Explore St. Lucia at The Landings Resort & Spa
Explore St. Lucia at The Landings Resort & Spa
Have you ever needed a vacation so badly you didn’t even notice your passport expired two years ago? This was the situation I found myself in upon receiving an invitation to St. Lucia to explore the Landings Resort and Spa recently.
I’m a busy single mom, so vacationing is not always my top priority, but there was no way I was going to miss out on a kid-free vacation that included white sand, crystal clear water, and a spa. So I forked over the extra $60 to expedite my passport, sent the kids off to their dad’s, and hopped aboard a 4.5-hour flight to the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
St. Lucia is a 238-square mile island located between Martinique and St. Vincent, not far from the northern coast of South America. Its coastline consists of sandy beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the calmer tides of the Caribbean to the west. At the center of the island lies tropical rainforests, jungles, waterfalls, mountains and volcanoes.
I landed at the airport and hailed a cab to the resort’s location on Rodney Bay, a section of St. Lucia known for its immaculate beaches and sparkling, turquoise waters, The weather wasn’t fully cooperative throughout my stay, unfortunately, but it was far from a deal-breaker. You could hardly tell from my pictures that the days were overcast, and frankly the rain is super refreshing on humid, 90-degree days. Plus, overcast or not, you’ll still get a tan!
The Caribbean sun is very strong and you can always feel the heat on your skin, a constant reminder to reapply sunblock. Sunny days aren’t exactly sweltering, however. While the swaying palm trees dotting the resort make for a lovely photo backdrop, they also create a constant, cooling breeze. Thank you, nature’s air conditioner!
The Landings Resort & Spa St. Lucia
I arrived at The Landings Resort & Spa and was immediately greeted by the pleasant scent of lemongrass, which I learned grows in abundance on the island. The architectural design of the lobby itself is stunning, featuring grandiose ceilings, a sprawling staircase, cozy loungers and an open-air path to the resort’s private marina. From the moment I arrived, the staff was extremely warm, attentive and friendly.
Once I checked in I headed up to my “room.” By room, I mean my 1,800-square foot Marina-view villa with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a full living room and office area, a fully-stocked kitchen, large indoor and outdoor dining tables, two patios, a washer and dryer, a stove, a dishwasher and more. The space could easily accommodate a large family or two smaller ones. And with so many bathrooms, there should be no fighting to the death over who gets the first post-beach shower (or is it just my family?).
The washer and dryer strategically located near the front door means no mess left behind when kids (or grownups) strip off their sandy bathing suits after a long day at the beach. The resort has 950- to 2,300-square foot suites available, and you can even spring for oceanfront villas which lead straight to the beach and come equipped with a private butler. Like a tropical Mr. Belvedere of some sort.
Dining at the Landings Resort and Spa
There are three restaurants from which to dine at the Landings Resort and Spa (endlessly if you choose an all-inclusive package): The Palms, where you’ll enjoy an upscale, four-course meal; The Beach Club, a more casual dining experience where impromptu dance parties break out by night, and a breakfast buffet is served in the morning; and Callaloo, where you can enjoy a delicious beachside lunch.
You can dine under the starlit sky at any of the resort’s restaurants, but if you want to incorporate a little more astronomy in your stay, you can book a guided stargazing experience on a luxurious yacht with your family. You can also have a telescope set up in your room where you may view the whole galaxy at your leisure. Well, not the whole galaxy, but on clear nights you can spot planets, constellations and even the Milky Way from St. Lucia.
The resort offers a complimentary Kids Club to all guests, consisting of daily staff-led activities for kids who are 4 and older where parents can drop off their children while they set out on an off-resort adventure or enjoy a relaxing day at the beach or one of the four pools. While mom and dad do their thing, kids do crafts (coconut carving, anyone?), interact with costumed characters, and enjoy other kid-friendly, themed entertainment. Babysitting services are available for families traveling with very young children, and you can even have your room baby-proofed prior to your arrival.
Snorkels can be rented for those looking to spot marine life swimming near the shore, and I can still hear the echoes of excitement from children running across the sand to report their sightings back to their parents. For a more in-depth look at the ocean floor, you can book a scuba diving excursion at a number of picturesque undersea locations on the island.
Teens, tweens and adults have access to myriad adventures on the water, including sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and tube rides. Lessons are available in the morning and afternoons.
Vacations are for relaxing, and it’s important to set aside time for it. The resort features a 7,000-square foot spa open daily to guests, offering soothing massages, facials, mani/pedis, waxing treatments, wet therapy and more, as well as the Health Club, a large fitness room featuring top-of-the-line workout equipment.
Off-Resort Excursions in St. Lucia
Admittedly, I would have been quite content sunbathing and sipping frozen cocktails on the beach all day long in St. Lucia. I mean, how else does one snap the quintessential (fine, cliche) crossed-feet-by-the-ocean photo for the ‘gram? But I was there to see all of St. Lucia, not just the small (but gorgeous) piece of land the Landings Resort and Spa was nestled on. So although the resort’s signature rum punch was calling my name, I threw on some sneakers and went exploring.
Hiking in St. Lucia
My first stop was Pigeon Island, a 44-acre historic landmark and living museum just a short walk from the resort, to hike up a mountain. I’m more of a leisurely-stroll kind of girl, so I wasn’t exactly in my comfort zone trekking up an actual mountain for fun. But the view from the top was well worth it, so I’m glad Terry, our guide (and possibly the happiest guy in all of St. Lucia), kept me going with words of encouragement and distracting tidbits of history along the way.
Did you know France and Britain fought 14 battles over the island, with the English emerging victorious in the final battle? That’s why you will find both French and British influences in the Lucian culture. Here’s another cool fact: St. Lucia is one of only two sovereign states in the world named after a woman, and the only one named after an actual historical female figure. The other is Ireland, in case you’re wondering.
Ambitious hikers can also climb one or both of the Pitons, a pair of trademark peaks on the island’s south shore. I can’t say I was up for the challenge myself, but rumor has it you can see almost the entire island from the top of Gros Piton, the larger of the two at a lengthy 2,530 meters high. High risk, high reward, amiright?
My next stop was Soufriere, where I soaked in a mineral-rich mud bath known to give skin the “Benjamin Button effect,” according to our hilarious tour guide, by applying the volcanic mud to your body and taking a dip in a hot spring to wash it off. Truthfully, I envisioned more of a spa setting when I heard mud baths were on the itinerary, but this was a fun and very different kind of activity, one I’m sure younger visitors would get a kick out of. In fact, while I was there I watched a large, jovial group painting each other with dark mud like war paint, then posing for an undoubtedly memorable family photo. I think my kids would be all for it.
A Tour Kids Will Find Sweet
While on Soufriere I visited the Morne Coubaril Estate, where I toured an 18th-century sugar cane and cocoa plantation and watched the process of creating chocolate to be shipped off to Hershey, PA, (a large amount of Hershey chocolate comes from St. Lucia). I also strolled through the rainforest to observe tropical plants and exotic flora, then met a guy who carved an impressive five coconuts in under five minutes! If you’ve ever tried to crack open a coconut, you understand what a difficult feat that is. People have surely landed in the hospital trying, so this guy was pretty epic in my book.
As beautiful as the estate grounds are, visitors will enjoy an even more breathtaking view from above on a ziplining excursion or rope bridge walk. In fact, ziplining is one of St. Lucia’s most popular attractions, which is understandable – you can literally glide over a jungle from 800 feet in the air!
Next I visited Fond Doux (sadly, no relation to cheese), an eco resort located on a cocoa plantation where British royals had dined the previous day. The restaurant served up a tasty array of local cuisine like kingfish, fried plantains, lentils and more. My travel companions and I chatted over our meal about everything from the country’s culture and history to the many movies and tv shows filmed on the island and which celebrities visit often. My boyfriend will never forgive me if I fail to mention that the iconic scene in Superman 2, when the superhero picks a beautiful flower for Lois Lane, was shot in St. Lucia. You can visit the waterfalls pictured in the scene, which is now called – you guessed it – Superman Waterfalls.
Family-Friendly Festivals in St. Lucia
St. Lucia hosts a number of family-friendly festivals throughout the year, and the island truly comes alive during these times. Although most events were canceled due to Covid in the past two years, many are returning for 2022. Most notable is Carnival (pronounced car-ni-VAL), a vibrant summertime celebration that draws huge crowds in many countries around the world, and St. Lucia’s Carnival is arguably the best in the Caribbean. Held in July, the weeklong event culminates in a two-day parade of music and nonstop entertainment, and the streets fill with party-goers donning highly creative and elaborate costumes as far as the eye can see. Many hotels – the Landings Resort and Spa included – decorate accordingly and hold festive, Carnival-themed activities throughout the season.
Covid Precautions in St. Lucia
St. Lucia takes Covid seriously. Masks are required in all indoor public areas at the resort and on most parts of the island. I was required to sanitize my hands before entering all eateries and establishments (even outdoors). As of April 2022, there is no requirement for pre-travel Covid testing or quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers, but a valid vaccination record is required for entry to the country. Unvaccinated travelers over age 5 must have a negative PCR test done within five days before arriving. In addition, travelers are required to test again less than one day prior to checking out of the resort.
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