We thought that Balenbouche was lovely and charming, and really enjoyed our stay here - we would definitely recommend that you consider staying here, however there are also some negatives which you should be aware of when making your decision. Below are a summary of some of the pros and cons:
- If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. The estate is beautiful and rustic, you can walk down to the old sugar mill and the beach, or just hang around your cottage and feel like you're in another (very slow) world.
- The cottages are all very charming. Each is different but very cute.
- Breakfast was fresh adn delicious each morning
- We found the hostesses to be friendly, welcoming and helpful - they booked taxis for us and recommended local festivals which we would not have known about otherwise (although the festival turned out to be a little disappointing), and on the day we arrived they gave us lemonade and made lunch for us (delicious sandwich) at very short notice as we were there earlier than expected and there was nowhere nearby to go.
- The evening we had the dinner, the food was absolutely delicious.
- The atmosphere was very friendly and we chatted with and made friends with other guests
- The cottages are rustic (which is part of their charm) which means that insects can get in. If instects bother you, I would not recommend staying in the cottages (I imagine the main house is a little better protected so try a room there). There was a mosquito net around the bed which was mostly successful while we slept but we still spent a lot of the evening going round killing mosquitos and trying to block gaps under doors etc.
- Our cottage was surrounded by Calabash and mango trees and at the time of year we were there (May) these regularly fell on the roof of our cottage and the balcony/ground ourside with a loud crashing noise. We had not been warned about this so when it first started happening we thought there was an intruder trying to get in which was very scary! Even when we had worked out that it wasn't an intruder, whenever a loud crash occured it would wake us up meaning a peaceful night's sleep was difficult. I am not sure whether all the cottages have this problem, so ask when you book.
- As a previous poster has mentioned, although they advertise dinner, it is only available when suitable for them to cook. We didn't find this to be a huge problem and drove to local restaurants, but it's a shame it wasn't available more often as it was absolutely delicious and well worth the money.
- Without a car you are a little restricted in what you can do. There is practically nowehere within walking distance to go. During the day, this was fine, as they arranged a taxi-tour for us, and I am sure they would have arranged evening taxis to restaurants too (we were lucky and made friends with a couple who had a car and went out with them in the evenings) - but the taxi option might mean you end up spending more money than you budgeted.
- We were aware that we couldn't pay with a card so had made our initial payment with paypal, and then paid the remainder with a U.S. cheque when we were there. It was not a big problem for us, although I'm not a fan of paypal, but it could be inconvenient for some.
All in all, we are glad that we stayed here, we enjoyed the place and we would recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Balenbouche Estate is a Historic Plantation Guesthouse offering several tropical vacation cottages. The 80 acre property includes an expansive park with colonial plantation house, 18th century sugar mill, yoga barn, fruit orchards, lily ponds, nature trails and two secluded beaches just a 5 minute walk away. Balenbouche is not a resort and remains a working organic farm, heritage site, and family residence with a focus on wellness, sustainability and conservation. Our eco-chic accommodations are created from historic structures and sleep between 2 and 6 people, some include kitchens. We prepare breakfast daily, and dinner 2 - 3 times a week by reservation. There is a restaurant within walking distance. Several other St Lucia restaurants as well as a supermarket are a short drive away. We are located 20 minutes from the International airport and 30 minutes from the town of Soufriere, near many of the islands best attractions. Balenbouche is a magical place, a world in itself, popular with artists, photographers, green travelers, wedding couples, honeymooners and families. Our family has owned and managed the estate for three generations. Gradually, the property was transformed into a well known St Lucia attraction, guesthouse and retreat venue. Many of our guests feel very much at home at Balenbouche Estate, and keep returning! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Balenbouche Estate Hotel Laborie
- Balenbouche Estate St. Lucia/Laborie