Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort is located on the northwest shore of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, just south of Rodney Bay and north of the capital city of Castries. The red-roofed, white stucco villas sprawl along the waterfront hillside of Labrelotte Bay. I recently returned from a week-long stay discounted in exchange for sharing my experience.
The hustle and bustle of the airport faded away as we were whisked on an 80-minute shuttle drive through the countryside and rainforest to the resort. It seemed to go by too quickly as we learned about the island and enjoyed the sights.
Our driver, Stevenson, was a wealth of knowledge. We chatted him up on the drive and learned some fascinating facts.
- The local, award-winning beer is a lager called Piton and is brewed in a facility near the airport.
- The island is inhabited by four types of snakes. The fer-de-lance is the only poisonous snake. The boa constrictor, the St. Lucia Racer, and a blind snake known as the St. Lucia Threadsnake also inhabit parts of the island.
- Bright blue bags speckle even the smallest banana fields. Stevenson clued us in on their use and importance. The bags protect the fruit from bugs, bright sun, and other dangers. Each bunch of bananas grows for only six months before the plant is cut to begin again. There is just one shot to get a healthy bunch of bananas at harvest so the bags are crucial.
- If you find your driver beeping the van’s horn every few kilometers, don’t be alarmed. It is actually a gesture of friendship akin to saying “Hello!” to other drivers and pedestrians they pass by.
We stopped for a view of the ocean and the town of Dennery on the Eastern shore of the island. We were greeted by the self-proclaimed “mayor.” If you are in town for a birthday, anniversary, or other special event, he will play you a tune on his harmonica fitting the occasion.
Crossing east to west through the lush rainforest landed us in the capital city, Castries. Shortly after the port and main government buildings (including that of the Prime Minister) is the first view of the hillside expanse of Windjammer Landing and Labrelotte Bay.
Sunshine and Sand
The waves of the Caribbean Sea crash steadily like a calm heartbeat against the 1,500 foot long shore of the resort. There is open water for miles but as it is opposite the Atlantic the water is clear and calm. It’s perfect for swimming, relaxing in a hammock or beach chair, or heading out straight from the resort beach to snorkel the cove. A water trampoline, “rock” climbing wall, and dock also provide fun in the sun. Six pools, a beach bar playfully named 96 Degrees in the Shade, and a variety of resort amenities are sure to keep you entertained.
Before landing in St. Lucia, we were worried about the weather and humidity. We had nothing to fear. A gentle breeze accompanied us throughout the week. It also might be the reason it was almost bug free during our stay. We never spotted a single rodent (or lizard, even though I actually really enjoy them!). Anthony and the rest of the staff call 5 cats part of the Windjammer family and I’m guessing they had something to do with keeping the grounds pest-free.
The lush, colorful vegetation and grounds of the resort always returned me to a vacation state of mind. Whenever you have a chance, pull up a beach chair, relax, and enjoy the view.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Refreshments are never far. Enjoy a drink at the beach bar, 96 Degrees in the Shade.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Swim, snorkel, or try the water trampoline, "rock" climbing wall, and swim dock.
Guests can book anything from an ocean view 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit to an entire estate villa with private pool. Private plunge pools and infinity pools are available in many suites. We chose to stay near the action and within a short walk to everything in a two bedroom villa.
If you need extra quiet or privacy (or are one of their celebrity guests who stay on the highest part of the hill), shuttles are available to all villas, day and night. We experienced the shuttle service to visit one of the main restaurants and to check out the view point at the very top. It’s super easy and convenient to hop in a shuttle and arrive at your villa’s front door.
Little things such as luxurious oversized toiletries, American-style 110 volt outlets, and in-room DVD players make Windjammer easy to call home. A movie library is available at the main desk. Apparently the guests (or staff) really love Matthew McConaughey movies!
Though the point of a vacation is to get away from it all, I know you may have one important question in mind. Yes, free wi-fi is available throughout the resort and even on the beach.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Quiet, breezy bay perfect for swimming, sailing, or stand-up paddle boarding.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Villas on the eastern side of the resort have been recently renovated.
Several options for your stay are available at a variety of price points. I’m highlighting two here in the slideshows below.
One Bedroom Villa Example
Traditional villas on the eastern portion of the resort are newly renovated and offer a range of options.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - There is much to see from the view point at the highest point of the resort.
Two Bedroom Villa Example
Two buildings on the eastern portion of the resort are newer construction and several more are planned.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - These four units represent the newest accommodations on the property.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Fully furnished kitchen whether you love to cook, hire a private chef, or just enjoy leftovers (like we do!).
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - At the opposite side of the villa lies the second bedroom with two beds, full en suite bathroom, and direct pool access.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - The master bathroom is equipped with two vanities, tub, private water closet, indoor shower with rainfall showerhead, and gorgeous outdoor shower.
The only real decision to make each day is where you want to eat for dinner. Book these all at once when you check in and feel free to change your mind later if you find the Local Conch Chowder at Upper Deck or “The Godfather” Pizza at Papa Don’s so good they require a second visit (I assure you, they do!).
The weekly schedule also includes several special meals such as Sunday Brunch on the beach, Seafood Night at Dragonfly, a beach-side Texas Barbecue, and the Caribbean Night Extravaganza. The restaurant hosting the special night will replace their regular menu with the themed menu. Don’t be fooled by the word “buffet” for breakfast or some of the special nights. You’ll find plenty of self-serve options but also carving stations with all the trimmings or the must-try design-your-own omelet station.
One restaurant, Embers, is right on the beach and you can dine with your toes in the sand. Three others, Dragonfly, Jammers, and Upper Deck are situated right off the main beach and the views are sure to delight. Papa Don’s offers fine Italian dining (and yummy gourmet pizzas!) up on the hillside and boasts the most magnificent views and gentle Caribbean breezes.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Dragonfly, one of the resort's main restaurants. The vibrant ceramics for purchase on the shelves just inside the doorway are by Vigie, St. Lucia artist Michelle Elliot.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Vegetarian and other special dining options are available at the resort.
As the sun sets, island tree frogs begin their nightly chorus. Live entertainment at the resort changes each night, my favorite being the steel drum band, PanSonic Steel Assembly. The Caribbean Night Extravaganza ends with a fantastic, colorful performance – complete with audience participation! – of dancing, limbo, fire eating, and a combination of all three. Grab a spot on the beach or get to Jammers early for a front row seat.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - One of the resort's nightly live entertainment groups, the PanSonic Assembly.
Activities & Shopping
Activities abound at Windjammer Landing. A planned schedule includes activities such as water parkour, a table tennis contest, plank challenge, coconut bowling, and sunset paddle board yoga. A gym, tennis courts, and spa are also ready to greet you. There’s too much to list here so grab a schedule and have a blast.
Multiple shops on property include a mini-mart for essentials such as laundry detergent, snacks, and personal items. No Caribbean getaway would be complete without stopping at Diamonds International to at least take a peek. There’s a showroom right on property. There are souvenir shops near the main pool and local craft vendors including Nick’s Place by the beach. Enjoy free parking, book a rental car on site, or just dial “0” on any phone to order other means of transportation if you’re heading off resort.
Don’t miss some of the local vendors who show up only once a day or even once a week. I had been wondering where everyone was getting freshly opened coconuts (complete with a straw, but ready for some rum from the resort bar!). Smokey frequents the area resorts and cruise port on his boat, “Prosper,” with an array of fresh local fruit and is always welcomed by a crowd.
Goods from local artists are offered in the market, gift shop, and during Caribbean night. Their art is displayed and highlighted in areas of the resort such as the reception area, lounge, and fine restaurants. The artists’ backgrounds and pieces available for sale give the resort a special touch and provide visitors an authentic memory to bring home.
I chose two pieces of recycled pallet wood art by Sabrina Romulus of Castries. A few of the many other artists include Ron Henry of Choiseul, Garry St. Brice, also of Choiseul, and jewelry artists Jennifer St. Louis and Nadia Leonce of Castries. Donovan Newton Brown and his wife, Eget, are dive instructors at the resort. Donovan is also a talented underwater photographer and artist offering some fabulous pieces of sea life on canvas.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - A few of the items at Nick's Place on the beach. Recycled pallet wood art by Sabrina Romulus.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - The heart of the resort is the main pool. Find shops, bars, restaurants, and the main lobby here.
Water sports at the resort are easy to book and included in most packages. Divemaster Judy described the dive shop crew as family-oriented and with a “welcome home” atmosphere and we agree, especially compared to other resorts we’ve visited. We enjoyed the snorkels to Cutty Cove and Rodney Bay with our guide Mario as well as tube rides, a banana boat ride, water skiing, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Curtis, Winston, and the staff make sure to tailor a gentler route for little ones willing to try tubing or the banana boat for the first time. Life vests are plentiful and available for the whole family. Other water sports include Hobie Cat sailing (13 or 16 foot boat), kayaking (single or double), pedal boating (two- or four-seated) and wind surfing. Lessons are also available.
You can also get your dive on with one- or two-tank SCUBA dives, rent a jet ski, or try your hand at fishing at sea. Our off site boat tour easily caught a nice-sized wahoo while we were out there so you can imagine what a fully equipped fishing boat could bring in. We chatted with Captain LoLo at the watersports dock who mentioned a kid-friendly fishing option (also great for adults with worries of motion sickness). Rather than go out on open water, you can opt to troll with live bait on the Caribbean side from one point of the cove to another.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - The Satu, one of the resort's several snorkeling and watersports boats.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Tube rides are available every other day. Just arrive within the scheduled times and hop on in!
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - From stand-up paddle boards to sailing the bay, there is plenty to do on the water.
You’ll want to check out the tour desk early in your visit to become aware of the excursion schedule. If it’s your first visit to St. Lucia or if you just want to see it all, I highly recommend a full day excursion. The tour we chose, Jammers Day Sail, is available on Tuesdays and Fridays. It is offered by an independent provider (founded by a two-time Olympic sailor) but picks up and returns passengers via catamaran right at the resort’s own dock. It was easy to book, very relaxing, full of gorgeous views, and was one of the most comprehensive tours of St. Lucia’s attractions available.
Other excursions include a rainforest hike, cycling, zipline, day sails to neighboring islands such as Martinique or Dominica, make your own chocolate bar, a historical tour of Pigeon Island, SNUBA tours (or SNUBA Doo for kids ages 4 to 7), or you can get a view from up high on the aerial tram. You can also partake in a soak in therapeutic baths, horseback riding, dune buggy rentals, hike the Pitons, bounce on a humongous, floating, obstacle course-like raft on the ocean, or enjoy a sunset cruise on a replica 16th century “pirate” ship.
Just for Kids
Kids and teen programs are included with your stay. I was surprised at how late the Jacquot Fun Club is open. Parents will have plenty of alone time from 10AM to 4PM and additional nightly themed programs from 6:30 to 10PM. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a resort with childcare available for free so late in the evening. They offer many unique activities on and off resort such as horseback riding, prince and princess pedicures, a historical trip to Pigeon Island, speed boat rides, mocktail mixing lessons, and crab racing. Off resort activities may include a fee.
We planned to attend an afternoon snorkel kid-free so we booked a sweet nanny named Lafancy for our littlest one. The nanny can bring her charges (ages three and under) to participate in the big-kid activities so they never feel left out.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - The main kids club building is packed with books, games, and is fully air conditioned.
One Last Stop…
After checking out of our villa, our concierge Darrel arranged one last adventure before flying home. The Castries Market is a destination in its own right but welcomes additional flea market booths on Saturdays. Items ranged from fresh fish, fruit such as local bananas and mangoes, spices and sauces (including the must-try local banana ketchup), wood carvings, clothing, and a variety of flea market goods. We also chatted with a vendor known as the Bird Man who sold mainly lightweight coconut carvings and planters. These items are available at the resort and craft booths but there is something to be said for the Bird Man’s enthusiasm for this local craft.
Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia - Castries Market vendors carry spices, sauces, and other local food items.
Call the resort the day before you arrive to make reservations in one of the restaurants. You won’t want to travel all that way and miss out on a dinner out if the place you want is booked. We were told the resort is normally anywhere from 85 to 100% occupied and this can sometimes make for full bookings.
The transfer from the main airport may be a long one, but be sure to ask your driver to stop along the way to enjoy some of the local culture. You can also opt for a helicopter transfer. Choose the western route to experience St. Lucia’s famous landmarks such as the Pitons and Sulphur Springs Park’s volcanic caldera from above.
Ask for a drink menu to peruse the wide variety of mixed and frozen drinks. Barry and the other bartenders were always happy to let us try new things. Try the “14×61,” a local white rum and coconut drink named after the resort’s location of 14 degrees North latitude and 61 degrees West longitude. Virgin frozen drinks for you or the kids are also available, each with a fitting tropical garnish.
Want to drink like the locals? According to our day cruise tour guide Latasha, while tourists go wild for Rum Punch, St. Lucians often enjoy Campari on ice. Ask for one while you’re there!
St. Lucia has one of the Caribbean’s highest unemployment rates at 25%. Windjammer Landing and the local government strive to provide hospitality training and employment options to residents. Our contact on property, Sherani, explained that the resort also provides a scholarship program for students who keep their grades at a certain level. It’s inspiring to see a population work together to make things better for all. Choosing St. Lucia as your vacation destination goes a long way to supporting these efforts.
It’s not the first time my family and I have vacationed at a Caribbean destination but there was one major aspect of this trip that was new to me. The resort, and this majestic country as a whole, could only be described as a feeling like home. The people of the island of St. Lucia, especially the staff of Windjammer Landing, had a special quality. They are more than just friends or neighbors. They’re family. A small beep of a car horn or an exuberant pat on the back at shift change were just small hints at the camaraderie I witnessed throughout each day as they lived and worked together.
There was so much to do and so many memories made that I could not chronicle it all in one article. Stay tuned for my list of top things to do in St. Lucia (coming soon)!