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Excellent service and trip - can’t wait to make our next booking!
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Brilliant holiday destination. Had the best time and would love to go back.
Another well managed booking, all ran smoothly. Holiday was fantastic. Galley Bay Antigua was luxurious.
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Guy was incredible and ensured our whole holiday was perfect from start to finish. Thank you so much
Excellent service from Dylan as usual
Great. Always OK with service given.
BA plane two hours late taking off. One hour late returning. No apologies, not impressed with their customer care. Missed connection coming home.
Ashley was amazing. He was very patient whilst we were deciding on the perfect location for our family holiday! Once we had eventually nailed it down to a location he was able to come up with a selection of resorts within our price range which helped making a decision very easy!
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Firstly thank you to Emma for sorting out the filghts, she was very helpful and always happy to take my call. With all connections getting back home, it took us 19 hours to get back to Gatwick, now I understand why - Winair are short of staff, hence all the notifications from you that the flight times had been changed. I will not be useing Winair again, for now. Prefer to pay the extra money and use the French or Dutch Airlines to St Maarten.
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DialAFlight deliver what they promise. Abbie is always helpful and goes above and beyond to ensure all our travel needs are met.
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Tara was absolutely excellent in helping us find and book the honeymoon of our dreams. I can’t speak highly enough about how great her communication was, how friendly and polite she was, how knowledgeable she was on the best destination during this time of the year, and helping us find the best available trip for our budget.
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Very impressed with DialAFlight and keeping in touch up to a few days before travelling. Flights are also reasonable with options on payments.
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Fantastic customer service from Calvin. He was patient and accommodating with our request which helped make our holiday a memorable one.
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Always great to work with such a great team.
Jamal was amazing - great service, helpful and our holiday was perfect.
As always you delivered a fantastic service. Efficient, reliable and helpful. Thank you DialAFlight and especially Amelia
On the scenic road that wiggles along St Lucia's mountainous west coast, it looked like just another viewpoint. Sheer cliffs, vistas of sparkling blue ocean, a simple rum bar painted in gaudy colours.
Only one thing was odd - the country music blasting from the bar's mighty speakers: George Strait, proudly singing All My Ex's Live In Texas (sorry about the apostrophe, that's how the title's spelt).
What was going on? Aren't islands like this meant to be all about reggae, soca and steelpan? That's the cliché, but St Lucians clearly didn't get the message.
'We're setting up for a party,' explains the bar's owner, Paula, 'and we'll be playing country all night. Everyone here loves it.'
It's true. Turn on the car radio and there's Alan Jackson singing If Tears Could Talk. Drop into the Massy supermarket and shoppers are picking through the yams to anguished tunes by George Jones, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
Where did this love for songs about broken hearts and pick-up trucks come from? 'In the early Forties the United States set up two military bases here,' explains Steve Anius, a DJ who hosts a weekly country music show on Radio 100 Helen FM.
'This was the sound they played, which we'd listen to on AM radio.' One base was in Rodney Bay, now the main tourist area, while the other is today's Hewanorra International Airport in the far south.
There was a time when this taste for country went underground because it was considered 'white folks' music'.
'I had a record shop and customers would sneak the albums out under their shirts,' says Steve. But now this passion is out in the open, with all ages attracted. One reason is that country is free from the yelling, swearing and violent lyrics that characterise some other popular music styles.
'People who go to country dances are polite and dress neat,' says Steve, 'and they do a waltz related to kwadril, our traditional folk dance.'
As we drive around listening to such tunes, I'm struck by the vivid beauty of an island with both French and British influences, reflected in place names such as Smuggler's Cove and Vieux Fort.
St Lucia's twin peaks, the Pitons, make it stand out from other Caribbean destinations. Hideaway five-star centres, such as adults-only Jade Mountain and Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, offer terrific views of this World Heritage-listed attraction, inspiring celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellie Goulding to visit.
Surrounding us are green and forested hills ideal for growing cacao - Hotel Chocolat sources its beans here on the Rabot Estate. Its panoramic restaurant, Boucan, uses chocolate in innovative ways, such as a marinade for scallops and to make a rich gravy for beef fillet.
Many visitors, especially families, head for the Rodney Bay area in the far north-west - the popular choice if you like to be in the thick of the holiday whirl, with plenty of shops, restaurants, beaches and activities. This is where we track down our first taste of St Lucian country dancing at Twist, a rustic wooden bar in Grande Riviere, just inland from Choc Bay. Here they play traditional country every Sunday.
It's a friendly, open-air affair with a concrete dance floor and bar snacks that include jerk chicken and souse (pig trotters in broth). Johnny Cash booms out and a passing fishmonger summons customers by blowing on a conch shell.
Country is also part of the entertainment offered at major hotels, such as Sandals Grande St Lucian in Gros Islet. Here, super-smooth ex-policeman 'Cowboy' Shervon Sealy often performs in the lobby in Stetson and boots.
Down at Anse Chastanet resort in Soufriere, the L.M. Stone Family Band - dad, three sons and a daughter - plays every week. When we arrive they're belting out Rhinestone Cowboy.
L.M. tells me how he learnt to sing in church, then got into country because his stepfather cut sugar cane in Florida and brought the music home. He's toured Germany and Sweden and won a contest in Nashville.
'Country's as big in St Lucia as reggae is in Jamaica,' says the star, and, as we twirl around the floor to She Took Everything But The Kitchen Sink, I can only agree.
First published in the Daily Mail - March 2020
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