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“2nd week of two centre holiday 10th April 2012”
Review of Bel Jou Hotel

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Bel Jou Hotel
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in Castries
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 14, 2012

This was my second visit to the the Bel Jou, my policy is usually not to return to places I have already visited but had such a wonderful time in August last year decided to back. Enjoyed the week but after the luxury of the first week at Buccament Bay this was so down market! Most disappointed to find out the Ian, Saga's local rep was no longer there. Whilst it was enjoyable stay there felt like there was an air of tension amongst management and reading the latest reports there probably was. No complaints Room, food, excursions all good. Bar and restaurant staff all work tirelessly to keep guest happy. Whatever is going on within the management, Saga need to look long and hard at what is being offered here.

Room Tip: Bungalows for the single guests do not have views over the sea they are spacious and ideal for disab...
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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8  Thank Valerie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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207 - 213 of 282 reviews

Reviewed June 13, 2012

Having spent a wonderful 2 weeks here in Nov/Dec 2011 returned May 2012 for another 2 weeks,what a big mistake! Such a lot of changes,none for the better.New manager,new saga rep,spa closed down,cheaper cuts of meat used,the staff no longer joining in the dancing in the evening,and while you cannot fault the staff on the service they provide,they are not as happy as before.The independant table, which was such a success,was no longer available as before,the rep was conspicuous in his absence,previous rep Ian was always around,joining the independent table every evening.The atmosphere is no longer there,the hotel is looking tired,rooms smell very musty which left clothes smelling same,and my toilet didn't flush properly.Smaller wine glasses too,what's that all about? All in all a very disappointing return,which will not be repeated.Come on saga this is your only saga owned hotel,why all the cost cutting? I am of course aware of refurbishment planned this summer,but it will take more than a lick of paint to repair the damage caused by cost cutting,loss of return guests will cost you dearly I think.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Pam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
beljouslu, Manager at Bel Jou Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 19, 2012

Thank you for taking the time to feedback your experience of your stay at the Bel Jou Hotel.

You will be aware that you are asked to complete a questionnaire at the end of your stay, this valuable information helps us understand your holiday experience.

As you have returned to the Bel Jou you will be aware that staffing at the hotel is probably one of the more significant changes we've made - having now replaced both the representative and the General Manager. We're very conscious that having the right staff in these key positions is important and as a result of what we've been told, we were of course more than happy to make these changes.

As for the spa, we appreciate that this is now closed, but we have made arrangements for customers to enjoy other facilities in its place. At the end of July 2012, we are also going to complete a refit including remodelling of the buffet area to enhance the dining experience, along with improvements to the bungalows and replacement of soft furnishings.

St Lucia is a beautiful island and we are very fortunate to have our own hotel operating there. We will continue to make improvements that are needed to ensure that our customers have a worthwhile experience whilst staying with us at the Bel Jou, and we hope that the above has demonstrated that we take all feedback very seriously.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2012

Having just got back from staying one week at the Bel Jou Hotel...I must say neither my husband or myself were particularly overjoyed with it. The staff are excellent...very efficient..and friendly. Our room ( 212 ) was very dull in colour and general decor..but it was cleaned daily, both double beds were more than comfortable, and we had a super view across Castries and the surrounding hillsides, What a pity about the constant barking of dogs in locallity. I realy dont think that we had one day or night when they were not Barking!!!
Having been warned about the ammount of steps in the hotel to each of its many levels,,,, nevertheless many people I spoke to, including our own good selves found them extremely tiring given the humidity and heat. If you are not good wirh steps...dont opt for this hotel. The included tours were very mudane and realy not of much interest . The surrounding area of the Island is in our opinion... very seedy and shabby...AND as far as we could see was pretty much the same across much of the rest of the Island.
Rodney bay beach is lovely and you can get an excellent swim there.. Pigeon Island bay is just fine also if you decide to pay to go through the privately owned land which is gated!!! the local beach ( Vigie ) only has one decent swimming area ...and there are no umbrellas or chairs available!!!! The hotel shuttle bus runs quite frequently during the day... but the last time it comes up is 4.30....and we personally... didnt like being constantly tied to its times. The bus being the only method of getting to the beaches....the hotel is perched high up on the volcanic outcrop... and believe me ,,, it is most dangerous to attempt to walk it.
The town of castiies is dirty...seedy,,, rundown..and without their corregated iron sheets , I realy dont know what the good citizens would do for their roofing!!!!Castries is very disappointing indeed .I As is pretty well most ot the island in general, St Lucia is definately not the place for me!!!!!!!
The grenadine tour is more that worth the outlay....do try it. The hotel itself is sorely in need of refurbishment...but the staff are great. Would i return to the Bel Jou...???? a resounding NO... Sorry...not for me...

Room Tip: All the rooms are reasonable and all have a super view.If you choose to upgrade...is well worth it...
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2012

This was the second week of a two centre Saga holiday. The first week being spent in Antigua. Bel Jou was not quite in the same class as the first week but nevertheless we had few complaints, but unfortunately one couldn't help comparing the two hotels. If we had only been to the Bel Jou we would have been more than happy, but it wasn't quite up to the Antiguan experience. Rooms were great and we had a wonderful view over the town of Castries, the seaport and the sea. As well as overlooking the well kept gardens of the hotel. Yes, there were plenty of stairs to negotiate, but that had been well publicised before we went there, but surprisingly some of the guests were surprised when they got there. Read the brochure ! Food was adequate, buffet style.. It reminded me of a works canteen, with a tray and a long selection of food to choose from. Not a great selection it has to be said but there was always something to eat. Drinks in the bars were good and the alcoholic smoothies by the pool during the day were superb. Staff were ok, but didn't seem to be too happy, sometimes got the impression that we were an inconvenience to them. Saga rep had not been there for long, and gave the impression that she had spent a lot of time as a kiddies rep somewhere.. Talk about loud. DON'T try and walk in to the town..! take the free shuttle bus. You'll see why when you get there. Swimming pool is quite small, but there was always plenty of room to relax there. Would I go back there? I think the answer would be yes..!

Room Tip: take plenty of sun cream.............
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank tonydi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2012

We stayed at the bel jou for 3 weeks, during which we enjoyed our stay, but alot of things need to be inproved. We were in room 406 where we had a great sea view. furnitures looks old, need an upgrade. The staff were great, they were the ones who really made us enjoy our vacation, always smiling and friendly.Need to say a special thanks to Cheryl and yasmin at reception, Lulu at cabana for going out of their way to make us feel extremely welcome.

Room Tip: Rooms on the higher floor are much better and quieter, and great view.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kerry f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2012

The staff at the hotel are the friendiest and most efficient that I have seen in quite a while.

Yes, you were warned about the steps at the hotel but since there isn't a fitness room consider this your exercise. I was in one of the garden rooms and the only thing that was missing for me was a full length mirror but then women need this sort of thing. The beds were comfortable and I certainly had a good night's sleep every night.

I found the food at the hotel to be varied and the choice to be varied with at least 1 fish, 1 meat and 1 vegetarian option every time. There was never a time when there wasn't something good to choose from. I most definitley do not agree with some of the comments about the restaurant and the attitude of the staff there as I found them to be very friendly.

The entertainment most nights was quite good and you could get up and dance to the music if you so choose. They are trying to please an age group that fitted to the music and it was sometimes cariibbean/bob marley there were other types of music as well.

The hotel bus service was very good and was used on most daysto go either to the Vigie beach, Rodney Bay, Pigeon Island or Castries. We also used the local bus to go back up to the hotel, if we hadn't arranged to be picked up by the hotel bus, it was very cheap and quite enteraining. The people of St Lucia are by and large very friendly and will go out of their way to be helpful.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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7  Thank carol1746
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2012

Like the last reviewer has said, the General Manager left during our visit and things may improve.

Good points: our room (312) had a nice sea view and had been recently refurbished with two double beds, flat screen TV, comfortable patio furniture, corner shower, backlit mirror in the bathroom etc. Our room was kept very clean.

Drinks on the all inclusive package are plentiful and varied, although the staff push the cocktail of the day, but anything on their list (behind the bar) is available - as long as they don't run out of rum, which they did while we were staying!! Wines with dinner are ok, although the white was like vinegar. Both the rose and red were drinkable and we often had a UK known brand, Maipo Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.. Beer is the local Piton variety.

Andy, the saga rep, was very helpful and pleasant, and always around the hotel and willing to get involved with any problems, as well as organising some activities around the hotel as well as some local walks.

Two of the three Saga included excursions were good: Lushan life and Spirit & Rhythms of St Lucia, but didn't enjoy the Colonial St Lucia trip which included a visit to La Toc battery, much too hot inside to enjoy looking round, a visit to look at the Iniskillin war memorial (what was that about?) and 20 minutes in the beautiful Marigot Bay. They'd have done a lot better to just spend 2 hours in Marigot. We also did two optional excursions which were good value for money: the catamaran cruise and deep sea fishing. We didn't catch anything but it was a nice morning out at sea!

The bad points: apart from the bedrooms, most of the rest of the hotel looked very tired and in need of an update, particularly the reception area and main restaurant - although I understand the main restaurant is being done when the hotel closes in July. . The pool is also very small, not much room to swim!

As everyone mentions, the location of the hotel is not the best. Although only 5 mins drive from Castries, the hills are so steep you can't really walk into town, and with no bars or other hotels anywhere close, you do end up feeling a bit like a prisoner. The hotel has done their best to get round this by laying on regular buses into Castries, and the local Vigie beach, as well as Rodney Bay and Pigeon island further afield. The buses start leaving the hotel at 9.00am and the last bus is back at the hotel before 5, so if you wanted to go out in the evening, or when a bus is unavailable, you will need to take a taxi which costs 20EC dollars, about £5 each way.

Food was rather hit and miss. Breakfast was definitely the best meal with plenty of choice from cereal or porridge, fresh fruit, breads, croissant, cakes, ham and cheese, waffles or pancakes and everything for a full english, and of course toast and jams and marmalades. Fried or poached eggs and omelettes were also made to order.

Lunch and dinner in the main restaurant was less enjoyable with 2 choices of starter: soup or salad, and 4 choices for main course every day: a fish stew of some description, a roast, a vegetarian option (one day this was sweet potato croquettes) and another meat dish - which is what we normally went for. Potatoes, rice and vegetables were always available but mostly only lukewarm. Desserts were also the same: one hot pudding with custard, fresh fruit salad, or two types of cake and cheeseboard.

The other dining option for lunch was the cabana restaurant which served sandwiches, pasta, burgers etc. Here there was only soup available as a starter and ice cream as a dessert.

Tea and coffee are available all day in the restaurant and afternoon tea is served between 4.15-5 and consists of sandwiches and cakes/scones with jam/cream.

The first week we quite enjoyed most of the evening entertainment (apart from the appalling folklore night) but the same bands returned on the second week and performed exactly the same music song by song as the first week, which meant we got very bored and left early every night. Unfortunately at the moment only one bar (in the main restaurant) is open in the evening, so if you do want to get away from the music, you really only have the option of sitting out in reception or going back to your room. I do understand however there are plans to open the cabana bar by the pool in the evenings once the hotel re-opens after the closure in July. This will give everyone a bit more choice.

The advertised hairdresser/beauty salon is no longer available at the hotel.

This isn't a bad hotel, but neither is it very special. We were unlucky with our weather, and only had 3 good days in our fortnight, with 5 days of rain and the rest a mixture of overcast/sunny spells.

We decided to change currency on arrival and got a really good rate from the ATM at the airport (4.255EC dollars to the £1) vs 3.8 at the hotel and about the same at the travel agent before we came away. In Gatwick airport they were offering 3.65.

We did wonder about taking US dollars. Prices in all the main tourist shops did tend to be in US dollars, but you could pay in either currency. At St Lucia airport on departure, we saw they would also accept sterling for purchases at the cafes and souvenir shops.

Do carry your passport on trips to the distillery and catamaran cruise, as when you visit shops on these tours you can get goods tax free, saving you around 25%. The distillery is definitely the cheapest place on the island to buy your rum.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank HertsJenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bel Jou Hotel

Address: La Pensee Road, Castries 89131, St. Lucia
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Castries Quarter > Castries
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Castries
Price Range: $189 - $339 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Bel Jou Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
St. Lucia's wonderful, adults only hotel. Boasting stunning views over Castries and out across the gorgeous ocean from its setting atop a lush, tropical hillside, the 4-star Bel Jou provides a tranquil, tropical retreat for today's adult and senior travelers, free from the distractions of the more overrun resorts. With many opportunities for sightseeing and sampling island life, the hotel's relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a leisurely holiday or a lively Caribbean experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bel Jou Castries
Bel Jou Hotel St. Lucia/Castries

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