An All-Inclusive Luxury Stay 

04 Jul 2024

An upscale reprieve at the Windjammer Landing

 By Katie McElveen

One of the things I love best about travel happens at home: when I dig into researching restaurants, tours, hotels and other minutiae about whatever destination is next on my agenda. But when a last-minute opportunity to visit Windjammer Landing, a luxury all-inclusive resort on St. Lucia came my way, I jumped on it, without doing a bit of research. For once, I would trust my experience to the resort. 

I knew I was in for a memorable trip—in a good way—when the driver responsible for navigating St. Lucia’s winding mountain roadways for the 90-minute drive to Windjammer Landing inquired about whether we’d like to stop at a local bakery for a snack. A few minutes later, we found ourselves standing along the side of the road where a woman was selling fragrant baguettes, which had just come out of the hand-stacked, wood-fired cinderblock oven carved into the hillside behind her. A tiny wooden sign declared it the “best bread ever” and after one bite, I agreed. Chewy but not dense and bound by a toothsome crust, the bread was as advertised, and made even better by the curried fish salad she’d stuffed inside. 

Sated, I spent the rest of the trip watching the lush splendor of St. Lucia’s jungly interior pass by. By the time we pulled into the resort, I was ready to explore.

We checked in at a special area reserved for guests of Ocean Point, Windjammer Landing’s brand-new two-and-three bedroom villas. Part of a $12 million renovation completed in late 2023, the sleek, contemporary spaces are filled with details like 12-foot doorways, patios with large infinity pools that jut over the Caribbean, floor-to-ceiling windows and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. They’re also the resort’s first beachfront lodging option. Until Ocean Point, guests stayed in the whitewashed villas and private homes set on a terraced slope overlooking the sea. Since I was a latecomer to the group, I stayed in one of the older villas and I’m glad I did. I loved the bird’s eye view from my breezy aerie. 

I adored the space as well. Built in 1989 to resemble a Mediterranean villa, the three-story unit charmed me with terracotta floors, substantial stucco walls with graceful arches between the rooms, and a full kitchen and French doors leading to terraces on each level. It also came with butler service in the form of Ian, a kind, prescient individual who put Champagne in my fridge when he overheard me mention how I’d like to toast the glorious sunsets I witnessed from my balconies and a flashlight on the counter when he learned that I preferred to walk back from dinner each night rather than take the shuttle. He also told me that when I was ready to go to the beach to let him know and he would set up a chair for me, a gesture that would keep me from potentially having to rise at dawn to “reserve” a chair with a water bottle and a paperback book.

I’ve stayed at a lot of all-inclusive resorts, but rarely have I found one that offers as many inclusions as Windjammer Landing. Restaurants abound, but you can also have meals delivered to your villa. Included activities go beyond the usual kayaks and snorkel gear, too, and encompass motor sports like water skiing and wake boarding. There are also great programs for children and the concierge can plan boat tours and excursions to nearby towns, hiking trails, Soufrière’s famous volcanic mud pits and other destinations.

But what really stood out was the resort’s respect for St. Lucian culture. The rum served at the bar is distilled on St. Lucia and, whenever possible, served with island juices. At the spa, therapists make use of volcanic mud, sea moss and other ingredients gathered on the island; many of the treatments are enhanced by a local tea or beverage that increases the efficacy of the ingredients. I must have spent 30 minutes wandering through the aisles of the on-site shop, where I discovered locally-grown coffee and chocolate, sea moss in all its forms, island-grown ginger and turmeric for tea and jars of sulfuric clay.

I may not have spent much time planning my first visit to St. Lucia, but, thanks for Windjammer Landing, I came away pampered, relaxed and, best of all, with a bit of an understanding about this gorgeous island.

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