We stayed at VBC the first week of October. It was low season so there were only a handful of people there which was awesome for us! It was like we had the whole place to ourselves. I had read all of the reviews so knew what to expect and it was exactly what we had anticipated. We stayed on the 2nd floor on the end (#12 I think). Very private and a gorgeous view. Olivia, Neva and Austin were patient and knowledgeable as they answered my million questions. Colin gave us a wonderful overview and lots of suggestions our first day. Earnest the security guard was really friendly and even gave me his umbrella when it started to rain on the way to the store so I wouldn't get wet. Claudius was a fantastic driver and tour guide. We took the island tour with Claudius and went snorkeling with Dive Fair Helen (be prepared that lunch is sitting on the boat and nothing fancy). We went to the Friday night jump up--nice to sample food and if you're not shy about dancing with the locals--but not too much else there. (All the tourists were there until about 10pm--then the locals came out) Ate dinner at a local restaurant called Claudia's--excellent! Also ate at the popular Coal Pot--food was pretty good, but you really go for the ambiance cause it is expensive (over $100 US for 2 soups 2 entrees and 2 sodas) Some hints that might help someone be prepared is 1) There is only one restaurant nearby-The Wharf next door. We ate there several times and had excellent food, but it is a local joint so not fancy to look at. The owner talked to us and was really nice. Other than that, you have to drive, taxi or take the bus. 2) Transport- We took the bus (big van) most places and it was really easy. The bus stop is right in front of the hotel and the route is just a giant circle so you can't get lost. It's inexpensive and when you want to get off you just say "next stop driver" and he pulls over. We never had to wait for the bus--in fact, they would see us coming and wait for us! Sometimes it does get a little squished in there though. Taxis are convenient but very expensive. We didn't rent a car this time, but now that we know the lay out of the island, we would probably rent one next time. 3) Groceries- it is wonderful having a kitchen! And everything you would ever need is in it. We walked to the Super J grocery store twice--it took about 10 minutes. It is a very busy road but there is a sidewalk most of the way and there are other people walking so it didn't bother us at all. The only thing is remember you can't carry too many groceries back, so if you're planning to buy a lot of stuff, you might want to take a taxi. We just got the basics cause we did not want to have to throw away stuff at the end of the week. I definitely recommend the starter pack from the hotel. Well worth the money--you don't want to have to worry about getting something to eat after all that traveling. 4) Beach--all beaches are public. The beach outside VBC may not be the biggest or nicest but the plus is that there was not a lot of people there or locals selling stuff. The staff will take beach chairs down for you or, the beach is so close, we just laid in chairs on the deck overlooking the beach. Really beautiful, especially at sunset. Took the kayak out to Rat Island but not really much there--just a nice chance to be on the water.
Overall, we loved St. Lucia, loved Villa Beach Cottages and their staff! After looking at Sandals resorts, we are SO glad we decided on VBC. It was perfect for us. If you are looking for a noisy, crowded place for partyers and honeymooners, this is definitely NOT the place for you. VBC is a small, quiet, family-owned hotel that prides itself on service and friendliness. No happy hours, (except the do-it-yourself kind!) no nightly entertainment, no all-you-can-eat buffets--just fantastic views, beautiful grounds, and top notch staff. I've only been home 3 weeks and already thinking about when we can go back!