We spent nearly a week at Hotel Chocolat in late January/early February to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday and, unbeknownst to me at the time, our engagement! We cannot speak highly enough of our experience. I'll do my best to organize my thoughts and offer relevant suggestions....concisely?
Overall, we knew that St. Lucia would not be our typical Caribbean vacation given the mountainous terrain and unique geography. That said, staying at a place like Hotel Chocolat-so perfectly integrated into and respectful of it's surroundings-left us grateful for the atypical experience rather than grieving the beach. We travel to beautiful locations as often as possible and have been spoiled by some of the most luxurious accommodations available. I would be lying if I did not admit that I had my reservations about this little, rustic, eco-friendly resort. I could not have been more pleasantly surprised.
My mind was blown as each and every staff member treated us like family in their own home. Chester, the general manager, made sure we were enjoying our stay while Janelle (spelling?! I'm sorry...) brightened every day with her beautiful, megawatt smile. Genuine and reflexive hospitality saturated our experience with Hotel Chocolat from the moment we arrived, and we could not have been more grateful.
I had my concerns, to be frank, about the "chocolate." To call it a theme is a mistake because it is far more nuanced and thoughtful than a cheeky color scheme or over-done ingredient. Chef handles his menu BEAUTIFULLY and while we generally do our best to explore as much as possible when we travel, we literally could not tear ourselves away from Boucan. The breakfast is perfection, and an amazing lunch simply leaves you excited for dinner! The cocktail list is fresh and on-point. To execute this caliber of cuisine in an open-air dining room is impressive; the fine dining standards paired with friendly and approachable service create one of my favorite restaurants to date. I did not go to Hotel Chocolat a fan of chocolate, but I most certainly left one.
It's no small feat to create a "green" and eco-friendly resort without compromising the luxury that many travelers seek. The pods/rooms were perfectly appointed-just enough design to appeal to our love of beautiful, comfortable things without letting us forget where we were. I generally max out my AC when I sleep but never wanted for it in our little bungalow. It may take a night to adjust to some of the background noise, but you will sleep well. The mosquito netting did its job beautifully. The speaker/iTouch setup was an amazing detail. I read the reviews before we left and cannot rave enough about the rain shower so I won't try. It's amazing. We have already discussed putting one in at home and we're only half-joking.
Even though we found this hotel on CNN's "Top Ten Pools in the World" feature, I was concerned about what I thought might be a diminutive infinity pool. However, we never struggled for our first choice chairs and, in fact, rarely saw anyone else there. There's no complaint in privacy and peace-and-quiet, but I do hope that the pool area and pool bar become popular and draw a small crowd eventually :) The hotel itself is wonderfully small and intimate; the scale is perfect and my certainty that "too small" meant somehow lacking in something was absolutely incorrect. I have no doubt that Hotel Chocolat will see incredible growth and become even more popular. I hope they are able to navigate that success without losing any of the charm and balance that sets them apart.
Jalousie Plantation was definitely our favorite beach, but we were also lucky to get chairs in the section of the beach usually reserved for Jalousie Plantation hotel guests. The "public" section-to be honest-did not look quite as enjoyable but it's an exquisite setting between the Pitons regardless. We also negotiated for hotel-guest-only chairs at Anse Chastanet beach. This not-quite-"black"-sand beach has a little burger hut down a ways, and although extremely pricey, the burger was tasty. I must say, when we left Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet, we felt lucky to be going home to Hotel Chocolat. There's no doubt that in-room infinity pools with ocean views are a fancy feature there and perhaps that's the perfect resort for some travelers; however, without knocking another business, Hotel Chocolat has an integrity in its design, a thoughtfulness in its execution, and a subtlety in its details that proved far more impressive, current, and appropriately-priced than anything else we saw.
Sunset and a drink at Ladera is a great option...before you head back to Boucan for dinner. Trust me on this one. Live music on Thursday nights at Boucan is not to be missed. Actually, any night at Boucan is not to be missed.
Climb Gros Piton. 100% do not miss this experience. Every single non-tourist on the island that you ask will have done it so don't embarrass yourself by not doing it too. Prepare to feel like human jello after and for two days of soreness. Put it this way: He had the ring in his pocket on the climb and planned to propose at the top. Of course, I was a hot and disheveled mess by that point and would not have made it down in one piece if he'd distracted me with a diamond...so that plan was wisely abandoned. Still an incredible, strangely romantic experience to share. An in-room massage after the climb was wonderful. Once again, I am terribly spoiled when it comes to any spa experience and, while this massage was admittedly different than what I'm used to enjoying, I'm THRILLED that it was because it was absolutely amazing.
Lastly, get engaged at Hotel Chocolat. I highly recommend it. Seriously. They conspired with my fiance to prepare a beautiful, private poolside dinner (...it was to be the proposal but turned into a congratulatory dinner as he spontaneously proposed the night prior.) A cliche experience that won't feel that way at all and totally worth the indulgence. Janelle even created a special playlist for us on her phone to enjoy during our meal. If you can't get engaged, find something special to celebrate here because this is a special place full of special people.
St. Lucia is not a bunch of white-sand beaches with shallow turquoise water and modern glossy hotels. If you want that, check out Turks, St. Barth or Anguilla because they are all wonderful in their own right. St. Lucia is a lush, tropical paradise with breathtaking peaks that will mesmerize you and kind people that will humble and charm you. Thank you, Hotel Chocolat, for getting me outside my comfort zone and making it such a wonderful experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover plantation chic - luxury, well-being & stunning natural beauty. Situated high in the hills near Soufriere, set in rainforest & cocoa groves with stunning views of the Piton mountains. A daily transfer is provided for guests to a stunning nearby beach by Hotel Sea Launch. Guests can enjoy trail walks around the cocoa estate, cacao inspired treatments in the spa, relaxation in Club Boucan with its private infinity pool & the exclusive cacao cuisine at Boucan Restaurant & Bar, free laundry service, room additions and Tree to Bean tour. Boucan by Hotel Chocolat offer 2 types of accommodation, both with 4 poster beds, preloaded iPods & docking stations, complimentary wireless, a mini-bar & open sky rainforest showers. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Odigeo, Ebookers, TripOnline SA, Evoline ltd, getaroom.com and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Boucan by Hotel Chocolat reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Boucan By Hotel Chocolat St. Lucia/Soufriere