We spent a week at Fond Doux in November 2012, and definitely felt we were at the best hotel choice on the island. If you like a generic Sandals-type experience this isn't the place for you. If you like charm, atmosphere, and a taste of local food and culture, then it's the tops. We loved all our meals: From the fresh-squeezed juice in the morning to the fruits and vegetables grown right on the estate to the home-baked breads and cocoa and coconut cakes, we were offered fresh, homegrown, delicious choices. It's true that they put out buffet-style meals when the hotel is busy -- instead of a la carte options from the menu -- but that was fine with us, and we had lots of extremely tasty choices each day. (I just don't understand why someone would rather fly all that way to drink canned juice shipped in on a container ship, or eat frozen hamburgers, at a cookie-cutter resort.) Another big attraction of Fond Doux are the fantastic accommodations: You stay in one of several lovely, private gingerbread cottages, that are scattered around the grounds, either under the canopy of cocoa and banana and spice trees or up on a hillside with views. We stayed in Avocado House, and it was huge! Two very large bedrooms, both with louvered doors and windows and giant four-poster beds, two giant bathrooms, a big living room, a complete kitchen . . . plus a vast veranda with rocking chairs. (Some reviewers on here have a made a point to mention the "noisy" nights at Fond Doux -- as if the nighttime chorus of nature was something unusual in the tropics. Huh? I honestly don't get it. I grew up on the shore, in the Mid-Atlantic U.S., and our nighttime summer noises were the same volume. I can only guess that if you are bothered or surprised by the chirping after dark in St. Lucua, that you're simply unaccustomed to living outside the urban/suburban air-conditioner-noise bubble. Anyway, they've provided ear plugs, but it was a total non-issue for us and our kids. Also a non-issue were insects. A family of four, constantly in the open air -- and using no bug repellent -- we counted a grand total of FOUR mosquito bites after seven days. Non-issue.) The kids loved exploring the rich, dense gardens, spotting bananas, snails, lizards, cocoa pods, flowers . . . . We all also loved the pool are, with three different pools and a lovely shady gingerbread-y pool house for lounging, and an amazing view down the hillside to the water. The staff was really, really helpful and friendly. Another plus is that Fond Doux is close to several points of interest: the volcano and mud and mineral baths; Morne Corbaril, which is another plantation site; the Hotel Chocolat -- trendy, "modern-minimalist" hotel offering a "make your own chocolate bar" tour -- etc. Now, about the beach issue: Yes, at Fond Doux, you are maybe ten minutes from the beach. For some vacationers, who want a real beach vacation, this might be a problem. The main issue is -- as we were surprised to realize --- that St. Lucia in general simply is NOT THAT BEACHY a place. Because of the steep hillsides and the Pitons, there actually are fairly few beaches, at all, on the island. And most of them are dominated by luxury resorts, so you are kind of shunted to the side, corralled on tiny "public" strips of beach. Legally, you're free to wander the sand anywhere, and swim anywhere, but you have to pay if you want shade or a sun bed. So, two beach-related tips: 1) if you take the Fond Doux daily shuttle to Jalousie Hilton, do NOT hand out cash for a sun bed way over in the far corner of the beach, or in front of the beach bar. Do NOT! Instead, march straight to the Jalousie beach bar, and order some food and drinks, and then kick back and enjoy the hammocks and loungers and tables available to customers. We idiotically paid $40 for two old sun beds the first day, on the sand in front of the beach bar, and were kind of bummed out by the whole class-system scene. The next time we went to Jalousie beach, we wised up and paid $40 for drinks and sandwiches and were much more comfortable lounging around the beach-bar furniture. 2) If feeling like a squatter on the beach isn't your cup of tea, get a water taxi or taxi-taxi to take you for a day trip to Ti Kaye, another St. Lucian-owned resort, which has a nice beach and much more appealing (and affordable!) beach service, with large loungers, food, and friendliness! We visited several other hotels while we were on St. Lucia (for meals, swimming, tours, curiosity): Ti Kaye, Jalousie, Anse Chastenet, Hotel Chocolat, Hummingbird, Coconut Beach . . . .and we would definitely choose Fond Doux Holiday Plantation again.
Just look at the photos on the Fond Doux website. All the cottages are charming. Avocado House is gi...
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