We waited 5 days after our wedding to embark on our honeymoon, and I’m quite glad we did. The wedding itself was such an exhausting event, that it was nice to be able to have a few days to rest and finish up the one event before starting the next. Unfortunately we did have to work that week, but that was good as well because before the wedding we were a little bit distracted, so it was nice to get some real work done and things wrapped up before leaving the country.
We picked a Sandals Resort in St Lucia, the La Toc resort, to spend our 7 day honeymoon. And it was phenomenal! I highly recommend it, and although we had a few ups and downs, we’d do the whole thing over in a heartbeat. We picked St Lucia for several reasons, but the biggest reason was that we wanted to choose a country that neither of us has ever been to, and somewhere we would be unlikely to ever visit by cruise ship. We had already cruised to Mexico and the Bahamas together, and Joey had been to Jamaica before as well so we decided that the coastal mountains of St Lucia would be just the right place for us.
We knew we wanted something very private, and decided to splurge on a private pool. Originally we were looking at the Sunset Bluff rooms which overlooked the bluffs and had an amazing ocean view. However, by the time we booked the room these rooms were no longer available. But we were able to book a Honeymoon Hideaway with private pool and “rainforest view” so we were pretty excited about it.
Another splurge we went with for our honeymoon was flying first class. It ended up being a necessary splurge because the long flight was booked up in coach, so we would have to sit separately, which just didn’t seem right on our honeymoon. So we spent the extra $$$ and we’re SO glad we did!! The seats were nice and comfy, we got to sit together, and we got in-flight drinks and food! We were feeling pretty spoiled by the time we got to the resort.
We did have about an hour and a half drive from the airport to the resort. But it was cool because we got to see a lot of the St Lucia countryside, drove through the rain forest, saw tons of banana trees, cocoa trees, and gorgeous ocean views. We also saw some children walking around with swords on the side of the road, which further reminded us we should probably not try to venture outside the resort on our own. I wish I’d gotten a picture, it was frightening.
When we finally arrived at the resort, it was every bit as pretty as you would expect a Sandals to be. The landscaping was very lush and had some amazing flowers.
They showed us to the concierge lounge where we sipped champagne with another couple that was also checking in and completed a little bit of paperwork. When concierge gave the other couple a key card and an old school key on a keychain to us, we got a little nervous and asked if we had an older room. We had heard that the La Toc resort was the oldest resort on the island and it had some mixed reviews online. She laughed at us for asking and said that it was a very nice room, but that it was a little more out of the way than the other rooms. And with that our baggage guy showed up and said that our room was ready, so we loaded our luggage into the van and went up to our room. We started getting even more nervous when we left the security gate at the entrance of the resort, all kinds of weird things enter your head when you’re in a foreign country and you’re addicted to horror flicks. So when we drove through the security gate to leave the resort we started having visions of “Touristas go home” but our driver assured us that it was still on the property and that it was a short walk but a little more difficult to reach by car since it was up the mountain. And sure enough we were quickly at our destination, which was a full villa!
It was essentially a little house up a little further on the mountain, it was called the Lucian Suite, and the driver stated he knew we’d be pleased. He said that this suite isn’t advertised online, and that it’s not used very often, but that when the CEO of Sandals comes, this is where he stays.
The suite was two-story, upstairs featuring a living room, kitchen, bathroom and gorgeous balcony with a beautiful view but distant view of the ocean.
Downstairs was a bedroom, walk-in closet, large bathroom with soaking tub, and another living room.
Then it opened up to the back deck which sported a large pool, hot tub and sunbathing deck. It was amazing! And we couldn’t wrap our brain around this amazing upgrade, we didn’t even ask for it!!
Almost immediately after we arrived to our room we decided to venture back to the resort to get some food because we were STARVING. We were recommended the Cricketter Pub, which is an English themed pub that had some truly amazing food! We spent most meals at this restaurant, our favorite dishes were the Shepard’s Pie, Guinness Hot Pie (think of a cross between pot pies and beef stew), Fish and Chips (this was Joey’s favorite-although one night we got adventurous and had the chef batter some chicken wings in the beer batter for me, which was delicious!!) and our favorite I think hands down, was an appetizer called a Dog Bowl, which were fries, covered in cheese, bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms! Truly delicious.
And on that first day there at the Pub we met a sweet couple from Pensacola that shared our wedding date, and went to college at Florida State. Joey and I have an uncanny knack for traveling in FSU shirts, every single time we travel we are both in FSU gear I think it’s subconscious but it never fails. I think maybe it gives us a little piece of home wherever we go. So when they saw our shirts they tomahawk chopped at us, and we had a good time talking to them, and swapping Seminole Football and Tennessee Strip stories.
After the Pub that night, we went back to our room, and enjoyed the beverages left by concierge, and our private hot tub. Our villa was very private, however we were assured when we saw a security guard & dog patrolling the area every half hour or so, although I won’t lie, we definitely called to the front desk to make sure they were really Sandals security. Lol. We’re those paranoid travelers…I guess it was the images of the children with swords earlier that day.
The next morning we got up and had breakfast in our dining room, which had been delivered by the concierge. And then we went for a quick swim before getting ready for our couples massage we had booked through the resort. The Red Lane Spa was really nice, and had a true spa feel. Our Masseuses introduced themselves and left us to get situated in the beds before returning to start the massage. It was a little comical because they do the massages in the dark. So we were in pitch blackness trying to arrange ourselves on the massage table, which was a disaster for someone as clumsy as me. I could tell it made Joey a little nervous too cause he talked virtually the entire hour we were there for the massage. He said later it was to keep me from falling asleep, which probably would have happened…so well played. 🙂
But despite the silly awkwardness, it was a wonderful massage, and I’m really glad we did it. Although it was interesting to experience the difference between a massage in the US which of course is highly regulated and requires a license, etc. and a massage in the islands, I’m pretty sure the masseuses were not of the same qualifications as US massage therapists. But either way it felt great and it was some much needed relaxation after the wedding and the long flight to St Lucia.
After the massage we hit up Neptune’s for lunch, which is a restaurant right on the beach that is mostly vegetarian dishes, although it was also a pizza parlor, so of course that’s why we were there. And the pizza was pretty delicious, although nothing to write home about, but it certainly filled our pizza needs for the week.
Joey forgot to bring his hat to the pool that day so he borrowed mine…
The rest of the day/night I’m embarrassed to say, we spent reading the Hunger Games series. We actually spent most of the week reading this series. Joey’s brother, Jason, bought us two copies of the first book as part of our wedding gift and loaned us his copies of the second and third book.
Joey started reading the first book on the plane ride over, and was pretty into it by the time we arrived in St Lucia. But because we only had 1 copy of the second and third book, I tried to pace myself slightly behind him so we wouldn’t finish at the same time. So I fiddled with setting up the wi-fi and uploading honeymoon photos to facebook while he read the first night.
This is my job while I’m in the pool, I’m neurotic about it! So I was happy to find that a skimmer came with the pool…
On the third day, we planned to lay out and read and enjoy our pool and lounge chairs. The morning started out great, played in the pool and made ourselves some Rum & Cokes poolside. We’d had trouble with the upstairs air conditioner from the moment we got there, which didn’t matter too much since we mostly lived in the downstairs portion of the villa. But we mentioned it to anyone that would listen that worked for the resort, and FINALLY they sent a maintenance person to come and look at it. They came around 1pm or so, and the maintenance man met us out at the pool to let us know he would be inside working on it. Awhile later Joey went inside to go get a hat or something from the closet….what he found was a flooded closet. After yelling upstairs for the maintenance man, it was learned that the hot water heater had burst. After a little bit he came out to let us know that we should probably go ahead and pack up, because we would need to move rooms. With heavy hearts we finished our drinks and headed inside to pack up again. Joey was very concerned that we would not be able to find a room to rival the villa we’d been living the high life in…I agreed, however it was a necessary move and I decided not to worry about it until we at least saw our next room.
We packed up our stuff and called over to concierge to find out what the new plan was. The woman at the desk seemed as though this was the first she had heard of our “move”. She said she would call us back shortly. About an hour later we were starving and stressed out, so we decided to walk down to the resort, check in with concierge and then get lunch. The concierge desk said that they were moving us to the Sunset Bluffs, and that the room wasn’t ready yet but that they would send someone to get our bags and then we should go back to the desk when we were done with lunch. So on we went to lunch at our favorite English Pub, and went back to the concierge about an hour later. The room was ready but they had not moved our bags. They were sending a shuttle to take us back to the villa to retrieve the luggage, and then take us to our new room. At this point Joey was seeing red, he was tired of the poor service we had been receiving (which I haven’t elaborated too much in this post cause it’s not worth the breath) and was convinced that our new room was going to be terrible. I was secretly looking forward to the room because the Sunset Bluff suites were the reason we picked the resort. We fell in love with the pictures of them on the website, and at the time they were all booked, which is why we settled for the Honeymoon Hideaway, but in the end it was better because the room we bought was about a thousand less than the Sunset room.
When we got there I will say that it was a little disappointing given our previous digs. However, the room was gorgeous and really more well suited for our needs. It was still two story, and had a private pool, although much smaller and less impressive than the original. However it did have an AMAZING view….How can you be upset with this view???
But aside from the amazing view, we also felt a lot safer in the new location, since it was actually on Sandals property….and while we were a little concerned that we’d lose some privacy due to neighbors, in the end it wasn’t a big deal. Except we could see our “senior” neighbors to the left sunbathing naked from our bedroom window…but once we figured that out we tried to stay away from the window…lol. The maid prepared a pretty bedscape for us too!
The only real complaint we had with the whole trip was that the concierge desk was not super helpful…but in their defense, both of the rooms we stayed in were designed as butler rooms but because we didn’t pay the butler price we didn’t get the butler service. And since it was typically butler rooms, concierge tended to forget about us. So if we had to do it all over again we’d probably splurge and get the butler suite. But all that being said we had an amazing rest of the vacation.
The next few days we spent lounging around in our pool and reading the Hunger Games. We ate most of our breakfasts at the Italian restaurant near our room, and had a few lunches there as well. We also had reservations at a Japanese place named Kimonos which was a hibatchi style restaurant. The restaurant was gorgeous and the food was good too. Although the servers were very militant so we were a little afraid after we’d already been yelled at when we arrived late to our reservation (we were there promptly at 6:30 which is what time we thought we had reservations, but it turned out our reservation was at 6pm) which is understandable since it’s hibatchi so it’s more like dinner and a show…but they were able to work us in at 7pm and it was no big deal. The chef was awesome, his name was Myer which we thought was funny since that’s so similar to our last name.
We also had dinner reservations at the La Toc restaurant which is a dressy French restaurant that we really liked. They had this amazing chocolate mousse dessert that was to die for. I also found out that I didn’t like crème brulee, but luckily I had ordered the chocolate mousse as a backup second dessert.
I think our favorite thing we did in St Lucia was the Joe Knows Tour. I had read reviews about it, and they were all very positive, so I was glad we were able to book it through Sandals. It’s a tour owned by a man named Joe, and as you can guess Joe knows St Lucia! They shuttled us over to the harbor where we loaded onto a speed boat with 9 other couples from our resort. The boat took us on an ocean tour of the island where they showed us where they filmed various movies, and took us by the celebrity homes of Oprah (hers was still in construction), Mick Jagger, and George Foreman.
All while sipping on delicious rum punch and rum & cokes. Then they drove us out to the Pitons, which are the volcanoes on the island.
Then we docked and took a van to the foot of the Pitons to take a dip in the sulfur springs. Yes, it smells just like it sounds. The island legend is that bathing in the sulfur springs will take 10 years off, our guide told Joey it would make him grow dreadlocks like his. Joey gave it his best shot to rub it in good on his scalp, but still no dreadlocks for poor Mr. Smitty.
Next stop was the waterfall. Please excuse the unfortunateness of these pics, the sulfur mud was really heavy and weighed down my bathing suit, making it a little indecent. Also, it should be noted that the ground underneath the waterfall was gravel and crazy painful to walk and stand on in bare feet, hence the painful look on my face and the falling down picture.
Then we went to lunch at a local restaurant that was really good.
After lunch we got back on the boat and drove around for a bit. This is when the real drinking started…They had brought two bottles of the locally made rum that’s called Bounty (“The Spirt of St Lucia”) And it was delicious!!! So delicious that we ran out shortly after we got back on the boat. The guides said this is the first time they had ever run out during a tour. I guess they under estimated the age group that was on board. So, shockingly they docked us outside of a small village on the island while one of our tour guides hopped off and went on a liquor store run which took FOREVER. But when he came back, he came back with this:
Yes, that is a bottle of 160 proof rum. I didn’t know that this existed in life, and it probably shouldn’t. It is lethal. And we took shots from it. Looking back on it I cringe, as I’m sure that Joe Knows’ insurance company would cringe too. It burned soo bad I thought my tastebuds and throat would never be the same. It was painful. And also pretty disgusting since we drank it straight out of the bottle with 9 other couples. Sigh. I guess when it’s 160 proof it self-sterilizes…but still gross.
- It burns….
Haha that photo of Joey really sums up that 160 proof rum. And we knocked it back pretty fast, and then the insanity commenced.
Our tour guide BK who made the pit stop to get the rum
We had a blast, and I highly recommend the Joe Knows tour to anyone who goes to St Lucia!!! We saw a lot of cool stuff, like one of the places they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean (photo below)
One of the caverns where they shot Pirates…I recognized it immediately when we arrived
You’ll notice the people standing on the side of the cliff in the picture above, those were children that were cliff diving and swimming up to the boat to get tips for their “entertainment” it was awkward.
Joey taking a pit stop at the Pirates location 🙂
Something that I should note when I talk about our Joe Knows Tour, is that they took us snorkeling…which was awesome, and better than any tour based snorkeling trip (or really any snorkeling trip I’ve ever been on)! They took us to a marine reserve, which was awesome because we didn’t have to worry about boats driving over us, and there was a lot of great sea life. However they passed out the snorkeling equipment and explicitly said “These masks were made in China, they sink, do not drop them….” Immediately following, what does Little Smitty (nickname for Jessica) do but promptly drop them overboard before even getting it on her face. In a panic, I immediately dove off the ship after the snorkel. However, because I have contacts and can’t open my eyes underwater without said mask, this was entirely unproductive other than to inhale a large amount of salt water. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I am very ashamed that this happened, but I chalk it up to the drinking. I’m sure the Joe Knows sponsored insurance company would cringe to hear that, and they’ll really cringe when they hear the rest of the story. So I jump over board impromptu, which gets Joey (aka Big Smitty) anxious. I turn up empty handed with my mask/snorkel, however luckily the tour guide and others have masks and can quickly find my mask and dive to the depths to retrieve it. Big Smitty, in his anxst, jumps in after me, but doesn’t quite clear the ship….his knee hits the side of the ship, and on impact with the water he screams. One of the tour guides on board freaks out, and asks if he’s alright. Joey says he’s fine, but that he definitely did not clear the ship when he leapt. The tour guide looks at the boat, and looks at Joey and is like “Seriously, are you ok?” Joey’s like yeah yeah I’m fine, and we continue on with our snorkel, with Joey leaving a trail of blood behind us. The whole time we snorkel we’re a little concerned about sharks what with the trail of blood he’s leaving. Finally, we decide to return to the ship due to the amount of blood he’s leaving and the salt water sting he’s feeling. And not a moment too soon, because around that time they start calling us back, probably due to the increased number of shark fins the captain started noticing…just kidding. Anyway, we get back on board, and I see where Joey hit the side, and god how I wish I’d taken a picture, because it was epic!!! The side of the boat had a sand paper like texture where he hit his knee, and it was covered in hair, skin, and blood. It was disgusting but also kind of amazing, and I’m still kicking myself for not having a photo. They kept telling us “Joe Knows no paperwork…” haha. They were sure we were going to sue, so they were extra nice to Joey for the rest of the trip.
They dropped us off at our resort at the end of the trip, and we swam back to shore just before the storm rolled in. We went back to our room and went to bed early after all that rum. The next day we slept in, had a leisurely breakfast and soaked up some sun in our pool for the last day at Sandals. And of course we spent our last meal at the Cricketer, our favorite English pub at the resort.
Cheers on our last night
The flight back was uneventful, other than the plane ride back was longer due to the winds, and I had neglected to pack any entertainment for Joey, not expecting him to have finished the three Hunger Games novels, which he did during the trip. And unfortunately our flight back did not have personal televisions, and while it had an in-flight movie of Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, which we we wanted to see, it was basically on VCR and had really bad tracking and messed up volume, so we opted out. So the flight back was NOTICEABLY longer than the flight there, but still not bad in the grand scheme of things.
And once home, we luckily had the weekend to decompress, and be happy to be back in the states before returning to work. Now that we’re three months passed, we really miss St Lucia, and lovingly say we’ll return for our five year anniversary.
Time will tell if that will actually occur, but in the meantime we dream of St Lucian sunsets