Fads come and go in the hotel industry but class is permanent. That is why a hotel like East Winds Resort in St. Lucia is widely recognised as one of the best getaways on the island with loyal customers returning every year to this idyllic paradise. The hotel is situated in the area of Gros Islet, which is in the northern part of the island where all the high-end resorts are located.
Their 12 acres of tropical gardens might seem secluded being reachable via a narrow pathway off the main road but it is actually only a short drive away from Rodney Bay Village where you will find countless restaurants and clothes shop (which might be handy if you forget to pack your shirts as it is a requirement for dinner at the resort).
Their main selling point is authenticity at East Winds. Their beach isn’t the longest you will come across at around 150 yards but it is unmanicured yet carefully maintained. Their beach gazebos blend in seamlessly with the palm trees to offer welcome shade with beach drinks effortlessly delivered to your sunbeds. All beaches in St Lucia are publicly-owned but it would be rare for you to come across non-hotel guests on the beach given the secluded nature of the area.
Their gardens are a cornucopia of botanical, dendrological and ornithological delights. As part of their exclusive experiences, they offer a twice-weekly tropical garden tour of their grounds. You can also study the flora at your leisure as they are numbered and there are individual guides in all their hotel rooms. You won’t just come across herons and hummingbirds but also crabs that live on the grounds and multi-coloured caterpillars that feed off the rich environment.
During our visit, we stayed at their spacious deluxe cottages with the bathroom being particularly impressive including a large sunken shower that looks onto the gardens, and exquisitely hand-painted washbasins. The privately covered terrace overlooking the luscious grounds was also a stand-out with a complimentary mini-bar filled with wine, soft drink, and local beer.
East Winds is an all-inclusive resort but that doesn’t mean they are all about quantity rather than quality. Dinner isn’t a buffet but rather a full 4-course silver service extravaganza that starts with aperitif hour at The Clubhouse. Premium wines, high-end spirits and Champagne are always free-flowing in this area where guests mingle and share their St Lucian adventures from earlier on during the day.
There is a choice of 3 dishes for each course including a pasta course and they cater to all kinds of dietary requirements from veganism to guests with nut-allergies. Dishes tend not to be repeated for at least a 3-week cycle and they have themed nights with a particular focus on Caribbean dishes and a barbecue night with some of the freshest, local spiny lobsters you are likely to come across.
Their focus on local produce means you more likely to find fish like marlin or swordfish on the menu than European varieties. Do note, there is a smart casual dress code in the evening with gentlemen required to wear long trousers and a collared shirt. There is a variety of live music performances every evening and they do have the Caribbean’s only Steinway piano.
Lunch and breakfast is a buffet affair with a pleasing amount of variety, so you never feel like there is an urgent desire to dine off-site. Omelettes, pancakes and french toasts are cooked to order and their healthy fruit juice concoctions and smoothies are always popular for their diet-conscious hotel guests. For those who like more adult beverages during the day, there is a swim-up self-service pool bar, where you can test your creativity by designing your cocktails.
There are a variety of activities available each day from complimentary experiences like Pilates and cookery classes to more exotic paid experiences such as a sunset cruise and aerial tram adventure. For those looking for action at their leisure, there are plenty of non-motorised water sports offered on a complimentary basis such as paddle-boarding, kayaking and off beach snorkelling.
If you want to venture outside of the hotel to explore the island then there are the famous fish Friday street parties at various locations including Gros Islet to consider. However, if you can only choose one place to visit, the pre-eminent choice would be a visit to Howelton Estate. The Victorian building is one of the oldest in St Lucia (around 122 years old) and has stupendous views of Castries, the capital of the island, being on a hill 240 metres above the city.
You can enjoy a bean-to-bar chocolate making experience and understand the processes that go into creating this ever-popular aphrodisiac. The calories you expend on the pestle and mortar will make you appreciate more every bite of your next chocolate bar.
And if it is good enough for Hotel Chocolat to base its production site on the island, you know the quality of the cocoa beans on the island must be exceptional. They are renowned for their aromatic flavours and often infused with local island spices to create a more sophisticated dark blend.
With the high number of repeat guests we met at East Winds, you know St Lucia is the kind of island you will fall in love with and keep returning for more.
La Brelotte Bay, Gros Islet, St Lucia
Phone: +1 758-452-8212