24-Hour Room Service: Windjammer Landing, St Lucia, West Indies

The perfect place to fall in love with the Caribbean

You hear much talk these days of ultra-hip boutique hotels springing up around the West Indies, which is all well and good, but nothing really beats staying in the kind of hotel that makes you realise why everyone loves the Caribbean, and why you fell in love with it in the first place. Windjammer is one of St Lucia's leading resort hotels, forever winning prizes for its accommodation, food and beaches (it possesses Bride magazine's "Most Romantic Beach", and the hotel also specialises in second marriage celebrations, if you're interested). The resort lies on Labrelotte Bay in the north-west of the island and was completed 20 years ago, so there are lots of good anniversary deals currently being marketed.

To describe St Lucia as green and verdant is like saying Daniel Day Lewis does a spot of acting. Most of the island is mountainous rainforest, which means it can't be built on. Not so good for property developers but excellent for you and me, as there are no high-rise buildings or competitive 7am starts to secure prime, seafront sunbeds.

The hotel – well, it's more like a little village really – was conceived and built in the 1980s by David and Lynn Cram, Canadians who were living on the island and making Windjammer clothing. It was planned like a southern Mediterranean village, all red-tiled roofs and whitewashed villas, and apartments splayed up a beautiful hillside and around a crescent-shaped bay of pure white sand. For the higher villas there is a regular electric car service if you don't fancy the walk. (They are a long way from the beach, though I never heard anyone complain.) The lower villas and apartments are all just a couple of minutes away from the beach, watersports and resort centre, where there are shops, five great restaurants each with a different theme – among them the Upper Deck for Caribbean seafood and Dragonfly for upscale Asian and Creole fare – and a good assortment of bars.

Like all good resort hotels, it's planned so that leaving the site takes a monumental effort of will. Happily, there are plenty of distractions. The non-motorised watersports are all free, and there are a couple of good floodlit tennis courts upon which some excellent tennis was being played during our visit (the coach has played the game professionally, and his daughter almost certainly will as well at some point in the future). Mind you, you probably won't need all that running about: the stiffest exercise most people here take is working out how to do hospital corners on their beach towels.

There's a Serenity Spa as well, and, since Windjammer is famously family friendly, an excellent kids' club, the Jacquot, with baby-sitting and nannying services. But if, like me, you are not there with a vast brood of young kids, you won't feel left out. After all, it's a large site – 65 acres – and there are more than 160 villas and suites.

What you come to the Caribbean for is the sun, the sea, the fun and the food. And they are all there by the lorry load at Windjammer. And what it does not do, I'm glad to say, is use that rather wearing excuse in the West Indies for crummy service: "Hey, we're on Caribbean time here." In fact the service at Windjammer is impeccable, not least because the management team, led by Richard Mark, run big incentivisation schemes as well as staff scholarships for hospitality and hotel management courses in North America. Every guest has their own "Ambassador", for example, who will look after you, show you round, and broadly get you anything you want. Ours was called Michael, and he could not have been nicer.

Location

The resort is five miles north of the island's capital, Castries (in truth, not the prettiest place in the Caribbean), and just south of the luxury villas and cool restaurants and bars of Rodney Bay (we had a fabulous sushi/fusion meal here at The Edge, a restaurant placed right on the waterfront). Even more spectacularly, don't miss the Friday night jump-up at Gros Islet, just past Rodney Bay. This is a huge street party, with food, drink, fantastic music and some quite eye-popping dancing which would be unlikely to find favour in the UK before the TV watershed – or even after, come to think of it.

Nowhere on St Lucia is that far away, and a sea cruise to the Pitons (the twin green mountains in the south that look like something from Jurassic Park and which form a Unesco World Heritage site) should not be missed either. The more adventurous can try riding on the mile-long Cas en Bas beach, but take note: the locals are quite fantastic horsemen – bareback, standing in the saddle, acrobatics, you name it – so my own risible efforts to stay upright brought the comment that I had the heart of a chicken. I felt they were being generous.

Comfort

This is the West Indies, not Zurich, so if you are looking for hi-tech minimalism you are in the wrong place. The rooms are spacious, inviting and comfortable with just a hint of the Moorish in the furnishings (rattan chairs and the like). Every suite has superb views, and the villas all have their own private plunge pool. My teenage daughter and I were in the lower Hibiscus suites. Ours comprised two sumptuous double rooms separated by a kitchen and sitting room, all of which seemed to be the size of a small prep school. There was a wet room, as well as a Jacuzzi-style bath. The balcony was large and often so inviting that we had to force ourselves down to the beach and restaurants. Each of the three rooms had a large flat-screen TV, where I could watch the West Indies tonking England at cricket (my daughter did this rather less). One of the resort's four pools was just a few steps away, and we didn't see a soul there all week. Our accommodation was always immaculate: rarely have I felt so keen to hand over a wad of dollars for room service at the end of the stay.

Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa, Labrelotte Bay, St Lucia (001 758 456 9000; windjammer-landing.com)

Rooms 4 stars
Value 5 stars
Service 4 stars

Doubles start at US$177 (£118), room only.

ITC Classics (01244 355 527; itcclassics.co.uk) offers seven nights' all-inclusive in an Anthurium Lily Suite at Windjammer Landing from £1,565 per person, including flights from Gatwick and transfers. Guests receive US$50 credit per room per night for spa treatments, etc. Valid for travel until 30 April.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

    Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

    No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
    How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

    Power of the geek Gods

    Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

    Perfect match

    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high