Hotel review: LeSport, Castries, St Lucia
Overall rating: ****1/2 (out of 5)
Service: ***** (out of 5)
Food: **** (out of 5)
Atmosphere: ***** (out of 5)
Rooms: **** (out of 5)
Spa: **** (out of 5)
Sports/activities: ***** (out of 5)
Review by: Alexa Williamson
Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday in a warm, sunny place, a chance to be sporty and improve your health, to be pampered or just take advantage of an easy, all-inclusive stay where your hardest task is to decide what to eat out of the 70+ fresh dishes on the buffet at each meal, then LeSport is for you.
LeSport is a special place
I was first attracted to LeSport because it offered yoga and a free 50-minute spa treatment each day as part of the stay. However, after a one-week stay there, I learned that after getting into your holiday groove out, it becomes more like a home-away-from-home, and it’s no wonder there are so many regulars – which is due to the wonderful community created between the friendly staff and equally friendly hotel visitors. (How can you not be happy and friendly when it’s warm, sunny and the surroundings are breath-taking?)
LeSport is a rejuvenating holiday and you can get organised in advance
There’s so much to say about LeSport as I had probably the best holiday of my life there. However, first it’s best to mention two things they pride themselves on, which really do make a difference to your stay. The most important is their motto, “give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind”. Besides the friendly staff and it being good value for money, it’s a place where you can truly get healthy. (Whilst there, for example, I tried their fennel detox, which not only improved the circulation in my body and helped remove cellulite, but also did wonders for my colon. At $135 for one treatment or $340 for three, I thought it was worth every penny for the feeling of lightness and vitality after the treatment.)
Not only do they have a health and wellness centre (called The Oasis) that is aimed at improving health (not a luxury beauty salon by another name), they also offer fresh, organic food and can they cater for those who are on special diets (whether it’s to improve your heart, increase muscle, food allergies or ailments like candida or diabetes).
Second, because there is so much to do, they have wisely allowed guests to use their website to schedule which treatments they want and at what times, a couple of weeks before they arrive, so that they can co-ordinate them with the sports they want to do.
My holiday there
Before arriving for my one-week stay, I expected to spend at least one-day exploring St Lucia, an island colonised over the centuries by Spain, then France, then Britain before gaining independence in 1979.
With sugar once being its main crop, and now bananas, the island’s a lush, leafy setting with rain forests, volcanos, former plantations (and their grand houses) and palm and banana trees blowing in a cool breeze.
However, LeSport itself, nestled in a tranquil cove with a classic golden beach and azure waters and so much to experience, was too enticing to leave. Thus my holiday was spent enjoying the many things it had to offer.
Besides all of LeSport’s excellent facilities, it’s wonderfulness increases by also catering for single travellers with 29 of its 149 being designed specifically for one person. Of those I saw, they do need a bit of upgrading (ie there is some cracking paint and aren’t as shiny and new as the lovely seaview room I stayed in), however they are still nice, including a luxuriously comfy double bed and lovely effects.
I got placed in their one of their Grand Luxury Ocean View rooms, which had been newly renovated, and was very pleased. The view was stunning, there was a mini-fridge with complimentary fresh water, fresh flowers and the housekeeping kept the room spic and span – including a turndown service. And the best part was waking up everyday and being able to look out at the rising sun – either from bed or my balcony.
The sheer delights of what’s on offer
I’m not sure what I enjoyed most. So, I’ll start with the food. Eating every meal, every day was a delight. Everything was fresh, with many things being organic, and many choices on offer.
Breakfast and lunch were buffets in the breezy Cariblue restaurant and dinner took place again either at Cariblue, a buffet at the Clubhouse or you could book to sample their East-West fusion cuisine at Tao.
Typical breakfast buffet included:
Oatmeal porridge – either with water or soya milk/muesli
Muffins, croissants, toast with peanut butter or jam, pancakes, waffles, bagels with cream cheese, scones
Eggs of any sort – scrambled, omelettes, poached, fried
Yoghurt, banana milk, fruit galore, including local variety such as papaya, pineapple, guava, cantalope
Ham, cheeses, smoked salmon, bacon, sausage, chickpea patties
Walnuts, sesame seeds, pecans, prunes, figs
A typical lunch buffet included (but not limited to):
Homemade breads (with and without yeast, also either oat or wheat), sandwich fillings
Seasoned rices, steamed vegetables
Chicken, seafood or pork stirfry
Plus on varying days different curries and local dishes including jerk chicken or fish w/green peppercorn sauce, fried dumplings, chicken roti with mango chutney, fried plantains, Christobel gratin (potatoes and cheese), seafood chowder, Carribean ragu (squash/pumpkin with spices) and Accras (salt fish fritters) and not to be forgotten – rum coconuts.
Dinner at Lesport
With three options to choose from the quickest and easiest to choose was definitely the buffet at the Clubhouse, which required no dress code and offered a basic yet fresh menu that included rice, steamed vegetables and a choice of meats (the roast turkey I had there one evening was succulent).
Sitdown dinner at Cariblue or Tao were also excellent options and the chefs at both restaurants knew how to season their food to perfection. If you want a romantic setting, Tao is definitely the place to take someone special as you can hear or see the ocean from your table, it’s candlelit and has a serene and exotic ambience about it, particularly with its tasteful Asian decorations.
Cariblue typical dinner menu:
Appetizers: gazpacho, spinach and onion quiche, yellow lentil dhal, Scottish smoked salmon.
Main courses: baked herb dorado with green peas mash, tomato concasse; duo of cornish hen, confit of leg and breast wrapped in proscuitto, pumpkin gratin, blueberry sauce; paprika, cumin and herbs marinated pan seared tilapia with couscous salad, arugula pesto sauce; Indian vegetable curry with lentil dhal and basmati rice; rigatoni, quattro fromagi with blue cheese, mozzarella, edam and parmesan sauce.
Desserts: spiced fruit pudding with creamy rum sauce, apple tart tatin with coconut ice cream, dark chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce, prunes poached in orange sauce with sour cream sorbet, fresh fruit salad.
Tao typical dinner menu:
Appetisers examples: Polynesian duck; lumpia udang barong (lobster springroll w/sweet and sour sauce and mango coulis); seafood cake with Eastern spices, papaya slaw dressing, Japanese dressing in mizuna and sake hollandaise; sushi & sashimi platter, Thai Laksa – a soup flavoured with coconut milk, chicken breast, rice stick noodles, vegetable threads and bean sprouts.
Fish examples: Marquesas Red Snapper with apple raita, Asian tapenade in a lemongrass infused olive oil; fiji shrimp nage – wok seared Cambodian spiced, pink jumbo shrimps, pumpkin and coconut risotto, read peppers, wilted baby bokchoy, in a shellfish nage; Pacific Rim Seafood Bouillabaisse – scallops, pink jumbo shrimps, green lips, mussels, squid, lambi and fresh fish served with bean thread noodles, shiitake mushrooms, bokchoy, asparagus and red snapper in coriander, lemongrass, coconut and chili flavoured shellfish fumet.
Meat examples: wok-seared pork tenderloin with grilled star anise, scented apples, pickled cucumber, dates and banana chutney in a teriyaki scented jus; Tao Chicken – yakitori grilled boneless breast of chicken served with carbonara noodle, olive oil poached vine ripened tomato, bois boudran in an Indonesian Ketjap manis; Hibachi grilled marinated New Zealand lamb loin, garlic and mint-scented mashed potato, spicy fried onion in a tamarind red curry flavoured jus; Hoisin Duck Festival – braised mapleleaf duck breast served with green onion mashed potatoes, vegetable spring rolls in a honey & hoisin sauce.
Dessert examples: pina colada & raspberry terrine, chocolate fondant, iced lemon & ginger souffle, ying &
yang mousse – dark chocolate mousse, caramelized lychee, passion fruit coulis, Javanais – almond sponge gateaux, dark chocolate creme Anglaise, Vanilla ice cream.
With the staff being so kind, I also got to know Cariblue’s head chef Rajah Pillay, who would cook special dishes for my dietary requirements – and also took the time to email me before my arrival. Plus, the staff were always very nice, polite, happy to bring extra portions of side dishes without hesitation and were never reluctant to go into the kitchen and find out ingredients in a dish.
And don’t forget the deli on the beach, which offers light meals including sandwiches and salads, pastries, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, teas and coffees. (There are few things as perfect in this world as sipping an iced latte shake while staring out at the sea.) Or high tea, which is served in the Clubhouse between 3-5pm.
LeSport has a myriad of activities on offer including early morning walks and cycling, yoga, pilates, meditation, tai chi, tennis, golf, archery, stretch and tone classes, cardio workouts, personal training, circus sports and their many fun water sports – snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing and water volleyball.
I found all of the classes I attended exciting and the instructors patient, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable. My personal favourites were: tubing, yoga, circus sports, meditation and the early morning power walks.
LeSport Review – Part 2 (The London Reviewer)
The London Reviewer’s pictures of LeSport (Flickr)
LeSport (official site)
Sunswept Resorts (official site)
Feature: environmentally friendly holiday resorts (The London Reviewer)
Interview with Vincent Andrew about LeSport’s healthy eating & fine dining ethos
Caribbean poetry by Alexa Williamson (The London Reviewer)