|Sorry for the delay in writing this review. My husband and I spent a glorious week at Rendezvous in late February, early March. What a FABULOUS resort! I am a travel agent located on the East coast of the US. I've been fortunate to travel all over the Caribbean several times annually, thanks to my job. We are typically "Sandals" travellers. (I have previously been to 11 of the 12 Sandals Resorts.) I honestly wasn't expecting much from Rendezvous. Boy was I surprised!! This was hands down, bar none, the best service I've ever received at a resort. They wowed us from the second they met us at the airport until the minute we left.
We flew into the small Castries airport, which is literally right across the street from Rendezvous. Their staff met us at the airport with a nice car to take us to the hotel. Our room was ready for us, even though it was well before normal check in time. We had an oceanfront cottage- WELL WORTH the extra money!!! Our cottage was right on the beach, was very large and very private/quiet. It was wonderful to leave the french doors open and listen to the waves. Amazing views too.
One of the things we enjoyed the most was the peaceful, laid back attitude of the place. There wasn't a lot of loud partying and music blaring. We do sometimes enjoy that atmosphere as well, but this trip was all about peaceful relaxation. About 90% of the guests were from Europe and we really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. We never ran out of things to do or people to talk with when we DID want some "action". We especially enjoyed the watersports department! (Tubing was GREAT!!!!)
The drinks were plentiful and included. The food we had was SPECTACULAR- some of the best we've ever had at an all-inclusive. Although my one, slight complaint would be in this department. There wasn't an abundance of food available. I've gotten used to 24 hour food service with lots of options. That's not the case here. One, fantastic, gourmet restaurant and one buffet are all that is available. Thank goodness the food was so delicious to make up for that small defecit! The Trysting Place restaurant ranks up there with some of the best food I've ever had, anywhere.
Have I mentioned the personal, friendly, amazing service yet? By the end of the week everyone there knew our names. From the general manager, Yhasmine, down to the wait staff and watersports guys. They knew how you liked your food cooked, what you were drinking, where you liked to sit. It was AMAZING! That's the difference with a smaller, boutique kind of hotel. Everyone said "hello" as you passed and made sure there wasn't anything more they could do to make your stay more enjoyable. I got the distinct impression that NO request was too much.
This resort has a fantastic location very near to downtown Castries. Please, please, please venture outside and mingle with the wonderful people of St. Lucia! I know we are instructed, frequently, to stay on the resort when traveling to the Caribbean- especially us Americans. This is such an injustice to ourselves and the beautiful native people! Everyone was friendly, polite and proud to show us their country. We went on our own into town on multiple occasions. We wandered around the market place and some of the other streets lined with shops. We even took a private car tour of the island. There is so much to see and do!
One last word of caution, perhaps. Although this is a couples only resort, ALL beaches in St. Lucia are public- as they should be. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the locals and watching the children gather shells, play soccer and cricket. I have heard many people through the years complain about St. Lucia because of this. If it's truly going to bother you, please go somewhere else because there were locals on the beach every day. I personally think this adds to the charm and was a very important part of our overall experience.
St. Lucia is my favorite destination thus far and Rendezvous has to rate up there with some of the best places we've ever stayed. Maybe THE best all around. I'm happy to answer questions or talk about any of my travel experiences with other people researching vacation destinations. Please feel free to contact me with your questions, or if you're looking for a travel agent to assist you in planning your next trip! firstname.lastname@example.org
|Lynne & Martin |
|Arrival – Flight out of Toronto to St Lucia. Arrival was quick and easy, found our tour rep easily outside and she directed us our “bus”. We waited for the 3 other couples to arrive and we were on our way. It was more a minivan than a tour bus which was good, I’ll explain why. To get from Hewanora to Castries the y take the road on the east coast and cut across. If you tend to get car sick, take a gravol or what ever you need. The roads were actually really good, our driver told us that most of the main roads were repaved last year because of Cricket World Cup but they are up and done and hairpins turns.
Checking was easy but our room was not ready so they asked us to go to the bar. The reception wanted to see our paperwork but since we booked online it wasn’t the same as they were used to so it was a little confusing for them. No big deal, they had our names in the system. 15 minutes later we were escorted to our room.
Rooms: We booked an Oceanfront room and it was literally on the beach. The main room was nice, well decorated but we found the bathroom was maybe due for a renovation. There is a lot of potential for those bathrooms, It is quite large with a rounded glass block wall on the outside and they have a chair with a table. I don’t know who like to sit in the bathroom? If only they had a big Jacuzzi tub there instead, then they could charge more for a Jacuzzi oceanfront room… We met a couple that was on the third floor and they said they had nice vaulted ceilings. The balcony was quite small but had enough room for two chairs and a little table. All the oceanfront rooms are on the beach separated by a walkway.
The room were always clean, no problems with the maids or cleaning staff. There are no tvs in the room or mini bars. It wasn’t that big a deal but it would have been nice to have both.
They 4-5 different rooms categories. Garden view, Veranda suites, seaside suite and oceanfront cottages. The ones behind the big pool looked nice, ocean view with a large veranda with patio furniture. Personally I like to be off the ground, more private.
Restaurants - There are only two restaurants on site. One is buffet and the other is A la Carte fine dinning. The buffet was a little on the small side but had enough choice to keep me satisfied. The big difference between this buffet and the ones in Mexico or DR is that they don’t elaborate with tons of carvings and lavish spreads. The food was good and what was supposed to be hot was hot and cold food was cold.
Breakfast caught us off guard a little. Instead of having all the hot food out, eggs, sausage, bacon etc they only have breads, fruit juice etc and you have to order your eggs, pancakes, waffles and meats. Sunday is different because of brunch so it is all laid out.
Trysting Place was excellent(book at the main reception desk for 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 seating).. Small restaurant, I think about 15-18 tables of 2, 4 and a few 6 persons. I had a steak and my wife had the Cornish hen. It was the best A la Carte restaurant we have eaten at in the Caribbean, truly fine dinning. Pants are required for men for dinner.
1630hrs – 1830hrs is “teatime” which really means snack time. Tea coffee, sweets, sandwiches etc. Good food.
You can go eat at Body Holiday at Le Sport, the sister resort. A coworker of mine went there and she said she still dreams of the food at Tao. Transfers are not included but if you are there long enough you might want to check it out.
Bars – There are 3 bars, the main one, pool bar and piano room. Served all kind of drinks, tried a few we really enjoyed and a few didn’t. They seem to like bitters a lot. They have Heineken and Piton beer, which is made, on the island. We really like Piton beer.
Beach and Pools – The beach was nice and the water was warm. The beaches are public so even if the resort is adults only, the kids come and play on the beach, the weekends more than weekdays. I guess St Lucians like the beach too…When you find your chair on the beach and settle in, the waiters come and give you a flag to plant in the sand when you want a drink. Not the quickest so if you are thirsty just go get your own. Nice touch though. The beach side pool is average size and was never really busy. It is surrounded by tree so there is lots of shade available if you need it. The other pool is small, more like a big backyard size, probably 15’ by 40’. The y do aerobics there and is usually really quiet.
Grounds - The grounds are extremely well kept by an army of workers. Very beautiful. They have this monster of a tree in the middle of the resort. I’ve never seen anything like it. The resort is small (7 acres) compared to the large places in DR or Mexico. They have nice grounds but you can walk them in a short period of time.
Activities - There is always something going on. No loud speakers announcing activities, they walk around and ask you if you are interested. What I found incredible is that water skiing and scuba are included. If you are qualified (PADI) they have 6 placed to go dive for free! I wanted to try water skiing but didn’t have a chance. All sorts of activities are available. Games, beach volleyball, tennis, dancing etc. Gaston seems to be involved in everything. Nice young man of 25, he helped us find a cheaper taxi to go to the Pitons.
Tours – They only thing we really wanted to do was to go see the Pitons. They have catamaran tours, fishing, land tours. Not interested. We’ve done too many like this were you spend an hour picking everyone up and then your stuck to a schedule so we just hired a taxi with another couple to take us down to the Gros Piton because we wanted to climb it. The road from Castries to Soufriere was a roller coaster, 10 times worse that the other side of the island. I had thought of renting a car but I’m so glad I didn’t. They drive on the left side(UK style) and I’ve never been on a road with so many elevation changes and hairpin turns. I was starting to feel sick. And like most Caribbean countries the driving is a little crazy.
We didn’t quite know what to expect at first, we’d heard different things like you couldn’t climb to the top etc so we said we’d just go as far as we can. It is US$25 per person to go up with a guide. Ours was called Marva, nice girl, really quiet but she would answer any questions we had. The trail starts off easy enough but then it gets steep pretty quick. It turns into a worn path that is not even and you’re stepping over rock, on rock, tree roots etc. It is challenging to say the least. I know you’re thinking I’m a wuss but I’m 37 and I work out 3-4 times a week and I was sweating really hard. If you think you can climb 40 story’s two or three steps at a time you should be ok. Seriously not for out of shape people or small children. There are 2 viewpoints at the top. The view from the top was incredible. You can see St Vincent and the Grenadines to the south and the Petit Piton from the north view. It was very satisfying to wave to a helicopter tour after we spent 100 minutes to get up. Once at the top we drank a Piton beer on top of the Gros Piton. Our guide said she had never seen anyone do that. The trip was 1:45 hours up and about he same down, BRING WATER AND A SNACK. 2 liters of water per persons.
I have to talk about the airport right beside the resort. Yes you can hear the planes take off but it only lasts about 5 seconds. The frequency of planes is about one an hour and they are small planes, max 20-25 pers propeller planes. The earliest we heard one was about 0700hrs and they do not fly at night.
The resort was mostly British couples (60-70%) and average age was easily in 40s, early 50s. Not many young couples (under 25). The resort caters to British living, teatime, curry and other British food.
All the staff speak English so there is never a problem communicating like in Spanish countries.
We walked from the resort to the market in Castries. About a 30-minute walk. We went down to the port where the cruise ships are and they have a large duty free complex there. In the center of Castries is the market where you can get all kinds of crafts.
The resort was overbooked so we got a letter asking us if we wanted to go to the sister resort at Jalousie. We didn’t have to but we though it might be fun to see another resort especially one right at the Pitons. We were too late since another 2 couples got to reception before us. We told reception that if anything else was available we would be interested. Hey why not, it was later in the week so we thought we would get to see another place for free. They eventually transferred us to Cotton Bay Village on the Northeast side. Very nice Condo resort, they put us in a 2 bedroom by the pool.
I would go back to Rendezvous. St Lucia is the nicest place I’ve been to but I’d like to try something else before I went back. The resort is small (7 acres) compared to the large places in DR or Mexico. They have nice grounds but you can walk them in a short period of time.
|We have just returned from a week vacation at this resort. After reading a few reviews I was a little apprehensive about going although we had already booked....Well this is a true honest review....
We had absolutely no negative things to say about the Rendezvous...
All is fabulous...:
Room: We booked an oceanfront luxury room, which met our expectations...clean, large and very comfy...nice king sized bed, huge bathroom with an absolute awesome shower. The room was extremely clean....and all in working order, never ran out of hot showers..
Food: Tons to pick from and very much like home cooked food, the a la carte restaurant was 5 star all the way....the food was delicious....
Entertainment: The best I have ever seen....the staff were giving it their 100 percent and more and you could tell they had fun doing it....We loved every minute of it...
Staff: They were very nice and friendly....they make this resort what it is....
The whole place is clean and very romantic especially the terrace bar on the oceanfront....At night it is simply awesome......
We left here feeling like we were leaving friends....
We will certainly be going back very soon.....
I WOULD GIVE THIS RESORT A 10...........
GO you will not regret your choice....A truly beautiful island.....Go the extra and take the helicopter ride to and from the airport, It is amazing and the scenery breathtaking..............We were at our resort within 15 min.............
Well worth everything............Bon Voyage !!!!!!!
|Natalie and Adam |
|My new husband and I have just returned from two wonderful weeks at the
Rendezvous Resort, where we spent our honeymoon (27 Mar - 10 Apr 2005)
We arrived after a 1¼ hour drive up in an air-conditioned minibus from the
main airport, which was a lot better than I was expecting after reading
reviews on here! Our driver was very considerate and also pointed out lots
of things along the way, so it was almost like a mini tour. When we rolled
up to the Rendezvous, we were met with a cold rum punch and face towels to
cool us off and then taken up to our room by Gaston, who was to become
quite a pal of ours. He gave us some info on the way up to the room and by
the time we got there, our suitcases were already waiting outside the door!
We were in a Luxury Oceanfront Room, which was lovely, quite spacious, with
a massive bed and beautiful bathroom with a glassblock wall that allowed
natural light in without anyone being able to see us on the loo or in the
shower! Our bed had been decorated with flowers spelling out
Congratulations, and there was a tropical flower display, fruit plate,
bottle of rum and bottle of champagne with 2 glasses waiting for us. We
unpacked our suitcases and cracked open the champers whilst sitting on our
balcony, which overlooked the beach and the beachside wedding arch.
The food at Rendezvous is divine and I came home a full ¾ of a stone
heavier than when I left! Good job I only had to fit into my wedding dress
before we came here! Every night of the week is a different theme in the
buffet restaurant, ranging from Sunday night carvery to Caribbean night,
Italian to Far Eastern. Thursday nights are beach barbecue night, with food
cooked on the beach and if you’re lucky you can get a table actually on the
sand. That night there is a limbo and fire eating show, and guest limbo
competition – we actually were crowned King and Queen of Limbo in our
second week, winning Rendezvous t-shirts! Breakfast is a good cereal and
fruit buffet, with about a dozen different types of bread, then you can
order cooked items from the kitchen, like poached eggs, full English,
freshly cooked waffles and pancakes (yummy!), and they have a special each
day, which we often tried. Lunch was a range of hot dishes, freshly cooked
paninis, salads and so on. The desserts are to die for, and are probably to
blame for my extra holiday pounds!
The Trysting Place restaurant is wonderful. You can literally eat in there
as often as you like, you just have to book in 2 nights before and you can
book up to 3 nights at a time. The menu changes every 3 days, and the food
is top notch. In the two weeks we were there, there were 4 different menus,
each as delicious as the last. Quite frankly the buffet food was good
enough to eat every night of your stay, but it was nice to go in the
Trysting to be waited on, and to sit in an air-conditioned restaurant. The
service in both restaurants was excellent, special hellos to Patrick the
Trying wine waiter and Lloyd in the main restaurant, who always had a smile
and a joke to share with us.
The staff is without exception outstanding. A lot of the main staff knew us
by name within a few days, and they are so friendly and enthusiastic about
their jobs. The entertainment staff I don’t think even really viewed what
they did as work, apart from the fact they were around before we got up
until well into the evening. There were always beach games to participate
in to win t-shirts and bottles of rum, but there was no pressure to take
part if you didn’t want to.
There is so much to do at this resort, and the beauty is it’s all included.
We did the Discover Scuba morning, which was brilliant, and the teachers
are very professional, but make it easy to learn and fun. We got to do a 27
foot dive in the sea, seeing lots of colourful fish and coral, and even a
turtle. We also had a go at water skiing, tubing and took out a pedalo.
There were lessons for all water sports in the morning and afternoon, so
even beginners could enjoy everything. All the equipment was in an
excellent condition, with safety being the top priority.
Also included are cycle tours into the town, so you can explore a little,
but know that you’re safe, as you’re with some of the resort staff. There
are also archery lessons, tennis courts and aerobics for a bit of variety
from the water sports and lounging on the beach!
The place itself is stunning. The beach is gorgeous, lovely soft golden
sand, and the gardens are beautiful. There are giant hammocks big enough
for two dotted around the gardens that we spent many a happy hour lying in
reading our books. On the beach there are plenty of loungers for everyone,
and a red flag is issued each morning for you to summon a barman to take
your drinks order from your lounger! This was lovely, but most people
thought it was too lazy to do this and would go to the bar anyway!
The drinks were great…all premium brands (and some local ones if you wanted
to try them) and too many lovely cocktails to try! If the cocktail you
fancied wasn’t on the list, you just had to tell the bar staff what you
wanted and they’d put it together for you. The strawberry daiquiris were so
yummy! As for a giant cocktail for two and they’ll make whatever you like
and put it in a big glass for the two of you to share. You can also have
wine and sparkling wine, and we occasionally would take a glass of bubbly
up to our room to have on our balcony before getting ready for dinner.
The evening entertainment was good and varied – bands playing many nights
of the week for you to have a boogie to, a steel band on Beach BBQ night,
staff shows (hilarious), and even a casino night on Sundays, which was
really good fun. The Piano Bar literally stays open until the last couple
leaves – there was a hardcore Irish couple there whilst we were staying and
they regularly were up in there drinking till 6am! The pianist is quite a
character and will play requests or whatever from 10pm till 2am, but just
don’t ask him to sing! Even I have a better voice than him, and that’s
Wednesday nights are Managers Cocktails Party, which gives you a chance to
mix with staff and guests and drink champagne by the pool and have a few
canapés. Just watch out for Yarmi, as she’ll beat you to the chicken!
On our last day, as we travelled with Virgin they checked us in for our
flight at the resort and then took our suitcases off to the airport, so we
could relax for the last few hours at the resort and turn up just before
our flight was due to board. We were given access to a courtesy room to
shower and change at the resort, which was one of the Garden View rooms. I
think had I been in one of these I would have been a bit disappointed, as
they were pretty small, with tiny bathrooms, but they were adequate. The
Veranda Suites and Seaside Lanais looked really nice though, and our room
was excellent. There are only 100 rooms in total, so a maximum of 200
guests, so although the resort was apparently full when we were there, we
could always find a quiet spot to be by ourselves.
Regarding the location of the resort, yes it is by the small airport, but
please please please don’t let this put you off. There are a fair few
planes going over, but the largest is a 25 seater, and the aircraft noise
is gone within 5 seconds, literally. They were also pretty cool to watch
going over, and there would be hours at a time when there would be none at
all. What previous reviewers have said about there being a cemetery right
next door is true, but the tombs and graves are all brilliant white, and
being such beach lovers, the St Lucians should be able to have their final
resting place by the sea! I wanted to have a little wander round, but never
got the chance as had so much else to do!
The beach is public, as are all the beaches in St Lucia, but we never felt
threatened by the locals – they were just having a good time, playing
football or swimming in the sea. And they were only really there on
Sundays, the rest of the time it was ours. Also there are security guards
along the stretch of beach the resort borders, 24 hours a day, so you know
that there won’t be any trouble.
We did a few excursions whilst we were there, including the Land and Sea
tour of the island’s main attractions, which included a snorkelling stop
off on the boat journey back. Also we went horse riding, and there was just
myself, my husband and the leader with the three horses on a deserted
beach. We even got to swim in the sea with one of the horses, and my
husband, who’s never ridden before in his life, had a canter on the beach,
with his reins being held by the instructor.
The St Lucians are the friendliest people, and the staff at the Rendezvous
make what is a lovely resort outstanding. Hello to Gaston, Yarmi, Nimah,
Lloyd, Patrick, Javan, Anna, Giselle, our maid Theresa who always had a
smile, and the inimitable Deano, who you’ll often see mentioned on here.
The guests were all really lovely as well, mostly us Brits, but a few
Americans and Canadians, of all ages. We, at 24 and 25, were amongst the
youngest, but everyone was so friendly, and being couples only, just there
to enjoy each others’ company and mix with other couples when they wanted.
Hi to Dani and Darren, Andy and Sally, Ken and Tina, Adam and Kris, Matt
and Caroline, and many more besides!
Some people we met out there got married whilst they were there, and all
the ceremonies looked lovely, and a real effort was made, decorating the
arches with fresh flowers, steel bands playing, and so on. It seemed that
everyone was made to feel really special on their big day and we only heard
good things from those that had chosen to get married at the Rendezvous.
We had an amazing time at the Rendezvous, and wouldn’t hesitate to stay
there again if we return to St Lucia. We finished it off with a helicopter
ride back to the airport, and were very sad to leave. If you’re considering
a couples holiday in St Lucia, go to the Rendezvous and you’ll never regret it.
|My husband and I have just returned from Rendevous, and had an amazing time. The friendly staff and attention to detail across the board was impressive. Beginning with Rum Punch and cold towels when you arrive, and fresh flowers laid out in your room when you arrive. A real effort was made in every area to make it a special and memorable holiday. The food was fantastic with every night having a different 'theme' so you didnt have the chance to get bored with the menu. Including one Beach BBQ night, where tables and chairs were set out on the beach along with all the food, and a steel band played under the stars! Great! The drinks were all very good quality although we also thought the wine had probably been decanted into bottles! The cocktails both alcoholic and not were delicious! There was plenty to do with activities and lessons every day and they were never crowded, staff encouraged you to join in on competitions and games, but were quite happy if you just wanted to lie in the sun like I did! Our rooms were beautiful, clean and modern, very spacious. We had seen some reports online regarding the Garden rooms being rather shabby and old, and were worried as this is what we had booked, but when we got there we had been upgraded to a Seafront room, as all the Garden Rooms are currently being totally refurbished, good news!! Also some reviews mention 'issues' with locals using the beaches at the weekends. We did notice that there was more traffic on weekends, but it was all very friendly, and the hotel has 2/3 security guards walking around the beach on all days (I think probably to discourage hawkers) and so you always felt perfectly safe. Around the hotel there are lots of romantic and private places to hang out and chill, 2 hot tubs, loads of hammocks for two, swing seats on the beach over looking the sunset, and the Terrace bar and restaurant are an amazingly chilled place to just sit and watch the sea. I would highly highly recommend Rendevous, in all respects!
|John & Chris |
|My wife Chris, and I have just returned from 10 fabulous days at the Rendezvous Hotel on St. Lucia.
We have visited many Caribbean Islands and try to get two holidays a year in the Caribbean and therefore feel as though our opinion is valid to potential first time visitors.
The hotel was listed as a Romantic Holiday venue and it lived up to its statement.
We arrived after a good flight with Virgin Atlantic, the journey from the airport was a little under 90 minutes which though longer than we would have liked went fairly quickly as it was mid afternoon and there was lots of lush and dramatic scenery to take in.
This island was instantly different to many of the other islands we had visited in recent years which include Barbados, St Kitts, Tobago and Cuba.
On arrival at the hotel I have to say the initial impression was one of concern as the reception area was very basic and we felt was unwelcoming. I have to say, had I been visiting in a taxi picking someone up I may have thought it was not a hotel I would like to stay at on a future visit to the island.
However once through the archway into the gardens our concern melted away and we became immediately comfortable that this was going to be a great holiday.
We were taken to our room which we had upgraded to a Verandah Suite which was one of the best furnished rooms we had stayed in, in the Caribbean, it was just like the brochure and the web site.
We wanted this holiday to be another special memory and I had pre ordered a flower display for my wife and a bottle of Bollinger to be on ice in the room (at our additional cost). Everything was in place and perfect. We sat on the verandah and enjoyed the Bollinger in the late afternoon sun.
Now I am usually the type that starts the holiday ok but with so much time on my hands eventually find things to complain about. However I can honestly say that this was an exception, we were unable to find anything to complain about. In fact we rate the Rendezvous as one of the best hotels we have stayed at in the region.
Firstly the staff and people of St. Lucia in general were more genuinely pleasant than on some other islands, service generally in the hotel was second to none.
The restaurants were impeccably clean with any cutlery or napkins dropped being whisked away and replaced before it hit the floor.
Attention to detail was also superb, little things like real linen napkins at all meals instead of the common paper version which often appear for breakfast and lunch.
Wine with the meal was served from a bottle in the appropriate cooler or basket and it was always offered to taste after the wine waiter pulled and smelled the cork. We knew that the wine probably came from a large vat out the back but that never mattered as the wine was of a good quality and the way it was served added to the occasion of every meal.
Almost every evening in the main restaurant was a themed night and the staff went to extraordinary lengths to dress the bar and restaurant on those nights. You would never have thought they do this every week.
On the lovers night there were red and white balloons everywhere and every table had a decoration. On Caribbean nights there were real coconuts with a rum and coconut cocktail and two straws to share for each couple entering the bar.
Seen before on other islands but another lovely touch.
Drinks in the bar were international and Champagne was always available within the all inclusive package.
If I had to be ultra critical I would say the beach could have been a little more meticulously cleaned of cigarette ends and washed up items. Also there was a stray dog that appeared one day taking up residence in the restaurant which I thought was not in keeping with normal standards.
The hotel also liked to get to know the customer to the extent of randomly joining you for dinner. Whilst I am sure many guests like this, we had come on holiday to enjoy each others company and did not enjoy spending one precious dinner making small talk with someone who did not even acknowledge us on future days.
| We have been to St. Lucia previously, and stayed at Sandals Halycon. This time we decided to try a different resort and we feel we made a wise choice. Since we prefer adults only, smaller resorts, the Rendezvous stood out among a limited number of choices. In comparison to Sandals Halycon, Rendezvous is a bit smaller, but also a great deal less expensive.
We flew out of Chicago (which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from our home) on an early morning flight on USA 3000 airlines. It was a charter flight, which wasn’t completely full, so finding roomy, comfortable seats was not a problem. The flight was about 5 1/2 hours. (Flight home was 3 1/2 hours late). For a charter airline, they did a nice job, pleasant breakfast and two movies shown. Upon arriving in St. Lucia, customs/immigration was fast and easy. We have previously arranged to take a helicopter transfer from Hewannora airport to Castries airport as the drive by taxi takes about an hour, where as the helicopter gets you there in 10 minutes. The Rendezvous is located in Castries, just minutes from the airport. While the helicopter transfer is pricey ($100 pp) it gives you an unmatched view of the island and a exciting ride as well. Consider it a excursion which you‘d probably take anyway and you can justify the price a bit easier. It is certainly worth the money spent. Since we were the only two people on the helicopter at that time, they also transported our luggage (this is normally done by taxi and your luggage arrives somewhat later than you do to your resort, so pack a change of clothes in your carryon, which you are allowed to take on the copter). From the time we landed at Hewannora airport to the time we actually arrived at our resort was only about 1/2 hour! If you haven’t been to St. Lucia before, you may want to opt to take the taxi ride, as you do see alot of the country side that way.
Upon our arrival at Rendezvous the staff was surprised that we had arrived so early. The staff is very pleasant, but did appear somewhat confused at times. We had received a confirmation from them prior to our arrival (via email) that they had received our request for a second floor verandah suite and they had reserved this for us. However, upon checking in, they said there weren’t any second floor suites available. When I asked them why, since we did we receive a confirmation that we were booked in one, they hedged around the question a bit and finally said there was a family (?) that requested side-by-side verandah suites and therefore gave our room to them. While we weren’t pleased with their decision it‘s not something to dwell on and spoil your vacation; it did seem though to start a series of mis-cues by the staff. Our ground level verandah suite was very nice and we quickly changed into our beach attire and went down to beach. The verandah suites are nicely decorated and large. The bathroom is small, but the shower is marble and has three shower heads which are wonderful. The brochure mentions that there is a seat in the shower, it is actual a corner seat which is very small and is more suitable to putting toiletries on it rather than you being able to sit on it. The mahogny four poster king sized bed is comfortable with soft linens and four pillows. There is no television, which we can honestly say we didn’t miss at all. There is a CD player/radio in your room which we found a pleasant diversion from watching the tube. Bring your own CD’s, they do not provide these. There is a small refrigerator in your room as well, however, it is not stocked with any thing. There is a coffeemaker. tea, etc. Air conditioning was adequate, and we found it odd that none of the windows were louvered and did not open, so the air conditioning needed to stay on at all times. The terrace of the verandah suites has two lounge chairs, which aren’t very comfortable (I think ours were broken as the backs would not stay up on them). There is also two chairs and a table. All of the furniture appears to be teak wood and have cushions on them. There is no where to hang your wet swim suit out on the terrace unless you put them over the railing by the door (a towel bar on the terrace would be a nice addition for this). There is a light on your terrace which the staff turns on for you each night (there is a button on the porch for you to do this as well). The staff keeps your room spotless and well stocked with towels, soaps, shampoos, etc.
The gardens are very lush, but there isn’t much in the way of blooming/flowering plants. (It could have been the time of year we were there ?). The green foiliage is so beautiful and nicely landscaped. They are constantly grooming things and keep it very clean. There are made-for-two hammocks in several locations of the gardens. The extremely large tree in the courtyard near the reception office is amazing! In the evenings, several of the more prominent features in the gardens are “up-lit” with colorful lights making for a very peaceful and romantic setting.
We were there the week of Valentine’s Day. We never even thought of that when we booked our vacation. However, this made the resort full to capacity and this seemed to “un-nerve” the staff a bit. From what we’ve heard the resort is usually only 40-60% full most times. There were very few Americans there, we only met 3 other couples from the states, the rest were from England. We met some very nice people and learned interesting things about their country. The majority of the staff is very pleasant and helpful, however, as anywhere, there are just some people who should consider a career change. Maybe it was the capacity issue, but the different departments didn’t seem to have any idea what another one was doing. There was confusion about times and places where things were taking place and you had to inquire several times about the same thing before they could get it correct, none the less, they were always willing to help you and make things right. The watersports were plentiful, including pedal boats, hobie cats, water skiing, kayaking, etc. There is a small vendor booth by the watersports, but they are not pushy in asking you to come buy something. A pleasant no thank you and that seemed to be sufficient. We did not encounter any other vendors while on the beach.
We did the honeymoon couples massage. It’s likely the best $48 (per couple) we’ve ever spent. It is a 50 minute massage where the therapist teaches you how the give each other a swedish massage. She performs the moves, then has you perform them, each person taking their turn. I also had the phytomer facial ($35) for 50 minutes, treat yourself ladies, you will really enjoy this! Their spa treatments are well worth the money. It would be nice if they would relocate the spa area as it is next to a home that had several barking dogs, so that disrupted the peacefulness a bit, but still very relaxing.
The beach is long, but not wide. You can take a long walk on the beach by yourself (daytime) or go on a sunset walk sponsored by the resort two nights a week. I would not walk the beach (outside the resort area) by yourselves at night. While we did not encounter or hear of any problems, it is just generally not a wise move not to do this, regardless of what country you’re in. The waves were considerable, but did not keep you out of the water. They were quite fun and provided some good entertainment. It did rain everyday even though they considered this their dry season. It would rain for 5 minutes then sun for 45 minutes or so then rain again. This continued most of the morning, and by early afternoon it was very nice. The water was warm, the sand beneath you firm and no seaweed. There were a couple of very small rocks in the water, but these were easily visiable and not a problem. The beach does get somewhat busier on Sunday afternoons as the towns people come to this beach. Please remember you are using their beach, not the other way around. They were all pleasant, kind people who also wanted to enjoy this haven. There are plenty of lounge chairs, but if you want one of the “huts” on the beach, you need to “reserve” these very early in the morning to get one. Just place your beach towel/lounge chair on/by them and this seemed to save them for you. There are also plenty of palm trees on the beach which provided plenty of shade if you preferred that. The beachfront rooms and beachfront cottages appeared nice from the outside, but you will tend to get a lot of “people traffic” going by these. They are located right on the beach. The pools are fine, but I can swim in a pool anytime. We wanted the beach atmosphere and were not disappointed in anyway with it.
The Terrace restaurant (outdoor) was our favorite. The buffets were plentiful and they selection never ending whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. They have this wonderful fish called dorado that is the best fish I’ve ever had. They prepared it several different ways, all of it excellent. They do a beach BBQ in the sand one night, and each night with a different theme. We did eat in the Trysting Place one evening and that was very nice as well, but the open air dining just seemed more like you are on vacation. One evening I had arranged (a surprise for my husband) through the guest services department to have a table placed on the beach in the sand, lit with candle light and fine china and specially ordered lobsters. There is a “up-charge” for lobster ($30 pp) and you have 5 different types of lobster to choose from. I had chosen the grilled lobster. This is where another mis-cue came in. I had made the reservations for 8 pm and while my husband and I were having a cocktail I kept glancing at the beach and noted no table set up. I told my husband I have to use the ladies room but I actually I went to guest services to check on this, but they were closed. I then went to the reception desk and they said they didn’t know anything about this. Yet I had just been in there the day before with the paperwork from guest services for this. However, they quickly rose to the challenge and within 20 minutes our table in the sand, on the beach, was beautifully set and ready. We had our own private waiter, Harry, who served us our five course meal. While the lobster was very, very good, it was not the grilled lobster we had ordered, it turned out to be the lobster thermadore.
We took an all day catamaran cruise through SunTours who can book this for you right at the resort. We had placed a request for a wakeup call with the front desk for that morning as you had to be ready to go at 7:45 a.m, again another small mis-cue by the staff as they never made the wakeup call. Fortunately, we are early risers and we were awake in plenty of time. The trip included the catamaran cruise down the coast of the island, then it docked and they bused you to a waterfall that you could swim in (the water is very cold), then to a cocoa plantation for a nice buffet lunch and tour, and then to the drive through volcano. You then board the catamaran again and sail to a nice beach for some swimming and snorkeling. They take you into some beautiful bays and sail back to your starting point. All transportation is included and the cost is $90 pp. The crew of the catamaran is genuinely friendly and fun. They even let us steer the boat!
Because it was Valentine’s Day, the resort offered a sunset catamaran cruise to all guests at no charge on that day. It was touted to be a romantic sailing, but turned out to be more of a party cruise. This portion of staff of the Rendezvous is very high energy and did an outstanding job of getting people to dance and enjoy themselves! They had decorated the boat with red lights, red and white balloons and crepe paper. They had loads of food on board and plenty of wine, champagne and drinks. We did get to see a lovely sunset that night while aboard. Upon returning to the resort, the remaining staff had decorated the Terrace restaurant in white lace, red ribbons and bows, white lights, red and white balloons, white linen and red satin table cloths and heart center pieces. It was stunning. They served a five course made to order meal that evening. When you returned to your room, they had placed flower petals on your bed, a Valentine mylar balloon and chocolates on your pillow. What a nice touch!
All in all the Rendezvous was a very relaxing, beautifully maintained resort. I would not hesitate of book this resort again. The food, accomodations, and location (don’t let the airport near the end of the resort bother you, it was actually quite fun watching the planes take off, and they only do so during the daylight hours) all added to a romantic vacation. Don’t let the little things bother you, and you will enjoy your vacation so much more. I would recommend staying away from the big holiday dates as the resort was full so this may have accounted for some very minor mishaps, none of which in anyway spoiled the overall experience of this wonderful resort.
|Ann & Edward |
| Dear Debbie,
Your website proved to be very helpful in choosing our honeymoon destination for December 2003. We wanted to update your reviews for St. Lucia.
My husband and I just returned from our dream honeymoon in St. Lucia. We were part of a small group of six on our airplane from Toronto stayed at the Rendezvous. We were so glad that we chose such a lush and unspoiled island. Some colleagues of my husband suggested that when we landed in St. Lucia that we take the helicopter ride from the Hewanoora airport at the south end of the island to a drop-off point 5 minutes from our hotel. We were not disappointed. The ride was a fun 20-minute tour of the island, overlooking the rainforests, mountains, Marigot Bay, coastline and the city of Castries. Although the cost was a little pricey ($100 US each one way) it was well worth the convenience and tour; it also saved us a 2-hour bus ride that we were told made many nauseated. The roads in St. Lucia are for the most part windey, single lanes and adventurous. An important note: only the carry-on luggage is transported with you by helicopter. Pack your bathing suit, suntan lotion, toiletries, and a change of clothes for dinner. We arrived at the hotel at 2:00 p.m. and our luggage did not arrive until 7:30 p.m. that evening.
Check in at the hotel was extremely smooth. We had beaten the other arrivals and were escorted to the main terrace for lunch. The view overlooks the ocean on the Caribbean side and I never tired of the view. The waves were never really rough here except for one day when we had rain. After lunch, our room was prepared. We stayed in the Verandah Suites and were impressed. The room was spacious (20 by 12 feet) and had marble floors, a king size poster bed, sofa and ottoman, vanity, armoire, fridge, and beautiful view from our balcony/terrace. The room was freshly painted and the air-conditioned room was a luxury to escape the heat and humidity after a day in the sun. We enjoyed many morning and late night on the balcony that had some lovely teak loungers, a hexagonal table and 2 chairs. The balconies were very spacious and had dividers (6 feet high) for privacy to separate the various rooms. Each morning we were visited by the local birds (small finches or morning doves). The view of the pool, gardens, and ocean beyond the pool was lovely. As it was o ur honeymoon, the bed was arrayed with tropical flowers, some arranged in letters to spell “Congratulations”. We also received a bottle of rum and a beautiful tropical arrangement filled with lilies and birds of paradise which grew on and round the grounds of the hotel. The rooms were very clean and well-kept. On the lower floor we could see staff replacing the marble floor in one room. The bathroom had a long walk-in marble shower (8feet by 3 feet) with 3 spray outlets. It also had a glass block window to let in natural light from outside. Very nice! If you visit, ask for a second floor room in the Verandah suites area as the main floor rooms have some foot traffic along the path ways throughout the gardens. The Pool side Rooms were the cheapest of the accommodations and they looked nice as well. The Ocean view suites were 3 story villas but some guests complained about walking up the stairs. As well, the balconies had a hammock and were not as well equipped and luxurious as the verandah suites.
The two pools (one large one with a swim up bar and one lap pool) were cleaned each morning and finding a lounge chair was never a problem. Fresh towels were always provided in your room for the beach and you could always refresh them by the pool. The work out room by the lap- pool was open-air (no air conditioning) and had 2 working treadmills. The weight machines were out of order. The ladies washroom had a sauna that I never used. The grounds staff were always busy attending the gardens. Bugs were never a problem. Pathways lead through the grounds and we always felt that were staying in a botanical garden. The first night we fell asleep to the chirping of the birds. The Rendez-vous felt more like home than a hotel. It had 100 rooms but it never seemed busy. About 80% of the guests were from England, the balance from the US (mostly Michigan), and the Canadians were a minority. We met some great people. We are in our 30’s and found a few other honeymooning couples. The balance and majority of the guests were 40+. It was great to stay at an adults only resort. The resort was the only one on this stretch of the beach. It was a 25-minute walk from end to end. The only drawback is that there is a cemetery located next to the beach at one end of the beach strip. (Our tour guide called it the all –inclusive resort where you never check out. Seaside view with a pay once admission fee.) As well the local helicopter service is located on the city side of the cemetery. We would hear the occasional small plane take off from the landing strip. Overall, we were happy with the resort’s location as we could walk to the duty free shopping at Point Seraphine in Castries (a 20 minute walk, 4 minute cab ride). As well, we took a cab to Rodney Bay for lobster and steak at the Chart House Restaurant ($100 US with wine, appetizers, and entrée). Well worth the 20 minute cab ride north up the coast. The food was fantastic. We never felt isolated at the Rendez-Vous and the island was relatively safe (Keep to common travel sense).
Overall, we had no complaints about the food. Breakfast had a variety of items on the buffet whereas eggs, pancakes, crepes, waffles, potatoes, sausages, and bacon were made fresh by the chef in the kitchen (a la carte). Dinners were phenomenal at the Trysting Place (book at the main reception desk for 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 seating). My husband and I eat at a variety of great restaurants in Toronto and we were very satisfied. Appetizers included items such as snails in a wild mushroom sauce with French puffed pastry, Caesar salad, smoked salmon, an antipasto plate consisting of dolmades, proscuitto, melon, salad, etc; French onion soup, goat cheese ravioli, and the list goes on. Following the appetizers, we were presented with homemade sorbet. The entrees were a choice of 5 items. Throughout our stay we had the lamb twice, Dorado (local fish, quite good), and peppercorn steak. There were vegetarian items on the menu but we didn’t sample them or ask anyone. Desert offered fresh fruit tarts with custard, chocolate lover’s mousse, Baba St. Lucie (my favourite- cake laced with local rum and fried plantains with a dollop of whipped cream). The wine list included many selections and good vintages from around the world. Bottled red, white, sparkling, or rose was included with every dinner. Of course, you could purchase the others at additional costs for the list, however the included wines, especially the Chilean were quite good. On Christmas Eve we were spoiled with roast turkey and ham. If that weren’t enough, the chef grilled chicken and beef skewers, steaks, and chicken on the grill for you. The deserts were always great: cakes, Baked Alaska, meringues, pies, and my favourite: French puffed pastries filled with fresh light cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. On Christmas Day, lunch had a variety of selections: grilled shrimp, fish, chicken, and an entire roast pig sliced by the staff. Christmas dinner was a la carte, served on the terrace. I have been to several all-inclusive 5 star resorts and the food was comparable or better than many. The head chef apparently was from a well-established hotel in England and the selection, variety, and flavour of the dishes was evident. We looked forward to each meal. Afternoon tea at 4:00 was custom with little offerings of before-dinner snacks. The drinks at the bar were ever-flowing with tropical blends and local white/dark rums. Everyone at our resort w as pampered and fully satisfied with the accommodations, service, and meals.
Since the resort is on a smaller scale, we were able to get to know the guests. The hotel staff added a personal touch to our stay. We were invited to a cocktail reception on Christmas Eve and greeted by the hotel manager. Again- fantastic ours d’ouevres and champagne. Later when we returned to our room, we found a Christmas card waiting for us. Many opportunities were available to participate in volleyball games on the beach, water activities, dancing at night, evening band entertainment, a sunset cruise (offered free by the hotel), aerobics, tai chi, archery, tennis lessons, and walks on the beach. It was up to you. The staff was never intrusive. We were very pleased with a half-day tour we took of the rainforest ($48 US each). We took a Range Rover through the local fishing villages, to banana plantations, and we stopped for a short walk through the rainforest where natural waterfalls and a variety of foliage were present.
On our last morning we hade breakfast, took a taxi to Castries for some last minute shopping for gifts, and returned to our hotel. The helicopter service picked up our large luggage at 8 a.m. and we left the resort at 11:30 for the return helicopter flight to the main airport. Everyone else left the resort earlier at 10 a.m. The helicopter ride back to Hewanorra airport was a pleasure. We had most of the helicopter to ourselves. This time we flew over the mountains and around Les Pitons. We landed on the south west coast of the island to pick up a couple at the Jalousie Hilton. A very small stretch of beach with a lot of boats. The south end of the island is very mountainous and there is little beach. Due to the mountains, you are “trapped’ at your resort because a 10 to 15 mile trip takes 30 to 35 minutes due to the hilly and bumpy mountain roads. The couple stayed at Anse Chastanet. We had investigated this hotel earlier but passed on it. We were glad because the cottage-type villas are open-air without air-conditioning, and at least a 5- 10 minute wal k from the beach (steps downhill to the beach and up on the way back) We are both very fit but would not have appreciated this aspect on a daily basis. The couple told us that there was no swimming pool! With the heat and the humidity from the daily short sun-showers, we were glad to retreat to our A-C room at the Rendez-Vous. In addition, a honeymooning couple from Winnipeg stayed at the Sandals Halcyon. He was a chef and the couple did not appear to be impressed with the quality of the food. We later found the 3 Sandals resorts on a trip up to Rodney Bay.
In conclusion, we spent many hours researching our spot for the “perfect” honeymoon and found it at Rendez- Vous in St. Lucia. Between the two of us, we have both traveled to a variety of places (Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Florida, Bahamas, St. Martin, Spain) and were looking for something different for our one-week honeymoon in December. St. Lucia has a natural charm and is yet to be spoiled by the tourism industry.
| My wife and I decided about 1 month ago (in November) that we would like to do our very first all-inclusive package in one of the caribbean islands at a resort. Since we're both in our early 30's and can't stand boat cruises, we wanted to find an island that has more activities to do in terms of hiking, biking, golfing and watersports. Our first choice was actually St. Kitts based on all the reviews that I read, but unfortunately it was all sold out by the time we tried to book our trip (which was 5 days before our departure). Luckily, we managed to find a last minute deal through the Rendezvous resort in St. Lucia and decided to give it a try based on many positive reviews it got from others and also the general makeup of the island.
We first arrived by the airport at the very south of the island, and then hopped into a 10 person air-conditioned mini-van which took us on a 1 hour slightly bumpy but scenic tour of St. Lucia. When we finally arrived at the Rendezvous resort, we were greeted with a cool wash towel and a glass of icy cold rum punch.
Our first impressions of the resort were a bit mixed, because of it's location is literally next to a cemetary and the end of a airport runway. As others have also stated, only smaller prop planes now fly out of the airport and no planes fly after 11pm or so, thus it never really bothered us. And the cemetery was an interesting walk through to see another aspect of local customs. As for the resort itself, it's relatively well maintained but you do notice it's a bit dated in terms of the equipment and styling.
To begin with, we were in the garden view room. We tried to upgrade our room, but the resort was completely booked solid during the xmas week. The room itself was very comfortable, with air-conditioning and also a de-humidifier in the room. No tv's but the cd player/radio was nice to keep it from getting too boring (bring lots of your own music cd's though). The washroom was quite a bit worn down, and had much of a 70's feel to it. Beds were all king size and very comfy with big pillows and clean sheets. There's also a safety number coded lock in each room to store your passports and wallets while you're there for the duration of your stay, which was very convenient. We spoke to another couple that stayed in one of the ocean view rooms and they were absolutely amazed how nice their rooms were.
The resort is exclusively for couples only, and we noticed there were quite a few people from Brits there, but also some Canadians and Americans as well. Most of the staff are very nice and attentive to all of your needs. We talked to another older lady who had been to many resorts and she found that the service here was top notch compared to a lot of other resorts she's been to.
We had at least 3 meals each day. Meals were served in their outdoor covered terrace. Breakfast was between 7:30-10:30 which included fresh fruits, baked goods, yogurt and also other items you could order like eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, etc. Lunch would start up at 12:30 and last until 2:30 and was the typical buffet style. Dinner begins at 7:30 and goes til around 9:30 and was also buffet. The terrace food was usually very good quality, with lots of fresh salads, breads, soups, and an assortment of meats from lamb, duck, beef, chicken, etc. Most nights there's a theme night, so one night was Asian (indian, chinese, japanese), Italian, Carvery (turkey, roast beef, ham), etc. You could also make reservations at the Trysting Place, which is a nice restaurant style food where you can order an appetizer, main course and dessert from a large menu. There you could get finer choices like prime steaks, escargots, etc. At the restaurant, men were supposed to wear a collared shirt and trousers, just in case you wanted to know the dress code. Terrace wear was very casual. There was also afternoon tea, which consisted of tea & coffee, plus some cakes and biscuits and pizza/hotdogs.
Alcohol was clearly flowing throughout the day, at various locations. There's the main bar in the terrace, another pool bar where you can swim up to the bartender to get a drink, another in the piano bar that stays open until the last couple goes to sleep. They had everything from an huge selection of rums, to brandy/cognac, to sparkling wines. I think that they simply refilled wine bottles and made it look like you were getting a new bottle of wine each time. No bother to us, since it all tasted very good (Chilean Sauvignon blanc, French Cab Sav, etc).
As for sporting activites, daily schedules included tennis lessons in the morning, aerobics, watersports such as scuba, windsailing & kayaking and tubing. Occasionally they would have these "friendly competitions" where the winning couple would get t-shirts or a bottle of rum. It was certainly a nice way to meet other couples. They also had archery and golfing lessons too, which we never tried.
In the afternoon, we usually played volleyball. Some of the club staff would also join in to play. My wife and I found some of the staff to be a bit too serious during the games, to the point where they would make other resort vacationers wait while they played in the game. Others would be doing crazy spike serves into my poor wife repeatedly. That seemed to turn us off a bit.
In terms of accessibility to the sporting activities, things were always easy to get at since most people were just hanging around suntanning or reading and such and not many would be using the equipment, so that was nice bonus.
As for the beach, it was very nice and had a small area where rocks were laid up to protect swimmers in the ocean from being battered by the strong ocean waves. There were always enough beach chairs for everyone, and I especially loved how you could put up a red flag to get drink service (albeit a touch slow though). Because the beaches there are all public, a lot of locals came by especially during the weekends. Some would play soccer by one side of the beach, while others would just sit and bath in the sun and play in the water. All the locals were very nice and never bothered the tourists. Security guards wearing green polo shirts were always seen walking about from day til night, making sure that no one on resort grounds got out of hand. One other couple who went to LeSport for the day said that the beach there was much more crowded compared the Rendezvous.
Evening activities at the resort included live bands, dancing and a piano bar (which we never tried). The highlight for us was the 8-person steel drum band that sounded really amazing, and played throughout our dinner on the terrace.
On christmas night the entire staff put on a variety type show, including dance numbers from michael jackson, lion king and wild limbo tricks.
We also did a few day excursions on the island. One was the Tout Bagay tour on a large catamarand boat that sailed towards Soufriere and the Toufille waterfall where you could bath under it, walk around the garden area there, plus see (and smell) the sulfer springs up close, and visit a cocoa plantation where they served you a buffet lunch. On the way back we stopped by one of the "secluded" beaches for snorkling. We didn't go down, but apparently the snorkling was very nice with lots to see. The beach was rather busy with other tourists and guys trying to sell you necklaces and shells.
We also took one day to play golf at the Cap Estate course. Overall, unless you're really desperate to play golf and can afford their high prices, I can't really recommend that course. The course seemed very dry and hard, apparently the north end of the island gets less rain compared to the rest of the island.
Overall, we really enjoyed our week in St. Lucia and at the Rendezvous resort. We especially enjoyed the fact that there were no kids around at all, and all the staff were amazing helpful. We found the resort to have enough activities to keep us busy bodies entertained, and even more choices if you choose to venture off to explore the rest of the island.