Sandals Grande St. Lucian offers plenty of seclusion thanks to its setting on a peninsula Photo: Michele PetersonGourmet Escape, Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort Michele Peterson November 6, 2016 6301 Food fans enjoy global flavour on one of Saint Lucia’s best beaches Unique round bungalows known as Rondovals are an architectural highlight of a stay at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Photo: Grande St. Lucian It’s morning on the northern point of Saint Lucia and with a pair of egrets tiptoeing through the ripples at water’s edge and a sleepy striped eel peering out of its hideaway in the sand, the beach at Pigeon Island seems as peaceful as paradises come. But between 1549 and 1600, this island was a fierce battleground between the English and the French. It even served as the raiding base for François Le Clerc, the legendary French pirate known as “Jambe de Bois” or “Peg Leg” who used its inlets to launch attacks on British and Spanish ships. Known for his brazen attacks throughout the eastern Caribbean, his image served as the inspiration for future pirate-themed costumes, films and amusement parks. Today, Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort is set on a causeway linking the island to the mainland and, fortunately for modern-day sun seekers, hardtack and salt beef are no longer the only meal options. It’s a luxury all-inclusive experience where culinary concierges create customized dining itineraries for guests. Under the resort’s new Global Gourmet program, this means dining options at the 12 restaurants include a variety of international cuisines. An expansive pool overlooking a white sand beach is a highlight of Sandals Grande St. Lucian Photo: Michele Peterson Unique Accommodation With its spectacular location overlooking the calm waters of Rodney Bay, Sandals Grande St. Lucian is a natural setting for an island getaway. The resort’s 302 rooms and suites come in a dizzying array of 16 categories but each has a balcony or patio, some with a meandering Lagoon Swim-up Pool, others with ocean, garden or beach views. Upgrade to Club Sandals and you’ll enjoy extra luxuries such as an exclusive lounge, concierge services and stocked mini-bar, room service and more. Those looking for the ultimate in luxury should opt for one of the Grand Rondovals, conical-shaped beachside bungalows unique to Sandals that come with circular open floor plans featuring a king-sized bed. Private verandas draped in bougainvillea are decked out with plunge pools, outdoor grotto showers and hammocks. 24-hour room service, mini-bars stocked with top shelf liquor, and personal butlers certified by the Guild of Professional English Butlers, are included, which means that from flutes of champagne to plush bathrobes, you don’t need to leave your cocoon unless you want to. Global Dining With its array of fine-dining restaurants, there is plenty to tempt you out of your beachside retreat. Sandals Grande St. Lucian has ramped up its already stellar reputation for fine cuisine by introducing Global Gourmet dining to its all-inclusive restaurant options. Under this new dining program, guests can explore a diverse range of international cuisines in 12 restaurants ranging from Italian, Mediterranean, British Pub fare, Caribbean, even a French patisserie and crêperie. Sandals guests enjoy 27 Global Gourmet options Global Gourmet brings new tastes to Sandals guests Photos: Michele Peterson Soy Sushi Bar at Sandals Grande St. Lucian The newest Global Gourmet additions include Bombay (Indian), Soy Sushi (a trendy sushi bar) and Kimonos (a Japanese teppanyaki experience) bringing an authentic taste of Asia to the Caribbean. The three new Asian-themed restaurants are set within a garden oasis in the secluded Lagoon Village section of the resort. Surrounded by fire pits, reflecting pools, suspended walkways and fragrant night flowers, they make for atmospheric evening dining. Strolling beneath the stars surrounded by a chorus of peeping tree frogs, it’s easy to feel that you’ve been magically transported to an Arabian Nights meets Bali fantasy. Bombay restaurant, with its soaring tiled dome that evokes the Taj Mahal, features Indian cuisine in tapas-sized portions perfect for sharing. Kimono, a Japanese teppanyaki eatery with cheeky, graffiti-style photography, reimagines Japanese street style with gleaming stainless steel and sculptural art suspended from the ceiling. At Soy Sushi Bar, culinary highlights include a blush-hued Sake Cruise from the Sake-inspired cocktail menu and a Rainbow California Roll with Sashimi. House wines include six varietals from Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks California vineyards, in an exclusive partnership with Sandals. Island Explorations Pigeon Point National Landmark is an important site rich in history Photos: Michele Peterson Stay at One, Play at Three privileges allows access to Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa Lounge in a Bali bed overlooking the Caribbean at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Saint Lucia offers plenty of natural wonders beyond the resort. Located south of Martinique, it’s one of the most mountainous islands in the Eastern Caribbean. A road trip along the western coast offers the opportunity to explore emerald hills, deep valleys and lush rainforests where trails lead to waterfalls. Highlights include browsing historic Castries Market, soaking in mineral-rich sulphur springs and peering into the bubbling crater of Soufriere Volcano, the world’s only drive-in volcano. It’s also possible to tour coffee plantations, stopping for views of the famous Pitons, the two photogenic geological wonders offshore. An off-resort benefit for Sandals guests is the opportunity to “Stay at One, Play at Three” among the island properties, each with its own distinct personality. Complimentary shuttle service between the resorts departs several times daily. One experience you don’t want to miss is the weekly Creole Lunch offered at Sandals Halcyon Resort. This expansive buffet is much more than a token nod to local cuisine, it features food prepared by skilled cooks passionate about authentic tastes. Set beneath an ancient almond tree, the restaurant’s dishes include cassava bread, curried goat, bouillon (a pigtail stew) and jerk chicken fired on the grill — tastes you could explore at a roadside stand but here they come with all the services of a 5-star resort. Also worth experiencing is Sandals Regency La Toc, with its jaw-dropping views, French restaurant and hilly executive golf course lined with mango trees. For active travellers, the range of water sports includes a PADI Dive Center, reef snorkelling, sailing and more. Later, soothe aching muscles at the Red Lane spa, where indulgent spa treatments include the Sugar Cane Scrub, a warm oil drizzle followed by exfoliation with brown sugar, black tea and tropical fruit, that delivers health benefits along with its pampering. As you wind up your island experience with dinner at Gordon’s Pier, accessed via a wooden deck lit by torches, it’s easy to imagine you’re stepping onto a Spanish galleon. Yet, as you dine on grilled lobster and listen to the sound of the waves — without a pirate in sight — you’ll know you’re experiencing modern-day Caribbean at its finest. Sandals Halcyon Beach Photo: Michele Peterson The Creole lunch at Sandals Halycon Beach Enjoy gorgeous views at Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa Photo: Michele Peterson Travel Planner Saint Lucia Tourist Board: Plan your trip, find activities and browse a listing of events at the official tourism website. www.stlucia.org Sandals Resorts: Offers all-inclusive vacation packages for couples in luxury resorts located in Saint Lucia, Antigua, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Grenada and Barbados. www.sandals.com Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival: Held annually at Pigeon Island National Landmark, this 10-day festival celebrates music, art and theatre featuring artists such as Marc Anthony, Shaggy, Kool & The Gang and Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson. www.stluciajazz.org Air Transat: Air Transat offers direct flights to St. Lucia from Montreal seasonally December to March. www.airtransat.com An island tour offers stunning views of Saint Lucia’s dramatic Pitons Credit Saint Lucia Tourist Board Michele Peterson is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in food, drink and sun destinations. Her work has appeared in major magazines, guidebooks and travel anthologies. Get tips, insider info and travel inspiration on her blog at A Taste for Travel and Twitter/Instagram @atastefortravel Related
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