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“Fantastic Holiday” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bel Jou Hotel

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Bel Jou Hotel
PO Box 296 | La Pansee, Castries 89131, St. Lucia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 17 hotels in Castries
Rustington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Fantastic Holiday”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Just returned from a fantastic 2 week holiday at the Bel Jou on St Lucia. We asked for and got a room on the top floor. The view overlooking Castries and the sea from the room was amazing, so much better than the hotels on the beach. Beds were very comfortable, and the AC worked well. The food quality was superb, with a good choice considering the small size of the hotel. The local fish was always a favorite with us. Food was always piping hot. Vegetables were cooked to perfection.Not as much creole cooking as I would like. The breakfast chef Kelvin,made wonderful omelets. Every Wednesday lunchtime there is a BBQ by the pool area. Wine of reasonable flowed with Lunch and Evening meal. The pool bar was open from about 10AM to 6PM and served all types of drinks including cocktails. The barman developed a cocktail to my taste with some 80% proof rum to give it a kick!!
The gardens are very beautiful, with many of the local plants atracting colourful humming birds. Once a week, the head gardener does a tour explaining all the plants. Don't try the seeds from the pepper plant by the Gazebo, I had a numb lip for 30 minutes!!
The room was always kept very clean. All staff were very courteous. The manageress Camilla and her husband were always around to talk to guests, and to ensure the hotel ran smoothly.
The Saga rep Henry was amazing, the best rep we have ever known. Always around to help guests, and ensure we were all happy. His daily quizzes were a big favorite, and the afternoon croquet was great fun, even though we played to Henry's rules!!.
The courtesy bus to the beaches was run on time and only once was full. Visit Pigeon Island for a great day out. All the three trips included in the holiday price were well run and interesting. We also did a forest walk, and the bus and catamaran cruise is a must.
Our only concern was that we like to walk, and the terrible steep roads by the hotel make this almost impossible. Henry organised some local walks to the beach and the lighthouse which we enjoyed.
Some reviews have called this hotel 'God's waiting Room', but the guests during our stay were all young at heart, and we had a great time.
We look forward to our next trip to the Bel Jou.

Room Tip: Ask for a top floor room, the views are fantastic. The steps up to the top floor help to keep you fi...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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147 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (66)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Rugby UK
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

Traveled on Feb 5th to the West Indian Islands of St Vincent and St Lucia on a 2 week 2 centre trip with the UK's over 50 specialist Saga. See my review of the Buccament bay resort on St Vincent. The Liat flight from St Vincent was uneventful and all luggage delivered safely. We landed on the airport near Castries the islands capital which meant only a 10 minute journey to the Hotel Bel Jou. This is run by saga so it was brits only and NO KIDS, bless 'em
What a contrast from the Buccament. High up in the hills above Castries it offers stunning views over the bay but is very isolated. There is no view from the small rectangular pool, its just surrounded by large sunshades and loungers. There is a sizable patio area where you can have a drink during the day and take in the sun and plenty of seating where you can avoid the mid day sun.
The hotel comprises 5 levels with most of the restaurant and bar areas as well as reception on the 3rd level. Because there are no lifts you do have to be prepared to negotiate loads of steps so to keep that to a minimum aim for a 3rd floor room. There is no advantage in a ground floor room if steps and stairs are a problem.
Rooms are excellent with big comfortable beds. We had 2 but only used 1. Plenty of space for clothes, a decent bathroom with a corner shower unit. A small balcony gave good view, nice to relax on at the end of the day. The AC was good, needed in 30 degree heat. We did have one problem with it not working but a phone call to reception was acted on straight away and 10 minutes later we were up and running again. Quite impressive service.
It was an all inclusive package with the bar open from 10am till late. Food was good and obviously catered for British tastes. Local fish was on most nights and on 2 nights we had a treat with Dorado, also known as Dolphin fish. Not to be confused with the Dolphin everyone likes to see. Vegetables were cooked to perfection. Overall it was repetitive but one consolation is that staff kept your wine glass full. I think they play safe with the food. I did not hear of anyone suffering with a bad tummy which often happens when you try strange food in far away places. Breakfast was sound with good egg man Kelvin. He was quite efficient. I don't think anyone went hungry. OK so there were no snacks available during the day but with breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and an evening meal surely that's enough. Coffee and tea and chocolate drinks were available all day from a self service machine. With the bar open as well I think Bel Jou had it all covered.
Evening entertainment was mainly local flavour and we enjoyed most of it. There was not much else to do in the evening so it was a case of making the most of it.
manager Camilla and her Husband make a good team looking after people well and usually on hand to ensure everything was OK. Saga resident manager Henry Phillips was outstanding and looked after everyone. He was on hand most of the time and made sure the singles that were there did not miss out on anything. The staff were good but lacked the happy smiling faces that we had in St Vincent. you really had to wqork on them but when you did the face lit up Caribbean style.
Yes, there are issues. When it rained, and on St Lucia it does frequently, the steps around the hotel had to be treated with caution. The location means that you have to use the free to get anywhere and it had to be booked. Once 15 people were on the list that was it until the next one an hour later. You had to book your return time as well. Of course you could use local taxis and I think a local bus service could be picked up outside. The free bus service was good going out to Rodney Bay and pigeon island which was a fair run. It also covered Castries. Some brave souls took a walk i to town and even as faras the beach by the Airport. Not an easy walk and a big climb back. In the hotel a lack of lounge seating meant you had to be a bit sharp to get a comfortable seat after your meal.
The gardens were pleasant with plenty of shrubs to attract Humming birds and other wild life and a sprinkling of loungers were available, not all with sun shades. It was a jaunt to get down there and if you wanted a drink it was a long climb back up to level 3. There was no waiter service here. I am afraid we had been spoiled by our first week at Buccament Bay.
We did a few trips to see the Island. The day tour to the South taking in the Volcano and the Pitons and a lovely sea cruise on a Catamaran back up to Rodney Bay in the North was the highlight of our week. Disappointed with the Aerial tramway which was quite spectacular but the lack of bird life was very noticeable. I think the active Zip wires throughout the forest had frightened them all away. The views from the top were good though.
Overall it was OK but we found the week enough. Definitely not for the young. Most residents were in their 70's and 80's. By 10pm many had retired to their rooms. One night we had quite a respectable group with a good girl vocalist but at 10pm there were only 6 of us left to listen.
Room tip. Go for 2nd or 3rd floor to reduce steps but still give a view our over the bay. Ask for an extra blanket as the light bedding is hardly enough when the AC is running to keep the room cool. Dont leave the balcony doors open. The resident Bullfinch's will raid your room to find any food and they just love sugar
.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
north east
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

A SAGA hotel that is very clean and the room are excellent .Food good but not fantastic and the staff very helpful. Hotel very safe and beautiful situation on hill overlooking Castries. Mixture of ages because it is a Saga hotel but that depends on how young young feel.Good bus service so young can get out and about.No computer for hotel guests this year. Not told. Could have taken I pad if we had been told.Also as said by others more information about what's going on locally ie when there are celebrations and opening hours of shops etc.Rep only recently parachuted in and not up to previous rep yet.

Room Tip: High rooms give great views - garden rooms great feeling
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heswall, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

As the title above suggests the Bel Jou is a home from home for British Elderlies.
Whilst the rooms are clean and comfortable the decor is old fashioned but the rooms are well serviced each day. The hotel is situated up a hill away from Castries and the beach. A minibus service does run to take you to a number of places. If you like beach walking directly from your hotel, as at Coyaba Beach Resort, Grenada, this hotel is not for you.
The pool is small as is the pool seating area although there are about 16 loungers in the gardens.
The food is typically British cavery as would be available in any pub in the UK. Nothing exciting!
With no youngsters in the hotel life stops at about 10.30. There is no area for having a drink and a chat as the outside Cobana shuts at six .
Definitely a SAGA oldies hotel and very disappointing after the other hotels, Blue Haven, Coyaba Resort and Buccament Bay Resort experienced on the SAGA Islanda of the Caribbean tour.

Room Tip: If you have difficulty with stairs this hotel may not be your best choice as all rooms have stairs a...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Witney, Oxfordshire
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

Lots of steps which are dangeous when wet. On arrival found the swimming pool to be filthy had not been cleaned as they stated they had run out of chemical. Food was Hospital type food very basic. Set three meals a day no coffee shop to get a sandwich, cake etc. which normal all inclusive have. Room smelt unpleasant and again very basic. Bedding inadequat especially when it is necessary to have the air conditioning on. The shuttle bus did not always run. Although when it did it was good. Hotel very isolated and it was necessary to use the bus. There are only 17 louge type chairs to sit on and relax in the evening, so you had to remain at your dining table for anythis that was going on. The only good point was the Saga Rep. Henry who did try his best without much help from the management There was no room service and no fitness centre. Guest were very unfriendly and were waitng for god..

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

The hotel provides what Saga claims - 'Boasting fantastic views over Castries from its setting atop a steep hill, and excellent service from our friendly staff'. The hill is steep and you do have to rely on the minibus transport but that is very good and reliable. Food is plentiful and good but don't expect Michelin star quality! The clientele makes the hotel a bit like God's waiting room but it is Saga after all! Very good attention from Saga rep, Henry, who tries to please everyone. Music provided most evenings but not to our taste - however there are DVD players in the rooms. Some old DVDs in library but bring one or two of your own if you want.

Room Tip: There are steps wherever you go. Decent view on floor 2 if you want to avoid steps to higher floors...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

Stayed for two weeks at Bel Jou in Dec 12. First time with Saga and not sure what to expect.We have been used to the big all inclusive resorts in the Carribean and found Bel Jou a lot different.

Location:
A bit isolated as the hotel is not on the beach but above the town of Castries. The shuttle bus was very good from the hotel and took you to Castries, Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island, only drawback was that you had to book return journey time previous day which limited you to your trips out. We found we had to catch the local bus service back up the hill a couple of times during our stay (good way to meet the locals).

Food:
food was very nice at the hotel, well cooked and presented although if you are more used to the larger all inclusive resorts it was lacking in choice. Became a bit monotonous after a while.

Accomodation:
Great: Had a room in the main block on level 4. Balcony overlooking the gardens and the sea. Very clean, spacious and well serviced every day.

Entertainment:
Very low key entertainment..singers
and dancers. Good for what they were. Most guests were up and dancing every night but disappeared by 10.30pm (Saga don`t you know)

Ambience:
Great for meeting people. Everybody talks to each other as it is all Brits together. Learnt how to play Croquet after a fashion. If you would like a comfortable holiday to make you feel at ease then this is for you.

Trips:
The included trips were excellent and can
recommend them. If you require a trip round the Island then I recommend you go to the cruise Terminal when a British ship is in and hop on one of the tours at the terminal (half the price of the saga trips) Sorry Saga.

Overall:

Very nice holiday, very enjoyable,being beach bums we are not likely to go to Bel Jou again but if you like to just chill out by the pool, eat and drink then this will suit. (English tea)

Room Tip: Level 4 is good
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bel Jou Hotel

Address: PO Box 296 | La Pansee, Castries 89131, St. Lucia
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Castries Quarter > Castries
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#8 Romantic Hotel in Castries
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Saga guests can now enjoy a holiday at Saga’s own hotel on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. Boasting stunning views over Castries from its setting atop a steep hill, the 4-star Bel Jou provides a tranquil, tropical retreat for today’s over 50s, free from the distractions of the more overrun resorts. With many opportunities for sightseeing and sampling island life, the hotel’s relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a leisurely holiday or a lively Caribbean experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bel Jou Castries
Bel Jou Hotel St. Lucia/Castries

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