My husband and I visited St. Lucia in September 2011. I had just finished up a Masters degree and all I wanted to do was relax. The biggest decision I wanted to make was pool or beach. Pina Colada or beer.
We chose to stay at Sandals La Toc. This was our first Sandals experience. We were drawn to the all-inclusive package and I’m going to be honest, those commercials just reel me in! There were three resorts in St. Lucia and this seemed like the middle of the road in price. If we had to do it all over again, I would recommend staying at The Grande. Here is a review of our trip as well as pictures.
Airport: We flew into the smaller airport (SLU). Be aware that there are men in red hats that are waiting to your luggage for a fee. We played defense and avoided them. As soon as you exit the airport, there are about 10 men shouting “Where are you going?” “Need a ride?” We avoided them, looking for the sandals desk. I had been expecting a Sandals desk/lounge at the airport but it sounds like that only exists at the bigger airport. So, if you are at the smaller airport, look for the man holding the Sandals clipboard. The ride to the resort was 10 minutes – if that.
Check-in: went very smoothly. They give you a beverage upon arrival and you sit and fill out paperwork. We received a room upgrade which was a nice touch considering this was the first time at the resort.
Room: It was nice! Yes, the furniture was a little worn but we really didn’t care. We were in Building 4 and our room overlooked the pool. My only complaint was at night. It was very noisy. They have a band in the Pavillion that plays until 11pm or midnight. After spending all day in the sun drinking, we were in bed by 10:00pm every night (shameful, I know but we were on vacation, don’t judge 🙂 Our room was the La Toc Honeymoon Premium level room and I am so happy we did not get a more expensive room. We were only in our room to shower and sleep. A butler would have been nice when you’re too lazy to get up and get food but I can’t see it being practical. Save your money!
Food: After visiting this resort, I realized I was a bigger food snob than I thought. The food wasn’t bad but it wasn’t mouth watering either. The food portions are not American size which really didn’t bother me but if you order a Shrimp Appetizer you only get two small shrimp. So, don’t be shy and order more food! Especially if you are an eater.
Restaurants: We ate at Pitons the first and last night and it was probably my favorite restaurant. I just liked the ambiance. The food was fine. Kimono’s was my least favorite. The food is not that good and our chef wasn’t very entertaining. We ate at Neptunes for lunch and the pizza is good. We also ate their for dinner. Honestly, the service at Neptunes was by far the worst of all the restaurants. It was almost laughable how poorly it was. We’re good sports about things so it’s not like we complained but seriously, get better servers who actually care about their jobs! La Toc was the nicest of the restaurants. Again, nothing mouth-watering but if you can get reservations for two nights, I would recommend it. The Pavillion was good for breakfast/lunch. We got food to go there one night and it was so so. A surprising treat though is the Cricketers pub! We loved it there. Great food and staff!!
Drinks: There are only two beers, Piton and Heinekin (yuck). The frozen mixed drinks at the swim up bar were definitely watered down.
Cats: I am NOT a cat person. I swear they sensed that and would sit near my chair begging for food. I was not a fan of the cats but they certainly didn’t ruin my trip!
Beach: Yes the beach is small but it’s not a big deal. They flew the red flag for several days but the water was always calm.
Staff: I felt like the day staff were much more friendly than the evening staff. The playmakers are fun and put on a good show. I didn’t find the people rude but I also didn’t find them overly nice either. Tasha at the swim-up bar was sweet though. It just wasn’t a really welcoming vibe.
Spa: I did not get a spa treatment but you can definitely haggle prices with the ladies. A 50 minute massage is $130 and an 80 minute massage is $180. I was able to negotiate a 50 minute massage and back exfoliation for $100. They also run daily specials so don’t pre-book a treatment! They continuously come around the pool area talking to you which gets annoying b/c they clearly don’t remember that they spoke to you just a half hour ago when you politely declined. We were solicited several times a day. I spoke with people who said the massages were not that great. Plus they tack on a 12.5% sales tax whereas in the states, spa treatments aren’t taxable. What confused me was the tipping aspect. Some people tipped at the spa and some did not. I don’t know the protocol there and didn’t want to worry about it. So I booked several spa treatments for the price of one at La Toc when I got home. I’m happy I did it that way.
Would I return to this resort? No and I have already recommended to my engaged friends to skip this one. There are better resorts out there. It’s not like I had a bad time or terrible experience. It just wasn’t the five star they claim to be. Be sure to read my review on Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica.
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