When I picture Sandals holidays I think of tropical, all-inclusive luxury, so I was very excited when my Dad announced we were going to go to celebrate a landmark birthday for my Mum. My parents had stayed at the Halcyon Beach, St Lucia a couple of years before and liked it so much they decided to go again, and this time my brother and I were also invited.
I have never been to an all-inclusive resort before, so have nothing to compare it to, but this was heaven. After getting used to the fact you didn’t have to hang around to pay for things, and yes I could get second helpings of everything with no problems, it turns out I really enjoy this type of lifestyle. There is something very satisfying about putting down your book, floating across the pool and ordering a cocktail whenever it takes your fancy.
The hotel was the smallest of the 3 Sandals resorts on St Lucia which made it feel more exclusive. You didn’t miss out on anything the larger resorts had though as a transfer bus would take you to the other hotels where you could enjoy their facilities as well. The rooms were light and airy, had plenty of wardrobe space and giant beds you could flop into at the end of the day. Sandals is also child free which for me is an added bonus.
The best thing about all-inclusive in my opinion were the restaurants. I am a fussy eater but the food was incredible and there was a never ending supply of it. At breakfast I could indulge in nutella pancakes alongside delicious fresh fruit. At lunch our favourite spot was the Beach Bistro where you could eat your snack food alongside the waves. In the evenings the choice of restaurant seemed endless across the 3 sites. At the Halcyon we had a great little Italian place called Marios, which had gorgeous ravioli, the Kelly’s Dockland pier restaurant, with it’s upmarket ambiance and yummy surf or turf dishes and a Japanese place called Kimonos, where you were entertained by your chef cooking your meal in front of you. Restaurants at other hotels I enjoyed were the Italian Toscaninis at the Grande and La Toc, at the Regency La Toc, which served beatiful French cuisine. Some of the restaurants required reservations but you are certainly never left hungry.
Aside from eating there are many other things you can do with your time at Sandals. They had a tour operator service at an extra cost. We did book onto one of these but I shall save that for another post. There are swimming pools across the sites and the hotels did organise activities if you wanted to get involved such as coconut beach bowling (a lot harder than it looks) and a pool Olympics.
The watersports station offered a variety of activities. We went out on a small yacht, tried and failed spectacularly at water skiing and took to the water on paddle boards. The latter of these was certainly my favourite. Paddle boarding is a great workout for both your arms and core whilst also being great fun. It also helped that I was reasonably good at it in so much that I spent more time standing rather than falling off unlike my brother and dad. I wish there was somewhere nearby to where I live that offered it as an activity as I would love to do it more regularly.
Were there any downsides to this trip? Yes! One week flew by far too quickly and before I knew it we were heading back home. On the topic of flying, the immigration queue at St Lucia airport was horrendous!! Other than that I had an amazing experience at Sandals Halcyon Beach and would go back in a flash (better get saving!)