St. Lucia's Windjammer Landing - My Family Travels

Known as a wonderful destination for families with infants, Windjammer expands its appeal to adult children as well.

Set on the lush tropical island of St. Lucia, West Indies, Windjammer Landing’s (800/958-7376) breathtaking atmosphere and amiable staff create the ideal environment for multi-generational travel. The five-star resort is situated on 60 acres of the Labrelotte Bay on the northwest coast of the island, where you will find spacious private villas equipped with full-size kitchens, living and dining rooms, and ocean views. Most of the villas also have private plunge pools.

Fun On and Off Property

Each day there is an activity list to enjoy or simply put aside. On a typical Wednesday, for example, the list includes complimentary beach aerobics, sunfish sailing, aqua volleyball, water-skiing lessons for beginners, tips from the tennis pro, and aquacise in the main pool. The resort also offers full or half-day tours (for a fee) to tropical rainforests, the local market, and even other islands. There are scuba, sailing, fishing and snorkeling adventures as well.

On the horseback-riding adventure, we trotted over rocky terrain to another part of the Atlantic coastline, where we had the opportunity to ride the horses into the water or just simply swim. This trip is suitable for advanced riders as well as beginners, but I wouldn’t recommend it for small children because they may have trouble controlling the horses.

Right on the property there are over 1,500 feet of sandy beach, four swimming pools, a fitness center, spa, an Internet café, two souvenir boutiques, a mini mart, and four restaurants. There are lighted tennis courts open daily, and a pro available for lessons. If golf is your game, the concierge will arrange for you to play at the nearby country club, which has a 18-hole course.

The recently expanded Serenity Spa boasts a hydrotherapy room, steam room, Jacuzzi, juice bar and hair salon, and has a comprehensive range of special facial and body treatments to choose from. When you need a break from the family, I recommend the Exotic Asian Wrap or the Marine Elements facial for ultimate relaxation.

The Jacquot Fun Club for guests 4-12 is open daily from 10am to 10pm, with the complimentary kid’s activities running from 10am to 4pm, and an evening program from 6pm to 10pm. Those under 4 can participate if accompanied by a parent or babysitter. However, the resort warns, “the supervision of all children between 0-3 years will be the full responsibility of the parents/guardian.” Some of the fun activities include story telling, reggae dancing, movie nights, patois lessons, and T-shirt tie-dying. There are also visits to the zoo, banana boat rides, jeep safari tours, and many other excursions. Most of the kid’s club caretakers are CPR-certified and all are mothers themselves. Tessa, one of the counselors I interviewed, said that many children have to be bribed to leave at the end of the day!

The concierge can also arrange for a babysitter to come to your villa for US$7/HR and US$3/HR for each additional child; after 1am, the hourly rates are doubled. There is a $5 fee for the nanny’s transportation, which rises to $20 after 11 pm. The Family Delight Package includes 35 hours of complimentary babysitting between the hours of 9am and 5pm, among other perks such as a family sunset cruise and two half-hour massages.

For teenagers, the resort has a program that offers more adventurous excursions and a variety of water sports, some of which are complimentary. Teens also have their own clubhouse, the backdrop for many social mixers as well as a place to just hang out.

Dining Options Abound

Windjammer Landing has a variety of options for dining. The Dragonfly serves a breakfast buffet daily with a wide array of pastries, cereals, and made-to-order omelets. At night, the restaurant transforms into an elegant room with candle-lit tables. The menu features Oriental East-Meets-West culinary delights.

During the day, Jammers Restaurant and Bar is a popular spot because of its open-air, split-level deck in close proximity to the beach. Fare is casual American with a Caribbean flare, and the kid’s menu has basics like hamburgers mixed with more fancy foods like shrimp cocktail. The service, however, could use an upgrade. The wait staff tends to be slow coming to the table and are sometimes hard to find when you need something—blame it on the Caribbean pace of life. If you’re lounging on the beach, Embers BBQ Grill is a mere few steps away for a quick refreshing bite. Also a hit during the afternoons is Café Labrelotte, which serves sandwiches, coffee, and a variety of ice creams.

For fresh seafood in an alfresco setting, The Upper Deck overlooking the water is the place to go. The ambience is elegant yet relaxed, and the fresh fish (we dined on snapper and crawfish) melts in your mouth. For a more family-friendly environment, Papa Don’s offers light Italian cuisine such as spaghetti and pizza, and its mountainside terrace provides impressive views of Martinique.|

If you prefer to stay in your villa, you can make your own dinner in your fully-equipped kitchen. The resort also offers the alternative of having a chef come in and cook for you. This is perfect for an anniversary or other special occasion. There are also butler and maid services (beyond daily cleaning) available. In fact, some of the villas even include a butler, maids, and a chef with their nightly rates!

Around St. Lucia Together

Outside of the resort there are plenty of places to explore. On one excursion, we visited the Fond Latisab Working Plantation, where we learned about exotic plants and herbs, Creole dance and music, and how to make cassava bread. We thought the Castries outdoor market was great for learning about the local fruits and vegetables, and in the crafts market you can find all sorts of trinkets to bring home as gifts. Another fun dining option is the exquisite Coal Pot restaurant located in the town of Castries, which offers a variety of seafood and decadent desserts.

Is Windjammer Right For Your Family

There are a few things to consider if you choose Windjammer as your family travel destination. First of all, the resort is situated on very steep terrain (which is one reason why there is a 24-hour shuttle service to transport you around the property). Because of this, the resort is not handicap-friendly; also, most villas are not handicap-accessible.

While the altitude of the villas provides breathtaking views of the coast and the sea, parents with young children who are afraid of heights should request a villa on the lower part of the property. Additionally, not all of the balconies attached to the villas have sufficient railings to prevent small crawlers from getting stuck in them, and most villas have non-gated pools, which can be dangerous for little ones. If you are traveling with children who cannot swim, consider a villa without a plunge pool. Finally, while 20 free daytime hours of childcare for those under 4 are included in the family package, adults will have to pay for a sitter if they want any evening “alone” time or a chance to visit with other adults.

On the other hand, because its relaxed ambiance appeals to all ages, it is not surprising that Windjammer Landing is a popular wedding destination. For an extremely reasonable price, the resort will take care of everything from the marriage license to the reception, photographer, and flowers. For married couples, the resort’s Renewal of Vows package includes a civil ceremony and a romantic continental breakfast, among other things. Loving couples can be sure their families will thank them for a trip to Windjammer. Some other resort package themes involve snorkeling, eco tours, a spa vacation and a golf holiday, all great with extended family.

Because of the option to participate in any or none of the many activities, this resort lets you plan your vacation day by day. When I visited with my own mother, we found this type of flexibility perfect for multigenerational travelers who may have different ideas about how to spend their holiday.

Resort Report Card

Name: Windjammer Landing
Address: St. Lucia
Phone: 800/958-7376
Seasonal Rates: $$ – $$$$$
Hotel Setting: A
Hotel Staff: A+
Choice of Activities: A+
Quality of Amenities: A+
Bonus: Some of the villas even include a butler, maids, and a chef with their nightly rates
Note: Horseback riding and steep terrain may be troublesome for young children.

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