My wife and I stayed at Boucan in a Luxe Pod in early December 2012. The room was very nice and spacious, featuring wood floors, a huge terrace, very comfortable bed with mosquito net, and large bathroom with enormous walk-in shower and double vanity. The view of the Pitons from the terrace was beautiful, and the open-air nature of the space allowed all the night sounds of frogs and insects to lull us to sleep. Each day, there was a complimentary array of nuts and chocolate. The room had near total visible privacy. I cannot understand why someone would choose one of the standard rooms, as they are obviously smaller, less private, and located in a tight cluster more resembling camp housing rather than resort lodging.
There were several drawbacks to the Luxe Pod rooms that I hope the hotel improves over time. The first is unlikely to change - the rooms are all situated near to the road (perhaps within 400 feet of the main road) and near to the main driveway through the facilities. Power lines are visible from both the rooms and the restaurant, and rather often one can hear noisy vehicles passing by. The furniture on the terrace is mostly useless because it is so uncomfortable. The furniture is all constructed with wood slats out of teak or some other tropical hardwood. There is a large daybed, without any cushions - no one would sit on this because it is basically a platform with wood slats. There are also two chaise lounges of the same construction with pads, but the pads are so thin that it is way too uncomfortable to sit in these chairs for more than 30 minutes or so. This is the only seating in the entire room. There should be large deep cushions on all the furniture, large pillows to sink into, and at least two regular armchairs so that one does not have to recline in order to relax on the terrace. Another frustration was that the wireless internet reliability and speed was poor. We could not download files, browse the web reliably, and the signal was intermittent. A final drawback is that we could hear our neighbors as if they were staying in our room - flushing toilets, running water, conversation. Not at all private, and annoying. We watched a movie one night on our laptop, and were concerned that we were bothering our neighbors - not relaxing - we knew we could hear them, and figured they could hear us. My personal feeling is that the hotel would be better off situating the lodging within a more secluded area of the resort, with security, and featuring rooms that are more spread out. Transportation by golf cart to the restaurant and parking area could be provided.
The resort facilities are basic. The restaurant is very good, but as others have noted, the service staff is ill-trained (better at dinner) and the menu is dominated by chocolate. Also, everything seems to come with this artful swoosh of creamy mashed potatoes on the plate - both expected, and delivered cold every time. We didn't really mind any of this, but the food is not so sensational and the service kindof sucks, so it dilutes the cool factor of having everything made with chocolate, unfortunately. Breakfast is an exceptional value, and is included in the room rate. The swimming pool is beautiful, and there are two separated seating areas in the sun. However, like the rooms, the pool is even closer to the road and there is substantial vehicle noise on a regular basis. The hotel website noted that there was bar service at the pool, and gave the impression that someone was stationed there all the time. There is a bar there, but no one was staffing it. I had to go upstairs to the restaurant to request service, and when I did, I received a comment from the waiter that "he looked down and didn't see anyone who needed anything." That's not really a five-star level of service. He was very attentive after that, but the pool should be constantly visited by service staff so that guests can order what they want when they want it.
Overall, St. Lucia is the best Caribbean destination to which we have traveled. More natural beauty, great snorkeling, and beautiful beaches. However, we were quite disappointed in the public access to the beaches. It seems that the nicer beaches are occupied by resorts, which will not rent their lounge chairs to you. While you can put down your towel anywhere, the only beach chairs available for rent are crammed into small patches at the far end of the beach. I'm writing now specifically of Jalousie Beach at the Viceroy Hotel. The same is true at the Anse Chastenet beach - and a terrible, terrible restaurant to boot. The beach access in both of these locations is very difficult and only accessible by car. One can only access Jalousie Beach by being driven by golf cart down a long steep driveway by that resort's hotel staff, and then driven back up again to your car (or to the shuttle if you took this from Boucan). Tipping is, of course, appreciated. We walked it the first time, but it is just way too far - and once you get there, there is one little section where outsiders can get a chair. It's not nice unless you're staying at the hotel. The other public beaches do not have chairs available for rent, and in fact we have heard that there are security issues. We did not enjoy going to the beach much because they are so difficult to access. Unless you are staying in a beach-front resort, going to the beach is a very discouraging proposition.
We went to Dasheene one evening at Ladera across the street from Boucan, and were unimpressed. Dinner for two was $150, and the food was a 5.5 out of 10 - my wife is a vegetarian, and ordered a $30 vegetarian entree that was essentially deep fried and layered with fat. This restaurant is truly probably one of the best restaurants on St. Lucia, and the service was heads and shoulders better than Boucan, although the food is vastly overrated.
Upon check out at Boucan, the staff was unable to print my statement because they rely on a small ink-jet printer at the desk. They did email it to me with an apologetic message, although the staff really should have a laser printer available to them. I found the entire greeting and front desk experience to be a total amateur hour.
We will probably not go back to St. Lucia given all the other options. We would recommend to others that they visit once, but I strongly advise staying at the Viceroy and not at Boucan. While we did not experience the rooms or the restaurant at the Viceroy, the hotel has a beautiful position on the best beach, and the facilities are recently renovated. The beach chairs looked exceedingly comfortable, and this resort match what my expectations had been for our trip to St. Lucia - unfortunately, we booked Boucan instead. It was a good experience, but left me feeling like we could have maximized our trip by staying at Viceroy.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Boucan By Hotel Chocolat St. Lucia/Soufriere