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Saint Lucia - Rex Saint Lucian, touring, etc

Booked Air Canada Vacations, last minute for a week at the Rex Saint Lucian, having stayed at another Rex in Grenada previously. (love the no smoking resort - designated spots)

ACV didn’t really have arrival organized well, but got on a bus to the resort. Stopped to drop of other guests at Papillon, and arrived at Rex but there wasn’t the usual greeting immediately upon arrival that is typical of all other resorts we’ve stayed, including those who arrived at the Papillon, … it wasn’t until we all (~8) walked to reception that someone greeted us, gave us some paperwork and then later brought a drink several minutes later.

Got to our room and the previously arranged flowers (50th birthday celebration) were in the room as requested (Thank you, Greta). LInus, bellhop extraordinaire handled luggage. Glen, maintenance adjusted ac, fridge, safe as needed…also recommended a great red wine (picked up at the local IGA grocery store - Trivento Sweet Malbec)
Krystal at reception was friendly, and very efficient and helpful.
The resort is similar style to Grenada, Colonial style, some steps/ramps as needed. Rooms run the length of the beach. Nice lobby and great location on the beach, and easy access to restaurants and local bus system to other towns (give the local bus a try, very economical and everyone very helpful if you need directions). If you like craft breweries try out the Antillia, a five minute walk, staff very friendly…too bad they don’t serve that brand of beer at the Rex. Take home a couple 1l jugs, Passion fruit (seasonal), pale ale, wheat, and a Stout were all very good at ~2.50 cad (6oz).

Our second floor room at the far end (425) and many others seem to be right on the beach, with ocean view. Some wear and tear but they seem to be renovating bit by bit. It is the tropics so there is always something needed touching up as with any other resort we’ve been to. Water was out in our section from ~11am-7pm one day due to a pipe break in adjacent room, but the front desk was very accommodating, provided a temporary room to shower when requested, as we had to be ready to go to the Street party Friday Night. (communication between maintenance to the front desk on status could have been improved, so guests could be informed as needed). Having travelled to Cuba in particular, this isn’t an unusual occurrence we’ve encountered. Little hiccups make for more memorable vacations.

We went for the morning ACV briefing and the rep wasn’t there at the 10am time specified on the card ACV gave us, turns out everyone had met at 9am (we noticed a group at that time). We never did reconnect with ACV rep to show her our card that she wanted to see that definitely specified 10am. Didn’t really miss much as there is another on site tour company selling tours for comparable prices, although we were able to see all we wanted using the local bus to Castries several times, Fort Rodney, Gros Islet and even 1.5hr away to Soufriere to see volcano, Hotel Chocolate, botanical gardens. All worth seeing. (Fabrice was the taxi driver we connected with in Soufriere, his aunt runs a restaurant (Cool Breeze) just outside Hotel Chocolat, his cell 758-719-6986.)

Dining: Buffet style, set times, wait to be seated. Breakfast was the same fare each day, lunch/dinner were always different. Val was extremely cheery and friendly everyday making the dining area very pleasant, Kyle (where’s my beer lol), Peter (carving station…wife finally got him to smile, excellent spare ribs.)

Ala Cart (Oriental - was well worth). Spicy (and not so spicy) thai type food. Well presented, nice atmosphere. Staff were very attentive and even went above and beyond with birthday table with tasteful enhancements. Arranged a birthday cake (fee) and were quite enthusiastic singing happy birthday (David).

Champagne delivered to room was a nice extra touch.

Ocean: Red flag up most of week…PAY ATTENTION. Several people at resorts didn’t and got a nice ambulance ride. The waves were huge, but very enjoyable listening to at night from our rooms. AC was fine.

Spoke briefly to Guy (General Manager) on departure because there are so many people at this resort that make it extra special.

Touring: Local bus to Castries 2.25 xcd pp, 10.00 xcd pp to Soufriere.

Castries: local street shopping/fruit market well worth going.
Caribelle batik (probably taxi there) - worth going to the shop to see how it is made, the views, and the selection.
Derek Willcot square and the cathedral very nice.

Soufriere: Botanical Gardens - nice, compact, the waterfall is picturesque.

Hotel Chocolat - special mention warranted here, (we had read an article about the plantation in advance) and we had only stopped by to buy some chocolate bars but by a chance encounter, we ran into Judy Buckley, while wandering and she introduced us to Cuthbert Monroque - Nursery Supervisor.
He took the time to tour us, show us the Cocoa tree grafting/growing/etc process and let us give it a try, tasted cocoa beans, explained how he has used gene bank/grafting to shorten the time to create a producing plant. Extremely knowledgeable, has spent time in Grenada at the Belmont Estate cocoa plantation (we had visited during a trip to Grenada). Would love to stay at Hotel Chocolat in the future, and enjoy the dining we didn’t have time to do this trip.

Volcano - get Fabrice the taxi driver to take you in the wrong direction lol. (if he can convince them he lives there).

Gros Islet:
Fort Rodney is worth the hike. enjoy drinks and snacks at the beach bar, or in the lower section of the main building …cool stone arch entrances to the bar. Lots of labelled plants. FYI the Carib Cave has collapsed so if you proceed past the cemetary your won’t see much.

Jump up - friday night street party. Well worth it. loud. good food, good fun. Safe if you stay on the main street.