Sometimes you go into something with preconceived notions only to have your prejudices blown about like a gauzy curtain on a tropical breeze.
Such was the case for me this past weekend at the Sandals Regency La Toc resort on Saint Lucia. On the island nation to attend Girl Slice's cousin's wedding, we were given the choice between staying at Sandals or at the resort her cousin was actually getting married at.
We weighed our options ... and the fact that Sandals is all-inclusive* (our other choice was not) pretty much tipped the scales in a major way. Plus, we read, our resort had an outdoor beachfront pizzeria as one of the resort's many dining facilities. Sold!
The first of my preconceptions blown away had to do with Sandals itself. My only exposure to chain of resorts had been the commercials, which, let's face it, are a cross between Emmanuelle and a dime-store romance come to life. I was not sure if I was ready for Sandals' version of "romance." Plus, Michael Scott from The Office went there. Great exposure for Sandals, I guess, but maybe not the best spokesman for your brand.
But, dang. I have to admit that, after our 3.5 days there, Girl Slice and I were sold. In the flesh, the place is not at all cheesy in the way the commercials—or Michael Scott's endorsement—might lead you to believe. In fact, the place is pretty tasteful, and beyond that, the service is amazing. Every last person we interacted with was friendly, helpful, and crazy gracious.
Plus, the food was free — or, at least built into the cost of the room.
Speaking of which, the point of my post here: the pizza. I did not expect much. Girl Slice did most of the beforehand research on this particular property, and she reported that the more food-oriented reviewers pretty much expressed the sentiment, "You know what to expect."
Institutional food prepared en masse is going to have a hard time rising to a certain level of greatness, and this was the case in many of the restaurants there. It was good and filling but didn't make the experience in the way the views, the property, and the staff did.
However, the pizza was above average and was probably one of the best things at Sandals Regency La Toc. It was cooked competently, if a little misshapen, in a Wood Stone oven. It arrived at the table hot, had a decent amount of toppings, and was fresh.
The crust was more tender than crisp, with only a gentle browning on the bottom, but was cooked through all the way with no gumminess.
I don't think it would wow anyone used to eating really great pizza, but in a place where a lot of the food is held at temperature on hot plates and steam tables, it was a treat to have a dish cooked to order.
Of course, Girl Slice had her beloved pineapple pizza.
Oh, and mine, at top? That's a sausage and jalapeño pizza! Spicy. As if I needed to sweat any more.
Pizza at Sandals
Sandals Regency La Toc, just outside the capital city of Castries, Saint Lucia; sandals.com/main/lucia/lu-accommodations.cfm; pizzeria is located on the beach, just south of the Pavilion area
* Or, in Sandals parlance, "Luxury Included®"