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“Great hospitality and views, but beware the rats”
Review of Crystals

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Crystals
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Soufriere
Certificate of Excellence
Ilkley, UK
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great hospitality and views, but beware the rats”
Reviewed 6 February 2008

We have just returned from a holiday in St Lucia which included a 4 night stay in Kalabash cottage at Crystals. Our decision to stay at Crystals was very much based on the excellent reviews posted on Tripadvisor. I therefore whish to add our experience to the list of reviews.

Martin and Monica are superb hosts; very welcoming and generous. eg, providing a bottle of sparkling wine in the cottage for guests upon arrival, ensuring that the fruit bowl is filled, free welcoming drinks. Monica has gone to great effort to decorate and furnish the cottages in a unique style, clearly spending a significant sum of money on furnishings; upon arrival at Kalabash we were immediately impressed by the decor and the great views from the balcony.

What became quickly apparent however was the impracticality of much of the furniture and some of the shoddiness of the finishes in the cottage; the wardrobe contains only shelving therefore clothes cannot be hung up, the windows have no mosquito screens and the french doors which lead onto the balcony have no handles therefore once the bolt has been undone the door remains open, the toilet is not bolted to the floor and the plugs in the bathroom sinks do not work. These small issues in themselves did not irritate us greatly, however their cumulative effects were slightly wearying.

Our first night sleeping in Kalabash was quite an experience. Rather naively we had left on a kitchen surface, a plastic container of nuts, sealed with a plastic lid. During the night, a rodent (we presume a rat) gnawed through the lid, scattering the nuts across the kitchen and also storing nuts behind cushions in the cottage. Initially we found this a bit funny, kicked ourselves for leaving out the nuts and ensured we did not repeat this mistake! We mentioned to Monica that a rat had visited the cottage and she replied that she advises all guests to keep foodstuffs in the fridge - unfortunately she had forgotten to remind us.

Our preventative measures over the next 3 nights made no difference in terms of deterring vermin from entering the cottage. Every night, the rat/s scampered around the cottage, leaping across surfaces and gnawing noisily on anything and everything. One night my soap dish was even prised apart by the rodent and the soap carried away to be chewed in another part of the bathroom. We remained stoic about the scenario and used our earplugs to ensure a decent night's sleep. We did not use the kitchen facilites at all however.

I would therefore recommend anybody considering staying at Crystals to be aware that the accommodation is rustic and has a faintly grubby air about it. eg although Kalabash cottage contains beautiful Oriental rugs, they are only swept, not beaten and appear a bit matted and dirty; the bathroom shower is built in a sort of rock waterfall style - again difficult to clean due to the abundance of nooks and crannies, and it houses frogs and cockroaches. There are also very large gaps where the wooden walls of the cottage end and the roof begins - it is therefore inevitable that rats, mongooses etc can access the cottage.

I realise that our experience bears no resemblance to those posted on this website; we are a bit surprised by this, particularly as guests are paying $250 a night to stay here. In our opinion, this does not represent value for money.

Finally, and before we are acused of being "Sandals lovers", I would like to stress that we have travelled independently to all parts of the world and have stayed in a diversity of accommodation, including very basic places with a wealth of fauna. I think our concern is not primarily the fact that Crystals is "different" and that its jungle location invetiably attracts associated fauna/creatures, but more to do with the price guests are being charged for the privilege of experiencing this. Once again I would like to stress that the owners are fantastic and despite some of the issues we had, the views and scenery are superb - but manage your expectations and lock away any food.

Julie and Gareth, Ilkley, UK

  • Liked — Great views and excellent hospitality from owners
  • Disliked — Rats & cockroaches
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank julesandgareth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charles3, Charles owner at Crystals, responded to this review, 6 February 2008
First of all I would like to stress we are in the rain forest and at times we get creatures wandering our grounds it is not like every night all the cottages are swarming with rodents this is totally untrue if the odd mouse or cockroach appears this is life in the tropics and happens at all hotels on the island

ref to rate's, for our type of property our rates are extremely competitive for this open rain forest experience several hotels are triple.

It does not mean that the hotel is or dirty , St Lucia is a tropical island and soufriere is very much in the rain forest , if food is left out it is like an invitation.

Martin and I take cleanliness very serious and ensure that not only are all our cottages cleaned daily but all floors and surfaces are disinfected and our rugs beaten

Once again being in the rain forest is a great experience and Martin and I along with our very hospitable staff are there to offer advice and ensure that every one is well looked after.


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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (101)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
London, UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2008

My fiance and I booked a week's holiday from 4 December 07. During our email correspondence we enquired about a wedding ceremony at Crystals but decided to book just the accommodation. However Monica Charles took a deposit for the honeymoon package (ie to include a wedding ceremony) which was the more expensive option. Despite ackowledging her mistake in writing, when we regrettably had to cancel our booking, she refused to give us a refund for the correct amount and has since refused to acknowlege our correspondence.

The booking and cancellation policy is definitely something to be aware of. At the time of our booking, we had to pay a deposit of 50%. When we asked about the cancellation policy we were advised we would receive a 25% refund of the deposit if we cancelled 6 weeks before arrival (which we did). The website now states 8 weeks! Otherwise you will receive no refund at all. Not your typical booking policy! And even if the owner acknowledges, as in our case, that she has taken the incorrect deposit amount, you may find that she won't refund the correct amount.

I would therefore suggest caution when making a booking at Crystals unless you know for sure that you won't have to cancel!
N.B. I have copies of correspondence from Crystals acknowledging their mistake in booking the wrong package.

  • Stayed December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank pcs70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charles3, owner M Charles at Crystals, responded to this review, 4 February 2008
Crystals is a small property booked up 90% of the time and due to this factor our bookings system is very tight .

Yes a 50% deposit is require our website is quite clear and states our policy, however as a rule even if canceled a few weeks prior to arrival we still do at times 50% refund(our policy does indicate 8 weeks).

Guests requested honeymoon package rate and wedding package booked and paid 50% deposit
Then requested no wedding but wanted to keep the honeymooners package ?

I said well no it would not be a honeymoon so a different rate would be applicable,
then another request a couple of weeks later requesting cancellation and wanted a full refund ?

When pointing out our cancellation policy I was informed of action would be taken?



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california
Level Contributor
29 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2008

My husband and I found Crystals on Trip Advisor. We had no problem booking directly with Monica and Martin. Before we arrived we found them very helpful through e-mail contact. Any questions we had they answered promptly .
Upon arrival,everything was as expected. It is exactly as shown in the pictures you see on their website as well as Trip Advisor.
Monica makes you feel very welcome. Martin, her husband is also very gracious. Our cottage, Coco Palm, was extremely spacious. The view from the bedroom is incredible. Waking up to see the mountains and rain forest is spectacular.
What is so wonderful about the place is that you are treated so well. We were welcomed with champagne in the Tree Top bar, a bottle of champagne in the fridge, breakfast the first morning and much more. We enjoyed a Christmas morning brunch, a Christmas Eve get together for the guests, and we were even invited to a wedding (see Rachel's review). We made some wonderful friends while at Crystals.
Terry and Val, Fresno, CA
It is very accurate to say that the short road to Crystals is a little rough and does need work. As Monica will advise it is best to rent a 4WD to get around the roads on the island. Monica hooked us up with Benni the jeep man. Great service.
The employees of Crystals are so helpful. Arlette and the lovely ladies who clean and cook and smile so beautifully are terrific.
Anista went into town with us on the first day (another extra Monica includes) and showed us around. Ras, takes you on a mountain hike and you can even go on a sail, which again Monica sets up for you to enjoy the island of St. Lucia.
Our last night, the wedding, was so much fun and so special it made it hard to leave.
We truly had a lovely expericence at Crystals. Crystals is a gem and Monica and Martin make it shine. I can say we had an absolutely fabulous Christmas vacation at Crystals. We plan to be back hopefully next year.

  • Liked — The evening get togethers
  • Disliked — It was all good.
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank treasure59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amelia Island, Florida
Level Contributor
39 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 January 2008

My husband and I (the Irish/American couple - as referenced in the ‘peterad99 write up’) really enjoyed our week at Crystals over Christmas and New Year’s. We loved St Lucia and thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Crystals!!! We stayed two nights in the Mango Cottage, then moved over to the Sugar Cane Cottage. Each cottage was tastefully decorated and comfortable for the week. As one must remember, you are staying in a rainforest…so it is inevitable for mosquitoes… so be prepared. After our first night, we asked the Crystals staff if we could have a fan which would help blow the mosies away….by that afternoon, the fan had arrived at our doorstep. We appreciated our requests being taken care of so quickly. All beds were very comfortable (nothing worse than bad mattresses on holiday!) and a mosquito net around the bed was needed and already provided in both of our cottages.

Monica and Martin go above and beyond with welcoming their guests!! They hosted a ‘happy hour’ for all guests on many nights (Watch out for Martin’s Rum Punch-it can make you legless!), a lovely staff member came to our cottage on our first day to cook us breakfast and a delicious Sunday Brunch was prepared for all guests by Arlette & staff. Monica also booked a sailing/snorkel trip ($35 USD) and a rainforest guided hike (Free) for all Crystals guests!!!! We were even invited to a beautiful wedding and reception that was being held at the property…all the best to ‘Rachel06’!!

Crystals is charming, romantic and unique!! It is not a ‘condo at the beach’ or a ‘Four Seasons Resort’. The worst part of the trip was the mosquito bites and the rocky bumpy road leading up to Crystals; however the best part of the trip was the wonderful scenery, friendly local people & guests, delicious seafood & spicy Caribbean food and the welcoming hosts Monica, Martin & the Staff of Crystals.

Thank you and we will tell all of our friends about your wonderful St Lucian hospitality!! See you again!

  • Liked — Location and Friendly Staff
  • Disliked — Mosquitoes and bumpy road leading up to Crystals
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank EGKTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, MN
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2008

We had a great time in St. Lucia, and a very enjoyable stay at Crystals. We stayed in the Calabash, which is a very nice, roomy cottage. The pool was clean, however it does not get much sun. If you want a room with a good sundeck and a pool in the sun most days, pick Sugar Cane.

We were pleasantly surprised when every guest was invited to a Christmas morning Champagne Brunch. The local foods were delicious. We were full until dinner.

Arlette cooks a great breakfast on your first morning at Crystals! We've posted a picture of her so you'll know who to ask for : - ).

To Monica and Martin, sorry we did not get a chance to say goodbye on the morning we left. Thanks for being great hosts.

Todd and Randi

Stayed December 2007
Helpful?
12 Thank Love2Travel72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk
Level Contributor
35 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2008

I am normally very tolerant and easy going, but this was catastrophic.Booked hire car not at airport, Crystals told them arriving at 11.30 PM ..not am! On arrival at Crystals by taxi (4 hours late) we were placed into bar (told people late moving out then that building not finished!!) an hour later told we would be staying with a family as room not ready. Martin drove us there at frightening speed (and I drive a Porsche) and we arrived at a mini farm.
Uncomfortable basic room, but lovely people.Our hire car arrived next day and took us to Crystals.....the road is not just extremely rough, but long, steep VERY uncomfortable (even by 4 wheel drive, the only way to do it).
We moved into Mango - (up a steep rough concrete path)-about 12.00 to find (christmas Eve) no wardrobe to hang clothes ("awaiting enough people") no air con (handset missing) windows without catches, pool with an oil layer and VERY dirty, missing /not working kitchen equipment (even fridge, a missing transformer), DVD not working (faulty adaptor)no batteries in handsets, shower not working (we washed under tap). MY WIFE WAS DEVASTATED, I HAD PROMISED A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY.
That night a high wind blew new bedroom windows all night until I wedged with magazines, slept in lounge. Martin then came in to do extra work so we had to go out. Next night there eaten alive by mosquitos as no mesh at windows no mosqito net and no air con to keep them away. One side of my wifes face three large swellings (and we used to live in Kenya, so know about mosies).
Monica had assured us no mosquitos so not prepared.
On third day moved into Sugar cane, later we found displacing the Irish/American couple (Monica "they will not know"!!)due who were moved into Mango, sorry ..if you read this. Better but still problems with equipment not working, pool filthy (cleaned next day) wooden loungers about to break (joints wide open, but windows closed and a/c worked so no more bites. Contact me for full details and photos.
Final day negotiated a reduction for three rough days, at airport rung by credit card to say account charged with FULL AMOUNT. I have filed an internet fraud report (card was originally supplied by email for deposit)
Next Unit occupied by two American professors, wife in tears they tried to find elsewhere on first day - nowhere available. Spent all day except sleeping at another hotel where we met them.
Crystals really needs some basic maintenance (eg loose stair rails)and a good manager who checks things, and a MUCH more honest approach to customers. Monicas sister in law (Arlene I think) was wonderful, as helpful as she could be and available. The other girls were lovely.
I think other reviewers were won over by lovely views (but all hotel had this) and Monica can be very persuasive as to why there are problems, blaming St Lucian ways and appearing hard done by.
If you have any problems the Tourist information (near police station facing sea) was brilliant. Benny the Jeep man has good cars and is an ace man, even showing you around. Highly recommended.

  • Liked — Leaving
  • Disliked — nothing like advertising
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
25 Thank peterad99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charles3, Charles manager owner at Crystals, responded to this review, 4 January 2008
Our Mango cottage has been open 3 years, some new expansion to the cottage was done and is in fact wonderful see photo attached (perhaps primitive to some, quote)

At Crystals we pride ourselves in our service and guest customer relations and our cottages are indeed like our home.

obviously Crystals in not for everyone, and we do have a simple web site that portrays our property as it is, our Guests on tripadvisor in fact send in reviews and photos enough for every one to know what our property is like we are not a resort and yes we do have a bad road( yes I can say with all honesty I think it could be perhaps be the worst road on the island, we do not hide this in fact I suggest one can only get to us in a jeep?


When asked by Arlette the head housekeeper if everything is fine they replied yes great and one would assume spending 5 nights with out one word of dissatisfaction that all was well.


it is quite obvious Crystals is not for everyone one has to appreciate that even thought we want everyone to enjoy themselves no matter how you try you are not able to accommodate everyone.

To my Knowledge no credit card transaction was done at all by Crystals, in fact on check out I was rather stunned at not wanting to pay the bill so just said Ok fine no problem if that will make you happy.

Anyway I do hope they still enjoyed our wonderful island and look back with fondness.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2007

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at Crystals this summer and we had a great time. We stayed in the Calabash, and the decorations were beautiful. We loved having meals with and getting to know the other guests.
Monica and Martin can arrange the tour of the rainforest, which was great! Oh, and don't forget bug spray!

We enjoyed exploring the island in our jeep, which we rented from Benny (you can request a rental directly through him - stluciajeeprentals.com) We highly recommend you rent from him. He will pick you up from either airport and is very helpful and will show you around. Thanks Benny!

Stayed August 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank designer81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Crystals

Property: Crystals
Address: Colombette Drive, Soufriere, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Soufriere Quarter > Soufriere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Soufriere
#6 Spa Hotel in Soufriere
#8 Family Hotel in Soufriere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 9
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

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