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“A Honest Review” 3 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   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Cap Estate
Bordentown, NJ
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“A Honest Review”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2014

We stayed for five nights from April 3 to April 8. We booked this resort through a AAA travel agent. I was very worried about this resort after reading some of the reviews here, but we went in with lower expectations for and ended up having a great time.

PROPERTY: The property is a little bit older and showing some signs of wear, but everything is kept very clean. The grounds are very lush and beautiful. As some other reviewers noted, some rooms are quite far away from the pools and restaurants. We stayed in the 100s (Canaries) which was quiet, but a short walk from the main area. If you find yourself in a room that is farther than you'd like, and can't move closer, consider calling reception and asking for a golf cart to pick you up.

ROOMS: We stayed in 128, and end unit 1BR suite. The bed was spacious, but a little firm for my liking. The air conditioning worked so well, that we didn't really have to keep it on that much.The his and hers sinks were a nice touch in the bathroom. The tiling looked brand new. Three criticisms for the bathroom. First, nothing was siliconed properly (the toilet, and fixtures) so everything felt wobbly. Secondly, the hair dryer didn't work. Thirdly, there was some water damage near the window in the bathroom. Nothing major, but some easy fixes that would make the room feel newer.

POOLS: There are 6-7 pools (depending on if you count the hot tub or not). They are well laid out with the kids pools and adults only pools at opposite ends of the resort. All the pools were well maintained and clean.We stayed in the adults only pools. One of the pools is quieter and the other becomes the party pool later in the afternoon. Hint: One of the pools had a swim up bar. During the first few days, we found it very difficult to get lounge chairs under umbrellas. As it turned out, a rather large group was getting up at about 6 a.m. and reserving them for their whole group. After they left, we had no problem getting finding shady spots after breakfast. The resort should probably consider having more umbrellas available. Nevertheless, we spend most of out time, in or by the pool with the swim up bar and enjoyed it immensely.

BEACH: The beach is small and a little rocky in places, but there's a nice view of the ocean. I'd pick a different resort if you are looking from long, sandy white beaches, but we found the beach and cove attractive.

FOOD: My husband and I are definitely food snobs, and based on the price of the resort, we went in with very low expectations. Bearing that in mind, this was our take on each restaurant. Other than the cove, all restaurants have a dress code (although this only seemed to be applied to the men!)

The Cove: Basic buffet food, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The quality was uneven. The meat and fish were mostly poor, but the salad and vegetables were fresh.

Waterside Creole Grill: Great views, but the food was disappointing. I actually thought that I might just be getting the Cove food in tiny portions. I ordered the Tuna and it was very overdone.

Trattoria: My favorite. Not great cuisine, but good. I got the catch of the day for two lunches and was pleased. The pizzas are pretty good. You can get them to go and keep them for afternoon/late night snacking.

Cafe Asia: We went here on our last night and were very pleased. I got the poached fish and my husband got the ribs. Both were pretty good. The restaurant is only open to those over 16 and its a slightly farther walk than the other restaurants.

Alcohol: There was a good selection of mixed drinks. While some bartenders mixed stronger drinks than others, I did not find the drinks watered down. I would not describe the liquors as "top shelf", and we sometimes doubted that the contents of the bottle matched the label, but the drinks were definitely still good. We tried both the red and white house wines and were not impressed. There are only two beers at the resort, Heineken and Piton. Both are good bu similar; it would have been nice to have another, different, beer on hand too.

SERVICE: Excellent. No one is going to gush over you here and check up on you every five minutes, but if you need something and ask nicely, everyone seems happy to help.

ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: We didn't really utilize this as much as we could have. We did take a Hobie-Cat lesson, which was great. People seemed to enjoy the entertainment, but we didn't really experience it first hand.

BOTTOM LINE: This is an average resort with average food, but the staff and location are amazing. You will encounter all ages, classes, and nationalities. If you're looking for a low key place to stay on St. Lucia, and don't want to pay through the roof, definitely consider staying here. I would not recommend Smugglers Cove if you are picky, easily frustrated by children and noise, or are looking for luxury.

A few other things.....
Insects: A few people complained about insects in the room and around the resort. As a general rule, if there is a biting insect within ten miles of me, I'll get bitten. The only insect bites I got were off resort. Bring some repellent for off-resort excursions.

Outlets: The outlets are mostly the UK type. There was one two pin US plug, but it was on an odd location (halfway up the wall outside the bathroom) so we just used adapters.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2,260 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (822)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Barton-upon-Humber, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2014

Having had my skiing holiday cancelled due to lack of snow, we decided to go to the other extreme of re-visiting another caribbean island. With our holiday dates set we had to be prepared to compromise on location, availability etc. As we had not then visited St.Lucia it was an ideal opportunity to get a quick visit in all be it for a week. For the budget we wanted to spend a selection of hotels, resorts were available, however we chose the Smugglers Cove beach resort & spa hotel. After a good flight across from Manchester we had to sit for an hour & half on the mini bus to the resort, as much as i wasn't keen on the idea it wasn't actually that bad as the driver was very forthcoming in sharing information on the island, as well as why a section of road had collapsed in the rainy season. On arrival we were allocated what was supposed to be a budget room, its location for us was perfect & within easy short walking distance of the beach, the pools, restaurants, reception, so very pleased. The room or should i say chalet style bungalow, was quite spacious with a separate sitting room style area with sofa, tv storage units. on passing through we entered a large open plan bedroom/dressing area that included a king size (American King size) bed,bedside cabinets, ample wardrobe space, air conditioning, safe, tv, his & hers wash basins & toiletries storage. From here we then went through a door into the Bathroom with bath, toilet. everything was nice a clean & refreshed daily by the maids. the bathroom was showing signs of ageing on the tiles n bath, however this was not a let down based on the price paid, the star rating of the hotel etc. The Cove buffet restaurant had something for everyones taste & no bookings were required to take your meals in here, however we made reservations for the several restaurants & beach side restaurant, which again had decent menus. my favourite was the Italian. The swim up pool bar was a bonus & one that was visited on a couple of occasions, however if you didn't want to get wet then there were other bars to use. The staff were always friendly if & when you made contact with them. The beach is as it says in the brochure a cove, it was very nice as was the availability of the water sports, my only concern was that of the jet skis that would visit the beach for hiring out & also the water skiing in areas were people were also allowed to swim. It might be a nice idea to have a segregated area for water skiing. We took a trip on a catamaran on the caribbean side of the island & also this included a visit to the Volcano, The mud baths, Tropical Garden, what a perfect day, ended with a bit of snorkelling in a beautiful cove on the return. at the end of the holiday as it was mothers day i treated my wife to the scenic helicopter transfer back to the airport, this was well organised & a great way to see more of the rain forrest as well as fly through the amazing Piton Mountains. The day was a little overcast with some cloud, mist & rain, however the pilot got us into some great photo shoot areas & he then apologised for not being able to take us on a more scenic route due to the weather & Health & Safety. Would i go back to Smugglers Cove, yes in a few years when we have seen more of the caribbean islands.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Bedford, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2014

Overall the resort was very good, it provided plenty of activities, but as we were there only 4 days we could only participate in a few. All the restaurants were good serving excellent and varied food with fantastic views. There was plenty of rum punch and variety of cocktails & other drinks available at the bar which were served by friendly and funny bar staff. The waiters and waitresses were a bit quiet but polite, helpful and hard working. We did not get a good first impression as the receptionist who checked us in was matter of fact and not too welcoming and then she did not offer to get us the correct welcome drinks when she found out she had mixed up the order. When we asked to get a room a bit closer we were told that they were full up and would check the next day. We were however offered a room change with a fridge as requested 2 days later but it was only one row closer, so there was no point moving. The rooms were a little dated but clean but the bathrooms needed updating and upgrading. Everyone was trying to scramble for some shade under few parasols and some palm trees, so can someone tell the hotel management about this shortage, this is the only improvement needed. Lovely relaxing resort overall.

Room Tip: Rooms further away are quiet but a fair walk, but you get used to it. The rooms standards for this 4...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2014

Hadn't had a holiday in the sun in years, so we wanted this to be a special even though we were on a budget. Reviews were mixed so we were not sure what to expect. We stayed 1st two weeks in November 2013 in rainy season. Although there were showers mostly in the evening, it didn't spoil our trip - there were no rainy days so every day was a beach day. Our lovely garden room was up the driveway from reception & so convenient (some rooms are a hike away), but there are little shuttles you can jump on if you don't want to walk. We used to walk to reception in the evening & hop on a cart to take us to a more distant restaurant. Our room was spacious with a comfortable king size bed & a separate lounge area. We had air-conditioning and a ceiling fan. Room was kept spotless each day & linens changed often. There were humming birds right outside the room!

The beach was a delight. Always enough sun beds & a choice of where to sit. Clean & raked every morning. Beach activities were good (although there was no windsurfing) & the sports staff were great. Mervin was just a lovely host & looked after us every day. What a super guy. Water was warm & most days calm enough for snorkelling. We are not pool people, but if you like to sunbath by a pool there are so many choices & the pools are all so inviting.

The food was always going to be my main concern. I have some specific dietary needs & initially there were some hiccups. After a chat with the duty manager, a meeting was arranged with the
head chef David. After explaining the issues, he set about making everything right & really went above & beyond for us. I would arrive at a restaurant at night to find chef David had arranged a special menu for me for the night - this happened on several occasions. Every day at lunchtime he'd come & check on us. One evening we were treated to a private beach dinner. It was so beautiful I could have cried. They had decorated the gazebo with twinkly lights & the table was so lovely with flowers everywhere. We had our own waitress (sorry I can't recall her name) who was a delight & made the evening so special. The meal was spectacular, 4 wonderful courses including a sensational soup that the chefs had just created. What a lovely memory we have of that night. Our thanks to chef David & all the staff who helped to make it so special.

As for the food, there a loads of choices in the buffet restaurant. They cater for all dietary needs - you just have to let them know what you'd like. We ate at the speciality restaurants in the evening & even though we were there for 2 weeks, we didn't get bored with the menus. The quality is good & the chefs truly care. The restaurant staff are on the whole very good & several of the staff are just outstanding. We loved Kendra (hope I've remembered her name correctly) - which ever restaurant she was working in, she always took such special care of us.

The negatives..... I was expecting to take a daily yoga class but they were cancelled the whole time we were staying. The evening entertainment is very mixed. Some acts were good while others shouldn't have been let near a microphone. The MC (name escapes me) was a lovely guy with a spectacular singing voice. They need to work on the entertainment.

The trip from the resort was arduous. We'd arranged a private car each way. On arrival we were met by a lovely guy with a very nice car. We hit rush hour & so the trip took over 2 hours but we road in comfort & enjoyed the scenery & tour guide! Our return trip was not good! 2 hours on mountain roads in an old banger of a car was not pleasant! Take a bottle of water, it's a long trip.

Would we recommend Smuggler's Cove ? 100%! It's not 5 stars, but doesn't pretend to be & you are not paying 5 star prices either. We had a memorable holiday there, made so by staff who genuinely cared. My husband didn't want to go home - ever!

Thanks to everyone at Smuggler's who took such good care of us - you made our holiday so special!

Room Tip: garden rooms close to reception are so convenient & so quiet.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Port Perry, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

We spent 7 fabulous days March 21-28. Our experience was very relaxing.
I don't want to repeat what everyone has been saying. Yes, the resort needs some TLC, the beach is small and a little rocky. None of this really mattered. The rooms are spacious and clean and the food was very good. Can't comment on the wifi as we were on vacation from all that!

A big hello to Sherman, Augustine and the water sports team! 'The professional' loved his daily ski and really misses you all. The water ski team was fun, helpful and always ready with a smile. Thank you for making Bill's holiday perfect.

We would rate this in our top vacations and given the opportunity we would return.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

Where to begin, first appearance on the drive down to reception is good very clean and tidy. Reception very clean and tidy, and given a welcome rum punch which was pretty good. Rooms are spread over a large area, so the hotel transports you and luggage to you accomodation. Rooms very spacious and clean, with a bed so big you need flags to wave to your partner! Some rooms have fridges in. All rooms have tv with freeview. There are 4 restautants on site, buy 3 of them need to be booked in advance, being Italian, Asian and fish. With all the prebookers men must wear trousers, not shorts. the open restaurant however you are allowed to wear shorts but must have at least a T shirt on. We only went to the open and Italian, and both were superb. The open restuarant has themed nights, ranging from Mexican to european. There are several swimming pools which are suitable for all ages. there are adult only pools one of which has a bar, but this could be better if there were bar stools. There are plenty of sunbeds but there should be more umbrellas and the sun can be ferocious and they would be good about mid-day. The beach is close and very clean. The sand is raked/cleaned daily and very fresh in the morning. The resort offers serveral free activites which include water skiing, archery, canoeing, etc. Some of these require training but hotel provides for free, as well as safety equipment. The bar at night has entertaiment laid on which is good all round, however the bar could do with more staff, as the queue for drinks can get long. A downside, which is not the hotels fault is the transfer time from the airport, but the taxi/coach drivers have excellent knowledge. I would visit again anytime.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Macclesfield, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

Smugglers Cove is located at the North West of the island and took 1 hr 40 to get there by minibus from the main airport. After an 8hr30 flight from the UK this was quite exhausting. The resort is set within a beautiful estate with well manicured tropical gardens and lush vegetation over a large area. The cove itself is quite small but offers all the usual water-sports free of charge including kayaks, windsurfing, banana boat & water skiing.
The resort comprises blocks of 4+ bungalows located throughout the estate. Whilst the accommodation was very clean, it is a little 'tired' and in need of some TLC. This comment can be applied to the general appearance of some of the buildings. We were allocated a 'standard room' and this comprised a lounge area, 'king-sized' bed, wash basin area and separate bathroom / toilet. It was more than adequate in size. There are other more elaborate rooms available for a premium.
The food served in 4 restaurants was adequate although a little limited in its choice, but again hygiene was good. Drinks were plentiful with a fair choice. The staff were on the whole very friendly but there was the occasional sullen face.
I have two criticisms and they were first that towels seem to be at a premium. It didn't seem to matter when you wished to collect one there weren't any available then but 'they would be available soon'. The second fault was that the sun-beds on the beach are at best dilapidated and in some cases quite filthy.
If you do not wish to travel back by minibus there is an alternative and that is to take a helicopter from the nearby airport. We opted for this and can say that it is well worth the extra. Apart from reducing the transfer time to about half an hour including the journey to the local airport the whole thing was a great experience with spectacular views and first class service.
All in all and despite the faults listed we enjoyed our stay and would recommend Smugglers cove. With a little TLC it could be a first class resort.

Room Tip: Try for a room near to the main reception area or you will have a fair walk to/from the beach / pool...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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
Amenities:
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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