St Lucia is the only country named after a woman and she quickly earned my admiration on a recent visit. Driving the length of this 26 mile mountainous island can take up to two hours due to the alpine nature of the roads, not something you would expect of a Caribbean island, but it all contributes to the unique nature of this lovely destination.
Fought over by the French and British, it changed hands fourteen times until it was finally held by the British until Independence. It is a delightful mix of both; English is the official language, although the local French-based Creole is also widely spoken, cars drive on the left but town names are in French.
Home for my stay was the five-star Windjammer Landing. Situated at Labrelotte Bay on the north west coast of St Lucia, this resort hotel sits on the side of a hill leading down to a large secluded bay and beach. Built in southern Mediterranean style it offers guests the option of self catering with breakfast, or all-inclusive. The all-inclusive package covers meals at its five restaurants, wines by the glass as well as cocktails and premium spirits. It also includes motorised and non-motorised water sports as well as kids’ clubs and tennis clinics.
Regardless of your meal arrangements there is a wide range of accommodation, from luxuriously equipped hotel rooms to villas for 4-12 people, in total comprising 36 rooms, 24 suites and 131 villas. Home for my stay was a gorgeous two-bedroom villa at the top of the hill with stunning views out to sea from the patio and pool. The villa included two big bathrooms, a large and comfortably furnished lounge and a huge kitchen-diner with American-size cooker, microwave, fridge freezer, washing machine, tumble drier, a comprehensive range of kitchen appliances and loads of crockery and cutlery. I would have been happy to move in permanently!
All accommodation has complementary fast Wi-Fi and many of the electrical sockets are also equipped with USB outlets, so using lap tops, smart phones and tablets is as easy as it can get.
A fleet of air-conditioned shuttles, available on demand, ferry passengers between hillside accommodation and reception and the beach. Lining the beach are a number of restaurants. Light and airy Dragonfly is where breakfast is served, with a choice of buffet or à la carte items. It also serves dinner and, on Tuesdays a great Caribbean buffet. Nearby Jammer’s offers casual lunch and dinner as well as a welcome and shady bar. Along the beach past the ice-cream parlour I discovered Embers. Open on three sides, it’s a great place for lunch in the shade and offers a menu ranging from light bites to substantial meals. Dining is also available at Upper Deck, a top-quality seafood and steak restaurant.
Completing the choice of dining venues, just up the hill from reception I enjoyed an authentic Italian dinner at Papa Don’s, rightly popular with guests and again served by the comfortable air-conditioned shuttles.
Another great discovery was 96 degrees, a circular bar along the beach from Embers and ideal for guests looking for a quiet drink and a break from the hot sun. It’s one of those friendly bars where guests quickly fall into conversation with others whilst enjoying a cool beer or cocktail.
Next to reception is a sun-lounger patio and pools for those that don’t want a dip in the sea, and in the unlikely event that it decides to rain for longer than the usual few minutes, the hotel has a comfortable seating area and a library stocked with good books. There’s also a shop, Windmart, where guests can stock up on things they need to save leaving the resort.
With a spa, gym, tennis courts and kids’ club, as well as watersports, there’s plenty to keep guests of all ages occupied, and with a range of restaurants and bars to suit all tastes, leaving Windjammer Landing will probably be your only disappointment!
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, Labrelotte Bay, P.O. Box 1504 Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies.
Windjammer Landing is located on 60 acres of St Lucia’s northwest coast of Labrelotte Bay with access to 64,000 square feet of powdery white sand. British Airways flies from London to St Lucia from £499 return.
Type of Hotel: Villa Beach Resort
Number of Rooms: 36 rooms, 24 suites and 131 villas, including complimentary resort-wide Wi-Fi.
Price Band: Mid-range with room and breakfast from $170 per person per night. The all-inclusive package is $129 per person per night.
Insider Tip: Book all-inclusive and upgrade the flight to World Traveller Plus as the significant extra leg room and better service is well worth it on the 8+ hour flight.
Reviewer’s rating: 8.5/10
Mike Pickup is an award-winning travel writer and photographer who has over one hundred features a year published in newspapers, magazines and travel trade titles.
Photographs by Mike Pickup