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“Go somewhere else!!!” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa

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Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Cap Estates, Cap Estate, St. Lucia   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Cap Estate
Orangeville, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Go somewhere else!!!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2011

Where do I begin?

10pm at night &, if you arrive with a large group, it is chaos! No reception, just a Guest Services Room with 3 people sat within & TWO OUTSIDE IN THE LOBBY WITH THE GROUP trying to hand out keys & people settled. Just terrible organization when they know a large group is arriving.

I would not put my dog up in this room. It was disgusting! Since it was 11pm when we got in we decided to stay & not unpack. We were not & did not put up with it.

SO WE GOT AN UPGRADE - NEXT DAY & $180 LATER (they tried to charge us $300)...
We got a 1 bedroom suite as a result of our complaint (& willingness to pay in order to get out of the hovel). The upgrade was a one-bedroom-suite. Marginally better but:

1. Rising damp on the bathroom walls.
2. Overgrown walkway to front door.
3. No hot water in a morning.
4. Ants & bugs all over the place.
5. Toilet broke last day.
6. Sewage flushing open into an open pipeline at the back of the building.

We know that this happened to at least ten other people that we met. A couple we were travelling with changed their rooms at least three times because they did not want to pay for the upgrade. Another couple we met pulled right out & went to the local Sandals resort. You decide!

The confirmation voucher stated that there was a "dress code" & most people took this to mean at the a-la-carte restaurants (not at the buffet). This would have been normal in every other resprt we've been to in the past. No such luck here!

Day 1 - Monday - My husband went into the buffet in smart shorts & a golf shirt. Allowed.

Day 2 - Tuesday - My husband & a travelling companion went into the buffet in smart shorts & a golf shirt. Not - Allowed. Both were turned away & informed that there was a dress code in place everywhere except on Saturday`s & Mondays.

My husband went to the lobby to complain to no avail, so both went back to the room to change into long trousers.

As he went back to the restaurant another lady was complaining. Her husband did not even bring any long trousers & she was livid. She brought the manager into the conversation & together with my husband they voiced their complaints. I won`t go into a long drawn out dialog here but the maanger was really condescending to both people. Terrible customer service. Just terrible.

BOTTOM LINE - If you`re going to try to elevate the ambience in a restaurant try:

1. Not flipping the tablecloths over so that they show with less stains.
2. Use real napkins instead of paper napkins. We did not see a real napkin (even a-la-carte)!

I`m not a fan of wristbands but what they mean is that people get served without delay. Every time you walk into a resaurant at this place you`re in a long lineup where the girl takes your numbers before seating you. EVEN IN THE BUFFET. JUST STUPID!!!!

This is a small resort packed to the max. There was not enough shade for the numbers that were present.

Went twice to the hut to get towels changed. Both times they had run out.

Often one person on duty with 10+ to serve. Sllooooooooowww!!!

I could go on but I think that you get the picture. Too bad! The place has a lot of potential & many of the staff are very friendly. I just see the place as very poorly managed & penny pinching at every juncture!

Room Tip: Book somewhere else!
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,020 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (732)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2011

This is a great place with great people who work there, If you want a top class room then you maybe unlucky with that as not all the rooms are that great and a bit worn out, but they are all very clean and cleaned daily, Big plus is the bed is big and comfy, staff there are all very good, entertainment was great and they all work hard to make guests happy for sure, Food is also very good with the restaurants also very good.
Top trips are on the beach with John Wayne horse rides a great safe trip that all enjoyed and very safe, also the captain Typhoon boat trip from the beach, these local people run these trips and really make you safe and want you to enjoy every min of the trip and we did as did lots of other guests we spoke to.
Smugglers has been taken over as we believe and for the better i think as the new owners are investing money to make it better, we will be back for sure.

Room Tip: Use the beach trips, less people on them cheaper.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2011

This was my first trip to the carribeans and I will tell you that Smuggler's Cove made the trip worthwhile and I will be back. The review below will break down the different aspect of the resort

Accomodation- the room we selected was superior garden delux view which was closely located near the lobby/pool/restaurants. This is important as some of the buildings are located quite far from the main part of the resort which would be exhausting if you had to walk back and forth. You can call for a hotel van to pick you up but you will end up waiting. The room was exactly as pictured on the website. When you enter your room, there is a outer room that is also air conditioned + ceiling fan with full length glass door. This room is super comfortable and has a couch and desk. Stepping in through another set of doors is the main bedroom with a very comfortable king size bed, LCD TV w/ satellite feed, refrigerator, and electric kettle for hot water (w/ tea and coffee). The bathroom is on the far side of the room with two sinks outside of the actual bathroom. The bathroom itself is small, but manageable. There is no mechanical fan for ventilation (there is a window with shades in the back that is always open). Unlike previous reviews, there is ample towels and the linen are changed daily and super clean. The floor itself is not immaculate due to wear and tear, but I have no complaints. You can keep yourself nice and comfortable with the dual AC units. FYI remember to keep your shoes in your other room to prevent tracking sand all over.

Day time Activities- the beach is the perfect size. While we were at the resort, there were no locals selling their wares. Plenty of chairs and umbrella with plenty of room in between your neighbors. The highlight is the vast schedule of water activities that are included. THe important thing to remember is to sign up at 9AM at the activities counter. Activities include banana boat, snorkeling (i would advise that you wear a vest so you can swim further out), water skiing and lessons, windsufring lessons, paddle boat, kayak, sail boat and more. Non-beach activities include a full schedule of yoga, tai-chi, running, nature walk, pool/beach volleyball, dance class, beach soccer. There is also a full decked out fitness center if you want to continue working out while you are here. With all of these opportunities, you still have to see the island and the best way is to book excursions which are no included. During my stay we went of the land/sea tour which included jeep tour from the smugglers cove all the way down to south and back on a catamarran, zip line/tram in the rain forest, and shopping excursion.

Night time activities- this is a area that could be improved upon, but still no complaints. Unfortunately the pools close at 6pm so that takes that activity away. Each night there is live music with a wonderful band for a couple of hours. On two other nights there is a special dance crew that performs and on Saturday there is fire eating. The bar is open in the piton lounge area until MN. We never went but the rum lounge is next door and stays open until 2 AM.

Food- this is one of my highlights of my trip. Having never been to a all inclusive resort it was a new experience going to eat and not having to pay at all. For breakfast your two choices are The Cove (buffet) and Waterside grill (a-la-carte/buffet). The waterside grill has a wonderful view, but most of the food is served buffet style except for the waffles and egg dishes. I would recommend the cove for breakfast as there is a wide spread of food (fresh fruit, cereal, omlette station, etc). For lunch you can choose from the Cove and La tratorria (a la carte). The italian food at lunch is your typical flare of pasta and fish dish. Appetizer of calamari and fresh salad are amazing. The Cove stays open the latest till dinner time for lunch and offers ethnically theme meals that change daily. Menus at the a la carte location are set. You can review the menu at the front desk area. For dinner you have to make reservations at all of the a la carte restaurants. You can walk-in to the Cove. Dress code of long pants and shirts with sleeve apply. A quick break down: Cafe Asia- indoor restaurant, age 16 older only, dimly lit romantic, asian/indian food. The duck /fish dish were excellent. The appetizers are on the weak side and I am not sure why anyone would like the sugarcane with fish paste, it does not taste good at all... Waterside grill- amazing view of the sea, out door seating over the edge of the beach, amazing fish entrees king fish bbq and mahi mahi. La tratorri- similar pasta dishes to lunch, slightly expanded menu. Great tiramasu. outdoor seating right by the main lobby area. Bar locations include the swim up bar, behind this is a sit down bar, and the piton lounge (open latest). They have a menu of special drinks that you may not have heard of but they can pretty much make any drink you name. Mixed drinks are nice and strong. I can't count how many rum punch I had during this trip.

Staff- Amazing people hands down. The activities crew are very helpful in getting you involved with the many activities available. Housekeeping does a wonderful job cleaning the sandy mess you try to avoid when getting back to your room. I tried to leave a tip everyday, but they never took it off the nightstand. Also tipping is not expected at restaurants. I simply left the money on the table after finishing my meal.

Additional info: random thoughts... when we went there were a lot of kids during our trip but they are not intrusive, if you go early to eat you will see a lot of families. WIFI available only in the lobby and piton loung area, free if you bring your own computer/ipad/etc. if you are going on a excursion, you can request a food hamper that includes sandwich, fruit, soda

Room Tip: Ask to upgrade to closer room if you are far away
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  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2011

First of all, before booking, I read mixed reviews. This is usually a sign to lower your expectations.
We did not mind the 90 minutes drive from the airport to the resort. The drivers are very experienced (the roads are narrow and sometimes damaged by the water).
We booked the 'Deluxe Garden View' room. The word 'Deluxe' was misleading because it was nothing more than a basic room with a mediocre view. The next morning I went to the reception to ask for another option. Jennifer was very nice and offered us an one bedroom room; We happily moved to the new location. There was an empty fridge in the room that remained empty the whole time …. unless you decide to store some cold water, beer, etc.
The beach as you know has a volcanic sand, kept very clean. There were lots of water sport (included in the package). Make sure to book the 1/2 activity at 9am sharp. We had planned our daily activities prior to spending the week at the resort.

Some things to be improved: WIFI extended to the rooms, more waterspout equipment (catamaran and water ski), espresso machines at the bars, the food and coffee at the Italian restaurant.

Great things: fabulous people, fresh food, clean room and grounds, excellent food and service at the Waterside Grill and Cafe Asia, affordable spa prices.

Many thanks to the staff and especially to Jennifer from the reception.

Recommending this resort? Yes, especially to the families with small children.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sudbury, Canada
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2011

We booked our trip last minute and arrived late on Sunday evening from Toronto. For once, a resort told the truth about the length of the trip from the airport to resort. It takes 90 minutes and no less. Our van driver, Winbert was kind and courteous. He was also a great driver. When we arrived at the resort, everything was well organized, we got out keys and away we went. The dining room was left open for us and the food wasn't picked over or left over from dinner. Everything was fresh, delicious and hot. The staff couldn't do enough. We were fortunate enough to meet one of the Front Desk Manager's. His name is Owen. I pulled him aside and asked to have our room upgraded (at a cost - not for free). It was our fifth anniversary (we're no spring chickens) and I wanted something special to surprise my wife. We were set up with a suite (Room 404) which is a stone's throw to the beach. The upgrade price was more than reasonable. Owen was great to deal with and he ended up becoming a friend. Nothing was too much trouble!

Our room was kept immaculate by a little lady named Cynthia. No matter when we saw her she had a smile on her face and always asked us if she was doing a good job. Our room was kept spotless every day.

The food, selected and orchestrated by Executive Chef Ian was outstanding. When you go to Smugglers Cove Resort, remember, this is a smaller resort so don't expect the mile long buffet filled with new and recycled food. I didn't see one recycled item carried over to the next day! The soups at the buffet were original and delicious. Try the Oxtail soup if you are fortunate enough to have it on the buffet one day. The Oriental restaurant was outstanding- try the ribs and for dessert you have to try the Wild Rice pudding. It's a twist on an old favourate of mine and it was incredible. I had it three times while we were there. Ditto for the Waterside and the Italian restaurant. Great meals (a la carte) and service beyong expectations. Wine selections are very good, the beers (Piton and Heineken) are cold, served in clean elegant glassware. Being an ex-beer executive, I appreciate a well served beer!

The beaches are not white sand and endless. Nestled in its' own cove, the beach is small and the sand is volcanic in nature so it's get's hot when that wonderful St. Lucian sun hits it. While we were there the guys in the watersports department worked very hard at seeing that people were well attended to. I can't believe the patience they had in dragging would-be waterskiers up only to see these novices fall flat!

I should also mention the bar staff - incredibly patient, kind and accomodating. Try the BBC...fantastic!

As you can see, we loved it there. Are we going back? You can count on it.

Once again, our sincere thanks to Owen for making our 5th Wedding anniversary special and to his great staff of Ladies (especially Natasha) in the front office ..... thank you, thank you, thank you.

To Executive Chef Ian - you are an artist!

And lastly - thanks Cynthia for doing a job extremely well that few people appreciate.

Room Tip: Breath before you complain about your room!
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  • Stayed April 2011, 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.
Red Deer, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2011

Ok there are a variety of reviews on this site and just be ready to go to a 3 star resort. If you expect a 3 star then you will actually find it ok. If this would have been our only St Lucia experience we would have been disappointed and could have found better and more affordable in Mexico or Cuba. But we had a luxury villa on Gros Piton and rented a vehicle and toured the island ourselves the week before and wrapped our trip up here so ate, drank and hung out and it was fine. If you stay here the whole time you are missing out on St Lucia - it is an amazing island - especially more to the south around the Pitons and Soufriere area. The good - grounds beautiful, nice to walk around, and lots of pools and always found a spot to relax on beach or around any pool. The kids pool with the waterslide was actually the nicest and no one was ever there (but it is a long way from the bar). We met tons of other folks Canada, US and Europe and hung out every day and played beach volleyball and everyone was really laid back and friendly so that was great. I have been to several all inclusives usually 5 star) and I thought the buffet restaurant was pretty good with good selection. The reservation restaurants were nothing to write home about. There are no snacks later at night and not much for nightlife here. The beach is nice and there are lots of things to do especially for kids. It was hard to relax with guys coming up and trying to sell you stuff and a few days they would not leave us alone - the resort should do more to deter this. There were a couple stand out staff - Vince the bartender and Sherman and Bel at watersports, also the volleyball guy "Chacho" was awesome and there was a very nice girl at the front desk. There were quite a few people that did not appear impressed to be working there and voiced how much they hated it and how badly they were treated I did not know how to react to this and it made me a bit uncomfortable - I have not seen this at other resorts as client service is so key. They will pack you a picnic lunch if you go out for the day which is really nice you just have to order the day before. The bad - the rooms are horrible. I have been in budget motels that look like the ritz compared to these rooms. I think they need to tear them down and re-build. The resort itself is older and does not appear to have been well kept. Also there are renovations on going so it is annoying to sit by the adults pool you are in a construction zone. Water is not stocked in your room or available but there is a water dispenser at the main bar during the day so you have to bring your own water bottles and fill them up. If you get a cheap deal would recommend this place if you have kids or if you are low key type and can eat and drink your fill and hang out on the beach and meet some other easy going friends. do do do leave the resort to check out the Pitons, we hiked to the top of Gros Piton, snorkelled a bunch of beaches, went deep sea fishing, went to the volcano and all the water falls, etc...This resort could be pretty good if they could get happier staff and put some much needed work into it. Wouldn't go back but had an ok time.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newmarket, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2011

This was the worst all inclusive I have ever been on - so bad that we left early. Our room was dirty, the food was hardly edible (the restaurant was referred to as the "trough"). The service was not very good and the beach towels and chairs were dirty. They wouldn't even provide you with bottled water, you had to buy it. I could literally go on for days...its very frusterating experience - do not go there.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa

Address: Cap Estates, Cap Estate, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Gros Islet Quarter > Cap Estate
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Cap Estate
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 360
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Also Known As:
Smugglers Cove Hotel Cap Estate
Smugglers Cove Resort And Spa
Almond Smugglers Cove Castries
Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa St. Lucia/Cap Estate

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