Right off the jump we got 1 key for 4 people.The apartment was supposed to have a queen size and a double bed.There was a double and 2 twin beds.The clothes washer leaked.Shower nozzle was gone.The curtain rod for the shower was held on by a thread.Bathroom is tiny.There are no chest of drawers for clothes.We left our clothes in suitcases on top of a chair.Aanola Villa looks good from the outside but the inside is poor.
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We stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment at the Aanola Villas. It was large and airy with an air-conditioner in the master bedroom which we appreciated even though there was always a nice breeze and good screens on the windows. The location was excellent, beautiful views and close to a bus stop which got us to the City of Casties in 10 minutes. We were very pleased to find that initial supplies of coffee, sugar, toilet paper, and soaps were provided. Anthony, who along with Desma manage the property, was quite helpful to stop on the way after picking us up at what would become our favorite local bar/restaurant called the Hardest Hard Café to buy us a welcoming beverage and allow us to get some food.
The building is located near the City of Castries on a little inlet. There is a small beach with a sun pavilion right behind the property , although you have to walk around this fenced off lot to get to it. A cleaning crew comes every weekday morning to pick up anything that drifts in over night and do a good job keeping it clean. I went snorkling and saw some nice little fish, red and black sea urchins, and a cool purple sea eel. The water is clean and warm for swimming. We really liked that the property has fruit trees that you can pick from and enjoy fresh, tree ripened fruit every day including grapefruit, oranges, guava, limes, papaya, bananas, plantains and mangos. Nearby were also almond, breadfruit and tamarind trees. We took a day trip down to Soufriere to see the sulphur springs which they also call the “valcano”. Along the way our driver pointed out cocoa and cashews growing by the roadside. We dried and roasted the cocoa beans to make cocoa tea, which is a St Lucian favorite.
The apartment had a full kitchen basically equipped with dishes for four persons, although we longed for better cookware, a toaster and kettle. We had investigated Caribbean cooking and looked up St Lucia recipes prior to coming, so we were well prepared when we went to the famous Market in Castries and the local Super J grocery store to purchase and cook local dishes such as stewed and curried chicken, fresh fish bought from the local fishermen, along with dasheen, breadfruit, yams, and boiled green plantains and bananas, or figs as they call them in St Lucia. Get your booze at the Super J too. The local Piton beer and Bounty or Chairman rums are very good and super cheap.
In regards to sight seeing, we went up to Rodney Bay/Reduit Beach, but found it very expensive with a narrow beach loaded with tourists. The beach hawkers were on everyone like crazy. We also went to La Toc beach by bus and met Rasta Sheldon. Real nice guy, but the beach is also small and eroding away. Much better were Choc Beach and Vigie Beaches. Both have long stretches of perfect white sand, nice water, and a bar/restaurant at one end for refreshments and good local food. Say hi to the Rasta guy Sirus for us on Choc Beach and Dan on Vigie Beach. You can take taxis everywhere, but they cost 20 times what the local buses cost! The “buses” are really 10 person vans which they use because the roads are narrow and windy. They are super cheap and take off as soon as they are full. You can go anywhere on the island with them. Just tell anyone where you want to go and they will help you get to the right bus as buses are located in different areas depending on destination. We found the local people to be helpful and friendly but were cautioned not to walk alone in the City at night, as is unfortunately wise advice anywhere these days.
Went also hired a driver to take us down to Sourfriere to see the famous Pitons. Although the Internet says go to Sugar Beach, which is located between them, we tried but were shooed off by the resort security and told to lay only right in the middle in the full sun or to go off to one side where there was some shade and a couple beaten up beach chairs. There are booze-cruises that go out of Castries that are a better way to see the Pitons. You will also see Marigot Bay on these cruises, which we found after taking the bus there has a tiny beach again in spite of Internet promotion. Again, booze cruise better. But watch out for the prices of these trips as we met people who paid from $200 to $600 for the same cruise!!
We also went up to Gros Islet for the Friday night street party. This is the real deal if you want the local experience. We met Anthony and our Rasta friends up there and they took very good care of us. Make sure you have transportation booked to return before you go there as it is quite isolated. For great local food, as is the case whenever travelling, avoid where the tourists are eating :) and go around back to where they are roasting fresh fish over charcoal fires. Man was that good. Also further to food, eat at the Hardest Hard Café for lunch and surprisingly, at the Taipon Hospital who serve morning coffee for us addicts and full dinners until 6:30pm. Getting food this "late" is hard as St Lucians eat their big meal for lunch and finding local food after about 4, even in the Market, is a challenge.
Advertised as air-conditioned but was not. Accommodation was very spacious, with a view of the ocean, but facilities and amenities need to be upgraded. Without Air-conditioning, we had to open the windows. The breeze was good but the mosquitoes interrupted sleep.
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There is no air conditioning and my apartment was dirty. During my stay, I called to report a broken toilet. No one answered and no one returned my call. It remained broken during my stay. The only dining within walking distance is the hospital cafeteria.