Caribbean

Swing into St. Lucia

written by | Posted on May 1st, 2010

Unpredictable terrain, spiking one minute and gently rolling the next, serves as the island’s biggest challenge for golfers. But when it comes to accommodations, St. Lucia makes it easy with a wide range of resorts to suit any budget.

rodney bay The property: Quaint and comfortable, The Village Inn & Spa combines two experiences golfers aren’t used to enjoying together: access to a demanding 18-hole golf course and a cozy stay at a boutique resort. The 76 rooms and suites of this Elite Island Resorts property won’t blow your mind with ultra-luxe amenities, but with all the essentials for enjoying a Caribbean vacation—balconies or terraces, easy access to the pool and jacuzzis and decor inspired by the tropics. Clients using it as a home base for golf won’t want for more.

Clients more accustomed to upscale travel will want to upgrade to The Landings St. Lucia, A RockResort, designed to exceed expectations. Guests of its villa suites have access to full kitchens, separate living areas, and private bathrooms for each bedroom. And that’s just inside. Step onto one of any villa’s two patios or terraces for views of the beach or nearby harbor, as well as a dip in the plunge pools built into each 1-bedroom harborfront villa suite, The Landings’ standard room category. The resort rewards groups traveling together—think two or three couples sharing a vacation, or large families—with added space and ever-more-stunning views moving up the room categories.

The greens: The St. Lucia Golf Resort & Country Club puts its home island’s naturally stunning topography to good use throughout the course. Meandering through the gently sloping hills of Cap Estates at the northern tip of St. Lucia, the par 71 course boasts views of both the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, and tropical flowers like orchids adorn golfers’ surroundings. But all that beauty belies the challenging nature of the course itself. The sloping fairways and elevated greens change from simple scenery to formidable obstacles with clients’ first swings. Players who feel they need a warm-up before tackling its 18 holes can book a session at the Nicklaus Academy on site. A 40-minute session on the driving range costs $50.

The amenities: Accommodations aside, cuisine is the shining star of The Landings, thanks to new restaurant The Palms. Fusing European and Caribbean cuisine, the restaurant serves dishes prepared with fresh local produce and seafood, all sourced directly from St. Lucian farms. Clients can continue their indulgences at the 7,000-sq.-ft. spa, with state-of-the-art facilities like outdoor hydrotherapy terraces and a wet therapy room with a 12-jet stand-up shower.

The Village Inn & Spa offers a more casual experience. For a taste of local Creole cuisine, clients can visit Emeralds Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge. Book the resort’s all-inclusive plan for unlimited meals, beverages and a welcome cocktail at check-in. Golfers feeling the burn can book a treatment at the Sea Shells Spa for a sports massage followed by a long, relaxing soak in its steam room.

The scene: By day, Rodney Bay appears to be just another sleepy Caribbean village, but don’t be fooled. At night, its bars and restaurants come alive. From the casual scene of Mango’s Bar, to the dance floor and lounge at Club Bliss, tourists and locals mingle together.

The rates: The Village Inn & Spa comes with one more perk for golfers: free golf. Clients who stay two nights receive one complimentary round of golf; 3- and 4-night stays earn two rounds; and 5- to 7-night stays earn three rounds. At The Landings, rates start at $395 per villa suite per night. Golfers can sign up for an 18-hole round starting at $110; rental clubs start at $20.

castries The property: Fans of Sandals properties elsewhere in the Caribbean can settle right in at Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa. The chain’s fundamental recipe for success—all-inclusive packaging, an emphasis on romance and amenities that add value—remains unaltered at this property. It’s the accommodations, namely the Millionaire Suites, that distinguish the Regency from Sandals’ other resorts. Taking advantage of St. Lucia’s hilly terrain, the Millionaire Suites offer spectacular views from their elevated location above the resort. A private pool and jacuzzi come standard, as do bedrooms and living spaces that open up to a sundeck outfitted.