16 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We had a lovely time at the resort, however I wanted to ask you about a few things. We were told all of our rooms were upgraded and due to the upgrade we lost having alcohol in our rooms. We had to pay to have alcohol in our room. Also, no room service. I thought these things were included in our trip. Very disappointed
I would not recommend anyone to go to the Halcyon. It is extremely hot. You can only turn your AC up to 16C. No areas to sit wit AC in the resort, not even your room. Locals on the beach wanting to sell you weed, then they would stand at the end of the beach and smoke weed.
Everyone spoke so highly of Sandals resorts and I was very disappointed due to staying at other all inclusive resorts."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of September 2016
Choose a different All-inclusive Company
"We just returned from our 7 day trip to the Sandals Halcyon in the butler level accommodations. We were originally suppose to go to Sandals Royal Bohemian, but were called 6 days before we were to leave and had to switch entire trip to a new location because of "maintenance issues" which was really an employee strike! They changed us to a new location, which was not suppose to cost us anything, but I was charged $275, was told it would be refunded within 7 days, and it still has not been refunded. When we arrived at the airport, we expected to be driven to the resort in the Mercedes or Royals Royce we were suppose to have on our original trip, but instead, they didn't even have us on their list. After several minutes they arranged a taxi to take us the 1.5 hours to the resort.
The resort is small, and in the process of renovations so there is a lot of hammering, and construction noise no matter what area of the resort you are staying. Our cottage was nice and our butler, Claudia, was great and very attentive. The food, with the exception of the sushi restaurant, Soy, was bland and just not very good. If you like sushi, see Mark at Soy and try the chef's creation. Outstanding! Most of the wait staff are unfriendly.
We booked a 90 minute massage with our original booking. When we arrived, the resort didn't have a reservation for our massage but showed a credit for a 60 minute massage and a receipt that showed they "refunded" the amount for the extra 30 minutes. This NEVER was refunded, and we paid extra to have the 90 minute massage! We double paid!
The resort allows local vendors to be on their beach to harass the guests about buying their "local" junk. They do not leave people alone! It is shameful! There are random locals who walk the beach selling drugs too. Beware of leaving any valuables on the beach while you swim, including phones!
Each day we were asked to sign up for the Sandal points to book another Sandals vacation. I would never stay at a Sandals again. It is not worth the money, hassel, or frustration. They made our trip a major disaster from what we originally booked, and there was no customer service to make sure THEIR changes were made correctly without any fees/inconvenience to us. We were suppose to have a 2 hour plane ride originally, and because of the change we had a 7 hour plane ride. NEVER AGAIN."
- Travel date: Sun 14th of August 2016
The Myth Buster
"Transportation to and from the Halcyon is despite some suggestions undertaken in modern air conditioned mini buses; with guests afforded the facility of a comfortable waiting lounge with access to hot and cold drinks when waiting for the arrival of your vehicle.
The location of the Halcyon is paradise perfect; whilst the guest suites in the main are large, airy and very comfortable. The quaility of the food is good, if not excellent, often reaching 'top table' standards, particularly in the Pier Restaurant. The booking of a table via the concierge facility however is a very hit and miss affiar, with some members of staff attached to this facility appearing to suffer from lethargy at levels worthy of medical intervention.
Staff in the main are pleasant and chatty, but there is one who appears to have taken on cult status given her gushing greeting for returning guests. This however is a sad affair, with those returning, often middle-aged, fleshy faced types, deliberately seeking her out in order to gain her anointment at thier return. This clairvoyant' act for recalling the names of returning guests aside,she is in all other respects unhelpful. Just ask her for a Majito Cocktail. Mint an essential ingredient of this drink having apparently been unavailble at the Halcyon since the island gained independence,and which she appears quite unwilling to order.
The Halcyon is not 5 star, that said it is very much worthy of a single visit. It can on occasions though have the feel of british 'net curtins' on holiday, whilst the theme tune from Terry and June runs through your head.
- Travel date: Wed 28th of November 2012
Wedding Photo Disaster
"We went to The Halcyon in April to get married. The hotel was wonderful and the food was excellent. Unfortunately it was heavy rain for the first four days with virtually no sun. The wedding co-ordinate team were great and very efficient.
On the day of our wedding it brightened up. The location for a wedding is fantastic. Our photographer was brilliant but sadly the photo shop team and hotel management let that side down badly. After approximately 2 hours selecting our images for photo`s and cd we paid and later picked up our order from the not so friendly staff in the photo shop! The machine they directly print on is a small kodak printer and the colour quality wasn`t very good.We did mention this at the time but the staff said that was how it printed. No adjustments on colour etc.... When we returned to England we found the cd`s to have only half the images on. We consulted the uk office in Dorking and whilst they appeared helpful stated there hands were tied in helping us get what we paid for. We dealt directly with the director of guest services at Halcyon St Lucia, who basically called us liars until we were able to prove this via figures and receipts. He also said when the photo colours were queried, that we should not have bought any if we were not happy. THEY WERE OUR WEDDING PHOTO`S - WHAT WERE WE SUPPOSE TO DO? There emails were blunt and sadly we had to wait about a month after our wedding to receive the images we had originally paid for. We spent alot of money in general on the whole wedding deal. No apology from the resort was ever given.
So if your planning on a wedding at this resort - TAKE YOUR OWN PHOTOGRAPHER TO SAVE ALOT OF GRIEF!!!!!!!! that way you will guarantee a fantasic time! "
- Travel date: Thu 9th of June 2011
Two or Three star resort at FIVE star prices
"Two/Three star quality at FIVE star prices. That is the overwhelming feeling we are left with after spending eight nights at the Halcyon. It was not ALL bad; itâs just that the resort consistently failed to live up to expectations......read on.
My wife and I are reasonably well travelled, and are used to staying in nice hotels. Maybe we have been spoiled, but we have had far better service and accommodation in three star resorts than we experienced in this supposedly five star resort. The Sandals logo of âLuxury includedâ seemed ironic to us, because we failed to identify anything in the way of services or facilities that we have not experienced in far cheaper hotels, even though we were looking out for it. Iâm not sure what we expected, but we certainly felt a little cheated by the ordinariness of the resort.
Sure the grounds were nice, and some of the staff was very pleasant, but you can get that anywhere. We were in no sense at all pampered, or made to feel special. The location of the hotel means that evening walks off-site are a real no, because of the busy dual carriageway just outside the premises. On the plus side you can get a free shuttle to one of the other Sandals resorts and have free use of their restaurants.
We were met at the airport as arranged and given a bottle of water to refresh ourselves. Nice touch! We were then sent to a rather tatty red mini bus for our transfer to the resort. I joked on the way there that I hoped the hotel was in better condition than our transport. Sadly my jest transpired to be more of a prophecy. When we arrived at the Halcyon the whole busload of guests was informed that none of our rooms were ready even though it was late afternoon. We were ushered to the beach bar/grill and left there. After over an hour and a half I decided to trudge back to reception to try and expedite the roomsâ availability. On arrival at reception we were all told our rooms were now ready, but nobody had taken the trouble to inform us.
My wife and I were shown to our room, and as soon as we got there I queried the fact that I had booked a de-luxe sea-view room, but could not see the sea. The receptionist, with a dead pan expression ushered us out of the room, and onto the roomâs patio, as we could not see the sea from the room. She then pointed seaward and said âItâs over there, behind the treesâ, and shrugged off our complaint. It would be more accurate to call these rooms âgarden viewâ or âseaward facingâ for we sure as hell could not see the ocean from our oceanview room. We never saw even a glimmer of a smile from this particular individual all through our stay. She was apparently of European origin, and the only non St. Lucian we encountered during our stay.
Our room was nothing special, and did not have an armchair as shown in all the brochures. It was of a reasonable size though. The BIG problem with the room was that the door was warped and could not be closed without a really good kick. Throughout our stay, my wife never once was able to open or close our roomâs door unaided, and even the housekeeping staff appeared to have problems, as on at least two occasions they failed to leave the room secure when they had finished.
Immediately outside our room, our âpatioâ was permanently flooded, and everytime we entered our room we had to wade through the flood, and bring water into the room. The service team tried several times to clear the flooded area, but it was a losing battle because the path to our room had subsided and water continually drained from the main pathway to our block. The other side of this pathway was an area of grass which was continuously covered by 2-3 inches of water throughout our entire stay.
Our next issue was with our roomâs bathroom. The toilets blocked on four separate occasions. Our room was not the only one affected by a long way, and on one occasion when I was âdesperateâ, I walked all the way over to the main reception, only to find that the toilets there were also blocked, and filled with âfloaters!â. I was informed by a member of staff that this was not a rare occurrence.
On one occasion we needed beach towels. We went to the pool and none were available, so we went to reception as our room guide said this was an alternative location. Even though we had obtained towels there the day before, the receptionist insisted that we had to go to another pool to get towels. So off we went to the other pool, only to find that they too had none available. Back to reception with my Mr. Angry face on, and the towels materialised. Not what I call service!
The food in the restaurants was generally pretty good, and there was a choice on the menus. But again the service was a letdown. Most of the staff was pleasant, but a few were quite sullen and humourless. Certainly the staffâs general friendliness was nowhere near the high standards we have become accustomed to expect.
The beach was not cleaned on a regular basis, and on one occasion after a slight storm, rubbish, plastic bags and other detritus was just left there for a couple of days before someone took the initiative to clean it.
Several items in the gym were broken, and when this was reported we were given to believe that there was no budget to fix them. Overall we were left with an impression of a resort that was well past its prime, and where the management appeared to accept mediocrity. As a case in point, the beach grill/bar seemed to be the place for the staff to hang around and skive as it was located well away from the management offices. I have provided constructive feedback both at the resort and on-line, but have received no indication from the management that they are in any way concerned.
âLUXURY INCLUDED?â .............No Way. The management of Sandals need to visit Mauritius, Thailand or Bali to see how friendly and welcoming staff can be, and how they look after visitors every need without being asked.
- Travel date: Mon 10th of November 2008
My husband and I visited Sandals Halcyon...
"My husband and I visited Sandals Halcyon this October, I have to say that the pictures in the brochure are nothing like the actual resort - Very disappointing. The sea isnât clear turquoise and the beach does not have white sand, we found that after eating breakfast in the bay side restaurant you could not get served a drink- coffee, soft drinks etc or even alcohol- not that we wanted alcohol that time in the morning!! until 10:30am and sometimes the bar didnât even open until 1 hour later as they said they were still setting up!
The staff were very pleasant and friendly you could not fault them. There was a shuttle that left the resort every hour so you could visit the Grande and the Regency which was a blessing- we visited the Grande most days for the beach which was beautiful and did have white sand and clear sea, also we were told (which we found to be very true) that the weather was always better at the Grande, even though it was only 20 mins journey there was a big change in the weather it wasnât cloudy or rainy like the Halcyon which is just over a mountain.
It was an ok holiday, but for the price you pay to go to a Sandals resort you expect the best and it wasnât, I went to the Riu Tequila in Mexico for my Honeymoon and cost half the price but that was the best, it was 5 star and you could not fault anything there, the resort was even better than the brochure! In my opinion, if you havenât been to a sandals before your not missing anything much choose another company 5 star rating and save your money!!!
- Travel date: Fri 30th of September 2005
Love resides here
"My husband and I just returned from a truly enjoyable 2 week vacation at the Sandals Halycon St. Lucia. We have traditionally spent our winter escape in Barbados at the Almond Beach Village (10 visits) but our last visit was disappointing so we decided to try something different. Wow, we were very impressed. First the staff are truly caring and go the distance to please guests...cheerfully. I believe this is largely a result of the capable leadership of Mr. Lenox Dupal the Resort General Manager who was visible and approachable. The food 'unfortunately' was too tempting and delicious as I now have to try and work off the extra pounds I put on. My favorites, the International buffets were a feast for the eyes as well as the pallet thanks to Josette, the buffet manager and the professional chefs. The property was truly a large botanical garden with beautiful blooms everywhere and our accomodation was very comfortable. I enjoyed the fitness center which was well equiped and the many well organized and professional fitness programs under the direction of Janice. And it wasn't just the resort, we found the people of St. Lucia are kind and welcoming where ever we went. We will definitley be back and I am going to fast before I go!!"
- Travel date: Mon 23rd of February 2004
Halcyon - A Little Bit of Paradise
"Sunday Feb. 8, 2004 Arrived 5 p.m. had cold towels and champagne waiting for us in a gathering area. We were introduced to room 205 and met up with three other couples we knew. Dinner was at the Bayside restaurant. I had Mahi Mahi and my wife had duck. Chocolate moose was our dessert. Day 2 Monday:Awoke 730 am Beautiful breeze outside. Went to Bayside for breakfast and coffee buffet. Had orientation 10 am. Mario?s for dinner. Reservations only dinner at our hotel?s Italian rest. House wines with all meals all Sandals. I had steak. Best Italian food I have ever had. They have an antipasto bar, which is a dream come true. After dinner, they had a limbo and fire eaters show but we were tired and went to bed about 1030 pm Day 3 Tuesday: Four of us rented a private taxi for the day ($140 plus $20 tip) and driver Cuthberth took us all over the island for 7 hours. Went to the Pitons, twin somewhat extinct volcanoes. Sulphur springs, and a waterfall. $2.80 admission to Pitons, $2 for waterfall per person. Lunched at the Hummingbird hotel/restaurant. I had a fish sandwich, wife had an omelet. Bill for the four of us was about $32 with tip. Cabaret and karaoke night. Day 4 Wednesday:Toilet backup in our room. Called maintenance. All was fine before they came, if they ever did. One internet site in the expensive gift shop was nice to be able to answer your mail and surf. Went to Bayside again for breakfast consisting of eggs, coffee, rolls, and wife had an omelet and afterwards, the wife took part in the Player?s Club Aqua size program in the pool. Did some swimming and sunning. We used a 45-block suntan lotion and should have used a 30 because it did not allow us to tan at all on the arms and legs. Our drinks today consisted of banana, coconut juice, etc. Non-alcoholic called a SCORPION. We had quite a few of these throughout the week, nice and tasty. Similar to a pina colada. Tonight was returning guest dinner night in the Bayside with cocktails at the Mirage nightclub prior to. Very nice dinner, steak covered with fois gras and lobster. So much food, we weren?t hungry so it was a shame to eat two bites of each and push the plates away. The appetizer consisted of fresh tuna in a mustard sauce, pumpkin bisque soup, Caesar salad, rolls and wine. Each guest was given a bottle of Bounty 25th anniversary Rum and the women received a half-avocado shell full of individually bagged spices. Each guest was given a nametag and a Sandals necklace with two little sandals hanging from it upon arriving. Went to bed very full. We are not night owls so went to bed around 10 pm. Thursday Day 4:Up at 730 am to a beautiful morning. I fed leftover bread to the birds and hummingbirds outside our patio porch. Breakfast again consisted of coffee, rolls, cereals with skim milk, fruit including mango, melons, honeydew, etc. Today was vendor day at the hotel but we never saw them as we were always on the go. Wife checked out a book of short stories by Maeve Benchley at the library near the pool. Four of us rented a taxi for 3 hours and ?Charlemange? took us to the straw markets, and duty free shops. Two ships were in port this morning, one of them from Italy doing Caribbean tours. We bought some t-shirts, earrings, spices, and baby shirts but don?t go for touristy stuff too much anymore. Eight of us met for dinner tonight at Kimono?s Japanese restaurant at Sandal?s Grande. Fifteen-minute shuttle drive from our hotel to theirs. Ate quickly as we had to catch the shuttle back by 8 pm. We later found out from our concierge that we had a ?dialect problem? in that the shuttles leave on the hour from 8 pm to 11 pm, NOT 8 OR 11. Same thing happened later in the week when we went to the French restaurant, Le Toc. We were told we had to hire our own taxi if we wanted to leave later. Kind of destroyed our meals not knowing what time the shuttles took us back. Kimono?s is similar to our Hibachi or Benihana?s chains in the U.S. but we did have a ?native? doing the cooking. He was a riot and very funny. Shrimp, steak, pork, fish, fried rice, chicken, the usual fare. Back home, changed into shorts and went to the piano bar for drinks. Home by 945 pm and bed. Friday Day 5 VALENTINE?S DAY:8 am breakfast. Four of us signed up 845 am for snorkeling trip. Spent two hours at Pig Island or the Rat Hole, can?t remember the dive site. My wife did very well snorkeling and could even see lots under water despite not having her glasses on. Paul from the dive team brought us a life preserver, which we could hold onto throughout the trip. He stayed with us the entire time and even gave me his mask and snorkel as mine had a leak from a tear around the nose. Home, showered and went to Bayside for lunch. Had a portion of oxtail and a second course consisted of goat meat for lunch. Nap time for 90 minutes. Took 615 pm shuttle to Le Toc, the French reservations-only restaurant. I had duck, which was very good. A few had Escargot, most were warm, one of our group who ordered snails were served refrigerator-cold. He sent them back and 15 minutes later, they came back piping hot. Shrimp bisque was not very good at all. It was hot but there was no shrimp in the bisque and tasted as if they had dragged a shrimp through it and called it shrimp bisque. I was rather bummed at this meal, as service was very slow. The staff seemed confused even though the place wasn?t crowded. We had to ask for the house wine because they had presented us with the wine list first which was extra. I again refer to the shuttle problems experienced earlier. Because we were still hungry, we went to the Bayside restaurant at the Halcyon for dessert and coffee because of the ?rush? to catch the shuttle. Then we learned they had lobster that night at the Bayside (unannounced to the guests) but we were full. Note to future Halcyon?ers, Friday night at the Bayside is where you will have lobster. The local fishing boats bring in their catch on Friday?s only! Saturday Day 6:Bummed around in the pool area for two hours. More Scorpions. I had the St. Lucia Special which consisted of some chocolate Cream de Cocoa. Weather was rain off and on all day. The rain only comes down hard for a minute or two then clears up. This happened all week but not enough to make your day a bummer. Lunched at the beach grill and then napped. Estelle remembered my name again and is a quick learner of names. She has been at the beach bar grill for about 6 years. I told Estelle she is quite famous on the internet as I found her picture behind the grill on a number of net sites. She doesn?t have an email address so there was no way I could send her a picture electronically. Saturday night, we had dinner at the Bayside and asked for lobster but they were out. My wife and I had surf and turf minus the turf. We asked for double the surf. They brought out to us 8 grilled shrimp with their heads on and we had to peel them ourselves. Tasty, but not a memory maker because our hands were full of what you would think of after peeling shrimp. This coupled with linen napkins and crystal glasses, etc. Dinner music supplied by a superb saxophonist. She played for over an hour and got many rounds of applause. Went to the Mirage nightclub and watched the Valentine?s day contest, sort of a newlywed game, consisting of five couples being asked questions sexually explicit in nature. It was funny the original Newlywed Game but not for those easily offended. Since this was our last night at Sandals, we said our goodbyes to a many of newly made friends. Sunday, Day 7 Last Day:One couple had to be at the airport by 7 am Sunday morning and wouldn?t arrive home until 10 pm that night. We were in bed by 1030 pm. Two other couples took a helicopter from the local but smaller airstrip to the bigger airport on the other side of the island. ($120 pp). We decided to take the free shuttle back to the larger airport. The reason we landed over an hour away from our hotel was to make sure we had a direct flight both ways and not spend countless hours in San Juan during a change of planes. We asked the Bayside restaurant to make up a boxed lunch to take with us on our trip. Our shuttle left at 130 pm for the airport. It is a one hour and fifteen minute taxi ride past banana plantations and picturesque villages. USAir left at 430 pm. We landed in Philadelphia at 8 pm, a half hour early. The early landing proved to be our downfall. The airport wasn?t prepared for us and there were no stairs to deplane, all was backed up. We waited on the plane almost an hour because Customs had also become backed up. We got our luggage at 10 pm. Overall, we like the Sandal?s Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica a little better than the Halcyon. The Halcyon was the best choice for us on St. Lucia as it was smaller than the other two hotels. The other Sandals were much larger and more hotel-like. Our staff was full of smiles and always had a ?hello,? or a ?good morning,? for you when passing by. The weather was in the mid 80s every day. The coconuts on the trees in front of our room were suddenly gone by midweek. That?s why they served fresh coconut milk inside their shells one morning at the Bayside. We keep the a/c on all day and night though because the humidity can be non-stop but not too bad that it is uncomfortable. While lounging at the pool Saturday morning, the resident cat (there were a few of them roaming) starting making some noise under the tree near our chaise lounges. We turned around to find the car playing with a rat. The eight-inch long rat was no longer alive and turned out to be a plaything for the feline. Don't let the final comment prevent you from coming to the Halcyon. We may one day return as this was one of the most relaxing vacations we have ever taken. Maril"
- Travel date: Tue 17th of February 2004
Paradise on earth!
"IT was all excellent, food, drinks, beaches, entertainment, theme nights, water sports, hospitality, what can i say other than anyone who reviews this place below 4 star needs to open their eyes and see where they really went because it was somewhere different to me, truly superb! Amazing new years international buffet, ice scultures, champagne, the works! I loved all three hotels but for quality of service, friendliness and allround hospitality, the halcyon is unbeatable! Superior, we will be going back!"
- Travel date: Sun 15th of February 2004
What's not to like!!!
"This was our second trip to Sandals Halcyon- we were married at Pigeon Island 5 years ago (when weddings weren't free at Sandals) and decided to go back for our 5th anniversary. We could'nt have made a better choice. We booked a regular Deluxe room, but since we were "returning guests" and members of their Signature Club for repeat guests, we were upgraded to a Deluxe Ocean view room. Granted, it really wasn't oceanview, more like pool view with a glimpse of the ocean if you were looking at the proper angle, but it was lovely, nonetheless. The resort was as lush and tropical as we remembered, maybe even more so. All of the employees are extremely friendly and more than willing to help you with any needs you may have. We were surprised that Estelle from the Beach Grille remembered us! She even remembered that we got married there. The restaurants were all excellent- we were treated to 2 nights of lobster at the Bayside- one night was 'all you can eat lobster and crab legs"- what a surprise and a nice treat that was. The Pier was a good as we remembered as was Mario's. We ventured to The Regency to the french Restaurant, La Toc, and we were just a little dissapointed there. The food was OK, but the service was not what we were used to after coming from Halcyon where everyone is so nice. We also went to the Southwestern restaurant there, Arizona, which was also just OK, not spectacular. One of our nicer surprises was Barefoot by the Sea at the New Grand- we had a lovely dinner there and everyone was very pleasant.
We spent a day on the beach there (which is much larger than at the Halcyon)- very nice and worth the trip. We went out snorkeling twice and had a terrific time and saw lots a beautiful, colorful fish and coral. All and all, it was a very relaxing trip and we will definitely consider making another return visit there sometime in the future. I am not sure what alot of people expect when they leave such negative comments but we have had nothing but great expreiences at Sandals Halcyon."
- Travel date: Sun 15th of February 2004
Worth every penny!
"I was nervous going to Halcyon knowing it was the oldest of the St.
Lucia Sandals, but I think it was better than staying at either of the newer ones.
First, it's very quaint...not small, but not huge. The staff was SO friendly and knew us by name! Everyone at Halycon would talk about how amazing and kind the staff was. When we went to The Grande we couldn't even find the bathroom it was so huge and were told after dinner at the Barefeoot By The Sea that we better hurry to Josephine's if we wanted to "beat the rush." Who needs that!? We never waited for anything at Halcyon. When we did the ATV tour, we mentioned how wonderful the Sandals staff was. A couple staying at The Grand said, "Yeah, but they don't smile much do they?" This just proved our point that the smaller size of the Halcyon made for better service. Plus the food at all of the restaurants was excellent. The best part...there really is no tipping. Several staff members refused our tips!
My only suggestions would be...get your massage at Grande, bring all of your documentation to the water sports hut when you sign up to scuba dive and confirm your reservations for Mario's.
Finally, Sue's Piano Bar around 11pm is the best kept secret! It's a sing along bar that is nothing but fun and Davis, the pianist, is THE BEST!!!
We loved our trip and can't wait to go back. I highly recommend it!"
- Travel date: Fri 6th of February 2004
Fun, relaxing, beautiful get away!!!! Jan 11, 2004
"This had to be one of the best vacations I have gone on. The employees at the resort were very nice and helpful. Everyone remembered you by name and they always made you feel right at home. The beach was very beautiful. There were plenty of tasty drinks and food was very good. I was a little nervous about the food before I got there, but it was very good. Great live entertainment everynight. The rooms were very clean and they never missed a day of cleaning them. I highly recommend this resort I can't wait to return"
- Travel date: Sun 25th of January 2004