Submitted on 03-07-2016
The title should give you a hint - we stayed here for 10 days and also got married at the resort. Consequently, this trip was about a year in the planning and we spent a lot of time deliberating before choosing to come here for our 'Wedding Moon' as they call it. As you may be aware, there are in fact 3 Sandals properties in St Lucia, but the beauty of that is that whichever one you stay at, you can use the facilities at all 3 by travelling between them on the inter-resort shuttle bus. With t...
The title should give you a hint - we stayed here for 10 days and also got married at the resort. Consequently, this trip was about a year in the planning and we spent a lot of time deliberating before choosing to come here for our 'Wedding Moon' as they call it. As you may be aware, there are in fact 3 Sandals properties in St Lucia, but the beauty of that is that whichever one you stay at, you can use the facilities at all 3 by travelling between them on the inter-resort shuttle bus. With this in mind, we picked the Halcyon (and were glad we did) for 2 main reasons. 1) Halcyon is the smallest resort, and is therefore easier to navigate and also has a more intimate feel to it. 2), you can get a top level club room at the Halcyon for quite a bit less money than either at La Toc or the Grande. We aren't huge party people so we wanted something small, intimate and relaxing - we got that at Halcyon, and from visiting the others, notably the Grande, we know we wouldn't have gotten this had we stayed there. There are pros and cons to all 3 properties - it depends on what it is you want from a vacation, but I would encourage everyone to keep in mind that you can spend as much time as you want at any of the resort, regardless of the one you stay at. If you don't want to travel around and visit any other resorts, then obviously you need to be sure you pick the best one for you at the outset.
In terms of the Halcyon, if you are staying here for any more than a week, I would really say that you almost need to visit the other resorts - for variety of dining options if nothing else. At the Halycon you have Kimono's -Japanese and requires reservation, Kelly's Dockside - their fine dining option, Mario's - Italian - gets busy, a sushi restaurant, and the Bayside which in the evening is French a la carte. Plenty of choice perhaps, but Mario's, Kelly's and Kimono's all close 1 night each week, and the other issue is that the menus do not change from week to week. Kelly's does a great steak, but the menus are not huge in terms of choice. We stayed for 10 days and needed to explore the other resorts to dine in order to receive variety. There are also fabulous options to be had at the other resorts too - Bombay indian cuisine at the Grande, Toscanini's Italian at the Grande - beats Mario's hands down and honestly one of the best meals we had the entire holiday, and also La Toc at La Toc - an absolutely fabulous French menu, serving some of the best food you will ever eat. We dined here on the night of our wedding and it was simply stunning.
The Halcyon also has a beach bistro that opens from 10:30am-early evening and then reopens at 10:30pm until the small hours for late night snacks. This is a good spot for lunch if you don't fancy the buffet - we enjoyed eating here - good burgers nachos etc.
We opted for a club sandals room - the main benefit of which to us is a full size bar in your room that is replenished as you use it. Full size bottles of rum, gin, vodka and whiskey, along with red and white wine, beer, sodas, mixers and bottles of champagne mean that if you don't feel like socialising around the bar at night, you can retire to your room and relax.
On arrival at the resort, club sandals guests are checked in at the Club sandals lounge - a welcome air conditioned space and where you are greeted with cocktails and snacks and told about all you need to know. Another tip - if you are arriving into St Lucia - book the helicopter transfer - you'll be at the resort in 20 minutes and a lot happier than if you take the mini bus transfer! (book with st lucia helicopters direct - sandals are hugely expensive for a helicopter transfer). As a club sandals guest you will also be invited to several events throughout the week exclusively for Club Sandals guests - cocktail evenings, wine tastings, martini nights etc. They may not sound appealing, but we attended a cocktail evening and as a thank you to all in attendance, they gave us a free breakfast in our room - this is good as Halcyon does not offer room service. Club Sandals staff are also very good at dealing with all your dining reservations on the other properties, and will generally help you out with anything you need.
We stayed in a Deluxe Honeymoon hideaway poolside walkout room - these are located near the quiet pool and are nicely appointed. They do back onto the road, and sometimes the noise may be bothersome, but it is by no means constant and wouldn't have been enough to annoy us. The rooms are large, with a very comfortable king size bed, ample wardrobe and drawer space, and also a spacious bathroom. A point to be aware of in a club room is that they also provide (and replenish) full size, red lane spa toiletries for you to use - so you can save on your luggage weight. shampoo, conditioner, body lotion are all provided and are lovely.
The resort itself is well maintained - they are doing some renovations to rooms at the moment, these are nearing completion, but it is all in an area that is fenced off and we weren't disturbed by the noise (thankfully) whilst there. The beach is small, and not spectacular by any means. Out of them all, the Grande probably has the best beach, but there is nothing overly wrong with it at the same time. The watersports department is good - they have hobiecats, paddleboards, kayaks, scuba, snorkelling trips and also pre bookable water skiing, wakeboarding and knee boarding.
The main benefit is that everything at the Halcyon is walkable because the resort is not mammoth in size like the other two are. This gives it a more intimate feel, and staff really get to know you, which is a nice touch. There is also a very reasonable gym on site to use with a good selection of equipment - they also do some payable classes if you wish.
Dining options, as briefly mentioned prior, can become repetitive if you are staying solely at one resort, but in terms of the Halycon offerings, we didn't have a bad meal during our stay. Kelly's does a fantastic steak, Mario's has a great anti pasti buffet followed by tasty Italian fare, and the Bayside in the evening offers French a la carte options -their menu is tasty, but limited. We would recommend you book an evening to go to Kimono's - this is dinner and a show rolled into one. It's good fun, and the food is tasty and prepared before you. Your only breakfast option at Halycon is the buffet - but there are items cooked fresh to order like pancakes, French toast, eggs, omelettes, chicken and also steak. Self serve buffet options are varied each day and they are plentiful and tasty. Staff are also on their game with regards to keeping the birds from stealing a snack or two!
Lunch options are either the buffet - again plenty of choice with various cooked to order options each day such as fresh pastas or stir fries. Your other option is the beach bistro, where you can get a good burger, nachos, wraps, grilled sandwiches etc.
We spent most of our time around the quiet pool - where you can relax with a cocktail or 6 made by the wonderful, wonderful Agnes, you can also indulge in a spot of afternoon tea there from 4pm. The other pool is nice too, but is where they do all of the activities - pool volleyball, quizzes etc - so if that's your thing then that's where you do that. We liked the quiet pool, and Agnes makes the best cocktails at the resort, so that was as good a reason as any to stay there! All staff are a credit to Sandals at this resort, but Agnes is just an absolute gem and deserves all of the mentions she receives on here.
I mentioned at the start that we got married here - so I'll move onto that now. When you book a wedding with Sandals in any resort, the majority of your planning is carried out via email and phone calls with an appointed member of staff prior to your arrival at the resort. This person is not based at the resort - so you will never meet them - but they do ensure that everything you discuss, agree and all of your legal documentation is passed on to the wedding team in the resort for when you arrive. Prior to our leaving the UK, we had become concerned with so many reviews mentioning the building work going on at the Halcyon. So much so that I emailed the guy we had been talking with for almost a year to raise these concerns and to seek reassurance that our wedding would not be impacted by this. To his credit, he responded and copied in the staff members at Halcyon in order to put our concerns to rest. During our check in process in the club lounge, we were approached by Georgia, who mentioned that she had received our email and understood our concerns. Immediately she said that she would let us get settled in, become aware of any noise, and if necessary - arrangements had already been put in place for us to be moved to either the Grande or La Toc. This impressed us - they were on the ball from the start and keen to put our fears at rest. We honestly were not bothered by any noise - work is in fact nearing completion, so in all likelihood the noisy spell is at an end. We were also assured that at any rate, when a wedding is taking place, the workmen cease all activity. We had absolutely no reason to move, but it was good to know that they were willing and able to do so if we needed to.
We had a wedding meeting with Tracy on our first day after arriving. Here we filled in the relevant legal documentation, tasted the cake options, and went over everything we had agreed for the ceremony. Tracy was professional and courteous, and also very efficient, leaving us with no doubt that everything was arranged and in place. We were entitled to a 'free' manicure for me and foot massage for my husband to be - whist free, you still have to pay the service charge on both of these treatments, so be aware of that.
The actual day of the wedding and the ceremony itself far and away exceeded our expectations. Everything went without a hitch and was truly magical. It was only the two of us there, but it was all so special and magical we could not have been happier. The Registrar was a lovely man, and the service itself was just beautiful. Special thanks also to Trevor - our wedding captain, who oversaw all of the proceedings.
To any couple considering a wedding abroad - do not hesitate to select a Sandals resort - they know what they are doing when it comes to weddings, and they do them well. Whether it is just the 2 of you, or a huge wedding party- you will not be disappointed. We 100% would not change a thing and would not do anything any other way, it was great from start to finish.
All in all, we had a great time - it was our wedding so it was always going to be a special holiday for us, but the Wedding team at resort really did blow us away - the ceremony was just everything we could have dreamed of and more. We are also satisfied that we chose correctly in staying at Halcyon beach - we had the best of all 3 worlds - we stayed at the most intimate and friendly of the resorts, we met some great people and staff, and we still had the chance to enjoy all of the glorious cuisine at the other 2 resorts.
We wouldn't hesitate in booking another Sandals vacation - this was our first, but it won't be our last. It truly is the best all inclusive option you can have - the food was really top notch quality, and the drinks never ending. We'd go back tomorrow!