In the television dark-comedy series The White Lotus, guests at a luxury holiday resort enjoy the beautiful location, outstanding service and wonderful food – while beneath the surface, undercurrents from their private lives grew ever more ominous.
That superb service, food, views and facilities are all present at Saint Lucia’s Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort – but unlike in the TV series, the guests were well adjusted, happy people and the staff attentive and genuinely lovely.
Windjammer Landing is a high-end resort on the north west coast of Saint Lucia – perfect for a romantic break but also offering a range of activities for families and children. The resort has 220 guest rooms and villas, rising from beachfront properties to those in the hills above, all offering stunning views across the beautiful Labrelotte Bay and Caribbean Sea.
Following a $12 million dollar renovation, it was relaunched earlier this year, with updates to accommodation, some new villas, a new look to its lobby and new menus. It also boasts six swimming pools. The accommodation my wife and I had – a two bedroom villa right on the shore, with a west-facing 14-metre infinity pool overlooking the sea, three bathrooms, kitchen, a beautiful lounge/dining room and an outdoor shower. The villa was so good, we had to tear ourselves away from it.
Housekeeping visited twice a day – yes, twice – to clean and clear-up, meaning that the apartment remained spotlessly tidy throughout our stay – and the sheer effort that went into achieving that was revealed when we came back from one evening meal to find three – yes, three – members of staff just finishing our rooms. A guilty pleasure!
Guests can opt for either a bed and breakfast or all-inclusive package, the latter including breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a full range of both soft and alcoholic drinks – including champagne and top brand spirits – in the resort’s restaurants and bars.
All-inclusive stays are showing a rise in popularity in 2023 with 26% of worldwide travellers booking an all-inclusive trip compared to 20% in 2019. In addition, a trend for more luxurious offerings in smaller resorts is on the increase, where guests do not have to worry about hidden extras upon checkout.
The standard of food at Windjammer – from breakfast to dinner – was consistently excellent. The resort has seven restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining. The Upper Deck is the resort’s newly renovated steak restaurant, and offers an a la carte menu with a range of aged Angus beef steaks along with some other options, in a discreet, softly lit shoreline setting. The steaks – my ribeye and my wife’s surf and turf – and the cocktails we drank before dinner, were all perfectly prepared.
Further up the hill is Papa Don’s, the resort’s Italian trattoria, offering pizzas, risottos, and pasta dishes. Down on the shore – literally on the beach if you chose – is Embers, the casual dining venue for lunches, offering tacos, sliders, and delicious flatbread pizzas. Also on the beachside is Jammers, open for both lunch, dinner and cocktails, offering an array of international and Caribbean dishes, and accompanied by nightly entertainment.
Dragonfly serves breakfast, but transforms into a seafood venue in the evenings, offering a range of fish, shellfish and sushi dishes. We ate there on our first night. After a day travelling I wanted something simple, so chose the fishcake – it proved a revelation, a completely different experience to any fishcake I had ever eaten before. Next to Dragonfly is The Perch, a relaxed bar and lounge which specialises in a range of martinis and a selection of tapas. And finally there is Masalas, the resort’s Indian restaurant. Like most Britons, I am no stranger to curry, but have to say, the standard here was sky high. Our tandori chicken starter was as succulent as I have ever tasted, while the Goan snapper curry was perfect.
There is one other place you will want to try – Windjammer’s beach bar – 96 Degrees In The Shade – which never seemed to shut, and which offered ice cold beers, wine and cocktails, as the waves lap the shore just a couple of steps away. It was one of my favourite spots in the whole resort.
There are loads of kids’ activities to occupy four to 12 year olds led by the resorts kids’ club coordinators, including mocktail mixing, cookery classes, guided nature walks, yoga for kids, creole dance classes, and horse riding adventure trips. In the evening there are puppet shows, story telling sessions and beachside movie nights.
The resort has an excellent fitness centre, with a gym, exercise studio and outdoor yoga deck. It also has a spa, offering a range of treatments including massage therapies, facial and body treatments, natural body wraps, pedicures and manicures.
There is also a range of watersports activities on offer, including Hobycat catamarans, paddle boards and kayak, waterskiing and wakeboarding.
The resort also has its own diving centre, with a range of diving activities. One of the most popular is its family diving package, offering three days of diving, including a choice of reef dives, drift dives and wreck dives. There is also the environmental package, which centres on coral reef rejuvenation, with those taking part learning about the corals and the threats they face.
If you can drag yourself away from all of that – and we did find it very easy to pass our days on the beach, or the bar, or around our private pool, then the resort offers a range of great excursions.
We took a speedboat up the coast with Knotty Girl Boat Tours – a day which turned out to be much more than just a sightseeing trip. After cruising up Saint Lucia’s beautiful west coast to see its signature Pitons – two volcanic outcrops more than 700 metres high – and checking out a series of idyllic bays where our tour guide Clydel pointed out the mansions of various celebrities, we stopped at pretty Sugar Beach to snorkel among shoals of brightly-coloured fish, before continuing to the town of Soufriere. From there it was a minibus ride to bathe in the hot volcanic mud baths at Sulfur Springs, followed by a bracing shower in a nearby waterfall. Clydel patiently took photos of everyone as they covered themselves in the hot mud, then screamed in the waterfall. Lunch was at the Stone Yard Restaurant in Soufriere, a family-run restaurant that served a buffet of delicious home-cooked food. On the trip back our skipper Kervinus really opened the throttle while Clydel kept the free beers and rum punch coming. All in all, a total blast.
Our second trip was a complete contrast – a gentle open cable car ride up the side of a mountain in St Lucia’s rain forest interior with Rainforest Adventures. Guide Jean-Claude was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on the local plants and trees, birds and beasties – along with their role in island life. It was a wonderfully relaxing morning, and an opportunity to see the islands’ rural interior, where free food grows literally at the side of the road, to be eaten by those who need it. Other excursions on offer from the resort include jeep and helicopter tours, horseback and zipline riding.
We were fabulously well looked-after at Windjammer. The facilities were superb, the accommodation first class, but what really made our stay was the staff, who were without exception, absolutely welcoming and lovely to us. Thinking back, the whole stay takes on a dreamlike quality. If we had the chance, we would go back tomorrow.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort offers Ocean View 2 Bedroom villas from $399/night USD on a B&B basis or starting at $717/night USD – for a premium all-inclusive (kids 11 and under eat for free).
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