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“A wonderful 4 days”

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Boucan by Hotel Chocolat
Ranked #7 of 11 Hotels in Soufriere
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 31, 2012

We wish it could have been longer. Wonderful location over looking the Petit Piton, fabulous meals and such caring staff. We were impressed by the ethical way the company works by employing so many local staff who were excellently trained. Also that the planation is organic. If you looking for the usual type hotel this is not for you, we loved the small size and the individual attention. The lux pods were very comfortable with fan, four poster bed with a well fitted mosquito net, and they thoughtfully provided mosquito repellent and ear-plugs to help sleep as sometimes the wildlife was noisy, (it was also noisy when we stayed at Marigot Bay). I didn't get bitten here which is unusual for me. Though now I appreciate why God made mosquitoes, to pollenate the cocoa trees. The tree to chocolate bar tour is great fun. We also enjoyed the walk up the mountain with Thomas and the sunset cruse with cocktails and food served by Edward. Snorkling at beach was good, though be prepared to pay for the sun beds and don't touch the rocks when snorkling because of coral fire which looks like seaweed. The best way to travel is by boat as the roads are very windy.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Cherry2548
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded April 13, 2012

Thanks for the comments about our training and development.

We are striving to reach a more evolved level of service which is discrete and intuitive and less intrusive and robotic. Your comments will certainly help us on our way!

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441 - 447 of 495 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2012

Hotel Chocolat is great! We staid in a luxe pod. The food was amazing. Creative cocktails. Best wine list in all of st. lucia. Room modern but still works with nature (amazing partial indoor outdoor shower). I loved our balcony and view of the pitons. Do the chocolate plantation tour. You get to graft your own coca tree!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Miranda32185
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2012

Thanks for your review and delighted you appreciated the balance we a trying to achieve between nature and responsible luxury.

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Reviewed March 22, 2012

The idea of a nature and beach holiday was attractive and the very positive reviews we read of the hotel and Boucan restaurant were enough to convince us to try it out even though we were somewhat apprehensive about having to eat in the same restaurant for 7 nights.
As it turned out we need not have worried about the restaurant as the dishes on the menu had been given a lot of thought and Jon the expat chef supervising preparation ensured that whatever left the kitchen was perfectly prepared.
We were in a garden view pod which didn't have the nice views of the Piton that some of the other pods for the same room rate had so it would be a good idea to reserve one of the pods with a view of the Piton at the time of making the booking.
The pod is well designed, comfortabley furnished with a four poster bed shrouded in mosquito nets. The bathroom fittings were modern and the open shower is a nice touch.
Everything in the room worked including the wi fi.
We had a rental car and thought that was a practical way to get around. The only road we would not go on again was from Soufriere to Anse Chasenet. Snorkeling at Anse Chasenet was good but use a water taxi from Soufriere or the Hotel's boat to get there. The Botanical gardens in Soufriere are well worth a visit and there is a hot spring bath at the garden that for a nominal amount can be used by visitors.
The walk around the Rabot estate is worth doing and having Thomas as a guide for a walk on one of the Rabot estates unmarked trails was informative especially as to the types of birds and plants etc that were around us.
The bean to bar tour should not be missed.
The hotel staff are exceptionally pleasant and helpful and Judy goes out of her way to make sure your visit will be a memorable one.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JimLCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2012

Really appreciate your review and we would definitely recommend our hotel speed boat as the best way to be dropped off at the stunning local beaches. Our beach drop off/pick up service is free to hotel guests.

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Reviewed March 20, 2012

We have just returned from an absolutely wonderful week at Hotel Chocolat on the Rabot Estate. From the moment we were collected at the airport until, sadly, we were delivered back there for our return to the UK everything went exceptionally well. There are now two types of accommodation cottages called I - Pods and I Pod - luxe. The latter are larger with a big open balcony and larger bedroom and bathroom. Both types of cottage were excellently fitted out with all mod cons, european sanitary wear etc.,. We were in an I-Pod ( only ones available when we booked) which was perfectly adequate and although none of the Pods have air conditioning we found the large silent fan over the bed perfectly adequate, no noise and kept the air moving. There were no problems with mozzies with the mosquito net over the bed.
The Boucan restaurant food was also marvellous, 'fine dining' we would say, a real credit to Jon the chef who devised the menu and his staff. If anything too much food for us but everything delicious from the breakfast with estate grown fruit right through to dinner. Big eaters will find there is more than enough food at every meal to cope with their appetites.
Of the tours we did the 'Tree to Bar' experience which involved a tour of part of the plantation with an explanation of the different types of cocoa pods, grafting our own cocoa tree and making our own chocolate.
Not to be missed is the trip on the Hotel's boat to the capital Castries and the tour to the volcano, hot springs and botanical gardens, We were also lucky enough to be there when one of the founders, Peter Harris, was there - good company and on Sunday morning he kindly walked us up to Rabot Heights, the highest point of the estate, from where there are wonderful views of the Pitons and the Soufriere basin -rated the best view in Saint Lucia.

If you go, we do recommend all these 'experiences' and also that you walk the Old French Road along which soldiers passed during the Battle of Rabot which took place between the French and English in 1795.
Value for money? We think so. Not cheap but you get what you pay for and although we are not big drinkers we found the daily allowance for drinks about right and the mini bar in the Pod is filled with various alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverages all of which are complementary the first time round, replacements have to be paid for. This is really an all inclusive holiday and we felt well worth the money, being a completely different experience from your usual run of the mill hotels etc
We are unable to give much information on the beach as we only saw it from the boat but it looked great with golden sand ( imported after the hurricane) sun beds (have to be hired from the beach hotel) beach hotel bar for food/drink and a safe area for swimming/snorkelling.
All the staff at Hotel Chocolat were friendly, very helpful and efficient and a thank you to Chester the Manager and all his staff, especially Nadia, Viana and Bernabe. We are looking forward to going back to experience this very special hotel in the not too distant future.

P & J. R

Room Tip: Most units face the Pitons, all well ventilated and of high quality.Try and book I-Pods facing the P...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank pfr_66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2012

Thanks so much for you detailed review, which touches on most of the subjects which a prospective guest here would like to know about.

There is certainly plenty going on at Rabot Estate and delighted you enjoyed your stay!

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Reviewed March 8, 2012

When I first read about Hotel Chocolat, it totally captured my imagination, and visiting the hotel totally met all of my expectations. I planned this solo vacation to take a much needed break from work stress. The hotel staff took excellent care of me from the moment I was met at the airport with a refreshing mint-infused cold towel and drinks, to my last amazing meal at Boucan before leaving the resort. I booked the Total Cacao immersion package last november, the weekend before thanksgiving. I had full board at the Boucan restaurant, and the food was so good, I can't imagine wanting to eat anywhere else on St. Lucia. The chef excellently prepared meals, cocktails and deserts highlighting every part of the coacoa pod -- including the fruity white pulp (who knew cocoa could taste like guava?). The Tree to Bar experience was an extra special way to apreciate the craft of chocolate making as well as beauty of the plantation. The main attraction for me truely was the chocolate, but the resort made it easy to plan trips to the beach, water falls, and nearby sulfer springs. The spa services were top notch, the accommodations beautiful and well appointed. I recommend this place to anyone wanting a unique luxury experience in the carribbean. Note - the resort is in the jungle, and the jungle does come alive at night with sounds of insects and tree frogs. i got used to the sound, and wasn't bothered by it, but the hotel-provided ear plugs certianly helped. I was also warned of mosquitos, but used a light deet-free mosquito repellent and didn't get bit at all.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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5  Thank Nahil S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2012

Delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and your immersion into the world of cacao.

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Reviewed March 5, 2012

I recently stayed at this hotel for five days, Thursday to Monday.

I had lots of issues, but I'll condense them into this: The website and the employees provide misinformation, and the hotel treats its guests as second-class citizens rather than as VIPs. This place is priced at over $500/night without board, yet has no beachfront.. It needs good service. There was a personalized letter in my room, welcoming me to the hotel -- a nice start, except that it had someone else's name on it.

A good example of misinformation is the beach shuttle. The site says there are "shuttles", but it's only one a day, at a set time. The information packet they provided described two beaches, a white sand one and a black sand one, and gave a shuttle schedule that dropped off at both. However, there was never actually a shuttle to the black sand beach (which of course we wanted to go to). Further, we were told that the beach was a "3-4 minute walk" from the dropoff point. In fact, it's a half-mile down a very steep, winding road. I wore sandals and had two blisters when I reached the bottom (which I still have now). I would've worn sneakers if someone had mentioned this. It would've been literally impossible for me and my pregnant wife to get back to the top ourselves in the heat, but fortunately we hitched up in a shuttle that the beach hotel provides for their guests. This very nearly ruined the whole beach day.

There are descriptions of a half-dozen "self-guided tours" of the resort property in the info packet. Great! Except we were told that there actually weren't any marked trails, so we shouldn't do them. They said they had an employee guiding the tours instead if we wanted.. but there was only one such tour scheduled during our visit, and since all activities are in the morning, and the only beach shuttle is at 10am, we had to make a choice there.

Back to customer service. I visited this hotel mainly for the Tree to Bar and the Fruit Safari tours, plus for the restaurant. That's what makes the hotel interesting, and they consider this their "signature". I emailed back and forth about specific tours with the staff before arriving, and they told me that since I didn't book a "package deal", I should just sign up for these activities when I arrived.

We arrived Thursday afternoon, we were told "orientation" would be the following morning (which was just a manager talking to us for 15 minutes, so why not do that on arrival?), and when I asked about signing up, I was told that "Tree to Bar" is really two parts ("Tree" and "Bar", basically), and the "Bar" part is only done on Thursday mornings. Nothing at all happens on the weekend, and I could sign up for the "Tree" tour for 9am Monday morning, before I left. So no Fruit Safari was offered during my stay, and no "Bar" tour. Note that the staff KNEW my dates and KNEW my interests, but never mentioned this until I was there. I could've chosen different dates. Shouldn't this be on the website?

Then, on Friday, I saw two separate group tours of people NOT from the hotel, doing the "Bar" experience. I cannot fathom why we couldn't have been added into one of those tours. We're guests, yet non-guests get the tours they won't provide for us. This was a slap in the face.

Skip ahead to Sunday night, and I ask to confirm if the "Tree" tour is at 9am or 9:30. I'm told it's been moved to 11am to accomodate non-guests who are attending. Bad enough to make paying guests change their schedule, but without even telling us? Skip again to 11am Monday, and some outside people arrive.. then it's 11:20 and we're still waiting. I'm told there's a couple they're still waiting for. Again, they bend over backwards for outsiders, and not for me. I complain enough that they start without them (they never showed), and we have just barely enough time to rush through the tour (skipping one or two things), shower, grab lunch, and check out before our flight. Did they so much as comp a dessert, or even apologize? No.

On a side note, why would you have a rooster on the property? Or dogs that bark when they hear a rooster? Or construction workers who start at 7am right outside the open-air restaurant, and use their backhoe all through breakfast time? This is not a hotel for people who like to sleep past 7:00 on their vacations, at least not without (provided) ear plugs.

So to the hotel management: If you want to be the boutique hotel you advertise on your site, you need to provide excellent customer service. You do not do this now. Other than when I got my tiny jar of cookies each day, I did not feel like an honored guest. Nobody ever went out of their way to do anything for me, and there were plenty of opportunities. The staff certainly went out of their way for people who WEREN'T paying $550+/night. If we had been added to the chocolate tour on Friday, that one action alone would've changed the trip for me, and this review would be four stars instead of two.

That said, the room was very nice, and the food at the restaurant was great. The restaurant by itself would get five stars from me. The restaurant view is worth a star by itself. And if I'd paid $250/night, this would be a different review. However, there's no reason I'd ever stay there again. I note that a number of the good reviews here are from people who took the tours or visited the restaurant but did NOT stay at the hotel. Exactly.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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19  Thank Jay_103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2012

We put a huge amount of effort into service and are so disappointed that your experience in this regard wasn't good enough.

Please be assured that your points have been carefully analysed and we have made some changes as a result. Although you made kind comments about the cuisine and the rooms, we are acutely aware that consistent levels of excellent service are essential.

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Reviewed March 5, 2012

We spent nearly a week at Hotel Chocolat in late January/early February to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday and, unbeknownst to me at the time, our engagement! We cannot speak highly enough of our experience. I'll do my best to organize my thoughts and offer relevant suggestions....concisely?

Overall, we knew that St. Lucia would not be our typical Caribbean vacation given the mountainous terrain and unique geography. That said, staying at a place like Hotel Chocolat-so perfectly integrated into and respectful of it's surroundings-left us grateful for the atypical experience rather than grieving the beach. We travel to beautiful locations as often as possible and have been spoiled by some of the most luxurious accommodations available. I would be lying if I did not admit that I had my reservations about this little, rustic, eco-friendly resort. I could not have been more pleasantly surprised.

My mind was blown as each and every staff member treated us like family in their own home. Chester, the general manager, made sure we were enjoying our stay while Janelle (spelling?! I'm sorry...) brightened every day with her beautiful, megawatt smile. Genuine and reflexive hospitality saturated our experience with Hotel Chocolat from the moment we arrived, and we could not have been more grateful.

I had my concerns, to be frank, about the "chocolate." To call it a theme is a mistake because it is far more nuanced and thoughtful than a cheeky color scheme or over-done ingredient. Chef handles his menu BEAUTIFULLY and while we generally do our best to explore as much as possible when we travel, we literally could not tear ourselves away from Boucan. The breakfast is perfection, and an amazing lunch simply leaves you excited for dinner! The cocktail list is fresh and on-point. To execute this caliber of cuisine in an open-air dining room is impressive; the fine dining standards paired with friendly and approachable service create one of my favorite restaurants to date. I did not go to Hotel Chocolat a fan of chocolate, but I most certainly left one.

It's no small feat to create a "green" and eco-friendly resort without compromising the luxury that many travelers seek. The pods/rooms were perfectly appointed-just enough design to appeal to our love of beautiful, comfortable things without letting us forget where we were. I generally max out my AC when I sleep but never wanted for it in our little bungalow. It may take a night to adjust to some of the background noise, but you will sleep well. The mosquito netting did its job beautifully. The speaker/iTouch setup was an amazing detail. I read the reviews before we left and cannot rave enough about the rain shower so I won't try. It's amazing. We have already discussed putting one in at home and we're only half-joking.

Even though we found this hotel on CNN's "Top Ten Pools in the World" feature, I was concerned about what I thought might be a diminutive infinity pool. However, we never struggled for our first choice chairs and, in fact, rarely saw anyone else there. There's no complaint in privacy and peace-and-quiet, but I do hope that the pool area and pool bar become popular and draw a small crowd eventually :) The hotel itself is wonderfully small and intimate; the scale is perfect and my certainty that "too small" meant somehow lacking in something was absolutely incorrect. I have no doubt that Hotel Chocolat will see incredible growth and become even more popular. I hope they are able to navigate that success without losing any of the charm and balance that sets them apart.

Jalousie Plantation was definitely our favorite beach, but we were also lucky to get chairs in the section of the beach usually reserved for Jalousie Plantation hotel guests. The "public" section-to be honest-did not look quite as enjoyable but it's an exquisite setting between the Pitons regardless. We also negotiated for hotel-guest-only chairs at Anse Chastanet beach. This not-quite-"black"-sand beach has a little burger hut down a ways, and although extremely pricey, the burger was tasty. I must say, when we left Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet, we felt lucky to be going home to Hotel Chocolat. There's no doubt that in-room infinity pools with ocean views are a fancy feature there and perhaps that's the perfect resort for some travelers; however, without knocking another business, Hotel Chocolat has an integrity in its design, a thoughtfulness in its execution, and a subtlety in its details that proved far more impressive, current, and appropriately-priced than anything else we saw.

Sunset and a drink at Ladera is a great option...before you head back to Boucan for dinner. Trust me on this one. Live music on Thursday nights at Boucan is not to be missed. Actually, any night at Boucan is not to be missed.

Climb Gros Piton. 100% do not miss this experience. Every single non-tourist on the island that you ask will have done it so don't embarrass yourself by not doing it too. Prepare to feel like human jello after and for two days of soreness. Put it this way: He had the ring in his pocket on the climb and planned to propose at the top. Of course, I was a hot and disheveled mess by that point and would not have made it down in one piece if he'd distracted me with a diamond...so that plan was wisely abandoned. Still an incredible, strangely romantic experience to share. An in-room massage after the climb was wonderful. Once again, I am terribly spoiled when it comes to any spa experience and, while this massage was admittedly different than what I'm used to enjoying, I'm THRILLED that it was because it was absolutely amazing.

Lastly, get engaged at Hotel Chocolat. I highly recommend it. Seriously. They conspired with my fiance to prepare a beautiful, private poolside dinner (...it was to be the proposal but turned into a congratulatory dinner as he spontaneously proposed the night prior.) A cliche experience that won't feel that way at all and totally worth the indulgence. Janelle even created a special playlist for us on her phone to enjoy during our meal. If you can't get engaged, find something special to celebrate here because this is a special place full of special people.

St. Lucia is not a bunch of white-sand beaches with shallow turquoise water and modern glossy hotels. If you want that, check out Turks, St. Barth or Anguilla because they are all wonderful in their own right. St. Lucia is a lush, tropical paradise with breathtaking peaks that will mesmerize you and kind people that will humble and charm you. Thank you, Hotel Chocolat, for getting me outside my comfort zone and making it such a wonderful experience.

Room Tip: Cocao Pod 4. Can't speak to the Luxe Pods as they weren't yet completed when we booked, but...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Paige G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Judy B, Guest Relations Manager at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2012

What a beautifully written and charming review. Thank you so much.

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Additional Information about Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

Address: Rabot Estate | P.O. Box 312, Soufriere, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Soufriere Quarter > Soufriere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Soufriere
#6 Luxury Hotel in Soufriere
#6 Romantic Hotel in Soufriere
Price Range: $368 - $759 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Boucan by Hotel Chocolat 4.5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover plantation chic - luxury, well-being & stunning natural beauty. Situated high in the hills near Soufriere, set in rainforest & cocoa groves with stunning views of the Piton mountains. A daily transfer is provided for guests to a stunning nearby beach by Hotel Sea Launch. Guests can enjoy trail walks around the cocoa estate, cacao inspired treatments in the spa, relaxation in Club Boucan with its private infinity pool & the exclusive cacao cuisine at Boucan Restaurant & Bar, free laundry service, room additions and Tree to Bean tour. Boucan by Hotel Chocolat offer 2 types of accommodation, both with 4 poster beds, preloaded iPods & docking stations, complimentary wireless, a mini-bar & open sky rainforest showers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Boucan By Hotel Chocolat St. Lucia/Soufriere

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