The whole St Lucia experience started for us the day before we were due to fly out from Gatwick. We had been told that British Airways have a facility where you can check-in online 24hours before your flight is due to depart (actually 24 hours and not just the day before), so my first challenge even before we left Stoke for the airport was (once I’d got our passports and confirmation number) to check-in, pre-book our seats and print our boarding card so we could just drop our bags at the check-in desk at Gatwick the following morning.
On-board, the British Airways World Traveller (Economy Class) flights were a lot more comfortable than I remember them being from previous flights. The legroom was good (at 31”) and now that the videos are “on demand” you can pause the film you’re watching whilst you eat. The food was good although the drinks were a bit sparse compared to other Scheduled airlines I’ve flown to the Caribbean.
When we arrived in Hewanorra about 50 people disembarked (as most of the people on the flight seemed to be travelling on to Tobago) and as a result clearing immigration was really quite quick. The airport itself was like many others in the Caribbean in that it was very small and quiet.
The travel infrastructure on the island is better than in most places I’ve been to, however, (as part of the continual development) there were lots of ongoing road works and improvements being made which meant that the road transfer was arduous at best. The air-conditioned 4×4 made short work of the journey and was very comfortable but Liz was still looking a little green by the time we arrived at the hotel! All I can say is that I’m glad we’d paid for private transfers, but, if helicopter transfers are within budget the 15 minute flight and 10 minute transfer from the local airport would be money well spent (especially for those who don’t travel well on land).
The Check-In procedure in the Butler lounge area was nice and quick. We were given our keys and allocated our Suite in the lounge area at which point Jameel (our butler) accompanied us down to the Suite and gave us an orientation to the hotel from there.
It was whilst we were getting this orientation that he made the restaurant reservations for us for the following week and also advised us of the Sandals Select Guest Dinner that we’d been invited to that night.
After a quick shower and change, Jameel returned to the Suite and escorted us down to dinner. The food was superb that night considering that the kitchen was catering for around 100 en-mass, the service was great and dessert was served to each table by the hotel’s management team!
This evening meal was a good indication of the standard of food that we could expect over the coming week. The Restaurants at the hotel were fantastic, a great blend of styles and cuisines from the gourmet dining available at Le Toc to the Caribbean fusion dishes at Pitons Restaurant. The Pitons restaurant was definitely our favourite as the steaks there were amongst the best we’ve ever had. In terms of a dining experience though, Lorenzo and the other chefs at Kimono’s provided a superb spectacle with the Teppanyaki style of cooking. It’s definitely worth a visit and reservations are a must!
As you would expect, the facilities at Sandals Regency (from the A La Carte dining in the Restaurants to the Premium Branded drinks) were absolutely fabulous. The beach at the hotel was great, and although the hotel was over 90% full (due to it being Thanksgiving week) there was enough space on the beach to find a quiet corner even when there were no free sun-beds around the pool. The activities during the day were well organised and even though I got the feeling that they were being done to keep the Americans entertained there was still a good mix of nationalities, sexes and ages taking part… All trying to get enough points to earn their “Sandals”.
Our Butlers really did make the difference for us on this holiday, from Jameel unpacking for us on arrival to Tony bringing a chilled bottle of champagne and providing us a “Silver Service” breakfast on our balcony on our last day. It’s a luxury I wasn’t sure about before we went, but a luxury that I am going to save for and treat myself to again!
My overall impression of the Sandals Regency Le Toc is an outstanding hotel that gives excellent value for money. If you ask, “would Chris go back?”… I would say “when can I go?”