a fading luxury Sheraton/Marriott type property – what I got was totally different. Beautifully designed and decorated rooms – in a kind Grecian style. Someone compared it to Santorini - I guess that’s about right. The property is set right up on a hillside – the highest rooms apparently around 500 meters up from the sea. It has varying categories of rooms and aims to suit all party sizes. The larger 3 – 4 bedroom Villas ideal for large family groups had been very well thought out. The key thing I noticed with all categories of room at Windjammer was the amount of space – you felt that in other hotels they would have tried to squeeze in another couple more bedrooms. Here you had space to move around. I stayed in a Hibiscus Suite – 3rd category in – which was lovely. Excellent sea views, Hot tub on the balcony, what more could a boy want!!! Spacious lounge and kitchen area, leading into a large bedroom area and onto an ensuite bathroom. Beautifully decorated.

We ate in the Mediterranean restaurant at the property - excellent cuisine - before heading to the poolside bar close to the busy reception area. Again very nice. Downside to Windjammer Landing – and it is only a small one – is the sheer size of the property and getting around it. Buggies can be hailed and arrive quickly but if you are located high up the property it is quite a journey around
sharp and steep hairpin bends over bumpy terrain – not everyone’s cup of tea. Offset that with
the fact it probably has most amenities of all the hotels we saw – 3 shops located close to reception.
Naturally it doesn’t really suit disabled guests but all others – both those wanting to relax and those wants all the facilities you’d usually expect from a large resort.

Stay tuned for Part 3, coming on January 7th!

For more information about St. Lucia, and other unique travel experiences, please visit www.kanootravel.co.uk, or call us on 0800 458 3412, or email webbookings@kanootravel.co.uk

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