Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sunny St. Lucia

I am writing this post during a record-breaking cold day in NY with the hopes of warming up my frozen soul. Despite the fact that I've been living here for quite some time, this island girl always craves for the warmth of the tropical sun every single winter. Just thinking about palm trees, pina coladas and crystal waters already brings a smile to my face and those thoughts immediately transport me to a special place called St. Lucia.

When Brian and I were thinking of our honeymoon destination, we both knew that it had to be an island getaway. We were selecting between islands within the Caribbean --- Bahamas, St. Lucia or Jamaica. Though the thought of lazing by the beach day in and day out was very tempting, especially after a year-long wedding planning, we both knew that we wanted to do more than sun-worshipping and that's how we came to the decision of going to St. Lucia.

The Pitons of St. Lucia

St. Lucia offers the perfect mix of beautiful Caribbean beach + mountains for hiking. Brian and I recently got into hiking and were attracted by the idea of climbing St. Lucia's famed Pitons (though we never really did hike during the honeymoon, however, it sure was a pretty view!)

When we made up our minds on the destination, there was no other option for hotel + itinerary. We knew we just had to go with the all-inclusive offering of Sandals Regency La Toc. I mean, how can we say no to unlimited food, drinks, tons of activities during our 2-week honeymoon. It was a no-brainer.

When we got to St. Lucia, it was raining. Though we have already been warned that August is typhoon season for the Caribbean, we still pushed through with it because we really wanted to spend time together immediately after the wedding. It honestly dampened my mood but, what we quickly found out is that in St. Lucia, when it rains, it lasts for about 30 minutes (thank goodness!) and in about half an hour, the view turned from a torrential downpour to this.

We booked the Beach Front Walkout Room. Our travel agent actually gave us a useful tip of telling the front desk manager that we booked for our Honeymoon because whenever it's off-peak season, Sandals give upgrades to those who have chosen the resort for their special occasion. What we did not know when we got there was you had to show legitimate proof. In our case, they asked for our wedding certificate. However, since we didn't have one because, well, we just got married 2 days before arriving, they honored an Instagram photo of our Town Clerk's Congratulations letter.... See? There are benefits to being a heavy Instagram user! They upgraded our booking by including champagne + breakfast in bed.

Our room was perfect. We were central to everything, the breakfast buffet (a HUGE plus for me and my big appetite), the main pool, the restaurants and bars, the beach! While it was one of the mid-ranged rooms available in the resort, based from what other couples were saying, it was the best option. There are more expensive rooms that are a little more remote which are perfect for those not wanting to see other people (those rooms have butlers too!) a lot commented that it's a struggle to move around for when you do want to engage with civilization (they had to wait for golf carts to transport them and some times, it takes a while.) So, hearing all those comments made us happy that we didn't go for the butler room option, which we almost did.

There are a variety of restaurants options within the resort --- from Japanese to English, traditional St. Lucian to French to American --- and, if that's not enough to satiate your cravings, then, you have the option to hop to the 2 other Sandals Resorts within St. Lucia, Sandals Grande and Sandals Halcyon! A shuttle service is offered every 30 minutes for guests who want to explore the other beautiful properties. Every day, the resort stages events and activities in each of its properties which are published in their daily resort newspaper (there was a chocolate tasting event which we unfortunately missed!) so, for those looking for fun things to do other than lay by the beach, they can participate in these activities. Brian and I went to the street fair which was staged in the parking lot and we were stuffed with so much sea food and traditional Caribbean entertainment!

Sandals also partners with local tourism businesses and can book activities outside of the resort for those who want to explore more of the locality. We enjoyed the Island Hopping tour as well as the Zip Line adventure... Yes, at that time, we've only been married for 11 days and literally put our married asses on the line... And thoroughly enjoyed it!

Overall, we had an amazing, amazing honeymoon and the 2 weeks just flew by. At first we thought we'd get bored by the 8th day and find nothing else to do, but, thanks to Sandals' event packed calendar, getting bored was not an option.

Would I recommend this to other couples? Absolutely. The experience was wonderful and the memories that we made were priceless --- enough to thaw my frozen, winter self.

The Bonannos

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