The Honeymoon……

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My wife and I spent our honeymoon in St. Lucia at the Sandals La Toc (Regency) location at the end of April and the first week of May 2012. We got married on April 28th and headed out the 29th to stay the night in Atlanta and boarded the plane for St. Lucia on April 30th to which we arrived while it was raining. We came in and got off the plane welcomed by rain and then walked into the customs/arrival area. Once we finally filled out the paperwork properly because they didn’t explain anything on the plane we got our luggage and went through customs to which is where I found out that my camo cargo shorts were not allowed, so fair warning that they may not be super friendly if you are wearing anything resembling camouflage.

We decided previously to pay for the Luxury Transfer instead of riding a bus which was nice, my wife gets motion sickness so before hand she had taken dramamine which is highly recommended mainly because the roads are not at all straight. The Luxury car we had was a 7 series BMW that for all practical purposes was nice, the roofs cloth was peeling away from the ceiling probably cause of humidity but otherwise it was smooth and everything. The driver was very hard to understand and when he was driving and trying to talk to us it was even harder cause he was speaking forward and we were in the back. Oddly enough we decided the night before we left to get luxury transfer on the way back and we had the same driver. It may be because when I tipped him I didn’t have anything smaller than a $50… which is something I learned after the fact to get some change. I seen where people were complaining about the roads being in horrible shape and everything and part of that is due to the terrible hurricanes that had I think back in 2010 but they are being repaired and we really didn’t find any of the roads to be in what we would consider terrible or unsafe abandonment.

On the travel to the hotel since it was about an hour, the rain did in fact stop and the sun came out. This is something you will notice and not truly understand till you are there. Storms/Rain come and go, they come in and go just about as quick so if you are trying to plan your week and you find that the forecast shows rain, don’t be overly alarmed.

When we got to the hotel, we were taken up to the Butlers Lounge which is the upper part near the bluff. It took a few minutes of waiting around for them to finally have one of our butlers take us to our room but it was not uncomfortable and they had food and drinks there for us.

Our Butlers were Shermynn (CJ) and Roger, and Shermynn who’s name I cannot exactly remember the spelling off hand was the main butler who brought us to our room and explained everything to us. Both of these butlers were top notch, we didn’t really take full advantage of the butler service other than my wife wanting nacho’s or room service all the time, which was fine and they happily obliged. Now we didn’t know it ahead of time but it didn’t matter with our scheduled week but the butlers had taken care of reserving space for us by the pool every day and had already setup some dinners for us at the restaurants, I think they had some setup that had to be canceled because of our already planned week. The butlers were on call every day from 7am to 10pm and would sometimes call you in the morning or throughout the day with a cell phone they provide you (to contact each other) if you have planned events or just to check to see if you needed anything. They were awesome, however because we didn’t utilize them all that much just cause we were not use to it, I don’t know if I would get a butler next time but I would recommend it as an option but will say if you do spend the extra money make sure you plan to use them or otherwise it may be more money spent out than necessary.

We stayed in the Romeo & Juliet Suite that was up on the bluff (Room #880), the room to me didn’t look remodeled but was not in bad shape for the most part. The only thing we found to be bad but we didn’t complain was the bed, when I went to try to run an extension cord from the dresser under the bed for my electronics I found that the middle beam of the bed was snapped in half. Later finding out that my wife and I rolled towards each other every night and that was a nuisance overall. The view we had from our balcony honestly kept me from complaining, yes if they had newly remodeled rooms with new this and that, it may have been nice or a room with a better bed, but honestly the view was great and I didn’t want to chance it.

Once we got settled in and everything we went to Armando’s which is the Italian Restaurant about 100ft from our room. The food was good but honestly my wife and I are not the type that have expensive tastes in food or care about the presentation as much as if the food is good. I am a very picky eater and looking at all of the menu’s this trip was a pain in the rear to find something I may like, even though I did like everything I chose. They have bottled wines and other drinks you can purchase but we stuck with the house wines which to us were just fine.

The Bluff’s pool is amazing, day and night which is usually very quiet which was great for us. We went for a swim a few nights and during the day a couple of times and none of the time was it over crowded in the pool or by the pool. The views from there are also amazing and all of the staff in or around that area are always friendly. We did go to the main pool a couple of times as well since we had planned events we ended up hanging out around there waiting for our bus transfers and they were overly busy but it really depends on your lifestyle. If you like socializing and meeting friendly other honeymooners then it may be more your style, if you are all about seclusion and enjoying yourself with your new wife/husband than the bluff may be more your style.

We partook in the Treetop Canopy Adventure, or more so Zip Lining on our second day on the island which was for the most part fun, didn’t really get to see much of the rainforest but the staff and zip lining portions were fun. I will say as a recommendation if you are partaking in any adventures be aware that it is very humid there so pack heavy on the underwear or other clothing cause you may change cloths more than you think.

We also had a candlelight dinner by the beach to which was nice, the beach is a the main part of the La Toc resort and sadly you will not see a good sunset from that point because the sun actually sets over the bluff so it gets blocked at a given point, at least it did for us in April/May but regardless of that it was a great romantic dinner. We even made a new friend we called “Milo” who was a curious cat that would not turn down food if you fed him, but the staff may not at all be pleased with you doing so. They do feed all of the cats I think twice a day and they are all very friendly and will only approach you if you want them too otherwise they seem to keep their distance.

We did the Snuba Adventure on the 3rd day we were there and I will say I love to swim. I don’t however loved to be tethered to a raft with 3 other people who may not be able to swim. My wife is not a good swimmer and it was not as enjoyable for her which because of the 20ft lines I kept being held back by her and the others that were with us. The experience was nice even though it seemed like we were only in the water for 20 minutes after an hour drive there and back it didn’t seem like enough time to enjoy the underwater life. I did take my Nikon AW100 and got some decent photos for the water not being super clear, I think due to the rain we kept getting or because we were not far from the beach.

We ate at the Kimonos for dinner on the 3rd night and met some nice couples and that place is awesome. Our chef and staff sang and made jokes with us and it may being in pants more pleasant. Oh yeah, I am not one to feel that if you go to a tropical island you should EVER have to bring pants or nice cloths it should be sandals, shorts and swimming trunks if you ask me but I sucked it up for two evening and ate dinner at Kimonos and the La Toc restaurant.

We spent a little time by the beach and did some kayaking and rode a jet ski while there. My wife got a massage that she loved and I was going to play golf till I found out that you really don’t see the ocean or anything so I decided not to spend the money considering I can get about the same views back home without spending the extra money for a caddy or renting clubs.

We enjoyed some lunches at Neptunes and dinners at the Cricketer as well and probably just because of the simplistic menu and what I like to eat the Cricketer or Neptunes was more my style overall.

On saturday night the last night in St. Lucia we did the sunset cruise which if you at all get the idea it is going to be a small romantic sunset cruise I will correct your thinking for you. It is more of a booze cruise, we had about 25+ couples and staff on a large boat. It was nice but wasn’t what I expected of it and we didn’t even get to see a sunset, the boat went into a cove about the same time the sunset was happening but we met some nice people on the cruise.

When we got back to our room and I was going to start packing up to leave the next day, our TV’s didn’t work at all. I don’t know if they were having issues with their already crappy television service or if they decided to just shut off our service since we were about to leave but other way we didn’t have anything for background noise saturday night or the entire time we were there sunday till we left. It is not at all a big deal you are there to relax and not sit at home watching tv like normal but it would have been nice to have it as background noise. I did however bring my iPad so I just turned on some music on it.

Also they do have wifi nearly the entire resort is blanketed with wifi and repeaters to keep you having somewhat a signal anywhere. It is however not very fast or reliable, so enjoy you’re honeymoon or vacation and don’t work or plan on working. I did however get the wifi to work enough to call back to my parents a couple of times using my Google Talk number and an app on my iPhone so it was free calling. It wasn’t super great but wasn’t as bad as Skype has been before. You can check your emails if need be and do other small things but don’t expect to be able to do large data transfers which again you shouldn’t be worrying about that on your honeymoon.

All and all La Toc and the island of St. Lucia are a wondrous place to visit with great people, good foods and a lot to experience. I was asked by family if I would go back there and honestly probably not, but not because of anything being horrible… no mainly because there is a large world out there that I have yet to explore and why keep myself limited to one great place. I will however venture outside the comfort zone of a Sandals package and see if I can save some money and have about the same wonderful experience that I had at Sandals.

The Sandals structure and resorts are great, they really are and they are perfect for a large amount of the couples that go to them or may go to them but for someone like myself who has had to travel all over the world for business, I may spend a little extra time or waste it and find something a little off the beaten path or off some other list.

After all of this I will say this, we booked through Beach Bum Vacations (www.beachbumvacation.com) and Hayley Whorrall (Hayley@BeachBumVacation) was wonderful in helping us plan this honeymoon and was over the top helpful in working out all of the details and hiccups in our Sandals Registry with us. If and when I book another vacation I will be getting in contact with her for her suggestions based on whatever criteria I give her.

I will be writing a blog entry about this with photos that I captured while on the vacation and anyone is welcome to come to the blog or the website to see what else I had to say or whatever I included in the write up. It may also help you see that I am a normal guy who didn’t come here to bad mouth or praise any given company or was paid or endorsed to do so. (www.bradleyclampitt.com/blog).

Best Regards,

Bradley Clampitt

Beach Bum Hayley <Hayley@BeachBumVacation.com>

tips:
– do not wear camo shorts, pants and/or related.
– keep change or smaller bills on you for arrival and leaving.
– if you sleep with a fan or keep electronics next to you in bed, it may be wise to bring a good extension cord incase there is no 110v outlet next to the bed.

St. Lucia, Saint Lucia, Sandals, Sandals La Toc

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