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“This is heaven on earth!”
Review of Balenbouche Estate

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Balenbouche Estate
Ranked #1 of 2 Laborie B&B and Inns
Moulton
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“This is heaven on earth!”
Reviewed February 9, 2012

A delightful retreat run by Uta and her family. On a short visit at the end of a walking holiday in St Lucia, the organic lunch was exquisite and the tour of the grounds was fascinating. Their hospitality was unimpeachable. This is the place to go to achieve perfect karma!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank davidaarons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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92 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
montreal
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2012

Our appreciation for Balenbouche only grew over the length of our week-long stay here, and grew in ways that were surprising and delightful to us. More than just the gorgeous physical setting of the old plantation, with it's grand ruins, the ponds, with their fish and flowers, the intimate beaches, the delicious local food from the farm and superb kitchen, we felt welcomed as guests of the family that live at Balenbouche and have for generations. .This is not a place for those seeking opulent luxury as it is typically sold to the wealthy traveller. But the simple living accommodations makes available a far greater luxury, that of tranquility and retreat. All the white noise and hustle of business is strangely absent here. On my third evening, after enjoying a fine supper on the veranda of the plantation house, with the evening cicadas and tree frogs tuning up, I declared my intention to return to Balenbouche as a volunteer and then spent the rest of the week trying to figure out what and where improvements could possibly be made.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank peter h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
95 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2011

Balenbouche Estate—Step back in time and enjoy its rustic charm We visited the Balenbouche Estate August 19, 2011. We were welcomed and greeted by Verena who was a very friendly hostess. After a brief orientation, Verena let us explore the grounds on our own. The Balenbouche Estate is a heritage site dating back to the 18th century. A visit here is like stepping back in time. After meeting the resident turtle we followed friendly dogs through lush, jungle trails and gardens overgrown with tropical plants and flowers which led the way to the rustic remains of an old sugar mill. The setting here was like discovering lost ancient ruins sunken in the midst of a rainforest. Large tree roots and tropical foliage have taken over this once active sugar mill. The large 40 foot water wheel still stands and this certainly was impressive to see.
Balenbouche is located 20 minutes from Vieux Fort. Set amidst tropical vegetation, its peaceful and tranquil setting and its rustic old world charm made this an interesting stop in our day of busy activity.

Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank cz63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2011

We thought that Balenbouche was lovely and charming, and really enjoyed our stay here - we would definitely recommend that you consider staying here, however there are also some negatives which you should be aware of when making your decision. Below are a summary of some of the pros and cons:
Pros:
- If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. The estate is beautiful and rustic, you can walk down to the old sugar mill and the beach, or just hang around your cottage and feel like you're in another (very slow) world.
- The cottages are all very charming. Each is different but very cute.
- Breakfast was fresh adn delicious each morning
- We found the hostesses to be friendly, welcoming and helpful - they booked taxis for us and recommended local festivals which we would not have known about otherwise (although the festival turned out to be a little disappointing), and on the day we arrived they gave us lemonade and made lunch for us (delicious sandwich) at very short notice as we were there earlier than expected and there was nowhere nearby to go.
- The evening we had the dinner, the food was absolutely delicious.
- The atmosphere was very friendly and we chatted with and made friends with other guests
Cons:
- The cottages are rustic (which is part of their charm) which means that insects can get in. If instects bother you, I would not recommend staying in the cottages (I imagine the main house is a little better protected so try a room there). There was a mosquito net around the bed which was mostly successful while we slept but we still spent a lot of the evening going round killing mosquitos and trying to block gaps under doors etc.
- Our cottage was surrounded by Calabash and mango trees and at the time of year we were there (May) these regularly fell on the roof of our cottage and the balcony/ground ourside with a loud crashing noise. We had not been warned about this so when it first started happening we thought there was an intruder trying to get in which was very scary! Even when we had worked out that it wasn't an intruder, whenever a loud crash occured it would wake us up meaning a peaceful night's sleep was difficult. I am not sure whether all the cottages have this problem, so ask when you book.
- As a previous poster has mentioned, although they advertise dinner, it is only available when suitable for them to cook. We didn't find this to be a huge problem and drove to local restaurants, but it's a shame it wasn't available more often as it was absolutely delicious and well worth the money.
- Without a car you are a little restricted in what you can do. There is practically nowehere within walking distance to go. During the day, this was fine, as they arranged a taxi-tour for us, and I am sure they would have arranged evening taxis to restaurants too (we were lucky and made friends with a couple who had a car and went out with them in the evenings) - but the taxi option might mean you end up spending more money than you budgeted.
- We were aware that we couldn't pay with a card so had made our initial payment with paypal, and then paid the remainder with a U.S. cheque when we were there. It was not a big problem for us, although I'm not a fan of paypal, but it could be inconvenient for some.

All in all, we are glad that we stayed here, we enjoyed the place and we would recommend it.

Room Tip: If you're worried about insects, stay in the main house, and ask about falling fruit on your cot...
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank L083
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delft, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
39 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2011

We stayed here at the start of a trip that included the BodyHoliday and Ladera (see other reviews) and were completely happy with this choice at the start of the trip to relax after the flight.

You are staying in a rustic cottage at a historic family home and found the service friendly, genuine and very accommodating - easily able to take an extra pot of coffee from breakfast to enjoy the balcony and grounds, to being given calamine lotion for my mosquito bites - all appreciated touches.

All the information on the website is accurate - do not stay here if you don't like wildlife! We found the chorus from the tree frogs and birds, the cat on the porch wanting a fuss and feeding or the dogs leading the way to the beach all part of the charm, but the ear plugs from the flight did come in handy for sleep! The grounds are just beautiful and so relaxing. The beaches were private and we have very happy memories of time there.

The food is home-cooked, fresh and delicious, and be sure to enjoy a rum punch or more on the verandah as night falls.

If you want hermetically sealed, insect free, or a commercial enterprise, go elsewhere. If you want a completely charming rustic base that felt like an instant home, to relax and get to see some of the real St Lucia and its history, I can't think of anywhere better and will very happily return.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kentish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2011

Balenbouche is a wonderful experience, to see the plantation house preserved and be part of it for a few days was wonderful. We met Utta who runs the place and read the story of what happened here - her lovely daughters and her looked after us and took us to the 3 beaches. It was a fabulous couple of days and Debbies restaurant nearby is great.

Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Rubychickens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2011

All in all, kind of on the fence with this place. On the plus side, it's a beautiful location, charming rooms, and you can easily have your own private beach with decent swimming and you're close to the Pitans for day hiking trips, but a little over priced for what you're getting. On the downside, if you're not renting a car, it's very expensive to get cabs everywhere (though true for the whole island) and the staff treats you a bit more like a nuisance than a welcomed guest and is very unorganized. Be warned that they do not take credit cards, just paypal or cash. They failed to mention this before we got to the island where using paypal is very tricky and maybe some people travel with that much cash, but not us. They also failed to show us how to use the solar shower, resulting in a couple days of cold showers before we figured it out ourselves. While they do accommodate for vegan and vegetarian diets, don't really plan on eating there even though they "offer" it cause chances are they'll tell you "oh we're not doing dinner tonight" when you try to schedule it, regardless if you had already paid for it or not. I would recommend just visiting there for a couple hours, take some photos, but don't stay.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank paintnink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoParadise, Owner at Balenbouche Estate, responded to this review, March 23, 2011
We feel that we have to clarify a few things about this review. We are always put our visitors needs before our own, for example giving people the option to stay in a less expensive cottage if it becomes available. We are very clear on our website, visitor guide and emails that we do not accept credit cards (the fees and regulations for credit cards are excessively high and complicated in St. Lucia). However, we accept PayPal, wire transfers, personal checks, travelers checks and all major currencies. Some people choose to pay with PayPal in advance plus an estimated amount for meals. While we prepare special vegan and vegetarian meals by request, we do not prepare dinner every night. However, we did prepare dinner for just two people, even without prior reservations. We show everyone around the property, help them plan their vacation, organize taxis, and recommend tours. The electric (not solar) hot water in Calabash cottage was working fine, but perhaps some people do not find the switch right away. In the future we will remember to point it out. Any problem however can usually be solved by letting us know about it. Finally, nobody has ever said that they do not feel welcome by us and our staff. We go out of our way to please our customers and if any of our guests needs something, we are available 24 hours. Of course, some guests like to do their own thing, whereas others quickly become part of the family. Transportation on the island is expensive, but we do what we can to let our guests know what the cheapest and best options are. We strongly suggest that anyone thinking about coming to Balenbouche reads our website and online visitor guide carefully, as well as our reviews, in order to make an informed decision on whether Balenbouche Estate is right for them. Every year, we have to turn down requests because we are booked. Therefore, we try to do our very best to attract only those visitors who will appreciate the beauty and authenticity of the historical and natural surroundings, and the family-run nature of this property.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balenbouche Estate

Property: Balenbouche Estate
Address: Balembouche, Laborie, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Laborie Quarter > Laborie
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Laborie
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Balenbouche Estate 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Balenbouche Estate is a Historic Plantation Guesthouse offering several tropical vacation cottages. The 80 acre property includes an expansive park with colonial plantation house, 18th century sugar mill, yoga barn, fruit orchards, lily ponds, nature trails and two secluded beaches just a 5 minute walk away. Balenbouche is not a resort and remains a working organic farm, heritage site, and family residence with a focus on wellness, sustainability and conservation. Our eco-chic accommodations are created from historic structures and sleep between 2 and 6 people, some include kitchens. We prepare breakfast daily, and dinner 2 - 3 times a week by reservation. There is a restaurant within walking distance. Several other St Lucia restaurants as well as a supermarket are a short drive away. We are located 20 minutes from the International airport and 30 minutes from the town of Soufriere, near many of the islands best attractions. Balenbouche is a magical place, a world in itself, popular with artists, photographers, green travelers, wedding couples, honeymooners and families. Our family has owned and managed the estate for three generations. Gradually, the property was transformed into a well known St Lucia attraction, guesthouse and retreat venue. Many of our guests feel very much at home at Balenbouche Estate, and keep returning! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balenbouche Estate Hotel Laborie
Balenbouche Estate St. Lucia/Laborie

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