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Open air room and allergies

Tennessee
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Open air room and allergies

HI! I don't know if anyone can give me feedback on this but I thought it's worth asking. I'd really appreciate any information!

DH and I are planning a trip to St. Lucia in early May (leaning strongly toward Anse Chastanet). So many of the hotels we're interesed in have open air rooms and no A/C but DH suffers from fairly severe seasonal allergies, with medication help some but not 100%. In fact, we are always running the A/C in the spring and summer because he is miserable if I open the windows. I know that pollens and allergens are different from place to place and from person to person, but I was wondering if anyone with allergies had any advice/input to give us. Is DH destined to be a sneezing mess if we book a place with no A/C? Or, do allergies not seem to be an issue on St. Lucia? I'd hate for us to spend all that time and money for him to be miserable!

TIA!

Georgia
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1. Re: Open air room and allergies

Trip Report: Mago Estate Resort and Soufriere, St. Lucia

Dates: February 10 – 17, 2007

Photo Gallery ( 100+ photos): www.samdobrow.110mb.com/StLucia/

My wife, Janice and I decided to travel to St. Lucia to see the Pitons for Valentines Day. We are late 40’s with 2 kids and live in Atlanta, GA. Janice refuses to travel unless we stay in the nicest accommodations (4 stars or better) which can sometimes limit our options. I researched St. Lucia to discover most rooms near the Pitons are not air conditioned or are over $400/night. Eventually I decided to book a room at the Mago Estate Hotel in their air conditioned Eden Suites rooms. I booked directly with the hotel, by phone, to negotiate the best possible room rate. I recommend talking to Sonya, the hotel manager before booking your room.

We found discount airfare on Delta by booking through Air Jamaica, actually $250/person less than Delta’s best fares for the same exact flight. Delta flies from Atlanta non-stop to Vieux Forte in about 4.25 hours. Since we booked the Mago for 7 nights the hotel arranged for a taxi to meet us at the airport and transport us to the hotel (round trip) at no additional charge.

Prices in St. Lucia are outrageous. Everything is priced like New York City but the service is very Caribbean; slow and deliberate. Much of the local tourist economy is entrepreneurial meaning cash not credit. Bring lots of cash and be prepared to pay $100 for just about anything, that is the magic number for 2 people. What I found hard to understand was the lack of understanding of economics (supply and demand). There is so much poverty but nobody is willing to undermine the NY price and as a result people spend less money and the people live a lower standard than is possible with a better price structure and work ethic.

Taxi drivers will scam you for the local tours to the “Drive in Volcano” and “Diamond Falls” with a stop at Ladera for sunset. It is not so much that the tour is a ripoff as much as it is excessively hyped to get you to take the taxi ride for $100. The volcano is nothing more than a pit of noxious smelling fumes at the top of a hill. Diamond Falls is a quaint place to swim in a small pool where hot spring water mixes with cool mountain water; judge for yourself whether the mud bath makes you look 20 years younger. Ladera is beautiful but snobby and very expensive resort; dinner will easily run $100+ per person and I heard much complaining about the poor service. Taxi is the only way to get to Dennery for the seafood festival on the Pacific coast.

Transportation by car is challenging and time consuming; use only when absolutely necessary for your desitination. I recommend the charter of a “water taxi” for the day. The Caribbean waters are calm and protected so you will be able to explore from Rodney Bay in the north to Vieux Forte in the south and reach many pristine beaches for swimming and scuba. We stopped at Marigot Bay, Ti Kaye, Anse La Raye, Jalousie Plantation, and Anse Chastanet. It is beautiful to see the stars and coastline after dark. A water taxi will run $150 to $250 for a day depending on how far you want to go. You can find Chile (our water taxi driver) on the beach or dock at the Hummingbird Resort.

Shopping opportunities are virtually non-existent in Soufriere outside of the grocery store. There are a few craft shops and boutiques but most of the stores cater to local people. Anse La Raye offered the best prices and selection of T-Shirts and local crafts.

We also visited the Seafood Festival in Dennery which I recommend to experience the local culture but would not suggest eating there. The food is very inconsistent from vendor to vendor. I sampled great Mahi Mahi steamed in foil, average seafood stew, mishandled and overcooked tuna, and nasty turtle soup. Each portion costs from $2 to $7 and should be purchased in the local currency. About four ounces of straight liquor after the food may have saved my life by killing the bacteria. I did not get sick but felt queasy. Get there early (7 PM) for the best food and stay late (1 AM) for the cultural experience.

Mago is a small hotel with about 9 rooms built into the side of the mountain and is walking distance to the beach. The road is very steep so you need to be in good health to make the climb back to the hotel as well as up the stairs from the Eden Suites to the pool, bar, restaurant, and lobby. The views are spectacular and the service is similar to a B&B environment. Our Eden Suite “Kabir” was quite large with a very private plunge pool on the balcony. The beds are very firm with excellent pillows. Voltage is 220 and we were able to get a heavy duty transformer and power strip to operate our hairdryer and electronic devices. There are no phones or Internet in the room; though there is an international pay phone in the lobby. The air conditioner kept resetting to economy mode which was a little annoying as was the ungrounded electrical fixtures in the room. The only real drawback is that the noise from town carries up the side of the mountain like a natural amphitheatre and some people staying in the open air rooms were complaining. A very loud nightclub could be heard until 3 or 4 am on the weekend nights. The Mago is a unique resort and I highly recommend it to young and middle aged couple for its integration with nature and value in the area. It is not the place for kids or anyone with mobility issues.

The food at Mago is good and fairly priced. The chef cooks up something special each day based on what is available at the local market. The best part about dining at Mago is the view which I can only describe with pictures (see my gallery). Every meal is served up in what I call “minimalist cuisine”. Each course is beautifully prepared but doesn’t really satiate an appetite. Breakfast is included. Lunch and dinner are extras ($10 - $30 per person). We found 2 local restaurants worth mentioning for their taste as well as portions (1) Beachfront restaurant at “The Still” resort at Hummingbird Beach, and (2) The “Green Room” one block from the church in downtown Soufriere. Both offer excellent local curries which need spicing up with the local hot sauce to really bring out the flavors and the price is right ($8 - $12 per person). The beachside restaurant at Anse Chastanet has an excellent menu of Indian-Caribbean fusion food; its pricey ($50/person) but worth it.

Overall Soufriere and the surrounding area is indescribably beautiful. As a developing country with minimal infrastructure, there is a sharp contrast between the poverty of mostly black villagers and the opulence of the white tourists and yachtsmen. Unfortunately, the St. Lucian government has done only a little to protect the natural resources, endangered species and marine life of the island. I hope you will visit my photo gallery (above) for more information and to enjoy the sights of Soufriere as I saw them.

Rocky Mountain...
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for St. Lucia, Castries
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2. Re: Open air room and allergies

Karlie - I can only comment on my own reaction to allergies while in St. Lucia. I have not had a problem with them in the open air rooms. My nose is always stuffy, I am constantly swallowing and I have itchy eyes year round. I rarely take medication because I hate it. So, I really cannot tell you what would happen with your husband, as everyone is different, but in my case I was fine.

Keep in mind that some of the open air places have an air conditioned bedroom (check out Stonefield Estates as I believe their newer rooms are done that way) so you might want to consider that. The foliage at Anse and Stonefield are LUSH so there are lots of green things and flowers.

Syracuse, New York
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3. Re: Open air room and allergies

Im almost positive that Stonefield does not have any air conditioned rooms. After reading through their website they have made it very clear that they do not have AC, phones or TV's for the sake of being to commercialized. They instead have overhead ceiling fans and insist that the open air room stays cool due to the nightly island breezes. I've booked my honeymoon there because of their rustic accomidations ( i pray they don't start changing their resort to match all the others)!!!

4. Re: Open air room and allergies

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columbia sc
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5. Re: Open air room and allergies

My very allergic husband had no problem at all at Anse Chastanet, in as outdoorsy a room as you can have while still being indoors. He did not snore as he usually does due to allergies and we both slept better than we ever have...the bug noises at night and the bird noises in the morning are wonderful. (The bugs are only background noise, not a problem at all.)

Boston...
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6. Re: Open air room and allergies

This post is hard to believe!...I mean, we're talking about a tropical, rain-forested island...with pollen-laden flowers everywhere!...stay in an airconditioned villa at the Jalousie, for heaven's sake...it will be your respite and haven from all of nature's attempts to pollinate 24/7.

England
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7. Re: Open air room and allergies

Karlie

I use a medication called Beconase as I am allergic to tree pollen in the UK and mango pollen in June/July in St Lucia. Provided I apply it before going out for the day I am usually ok. I do like aircon at night when sleeping though so I don't wake up all stuffy.

If you are running aircon at home then I would not recommend the open style of room. Go for an enclosed one!

8. Re: Open air room and allergies

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