In summary extremely poor value for money although we did enjoy ourselves by making the most of it.
I spent a lot of time researching and reading reviews before I chose Windjammer Landing and the vast majority were positive although there were some negative comments. In retrospect I should have paid more attention to those negative comments. This was the most expensive camping holiday we've had. Read on.....
To put this review into context we've stayed at many 4 & 5 star resorts around the world from Maldives to Egypt and from Australia to Portugal and Dubai. We therefore had certain expectations with this baseline in mind.
So here is the meat of it.........
We booked a 2 Bedroom villa with plunge pool and went all inclusive for 14 days. Family with a 5 year old.
In short - be prepared. We decided to take the Helicopter transfer from the International Airport to Castries. Well worth it. Good to see the Island from a different perspective. However, upon arrival we had to wait 2 hours for our villa to be made available. Point to note here is that using the heli transfer luggage is sent separately and in our case arrived 3 hours later. We were prepared for this and had a change of clothes for the pool and plenty of sun block so we could start our holiday while staff readied the villa and luggage arrived.
The villa allocated to us was very tired and dated - in fact quite nasty and dirty. I would say 2 star accommodation. The villa layout also didn't work for us because the bedrooms were on different levels. We requested another villa and they moved us 2 hours later to a much better villa with bedrooms on the same level. Much, much, much better.
We were aware of the open living concept beforehand and prepared for this. Mosquito's love me. I think it's the alcohol in my blood or is it the blood in my alcohol? plus I didn't want to smell like a lemon for 14 days (mosquito repellent) so we took some extra precautions.
The island currently (April 2010) has a serious problem with mosquito's. We saw one family that were completely ravaged by them. I thought they all had prickly heat as they were all completely covered in spots until my wife asked and was told they were mosquito bites. Good job they weren't allergic to mosquitoes otherwise they would all have had anaphylactic shock. This justified my preps for mosquito's.
Outdoor mosquito repellent
I bought Lifesystems Mosquito Smoke Coils - Green, £2.99 from Amazon. Well worth it as it kept them at bay in the open living area first thing in the morning as we lounged by the plunge pool and drunk coffee. These worked really well. It meant you didn't need to lemon-up first thing in the morning.
Indoor plug-in mosquito liquid repellent - Lifesystems Plug in Dual Mosquito Killer Unit, £6.99
These were useless. They might work in a closed environment but every night fresh hungry mosquito's arrived in the bedrooms for dinner.
Pop-up mosquito nets - Pop-up Premier Mosinet Mosquito Net - Double, £41.99
These were brilliant. Without these we would have had to lemon-up for sleep. At first we tried the existing mosquito nets but they were useless. Note: Some villas do not have any mosquito nets. We found that the ones that do are useless anyway. Good job we brought our own.
Spray-on mosquito repellent - Ben's 30 with 30% Deet
Excellent for the evenings. Works for 6 hours.
The en-suite bathrooms are "open" and that means mosquito's have access to the bedrooms. Using a Do Not Disturb sign was simply ignored by them!
Embers - on the beach. Basically fast beach food (nothing is fast in the Caribbean - you just need to understand "Island time"). Not bad for a quick snack but that's about it.
Upper Deck - Seafood. Disappointing. They should keep it simple. Avoid western oriented dishes and stick to local island dishes.
Papa Dons - Italian. They try to hard to be a good Italian restaurant. Some dishes were not bad but overall an average Italian.
Dragonfly - Asian. Here they try to be a little more up-market but fail.
Jammers Beach - Simple gastro/bistro pub food. Again sticking to local island dishes worked best for us.
What you will see is that all restaurants seem to offer the same dishes with a different twist. If you enjoy fine dining you won't enjoy the food at Windjammer Landing. I would rate the food as gastro/bistro pub at best.
Service in all restaurants is consistently slow to very slow. You do get the occasional experienced waiter/waitress but again expect to experience island time. Not a problem for us. Simply get your drinks in first then sit back and relax and see if you can spot a flag waving lemon.
Pools and beach
Service is close to non-existent. Don't wait - just get up and get it yourself. They use a "flag" system on the beach whereby your supposed to wave this flag on a pole. Tried that but it didn't work. I spent 15 minutes looking like a lemon (but not smelling like one thanks to my mosquito preps) waving around a flag and the only thing that happened was that it attracted the attention of the security guards thinking I was a sun bather in distress ;-). Just kidding. In summary the beach was pleasant not spectacular. Not bad quality yellow sand dark in places (volcanic) but only one section where you can swim due to either rocks or Sea Urchins.
Close to the beach are two swimming pools with one for small children. The children's pool is in full sun all day so be warned - plenty of sun block and hats for the kids. No slides at the pool for the kids just pool and water. Water quality not the best in both pools. There are other pools up the hill next to Papa Dons restaurant but we didn't use them.
The only entertainment was a live band at the Jammers Beach bar/restaurant every night (same songs every night - great for a sing-a-long ;-) and a steel band every Friday night at the Embers restaurant BBQ. Oh - and me waving my flag on the beach.
Given the layout of the resort with villas some way up the hill they use a shuttle service to ferry guests to and from the villas. Mostly it's walkable if your fit but on humid days we used the shuttle service. Dated mini-vans are used and the service quality is patchy. Some days one would arrive within 5 mins other days you can be left hanging around for 20 minutes waiting.
Around 60% of the staff are unhelpful and rarely smile. This shortcoming is made up for slightly by a small minority of very helpful friendly and genuinely sincere staff members.
Although the Island is wired 240v with UK BSI 3 pin plugs this is not the case for Windjammer Landing where it's based on the US system 110v and 2 flat pins.
Although we never used it the staff were very friendly and good with kids.
In closing I was very surprised to meet families that have been going to Windjammer Landing for years!!! I guess if you don't know any different or been anywhere different you can only assume Windjammer Landing is paradise. I find that odd. We never go to the same place twice. The world is too big for that.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa in Saint Lucia, offers an unforgettable Caribbean vacation for families, honeymooners and couples. This exotic 60-acre full service resort is a panorama of picturesque, spacious and secluded hillside villas. With breathtaking views of the cobalt waters of the Caribbean Sea, this Mediterranean village resort is alive with the sights and sounds of beautiful Saint Lucia. Absorb the stunning beauty of nature at the Windjammer Landing. From dining on tropical fruits at sunrise to enjoying a refreshing cruise at sunset and only your choice of what to do in between. Richly appointed with the warmth of wood and an exotic blend of tropical furnishings, your spacious villa sets the mood for complete relaxation and truly your greatest escape. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia and HotelQuickly so you can book your Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Hotel Castries
- Windjammer Landing Hotel Beach
- Windjammer St Lucia
- Windjammer Landing Resort Beach
- Windjammer Landing St Lucia
- St Lucia Windjammer
- Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort St. Lucia/Castries