If you have read my blog post, Mr & Mrs Hapless on Holiday, you will be aware that we are currently staying at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa on the south coast of St Lucia. What follows is my review of the resort, though please be aware that Andy kite surfs all day most days, while I, inherently lazy, lie on a sun bed and read, so I am quite sure we have not experienced all the hotel has to offer.
Coconut Bay is an ‘all inclusive’ resort with 250 air conditioned rooms, 9 restaurants, 7 bars and 5 pools, and there is a choice of accommodation: Harmony’, the adults only section, and ‘Splash’, the family friendly area, complete with water park and kids clubs.
Coconut Bay has a lot going for it. It’s unbelievably spacious, some 85 acres all told, and Andy and I are accommodated in the ‘Harmony’ area. Harmony has its own pool bar, 2 small pools and an array of sunbeds. My favourite are the ‘Sun Tracker’ beds. Set on large wooden platforms, they can be pushed around to follow the arc of the sun, like a child’s old fashioned roundabout. These beds are on the waters edge, and although it’s a windy spot, it is a beautiful location to sunbathe. There is a little sign asking guests to refrain from reserving beds, but no one seems to take any notice of this whatsoever. There is really no need, as there are always so many available.
The beach is pretty, though there is quite a lot of seaweed, so the water is not the beautiful turquoise we have seen in other parts of the world. The sea is a bit choppy, but warm like a bath, and we have swum a couple of times. Andy also went paddle boarding, which was free of charge. You can also use snorkels and canoes without any extra cost. It won’t surprise you to learn that I didn’t partake in any of these activities. I absolutely meant to involve myself in the early morning yoga sessions on the beach, but that never quite happened either.
Andy wanted to come here for the kitesurfing …but let’s remember he is extremely picky and we are on a ongoing mission to find the perfect kitesurfing destination. I’m very happy to follow him around the world in his quest, and, so far, we have visited Fuerteventura, (no waves), Cape Verde, (too gusty), Dominican Republic, (no wind), Egypt (wrong wind direction) … you can begin to see the problem.
Sadly, even St Lucia isn’t quite perfect, though he has been able to go out most days, as the wind is pretty consistent here. He tells me that there are good flat water spots, and some waves can be found beyond the reef. At most, there have been 10 kites out at any one time, so plenty of room for everyone. The staff at the kite surf hut are very friendly and helpful, and it seems to be a brilliant spot to learn, as the instructors are incredibly enthusiastic, clapping and shouting encouragement as the intrepid trainees manage to get up for the first time.
Andy said I should also write that it is a excellent location if you have a high maintenance wife who likes to be in a nice hotel while you kite surf all day. I don’t know what he means. The waves are ‘confused’ (kiting term), but enough to have a little ‘play’ on. Beware of the reef though, the rocks pop up all over the place.
If pool swimming is your thing, there is a choice of 5 at this resort, including the children’s water park. There are two very large ones and two smaller ones (located in the adult section) and the water park in the children’s area. On the day this picture was taken, (see below) I had the pool to myself.
The accommodation is perfectly adequate, though not luxurious, with a small balcony. The bathroom could do with a bath mat, following my slip/fall, but don’t get me started on that again.
Neither Andy or I are particularly fussy about food, and we are usually happy with a buffet restaurant, and this one offers lots of local options. There are also specialist restaurants on site you can book if you are interested in a more gourmet experience, (or get bored with the buffet) : Calabash (Creole/Caribbean cuisine), Veranda (Sea food) Sea Side (Italian), and Silk (Asian), which we went to last night.
You need to be fairly motivated to want to make a booking at the specialist restaurants, as it is necessary to queue. Even when you reach the desk, the process is complex and time consuming. The poor woman on the desk looks as exhausted as I feel, while we try and locate a table one evening. I am far too lazy to undertake this process very often, and could only summon up the energy to do it twice.
If you get peckish during the day, Flip Flops Burger Bar and Pizzeria serves a light menu and snacks; and the popular Jerk Treehouse offers spicy grilled food. It is isn’t lost on me that it is possible that my laziness may be down to the amount of food I consume.
If you like spa treatments on holiday, The Kai Mer Spa, offers massages, facials, body buffs (!) and hair and nail services. I’m far too tired to walk over there and check it out, but I am quite keen to find out what a ‘body buff’ is. I think I probably need one.
The hotel is certainly quite noisy and that’s not just the guests. The staff are extremely exuberant and wander around singing, shouting and making very excited noises, even if no one is around. This is quite disconcerting if one is behind you, and suddenly whoops with glee. I nearly dropped a drink when a particularly ecstatic member of staff passed by me and hollered in my ear. On another occasion I had to politely decline joining a conga, which had inexplicably started in the bar, as I was enjoying a quiet G&T after lunch. The staff look genuinely surprised if you don’t seem to match them in their level of joyfulness. I certainly need to find out what they eat for breakfast.
The weather has been very overcast for most of our stay, but a nice warm 30 degrees most days and I have a lovely tan. The picture below was taken the one and only time I tried sunbathing in a hammock, but if that is your thing, you will find lots of them around the complex.
The air conditioning is ferocious. Every day at around 5pm, Andy and I go back up to our room and gasp at the icy chill that greets us. It’s like walking into a freezer. There are icicles hanging from the ceiling and a small glacier is forming by the bed. We have asked our cleaner about this, but she says that she needs to put the air con on as she mops the floors and it dries them out. We didn’t argue with that. We know what slippery floors means.
One thing I really like about the resort is its eco friendly nature. There are paper cups and straws, wooden cutlery and you can drink the water from the tap, negating the need for endless plastic bottles of water. Very impressive.
The highlight of the week easily, is Caribbean night. The main buffet restaurant is relocated outside, in front of the main stage, and while you dine, a steel band, fire eaters and limbo dancers perform for your entertainment. My favourite however, was an particularly amazing performance of Caribbean dancing on 6 feet high stilts. Quite breathtaking! Cue more staff exuberance at this event, from the entertainment team understandably, but also from the bar staff, who whoop and dance around the tables the whole evening. I am exhausted just watching them.
This is a lovely resort, and although not perfect, (where is?) is a delightful place to spend 2 weeks of your life. Just make sure you bring your rubber soled sandals and a big smile. ❤️