Hotel Chocolat, St Lucia
THE BACKGROUND: There are now 55 Hotel Chocolat shops in the UK but the first Chocolat hotel only started welcoming guests in March last year when a property opened on the Rabot estate in Saint Lucia. It was an obvious choice: the site is where much of the chocolate that's exported is cultivated and produced. Accommodation consists of six ‘Cocoa Pods’, cottage-style rooms set around a terrace and water feature, and a further eight ‘Cocoa Pods luxe’, high on the hill with their own verandas. All of the rooms have amazing views of The Pitons.
CHECK IN We were invited to relax in the restaurant while we filled in our details while sipping a welcome cocktail.
THE ROOM: Very much open to the outside, with window shutters and floor boards with gaps between them to see down to the decorative rocks below. At night the local wildlife gets very noisy as the tree frogs, crickets and nocturnal birds wake up. The hotel provides ear plugs and eye masks but I enjoyed hearing all the sounds. The room has a rustic feel – the stone walls are painted white – with dark brown furnishings. It is divided into a bedroom and living area with a Queen-size four-poster bed, ceiling fan, wardrobe, dressing table and cabinet with a fridge/room bar, daily ice service, complimentary mineral water, an assortment of Jing teas, a cafetiere with ground coffee and a delicious selection of chocolate treats beautifully presented and replenished daily. Guests receive a complimentary hessian Rabot estate bag and Hotel Chocolat Prosecco. There is an iPod with a selection of play lists. The large bathroom has a double sink, on dark polished granite as well as a semi-outdoor ‘rain shower’.
THE RESTAURANT: For an extra $90 a day (including a $20 bar/drinks credit) guests can stay full-board ($70 for half-board) and enjoy a two-course lunch and three-course dinner in the award-winning restaurant, Boucan (which means cocoa-drying facility).
KEY FACILITIES & ACTIVITIES: Club Boucan is the swimming pool area with sun loungers, a bar and an infinity pool overlooking the Piton Mountains. There is a free beach shuttle service to Jalousie Plantation and Anse Chastanet. Guests can also enjoy cocoa and nature walks around the estate and a ‘Tree to Bar experience’ where they create their own chocolate. The Cocoa Juvenate Spa offers massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, body wraps and exfoliates.
THE HIGHLIGHT: The restaurant and eating huge amounts of chocolate!
THE COST: From around $550 per room per night, including breakfast.
Anyone who has enjoyed a Hotel Chocolat chocolate will be intrigued by the idea of staying at the hotel – and they will certainly love the restaurant.! No kids under 12.
Publisher, Selling Long Haul