This review is long overdue...my wife and I stayed at Crystals for our honeymoon, August 18-27th 2010, after much searching on the internet and reading 100's of reviews on this site and others. Neither of us are "Sandals-types" so we wanted a place that was a bit more natural and not walled off or fenced in from the local population. As it turned out we could not have been happier with our choice! Crystals is located in an intimate mountain side setting in the rainforest in the hills above the town of Soufriere. It would not be the easiest to find on your first approach but fortunately Monica had arranged a jeep rental for us and the owner (Benny?) picked us up at at the airport and drove us to Crystals. Highly recommend letting Monica arrange for a rental as they are are the most inexpensive on the island. Plus the driver was a great orientation/tour guide on our 45 minute ride from the airport. Upon arrival we were greeted with rum punch and given a little tour of the property, which I can only describe as unbelievably lush and beautiful surroundings. The cottages themselves are arranged essentially across a little ridge on the hillside beside each other. They offer plenty of privacy, but it was not a huge sprawling property. We had booked Papaya for 7 days and Calabash for 4 days, but as another guest hadn't arrived on our 7th night, we were given the option of staying another night in Papaya at no additional charge which we graciously accepted. I have to say Papaya was worth the extra money, as it has the best views and is a bit larger. I mean all the cottages are spacious and have great views but Papaya had the widest vantage point as well as the largest sundeck and pool. We enjoyed morning and evening dips, occasionally sans swimsuits, and the pool was cleaned daily by a friendly singing staff member. The Calabash tree house cottage was also splendid, the interior furnishings were amazing, nothing standardized or commonplace, lots of carvings, heavy mahogany furniture, beautiful art and furniture thoughout, essentlally the opposite of what you'd get at a Marriott or the like. We also got to see the other cottages, and while all were great, we liked the two we stayed at the most. Sugarcane probably would've been our next choice after that.
During our stay we were invited for cocktails in the Treehouse bar every night that we were around and not out exploring the island. Monica and her husband Martin are excellent hosts, lots of fun, very engaging and just plain good people to get to know. Monica's a sweetheart and Martin is a great musician, entertainer and a pretty funny guy! We also had dinner, prearranged, on two evenings, one of which included a live reggae band, which was also alot of fun, and a good bargain. Oh yeah, the breakfasts that they brought every morning were awesome! Super fresh fruit every day and then either an omelette or biscuits or coconut pancakes, all very very good! Way better than any standard buffet line!
Monica also arranged some great activities for us. We highly recommend the rainforest walk with Ras, one of the Crystals security guards who was very friendly (and also very accomodating of one of my special requests), he even took us to see his garden after doing the hike to an unbelievable waterfall where we got to swim all we wanted. The sailing trip up that they can arrange up to Marigot bay is also not to be missed. Theres nothing like showing up at a snorkeling spot on a private sailboat with only one other couple when you see catamarans full of loud drunk tour-ons staring enviously at you, and you know full well that they paid way more than you did, ha! That was really a great day-trip with a friendly captain and 1st mate as well. Other bonuses at Crystals was the adorable german shepherd puppy that greeted us nightly (we miss you Loki!) and the chance to get to know other guests at cocktail hour was nice too. We even got to meet a St lucia reggae super-star, and friend of Martin's, Ras Afrika and hang with him for an afternoon. Also, another one of Crystals' staff, Wayne, was kind enough to guide my wife on a hike to the top of Petit Piton, (I'm a bit out of shape, but I didn't want to hold her back) I felt completely comfortable letting her hike with him, as he was a really good natured guy and we had got to be pretty good friends during our stay)
We ate at some great restaurants in and around Soufriere, the Hummingbird was great, not the biggest fan of the Mango tree (great view but food was kinda blah imo) Our favorite was the one right on the water in Soufriere, cant recall the name but definitely worth a visit. Snorkeling at Jalousie was also great and we stopped at Ladera for cocktails. We could not believe how much some people that we met paid to stay at Ladera, Crystals was SO much nicer, and for a fraction of the price. Jalousie on the other hand, well if you have tons and tons of money then I would stay there too, place is pretty sweet, but if you're not a millionaire then Crystals is your next best bet! Of course you can just do what we did, go there for drinks, use their facilities, and hang at the beach bar there (the beaches are all public) and then just drive "home" at the end of the day. (we even used their free internet, haha)
I can't say there were any real big negatives at Crystals for us. yes, there will be some insects if you leave food out or leave the lights on with the doors open when it rains, but you're in the rain forest buddy! Just put the a/c on or wear some bug spray. Martin also installed some sort of electric/sonic device while we there that was supposed to keep bugs away, I was skeptical at first but it really worked! The night after he installed it there were hardly any insects at all even with us having a bunch of the lights on and the doors wide open at night! And yeah, you have to drive to the beach instead of walking right out the door, but instead you get amazing views, your own private swimming pool, and a much more personal experience. Overall, this place is no Sandals, and thats exactly why it was so great... SO much more UNIQUE. We did not want to leave and we definitely plan on returning, the sooner the better! Feel free to email me if you have any questions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Crystals is a one of a kind Tree House property with a cluster of unique cottages and Villas built into the trees. It is nestled away in the hillside of Soufriere with most spectacular views of the piton mountains, ocean and the picturesque town of Soufriere. Crystals is not an all inclusive resort. Here, you can take advantage of your own BBQ and full kitchen, or enjoy a wonderful feast at our Treetop Restaurant. Private chefs are also available. Our one of a kind cottages and villas are equipped with Air Conditioning and stylishly furnished with 4 poster king size beds, art from around the world, private pools and offer amazing, panoramic views of the ocean, the majestic Gros and Petit Piton and the drive-in volcano. Visit Crystals soon and allow yourself a moment to relax in a hammock and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your lush surroundings, or get pampered with a full body massage in the privacy of your own cottage. Then join us every night for complimentary cocktails at our tree-top bar and dance the night away to the rhythms of a local band. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Crystals Hotel Soufrière
- Crystals St. Lucia/Soufriere