I recently returned from an end-of-summer vacay in St. Lucia with my husband. We opted for an all-inclusive experience and chose to stay at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian. While all-inclusive luxury usually puts most travelers at ease, it causes me great anxiety for one reason. Food! I’m a strict vegan, and I have to be because consuming some animal products makes me physically ill, sometimes for up to a week. So, one bad meal could take a trip from enjoyable to disastrous within minutes. Traveling vegan isn’t easy, but the Sandals Grande St. Lucian made it the easiest trip ever for this vegan.
To be safe, I usually eat a raw vegan diet when I travel. From the moment I checked into Sandals, though, I knew something was different. I was actually asked about any dietary requirements, and then referred to a culinary concierge. In addition, the woman holding down the concierge desk quickly put me at ease with these words, “we’ve got you covered. You’ll have plenty to eat here.” And, the best part is she was right.
It was time to put the Sandals Grande St. Lucian to the test. My first stop was the Olde London Pub. I communicated my dietary restrictions to a waiter who insisted that I speak with the chef. What I enjoyed most about the exchanges about food with Sandals staff is that I never felt like my vegan diet was a problem or a challenge. Furthermore, the chefs I met seemed delighted to prepare something special and off menu for me.
I spent most of my time in the Caribbean Village portion of the resort. The Bayside Restaurant was a must-stop for breakfast and some dinners. Often, resorts cater to the tastes of foreign visitors at the expense of local cuisine. At Bayside, though, I was thrilled to see typical island fruits—passion fruit, sugarcane, papaya, and coconut—available. In addition, the chefs created the most tasty surprises like the meal shown below. I must shout-out staffers like Julie, who I believe was a food manager there, who always went the extra mile to ensure I had a satisfying meal at Bayside. I’m especially grateful to the evening chef as well for whipping me up a vegan soup and a tasty entree with tofu. I wish I had a photo to share, but I was so eager to dig in that I never took one.
I also especially enjoyed eating at Barefoot by the Sea. One of the best meals on the entire trip was this simple vegan curry vegetable wrap that packed serious flavor. It was the closest thing to an island roti that I’ve had in a long time.
For travelers with special needs, whether those be dietary or something else, a resort willing to accommodate those no matter what it takes is such a treasure. Food accommodations truly made it easy for me to actually relax on vacation.
With the worry about food gone, I felt free to enjoy all the Sandals luxuries, like the beautiful white-sand beach the resort rests on.
I was able to dance all night with Nyah, another superstar Sandals staffer, to the sweet sounds of live reggae at the Palladium Night Club. I was able to sip on an extra cocktail or two at the evening after parties at the Pub. In addition to its beautiful landscape, Sandals won me over because of its incredible employees who don’t even work for tips. Tipping isn’t allowed at the resort.
Traveling to a resort? Pack smartly to meet resort dress codes. For examples, check out the following vacation style posts:
2 Resort Casual Style (maxi dress)
3 Resort Casual Style (sundress)
4 Resort Casual Style (versatile swimsuit cover/dress)