In March this year I was lucky enough to go back for 11 nights to the hotel I call ‘my happy place’. It was my fourth time back to the Windjammer Landings in Castries, North West St Lucia and my first time taking my 4-year-old son.
We flew direct with Virgin Atlantic. The flight was a painless nine hours. I try and grab seats on the left hand side of the plane as you usually get a stunning view of the famous Pitons as you approach to the airport. Once in St Lucia, you have a 90 min drive up through the middle of the island to Castries. Personally, I love this drive, seeing all the little villages and banana plantations – it reminds me of the rainforest in Panama. Others (without kids) prefer to upgrade for around £110 pp to the 15 minute helicopter transfer up to the small Vigie airport, so that then the drive is only 10 mins.
The first of many cocktails
Arriving at the hotel mid-afternoon, we were greeted with fruit punch and the news that we had been upgraded to a massive two-bedroom villa with private plunge pool! The resort is spread out and on a steep hill which means from every villa you get a great sea view. There is a free minibus service that transfers constantly from the restaurants, beach and spa to the villas. You rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes for one to come and the rides are nice and social.
What can you do there?
In the past when I’ve been to St Lucia, before I had my son, I took lots of trips to see the Pitons, the sunset booze cruises, horse riding along the beach, the Big Chef Steak Eating Challenge (top tip – don’t have five beers and a starter beforehand) and the Friday Night Jump Up (street party). But this time, I couldn’t get my son to leave the hotel, admittedly l didn’t try very hard as we were always the first on the beach and the last to leave.
One morning I was feeling active and went to the complimentary tennis coaching session. The coach was lovely and polite about my tennis, but l couldn’t believe the colour of my face after 30 minutes with him in 90 degree heat! I heard the coach arrange for the 20-year-old lad in my class to meet up with another guest in the week for some competitive matches – which I thought was a nice touch. My partner also used the new improved gym every day.
All-inclusive or self-catering?
For me - all-inclusive every time! Although the villas have fully functioning kitchens, the quality of the all-inclusive option’s food and drink make it well worth the upgrade. For example, I am fussy about my beers. I only like bottled beers and there is a choice of bottled Piton, Heineken, Red Stripe and Carib. And also now the local Antillia Brewing Company pale ale, which my partner loves.
The food on the all-inclusive is superb. I think this is because not everyone is on the same meal plan, so the quality has to be good as some people are paying for it separately. We especially enjoy the Filet Mignon at the Upper Deck - hard to believe it’s included!
What makes the Windjammer special?
It’s hard to pinpoint what it is about the Windjammer that I love. The scenery is obviously stunning, all the staff are lovely, the new spa is fab and the water sports are great fun. But I really love the atmosphere - it has the friendly, elegant feel of a private members’ club, with most people returning year after year. The Windjammer is perfect for couples, families and multi-generational holidays. I can’t wait to go back soon!