St. Lucia is a beautiful, mystical island. The beach at the Papillion is wonderful. However, low guest turn out is causing a downward spiralling in the care and concern management has for its guests and staff. We were there in 2003 and were disappointed in the changes. I wonder if they will survive until the nearby Casino is finished. Water restrictions were in effect for this resort which added to their problems. Water was on from 7:30 – 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 – 10:30 p.m. The day we left it was on until 2:30 p.m.
Rather than one huge bus, shuttle buses holding about 12 passengers and their luggage staggered the arrivals to the hotel. It is a 1 1/2 hour drive over winding, mountainous terrain. Three of the passengers in our bus were car sick. The driver had to pull over on to some very small shoulders of the road a number of times. There is no snack bar open after supper time. Sandwiches were available for us though at the bar. If there was bell service available, I did not see it.
Rooms were clean and kept that way. Our view was over the pool and on to the sail boat dotted bay. It would have been very useful to have operating instructions for the air conditioner. We had a mini fridge but no hair dryer or coffee maker. One person in our group of 6 asked for a hair dryer. She never got it. The furniture and furnishings were fine. Lots of clothes hangers in the closet.
Restaurants and Bars:
Because so few guests stay at the Papillion, only one buffet is open for breakfast and supper. Hot foods were hot, cold foods cold. The beef was not as tough as I found in most Caribbean resorts. Is it just a Canadian thing to want coffee or tea as soon as we sit down for breakfast? One server stared at us as though we wanted to pull out all her teeth when we asked for coffee. At lunch and supper coffee and tea are available to pour for ourselves. Not all soft drinks were available at all bars at all times. This could be an island issue or maybe it is a way to keep the all-inclusive patrons from drinking too much. The all inclusive bar list had a good variety. Ice was not available at many times when the water was shut off. Menus are late mornings each day. We planned to dine at the Oriental on our final night but had had Chinese the night before. So we changed our reservation to the CHIC at the Royal – the more expensive sister side of the Papillion. Never had so many eaten so little for so much. One does pay dearly for all those ostentatious trappings. Worst of all the food was not even good.
Absolutely wonderful beach. The pool is shaped as a beautiful butterfly. It’s open only from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. No life guard. With no water available for showers after being in the ocean in the afternoon, there is a lot of sand in the pools. One staff member refused to pick up broken glass pieces. St. Lucia is a British Colony but some of the staff really do take on the snobby airs of haughty French servers. The Rex Papillion is an old resort and the trees and shrubs are well established and well tended. The groundskeepers beamed when I complimented them.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There is no kids club or much entertainment so the guests tend to be older or families with young children. There is lots of music and action across the street though. We did take a wonderful tour of the island labelled "The Conveniently Late Tour". We were picked up at the Hotel on time and driven down to Castries where our guide was 45 minutes late. We also took a snorkelling tour sanctioned by our Sunwing representative. The dive master on this was late in turning up and so was lunch. We had to pay an unexpected extra $2.00 each for admission or this lunch.
We booked through Sunwing travels. Although they are very strict about combined weight of checked and carry on luggage they have lots of staff at Toronto airport. They have no control over weather but make the trip as comfortable as possible. What makes it good was frequent glasses of water, hot, complimentary meals, tea and coffee service with refills and free movies and headsets.
I do not write reviews as a rule. Our departure flight was not scheduled until 8:45 p.m. and the Rex shuttled us all out at 4:45. Sitting around a hotel lobby (don’t forget there was no water for showers after 2:30) or in a Caribbean airport (our flight was 2 1/2 hours late in leaving) is not a good way of ending a holiday. I accept the Papillion to be a dying 3 star hotel. What I do not accept is not being able to secure a late check out on our departure date. All we wanted was one of our 3 rooms until 2:30. Four of the six of us are repeat guests and we were willing to pay the $20.00 U.S. for the privilege of having an air conditioned unit in which to pass the time. The manager (after trying to deal with the front desk clerk) would not even look me in the eye to tell me he would not/could not do it. His orders came from above. Not bending a little has cost the Rex and St. Lucia a lot more than just our return to this resort, perhaps even the island. This review will make many potential guests look at other resorts in the area or Caribbean.