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*The official St. Lucia Brides CHAT thread*

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#461 LilyRose

  • Jr. Member
  • 202 posts

    Posted 04 April 2011 - 08:38 AM



    I have been thinking about your situation.  You say that you will mostly need land only packages since your guests are making their own arrangements for air transportation.  And then, some guests need the AI package with the airfare.  Am I right?  I understand that your guests' different needs make your situation more complicated. I have been there too and was wondering if this situation is happening because some of your guests want to use their "miles" toward a free reward flight.  Here is want I found out about reward flights when traveling from Canada.


    First, FiancĀ© and I booked directly with the resort to secure our date and we went with their AI package.  So we used our Aeroplan miles to book our flights.  I booked them the day they were released by AE (about a year from our wedding date).  Since flights to St.Lucia are done with small aircrafts with AC (Airbus 319), it's been pretty impossible to book more than 2 reward flights (aka us) for our wedding week.



    Also, we looked at the possibility to have guests traveling different dates so they can have a reward flight on another flight.  We found out that booking the AI land only with AC vacations, Expedia or the resort itself for Anse Chastanet was more expensive than our group AI package with AC Vacations! Sometimes, the prices seems lower, but they not include meals, transferts and drinks. Once you add them, there is not economy really. So we told our guests to keep their reward miles and keep them for later! Even if we booked directly, all our guests are in a AI group with AC Vacations, including air transportation.


    So, maybe it will help you to wait the release of the Aeroplan tickets before making a decision.  If your guests realize that there is no availabilities for a reward flight or that it cost the same with the reward flight, it will be easier for you to recommend them a group package. 


    Each situation is unique but this is what happened to us.  Hope it can helps!






    #462 LilyRose

    • Jr. Member
    • 202 posts

      Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:06 AM

      Oh, by the way Lees,


      I forgot to mention that my TA is the Canadian TA from this forum.  She is based in Vancouver also!



      #463 Lees

      • Newbie
      • 9 posts

        Posted 04 April 2011 - 04:53 PM

        LilyRose thank you soooo much for the reply;) I really appreciate your advice;))  You are right, we have to stop trying to please everyone and figure out what we want to do! Haha we have even contemplated eloping as well but I think down the road I would regret not having my parents and closest friends there. At this point we've narrowed down our destinations to St Lucia ( always wanted to go there), Hawaii( this is where we got engaged), or a Caribean cruise( we love cruises and could honeymoon in St Lucia afterwards). Mexico is on the list but I think our last choice.Mexico would be so fun and amazing im sure but I just feel like everyone does Mexico and we want to be different eek!

        I hope I'm not alone in feeling WAY overwelmed by the whole wedding planning process! I love planning holidays and nights out but holy this is one undertaking!

        I'm going to PM you for your TA's info!

        Thanks again;)

        #464 MEve

        • Newbie
        • 36 posts

          Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:05 AM

          Hello everyone!  So I am back from St.Lucia.  Girls, I can tell you, you won't be disappointed!  It is fantastic!  We stayed at Smuggler's Cove, and visited Almond Morgan Bay and Windjammer.  So here it is, for current and future brides!


          St.Lucia hotel reviews:


          Smuggler's Cove review: we stayed there from April 1st to April 4th.  This time of year is considered "lower season", so out of the 4 restaurants, they close one per night on a rotation.  One of the restaurant is the buffet (The Cove), so nothing too spectacular, but it's great for breakfast.  The dinner there was ok, nothing too fancy and lots of heavy food (fried fish, fried rice, potato/meat/gravy, etc.).  Lunch there is better, sandwich bar, limited selection of salads, some other varied dishes.

          Cafe Asia is the adult only restaurant.  It says on the website to be Thai, Japanese, but the influence is a mix of Indian/Caribbean.  Didn't really see the Thai or Japanese in the dishes.  The food was good.

          The italian restaurant is basic italian food.  Pasta, risotto, pizza.  Again, not much salads on the menu. (it's just that at some point, you crave some greens...)

          The Waterside Grill, well, that was pretty great.  Set over the water, with the waves crashing below you, the menu is varied and more high end.  This restaurant can be booked for private reception, no matter the number of guests.

          The beach is small, but secluded and seemed to be used only by the hotel guests.  Nice beach, not too crowded at this time of year.

          The rooms are hit or miss (my fiance said I was more picky than him on that, which is rare).  The rooms that we had in the 440 range (we were there with friends) were clean, but rough around the edges.  It needed some finishing touches.  However, we saw the standard rooms that were recently refurbished, and now that I wouldn't be embarrassed for my guests to be at.  Also, they have a few oceanview or oceanfront rooms (like 7 or 8) and those are very new inside, with massive bathrooms.  They are located in an adult-only area.

          In terms of wedding at Smuggler's Cove:  we met the wedding coordinator, and she is great. The wedding gazebo is one of the nicest I've seen.  White, airy, set on a cliff overlooking the bay (absolutely no chance of getting people in bathing suit on your wedding shots), totally isolated location.


          Pros: all-inclusive, the unspoiled look of the beach, possibility of renting a whole restaurant, the intimate location and beauty of the wedding gazebo.  Nice professional staff.  They seem to be continually working on the property, fixing things once at a time.

          Cons: after a week, the food might get boring, need to be specific in the room selection as to not get the older ones.

          Neutral: the beach vendors are actually quite fun, friendly and lively.  They aren't aggressive or pushy.  Only a few are present on the beach each day, so not overwhelming.


          #465 MEve

          • Newbie
          • 36 posts

            Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:22 AM

            Windjammer review in terms of wedding:

            we visited on April 3. 

            The wedding gazebo is on one end of the beach, whose section is closed when a wedding occurs.  It is however very possible to get bathers and sun tanners in the pictures as they would be right next to the closed-off section.

            Signs from the last hurricane (Thomas, last October) are still visible; it looks like they bulldozed debris on one end of the beach, actually near the wedding gazebo.  The beach is crowded, not so much from people but from "stuff" in the water, from the restaurant on a pier to lots of kids apparatus (trampoline, climbing thingy, etc.), so not so charming beach.

            The grounds were quite nice, the pools appeared very clean, and all the white buildings also contribute to the clean appearance of the resort.

            The rooms: OMG!  Amazing rooms and views from the rooms, thanks to their construction on the flank of a cliff.  Shuttles run 24h/day to bring you to your room/the rest of the property as the road is very, very steep. 


            Pros:  great rooms, great views.  Beach is kid-oriented.  The work-out if you don't want to wait for the shuttle.

            Cons: the dependance on shuttle to go from the rooms to the rest of what there is to do (unless you consider it more like a cottage, or are looking into staying in your room a lot), the spoiled look of the beach.  Beach is kid-oriented.  Nothing really impressive with the view from the gazebo.

            #466 MEve

            • Newbie
            • 36 posts

              Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:37 AM

              Almond Morgan Bay review in terms of wedding:

              we visited on April 3.

              Buildings are spread on the hills, some upper buildings (the rooms with oceanview) requires to go up steep paths and up lots of stairs.  We were told all the rooms are pretty much the same, what changes is the views (oceanview = $$).  The rooms are very clean, refurbished, and allow guests to share or bring children (we saw a room with 2 double beds and one single bed).

              The wedding gazebo is stubby, brown, but set on the top of a cliff which gives a panoramic view of the ocean.  Far from the beach, so no bathers in bathing suits nearby.

              The beach is clean, nice, with lots of natural shades if you require some and umbrellas are all taken (I'm a redhead, so I look for shade).  There is a restaurant on a pier, but it doesn't take over the visual real estate of the beach.


              Pros: allow guests to share rooms to bring down costs.  The view from the gazebo.  The restaurants do not close on rotation during the off season.  The beach is nice.

              Cons: possibility of a long, sweaty walk for the bride to reach the gazebo.  Gazebo is somewhat unattractive on its own.

              Comment: on the taxi on the way back, we picked-up a Toronto woman at the Almond, and she said the food was great.  She stayed a week, and did say that despite the 4 restaurants, in the end the food didn't feel very diverse, but that it was good.

              #467 LilyRose

              • Jr. Member
              • 202 posts

                Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:40 AM

                Welcome back MEve!


                Seems like you have enjoyed yourself!

                Your fiancĀ© and you have deserved it so much.

                Thanks for reviewing the resorts.  Have you make a decision yet regarding Sandals or another resort?

                And how was the weather?  And your hairs?  Is it very hot and humid?


                Keep us updated!




                P.S. I posted few messages regarding your situation while you were gone. I am sure you are feeling so much better now that you have been in St.Lucia.

                #468 LilyRose

                • Jr. Member
                • 202 posts

                  Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:46 AM

                  Monica Mai!!!!!!


                  Your wedding is in 11 days! Whoohoooo!


                  When are you leaving?  I'm so excited for you!

                  Hope to have the chance to read you before you go!



                  #469 MEve

                  • Newbie
                  • 36 posts

                    Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:07 AM

                    LilyRose, thank you so much for the advice on the aeroplan points.  Indeed, my father in-law was going to use his points for us two, himself and his wife, and my brother-in-law.  That would be 5 reward on the same plane.  I will have him looking into that ASAP. 


                    We gave up on Sandals.  They were taking forever to reply to our travel agent, and because of the whole single person/impossibility of people sharing rooms.


                    A note of warning, I have a pretty strong stomach, and I can tell you that the 2 hours from the airport to Smuggler's Cove (in Cap Estate) got to me after about an hour and a half.  The 2 guys also got motion sickness.  I got really motion sick on the way back, as I was talking to other travelers in the van and not looking out enough.  The best seat against motion sickness is beside the driver.

                    About taxis at the airport: they will say the rate is US$110 for 2, or 4 people...they will off the bat offer to drive you for $90.  If they fill the taxi (looks like a minivan, so can fit 8-9 people in one), they are more likely to bring the price down.  We paid US$60 for the 4 of us each way (one couple getting off before us paid $70), but the most people in the taxi, the more stops and the longer it takes.  2 hours on the way up, and only an hour and 15 minutes on the way down.  We got lucky and found a representative for Air Canada Vacations the morning we were leaving and were able to arrange a taxi through her for $60 again, with other people traveling via AirCanada Vacations at other hotels.


                    In terms of currency, it will be cheaper to buy things in US$ at the resort.  Taxis also come cheaper in US.  However, in small towns off the resorts and at Hewanorra, it is cheaper to buy in EC.

                    A lot of website talk about a departure tax (US$26 - 68EC) to be paid in cash only.  I was all ready for it and then it just never happened.  I didn't see anyone anywhere having to pay either.


                    We are now thinking of having the wedding at Smuggler's Cove (we liked our stay there) or Almond Morgan Bay.  I am also gonna look into Anse Chastanet.  We really liked snorkeling, and apparently it is much nicer there than in the north of the island...

                    #470 MEve

                    • Newbie
                    • 36 posts

                      Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:09 AM

                      MonicaMai, I am so excited for you! 

                      In case you are too busy in the upcoming days to check this board before you go, I wish you all the best, and wish you a great time!  Cheers to you!!!  

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