We just returned from our weeklong stay at the lush Ti Kaye Village Resort (June 13-21). Our overall take: the hotel offers beautiful surroundings with above average to great service, but there's a little room for improvement. Sidenote #1: DO NOT let the last part of that sentence dissuade you from going. This is definitely one of the most secluded, romantic, and cleanest places to stay on the island. There were just a few things (mainly in terms of maintenance) that the resort management should attend to in the near future. Sidenote #2: Ti Kaye is often described as "five star". Be aware, however, that it's not "five star" in the traditional big-chic-spa-hotel sense. Instead of five-star-elegant, think four/five-star-rustic.
And now on to the nitty gritty.
1) GETTING THERE: Two options: you can fly to San Juan and then into the small Castries airport (about 50 minutes from the resort), or take a larger plane into the Veiux Fort airport located at the south of the island. We did the latter (via Miami). Clearing customs took about 40-50 minutes--a little slow, but the officials were professional and pleasant. The resort arranged for a taxi to meet us there (round trip transfer from and back to the airport is $120 per couple; you pay the bill at the end of your stay) and, sure enough, a man holding up a Ti Kaye sign waved to us as soon as we exited the building. Tropical storm Emily was just brushing past St. Lucia on the day that we arrived, so driver Claudius decided to forego the ultra-windy, super-slippery roads up the west side of the island. We instead went up east side past numerous banana and coconut plantations, then across and back down to the resort. My husband--fascinated by the local history--pummeled him with questions throughout the ~2 hour drive, but Claudius didn't seem to mind. He was friendly, informative and welcoming. He dropped us off under the awning that leads to the open-air Ti Kaye lobby, then took our bags to the room while Giselle whisked us to the bar for a cool drink.
2) ROOMS: I'd booked our vacation on Expedia.com and managed to get an excellent flight/hotel fare for a duplex ocean view room. We were surprised and thrilled when Giselle led us down the main road and then up to Chwichwi, a single cottage. It looked like the rooms depicted on the resort's website: big porch with hammock, rocking chairs, and table; simple room with king-sized, mosquito-netted four poster bed, refrigerator, bench, two bedside tables, and closet; and a gorgeous outdoor shower. The light-linened bed was firm and comfy, and the tiled floor was refreshingly cool. The room was pretty, but--and here I repeat what I said earlier--rustic. Great for some people (like us), maybe not so great for someone expecting luxury.
Tip #1: If you like the ocean, or if this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip for you, or if you're going in the summer and want to beat the heat, get an ocean front room with plunge pool. We did like our room--very much--but observed that the ocean front cottages have extra privacy and an extraordinary view of the water. Furthermore, it would've been great to walk out the door with a Piton beer in hand and slip into a nice cool pool. These are really popular, so you'll need to reserve well in advance. The ocean view rooms and cottages all overlook the ocean, although sometimes the views are slightly blocked by trees (don't knock 'em, you'll appreciate the shade) and/or other cottages.
Tip #2: Don't hesitate to stay in an ocean view room if everything else is booked up. They're just as nice as the individual cottages and provide almost as much privacy.
Tip #3: Bring something to clip the mosquito netting together. Someone else suggested it--it's a great idea. Just be gentle with the netting.
3) OUTDOOR SHOWERS: These are amazing/gorgeous/refreshing (again, in a rustic way). There's nothing like stepping into it after a day at the beach. It seems that everyone leaves Ti Kaye with the dream that one day he/she will attach one of these to his/her own house.
Tip: For all those unabashed girly-girls out there (like me), I'd recommend bringing along a few of your favorite bath products and turning your shower into a personal spa for a couple of hours. Maybe that sounds silly, but no. It was fun.
4) FOOD: Wonderful. Everything you've heard is true. Breakfast--consists of tropical fruit, yogurt, pastries, and juice, plus your choice of the St. Lucian, American, or English platters. I thought the pancakes were scrumptious; my husband liked the omelettes. The cocoa tea was interesting. The coffee...wellllll...it wasn't good. Hate to be blunt, but that's just the way we saw/tasted it. Lunch--can be taken either in Kai Manje or down at the beach bar. Prices at the beach bar are phenomenal--$5-$8 for a sandwich, small salad, and a huge portion of fries. Dinner--I'll bet it's the best on the island. I had the fish dish every evening and was never disappointed. My favorites: the shrimp and the mahi mahi. The selection isn't huge but the menu is never the same from night to night, either.
Tip #1: If you have any special dietary restrictions, request a meeting with the chef as soon as you get there. Don't just tell them your needs over the phone because sometimes the message is lost between the office and the kitchen. My husband, a vegetarian, kept receiving dinner meals that included not an ounce of dairy, egg, or pasta products--great news for a vegan, but we'd clearly indicated that he eats all of the above. He didn't really mind (especially since the veg meals are significantly less expensive at $15 a plate) but steamed veggies and rice got old after a few days. We should've talked to the chef in person.
Tip #2: Reconsider the meal plan. The meal plan is $35 per dinner (including appetizer, main meal, and dessert) or $45 per lunch/dinner. Unless you're planning to have a 3 course meal every night, you probably don't need it. Our suggestion is to go without it the first night and see how big the portions are, how much you'll eat, etc. You can always sign up later.
Tip #3: If you like fish and/or lots of "liquid refreshment", go to the Anse la Rey fish fry on Friday. It's not for everyone. We weren't particularly keen on it, but other people definitely enjoyed themselves. Verna's booth is the best, not in the least because the people there hang up a sign indicating what they're selling. Try the fish cakes--delicious!
5) BEACH: A few previous reviewers have expressed some concern about the beach that lies at the foot of The Great Ti Kaye Staircase :). No, it's not white sand. Yes, the locals will try to sell you their merchandise. Yes, there are a few small--I highlight the word SMALL here, folks--jellyfish. Yes, party boats will flit in and out of the cove in the afternoon. But for us, the beach was probably our favorite part of the trip. On most days we'd head down right after breakfast. We'd set our towels in the sand and hop into the clear warm water to swim. George, who works at the dive shop and never seems to rest, would usually arrive shortly thereafter and set up beach chairs and umbrellas for us. I think you'll find that even if you're not a big fan of ocean swimming, you'll feel safe in the cove. The water is quiet--no big waves to get past here--and the shore is soft (it's a bit rocky near the beach bar, but if you just head up the beach the stones disappear). You don't need to worry about sea urchins unless you decide to snorkel along the sides of the cove (which we recommend you do), but even then you'll be fine as long as you're paying attention. After getting out and drying off, we'd hop into one of the kayaks and paddle along the shore. One thing we loved about the resort was that we could basically do whatever we pleased. There was no drawn-out safety demonstrations, no signs telling you not to swim here or there. They figure--quite correctly--that their guests are capable of using common sense. That said, they seem very very careful when it comes to scuba safety, so don't worry about that.
Tip #1: The locals on the beach are generally good guys. They are polite and won't pressure you to talk to them or buy anything unless you want to. They're mainly there to offer their goods to the tourists that show up with the party boats in the afternoon--after you see how many people can cram themselves onto the decks of those double hulled catamarans, you'll understand why they choose this beach as their marketing venue.
Tip #2: The party boats aren't that bad. Enjoy the water before noon, then head to the beach bar when you see the masses arriving. Watch in amusement as bathing suits fall off and swimmers crash into each other. Or just stay in your beach chair and silently gloat.
Tip #3: For lazy vacationers like ourselves, the beach can serve as the main source of entertainment--it's that good. Although we heard nice things about the excursions arranged by the resort, we found that you can have a great vacation without them. The beach and pool were enough for us.
6) SERVICE/STAFF: Very good to excellent. We were especially touched by the kindness of George, Giselle, Isse (?), Theresa, Sandy, Cleus, Victoria (a wonder at the bar), and a woman whose name we've forgotten but who made us feel like we'd known her forever. When my husband came down with an ear infection the staff kicked into gear, made him a doctor's appointment, and shuttled him there before the morning was over. It was comforting to know that they cared. There were a couple of staffers who weren't that friendly/helpful, but they were the exception and not the rule by any means.
The housekeeping staff is nothing short of amazing. They are efficient, thorough, and deserve the utmost respect and thanks.
A 10% gratuity is automatically included in basically everything, and it's distributed amongst the staff once you settle your bill. After we were there a few days we saw the sense in this. So many people take care of you that it'd be hard to work out fair tips for all of them. You can always give an extra tip to the staffers of your choice at the end of your stay.
SUGGESTIONS FOR TI KAYE: Our only suggestion is that the management keep an eye on the state of the cottages, pool, and other buildings. We thought that Chwichwi could have used a paint job, both inside and out. Some of the wood on the interior and the door was damaged and needs replacement. The roofs--and this is just my opinion--are looking a little drab. The curtains in the restaurant need to be cleaned more often, as the birds that fly in and out leave a bit of a mess. The pool area seems a bit neglected, although we used it several times during our stay. Again, none of these are major issues, and considering that the resort is located on the ocean, it's well-maintained (i.e., there's no evidence of mildew--a triumph in itself!). It's just something to consider.
That said, the resort does have an eye to the future. As we were leaving a new yoga area and a wine cellar were being built.
LEAVING: Avoid flying from St. Lucia into Miami at all costs. The airport is terrible. The signage for continuing passengers is confusing. Some of the customs officials are rude to the point of harassment. This has nothing to do with Ti Kaye, but it was so bad that I couldn't help mentioning it.
Additional pictures at
Please, go to Ti Kaye. As long as you're realistic about your expectations, you'll love it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking Anse Cochon Bay Ti Kaye Resort & Spa is located on the serene West Coast and is simply known as Ti Kaye, (which means small house in the native creole patois language of Saint Lucia). With only 33 rooms, 2 bars & restaurants, the Kai Koko Spa and a 600+ bin 'Wine Kave' there is no better place for romantic relaxation - combined with some of the best snorkeling and diving to be found anywhere on Saint Lucia right off the beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ti Kaye Village Hotel Castries
- Ti Kaye Village Castries
- Ti Kaye Village Resort St Lucia