Royal St Lucia Resort and Spa
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"I spent a week at the Royal July 9-16, 2005 on my honeymoon. I researched through this site extensively before making my decision. There have been very few complaints at the Royal posted, and for those - perhaps they haven't traveled much. I would say that visiting during the rainy season can be risky. We had several days of very cloudy weather, and total rain two days because of the hurricanes. After watching staff tape windows and board up areas of the hotel, I don't think I'll travel anywhere in the Caribbean during hurricane season again. Too much stress for a vacation! The staff was great at keeping us informed, and we were lucky to only get some wind and rain - but I don't feel that St. Lucia is as safe from hurricanes as others had led me to believe prior to my trip - no where is "safe"!
We flew into the Southern airport and took the helicopter to the North airport. Unfortunately, it was very over-cast and raining, so our view was slightly spoiled, but we still got a great understanding of the rugged, lush mountains. A taxi transfered us to our hotel. The driver was very informative and gave us dining advice for our visit. We were greeted at the Royal with a cold rum punch in the lobby. The lobby is a beautiful open-air, marble tiled area. We were shown our room. We chose a standard 1st floor court-yard room. [I don't care for stairs for the upper levels.] We had a lovely view of the resort from our patio.
The rooms are very clean and large. The pictures on-line are true visions of the rooms. The bath room had his & her sinks, a tub, and a large shower with two side spayers in addition to the standard shower head. [very nice!] The decor is classic Caribbean. Light sea-foam green, some dusty rose - etc. The bedroom area is nice to have seperated by the shutters and sheers - it helps keep the sun out [it rises very early in the morning!] Our room was serviced by maids twice each day. In the morning we received full service cleaning [the floors were mopped every day], and in the evening for turn-down service, the maids replaced any used towels, turned down the bed and took out the trash. The room was always spotless! The living room area was a nice size for the two of us. The wicker couch was not comfortable for long periods of time, but that is really my only complaint!
Sliding glass doors opened to our patio. We had a very comfy lounge chair and two regular chairs with tables. The entire facilty was constantly being maintained. The grounds crew raked/picked up the entire resort daily. The beach was raked each morning as well. We saw minor repairs being done routinely, and painting small areas for upkeep being done as well. Very beautiful. Lots of beautiful palms, flowers, etc. The pool was always sparkling clean. The island end is great for swimming laps. The beach offers rondovels [tiki huts] for guests. All other beach-goers must rent little umbrellas for daily use. The huts are great for an occassional break from the hot sun. They also are a hide-out from the beach vendors. I think they may have been worse since it is the off-season, but many of them did not leave with a simple no-thank you. I felt uncomfortable walking the beach at times because they would try to get you to look at their necklaces, and if you did, they wouldn't let you go. Many times when I said no-thank you immediately, I was asked if I wanted to buy pot.
The Rodney Bay area has a lot of places in walking distance for dining. I will caution though that some areas are a bit muddy after the rain, which isn't good on dinner dress shoes. We found several places very close by for nice dinners. We never had a bad meal while we were there. We found many menus to be very similar with slightly different sauces. Le'Epicure at the resort was good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not a ton of variety, but good food. Spinnakers next door is great and reasonable. We were there during the off season for lobster [which I didn't know], so although I couldn't enjoy that, the shrimp was excellent. Cafe Claude near the resort was reasonable and very good also. Coal Pot [need a taxi] is great, and worth a trip to - just a little pricey. Being American - we had to order Domino's once - great pizza! We also went to Pizza Pizza - excellent pizza! Next to Pizza Pizza is Elena's ice cream. I visited there several times. All made fresh daily!!
Excursions: I had researched the island and planned several things to do, but unfortunately the weather only allowed us to do the Land & Sea by Jeep tour. I would highly recommend it. The guides give you so much history, and the detailed tour of the island is great. The waterfalls are beautiful. The volcano does smell, but it is part of the history of the island, and I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. I was a bit uncomfortable boarding the boat because children are lined up begging. Our guide informed us not to give them money. They ask for you to throw American coins into the water & they will dive for them. After boarding, some of them jumped in the water and were climbing up our boat, hanging onto the nets asking for dollars. Once we got them to drop off, it was very peaceful! The catamaran sail was a cruise, the water was smooth, and the scenery was amazing. The stop for swimming was interrupted by vendors selling conch sells. There were several other boats in the same bay, so it was way too crowded for a relaxing swim. The crew played great music, and the rum punch was flowing.
The Royal is definately one of the best maintained beautiful resorts on the island with the best location. There are a couple other resorts that look nice, but some of them are in the middle of no-where, and guests are stuck at the resort. I would return during the lobster / non-hurricane/rainy season. The island is gorgeous. I'm not sure my husband would return mainly because he was so tired of the hassles from the vendors."
- Travel date: Mon 18th of July 2005
"The name kind of gave it away why not the Royal Hotel, the Hotel Rex or just anything without the byâ¦A Spa was mentioned somewhere in the name too, another dubious accolade, hinting at mutton trying to dress up as lamb (and the spa was grim).
First impressions were good; a very polite chap came to the car and took the bags to the desk â where there was a friendly lady. The gurgling little fountain in the middle of the beige tiled floor hinted at pretension, as did the cold towel (in the middle of a chilly rainstorm) and the cough mixture like welcome cocktail. The very polite chap led the way to the room. I had asked for a room with a view but was told that I had one on the ground floor. The view was neither here nor there â the problem was the air conditioning unit opposite the door â as indeed one was opposite every door: this one was working at full blast. The young lady was not too helpful, she said sheâd have it checked as it shouldnât be that loud. Maybe, but it was. I insisted on moving and went to another room â the hotel didnât seem very busy so I donât see why this was a problem.
The new room, like the old, was large and split into three â a bathroom with very dated fittings and worktops that looked stained â though I concluded that this was part of the design; a raised bed area with a carpet which must have been the source of the foul smell â the kind of musty smell you get when your swimming togs have been tied up for a week; and a sitting area. This was separated from the bed area by weird array of formica shelves and slatted shutters - very ingenious and 1970s but wouldnât it have been better just to have the space? Oh and there was a cheap print â that had been given the honour of a picture light â it really would have been better just to bin it (and everything else in the room).
The two restaurants were empty so I left rather than try the food. Overall I donât think Iâve ever seen so shabby a hotel, albeit with exceptionally well-mannered staff. I left as soon as I had found somewhere better - I was travelling on business so had this option, I felt for those who had booked their holiday here. As for ââ¦.by Rex Resortsâ, thatâs one chain Iâll make a point of avoiding in the future."
- Travel date: Thu 14th of July 2005
What a fantastic place!
"My partner and I have just returned from our 2 week vacation at the Royal St Lucia hotel. What a fantastic place! The staff were friendly and so helpful. The hotel is clean and kept in good condition. I am quite fussy and was concerned that it would not be as I had hoped and planned. The whole trip exceeded all our expectations.
Our room was a beach location suite with superb views across the beach and caribbean sea towards Pigeon Island.
We stayed on a room only basis after reading various reviews on Trip Advisor regarding the location of the hotel. We felt this was a wise choice. We varied breakfast betweeen the hotel and Spinnakers next door, which gave us variety. For the evening meals we toured around the local restaurants and found a wonderful variety of food. From fish to the incredible Italian restaurant, we couldn't fault the meals we had and all within a short walking distance of the hotel.
We spent most of our time lazing by the pool, drinking cocktails at the swim up bar or strolling to the beach to relax there inbetween swimming in the ocean.
Although June is the start of the rainy season the rain is mostly short lived with short sharp bursts followed by more glorious sunshine.
Overall, an absolutely fantastic holiday and a hotel we would be more than happy to recommend to anyone."
- Travel date: Mon 4th of July 2005
Loved it . Can't wait to Return.
"We stayed at the Royal over the first two weeks of June and are saving to return. The hotel is beautiful w/ its open air lobby and hallways. The suites are nicely appointed, although the decor is very 80's caribbean. Its location on Reduit Beach in Rodney Bay is probably the best feature of the hotel. Check-in was smooth, staff is attentive, and suite service arrived in less than 30 minutes. Here's a quick rundown:
Hotel: Definitly one of the nicest on the island. If you explore the island at all you will quickly see this. Suites show their age as far as color and decor goes but they are still in clean and in good condition and definitly give off a caribbean vibe. The best feature of the suite is the private balcony w/ huge sliding glass doors that can open up to the outside. We had a seaview suite which overlooked the pool and then out to the sea which was just beautiful. The large bathrooms w/ his and hers sinks and separate tub and shower are a plus as well.
Staff: We found the staff to be very nice and pretty knowledgeable. Everyone says hello and makes you feel at home. We had the most fun w/ the bartenders and servers at the pool bar and le mistrial bar. They were very talkative, friendly, and would give unbiased advise on what to see and do on the island. The front desk staff was quick to offer assistance in booking excursions, but seemed to only offer certain trips (possibly w/ booking agents they dealt with). However if you do some research on your own and ask them to book a certain activity for you they will do their best to accomodate. Daily maid service and turndown also courteous and timely.
Location: Having the village of Rodney Bay just outside your door is possibly the best thing about this hotel (other than being right on a beautiful beach). We ate meals almost every night in the village and loved the food. You are in walking distance of 15+ resturants and bars, a shopping mall and a few general stores. Understand that at most resorts on the island, a cab ride is required if you want to go anywhere off the resort. Plenty of nightlife in town, but the atmosphere is relaxed and quiet at the hotel in the evenings if that is what you desire. The beach is clean w/ a beautiful view, and the Royal offers food and drink service right on the beach (although this service is somewhat slow).
We spent our days split between the beach and pool sipping drinks, getting some sun and occasionally venturing out into the island. At night we'd head into the village for great seafood, lively music and some local flavor. I thought the Royal offered the perfect mix of local life and culture as well as the amenities of a wonderful resort."
- Travel date: Wed 22nd of June 2005
"My wife and I just got back from a week in St. Lucia. We had a wonderful time. We stayed at the Royal and were treated very well. The desk was friendly and helpful. The rooms were very nice and spacious and in good repair. The grounds were very well kept and the view from the rooms were great. We had great food while we were there on the island. The people were friendly everywhere we went. There were plenty of things to do on the island. We took a pirate ship down to the southern part of the island one day. It was a great trip and allowed us to see a good bit of the island. We had a great week and were sad that it came to an end."
- Travel date: Mon 20th of June 2005
"My husband and I stayed at the Royal St. Lucian for our summer vacation. We had done a lot of research and can't believe there isn't more written about this resort! It was wonderful!
The lobby was elegant; the grounds were immaculately manicured; the pool was quaint with an island, waterfall, and swim-up bar; the room was spacious with a luxurious bathroom and turn-down service.
One of the best things about this resort was the location. We were within walking distance to many restaurants and short taxi rides to others. (Top recommendations: The Coal Pot (amazing!), Chic (complimentary champagne, beautifully prepared), The Great House (lovely view), Charthouse (nice atmosphere), and for local fare, The Lime and Triangle Pub--yum!)
It seemed like a lot of the other resorts were further away from civilization. The nice thing about the Royal St. Lucian was that we were near just about everything, but the resort never felt crowded at the hotel or on the pretty beach--at least when we were there (end of July, 2004).
My only complaint would be the furniture in the room. The bed was very hard--bearable, but not as comfy as home. And the "couch" in the living room was not the most comfortable, but then again, we weren't really sitting on the couch that much, so it didn't really matter.
Besides the location, the reason we will probably go back to this resort over others is the wonderful people that we met. Everyone, from the concierge to the bellhop, was so very friendly and happy to help. There was one night that we had a mix-up with a dinner reservation to a restaurant that was actually closed for the evening...the manager took care of the taxi fare for us and arranged for us to eat elsewhere. It actually ended up being our favorite restaurant!
The people were sincerely kind and pleasant--we felt like we made friends. If you decide to stay here, don't expect the Ritz or Four Seasons. But it was definitely beautiful and elegant, island-style! We will be going back!
I was sad when we had to leave, but felt better after our taxi driver gave us comforting words. "Don't be sad. Think of it this way: You're going home so you can make more money to come back and visit again!""
- Travel date: Thu 9th of June 2005
Royal and the Island - Beautiful Island with Slow Service and Hostile Natives
"My family just came back from St. Lucia last night. I too read all the reviews here and hoped for a better experience than some and replicating the glory that others wrote about it.
First, I would say that the island is ideal for those who don't expect much in terms of service, hospitality, and general niceties. The tourism industry (including the supporting cast of restaurants, tourguides , and all) for the most part just want to get you on your way. They really don't care if you come back. In fact, I though a lot of people did not want us there.
Hotels - we stayed at the Rex Royal - it is a nice resort that really tries hard to keep things clean and nice, but the amount of attention they put into the grounds and cleanliness is 400% that put into hotel activities, concierge, explaining the activities on the island, the rich history, etc., All in all, we paid $175/night and I don't think I felt the value for that amount.
Restaurants - All are just trying to make a buck. I understand that people are poor and rely on the tourists, but they should enjoy their jobs and not nickel and dime me. At every restaurant (on and off property) i had to be careful of not being overcharged. The Indian restaurant Razmataz - the owner gave me the credit card receipt and not the itemized bill without explaining that a 10% service charge was already included so I tipped not knowng that. When I asked her to credit me the superfluous monies after realizing that I had tipped over 20% for a mediocre meal, she was incredibly rude and not at all pleasant. One restaurant I would recommend in the Great House - BEAUTIFUL, friendly staff, and excellent selections across the board.
So, don't expect too much - Swim on the beach, get your monies worth by staying at the hotel and eating at a few restaurants. Definitely, do not drive on your own. You will drive off of a cliff and never be seen again. But if you get a tour taxi, make sure the guy understands English and is able to negotiate his own rate without help from others, make sure he clearly tells you exactly how long you will be gone for, where you will go, and you clearly state your goals, expectations, and wishes to stop at certain places that you might have heard of."
- Travel date: Mon 30th of May 2005
One of St Luci'a best.
"Been to St Lucia several times. The Royal is definitely an ideal place to stay for several reasons:
1. Location. Closeby restauranta and nightlife.
2. Beach...Renduit Bay is one of the nicest island beaches
3. Size of room. So what if the color scheme is a bit 80's, the deluxe suites are comfortable and large. The Bathrooms as well.
I read some of the other reviews complaining of the slow service. Welcome to the Caribbean. This is the slow relaxed nature of the islands.
Id suggest to travel humbly. Visit places (and people) with reverence and respect for their tradtionas and way of life. Travel with an open mind and leave your New York attitudes at home.
People try to sell you things on the beach because they are trying to make a buck. Its a poor country. If you're not interested, a stern and polite "no" is all it takes. Dogs on he beach and crappy roads? Please....It takes time to understand other places when there are barriers of custom and differnt economies. Stay flexible and adaptable at all times. This is what travel is all about.
Enjoy St Lucia for the gem that it is!"
- Travel date: Wed 18th of May 2005
Fantastic Experience at Rex
"I felt I had to write a review of Royal by Rex after just reading a disappointing review about this hotel (one of the first?) This is the first time I've posted a review on this site, however I was glued to TripAdvisor in the weeks running up to our departure. (22 April 05) My boyfriend initially booked a week at Rex St Lucian but was put off by what he had read on this site and decided since this was our first trip to the Caribbean, we should upgrade to the Royal. All I can say is I am so glad he made that decision. I think it was well worth the additional cost. (Think discrete service mainly for couples without the crowds of next door.)
Basically, we arrived a little tired after the long flight and long (but by no means tedious) journey from Vieux Fort airport (south of the island) to Rodney Bay. Our taxi driver was friendly, giving us a great start to the holiday with a tour of the south-east and north-west of the island.
We were greeted at the (gorgeous) lobby of the Royal with Rum punches and our bags taken to our room. Unfortunately, this room was directly next to the Chic restaurant and the generator sounded quite loud as we approached. Once inside the lovely room, whilst we couldn't fault the cleanliness and the lovely touches of flower petals on the bed, etc...we were concerned about the noise and requested another room. It took no more than 20 mins for the staff to deal with our request and move us to another (far better in our opinion) room with a lovely view of the pool and sea beyond. I thought being on the ground level really helped as we could go straight from our patio to the pool/beach - we felt safe doing this although, almost out of habit, we did use the safety deposit box.
Perhaps we are just too easily pleased, but we found the hotel and it's staff virtually faultless during our entire stay. Yes, the room decoration was a little quaint and tea/coffee facilities would have been nice and yes, service was slower than we usually get in London. However, I hardly found this reason to complain!! This was a holiday afterall and it gave us the opportunity to relax and explore. We had already pre-booked a day-trip with Jungle Adventures and this was one of the many highlights of the week. Niall, our cycle guide on Anse Mamin was friendly, attentive and informative of the history of the plantation, which is now lovingly cared for by the many staff we encountered. If you go here, DO try Tinker's Trail for the view at the top(hike, not bike!!) but take plenty of water up with you as it's exhausting in the midday sun!!
We also booked trips with SunLink (their shop is opposite Capones in Rodney Bay but you can go upstairs to the office if shop is closed) They were really helpful and we chose to do the Land & Sea tour (definately that way around) and the Rainforest Hike at Saut en Basse. Absolutely fantastic trips, completely different in style (although we did find we knew the roads fairly well by the third trip!) We got to see a lot of the island (although not nearly as much as we would have liked) and everyone we encountered was friendly. Although the Saut en Basse hike is classed as 'strenous', so long as you take water, take your time and if don't mind heights, you'll be fine. We had a ball! It finally rained hard on our way back from this trip (on an open-backed jeep) That was a fun experience, although not everyone's cuppa tea, I can understand that. I heard one woman moaning about the weather while it was barely drizzling one morning, which was annoying more than the rain! (the island was really dry when we arrived and the locals all seemed to be praying for rain) Overall, the weather was fantastic throughout (despite the worrying weather reports beforehand - just ignore them!) and it certainly beat the fog and grey drizzle upon our return to London.
As for food, we ate at some pretty good places (so pleased we didn't go all-in) including L'Epicure for the BBQ on Sunday night which was cool with the ole' steel drum music setting the mood. We also discovered the delights of Buzz (where we then ended up on 3 occassions over the week! - The staff (especially Jacquie, Karen and crazy guy at the bar) were all fab. We also tried Charthouse and Spinnakers, which were both really nice but we just found Buzz the overall winner. We also ate at the Anse Chastenet for a great buffet lunch whilst on the Jungle tour and loved the look of the place. Looked fab for snorkelling - only wish we'd had more time to explore.
And I guess that's my only regret - only staying for 7 nights. I think 10 nights would have been perfect as I would have loved to have done the Grenadines trip, which I heard so many great things about, and another couple more days to chill out on the uncrowded pool and beach. But hey, I am really just thankful that we had the opportunity to visit such a beautiful island and its wonderful people. I would recommend this hotel to all my family and friends who I know would like un-fussy but friendly service at a beautiful hotel.
- Travel date: Mon 9th of May 2005
Do they pay people to write reviews?
"Where do I start? The grounds were not impressive, outdated, very 80's luxury feeling. The rooms were spacious with a separate sitting room and bedroom up a few stairs. Nice balcony with good views of the pool and beach. The bathrooms were extra nice with separate tub and shower, 2 sinks etc. But the decor again was very dated, all done in teal, peach and pink floral which I know was popular in the 80's! The furniture in the sitting room was so uncomfortable! But other than that, the rooms were ok.
The main problem with this hotel is service! Slo-o-o-o-w. I understand this is the Caribbean, not NYC, but that does not mean you want to spend all morning at breakfast waiting for your bill as an example. Here are some issues we encountered..
-slow, almost rude check-in. The premises were clearly not full and we inquired about an upgrade and she said "i think it would be an extra $100, i think." and dropped the subject. We were very annoyed the longer we stayed as the place was virtually empty. An upgrade really would have made our trip, but hey.
-Room service- expect to wait an hour for something to arrive and thats with the place empty! We brought our own wine and needed a cork screw and wine glasses. The front desk first told us we would have to ask the bar, we were like, um, can someone bring them up please??? Anyway, after we called 45 min later to see where they were, the items arrived, but somehow in the translation they brought us 6 glasses when there was only 2 of us. They also forgot to bring us water when we ordered dessert one night.
-Beach- very pretty and clean but again no service. We did not get asked by anyone if we wanted drinks, lunch etc. We had to get up everytime and get it ourselves. I did not even think they had beach service until we spoke to the manager our last day and were informed they did. That is just ridiculous.
-Restaurants- slow isnt the word. we only had breakfast here because of how bad the service was. didnt want to risk ruining other meals. They forgot to bring water, or you need ketchup and they bring it 15 min later or seat you with no menus for 15 min or ask if you want the check and you say yes and they then go and clear off a table and then get to you. The food was not even that great or cheap.
The manager came by our table on our last breakfast. We told him about some of the experiences with poor service. He was very attentive and really listened but gave the impression he thought maybe we were just fast-paced jaded new yorkers, which we are, but we also realize this and so are always willing to cut people adn places some slack. we have traveled ALOT and this was the worst experience."
- Travel date: Tue 26th of April 2005