Booked smugglers despite being apprehensive following the mixed reviews that we had read on trip adviser. However any worries we had were unfounded.
We arrived in st lucia and we're quickly met and greeted at the airport by a Virgin rep, the ride from the airport to smugglers can take up to an hour and it is at times on twisty steep roads - and a couple of times the roads had been washed away! - but we felt perfectly safe and relaxed and took in the beautiful views of the island.
When we arrived at smugglers our luggage was sorted out and moved for us at the insistence of the staff, we had an introductory talk about the resort, where to eat etc and we're provided with a (strong) rum cocktail.
The grounds of the hotel itself are beautiful and we were lucky enough to be close to the main bit of the hotel. The paths in some areas are a bit cracked and wonky but whilst we were there we witnessed repair works going on.
The rooms are basic and could do with a lick of paint, but they are kept lovely and clean and have everything you need. The bed was a queen and really comfy, there were plenty of pillows and the TV had so many channels for when we watched a bit when getting ready at night; the shower temperature can be temperamental, but again it's a little thing that hardly spoils a holiday. Admittedly though we did a couple of times have ants in our room but the cleaners put down some insect repellent down and they would be gone - and let's face it where doesn't have ants?! Within the rooms you are also provided with a safe for keeping valuable belongs in it is an old style safe instead of the more modern electronic ones but it works.
On arrival we were told that we had already been booked into the cove which is the main place for food. But there are also three other restaurants, these aren't buffet style and you have to book to eat at these places, and they have a dress code I.e men wear trousers not shorts etc.
The cove is a buffet style, but the food is so lovely. Breakfast is much the same (cereal, fresh fruit, pancakes, porridge, bacon, sausage etc and a egg station where one of the ladies cooks eggs whichever way you like I practically had omelette everyday!), dinner in the cove is different everyday there tends to be a lot of chicken and fish but they also do pasta dishes, rice dishes, salad and a large selection of desserts! Tea in the cove varies nightly as they have a different theme one night it's Mexican, the other French and the other seafood. We tried all of them, admittedly we weren't keen on french night but if you like French food then I'm sure you would find it delicious.
Waterside creole grill is a seafood/ creole restaurant, it overlooks the sea and the beach, and at night you can see fish swimming around. It's the most romantic of all the restaurants especially at sunset. And a local fish called mahi-mahi is a must try if it's on the menu.
Le Trattoria is an Italian again food is lovely and unlike the waterside grill and cafe Asia it is also open for dinner or you can order pizza and eat it whilst you are relaxing on the beach!
The last restaurant is cafe Asia which serves Asian food it's a bit further away from the main centre of the hotel but again it is lovely and we were greedy and asked for 2 starters because we couldn't decide!
Recommend trying all of the restaurants plus it's a nice change to be served from time to time instead of the buffet style.
There are several pools and they can get dirty due to leaves and flower petals from the plants and trees which surround the pool but they are all cleaned several times a day. The pool with the slide and the pool at the gym are quieter then the other ones. Our favourite pool was one of the main ones which has a swim up bar! The beach is also beautiful and the sea is so clear, we snorkelled most days as there are so many types of fish to see, we also saw a couple of eels and squid! All of the waterspouts are included and the equipment is free to hire, you have it for an hour but can get charged if you run over this hour. My only regret is not doing some of the other waterspouts more i.e waterskiing!
The staff themselves are all friendly and try to help you with any queries that you have especially the bar staff who will make up any cocktails you ask - providing they have the ingredients! A new favourite of mine is the BBC - banana, baileys and coconut cream served over crushed ice. All the alcoholic drinks are strong but are served with quite a bit of ice so if you don't drink them fast enough can get watered down!
There is so much to do as well, there are several activities going on throughout the day from archery, and guided walks, to beach dodgeball and beach volleyball which we played everyday we were there! The entertainment staff are brilliant and are so friendly - Chacho, Nikita - but it is Junior and Dre who made the holiday for us we had a real laugh with them and they made us feel so welcome. They really did make the holiday for us! Also I have to mention our virgin rep Natasha, she does all she can to help you giving advise about various things and explaining in detail everything about the hotel. Tips about sun cream, bug cream, food, drinking water etc and she makes it easy to book trips - we did the catamaran and the street party I recommend doing both!
At night time the entertainment can be a bit hit and miss and on a few nights aimed more towards older couples but overall it's pretty good especially as you can have as many drinks as you want (which we really did take advantage of!), the best nights were the fire and limbo night and the steel pan band night. After 11 the main bar closes and the rum club bar (right next to the main bar) opens and it stays open until about 3am, during the night it also has espn on. Only downside is that it can take a while to get served as the staff can be cleaning up the main bar at the same time!
As mentioned before we went onto the catamaran trip which was brilliant had so much fun on the catamaran, and we went on a quick trip to see the still active volcano and then had a chance to have a dip in the waterfall. Food was provided and was much like what you get at the cove restaurant - chicken, rice fish etc. and all drinks are included in the price to plus the snorkelling is even better then at smugglers there are even more fish and the water is even clearer! We also did the party like a st lucian tour as we weren't confident enough to go out on our own, after reading and hearing about how dodgy it is. But we had so much fun and wished that we went to it both Saturdays that we were there!
Overall I urge people to go as this hotel doesn't deserve all of the bed reviews that people have give it, the people who have complained are people who wanted a sandals adult only style resort without paying the price, which this place isn't. There are families with kids there, there are groups of people who stay up late drinking (us included) and the music can be loud at times: if you don't mind any of these things then you will love this resort! There were all types of people there from families with young babies, to young groups of people to middle aged couples and older couples. There really is something for everyone and all the people who we talked to agreed that they could find no fault with the food, the staff nor the rooms and that they would go again!
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Caribbean Online Mgt Corp., Cheap Tickets, BookIt.com, Despegar.com, Odigeo, TripOnline SA and Tingo so you can book your Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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