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“" Six week Steve "”
Review of Bel Jou Hotel

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Bel Jou Hotel
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in Castries
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 January 2014

Stayed late Oct 13 to early Dec and enjoyed every minute . Had a single bungalow - roomy with all the things you need for a comfortable stay. The food was varied and well presented ( I particularly loved the breakfasts ! ) and sitting out on the restaurant balcony both in the morning and at night was lovely . The poolside cabana ( Hi Lucy !! ) was a treat at lunchtime as was the poolside bar - and all in all I could not have enjoyed my stay more . Navin has an amazing group of people working for him and cannot be faulted ; I also made many friends whilst I was there and see another review from 2 of them ( Hi Judy and Clive - see you there again perhaps this year ? ) . In conclusion I would say - go there , enjoy a small and individual style of hotel that is not too easy to find these days of mass tourism.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled solo
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13  Thank Stephen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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153 - 159 of 282 reviews

Reviewed 5 January 2014

Having travelled afar, this little corner of the world is a firm favourite. Comfy rooms in the main block, lovely staff throughout, good food & smoothies by the pool. It is a little like going to a Health Retreat.
We travelled out on the 3 rd Dec our 1 st trip with Virgin. They looked after us well.
At the Bel Jou we had a lovely welcome from the Asst. Manager & Elizabeth..
We had not used the Cabanna Restaurant (Lunchtime only) on previous trips, but this time if it had been open 7 days of the wk we would have eaten there every day. The fish was just superb. Special mention for the superb staff. Lulu, Jdavid & 'Charlie' he knows who he is!
The main dining room food was excellent too. Enough variety for us but maybe not as the previous contributor said for vegetarians. Loved all the cheeses that were not available in Dec 2012!
The entertainment was always top class. See the clips of one or two on You Tube.
We did not encounter an issue with the sunbeds being booked although we too noticed the towels on them. The main culpripts left half way thru our hol. but it had not really bothered us. Plenty of beds in the garden area too & if that doesn't suit then you can sit on the veranda in your lovely room. Relax yr in the Caribbean!
We only encountered one major issue & that was the trip to Martinique. We were so looking forward to it. Only four of us went from the Bel J. with the rest from various hotels on the Island. It was the most terrifying experience that we have ever encountered due to the rough seas. Many people were very ill & a number of injuries due to being tossed around. One of our group was left outside on the upper deck too petrified to move. Luckily he was not tossed into the sea! You have to sign a disclaimer once on board..no use in Davy Jones Locker!
On a lighter note we will be returning. We love it. We have travelled the world but the warmth of the Caribbean in Dec is just the 'icing on the cake' for us.
We were so very sad to read about the heavy rain on the 24th Dec & the aftermath of that.
See you in Dec 2014.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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8  Thank christina m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2013

As Saga first-timers we were very interested in how this would work out, as we normally go on more independent, adventurous holidays. We are in the `younger' age bracket, I suppose (our average age 59) for Saga customers, and this was noticeable when we arrived, though was not a problem at all.

Firstly, it should be said that right from the first phone call to Saga, all communications were very professional and courteous and we felt very confident in the Company.

Secondly, the holiday was attractive as we had VIP pick-up from home and three tours included in the holiday. We were also able to book our seats on Virgin for no extra cost (I understand from those who travelled with BA that they had to pay extra to book their seat positions).

The flight was good, though I think Virgin's standards have dropped - tight leg-room and minimal food & drink. We were taken, via mini-bus to the hotel which took about 1hr 10mins.

The Hotel was situated high up in the hills and was pretty inaccessible for walkers, though a shuttle bus was provided, which was very good. The hotel was only a third full, so the shuttle bus was easy to book places (other reviews had reported difficulties). The Hotel had previously been reported as `tired', but I would describe it as understated and fits comfortably with the surroundings. In fact, painters were on site sprucing up the place while we were there. As previous reviews stated, there are plenty of stairs everywhere, so you need to be reasonably able.

The swimming pool was not as small as some have reported, and as not many people used it we had no problems. What could be a potential problem is the age-old issue of saving sun beds around the pool area. You are told quite definitely when you arrive that there is no saving of sun beds or the towels will be removed by the staff. What we found very annoying is that not only did people ignore this and save sun beds, but they would go out for the morning and come back to their saved beds. Others, we noticed, would leave their towels on the bed and never come back for the whole day! Also the staff never did deal with this. In the end we just threw the towels off the beds and used them ourselves. No-one ever complained. This could be a big issue if the hotel was busy.

There was a poolside bar and eating area. There is also a large library by the pool (which I wished we had known about as we need not have taken our books with us).

The rooms were excellent, spotlessly clean and very roomy, with two double beds, shower, coffee/tea making facilities, hair dryer and flat screen TV with DVD player. It is worth knowing that there were two robes in the bathroom, a brolly, torch and iron/ironing board, and room insect spray was provided. Our room was on the third floor (311) and had excellent views over the bay and of the hotel gardens. The room also had a large tree outside which all the birds seemed to live in and regularly visited our balcony for their daily feed of sugar. Tip - you need to keep your balcony doors shut otherwise the birds fly in and take the sugar packets from the coffee tray!

The Hotel reception and restaurant was in a different building and was very pleasant. The restaurant was partly outdoors and you could also eat indoors. As vegetarians we are always concerned about the food as we normally have to make do with whatever is available. Now I hope this does not sound contradictory, but the food was very good - that is, well cooked and well presented (and the meat eaters loved it). The problem for us was that though we had plenty of choice it quickly became dull and boring. I felt the food was how it was in the 60s - meat and two veg etc. We were in a foreign country eating like we were in a Brighton hotel ! We had one choice of veggie food compared to 3 choices for the meat-eaters, so our meals consisted largely of broccoli, carrots, roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, salad etc. Though well cooked it was generally a very dry meal. We ate at the pool restaurant one day which again had three choices for the meat eaters, and one for us, and our meal was potato croquettes and French fries - potato and potato !!

The chef did keep asking what we wanted and we kept saying either local specialities or a nice Caribbean curry, but they never materialised, though he did do us a spaghetti one night and an enchilada on another!

We discussed this with the Hotel Manager and said that the menu was dull and we were told that `that's what people want'. Really? With all the international cuisine that we now eat in this country, people on holiday want meat and two veg every day and night?

I think Saga needs to look seriously at this issue as the new generation of potential Saga customers i.e. us, will not return if that is their attitude.

After saying all that we did put on nearly half a stone so we did not starve!

I was particularly impressed that at meal times decent wine was served, and also the other drinks provided were of a good quality. So many all-inclusive holidays serve up poor quality drinks.

Other reviews have commented on there not having a bar area to have an after-meal drink. This is not quite true as there is a bar in the restaurant which you can then sit and drink listening to the entertainment (which was nightly), or go outside and sit in a quieter environment.

In-between meals, scones and jam was served (4:15pm). Coffee/Tea was available all day.

The staff were exceptional and it is not fair to praise individuals as they were all so good. They all seemed happy in their work and interacted with the guests very well.

One member of staff I would like to mention is Eugene, the gardener, who is an interesting man to talk to. Go on the garden tour and meet him, as it is very interesting. He was very kind to us, so we are glad to have met him.

The real Gem for Saga is their Rep, Elizabeth. She was absolutely superb. I believe she had only been there 4 weeks, you would never had known! She was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and related well with all the guests and even created small trips to go on from the hotel to the beach, the lighthouse, etc. She also made sure that people on their own did not feel left out.

We went on three trips that were included in our holiday which were very good and also went on the Beautiful South tour to Les Pitons/volcano/catamaran, the Jacqout trail, and the Snorkelling day, which were all very good value. I will review these separately.

All-in-all a very good holiday, well organised, lovely climate (though it rained quite a bit!).

Would we return here? No, but that is mainly because there are far too many other places to visit. Also the location of the hotel and uninspiring food would fail to tempt us back. Otherwise, well done Saga we would certainly consider holidays with you in the future.

Room Tip: The higher the better the view, but the third floor has fewer steps to negotiate.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank Buddhaman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2013

I Stayed At The Bel Jou Hotel From The 15 Oct To 23 Oct 2013. I Really Enjoyed My Stay At This Hotel. As I Am A Single Traveler I Stayed In One Of The Single Bungalows. They Are Close To All The Amenities Of The Hotel. I Found Them Clean And Tidy. The Food Each Day Was Excellent And Also The Drinks. The View From The Hotel Is Wonderful And You Must Be Aware That The Hotel Is On A Steep Hill! This Did Not Stop Me Going Out As The Hotel Runs A Free Bus AM And PM Into Various Parts Of Castries And Rodney Bay. What A Lovely Beach At Rodney Bay! The Hotel Runs Various Excursions To Most Parts Of The Island. (Free & Paid For) There Are Quite A Lot Of Steps Around The Hotel. I Found All The Staff Very Helpful And They Made My Stay A Holiday I Will Always Remember.

Room Tip: Think About The Position Of The Room You You Book In The Main Hotel.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled solo
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7  Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

This Hotel Buildings are a very tired. The hotel staff & Manager were very polite and friendly
Sarah the Saga rep needs more training in people skills. The rooms in the main building are fine
but single guests beware the rooms are not so. The hotel is not suitable for less mobile guest
and this needs to be taken into account when booking. We have visited St Lucia before and
you certainly can stay in much better hotels than this one very disappointing as in the SAGA
brochure is states HIGHLY COMMENDED which clearly is not so Money needs to be spent on
this hotel.

Room Tip: Garden Rooms are a No No Book a room in the main block the third or fourth floor would be good for...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank M A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 November 2013

We stayed here as SAGA volunteers for a month so hope that this review will give a balanced overview of the hotel.
This is a SAGA owned hotel so all clients are over 50+ and British which leads to some interesting scenarios. It states that the hotel is not suitable for less mobile guests and this has to be taken into account. There are no lifts and numerous steps especially to access the garden rooms. The hotel itself is isolated on the top of a steep hill and it is not wise to try and walk. It is guarded by security 24/7 which could be unnerving for some. Yes the local dogs do bark but they are there for security not as pets. The hotel minibus runs to various destinations but you need to book in advance as there are only 15 seats and these fill up quickly and finish by 5pm.
The rooms and public areas are spotless, staff welcoming and helpful. Considering how young they are they do a good job of trying to enjoy our company too. Local drinks are available all day as are tea and coffee. As we were working,we only had weekend lunches at the hotel and we amazed to find roast beef on Sunday lunchtime each week. We managed to persuade Alvin the sous chef to make some local foods as a change from British dishes and it was great. However some guests complained the food was spicy- it's the Caribbean! Other complaints also heard the sun was hot- yep and it was rainy- it is the rainy season until the end of November!
The pool itself is small but clean and the garden area provided welcome shade when it wasn't raining. The area surrounding the pool can be slippery when wet so care was needed and some less mobile guests did find it difficult.
We were not impressed at all with the rep Sara, but she has now left and Henry returned briefly to introduce the new rep. Liz who seemed genuinely interested in the guests and this should improve the atmosphere.
This was our home for a month and we were well looked after but would not choose this hotel if we were on holiday as we prefer to visit local bars and restaurants and eat more authentic foods. However this in no way detracts from the overall success of the Bel Jou. It would be unfair to single any one member of staff out,so well done Navin on running a tight ship.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled on business
2  Thank judeandclive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2013

The hotel is on top of a hill overlooking Castries harbour on one side and the open sea on the other, the road up is very steep and pretty poor houses, not a great hotel to go for walks from.
The hotel buildings are a little tired, but they do what they can to keep up with the maintenance, the gardens are great, I seen more variety of birds here than on any of the excursions.
The rooms are clean and regularly serviced and cleaned.
The food is adequate with few choices, it is buffet style 6 out 7 days, the 7th.day is waiter service and this was very good menu. There is a cabana by the pool, for lunch this is by far the best place to eat, freshly cooked and friendly service.
The best feature of the hotel is the staff, from the Manager to the house maids, everyone is friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: For the best views it would be the 5th floor, all the rooms in the main building had sea views
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled solo
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6  Thank dawsian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bel Jou Hotel

Address: La Pensee Road, Castries 89131, St. Lucia
Region: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Castries Quarter > Castries
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Castries
Price Range: £168 - £321 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bel Jou Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
St. Lucia's wonderful, adults only hotel. Boasting stunning views over Castries and out across the gorgeous ocean from its setting atop a lush, tropical hillside, the 4-star Bel Jou provides a tranquil, tropical retreat for today's adult and senior travelers, free from the distractions of the more overrun resorts. With many opportunities for sightseeing and sampling island life, the hotel's relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a leisurely holiday or a lively Caribbean experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bel Jou Castries
Bel Jou Hotel St. Lucia/Castries

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