Club St. Lucia is Kid Friendly

Reed Travel Features senior editor Felicity Long visited Club St. Lucia on a press trip with her 5-year-old daughter Chloe. Her report follows:

CASTRIES, St. Lucia -- There are two ways to approach a stay at an inclusive resort with young children: Never leave the resort or "do" the island.

For our visit, we opted for a little of both, to get the flavor of the destination and to enjoy the activities at Club St. Lucia.

During our almost two-hour ride from the airport, we saw what we had been told in advance about St. Lucia: The island is beautiful and, in areas, unspoiled.

Child at Club St. Lucia St. Lucia boasts a rain forest, a volcano and the towering Piton Mountains that are as green as any Irish countryside. We also saw grinding poverty amid the brightly colored homes en route to our hotel.

I wasn't sure I would be comfortable renting a Jeep and exploring with my daughter. The organized excursions seemed a better choice.

Members of our group rented a taxi for shopping in Castries, not far from the club. The outing cost about $40 in cab fares and resulted in good finds at great prices, they reported.

Our priorities on arrival at Club St. Lucia were quite simple: Find the beach; hit the pool.

Like any parent with a young companion, we spent mere minutes in our cottage.

Our trolley driver, who dropped us at our room, had told me, "You can't get lost here," but I advise recent arrivals to carry a property map.

I got lost several times during our stay and finally got the lay of the land on the last day of our visit.

At the 372-room resort, spread over 50 acres, flowering trees dot the landscape and two beaches beckon. One, near the main club area, is for sunning, swimming and water sports. The second offers a more-quiet ambience and clear water for snorkeling.

Three swimming pools range from the noisy family scene to a serene pool at the St. Lucia Racquet Club, which welcomes Club St. Lucia guests free of charge. Because activities are free at the inclusive property, I sampled waterskiing and took my daughter paddleboating. An older child in our group tried kayaking.

Meals are included, and there was something to eat at any hour. This is a definite advantage for families with young children since kids notoriously are hungry just before and after meal times.

Beverages also are complimentary and readily available.

During our stay, we ate at Angelo's Pizza and Pasta House as well as at the main dining room buffet, which wisely offers its children's dinner service at 5:30 p.m.

The food was ordinary but plentiful, with fish and pasta in various sauces. Nothing, however, was plain enough to suit my daughter, who likes her food unadorned. The fresh fruit, always available at the buffet, was much to her liking. Breakfast was kid friendly, featuring pancakes, eggs, bacon, boxed cereals and breads.

We also ate dinner one evening at the Great House restaurant, located near the resort. Meals at the Great House are not covered in the inclusive program, but Club St. Lucia guests receive a dining discount; returning resort guests get a complimentary meal.

The property features a Mini Club for children ages 4 to 12, with activities that vary from day to day.

I enrolled Chloe in the program on our second morning. She colored, watched videos and played an outdoor water-balloon-toss game. An avid swimmer, Chloe disliked being indoors, so she spent the rest of our stay at the beach and pool with me and some new friends.

The club has water sports, pool activities and tennis lessons for children age 7 and up as well as off-property excursions for all age groups.

Outings include visits to an ice cream factory and a primary school at the town of Gros Islet. Chloe and the other kids gave high ratings to the children's club evening program, which featured a pirates theme, crab races and dancing to live music. Evening club hours are 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Parents dining out have to keep one eye on the clock to retrieve their children at the appointed hour. Private baby-sitters can be booked through guest services to watch the kids for the rest of the evening.

An all-day boat ride; visits to Sulphur Springs volcano, and time spent at the waterfalls and displays at the Diamond Botanical Gardens rounded out our days.
Club St. Lucia
Phone: (800) 777-1250
St. Lucia Tourist Board
Phone: (888) 4-STLUCIA
Fax: (212) 867-2795

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