Hotel Chocolat seems to divide opinion on Trip. But look at their website and if you like what you see then this is what they deliver, in spades! It’s contemporary modern with a light touch. Not stuffy, not formal and no linen covers for dinner. The staff are approachable, friendly and relaxed. If you want the feel of a 5-star full-service ‘resort’ then Chocolat probably isn’t for you. This is a boutique hotel with a boutique feel.
The standard lodges are a good size and lovely while the luxe lodges offer a bit more space and a sun terrace with a better view. But having seen both, I’d recommend the standard lodges – at 30% less than the luxes, I think they are better value. I’d spend what you save on car hire – Avis local are good, we paid £40 a day for a jeep – and this allows you the freedom to explore St Lucia independently. Plus, spend on the best of the Chocolat ‘experiences’, the speedboat tour: complete with captain and guide, zip round the coast, visit Pigeon Island, moor up for lunch (you can specify where you want to eat or Chocolat provide a cool box with lunch and drinks) and take some snorkelling kit to dive off the coast into the ocean and see some amazing fish off the reefs. It’s a seriously glamorous day trip
Chocolat is clearly not on the beach but in the rainforest. This may be a concern for some. They provide daily boat transport for the short hop to Sugar Beach but there’s a problem here: the beach hotel dominates and won’t let you use its sun loungers. It’s a public beach but there are only a few lower grade sun loungers you can hire, many without cover or you’re shoved to the least best corner of the beach. Many of the beaches work like this. Best is the quiet ‘local’ beach – if you have a car, drive towards Soufriere, take the turning for Sugar Beach and turn right before you hit Martha’s Tables restaurant. Here you can do as you wish; there is shade, good snorkelling and a basic bar for a cool drink. Unfortunately this beach won’t stay like this forever – another hotel resort is in the offing. Chocolat are planning to run their own pop-up style beaches so you might want to ask them about this.
The Boucan restaurant is good. Don’t worry, everything isn’t drenched in chocolate! They have inventive ways of using the cocoa nib that tie in nicely to the fact that this is after all a revitalised cocoa plantation. You can probably eat in for 4 nights before you feel like you’re working your way through the menu. At the bar, make sure you try at least one of the potent Chairman’s Rum Punch.
Special thanks to all the staff, bar none - we will especially remember Margaret, Esna, Nyola, Didier, Judy and the superb Inalee!