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Review: Sandals Regency, St. Lucia

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#1 sengbusch

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    Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:28 PM

    I will preface this review by stating that this review is written for those who, like myself, have read many reviews in preparation for their vacation. In general, the reviews that I read prior to my trip were very helpful and mostly accurate. I will attempt to include those bits of information that I wish I had known prior to my trip.

    OVERVIEW: I strongly recommend this resort. My wife and I stayed at the Regency for 7 nights for our honeymoon and had a fantastic time. We have absolutely not regrets about choosing this resort. It is very hard for me to understand some of the negative reviews I have read about the Regency. Perhaps they accidentally wrote about the wrong resort. I would absolutely recommend this resort to a friend, even to someone who has travelled often and has high standards for vacations and accommodations.

    ROOMS: We stayed in a Honeymoon Beachfront Walkout room (HBW) and were very happy with our selection. The room category is located in the middle of location 3 on the Sandals Regency PDF map. Our room had a ground floor patio, a direct view of the beach and ocean, and was steps from the main pool and Neptune's restaurant and bar. Everyone has different room preferences, but we thoroughly enjoyed the convenience of having a room within seconds of the pool and beach, where we spent the majority of our time. For the prospective visitor, I would recommend spending some time looking at the map available online and selecting a room based on its location. I would recommend any room in the main building. The suites on the bluff certainly offer more privacy, but are about a five minute walk from the majority of the restaurants and the main pool. I do not doubt that they are nice, but I'm not sure they are worth the additional price considering the fact that all guests have access to the same dining, amenities, recreational activities, etc., regardless of their room location. In my opinion, Sandals is a good value at the mid-range room level (approximately $4k for one week, including airfare), but I do not think it would be worth twice that amount or more.

    FOOD: The restaurants at the Regency far exceeded our expectations for an all inclusive resort. We have done all inclusives before and they were typically buffet style with food that would earn 2 out of 5 stars at best. The Regency is nothing like that. In general, expect the food to be similar to what you would get for 20 or 30 bucks per person at a restaurant in the U.S. Armando's, La Toc, and Kimono's are a must for dinner. Neptune's is much more casual but great for beachside lunch. Breakfast at the pavilion is a very good buffet, but if you are a big breakfast person it is worth the walk up the hill to Armando's for a served meal. We did make reservations at Tuscanini's at the Grande, and although it was very good, we thought Armando's was better and did not require reservations or a 30 minute shuttle ride. Cricketer's serves typical pub-style food and is a better place to go to drink than eat. Overall, do not go in expecting a 3-star Michelin dining experience, but if you have reasonable expectations I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food. Make sure to order the filet at Armando's at least once; it is outstanding.

    SERVICE: Service at the regency does move at a much slower pace than service in the U.S., but is actually very good if you expect this and do not get impatient. We were literally never told "no" in response to a single request. Tipping is not necessary at all, but the staff certainly appreciates some discrete gratuity from time to time. Just don't let a manager catch you passing the staff money because they can get in trouble for this.

    BARS/DRINKS: If you like to drink, the Regency is a good spot for you. It is hard to find a location at this resort where a bar is not within sight. Make sure to ask for your favorite top shelf liquor by name when ordering. The bartenders are perfectly happy to use high quality booze, but won't do so if you don't specify when ordering. The pool bars at both the main pool and bluff pool are great, the only downside being that they close at 5 pm which often seems much too early. Apparently concierge level rooms and above have alcohol stocked in the room. This would be a nice bonus, but is certainly not necessary since there are so many conveniently located bars.

    POOLS/BEACH: There are 3 pools at the regency. The main pool is excellent. It is certainly the most crowded, but due to its large size it never feels too busy. If you want to meet people and be in a more party-like atmosphere, this is the pool for you. If you want quiet and seclusion, the pool on the bluff is the place to be. The middle pool is basically useless and I'm not sure I saw a single person swim in it the whole week we were there. The beach is very good but not amazing. We were lucky to be there when the water level was pretty low so there was plenty of beach, but we were told by the locals that at certain times of the month the water level is higher which causes the beach to be much smaller. The sand is soft but is not as white as some other Caribbean locations. During our stay, the water was calm, clear, and great to swim in. However, it is not quite as aqua-blue in color as places like the Cayman Islands or Cancun. The vast majority of the guests spend most of their time at the pool, so the beach is never crowded. There were several times when we had the entire beach/ocean to ourselves.

    ACTIVITIES: Be sure to take advantage of the free sailing, kayaking, etc. by the beach. We did the ziplining tour through Sandals and would definitely recommend it. We also did the full day tour with Joe Knows. We would also recommend this, with the caveat that you should not be expecting luxury on this tour, and you should expect something to go wrong (e.g. the showers running out of water after our mud batch, leaving us no way to clean up). With the right attitude, such experiences actually enhance the tour. It is definitely nice to get off the Sandals property and experience other parts of the island. We took advantage of the free snorkeling offered by Sandals. The 30 minute shuttle ride to the boat is slightly annoying, so don't expect to snorkel everyday. The wildlife we saw was good not great. You will certainly see some beautiful tropical fish, but if snorkeling and/or scuba diving are the top priority for your trip, this is probably not the right resort for you. Despite these comments, this really was not a big deal for us because there are so many different things to do at this resort that we felt we could have stayed for twice as long and not gotten bored.

    REGENCY VS. GRANDE VS. HALCYON: The "stay at one, play at three" offer from Sandals is a great marketing tactic, but is not really that great in practice. The shuttle ride between resorts takes at least 30 minutes and often involves a lot of waiting. Make sure to stay at the resort that you want to spend you time at, because you don't want to spend your time shuttling between resorts. We never made it to the Halcyon so I can't comment on it, although we did hear from others that it was not very impressive. The Grande was very nice and I would also recommend it. It has a slightly more upscale feel than the Regency, but seemed to have less character. It is hard not to be biased toward the resort I stayed at, but as an objective observer I do think the Regency is the best of the three Sandals properties in St. Lucia.

    CLIENTELE: The majority of the guests at this resort at between the ages of 25 and 40. While we were there (middle of wedding season), more than 50% of the guests were on their honeymoon. The culture at the resort makes it very easy to meet people if you want, however, if you want privacy it is easy to find.

    TRIPADVISOR MYTHS: There are some cats on the property, but they are absolutely not nuisance and the place certainly isn't swarming with them. The trip from the airport does take at least an hour and is quite curvy and hilly, but unless you frequently get motion sickness you should not have a problem. The resort is kept very clean and the maids do a great job. The entire resort staff is very friendly and accommodating, but you have to remember that the culture of the island is much slower paced than many guests are used to. Don't get impatient, you're on vacation!

    SUMMARY: If you've read this far, I'm impressed. This is a fantastic resort that you will not be disappointed with. Based on my experience at this resort, I am confident that other Sandals properties would also be excellent choices. ENJOY!!

    #2 TLC4Rock

    • Jr. Member
    • 473 posts

      Posted 01 July 2010 - 07:32 PM

      Thanks for the review. I agree reviews truly help plan a destination wedding. I made the mistake of reading reviews on Travelocity and Expedia. Those are really not the best reviews. Most people only take time to write negative reviews. However on this site people tend to take time to write reviews that are helpful planning a wedding.

      I love the idea of staying at one resort with access to other resorts. Its like the best of both worlds!

      I'm glad you had a wonderful experience. Please make sure you post pictures. Congratulations!

      #3 Mmack

      • Newbie
      • 118 posts

        Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:16 PM

        We are going to St. Lucia Grande for our honeymoon and can't wait to be pampered!!!!!

        Our wedding is in 11 weeks!!! Can't wait to be a Mrs.!!

        #4 meBonidie2be

        • Jr. Member
        • 402 posts

          Posted 21 July 2011 - 08:46 AM

          St. Lucia is on my list of places I have to go before I die!

          #5 LovesJakeyPoo

          • Jr. Member
          • 160 posts

            Posted 21 July 2011 - 08:53 AM

            =( I really wanted to go here for our wedding, but we thought it would be too pricey for our guests...then we decided to fly there after the wedding and stay as a honeymoon but after considering the flying situation we opted into a cruise instead....this just makes meeh sad lol one day maybe we can go!

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