Junior Review: Windjammer Landing, St Lucia, the luxe family-friendly resort delights with a $12 million refresh
Looking for paradise in the Caribbean? Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort offers a heady mix of blissful peace and thrilling adventure for your family says Junior's reporter Susie Boone
We expect a lot from a luxury family holiday: relaxation, revitalisation and experiences that will linger as lifetime memories. Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in St Lucia provides just that – a holiday setting that’s both tranquil and invigorating.
This long-time favourite resort (which welcomes an impressively high number of return visits) has been invigorated itself, with a multi-million dollar makeover. With a picture-book soft sandy beach, warm shallow water, a frenzy of water sports and beach activities plus a heady array of foods and flavours, Windjammer Landing also offers refreshed luxurious interiors and living spaces.
Despite the small, intimate size of the island, St Lucia has an international airport. We flew direct from London with Virgin Atlantic in just under 9 hours, leaving the UK at lunchtime and arriving late afternoon (St Lucia is 4 hours behind UK GMT). The airport is compact-sized and we had a quick and easy baggage collection and arrivals experience.
Like many of St Lucia’s holiday resorts, Windjammer Landing is situated on the north-west coast of the island. This means that you have a 1.5 hour taxi journey from the airport to the accommodation and it’s a steep and winding route due to the mountainous terrain. Our Windjammer driver Michael kept us entertained with fascinating tales of the island but if any of your family are prone to travel sickness, it’s worth packing anti-nausea pills.
On arrival at the resort, we were met with a deliciously warm Caribbean breeze wafting through the open-sided redesigned reception and comfy Ambassadors Lounge. The tropical air began to fill with music as the evening’s entertainment kicked off – with singers performing upbeat pop songs while floating on inflatable platforms in the central swimming pool. Certainly an uplifting arrival!
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Good to know: You’ll arrive at Windjammers in the early evening, but in UK actual time it’s 4 hours later so expect young children to be feeling very tired and be prepared to head straight to your accommodation.
One of the charms of Windjammer Landing is the choice of accommodation. There are 220 guest rooms and villas ranging from expansive hillside estates to modern waterfront apartments and cosy whitewashed beachfront suites.
- Estate villas – these newly refreshed Mediterranean-style one-bedroom residences to large four-bedroom houses are perched up on the lush green hillside and feature their own plunge or infinity pools and private terraces with breath-taking views across the turquoise sheen of Labrelotte Bay.
- Ocean Point Residences – these newly-built luxury two- and three-bedroom apartments offer stylish and contemporary living spaces for families and groups. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows leading to sun-drenched terraces offer incredible vistas over the Caribbean Sea. Each apartment features their own private infinity or plunge pool – ours was a rooftop plunge, a little small for proper swimming but perfect for cooling down against a stunning azure seascape. There’s also a dedicated concierge and private check-in area for Ocean Point guests at the nearby Club House, with the main reception just a few minutes walk away along the beach.
- Beachfront suites – for smaller families with young children, these one- and two-bedroom villas are conveniently close to the beachfront and the resort’s many restaurants and facilities. With Mediterranean styling, terraces and sea views, the suites also offer access to two quieter shared pools away from the main central pools.
Good to know: The Estate villas are nestled into the side of a precipitous hill, some positioned more than half a mile up twisty lanes. There’s a frequent shuttle van service that takes guests up and down the hill, which is available within minutes of asking, and necessary for small tired children (and big tired adults). It does mean you need to be a bit more organised if you’re staying up the hill, as you can’t quickly nip back to your villa if you’ve forgotten the sunscreen or goggles.
We stayed in a large and luxurious 3-bedroom 3-bathroom Ocean Point apartment, keeping the curtains open to enjoy joyous sunrises, arc-ing rainbows and fiery sunsets. With a fully stocked kitchen, large living space, 3 balconies and a rooftop terrace with plunge pool and outdoor dining table, the accommodation suits a large family, multi-generations or 2-3 families together. The bathrooms were magnificent with free-standing bath-tubs, refreshing rainfall showers and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
Jacquot Fun Club at Windjammer Landing in St Lucia
The Kids Club and Childcare
Take a family stroll from reception and the youngest members of your family will quickly spot a bright red, blue and yellow play area marking the Jacquot Kids Club. Catering for 4 to 12 year olds, the Club offers a daily timetable of organised activities and play, both indoors and on the beach. For babies and toddlers, individual childcare can be arranged while teens get to enjoy accompanied watersports and even off-site visits, and babysitting services are available for parents in the evening. All of which gives you the opportunity for some rejuvenating me-time…
Spa and Wellness Programmes
While the kids are being entertained, you can re-balance with a local signature massage or healing treatment. In the hushed calm of the Serene Wellness & Spa, we experienced a blissful hour with a restorative hot stones and bamboo massage. Also on offer are wellness packages such as Hummingbird Yoga in the hilltop garden or an awe-inspiring Full Moon Spa Ritual that includes guided meditation, evening boat ride and stargazing session. While these activities incur an additional cost, all guests have free use of the gym and outdoor tennis courts.
Does a rum and chocolate tasting session on the beach come under Wellbeing? It certainly made us feel wonderfully relaxed; warming our palates while we learnt about the history and importance of these two St Lucia industries.
Where Windjammer Landing really excels is with the variety of free family-friendly facilities and organised activities on offer. An exhaustive daily entertainment schedule is chalked up at breakfast time each morning: choose from aqua aerobics, scavenger hunt, paddle boarding, beach cricket, pool volleyball, giant Jenga, small goal football and more. There’s also a chest of pool toys and beach games, next to the ice cream kiosk, to work your way through.
Beyond the group activities lies the watersports centre on the curve of the bay. A blast of yellow and red kayaks, gleaming white speedboats and orange lifejackets give a taste of the high-octane adventures available to all guests. Just turn up and choose your watersport, giant inflatable ride, snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing or paddle boarding.
And to top off each day, there’s evening entertainment – from a weekly feast with fire-eating and steel band celebrations to a live band playing chart classics or DJs showcasing Afrobeat rhythms. While the entertainment is lively, the accommodation is far enough away to ensure a quiet night’s sleep for little holiday makers.
Good to know: For an additional fee, you can have tuition in waterskiing, scuba diving and wakeboarding.
The beach near Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in St Lucia
The crescent-shaped bay provides a sheltered stretch of golden sand gently sloping into the water. It’s perfect for paddling, safe swimming and sandcastle building. Swinging hammocks make a delightful resting place in the sea. Alternatively, you can lounge on floating platforms or swim out to the inflatable slide for a spot of sea plunging.nAdding to the relaxed vibe, there are no worries about securing sunbeds. Even in high season, we found there were always plenty to choose from with no towels at dawn to claim a glorious seafront position. The friendly staff at the beach bar wander past offering sunbathers coconut milk drinks – they chop the fresh coconuts in front of you – or a tasty selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.
Fun fact: Don’t miss the rocky outcrop where you can spot crabs crawling between the crevices and gold, silver and blue fish darting around your feet in the shallows.
Holiday mealtimes can sometimes be a touch stressful if you have children suspicious of new flavours and unfamiliar dishes. Windjammer Landing’s array of restaurants and international cuisines mean that there are options to please simple and fussy tastes.Jammers provides tasty Caribbean specialities, there are wraps and burritos along with beach snacks at Embers, Upper Deck offers a fabulous premium steakhouse menu, Papa Dons dishes up Italian pizza and pasta while ‘Masala’ at Embers serves delicious evening Indian cuisine led by chef Vikram Singh.
Perhaps the most exciting innovation is the refurbishment of the white-wood beachside restaurant Dragonfly and introduction of rooftop lounge and bar The Perch. We sampled Dragonfly’s fine dining seafood menu and savoured every dish, particularly the Salmon Salad with lemon Vinaigrette. With specially commissioned hand-painted seascapes by Caribbean artist Sandy Layne, dozens of illuminated bulbs and a balcony overlooking the gentle evening waves, it really is a treat not to be missed.
Good to know: Breakfast at Windjammers offers a buffet of English cooked breakfast dishes, Continental pastries and Caribbean delicacies. Don’t miss the superb omelettes cooked in minutes in front of you by friendly chefs.
Beyond the bay
If you fancy venturing outside the resort, Windjammers’ own excursion team, Jammin’ Tours, will help you explore the many highlights of St Lucia. Our favourite was a boat trip on the Knotty Girl speedboat, with stops down the coast that included a drive-through volcano, sulphur spring mudbath and a refreshing dip in a waterfall. We finished off whipping over the waves, to a backdrop of reggae beats and rum punch and fizzy drink refreshments.
St Lucia’s bustling capital, Castries, is a 20-minute drive from Windjammers Landing. The aromatic fresh food market is really worth a visit – from stalls selling fresh red snapper to tables piled high with local delicacies of dasheen, plantain, ground provision, wax apples and breadfruit.
Windjammer’s executive chef Sebastian ensures that all the resort’s restaurants source locally grown ingredients and freshly caught fish and seafood.
Junior Fact FileWindjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort has been welcoming guests for over 30 years.
- Stay at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort with suites starting at £324 and villas starting at £471 per night.
- Virgin Atlantic files direct from London Heathrow to Hewanorra International Airport, St Lucia between December and March.
- British Airways and Tui fly direct from London Gatwick to St Lucia all year round