The small, white sand beach is split into three sections, the Diamond Club (DB) Royalton and Hideaway. DB has access to all three, Hideaway guests can use the Royalton as well as Hideaway sections, with the Royalton guests permitted to use their section only. However, this is twice the size, and in the centre of the beach.
The DB section loses its sun earliest, with the Hideaway section the last to see the sun go down. The Hideaway also has a large decking area right off the beach, where boat trip sellers are not permitted as this is hotel property as opposed to the public beach. It is also in front of the resort’s best restaurant, the Dorado.
All beach areas have the same quality sun beds, which are excellent, as well as free cabanas, which are a great spot for a lazy snooze out of the sun. The only downside to these is they get very wet if it rains and do take a while to dry. Sunloungers with parasols are the best bet as they also provide some cover if it rains (short showers are quite common even in the dry season).
Swimming in the sea
WATCH: The cove at the Royalton
The section in front of the Hideaway is the best spot for swimming. Clear waters close to the rocks make it surprisingly good for snorkelling, with plenty of fish in the shallows. (Free snorkelling equipment is offered, see sports and activities below). Further round the bay, the sea can be choppier, and rocks further out make swimming more difficult.
The beach does have a lifeguard, who is located by the water sports centre in the Royalton section. You’ll also see that there is a flags system in place depending on weather conditions (clearly explained next to the beach) which will give you a guide as to swimming safely, especially if you have children.
The beach, as one of the local boat tour captains told us, faces the Atlantic, as opposed to beaches further down the coast which are in the Caribbean Sea, so the waters can get a little rougher here. Still, on the whole, it is generally very safe.
As we were staying in the Diamond Club, we were given access to two butlers – Sarage and Darnell.
On arrival Darnell showed us around our room (2003, Hideaway) and explained that he could unpack our suitcases for us, which we declined, but this could perhaps be useful if you have children. He gave us a guide to the large flatscreen TVs, which also provide more information about the resort, and allow you to order room, which is pretty much available around the clock. We were also given a mobile phone so we could contact either butler when needed.
So, is it worth it? Well, it all depends on how much you are going to call on them. If you like the idea of having the odd shirt ironed, your shoes polished, suitcases unpacked, or a bottle of wine waiting and chilled for you after you return from the beach, then this might be for you.
We only used the service occasionally; once to run a bath for us and have a chilled bottle of champagne waiting; and, since we were getting married in resort, to take my wife’s dress to the bridal suite, and to drive us to our wedding location on the “big day”.
Butlers will also take care of all dinner reservations, which is useful as the restaurants do get busy during peak times (7-8.30). There was also the odd surprise such as cheese and cake plates waiting for us, and, as we were getting married, the best surprises were of course around our wedding celebrations, including “a just married” sash on the front door along with balloons in our room and towels made into swans, with the words “forever yours” spelt out on the bed. And, our “love tub” was filled once again and waiting for us after our wedding dinner.
There are seven pools in total, which all have their own swim-up bar – or one close by – apart from the children’s pool of course. Here’s a quick overview of each.
Diamond Club pool
This is located next to the Chairman’s Building (block 8) and of course is exclusive to those with DB Club access. DB guests are identified by their wrist bands, and blue towels – as oppose to brown elsewhere.
Unlike the opposite side of the resort where the Hideaway pool is located, kids are allowed to swim here. How busy this will be all depends on the school holidays. There were no children during our first week (it wasn’t uncommon for us to be the only people swimming in the pool all day) with still only a few during our second, when the UK school holidays were underway.
Next to the pool is one of the resort’s three very large hottubs which has plenty of space for up to a dozen people.
These are almost unbearably hot until later in the afternoon and early evening, at which point they can get busy (especially at the Hideaway) and are a good spot to meet more of the resort’s guests while enjoying a few sun downers.
This pool loses the sun early as the sun swings away to face the Hideaway side of the resort, which is its biggest drawback. In winter most of the sun loungers are in shade come 3pm. As it is located at the edge of the resort next to trees and vegetation, you will hear relaxing birdsong, especially in the cabanas furthest from the pool.
WATCH: The adults’ pool at the Hideaway
This is of course adults only, and for that reason is the liveliest outside of school holidays. Expect morning quizzes, music, occasional pool games, and generally a more fun atmosphere centered around the swim-up bar.
Games include “chuck the balloon” full of water from one side of the pool to the other, which becomes increasingly difficult as you step further apart. Sun beds can be busy and unlike the beach and other pools (outside of school holidays) these will be in high demand, particularly the cabanas, which will be taken by 8.30-9 am. The Hideaway pool has sun almost all day.
WATCH: The Main pool, just behind the beach
Further into the centre of the resort is the largest central pool, which is excellent for any swimmers looking for an early morning dip. The pools, particular this one are cleaned every other day, so if you fancy an early swim on those days, you might have to wait until 9-9.30am.
All the pools are shallow, and due to the size of this one, it’s perfect for kids to use their inflatables in. Expect to get served at this swim-up bar quicker, at least outside of school holidays.
Even further into resort is a series of four pools at different levels. Outside of the school holidays we found these to be quiet, with plenty of beds and cabanas available, even later into the day. The first pool is surrounded by beds and the odd cabana.
The second has another of the resort’s swim-up bars, and on the top level there are two small pools which are the warmest in resort due to their size. Once a week the hotel hosts an evening pool party which is set out around these two smaller pools – a live band plays, too.
WATCH: The children’s pool, set further back in the resort
The kids’ pool is full of play equipment, and the star attraction is a giant bucket which makes a huge splash when it empties – sure to enthral younger children, as will the slide. All pools have their own toilet blocks and towel storage.
All pool bars are well stocked with some premium spirits such as Hendricks Gin, Ciroc Vodka, and Jack Daniels Whisky. Beers are mainly average European beers such as Heineken, or the local Piton beer. All pool bars have a selection of cocktails, which vary from bar to bar, barman to barman – we found the Hideaway pool bar the best.
A guide to the Royalton Saint Lucia wouldn’t be complete without some thoughts on the seven restaurants (not including the Culinary Experience, which is an additional cost), which are generally of a good standard but do vary in quality. The best in our opinion are Dorado (Hideaway only) Hunter Steakhouse and Zen (Japanese), and our least favourite Calypso (West Indies) and Armadillo (Mexican). The buffet restaurant – Gourmet Marché – is very good, with a very wide ranges of dishes and excellent ingredients. Two of our highlights are the fresh seafood – particularly the meaty kingfish – for dinner; and the breakfast smoothies, where you can choose from a wide range of ingredients. You will be spoilt for choice!
WATCH: Zen restaurant is one of the best, and expect a show with your dinner
There are specific food stations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, where the chefs will cook food right in front of you, such as omelettes for breakfast, fresh pizzas for lunch, or, fresh seafood for dinner. Kids are also catered for, with their own station.
Gourmet Marché has three different seating sections, and again, not unlike the beach, where you can sit depends on which hotel package you have. Closest to the food is a large area for all guests, which is the busiest and loudest section; just behind is for Hideaway and Diamond Club; and right at the back, which includes a quiet outdoor area, is for Hideaway only – so, no children allowed. While this is quieter, and there are more tables available, we actually found the level of service better in the Royalton section, with more waiters.
If you are in Diamond Club, you will have dinner reservations made for you. If not, you will find 7-9pm are the busiest times, so you may have to wait for a table. Otherwise, avoid these peak hours.
The restaurants are more formal than the buffet, so more sophisticated clothing is expected. Long shorts are fine for gents, and despite us seeing the odd guest to the contrary, baseball caps are not allowed. We found there was plenty of food served at all the restaurants, where there is usually an appetiser, starter, entree (main course), choice of four to five sides, and dessert.
Service (if you should require it) at the buffet can be a little hit-and-miss, but in the restaurants staff are generally attentive and professional. You shouldn’t find you have long to wait for food to be dished up either – almost all our meals were served very promptly.
Zen and Dorado deserve a special mention. If you are familiar with Japanese restaurants then you may have experienced chefs cooking right in front of you on an iron plate. At Zen the teppanyaki chefs will throw in a performance while cooking your dinner, which includes all sorts of tricks. They’ll also get you involved! A Fun and entertaining night.
Dorado is an excellent fish restaurant and is the only place to eat right by the sea. A quiet relaxed spot (adults only). Breakfast is also available – again, excellent. The extensive menu choices are cooked to order – plus there’s a small help-your-self buffet. The best option breakfast in the resort. Expect a wait for an outside table.
Martini Mix is the most popular in the evenings as it close to restaurants and the main stage, so makes an ideal spot to watch the night’s entertainment. Drinks won’t vary too much from bar to bar, however, this seems seems to be the best stocked – if there’s anything in particular you are after, then here’s your best best.
Another bar worthy of a mention is the Aquarium bar next to the Hideaway pool. This has the best setting of all the bars, as it overlooks the ocean. It also has its own entertainment, mainly small, intimate performances. We watched a great saxophonist serenade just a handful of guests one night.
WATCH: The position of all buildings, starting with building 8 (closest to the beach) back to 1
The apartments are in eight different buildings, which surround the complex of pools. From the beach these begin at Hideaway 1, working all the way up to the front of the resort and back round and down to the beach, finishing at building 8, Diamond Club. Below is a guide to those which have the most sun throughout the day.
Hideaway is in buildings 1-3, and these have the most sun, starting early morning and lasting till late into the afternoon. Generally the higher the building number, the less sun you will have, apart from building 8 (the Chairman’s Building)
So, top tip if you are staying in the Hideaway, go for building 1. Most sun, plus a great sea view.
Staying at the Royalton, and want the most sun coverage? Go for building 4, or as close as possible.
Building 5 has decent sun coverage, but you will be right at the top of the resort, meaning you’ll be close to bars and restaurants, and the main Royalton building (including reception), but it’s a five-minute walk to the main pool and beach.
Building 6 is a little closer round to the beach, but on the opposite side of the sunny rooms. After some morning sun, that will be your lot for the day. So, if you want sun on your balcony, especially late in the day, then this might not be the best choice for you.
Buildings 7 and 8 are Diamond Club. The best of the best? Not so. Seven loses what little sun it has very early in the day, and has no particular special view – it is however close to the beach and main pool.
Building 8, the Chairman’s Building is another wonderful view facing out over the beach and ocean. However, it only has sun for the second half of the day, apart from the larger Presidential suites on one side.
The rooms are excellent. Huge, comfortable beds, a spa bath, flatscreen TVs, a large shower area with ‘his’ and ‘hers’ rain showers. They are very modern (as you’d expect from a hotel that opened in 2017) and stylish.
Wardrobe space, at least in our junior suite was sufficient and drawer space also adequate. The rooms (junior suite) could perhaps have another one or two charging points, especially if you have a lot of devices like we did. St Lucia uses the same UK plugs – so no adapters needed – and there are also USB sockets. All rooms have a balcony or a small terrace with table and chairs, and loungers, if you have a swim-up room.
The mini bar is stocked with water, soft drinks, tonic, and beer. Unlike other all-inclusives we have stayed at, there are no spirits or bottles of wine. If you fancy something other than beer, you can always try asking for a bottle of wine to be brought to your room, as we did on one occasion, and, if you are staying in the Hideaway, there are drinks in the reception area, which includes a decent selection of spirits.
One of the best features are the espresso machines – housekeeping are more than happy to add more pods if you don’t have enough, as well as vary the brand of beers you are given. Crisps are also available, but we had to ask for these.
Talking of drinks, you’ll quite probably make use of one of the ice machines. While we thought our swim-up room in building 2 was excellent, with lots of sunshine, and with just a short walk to the beach, we were very close to the ice machine which we could hear from early in the morning until late at night. If you are selecting a specific swim-up room, go for one which is at the opposite end to the ice machines, so in our building that would have been around 2007 to 2012.
We had a swim-up room which is worth trying if you haven’t had one before. We did appreciate we had another option other than the resort pools, and a quiet spot for some added relaxation at times.
WATCH: The view from our swim-up pool, room 2003
Having said that, the pools rarely get overcrowded or particularly noisy (at least out of school holidays) and of course there are activities and the all-important swim-up bars to enjoy!
Cleaning of the rooms is excellent. Floors are mopped every day, and generally our room was spotless. Towels are replaced daily if required. The only question mark was over when our room was going to be cleaned. Some days it would be mid morning, others early afternoon, and occasionally as late as four or five pm.
We used room service on two or three occasions. Food is easily ordered through the flatscreen TVs, and took around 45 minutes to be delivered on average. Don’t expect the widest selection, and certainly nothing to rival the buffet, but it is fine for snacks and sandwiches, and simple hot dishes such as chips, pizzas and burgers.
WATCH: The sports centre, where you can try scuba and kayak for free
The main activities revolve around the water sports centre in the middle of the Royalton beach section, where there are free masks and snorkels, kayaks, and kick boards with windows that allow you to watch the sea life below. Availability can be hit and miss, especially with the snorkels, many of which are simply not returned. Best bet is to try early in the morning.
There are also paid activities at the water sports centre, the most exciting of which are the jet skis. We hired the most powerful 1800cc jet ski, which cost $54 for 30 minutes. The operators are generally quite relaxed about where you ride, but it’s unlikely you’ll go out much beyond the bay as it can get very choppy. All in all a great experience and well worth trying.
WATCH: Hire a jet ski from the beach
The tennis courts are generally very quiet, which are located at the front of the resort – equipment is available free of charge. There are also two table tennis tables; one close to the main pool, just in front of the beach, and one next to the Hideaway pool.
There are usually two, sometimes three performances each night, with the first starting next to the Martini Mix bar around 7-7.30 pm, followed by the main stage performance, which starts 9-9.30pm, finishing around 10.30 to 11pm. The Aquarium bar has occasional, small, intimate performances at around the same time.
Generally the same singers (pictured above) took to the main stage each night, belting out covers new and old. If the audience was willing to get up and dance, this could be a good, fun couple of hours. The best night’s entertainment by far was a Michael Jackson tribute, replete with backing band and dancers – really well choreographed entertainment.
The spa is excellent, and when we visited was deserted, but for one other couple. There is a small pool, which feels more like the temperature of a bath, along with an even hotter spa bath. There are separate saunas and steam rooms in the men’s and women’s changing areas.
There are the usual massages and treatments available. Our couples’ massage lasted for 90 minutes, and with taxes added on, cost $280. Our advice would be to book your treatment on the day. There are daily special offers, which vary day-to-day. Go early and check these out. We booked several days before our appointment, only to find on the day the same treatment included an extra 30 minutes free. After pointing this out to the spa manager, we were given the same deal.
WATCH: Get a feel for the resort. This time-lapse video takes you from the entrance, through reception, past the pools, all the way to the beach.
I hope you’ve found this Guide to the Royalton Saint Lucia useful, and if you have any further questions, please leave your comments and we’ll try and answer your questions.