Monthly Parenting Magazine

Caribbean Take Two: Visiting a honeymoon island wi...

Caribbean Take Two: Visiting a honeymoon island with a toddler 

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Hayley Barclay travels to St Lucia to try two family-friendly resorts three years after spending her honeymoon there… 

St Lucia is typically associated with romance, remote hotels and rum. So not the first choice perhaps for your first long-haul holiday with a rambunctious toddler.

However, it is such a warm, joyous place with so many fond memories for me, we decided to be adventurous and take our son. His age was also a factor – before aged two children can fly without their own seat so this saved a considerable amount of money. However – having a restless toddler on your lap for nearly nine hours is not for the faint of heart so in hindsight, perhaps splashing out a bit extra for comfort would have been more sensible! 

We flew direct from Gatwick to Hewanorra with British Airways. As we were travelling from Yorkshire and our flight left at 10am we stayed at the Hilton London Gatwick the night before. This made the whole experience immeasurably easier. We checked in luggage the night before, parked next to the terminal and had a leisurely, stress-free morning before departure. The hotel’s executive lounge was also brilliant for late-night snacks and drinks – even a bottle of warm milk. 

While the flight was challenging (bring snacks and more snacks), once we landed the blue skies and balmy breeze instantly perked me up. St Lucia is five hours ahead so expect a few very early mornings but the Caribbean way of “all will be well” resets everything nicely. 

The temperature year-round sits at about 30 degrees so not too hot for young skin and while there is more rainfall from June to November, it is mainly in short, warm bursts. 

 Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa

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Our first stop was located a five-minute drive from the airport in Vieux Fort, on the island’s Atlantic side. It’s a sprawling, activity-packed all-inclusive resort with 250 rooms, a mile-long beach and its own water park.

Coconut Bay is divided into two sections – adults-only Serenity and the family-friendly Splash. 

We stayed in a Splash King Concierge room with a huge bed, wooden cot and a balcony overlooking the resort and ocean. Newly renovated, the rooms are decked out in fun, tropical colours and the hotel had left a lovely gift bag of treats for our son. 

The balcony was particularly enjoyable once our son was asleep as we could still watch the entertainment and have a drink while he slumbered on. 

Though the resort is big, our room was within easy walking distance to the pools, restaurants and kids’ club so we didn’t use our buggy once. 

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Coconut Bay’s children’s facilities are exceptional. Dotted around the resort’s 85 acres is a huge family-friendly pool, a lazy river, water slides and Cocoland Kidz Klub, the biggest on the island. 

It caters for children from three months to 12 years and is open from 9am to 5pm. 

We left our son there for a few hours each day and he loved it – a testament to the staff, who were all so jolly, warm and professional. The club has its own mini water park, a donkey sanctuary, zip line, pirate ship, stacks of toys and even little beds for naps. For older children there are also excursions such as turtle watching. 

Most evenings there is entertainment or live music – during our holiday it was Thanksgiving so we enjoyed a surprisingly decent Michael Jackon tribute and a themed barbeque.

If you do use the Kidz Klub, there are adult activities to do during the day such as fitness classes, a spa, painting lessons and water sports – and of course the beautiful beach complete with its rum and burger shack. 

If you run out of essentials, there is also an onsite shop. Don’t forget swim nappies like I did though as they cost an eye-wateringly $20 (£15.50) a pack. Most prices are in US dollars but the resort takes all major credit and debit cards. 

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Coconut Bay has nine restaurants including the main buffet-style eatery open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast starts at 7am – a big positive with a touch of jet lag – and dinner ends at 8pm. The buffet is plentiful, varied and fresh, ranging from traditional Creole saltfish to pizza. While it couldn’t be described as premium dining, it is informal and fun and great for eating out with a toddler – which is the exact opposite of relaxing, in my experience.

For something smarter, Coconut Bay also has six fine-dining restaurants and another must-try is the Jerk Treehouse 

Coconut Bay is a big and bold four-star resort, brimful of Caribbean charm. It’s not particularly quiet or private but has the friendliest, most helpful staff who are well used to the unpredictability of children.

The Landings Resort & Spa 

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Our second stop was a two-hour drive to the north of the island, near Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island National Park. The lobby at The Landings is palatial – soothing and elegant and it felt more like a grand residence than a hotel. The suites and apartments are all spread out between a marina and the beach and zippy little golf buggies are available to ferry you from place to place. We stayed in a two-bedroom beachfront apartment with a huge kitchen, living area and a sun-drenched terrace. The decor was chic and simple and there was even a laundry room with washing powder – I was very pleased about this! We also had a rotation of butlers who were available from 6am until midnight if needed and helped with tasks such as organising a babysitter, room service or offering to fetch things our son had left on the beach. Having such a large, well-equipped space meant our son was a bit calmer and had somewhere to play out of the sun. In fact, the apartment was so homely we happily took it in turns going down to the beach for a bit on our own. 

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The Landings has a kid’s club for ages four and up so we did not use it – however there is a babysitting service available for an extra charge of $15 (£12) per hour and we used this one evening so we could have dinner on the beach and watch some dancing and fire-eaters. There are two pools – one overlooking the marina – that were spotless and never crowded but we spent most of our time on the beach. Children are most welcome at The Landings but the vibe was more luxury and sedate, a lovely contrast to the first part of our holiday. 



The Landings has a few eating options. The Beach Club, with tables that seem to float on the water, offers upmarket Caribbean cuisine like tuna and watermelon tartar, house brined triggerfish and sangria chicken. More child-friendly options are also available like pasta and pizza. The fabulous breakfast spread is served there, too. 

A short walk away is the Callaloo Beach Club, where you can dine on the sand. This place was great for letting our toddler splash in the sea while we had a rest with a drink. The menu is a bit more casual but still tasty with options such as green papaya and chayote salad or blackened fish wrap. For adults-only fine dining there is The Palms, located in the main part of the hotel. The ‘east meets west’ menu changes seasonally and with its dramatic marina views and fresh seafood cooked on a lava stone grill, it’s a real date-night treat.

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St Lucia has such a rich heritage and magnificent scenery it seems a shame to stay resort-bound. The island’s iconic backdrop is the Piton mountains and a brilliant way to see them is on the Tet Paul Nature Trail. It’s a 40-minute hike near Soufriere that isn’t too arduous for kids but definitely too demanding for a toddler. If you’re feeling strong though, a baby carrier could be an option! 

Market day in Soufriere is also worth a visit. It’s a great way to experience a Caribbean port town and while it’s noisy and chaotic, it’s loads of fun. On Thursdays, there is Helen’s Daughters, a women-only market that empowers local women in agriculture. Spices, hand-poured candles and crafts made excellent presents. 

As a bucket-list outing we went to Hotel Chocolat for lunch. Rabot Hotel and Restaurant is set on Hotel Chocolat’s working cacao farm and the whole menu is chocolate-infused, from its pasta to its bread to its puddings, of course. Cocktails include mango, chilli and white-chocolate margaritas and a range of martinis made with the hotel’s signature velvetised creams. Set on a rustic deck overlooking the Pitons, it was incredibly special – though our son lost his mind a bit with all the chocolate on offer. Be warned! 

St Lucia is a once-in-a lifetime experience that the whole family can enjoy. Don’t be put off its romantic reputation – young children can have a ball too, at the right hotel. The weather, the welcoming people and the incredible range of sea and land activities on offer means not a toddler tantrum in sight!