RESORT: The all-inclusive St. James Club is located on the northern side of the gorgeous island of St. Lucia. It is about 70-90-minute ride from Hewanorra International airport and 10 minutes from a smaller airport where regional carriers fly into. he hotel is only three miles from the capital, Castries. The resort grounds are on 35 acres of beachfront property. The hotel has 340 rooms with both garden and oceanfront rooms. The resort grounds are meticulously manicured and there are many places to sit and enjoy the property.
CHECK-IN: We arrived at noon so we weren’t expecting our room to be ready but it was a long check-in with little attention paid to us. We were never told anything about the resort or given a map. (The resort is huge.) It was a good thing that I researched the hotel in advance because I was never told I had to make reservations at all restaurants when I got there. I also wish I’d been told you had to reserve water sports in advance because we never got to use the sun boats. I understand it is hard to give full attention to guests when you have such a large resort however, a warm welcome stays with you as your first impression of the resort.
ROOM: Wee stayed in a family suite, which is actually just two adjoining bedrooms and no living room area. There was a king size bed in one room and two double beds in the other. Each room had their own bathroom. The rooms were clean and the bathroom had plenty of toiletries that were replaced throughout the week. Since we were on the second floor we had a partial view of the Caribbean Sea. I would have loved to be on the beach but we waited too long to book our room and there were no beachfront rooms available with family suites. The only negative is there is no Wi-Fi in any of the rooms. In fact, the only place there is Wi-Fi is in the front lobby as well as one area by the pool in the Sunset Lounge. It was nice to have us all disconnect while we were in our rooms since it allowed for more family time. However, my husband wished their was Wi-Fi so he could be more connected with work throughout the week. Many of the buildings are accessible by a steep hill, so you may want to consider room location if hills would be a problem for you. I would suggest calling the front desk before booking and they could tell you which rooms would be best.
Adult Pool: This pool is literally separated from the family pool by the pool wall. The perk of this pool is it has a swim-up bar so you don’t even have to get out of the water to have a cocktail. There is internet access right near this pool and there is fun music playing throughout the day.
Family pool: This was our favorite pool. It has a volleyball net and is right next to two bars. Every time the kids went into the pool they would meet other kids. There were often activities like water aerobics and volleyball going on with staff members.
Hilltop pool: This adult’s only pool is located atop a large hill. We never had the chance to get up there but I imagine it has beautiful views of the water and mountains. It also has its own bar up there.
Kid’s pool: This pool is tucked behind the tennis courts and it was never crowded. It has two small waterslides and is right next to the Plum Tree Bar and Grill where you can sit and get a light snack or burgers. It is a beautiful area that is surrounded by banana plants.
BEACH: The beautiful golden sand and views of the mountain to both sides make it a wonderful place to relax. If you feel like a cocktail or ice water, you simply raise a red flag and someone quickly comes to take your drink order. The beach is private so there is no one trying to sell you anything while you relax. The downside is the water is not the crystal clear blue you may expect. The sand is all churned up so it had a brown appearance.
There were many non-motorized watersports: kayaks, snorkeling, paddle boards, Hobie Cat sailing, as well as motorized sports: waterskiing, Banana boats, wake boarding. Make sure you book in advance if you know when you would like to use these.
There is also a great fitness center that offers some really fun fitness classes. Almost makes me wish I’d brought a pair of sneakers.
My girls were looking forward to the kid’s club and couldn’t wait to meet some kids to play with. They are outgoing kids and like to feel some independence when we are on vacation. The only other place we’ve left them in a kid’s club was at Beaches Turks and Caicos so I told them the only way we’d leave them is if all of us feel comfortable with the people working there and the condition of the club. The staff was wonderful and the facility is very clean and child-friendly. They went only one day since they met so many kids while in the family pool. They did go one morning for a Junior Chef class and a Mixology class. They had lots of fun.
The resort offers the club for any child ages 2 to 11, as long as they’re potty trained. It operates from 9:00 until 6:30 each day and you can drop them off for whatever activity they would like to participate in. A list of daily activities for the week is available when you check in.
BEACH PARTY: The beach party on Wednesday night is so much fun. There were stilt walkers, a steel drum band, fire eaters, and a limbo show. My daughter loved that she could go up on stage and participate in the limbo show. The staff was amazing. There were lots of stations on the beach with food set up, but since it is only offered once a week the entire resort attends it. There were really long lines at all of the stations. At the end of the night they had a really fun deejay and my girls and I danced until our feet hurt. My oldest daughter said it was her favorite night there.
Most of the restaurants require reservations and can be made at the desk in the hotel lobby. You can make reservations up to three days in advance. I wish we could have been able to make reservations online but the staff member at the desk was very helpful and made our reservations for the entire week. You’ll want to make reservations as soon as you get there. On the day you arrive you automatically have reservations at the Palm restaurant.
Palms Restaurant: We ended up eating here twice on the first day. Both meals were impressive buffets and they had different themes. For lunch it was Mediterranean food and at night it was French cuisine. No reservations were required, which was nice because we were able to go when we got hungry.
Morgan’s Pier: My oldest daughter and I had an amazing meal on the pier. My husband and younger daughter were sick so they couldn’t join us. They gave us possibly the best seat in the whole place and the sunset was by far the most gorgeous we’d seen the whole week. I like how they allowed my daughter to eat off the adult menu.
Bambou Restaurant: This beautiful beachfront restaurant is an amazing place to start your day with a breakfast buffet of omelets, French toast, cereals, fruit, and a smoothie bar. Having coffee with a view of the Caribbean Sea can’t be beat. It is also wonderful to have dinner there as the sunset offers a gorgeous backdrop for your meal. They offer amazing seafood like mahi-mahi, red snapper, and tuna. They also have a great kid’s menu. Desserts were a nice end to the meal…coconut crème brulee was our favorite. The restaurant offers Asian Fusion and Contemporary Caribbean cuisine
Tree Top: We had our last meal here and each enjoyed our own pizza. You can choose your own toppings or you can select from their specialty pizzas. There is a beautiful view of the mountains and a nice view of the sunset. The restaurant has a tree house feel to it.
Plum Tree Bar & Grill: This small restaurant, located next to the kids pool, offers outdoor seating in a beautiful area with banana plants surrounding it. It serves food like paninis, burgers, and appetizers. It also has snacks like popcorn and ice cream available for kids while they are enjoying the pool.
Le Jardin Restaurant: We never ate at this restaurant since there is an extra charge of $35 per person and they ask that children be over the age of 12.
DOWNSIDE OF OUR TRIP: We had an unfortunate experience while at the hotel. An airborne virus went around the resort and many people, including three out of the four of us in my family, got it. My husband had it the worst and he and my youngest daughter spent an entire day sick in bed in our rooms. It was not the resort’s fault…it can happen anywhere. The resort did put a letter under our door discussing the problem, had us file a report, and called the following day to check on us. They also offered to call us a doctor if we wanted one. They made everyone use antibacterial hand wash before entering the buffets. It was so disappointing to have had a day wasted in such a beautiful location.
Also, twice a week they fog the resort for mosquitos. I understand that because of the climate it is important to do so, but it happens twice a week at 5:00 pm. The first day we were there we were enjoying drinks by the pool when all of the sudden a huge cloud of fog came over us. It smelled horrible and would seem like something they would do first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night.