What is it? Rex Resorts, a 4* All Inclusive hotel

Where? Rodney Beach on the northwest coast of St Lucia in the Caribbean

Description: [captain_luke.jpg] Visiting a Caribbean island during the Cricket World Cup only meant one thing – the English showing themselves up at cricket again! This time the national team weren’t the only ones, as the ‘tourists’ proved no match for the St Lucian locals.

Luckily though, there were plenty of distractions from the cricket as Kirsty spent a delightful week with her family at one of the most beautiful places in the world, in a bid to escape the UK’s spring showers.

Palm fringed beaches, friendly Caribbean people & glorious sunshine – why ever not?

Watersports, various excursions around the island, and of course the beach or the pool

The Friday Fish-Fry at Anse-la-Raye is particularly family friendly, starting in the early evening, or the Jump Up at Gros Islet also on a Friday Night is a similar idea, although appeals more to locals and those with older children, as it doesn’t really get going until 10pm.

The resort’s own kids club is run by qualified nursery nurses, and has a fun-packed timetable during peak seasons. In the off peak weeks, they are more flexible and cater the programme to the children present. Although officially this is for kids aged 4 and over, speak to them & they may allow younger children if they are quiet. Babysitters can be arranged if required, with 24 hours notice. The Entertainments Programme around the pool & beach is also very family friendly.

The Rex Royal Spa has a range of treatments, massages and facials.

Local activities: A whole range of excursions are available, but for young families the land & sea tour is especially suitable. A few hours trip down the island by mini-bus with various stops to take in key sights such as the waterfall, a cocoa plantation (where we stayed for lunch) and to Soufriere to visit the world’s only drive-in volcano (it’s collapsed in on itself and isn’t active!).

With an excellent tour guide giving you a commentary en-route about the checkered history of the island and its nature and wildlife, before delivering you to the catamaran’s crew who sail you back up the western coast, stopping off at a bay for swimming and circling Marigot Bay, the location for the filming of many movies including the original Dr Dolittle in 1967 and more recently Pirates of the Caribbean. A superb day trip suitable for all the family. For older children, the Pirate ship cruise for families sounds ideal.

Wish we had known: That the kids club operated with so much common sense & that they’d have taken Luke despite him being under 4. He only started going in half way through the week & absolutely loved playing with his two new friends!

Our top tip: Get out and see the island, it’s one of the most beautiful in the world. Don’t just stay tied to your resort.

Kids say: “Look, Mummy, the moon is smiling” – Luke aged 3 noticing that a new moon in the Caribbean looks like a smile

Getting There: We flew with Virgin Atlantic direct from Manchester and stayed at Rex Resorts, specifically the all-inclusive “Papillon by Rex”. Prices with Virgin Holidays for 7 nights start from L819 per adult & L439 per child, but check the website for specific prices and special offers. Other companies who offer Rex Resorts include Kuoni.

About our stay: To say I was dreading our first long-haul flight with Luke was an understatement! How was I going to occupy him for so many hours? But by taking it one hour at a time, and armed with plenty of books, toys, colouring crayons and the fantastic Virgin inflight entertainment, it went surprisingly quickly and painlessly. [in_front_of_the_hotel_on_the_beach.jpg] So when we arrived at our resort, after a 90 minute transfer from the airport, we were a little bewildered to see so many cricket fans in the reception. Okay, we knew we were on the island at the same time at the Cricket World Cup, and that England was being hosted by St Lucia, but when we were told that all the four cricket teams in England’s group were staying at the Rex (along with countless fans and the media) we were astonished! Luke meanwhile was blissfully unaware of the commotion and slept through most of our first evening as the four hour time difference had taken its toll. We woke up bright & early (being affected slightly by the time zone) and decided to investigate our surroundings of this Caribbean paradise. Flinging open the curtains of our ground floor room, we certainly weren’t expecting what greeted us…a lush garden occupied by the Sky Sports crew interviewing the England cricket coach, complete with TV cameras, microphones and correspondents! Thankfully they’d just finished and began packing up soon after. Or maybe they knew something we didn’t, as after this mild shock, we wandered down to the golden sandy beach which was just a stone’s throw away, only to find ourselves in the middle of a rain shower. All the way from Manchester to the Caribbean, for more rain? However, the early morning showers, although sometimes quite heavy, didn’t last long and gave way to glorious blue skies and warm sunshine. And looking at the bright colours in the landscape, the vegetation and of course the central rainforest, I suppose it’s a small price to pay. [the_pitons_from_the_land.jpg] This island is probably the most stunning place I’ve visited, from the majesty of the peaks of the Pitons, the sweeping coastline and sandy bays, and the hilly central areas which include the beautiful rainforest and the acres of banana plantations. The people, although their manner with us adults appears initially quite blunt at times, they can’t do enough for you if you have a child in tow! Despite this hotel not being recognized as one of the most well known family resorts on the island, I found the smaller kids club and the pleasantly straightforward approach incredibly refreshing. Luke couldn’t have enjoyed himself more. He had a great mixture of swimming in the sea and in the pool several times a day, playing on the sandy beach, kids club sessions, playing games with his friends, lots of attention from all the staff and a bit of adventure thrown in with our various excursions. Needless to say, cricket proved to be quite a theme of the holiday, and the day the cricket teams left the hotel to go onto Barbados for the next stage of the World Cup, the hotel laid on a beach party for the rest of the fans. Teams from around the island appeared on the beach, along with steel drum bands, singers and a barbeque. Being a Sunday, locals turned out to take part in the festivities, and my husband had the glory of captaining one of the ‘team of tourists’ who ended up being runners up in the cricket competition. This really brought the hotel guests together and set up the social scene for the rest of the holiday! Although, we made sure we left the pedaloes well alone! [Kirsty McGregor is co-founder of entertainthekids.com and lives in West Yorkshire with her husband Gregg, and a three year old son Luke].

Created: 2007-05-15 13:08:27.307

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