We have heard that one of Oprah Winfrey’s favourite Caribbean island was St.Lucia. The luscious greenery, friendly locals and the two striking Pitons placed this destination on our top list to visit. Delta flight 423 from Atlanta showed promising opened seats so all nine of us packed and family vacation 2006 started.
We all make the flights and arrive midday being quite surprised that the Coconut Bay Resort and Spa was a close 5 minute drive from the Hewanorra International airport. Beautiful blue skies, slight breeze and colorful grounds set the perfect Caribbean mood.
The lobby was opened style concept with yellow, blue and orange sofas scattered all around. The constant breeze swept the lobby while we were checking in and our children lost no time in walking the grounds. Beautiful pools, great entertainment area and a stage overlooking the ocean that would surely be the place for nightly shows. The complex had both a lazy river and a full water slide. I think we hit the jackpot with this hotel!
The resort was very large spanning several buildings however for some reason the grounds were never fully crowded and we always had room around the pools. The girls would run off to either the lazy river or the water slides, but we always felt assured they were confined within the perimeter. With their continuous run on the water slides, they became good friends with Jeva, the employee whom overlooked the slides. Both Robert and I were busy making friends of our own with the chef at the Beach Bites Grill with our constant tuna sandwiches and grilled cheese.
Their evening shows weren’t as elaborate as other locations we’ve been to, but nevertheless, they kept the crowd involved. In fact, Alessia volunteered at the magic show one evening and fun was had by all. Both Antoinette and I even danced some merengue with local staff members.
The only downfall of this resort was the actual ocean front. The water was filled with seaweed and the sand area was extremely narrow. It didn’t take us long to realize that a short 10 minute walk from the hotel, a more inviting ocean front with spectacular view was our new hang out. Hard to believe that a short walk away, one can have a completely different reaction. From a…. “oh my God” to a…. “OH MY GOD!”
Our day routine would bring us to this newly discovered beach area in the morning after breakfast, stay for a few hours, leave for lunch at the resort, and stay by the hotel in the afternoon with all its amenities. One can definitely retire here.
Midweek, as the girls built their confidence, they started making friends with other guests and it was clear that this location was perfect for families. With the same token, Robert and I mingled with the entertainment staff and quickly realized that island fun is surely relaxing and stress free.
Having met Little John at a previous trip to St.Lucia, I called upon him to be our tour guide. A local that will show us around with comfort and at our own pace. Despite his name of Little John, it surely wasn’t indicative of his stature. A huge 6 foot 4 local with presence and yet soft-spoken.
He drives us into Soufrière, a quarter in the southwest coast of St.Lucia, and see how the locals live. It was a great experience for our girls to see different cultures. We then visit the active volcano of Soufrière. Hidden amongst lush green leaves, one can’t stop smelling the high levels of sulfur. Smoke from the volcano gives that eerie feeling, while people are immersed in some dark volcanic rock pool exfoliating their bodies.
Our last stop was Anse Chastanet Hotel. A beautiful resort nestled amongst mountains that one can visit for the day by using their facilities. We decided to snorkel their coral reefs and lounge for the remainder of the day. The water was clear and filled with all sorts of fish. From large parrot fish to tiny clown fish the girls enjoyed the underwater scenery. The view couldn’t be any more spectacular with mountain peaks all around. With the day coming to an end, Little John takes us to our hotel while showing us pictures of his family. A great man who enjoys his job tremendously.
With the vacation winding down, we take full advantage of our usual routine and notice that some special event was being worked on for the final night. They were converting the pool side to a full dinner and dancing area. Bar B Q supper under the shining stars and ocean waves. As every trip is unique, I try to focus on the moment to ensure I will retain all these great memories. Looking back, I can’t help feel nostalgic and notice on how my children are growing up very quickly.
Another pleasant part of traveling with Robert and his family is the kids get along very well. Company is always a positive attribute when traveling and beside security, sharing great moments is actually amplified with others.
In general the food was very tasty, in abundance and the specialty restaurants were great. We developed a liking for their Chinese restaurant which had a great desert that the kids couldn’t stop asking for.
The week did indeed pass by quickly and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect vacation. The kids were great, the family time was superb, the weather fully cooperated and most of all, laughs were in abundance. Hard to believe that in writing this blog 11 years later makes me relive that specific moment in time.
The return was challenging in that we flew into Ottawa and rented a van to complete the final leg of our journey to Montreal.