My husband (47) and I (32) celebrated our 1 Year Anniversary with a first time trip to St. Lucia and stay at the Windjammer Resort from 8/29 through 9/5. Our last trip was a honeymoon at the Four Seasons in Maui. Ok with that comparison, the Windjammer is not the Four Seasons and St. Lucia is not Maui, but we both agreed by the end we really enjoyed our stay on St. Lucia at the Windjammer Resort.
My first impression after disembarking the plane and jumping in our rental jeep was "we're not in America Toto." The 90 min. drive on the left side of the road, from Vieux Fort to the Windjammer led us through some pretty rough looking towns, but the roads were clear and smooth after Hurricane Dean. I would only suggest renting a car your ENTIRE trip if you're adventurous and have a need for that kind of independence. Otherwise cabs are readily available and you can work with the concierge for car rental a day at a time when you want to go explore the island on your own.
We did the standard ocean view (they're all ocean view) room at the Windjammer: A 1 room, 1 bath villa with two-story balcony (Room 144 A). I asked if any upgrades were available and Janelle was nice enough to show us a 1-bedroom villa. We ended up keeping our original because it had less obstructed of view, was cozy, and already decorated with flowers on the bed. The furnishings were average Caribbean decor, but everything was very clean. There are nicer villas though - it's all in what you're willing to pay for. We're hardly ever in the room so we didn't care. Do use the mosquito net around the bed at night - first it's romantic in a campy sort of way, and second, although the villa is enclosed with great air conditioning, the bathroom window is open (with a pulled tight curtain) and a few mosquitos do get in. Don't freak out, they weren't that bad, the hotel gives you a bug zapper and we brought some citronella candels for outside. It is the tropics though so be prepared.
The hotel itself is not the Four Seasons, but it's cute and quaint and not Four Seasons prices either. It reminds me of a Mediterranean Village like Capri, Italy or Santorini, Greece up a hillside with spectacular views. The rooms are set upwards from the main part of the resort, which is a unique feature of the Windjammer. The shuttle service was useful and we would call about 5 minutes before ready to leave our room, however once in a while we enjoyed the 10-minute walk up or down. A little exercise to burn those calories and the view is so beautiful to take your mind off the exertion. Plus the Serenity Spa is great, we enjoyed a couple's massage
The staff at Windjammer totally impressed us. They remembered our names, asked us how our stay was going, prompt response to our requests of extra towels, helpful concierge, etc. The beach is beautiful, calm, and clear. There are two pool areas- both two levels with waterfall: 1 is up the mountain around the villas (this was being worked on during our stay) and the main pool is steps away from the beach next to Jammers bar. It's not your mega pool with swim-up bar, but again quaint, lagoon style, clean, and fitting to the decor of the resort.
Construction: Yes it's there. They are building new villas "near" the beach. To be honest it's really not a factor. Yeah you can hear some noise, but we brought a battery operated portable Ipod player and never heard a thing but our music. The grounds of the resort are well kept and tropical. They might have been putting in a fountain or something at the entrance, but again we were not bothered by the development.
The Windjammer has a few Duty Free Shops, a well-stocked Mini Mart, and 4 Restaurants. We did not do the all-inclusive plan and I would not recommend it for your entire stay, as there are a lot of great restaurants on the island. The nice thing about Windjammer is you can decide on the all-inclusive plan on a day-by-day basis, which if you plan right that's probably the most bang for your buck. We enjoyed everything we ate at the Resort and every Tuesday the Free (for everyone all-inclusive or NOT) Manager's Cocktail Party was a real treat with champange, Rum Punch, upscale hors d'oeuvres, and Native Music/Dancing entertainment!! Every night they had a different live band at Jammers Bar that was fabulous - from smooth Jazzy pop like Norah Jones, to your get up and move Reggae. Watch those local Rum shots though :)
Resort Orientation: The morning after you arrive there is a 10am orientation to fill you in on all the resort happenings. One thing they will OFFER you to participate in is a 90-minute Timeshare proposition. If you CHOOSE to sit through it you get a discounted excursion in return. We did this, didn't buy in, but it wasn't bad and we got the Jammers sail, snorkel, land excursion with lunch and drinks for $30 instead of $90. By the way the Timeshare units are beautiful and the Jammers Excursion was worth it.
Outside of Windjammer my husband and I had the best meal of our trip at The Edge Restaurant in Rodney Bay. Being from Chicago we are used to good food and The Edge did not disappoint! If you can, contact Chef Bobo or Annika before you go to make reservations at "their most requested table" it will be a romantic evening to remember.
The second best meal related experience we had was at Dashnee restaurant of the Ladera Resort near Soufriere. We road tripped it here for lunch - the view alone from this spot is breathtakingly worth the visit. This is a full day though from the Windjammer because of the mountainous terrain, lots of switchbacks and beautiful scenery. The resorts are beautiful around Soufriere, but a little sleepy for me. I need a bit more nightlife.
We had dinner at Tao because our favorite bartender at Windjammer Sally's boyfriend, Asher, worked there. This place has fabulous service and great food as well. Just don't get there before they open because the Resort it's in, Le Sport, is all-inclusive (only) and you cannot just wander the grounds, but still a great meal.
Rodney Bay: The nightlife of the island takes place around here. We enjoyed the restaurant Buzz for a low-key evening dinner and beach bar Spinnakers great view on Reduit Beach for lunch. We also had fun hanging with the locals at Rumors dance club.
Marigot Bay is a beautiful town - I'd possibly suggest staying around here - it's ritzy, lot's of beautiful boats, a yachters paradise, several good restaurants, and lounges. The Discovery Resort is fantastic - with infinity pools, polynesian design, but no beach. I think one of the hotels in Marigot Bay does have a beach, but I cannot remember what it's called - again this
area is all about big beautiful yachts. You can get a yacht charter out of here for like over night to whereever you want to go. We'd consider doing this next time to maybe like the Grenadines. All and all you're in the Caribbean, you want a nice beach so I'd say have a Taxi take you there for the day or evening dinner rather than stay around here.
Serenity Vacations & Tours: Originally I booked the Grenadines Day Trip Excursion (fly, sail, and snorkel to 3 islands) with John Mathurin but it got canceled due to some inclement weather as a result of the outerbands of Hurricane Felix. A bummer, but I must say Mr. Mathurin was a pleasure to work with, was honest about Hurricane Dean that happened before we got to St. Lucia, and always had our safety in mind.
Overall St. Lucia is our kind of place. It's exotic, a bit undiscovered, and "Simply Beautiful." The Creole people were much friendlier than I would of thought when I first got off the plane. In fact they are about the most warm-hearted group of people when you take the opportunity to get to know them. We asked for directions numerous times while driving and not once was someone rude or refused to help. They will treat you as they treat them so be kind, say hello, and smile. Feel free to email me at email@example.com with any questions.