I found our stay here very frustrating. This place has the potential to be truly magical. The pool, rooms and properties are all beautiful and everywhere is kept spotlessly clean. I also think the quality of the food was very good, particularly the more local dishes. We were upgraded to all inclusive and I genuinely can’t comprehend what it must have been like to stay there otherwise given the often crazy prices for relatively basic stuff (like the bbq and cold breakfast).
Unfortunately, the standard of service was literally all over the place. Having stayed in places like the Oberoi in Mauritius, this is truly a million miles away and yet it is certainly no cheaper… Some staff were a delight, and we tipped generously in those cases, but some were night and day and that’s what made the experience so bizarre. Some specific examples to bring this to life:
- My wife was actually brought to tears by the barman in the cane bar after he launched into a tirade about the plight of the locals compared with westerners when she was just trying to make conversation.
- The butler service was truly shambolic. They are not butlers. Stay at a suite at Claridges in London and see what a butler is, i.e. ONE person who looks after you completely. Here it is a pool of people who are basically OK so long as all you want to do is order a tuk tuk. Anything else was usually met with an “I’ll call you back” before being abruptly cut off. They NEVER once EVER called us back on anything. We wasted a whole morning where I asked for someone to come to our room to go through trips. I had to call 4 times and eventually someone came running up the hill complaining that he had asked someone else to do it and they hadn’t (how this is my problem I don’t know). There was no apology. We went through the trips we wanted to do, two were easy to book so he did that there and then, the others, which included fishing, he said he’d get back to us. He never did. On a random morning in our second week I got a call from them saying my boat was ready for the fishing trip. No one had told me it was booked, how much it would cost or anything so I missed out. The other trip we asked for never materialised on any basis.
- We asked for a table at the Bay side restaurant to be booked – “I’ll call you back”. Obviously he never did and I had to make the reservation myself.
- We went down for 8pm to the Bayside restaurant at our appointed time for the women on the desk to look at us as if we’d just thrown something unpleasant at her. “We expected you at 6.30”. We explained that this was yesterday and our butler obviously booked the wrong day. No apology, just a very rude shrug and she set off towards a table, presumably for us to follow. Such rude service would be unacceptable in a Little Chef, let alone a £10k a stay resort.
- Frequently, our orders would go awry and there would NEVER be an apology. As an example, I ordered extra hash browns with my breakfast. We waited the customary age for it to arrive and I had none at all. I queried this and the waitress said “oh – they’re all gone”, turned her back on me and walked off. No apology, no, “I’m sorry sir, those aren’t available now, would you like something else”. No basic service at all to be honest, just more outright rudeness.
- On one morning, the person who was presumably supposed to be taking our ordered never materialised. Since we were starving, we asked one of the other members of staff who was loitering at the entrance. The look we got was truly something to behold. You’d have thought we’d asked her to clean our toilet and with a shrug and not a word said, she set off to argue with the person who should have taken it.
I could go on and on with examples but won’t. The point is that the staff are often not just delivering bad service, but actually being downright rude and insulting. I genuinely don’t think this is deliberate or an attitude issue, it’s just basically a lack of any proper training.
As a balance to this, the service in the main formal restaurant was significantly better and we had no real problems there. One dish had to be sent back (which could happen anywhere) and there was no apology again, but by this stage we were not exactly surprised.
One final thought on the place as compared with other top world resorts we’ve been to: It has always been very apparent to us who the hotel manager is. At the Grand Hotel Residencia in Gran Canarias, the Oberoi etc etc the manager greets you and is always present. At the Sugar Beach we had no idea who he/she was and I wonder if this is where the difference maybe lies.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort is set amidst more than 100 acres of tropical rainforest on the island's scenic Caribbean coast. Embraced by St Lucia's majestic World Heritage-listed Pitons, the resort's 96 Luxury Sugar Mill Rooms, Cottages, Villas and Luxury Beachfront Bungalows boast elegant styling, private plunge pool, four poster bed, luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, every possible modern amenity, and personalised butler service. Two stunning white sand beaches, beautiful Rainforest Spa with tree house treatment rooms, full PADI dive facility, and superb waterfront dining ensure the ultimate vacation experience with space enough for honeymooners and families alike. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jalousie Plantation Hotel Soufrière
- Jalousie Plantation Soufrière
- Jalousie Plantation St Lucia
- Jalousie Hilton
- Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort St. Lucia/Soufriere