By: Tracey Manailescu
Guess where we were last week? On a VIP Familiarization trip to St. Lucia with Sandals!
It is so important to visit the properties you want to deal with, so you can share accurate information with your couples when planning a destination wedding or honeymoon with them. I know the service they can expect, and can help point the couples in the right direction for resorts best suited to meet their needs.
I co-produced our 5th "Wedding Professionals International Conference" at Beaches, Turks & Caicos in 2009, and coordinated a Destination wedding last New Year's Eve at Sandals Royal Bahamian in the Bahamas.
The only Sandals properties I have yet to see are Antigua and The Exumas.
What a beautiful island this is. As soon as the plane got close to landing I was hooked. The mountains, the lushness, the stunning water all make St. Lucia a couples paradise. I experienced it with 4 other females, but I imagined what it could've been with my hubby there, LOL!
We were picked up from the airport in an Escalade. Yup. That's right. Then whisked away to Sandals La Toc with Gravol down the hatch. (Really readers, don't be a hero. You will need Gravol for the winding roads and mountainess hour-drive to the resort.)
We were greeted at Sandals La Toc by our Butlers in the Butler's lounge, who took us to our own 2 level suites. (Mine just happened to have 2 doors because one opened directly out to the ocean!!!) This came in really handy for me during my stay, because I woke up early several days and went walking along the beach with no one else around. That was dreamy, I tell you...
The food was very tasty as more spices and flavour were used. We met so many wonderful people through the week, whether they were driving the shuttles, cleaning the rooms, in the restaurants, Red Lane Spa and management. There is a genuine kindness and warmth to the people of St. Lucia. This does not just apply to staff, as we saw with the few locals we met on the beach and on a snorkelling trip. (Yes, the beaches in St. Lucia are public.)
Sandals really utilizes the location of the resorts and gives you breathtaking views at every angle. We were given the chance to experience Red Lane Spa at Sandals La Toc. (Let me insert here that I have been to Red Lane Spa every single time I have been to Sandals or Beaches. Whether it was for FAM's, two personal vacations, or our 5th annual Wedding Professionals Conference, as I mentioned above.) The experience is always the same... that awesome signature scent of lemongrass as soon as you step in the doors, clean and up-to-date equipment, and most importantly, attentive & professional staff who make you feel relaxed and literally in good hands, LOL! I got a 50 minute "Spa Margarita Mani" and a 60 minute "Spa Pedi-Colada". Oh yeah!!!!
La Toc is for lovers. Newlyweds or honeymooners can really take advantage of the nooks and crannies to steal kisses and they won't mind all of the uphill climbing to get from one end to the other, which is great for the bottom half. For others, you can always get a shuttle which drives by every 5 minutes, no worries! The resort is quieter as well, unless you go to the piano bar to listen to some great music and maybe dance a bit if you are so inclined after 11. *Not best suited for couples with mobility issues.
Halcyon is much smaller and more intimate. This is best suited to couples who want to get away from it all and just relax and enjoy each other. It would also be great to have a larger wedding party here to really connect and spend time with loved ones, or a group of friends that you enjoy spending time with and can really be together for most of the vacation. A more mature couple who just want to relax would be ideal.
Grande St. Lucian was my personal favourite. This is where I would vacation with my husband. We get bored easily and need to see variety and like to people watch. Lots to see and do. More people, in a more lively atmosphere. I am 100% a beach person, and the beach here was absolutely stunning with the views of the mountains behind it. (All 3 had great beaches I have to add.) Free shuttles for tours to downtown Rodney Bay ran out of this resort. Horseback riding right on the beach, and horses roaming freely on the other side of the property was nice to see.
Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart have made some adjustments, which is great to see. Couples are now allowed to change up the decor so they can personalize their wedding a bit more with the options available to them. You are no longer limited to set packages. Any staff we asked about this, said it has made a big difference to the couples.
We were invited to watch this wedding above at Grande St. Lucian.
A great time with some great peeps! Thanks Sandals :)