TTG – Features – Adventure and Alternative Accommodation in St. Lucia

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A PLACE OF YOURS

Another way to give your guests a more personalized touch is to stay in a villa. Originally developed as luxury homes, Water’s Edge Villas at Bay Gardens Resorts are the company’s newest properties and can be found among the yachts and sailboats of Rodney Bay Marina.

With a surface area of ​​4,000 square feet per property and typically housing eight adults in four bedrooms, several bathrooms, a well-equipped modern kitchen, a swimming pool, and a private waterfront deck, it’s hard not to miss. felt like the cool Prince of Will Smith strolling through his new Bel-Air mansion upon our arrival.

Jason Beaubrun, site manager and head of business development for Bay Gardens, describes the potential for Britons to try villa stays in St. Lucia, especially as tourism recovers from the pandemic.

“It’s perfect for UK visitors – they really like to go out and explore, and especially in today’s environment, having your own space is important,” he says.

You can do your shopping on arrival and supermarkets are a short walk away. The villa also has keyless entry, Ring security cameras, Netflix compatible TV and a smartphone for contacting staff.

We find that switching from the typical restaurant service makes for a refreshing and relaxed change, and the freedom it affords is sure to appeal to families, as well as couples looking for more privacy.

SHOCK-FULL OF PLEASURE

Sweat runs down my brow like Queen’s we will Rock You plays a nearby speaker and our guide Xystus sings his adapted version of the rock anthem: “Pound your, pound your, chocolate! Nothing will ever be as good as this – you made it yourself.

It’s a great ending to our morning at the Project Chocolat experience at Hotel Chocolat, located in the hills above the Soufrière. Opened earlier this year in the 140-acre Rabot Estate – a Unesco World Heritage Site and St. Lucia’s oldest working cocoa farm – Project Chocolat promises visitors to “never think of chocolate again. the same way”.

After exploring the seedling nursery and roaming the grounds of the estate where purple lychee-type cocoa pods hang in abundance, we’ve done our ‘tree to bean’ chocolate theory and now it’s time to move on. practical test “from the bean to the bar”. We proceeded to grind our cocoa into a paste with a pestle and a mortar, melting in the butter and sugar.

After pouring the mixture into a mold and allowing it to sit (we’ll take it home), we explore Project Chocolat further with its artisan street food and snacks, including the must-have cocoa-infused ice cream.

Visits to Project Chocolat are free for clients like us staying at the Rabot hotel next to the Chocolat hotel.

Originally opened as Boucan in 2014, the property was renamed in 2019 and now has 14 wooden eco-lodges, including our Luxe Lodge.

Sitting on stilts in the rainforest overlooking Gros Piton, the view is as sumptuous as chocolate.

As you would expect, the food is where the hotel excels. The cocoa bean is part of every dish, and there are original menu choices, such as white chocolate puree, while another highlight is the “Chocolate Genesis” dessert, a seven-part tasting dessert with incredibly rich 100% chocolate, 70% truffles and a melted chocolate drink.

More visitors will soon be able to get a taste of the hotel’s unique cuisine, as it is currently adding 11 more lodges, with the hope of completing in November, in time for the winter sun season.

“When Boucan opened, we had six rooms. We have grown and now we are growing again, ”the manager of the Chrys Allcee hotel tells me. He adds that the hotel’s philosophy will appeal to laid-back travelers with a streak of adventure.

“Here, it’s about recharging your batteries and reconnecting with nature. Yes, you might run into a lizard late at night in your room, but that’s part of the experience, ”he smiles.

Until recently, a lizard visit might not be to everyone’s liking, but after lockdowns negated our urge to travel, it’s something customers looking for a adventurous but indulgent return to long-haul travel is likely to jump.

This mindset – trying something different – played a big part in our time in St. Lucia, and with our chocolate now in our fridge at home, the memories of our time on the island will seem a bit more. soft for a while yet.

To book: Caribtours is offering seven nights at the Rabot Hotel from the Chocolat Hotel from £ 2,599 per person sharing an all-inclusive lodge. The Villa Collection’s Water’s Edge Villas package (July 2022 departures for eight adults, including British Airways economy flights from Gatwick) costs £ 8,232 in total. caribtours.co.uk; thevillacollection.com


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