Royalton & Royalton Hideaway Saint Lucia

REVIEW:

Royalton Saint Lucia is located at Gros Islet on the north end of the island, approximately 1.5 hours from Hewanorra International Airport.  The tiered property features eight 5-storey buildings with a total of 290 guest rooms, including swim-out suites on the ground floor.  The individual buildings form almost a semi-circle around the majority of the resort’s amenities and end at the turquoise waters of a Caribbean cove and the resort’s private beach.

Four of the eight buildings (2 on either side of the main concourse) are dedicated to Royalton’s regular guests, two of the buildings closest to the beach on the east side of the resort are dedicated to adults only in a section called Royalton Hideaway, and two more closest to the beach on the west side are considered upgrades with the title of Chairman’s Buildings.  However, despite the upgraded status of Hideaway and the Chairman’s Building, all rooms in all sections of the resort look very similar, with the difference being whether they contain a king or 2 queen beds and whether the sliding patio door opens to a balcony or a swim-out with 2 lounge chairs.  It is to be noted that the pool area of a swim-out suite is very small and the area is not private given that all swim-outs are aligned on the first floor and are not separated only by a waist-high wall to which a safety railing is attached.

Rooms are spacious, clean and modern, with plenty of drawers and storage space, including a wardrobe that contains complimentary terry robes and a digital safe in which guests can store their valuables.  A mini-fridge is restocked daily based on consumption. A comfy oversized chair and ottoman are big enough for two people in the corner of every room, and a flat-screen TV provides more than just television with an online menu for ordering room service and the ability to view your guest folio (your bill) to keep track everything being charged to the room.

Unfortunately, the location of the TV in each room makes it difficult to see.  Instead of being near the foot of the beds as is true for most hotels, Royalton Saint Lucia has mounted their TVs offside.  Instead, all beds face the sliding doors to the balcony or swim out, causing the TV mount to be on the wall next to the wardrobe.  This gives guests a beautiful view but makes it the TV difficult to see, especially since it is encased in a large wooden frame that juts out from the wall.  An easy correction would be for the hotel to install a swivel behind the TV that would allow for it to be pulled forward and angled and then pushed back in for storage.

The open concept of the rooms allows for a direct view into the bathroom area, with the option of using an opaque curtain as a divider.  Bathrooms are equipped with exceptionally large walk-in marble showers that contain a convenient seating area and double rain shower heads, as well as a handheld nozzle.  There’s plenty of water pressure and room to move around. Double sinks but with minimal counter space can be found outside the shower, with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries, as well as an under-counter shelf for clean towels and face cloths.  Given the open concept, thankfully the toilet is a separate entity, around the corner and behind a door.  The only drawback is the tub which straddles the line between bathroom and bedroom and can look and feel out of place, and like a big obstacle.  The deep tub contains several jets for a bubbly, massaging experience, but it’s definitely awkward for families and non-couples because there’s no privacy except for the curtain.  Even though the curtain obstructs the view from the beds, it does nothing to hide the bather from anyone coming in the door or needing to the bathroom facilities.

But don’t worry about the tub.  If water is what you’re looking for, there’s LOTS of it with 4 pools on the property including ‘Dips’ for a quiet, tranquil experience, the beachfront ‘Chill Infinity Pool’ with a swim-up bar, the ‘Chairman’s Pool’ for upgraded guests, and a pool intended for Hideaway guests only.

Plus, there is an impressive children’s waterpark and a stretch of beach where the Caribbean Sea is quite calm, warm and inviting.

Located on the beach is Nexus Tours, which helps to organize the complimentary watersports that are part of the all-inclusive experience.  As is the case with most Caribbean beaches, there are also random and independent tour operators that work the guests on the beach to take their excursions. Sadly, however, they can tend to be a bit pushy and the hotel has no jurisdiction over them.

Speaking of tours, a Nexus Tours is also located in the main lobby of the Royalton, where guests can book a number of offsite activities including horseback riding on the beach, boat cruises, island tours, Jeep safaris, dolphin and whale watching cruises, shopping excursions, ziplining, aerial trams, and more.

Royalton Saint Lucia has 9 restaurants including Gourmet Marche, the international buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus 8 a la cartes — Armadillo for Tex Mex, Calypso for Caribbean fare, CX Culinary Experience, Grazie for Italian food, Hunters for steak and chops, Score Sports Bar and Grill, and Zen for Japanese cuisine. Dorado for seafood is located on the adults-only side of the resort and is for guests of the Hideaway only.  The Caffe coffee shop is available for quick bites like baked goods, ice cream, milkshakes, and gourmet coffee, and for afternoon snacks guests can visit the Food Truck by the pool for burgers, quesadillas, and more.  Guests of the Chairman’s Building have access to The Grill, located by the Chairman’s Pool, which offers specialty drinks and sandwiches as well as interesting appetizers (we highly recommend the coconut shrimp). The food is excellent, no matter which restaurant you visit (although we were more inclined to visit Gourmet Marche for breakfast only since the a la cartes were far better for dinner).

We were particularly impressed by Grazie and Hunter’s steakhouse, though we would recommend dining on the terrace of Hunters because inside the restaurant becomes increasingly more smoke-filled as the evening wears on.

There are also 9 bars throughout the resort.

Also on the property is a gift shop and a high-end jewellery store, an excellent spa and salon, a well-equipped fitness center, teen center, supervised children’s center, and an entertainment area complete with a covered stage.  This is used for nightly shows including live music, dance troupes, and audience participation games for prizes.

Day time activities vary including kayak races in the infinity pool and various other group participation pursuits.

PROS:

  • located on private cove/beach
  • gorgeous views
  • most of the staff is friendly and accommodating
  • clean and modern
  • spacious rooms
  • oversized walk-in marble shower with double rainfall showerheads and a bench seat is convenient and luxurious
  • great variety of restaurants plus a beachfront grill, food truck, and a coffee shop with bakery items and homemade ice cream and shakes, so you never go hungry no matter what time of day
  • food is excellent
  • plenty of amenities located right on the property, for example – a gift shop, nightly entertainment, salon, spa, fitness center, watersports, tour booking, etc.
  • the spa is top-notch — very clean, modern, and spacious, with several services including bridal packages
  • a small shopping mall called Baywalk is only 9 minutes away, near Rodney Bay, and is accessible by taxi for $30 US roundtrip
  • local artisans visit the resort twice a week with souvenir merchandise making it unnecessary for guests to travel outside the resort for keepsakes if they don’t want to

CONS:

  • 1.5-hour drive from the airport
  • property is not disability/mobility friendly
  • butler service is overwhelming at times
  • housekeeping staff tend to move your belongings a lot, particularly toiletries and items on end tables, and they readjust the settings on the air conditioner and fan, often creating a hot or stuffy room when you return to it
  • although Royalton boasts about their signature ‘Dream’ beds they tend to be hard and uncomfortable
  • The positioning of flat-screen TV makes it difficult to see from the bed, with the added hindrance of a thick wood frame
  • the tub in the room instead of in the bathroom is awkward
  • room service is good but extremely slow
  • the gift shop is outrageously expensive
  • beach and pools lack supervision so guests use their towels or beach bags to save lounges, cabanas, and Bali beds for hours, sometimes all day, without ever using them.
  • lack of things to do in the evening – pools close at 6:00 pm and nightly shows are short-lived

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