WeddingMoon Fam to St Lucia August 12, 2015
My WeddingMoon Fam Trip to St Lucia by Preston McKinney
I traveled to St Lucia August 12th to August 16th for a Sandals WeddingMoon Fam trip to familiarize myself with Destination Weddings held at Sandals and Beaches Resorts. At the present time with air schedules out of San Antonio, you cannot travel to the islands of St Lucia or Antigua without either flying from Dallas or Houston or plan to overnight and catch an early flight the next morning. I chose to overnight in Miami but was able to return the same day flying American from St Lucia to Miami and catching a flight from Miami to San Antonio.
St Lucia is a beautiful island which is about a 3 & 1/2 hour flight from Miami in the Eastern Time Zone. St Lucia is also considered the most Hawaii type island in the Caribbean with its lush vegetation and semi-active volcano. There are 3 Sandals Resorts located on the north end of the island which is about an hour and half ride from the airport to the resort. There is the option of taking a helicopter which takes about 10 minutes and gives a nice scenic view of the island.
I stayed at Sandals Regency LaToc and was surprised by being assigned a one bedroom butler suite high on the bluff with a nice view of the ocean. We had a 4 & 1/2 hour training workshop on destination weddings at Sandals plus was able to observe a small wedding taking place plus a mock wedding on the beach that gave us a view of what a small destination wedding of 15 to 20 guests would look like. In St Lucia, the bride and groom must be in the country for a full 3 business days excluding any holidays before they can be married. There is a provision that allows the marriage after 2 days by paying an express fee of $160.00 which speeds up the paperwork. Restaurants are spread throughout the resort with shuttles that will transport you between restaurants since the resort is quite hilly.
We also inspected the other two Sandals Resorts on the island which are located about 15 to 20 minutes from each other with shuttles running between the 3 resorts where clients can stay at one and play at all three resorts. Sandals Halcyon is nearest resort to LaToc and is the smallest of the three. It is also the most handicap friendly of the 3 resorts with flat areas for easy access to all activities. It also has the only restaurant (Kelly Dockside) that is built on a pier where you can dine and see the ocean from 3 sides. This restaurant serves great seafood and steak where I dined one evening.
The next Sandals Resort is Grande St Lucian next to Pigeon Island where your room either faces the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. While Sandals Regency LaToc is hilly where some of the rooms are close to the beach and others up higher on a bluff where you get a great view, Sandals Grande St Lucian is fairly flat throughout the resort with the restaurants in a central location. This resort has a great seafood restaurant called Gordon’s on the Pier which used to be restricted to butler guest only but is currently open to all guests on a trial basis.
This was my 4th visit to St Lucia and my 2nd visit staying and doing site inspections of Sandals Resorts. Sandals has been putting a lot of money in updating their resorts all over the Caribbean and I could certainly see the upgrades since the last time I had the opportunity to see the resorts 4 years ago. All three of the resorts are beautiful with great food, service and overall quality. Sandals Grande St Lucian is adding 3 additional restaurants which should be open by the first of the year. I highly recommend a stay in St Lucia and Sandals is certainly one of the better all-inclusive resorts in St Lucia.
I recently received my Global Entry Card which also includes pre-check and it came into good use at the Miami airport. I had a connection of one hour and thirty five minutes between landing, going through immigration and getting to my gate for the flight to San Antonio. There must have been at least 200 to 300 people in line to go through immigration but with the Global Entry Card, I was able to slide my passport into the Global Entry machine and proceed to a line with only 2 people in front of me. By the time I was able to make through the luggage area and then security using the pre-check line, I arrived at my gate just as the plane began boarding. If I had been a normal traveler without the Global Entry and pre-check, there is no way that I would have been able to make my flight from Miami to San Antonio. My suggestion is that if you plan on doing any traveling out of the country more than one time a year, go on-line and apply for your Global Entry Card. The cost is $100.00 and good for 5 years. Once I applied, it took about a month and a half to get an interview time at the San Antonio airport which takes less than one half hour.
Mock Wedding on Beach at Sandals LaToc
Table set up for small reception in Wedding Gazebo overlooking the ocean.