My girlfriend and I recently returned from our second trip to St. Lucia, and were very happy with our experience at the Bay Gardens Hotel! Even though it's not ON Reduit Beach, it's only a 10 minute stroll through the Rodney Bay village to it. Plus you'll save a bundle not paying for "beachfront". The shuttle to the Bay Gardens Beach Resort (BGBR) is also quite reliable (even on "Caribbean Time").
The hotel is a very nice Caribbean property. The open-air lobby was very welcoming, and all staff members couldn't have been more helpful. We had stayed at the REX St,.Lucian on our first visit, and even though you're not staying ON Reduit Beach, the Bay Gardens Hotel blew the REX away on every level. They act like they actually WANT to run a great business.
We hit up the poolside bar a few nights for their Happy Hour 2-for-1's and had a great time talking with Eric the bartender. Great kid. Drink prices were very reasonable, and the free overproof welcome rum punches were delicious!
Pools are quite small and shallow, but we didnt use them anyway. Why would you? Reduit Beach is one of the best stretches in the Caribbean! Two tips on the beach...the entire beach is public. You can park your butt anywhere you want, and the stretch of beach in front of the REX resorts is FAR better than the BGBR segment. You can only get beach loungers in the BGBR, however. We had no problem staking out a prime spot in front of the REX and putting our towels on the sand. One other beach tip - you don't have to walk allllll the way down to the BGBR. You can also enter the beach through the REX. The shortest way however, is to hang a left just after the parking lot after the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant and follow the concrete wall to the beach. It's a little off the beaten path, but gets you to the best part of the beach faster. Also, hit up Aunt Marie's Fish Shack at the very southern part of Reduit Beach. Super-friendly authentic beach bar, with a freshly-caught fish special daily...and great drinks! We loved this place! You'll see the shack with all the international flags around it. Do not miss!
Back to the hotel - we stayed in a 1-bedroom Croton Suite and loved it! We weren't staying all-inclusive, and we're not rich people by any means. So to save a few bucks (dining in Rodney Bay is NOT cheap) we wanted to have a fridge and a kitchen to prepare our breakfast, lunch and a few dinners. Bring a packable cooler bag from home to bring lunch sandwiches, water, Piton beers to the beach every day. The Croton Suites provide a full-sized refrigerator/freezer and a 4-burner gas range for cooking. They do not have ovens however, so frozen pizzas are out :) They provide a few pots and pans, silverware, plates , glassware and kitchen utinsils (including a wine/bottle opener) for cooking. We had to ask them for a frying pan, and a non-stick saucepan was the best they could get. We made do with it...no biggie. A cofee maker with provided coffee packet filters was great. Toaster worked fine. If you plan on doing your own cooking, you may want to bring salt and pepper/other spices from home. We had to buy some. The seperate bedroom and bathroom were great. Living room had pretty great selection of channels (including ESPN, CNN and BBC programming). Obviously you don't go to the Caribbean to watch TV, but being able to have some comforts of home before bedtime was wonderful.
The Croton Suites are a bit of a hike from the main hotel lobby area, so be prepared for that. The Suites area is much quieter, which was nice. However, there is an abandoned construction project with very nice vines crawling up it. This is your view from your balcony or terrace. Not a huge deal, but something to be aware of going in.
The hotel has THREE nearby supermarkets to choose from. The best ones are the closest. The Super J IGA in the Rodney Bay Mall is the best of the bunch. Super convenient, as you'[ll pass it's entrance twice daily walking to and from the beach.
As noted in many other reviews, the Rodney Bay Village area has everything you'll need as far as both affordable (Jerk chicken food truck, Rituals Diner, 2 chinese take-out resturants, The Lime, Whiskey In The Jar, Domino's, KFC and Burger King) and upscale (Big Chef, Spices of India, The Edge, Buzz) dining options. Shopping galore. It's really a neat place. Take the short taxi ride into Gros Islet for the Friday night "Jump Up" - a truly authentic Caribbean experience. Your taxi driver will make arrangements with you to pick you up when you're done dancing, drinking and eating.
As this was our second trip to St. Lucia, we kind of know the ropes a bit more. We summited Gros Piton with Francis Alexander on our prior visit. Francis a genuinely wonderful human being who works with the Gros Piton Management Area and lives in Fond Gens Libre, the village at the base of Gros Piton. If you have any interest in doing the Gros Piton hike or doing a tour of the island (seeing the Pitons, etc), contact him directly in St. Lucia at (758) 287-4848. He will make all arrangements for you, and if you're lucky he may even lead you to the top, as he did for us. Francis's knowledge of St. Lucia is unmatched and he will show you a truly authentic, affordably amazing experience. Even if you don't want to do the full Gros Piton hike, he'll take you to the Tet Paul Nature Trail for a very easy, informative and INTIMATE visit with both Pitons. Such a spectacular experience.
We've kept in touch monthly with him for over 3 years...getting to spend the day with him was a highlight of our trip.
All in all, we loved St. Lucia all over again. It's truly a gem in the Caribbean.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A great choice for those seeking a small, intimate and centrally located base - personalised service will ensure guests capture the unique cultural and tropical flavour of St Lucia. Situated on the south side of Rodney Bay marina and within walking distance of the well known Reduit Beach, nearby shops, bars and restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bay Gardens Castries
- Hotel Bay Gardens
- Bay Gardens Hotel St Lucia