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“Tree to bar tour experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

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Boucan by Hotel Chocolat
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Rabot Estate | P.O. Box 312, Soufriere, St. Lucia   |  
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Ranked #7 of 12 hotels in Soufriere
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Tree to bar tour experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

We were staying nearby so visited Hotel Chocolat for the 'Tree to Bar' tour. It was excellent, harvesting your own cocoa pod, learning all about the plantation and the great work that is going on all over St Lucia and planting your own tree. We saw every stage of the process from tree to cocoa nibs and were then able to make our own bar of chocolate, hard work (grinding!) but totally worth it. We had a chocolate cocktail whilst waiting for our bars to set. A great way to spend a morning cannot recommend it enough and we'll certainly try to come back to stay here and visit our trees!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Judy B, Head of Guest Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, June 10, 2013
Sounds like chocolate will never be the same again for you,! Lovely comments, thanks
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217 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

HOnestly--Usually when I find something this wonderful, this marvelous, this magical--I keep it to myself. There are, after all, only fourteen "lodges" at Hotel Chocolat (even writing the name makes me happy again) and when I go to book, I don't want to find that YOU have my room. But I am making an exception--This is truly the most amazing hotel experience I have ever had. We had the opportunity to stay in both types of accommodations, and each is fabulous in its own way. Huge, open air showers with giant shower heads make you feel as if you have your own in-room spa--crisp, cool, hi-thread count cotton sheets cover beds so comfy you will have difficulty leaving--high functioning mosquito nets hang from four posters and allow you to Fully enjoy the exoticism of falling asleep with the breath and sounds of the jungle all around you--all the beasties can sing you a lullaby without you worrying about looking like Quasimodo in the morning from all the bites--you will have none. Every room shares these qualities, along with tasteful, chic, hip decor--The photos don't do the place justice, it is much lovelier than I expected (and my expectations were high). The more expensive "Luxe Lodges" are larger, have a private sun deck and lounge chairs, and views that I can only describe as wondrous. You will not want to leave your room--but thankfully, the wonderful staff at Boucan is happy to bring you something delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you so desire. I'm not entirely sure I haven't dreamt the whole thing--It really was too perfect, including the gracious and professional staff that does their best to make you feel like the most important person they have ever had the pleasure of assisting. Bang for the buck, I would stay in the smaller lodges (which are still huge) as the view can be had from the restaurant, as well as the "Club Boucan"--another marvel, with its sleek, cool lap pool, hip bar, and intimate sun deck. If you have ever had a fantasy of living like a rock star--Hotel Chocolat will fulfill that for you. Intimate, serene, completely surrounded by nature, yet totally luxurious--If this appeals to you, then there is really no other place to stay on St. Lucia.

Room Tip: They are all amazing, but the best view of the Luxe Lodges is (perhaps) from rooms 7 & 8.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Head of Guest Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, June 10, 2013
My goodness. What beautiful words… truly humbled and motivated to keep getting better every day!
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New York City, New York
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

We visited St. Lucia for the first time in April 2013.
We stayed at Hotel Chocolat during the second part of our trip.
It was a very unique experience and we had a wonderful time.


Things we loved about our stay:

- Very new and modern design that is chic and blends indoor and outdoor space seamlessly.
- The hotel is also a working cacao plantation which offers nice walking trails and activities related to chocolate making.
- The manager Judy was extremely helpful and made our stay less stressful and booked our tour activities with efficiency.
- The hotel utilizes taxi service companies that uses modern cars and professional drivers. Both cars and drivers for our tours and airport transfers were top notch.
- The infinity pool looking towards the Petit Piton was one of the best hotel pools I have swam in. Great design and location.
- The food at the Boucan Restaurant was amazing. The taste and presentation is top notch. In addition, tips are not requested or added automatically onto your bill. They clearly state that their employees are paid a full wage and any gratuities is voluntary and for exceptional service only.
- We took the mud bath tour and visited one of the waterfalls; it was a fun experience but not sure it was worth $75 (US) per person.
- We also did the estate tour of the cocoa plantation and made our own chocolate bars - it was a unique and fun experience and we learned quite a bit about cocoa and how much hard work it goes into chocolate making.
- We loved the big bathroom (the size of some NYC studio apartments!) and the big open design.
- We loved the music and playlist on the ipod and we had music playing most of the time except at night. I would love to get the playlist, it was a great combination of different genres.
- The cookies and the nuts were lovely; we did not drink the prosecco and the rum punch.
- We also did two of the self guided hikes on the estate, one on the top near a house brought us to an amazing view of the two Pitons and the other brought us to a tiny lake. I would definitely recommend the first one.

Some things to keep in mind when booking this hotel:

- The hotel is not located next to a beach, if beach activity is your main objective, then this is not the hotel for you. Though there is a shuttle bus that brings you to a local beach. We stayed at another hotel for three days that had a wonderful beach prior to staying at the Hotel Chocolat, so beach activity was not high on our priority list, which worked out well for us.
- The lodges are not totally enclosed. This means that insects and critters of all sorts can easily wander into your room and there's nothing you can do about it. If you don't like bugs, then the lodges are not for you.
- Since it's one big open room with some dividing walls, you can hear everything such as bathroom activities, etc in the room. If you need a lot of privacy, this lodge set up might not be ideal for you.

Things that could use improvement in our opinion:

- WiFi only works in the main building and the signal does not reach the Luxe Lodges. We were very disappointed that the Luxe Lodges did not have WiFi signals which we were expecting that it should have. As soon as we left the main building/restaurant the wifi signal cut off.
- The granite slabs walkways can be very slippery when wet and can be dangerous when combined with areas that are not lit very well at night.
- Specifically, the stairs leading directly to the Luxe Lodges (we stayed in #9) are not lit at night and guests can trip on the stairs.
- Hotel and restaurant service level is not consistent. During check in, we arrived earlier than the hotel's stated 3pm official check in time. We were told that we could go to our rooms in 30 minutes, after that time, we were told it would be another 15 minutes, after that time, we were again told it would be another 15 minutes. It would be better if they set the right expectation and informed us that it would be an hour before we can access the rooms rather than be disappointed several times about the delays. The wait took on more frustration because we already had an awful two hour ride to the hotel from the northern tip of the island and we just wanted to go to our room to unwind. In addition, one night, we had dinner at the Boucan restaurant, though we were not told to make reservations, we arrived just after 7pm. We were told that we could be seated in 15 minutes and that we should have a drink in the meantime. After 35 minutes, we were still not seated even after other guests that arrived after us were seated. All told, it took about an hour to wait for a table when we were initially told that it will be 15 minutes. Again, if we were told to wait an hour, then at least we have the right expectation in mind about the wait time and not be disappointed.
- We only had ice in our room the day we checked in and after that it was never refilled as it said it would be refilled at dusk every day.
- We liked the REN products in the bathroom, but my husband uses traditional soap and he would have liked to have that option as well.
- Having the front desk/reception of the hotel in the same space where the restaurant front desk is, was a bit confusing to us - we were never sure who was supposed to be hotel staff and who was working for the restaurant.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Head of Guest Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, June 10, 2013
Fabulous comments, much appreciated.
Glad to say that WIFI now boosted so available all over the hotel powerfully.
Lighting along paths has been further boosted too.
Service point taken and addressed too.
Thanks again.
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Montreal, Canada
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

If you are looking for an intimate, beautifully designed new boutique hotel with stunning views of Petit Piton, this is the place to pick.

We spent 3 nights in one of the luxe villas and selected the « Juste Married » package. It included a Sunset cruise which we shared with another couple (great opportunity to see the pitons from another perspective), breakfast in bed, cacao massage, private candle lit dinner by the pool, sparkling wine, etc. Go for this package even if you are not newly weds, it is worth it.

The villas are great: high ceilings, huge and modern bathroom, airy feeling. The pool area is nice and chic and has – again - wonderful views of the piton.

There is no aircon on the resort, but perhaps because it is located higher than sea level, the heat was not too hard to bear – except maybe at night when the sheets were a bit damp.

Service was attentive and friendly. I loved the fact that a hotel employee would come to our room every evening around 4:30-5pm to deliver ice for drinks. What a nice touch!

Food was refined and truly delicious throughout our stay – and we are foodies! We tried almost everything on the menu and could not find anything that was not to our taste. There is enough variety on the menu to please everyone, but because the menu stays the same, it has the potential of becoming a little boring if you stay a week or more. It would be nice to have a couple of extra daily dishes that change. Regardless, we enjoyed every meal. Make sure to try the baba with cacao-infused whipped cream – it is amazing.

One other (minor) thing that could be improved is the way they manage the beverage credit. We had a $50 credit daily but the staff do not give guests account of where they are at regarding that credit, so I think we ended up not using all of it some days and we lost the option of taking a bottle from the mini bar in the room to use up our credit.

ACTIVITIES
In addition to the activities I already mentioned, we also did the Gros piton hike. Do keep in mind that it is a pretty demanding hike - I was somewhat unprepared and wished I would have stopped halfway. The view was already fantastic at that point so I would recommend considering it as an option if you are not an avid hiker. Also, ask for additional bottles of water before leaving the hotel, you will need plenty during the hike.

Once you reach the top, ask your guide to take you first to the view of Petit Piton, which is a bit further; for some reason, ours took us first to another spot where we stopped and had lunch and then we went to the place from which you have the view of the piton. By that time we were quite exhausted and were no longer in great shape to walk the extra 10 minutes to go there and back to the main path.

The tree to bar tour is interesting for anyone who is curious about how chocolate is made. The guide, who is the manager of the cacao plantation, is knowledgeable and passionate and will share with you all about the history of the place. It’s a hands-on tour so be prepared to get involved!

I also recommend to visit the sulphur springs nearby, even though it is quite small and the mud bath is somewhat disorganized (the showers to rinse off the mud were out of order!) and has security issues (there is a rope hanging down from a tree that you are supposed to use to get into the bath – quite improvised). It is not a life-changing visit, but since it is so close to the hotel, why not take a couple of hours to go.

We did not go to the beach as we had just spent 4 days at the beach in another resort so it was not the purpose of our trip here.

Hotel Chocolat is a place where you will enjoy a unique atmosphere, a great mix of nature, architecture and good taste.

Room Tip: Do go for the luxe villas; the additional cost is insignificant compared to what you get.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Judy B, Head of Guest Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Thanks in particular for these words: ‘A great mix of nature, architecture and good taste’. Like too your recommendation to go for the ‘Just Married’ package even if not on a honeymoon - why not indeed?!
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New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

All too often when traveling one finds oneself having to compromise on one's aesthetic. It is rare to find a combination of location, architecture, design, food and overall style all in one property. Hotel Chocolat succeeds with flying colors. The location is great, with a spectacular and mesmerizing view of the Petit Piton. While a bit of ocean is visible from the luxe lodges, the views are more about nature and the mountain rather than the sea. The overall vibe is relaxed, eco-friendly and chic.

Boucan is luxurious in many ways, some expected and some not. For me it is a great luxury to have sensitively designed rooms that function properly as well as pleasing the eye. It is also luxurious not to have televisions, tacky gewgaws or overused luxury identifiers. The luxe lodges are spacious and attractive, high up and designed to catch the breezes as well as the view. The bathrooms are huge, with amazing huge rainshower heads. I slept better lodge 9 than I have in almost any other bed in the Caribbean - no airconditioning, but cool temperatures, breezes, an efficient ceiling fan and mosquito netting that not only looked good but actually worked as it fits over the entire fourposter bed and has deep overlaps so it does not become confining. Two minor issues (a missing adaptor for the lamp and faulty floor lights) were dealt with swiftly - the sign of a well managed property. The towels are large, plentiful and fluffy, and the little free amenities of nuts with cocoa nibs and cookies are a very nice and welcome touch.

The food is very good, and the restaurant very attractive. The open kitchen is fun to watch and clearly well run. Standouts include a particularly succulent pork and the cacao butter roasted fish. Dishes that might sound heavy are not - the goat cheese is another winner - and the portions are sensible and the presentation excellent. The chocolate element to the food works very well, with a few minor exceptions. A salad dressing with white chocolate works much better than it sounds, but I am not convinced that a simple dressing without the chocolate would do more to honor the fresh, tasty tender local greens. Breakfast is fantastic (and was included in our room rate). The smoothies were great, and I am sorry that the hotel does not sell their chocolate granola. We begged to buy a single jar, but would happily have bought a case to ship home. The service at all meals was gracious and the servers were extremely pleasant.

The hiking around the hotel is rewarding both physically and for the scenery. The Big Nature and Old French Road hikes are easy and close by. The hike up the Grand Piton is challenging. It is worth getting up early as one is less likely to see other hikers. We passed many struggling on the way up on our way down, and hiking up with other groups nearby would not have been as nice. The tour of the chocolate plantation is very informative and interesting - Cuthbert is a great guide, and learning about the process was fun. The pool is a pleasant place to unwind and take a cooling dip, with half of the chaises thoughtfully shaded under an overhang and the others spaced on either end of the pool for those who want more sun.

Minor tips for the hotel:

The exterior lighting on the original plantation house could be more sensitive and in line with the rest of the property.
While the picnic packed for the Piton hike is very good, the paper bag it came in disintegrated quickly on the way up. Canvas totes would be a nice touch. It might also be a good idea to provide a light breakfast before the hike, as it is quite strenuous
Beach access: The is a shuttle that leaves at 10 and returns at 4. Six hours is a long time to spend on the beach. It would be nice to have a golf cart or something that could run up and back on call, or to take guests to the public beach off the road to Jalousie.
The chocolate tour is described as two parts, one complimentary and one $55. However there was no break in the actual tour. I preferred the learning segment to the bar making portion. Given the choice I would not have done the bar making as it was less interesting (a lot of pounding) and the result was not as good as the professionally made chocolate (no surprise)

Notes for guests:

Boucan is a well designed, friendly place with a laid back feeling. It is not the Four Seasons, nor is it trying to be. (Nor is it priced at that level) It is much cooler than the Sugarbeach/Jalousie Plantation below - both in the literal temperature difference being much higher up as well as the inherent cool factor. Sugarbeach reeks of hermetically sealed rooms, televisions with satellite TV, competitive beach attire and the flashier side of the Caribbean - St. Barth's style. Boucan is more about relaxation, nature and subtlety. If you have read this far you will likely know if it is the sort of place you would enjoy and appreciate or not. Although we went to the beach one afternoon, I would not have missed it had we decided not to make the trek down to the beach.

I would happily return again for a long weekend from New York. The nonstop Jet Blue flight makes it an easy trip, and the sublime aesthetic and sensory experience is transporting and comforting, even for only three or four nights. I cannot think of many other hotels in the Caribbean that have combined sensitive modern architecture with extraordinary natural resources in such a successful, relaxed low key manner. Bravo Boucan!

Room Tip: The luxe lodges are more private and airier. I suspect they are also cooler temperature wise.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Head of Guest Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Cannot thank you enough for this, truly inspirational for us and we have shown and discussed it with the whole team in Saint Lucia, England and America. If you don’t mind me saying, you have hit the nail on the head with what we are trying to do, and have expressed it so eloquently! The ‘minor tips’ section is being worked on and is also v much appreciated.
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dc
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

We came here for lunch and both agreed the food was better than at Dashnee at LaDera, although LaDera did have the better view. All of the food had hints of chocolate in it and was very tasty. Service was a bit slow, but it was most likely just Island Time.

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Judy B, Head of Guest Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Glad you enjoyed. The Soufriere-Pitons area is getting a reputation now for a good selection of very different restaurants, all good for the area and local economy as a whole.
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Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013 via mobile

In some ways Boucan exceeded all expectations. It is a testament to human ingenuity in engaging with nature. Service is good, food is inventive and local (sometimes hard to find this combo in St Lucia). Luxe villa has the wow factor in spades. But you pay fully for all this, it is on the "Davos man" level. Which is why I couldn't believe the lack of basic groundskeeping maintenance in the relatively small hotel area. Especially the walk to the car park, which was not swept once during our 4-night stay. If you have people paying top-dollar for dinner or to stay, wouldn't you want to provide a good first impression? I almost needed one of the ubiquitous machetes to get to the reception area. That said, we tremendously enjoyed exploring our own way around the wider estate grounds in the mornings, which incorporate dramatic elevation changes and varied, lush tropical scenery. There is more to St. Lucia than the beach! Some slight adjustments on groundskeeping and this is a 5-star review, easy.

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Head of Guests Relations at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
‘Engaging with nature’ is exactly what we aspire to bring to our guests and very pleased that you enjoyed this on your 4 night stay with us. ‘Slight adjustment on groundskeeping’ – its done and thanks for pointing out.
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Additional Information about Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

Address: Rabot Estate | P.O. Box 312, Soufriere, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Soufriere Quarter > Soufriere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Soufriere
#5 Luxury Hotel in Soufriere
#6 Family Hotel in Soufriere
#7 Romantic Hotel in Soufriere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Boucan by Hotel Chocolat 4.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover plantation chic - luxury, well-being & stunning natural beauty. Situated high in the hills near Soufriere, set in rainforest & cocoa groves with stunning views of the Piton mountains. A daily transfer is provided for guests to a stunning nearby beach by Hotel Sea Launch. Guests can enjoy trail walks around the cocoa estate, cacao inspired treatments in the spa, relaxation in Club Boucan with its private infinity pool & the exclusive cacao cuisine at Boucan Restaurant & Bar, free laundry service, room additions and Tree to Bean tour. Boucan by Hotel Chocolat offer 2 types of accommodation, both with 4 poster beds, preloaded iPods & docking stations, complimentary wireless, a mini-bar & open sky rainforest showers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Boucan By Hotel Chocolat St. Lucia/Soufriere

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