Updated: Jan 18
Before embarking on a week-long junket on a 100-year-old windjammer, we decided to spend five days on picturesque Marigot Bay on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Our stay at the Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort (not to be confused with the very pricey 5-star Marigot Bay Resort and Marina just across the bay) completely met our expectations.
The view from out breakfast table each morning was serene.
Make no mistake, it is not a five-star resort and that, at least in part, is what originally appealed to us. We were trying to stretch out our Caribbean vacation in the midst of a polar vortex cold snap, but we were already paying for a week-long sailboat cruise and wanted a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy an extra week. The Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort fit the bill perfectly. This is a James Bond resort, but of the Sean Connery era, not Daniel Craig's. The reggae music blasts from speakers in Doolittle's Restaurant all day, the centerpiece of the resort. There are billiard tables next to the bar, and it really does seem like the kind of place where the old James Bond would have met up with shady characters while sipping a rum punch.
The fun atmosphere attracts a steady flow of visitors from all over the bay. They arrive either by small boats from their private yachts or via the free ferry taxi that runs all day from the mainland just across the bay, which author James Michener once called the most beautiful in the world. The modern-day yachting set seems to agree as the bay and its marina are full of magnificent yachts whose flags represent the world of luxury boat owners. Doolittle's Bar and Restaurant draws the crowds with its night long happy hours, and its reputation as the site of the Doctor Doolittle movie that starred Rex Harrison in the late 1960s.
The pool at the Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort is refreshing.
Our Beachfront Studio had a fun Caribbean vibe.
The open balcony was great spot for reading in the shade.
Lunchtime conch fritters at Doolittle's Restaurant were our favorite snack.
The sunset seen from the restaurant was spectacular almost every evening.
The hotel's beach was convenient.
The 5-star Marigot Bay Hotel and Marina across the bay is a wonderful but expensive option.
Yachts line the walkway of the little town of Marigot Bay.
The top-rated restaurant on the whole island of St. Lucia is Masala Bay, an Indian/Chinese fusion restaurant that offers great food and very friendly, attentive staff. It is on the second floor of the blue building at the ferry dock and we ate there many times.
Since we were staying at a dive resort, we decided to take a trip right from our own dock. Dive Fair Helen offers beginner and expert dive trips as well as snorkel adventures. We decided to try a half-day snorkel trip with them and were very happy. The boat took out divers and snorkelers to the same stop, and fed us all a yummy local lunch of chicken, rice and salads on board. We enjoyed the snorkeling and the divers were also happy.
Brain coral, sea urchins and tropical fish are easy to spot in St. Lucia's clear blue waters.