In January of this year, we escaped the cold, snowy winter in Pennsylvania for a week in tropical Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. My family of four (myself, husband, and 2 kids ages 8 and 12 at the time) stayed at Coconut Bay Resort and Spa and had an amazing time. Get a quick look at the highlight reel in the video below, and read on for more details about our vacation. (Be sure to read to the end for our toad story!)
Coconut Bay Resort St. Lucia Review
Our favorite part of any Caribbean vacation is the water – pools and beach. Here are some of our favorite views, including the one where my lovely daughter tried to drown me in the lazy river waterfall. Man, I love that kid.
The Resort and Rooms
Coconut Bay is divided into 2 sides: Harmony and Splash. Harmony is the adult-only side, and Splash is family-friendly. This kind of gave me pause when booking our vacation because we were traveling with kids, and I hate feeling like certain things are off limits. It turns out this was really a non-issue. The sides are so separate we never really even knew Harmony was there. On our part of the resort, the kids were allowed to go everywhere and do everything.
The lobby is the hub of activity. This is where you’ll check in and out, make your dining reservations, and book any excursions you want to take. The Coconut Walk Marketplace is also located in here, and that’s the buffet that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We ate there for most meals.
At night, you might find singing happening on a stage in the lobby, too, and there’s a nice bar in there as well.
There’s a covered area outside that includes another entertainment area and bar. We watched one of the Eagles playoff games here and it’s pretty cool to travel all the way to Saint Lucia to meet fellow fans! Some nights you’ll find entertainment on stage, and country night was my favorite!
My son enjoyed MANY games of pool, and there’s a ping pong table in that area as well.
My kids are old enough that they want to hang with us and not be put in a kids’ club, but I think they almost reconsidered when we met some of the entertainment staff. There are activities planned throughout the day, and we played a serious game of cornhole with two very cool employees that my kids fell in love with. You’ll find a list of the day’s events in the lobby area.
Coconut Bay also has a petting zoo, which was a little weird for us. The animals are all sweet and when we walked over, the gentlemen tending to them allowed my kids to feed the goats which they loved.
We did, however, find horses tied to a tree on a tennis court that was covered in poop. There were other horses that were running loose around the petting zoo area. It was just kind of a head scratcher as to why this was even on the resort. Kinda neat for kids who love animals, but also kinda odd.
The views from the resort are gorgeous. Tons of beautiful palm trees and the sunsets are stunning. We stayed out by the pools until the sun went down on most days.
Our room was lovely with two beds and a great view. There are different levels of rooms, and we chose the Splash Premium Ocean View. Our room was on the 3rd floor with a nice view of the pools and ocean. If you want a view, go for that level or higher. I think on the 2nd floor or below, you won’t be able to see much from your balcony.
The housekeepers were wonderful and left us fun towel art and a personal note each day. The rooms include what you’d expect: hair dryer, safe, closet with hangers, and toiletries.
Pools + Water Park
There are 3 family-friendly pools at Coconut Bay. One is the Splash Pool which is the biggest and most fun for little kids with a zero-entry side. This is also where the pool bar is located. Hello! There are a couple of towel huts where you can sign out towels and exchange them for fresh ones, so no need to worry about packing those.
There’s a small pool in little bit of a hidden spot that often no one else was in and we used it as our own private pool! That’s the Splash Plunge Pool located near the water park area.
Finally, there’s the Activity Pool where some of the recreational events are planned, like pool volleyball and exercise classes.
There’s one hot tub on the Splash side, located near the Activity Pool. It’s got an amazing view and you can sit in it and watch the sun set over the ocean. Unfortunately since there’s only one, it was often full and we only got in it a couple of times during our stay. You have to stalk it out a bit to catch it when it’s empty or at least less crowded.
Coconut Bay Resort also features a really fun water park. It might be a bit of a stretch to call it a full water park since it’s pretty much one lazy river and two water slides but it’s a total blast and we spent a lot of time there.
We floated around that lazy river over and over and over again. There are a couple of waterfalls to go under but it’s mostly a very relaxing, perfect way to soak up some sun.
One of the water slides is open-air and deposits you in one small pool, where you go down a second small slide to get out. The other slide, no one in my family tried. It’s completely enclosed and looks pitch black inside. Not for us, but if you’re a thrill seeker and like twisting around in a slide in the dark, go for it!
Food and Drink
Coconut Bay Resort is an all-inclusive, so all of your food and drink are included. They have really fun menus at each of the bars and my husband and I sampled a lot of them! The Island Volcano was my #1 top pick – try it if you go!
The bars can all make specialty drinks for the kids with no alcohol and mine loved trying all kinds of new concoctions. The best kids’ drinks come from the pool bar, which is split into an adult side and a kids’ size, each complete with its own menu of beverages.
There are many dining options to choose from, and we found ourselves at 2 places the majority of the time: The Coconut Walk Marketplace (the buffet), and the Jerk Tree House.
The Jerk Tree House serves jerk chicken and pork with sides like rice and peas and friend plantains. It’s SO good, and it’s the perfect place to take a break from the beach or pool and go grab some grub. Plus, Piton, the local beer, is on tap and you can’t leave Saint Lucia without having at least one!
Coconut Walk Marketplace offers a variety of food for everyone and they even have a separate station just for kids with things like chicken fingers and mac and cheese. For breakfast, there’s a smoothie bar and the kids got to choose their own mix-ins, plus they had homemade crepes that were divine! Dinner is themed each night, so even though you’re eating in the same place, the food is always different. Dress for the buffet is resort casual, so you’re fine in shorts and a t-shirt.
There are other restaurants on-site that require reservations (and a resort evening dress code), and if you’re interested in that, I’d make them as soon as you can. We waited a day to stop by the desk in the lobby to book ours, and there were slim pickings, particularly if you are traveling with kids because they have special time slots for families.
We made reservations for three different places we wanted to try, and the first one we went to was Silk, the Asian restaurant. The service was very slow. The food was pretty good, but it didn’t justify the wait and despite the limited availability for this restaurant according to the reservation desk, it was empty when we arrived. That also made the slow service a bit confusing.
We were glad we tried it, but we ended up deciding we didn’t want to plan our entire day (get out of the pools by 4:30 so we’re all showered and dressed and ready to roll to dinner by 6) around a meal like this. It kind of killed our whole evening. We cancelled the remaining reservations we had and dined at the buffet or Jerk Tree House for the rest of our trip. We actually met one other family who did the exact same thing, and they hadn’t eaten at Silk but at a different restaurant.
If it were just me and my husband, I might have been more inclined to be patient with the dining. Because we were twisting arms to get kids out of pools in order to make our reservation, it made it not worth it. Your mileage may vary on this one.
Coconut Bay is on the Atlantic Ocean side of Saint Lucia, so while you won’t find that pristine, clear, Caribbean water, the beaches are still gorgeous. Take a walk north to Paradise Beach, a stretch of the beach that’s still on resort property, to find the bluest, calmest water. There’s even a bar up there and a bunch of beach chairs and umbrellas, so that’s the spot for your beach days.
One day we saw a bunch of riders on horses on the beach which was gorgeous. You can pay to ride them, too, or book a similar adventure through the excursion desk in the lobby.
If you’re into kite surfing, there’s a whole station for that at this end of the beach as well. That’s not something we really know how to do but it was fun to watch and we talked to other guests that said they come here year after year just for the kite surfing.
After a quick rainstorm one day, we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow.
Tips for Your Visit
I tried to cover the big bases above, but here are a few little tidbits that might help you plan your trip.
Flights (what to wear)
Our trip was in January and we flew direct from JFK in New York City so it was cold when we left. We arrived in Saint Lucia in pants, and our room wasn’t quite ready when we got there. We were able to walk around the resort, have lunch, etc. until we could get into our room, but I wish we would have packed shorts in our carry on so we could have quickly changed. We were HOT by the time we got into our suitcases to change clothes.
This is probably me being a careless parent, but nevertheless I’ll share it with you. One night we walked around the resort looking for wildlife – one of our favorite parts of traveling is discovering the local animal scene. In the grass we saw eyes staring back and us, and these two crazy kids ran after them and caught these toads.
We were all, “Wow, they’re big! So cool!” And it was quite a find…I mean, look at them! After we got back to our room that night we Googled what kind of toads live in Saint Lucia. These are Cane Toads, the largest toads in the world. They have poison glands and toxic skin. Something you want your kids picking up? Probably not.
They’re toxic to animals that eat them, particularly dogs, and while they were introduced for pest control purposes, they’re actually considered invasive now. I’m not an expert here, but it looks like they secrete their toxin after being squeezed or if they are fearful, and that toxin has to be ingested or absorbed through the eyes or other mucous membrane. Anyway, stay away from the toads. My kids thoroughly washed hands and we have this lovely photo to remember that time…
I’m going to put together another post on this, but Saint Lucia is not the place to go and sit at your resort for a week. GO SEE SOMETHING! It’s a gorgeous island, we felt totally safe traveling with our kids, and some of our best memories were made while snorkeling or jumping in a waterfall.
Should you bring money for tips? We did. Tipping is not required since this is an all-inclusive, but it is permitted and appreciated. Bring some ones and fives for your servers, bar staff, drivers, excursion hosts, and your housekeeper.
If you’ve got stuff to plug in that uses a 2-prong outlet, get a converter before you go. From their website: The voltage of most electrical outlets on resort is 220/50 Hz, so guests are recommended to travel with a converter. A British 3-pin plug (which are available for sale at any electronics store pre-travel) will suffice. Recent renovations on resort did include the addition of 110V outlets (higher room categories only) however, converters are still recommended.
We were in an upgraded room and I think we had 2 outlets in the room that we could use. If you’re charging 2 phones, a GoPro, a tablet, etc. etc., I would take a converter with you. This one looks pretty foolproof for travelers.
We only traveled with US currency, which is widely accepted. We did get a few Saint Lucian coins for change which was fine and a good keepsake.
The WiFi at the resort is strongest in the lobby and kind of iffy elsewhere. We put travel passes on our phone with our carrier that included our unlimited plan that we have at home (we have Verizon) and the service was actually really good, so we were always connected.
Have more questions? Leave me a comment and I’ll respond. Check out the Coconut Bay Resort website for more pics, video, and info on all of the resort amenities. This is one of our favorite vacations that we’ve ever taken and highly recommend this resort as a great value, great experience, and a lot of fun for those of us that take the kids!