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“Connect with the heart of the Caribbean”
Review of Balenbouche Estate

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Balenbouche Estate
Ranked #1 of 2 Laborie B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Malden, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Connect with the heart of the Caribbean”
Reviewed March 2, 2013

If you are looking for shiny surfaces and fiberglass Jacuzzis, you can skip this place. If you want to connect with the heart of the Caribbean and draw deep sustenance from its natural beauty, do not miss the chance to stay at Balenbouche Estate. Entering this remarkable sanctuary is like taking a step back centuries in time to a place where the frenetic confusion of modern life effortlessly dissolves. There is nothing Spartan about this place; the accommodations are spacious and beautifully designed, the meals are sumptuous, the surrounding forest and beckoning sea a flawlessly peaceful setting for relaxation and renewal. The Lawaetz women are unimaginably graceful and beautiful hosts who offer their guests a priceless gift in this utterly unique retreat they have built over the past 30 years.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sattvic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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93 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
  • Any
English first
London
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2013

My search for the perfect place to stay in St Lucia took weeks of online searching and researching hotels ... I don't like 5 star hotels like Sugar Bay .. I don't want boring calm seas with awful holidaymakers and noisy children eating burgers and fries by concrete swimming pools.
I wanted and I found Nirvana - a fascinating place of heritage, great natural beauty and calm run by the amazing Ute Laewetz and her daughters.
The charming cottages on the Estate are decorated tastefully in an Eclectic West Indies, Far East and Austrian Tyrollean smorgasbord of style. There is excellent organic and homely breakfast and dinner, Yoga, friendly dogs and horses, toads and hummingbirds in an historical plantation estate with its own wild beaches where we spent hours each day bodysurfing the wonderful breakers.
This review cannot begin to give an impression of the magic of the place but all I can say is we loved it for a fabulous few days. Thank you so much. Michael, Claire, Jack and Harry. :)))

Room Tip: Who needs a concrete swimming pool and fitness centre when you've got your your own beach and yo...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Michael D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec City, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

If you are into air conditioning, fear bugs and animals, have no car, and expect dinner--go elsewhere. If you want to see nature (in your bedroom, in your bed), and share your space with 7 dogs and 3 cats, plus the usual frogs, bats, cockroaches, 10-12" crickets, mosquitoes etc, this is your place! I recommend that you only stay 3 nights at most, because the luke-warm water and mosquitoes and damaged bed nets catch up with you. But you really are in nature--and talking to horses, cattle, and carib birds (all in your accommodation--except for the cattle, so yes, the horses too). Utta and Verena run the show and they are lovely people. The mum is a terrific designer and spends time making her guests welcome. If you have a problem, speak with Verena and she remedies it immediately--no questions asked. If you have problems and don't speak up, then you leave with bad memories--so don't do that. The home-made breakfasts were great, very basic home-made bread, jam (sometimes butter), and coffee (sometimes with milk), and juice (or not), and water (or not), and eggs (or not). Simple. Ask for drinking water for your room. The beach is not for bathing--the first beach is too violent and rocky, and the second beach is too much of a sun trap and still you should not go out of your depth. It is a great destination, clap hands to get rid of cattle on the trail down to the beach. We spent days photographing flowers and wildlife, but understand that this might not be you. I'm glad I stayed, and wish the owners very well--they are lovely people. But the non-dinners, then the drive to closed restaurants, is taxing at the end of the day. Eat here if they serve food, and ask if they are catering for a wedding as you will not get fed and there will be more people around. Enjoy.

Room Tip: Spend more to get the large rooms with kitchenette otherwise suffer not having the ability to eat fo...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank BritIt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Littlehampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2013

We visited Balenbouche as part of a tour during our recent stay in St Lucia. Verena showed us round the stunning gardens and water wheel while her mother Uta prepared afternoon tea. It was almost a surreal experience to see this amazing plantation house which looks like it's stepped out an 18th century novel. We did not stay in the cottages but would love to come back and do so. The sense of the place was one of absolute peace and tranquility.

Stayed February 2013
Helpful?
Thank lynne141
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We stayed at Balenbouche for 5 days after spending the first week of our vacation at Crystals about 30 minutes north near Soufriere. We actually honeymooned at Crystals and then got married at Balenbouche. A bit backwards, but it worked beautifully! We had the view, the cool night air, and the great happy hour at Crystals and the calm, relaxation of the Balenbouche Estate.
We loved, loved Balenbouche! The two ladies who were our hosts, Uta and her daughter, Verena, were exceptonal. So calm and charming and competent. They dealt with all my wedding needs (and I had as many as any bride) with such kindness. And the wedding dinner for the six of us in the wedding party was just wonderful.
I am giving Balenbouche a 5 but with the expected warning that it is not for everyone. For us, it was perfect and totally fed my spirit with its lovely grounds. If you want trails on which to meander, benches on which to relax, gorgeous water lilies to photograph, cows and horses to watch frolic (yes, they had frolicking cows!) and fascinating ruins to explore, you’ll love the estate, too. Oh- and I can’t forget the private beach – but with a warning: while the walk to the beach is nice, the beach itself has no shade so be prepared to be hot.
We stayed in the Almond cottage which was more like a glorified camping experience since the kitchen, dining and living areas are all open to the elements – sort of a large porch. The two bedrooms were enclosed and could be locked. The rock shower was very cool (with lots of hot water) but if the wind blew the curtain up, your naked self was exposed to the great outdoors. A bit disconcerting until I figured out how to hold down the curtain with rocks. There are three two-person swings on the porch which we put to good use. Pictures don’t do this cottage justice which is why most people don’t post them. It is not very attractive from the outside but once you enter, it’s very nice – again, sort of like really nice camping. We had 9 people on the porch at one time and it was not crowded; a great place for some casual entertaining.
We were married in front of some old ruins that currently house the tortoises so I tell people we were married in front of the turtle house. That makes me smile.
My favorite memory (other than my wedding ceremony, of course) was sitting on the veranda of the “big house” for breakfast each morning and hearing the local school children sing “We are the World.” That made me smile, too. There is lots to smile about at Balenbouche.

Room Tip: Pictures don't do the Almond Cottage justice. The large porch which is more like an outdoor liv...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank NCTravelingGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Groningen
2 reviews
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Almost invisible from the road side we stumbled on this wonderful old estate on the southwest coast of St Lucia. A beautiful old plantation house, situated in a wonderful garden which contains the remains of a waterwheel sugar cane press and adjoining boiling house and a number of pretty cottages as accommodation. Family run in a very charming way. We came unexpectedly but were treated on a very warm welcome and a delicious lunch. Not far from the international airport and perfectly unique. Nothing like the better known resorts north of Castries, but to my mind much nicer.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nickontour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2013

My daughter (10), close friend and her sister, and myself took a girls yoga retreat week to stay at Balenbouche. We had a fantastic time. Uta, Verena and David as well as other staff were very helpful. Uta is an incredibly inspiring woman, sitting with us and sharing about her life on the island. Balenbouche has a beautiful rugged natural and historical quality with lots of space for exploring. Our treks around the property included going through the historic ruins of the plantation overgrown with vines and ficus trees, along the stream and to the two beaches to watch the wild surf. From our cabin we enjoyed the calls of frogs and watching the cows roam around under palm trees in the field at sunrise and sunset. There is also a pond with a yoga platform (just large enough for the 4 of us) that was available for our morning yoga. Balenbouche is a bit off the tourist path. As a result we enjoyed also taking local buses to Soufriere and other areas of interest such as the volcanic mud baths close by. I also picked up some unique and well designed tropical jewellery made by Anitajana.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rue22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 
Also Known As:
Balenbouche Estate Hotel Laborie
Balenbouche Estate St. Lucia/Laborie

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