We stayed in the Angelina Cottage at the Fond Doux in July 2012 and I have delayed writing a review as I knew that it would not be a positive one. This was our fourth holiday in the Caribbean but our first holiday in St Lucia. We booked the cottage for two weeks with confidence after reading the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. On balance the stay was a disappointment and if we had not been asked to sign confirming that we would stay for the full two weeks upon our arrival, we would have moved on after a few days. Yes the estate is wonderful and many of the people working at the Fond Doux are wonderful. However what we got was “shabby chique accommodation” in a beautiful setting. In my opinion there are better alternatives than the Fond Doux in the area.
Probably the best thing about our cottage was our veranda as we could sit out and watch the kingbirds flying to and fro from "their" grapefruit tree at the top of our front lawn, and listen to the wide variety of bird song around us. We could also watch the bats flying in and out of our roof space. We also found Toads/ frogs in the bushes and lots of cute lizards/ geckos around us.
We chose the Angelina Cottage because it looked so charming and because it had a kitchen. The cottage was charming but needed a good refurbishment and was not very clean. The kitchen turned out to be an outhouse that was just grim and with so few facilities that we had to borrow a frying pan from the main kitchen and scrounge from Avocado cottage (which was luxurious in comparison to Angelina). There were enamel saucepans with the bottoms burnt out, just basic cutlery and no knives for food preparation. In the end we gave up on anything other than minimal catering.
Our accommodation was a magnet for giant grasshopper creatures that were deafening at night, and we were continually catching them and turfing them outside. This was because there were gaps between the insect screens and the windows. After an invasion by a swarm of flying ants that were attracted to my bedside lamp (which was not cleaned up for over two days and which in the end I cleaned up myself) we gave up on using the upstairs area at night as we could not risk having the lights on for too long, as it would attract too many insects. We were eventually given some insect spray and this proved to be essential. There was a mosquito net which we only used when it became evident that mosquitoes had got into the room.
We did not use the downstairs shower area as there was a dead cockroach in it. After a few days we asked reception to get it removed. Another dead cockroach appeared a few days later – and again this was not cleaned up – so we gave up on this room.
The water pressure in our upstairs shower was never very good and on a few occasions the water actually ran out. We spent a lot of time liaising with the maintenance staff to get the problem fixed, but it was never properly resolved.
I think to be happy with the Angelina you have to be comfortable with the fact that you are surrounded by a plantation (so a bit remote) and the noise of the nightlife, in an old creaky house with very poor security. Normally easy going we found we became quite stressed and did not sleep well.
We had hoped to be able to use the bus to get around the island (as we had on other islands) but quickly realised that this was not feasible. Our decision to rent a car freed us tremendously. We could explore the island and also go into Soufriere (which was great). In Soufriere we found a wide choice of local restaurants – more exciting than staying and eating at the Fond Doux which we did not enjoy. The savings on eating out even compensated for the car rental costs!
We found the service at the hotel varied a lot. Some of the staff were friendly and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Others were sullen. We were never confident as to how any request would be responded to.
I know that many people love the food at Fond Doux. Yes the fish was fresh and well prepared but not significantly so. The restaurant was poorly lit and somehow did not have the right atmosphere for us. We were relieved to find a great choice of local restaurants which suited us much better.
We also quickly bored of the breakfasts which varied from a “lot of effort” if there were enough guests to virtually “no effort” when there were only a few guests. Typically there was cocoa tea (great), bread or toast, jam, local fruit salad and eggs. The choice of fruit in the salad was limited to one, two or three and was surprisingly unexciting considering our location.
We did love the pools and the wonderful views. It was great to walk around the plantation. Also the walk up to a view of the pitons is also not to be missed, as well as to the Tet Paul trail nearby. Be warned about the Gros Piton trail as the guides are not all friendly, and hustle you into extras. Make sure you take 2 litres of water each, for example. Do not let them rush you up the first part of the trail as you will use all your energy up and not be able to complete it (as happened to me to my shame)!
Restaurants - do try Martha's Tables, La Petit Peak, Humming Bird. Also visit the shop/cafe in the centre of Soufriere "The Coffee Shop" as in addition to good souvenirs/ coffee/ sandwiches etc they will give you lots of friendly advice, including where to stay and how to find the best rotis (for only about 5 EC$)!
In conclusion we loved St Lucia and will return – but not to the Fond Doux sorry to say.
We did not stay in the Avocado but were shown around it and it looked great - certainly the more mod...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback about your holiday experience at Fond Doux Holiday Plantation.
We are disheartened that overall we were not able to meet your expectations. We do understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion of a holiday experience, but at the same time, feel it is necessary and worthwhile to clarify the aspects which you have identified in your review:
•You did mention that this was your fourth time visiting the Caribbean however, after having read your reviewer profile it is quite evident that you have not posted any positive comments about your previous experiences in the Caribbean.
•The form you completed upon arrival is a standard registration which informs you of the hotels no refund policy on the three nights deposit if you were to depart the hotel prior to the confirmed dates. In the event that a guest is unhappy or dissatisfied then they have the option to check out however, it was quite surprising that you chose to stay the full two weeks having encountered so many issues during your stay. As owners of this property we make it our duty to socialize with our guests to get feedback and had you mentioned your concerns then we would have been happy to transfer you to the Avocado House. We have been residing on the plantation for number of years now and have never felt unsafe as we have full time security guards and a guard dog.
•The Angelina Villa has hosted returning couples and families who specifically request it. You may also wish to know that during the month of August we have done extensive renovations and upgrades to all our cottages.
•July is mango season and there were lots of other fruits in season such as bananas, grapefruits, oranges, guavas, star fruit etc. The other guests mentioned that during that time there were fruits in abundance falling off the trees.
•It is highly unusual for us to receive comments such as yours and all our guests, irrespective of their reasons for travelling, give our management team and staff high praise.
•We are happy to know that you did enjoy some aspects of the plantation such as the veranda of your cottage, pool and the wonderful views.
•We have met with our entire staff body and have discussed your comments in detail. Additional training efforts are being focused on service standards and how we communicate to our guests to ensure that everyone feels welcome here at Fond Doux Holiday Plantation.
We would like to apologize for the inconvenience. We trust that the issues you experienced have not left an indelible mark and that you will consider a return visit to Fond Doux Holiday Plantation at some point in the future. We would welcome the opportunity to share first hand the improvements made in light of your concerns.
Eroline and Lyton Lamontagne.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.