Inside The Fond Doux Cocoa Plantation Hotel In St. Lucia
Have you been digging our recent tours of St. Lucia's Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts, but perhaps the prices or beachside locations aren't up your alley? Well, while we were on the island and jumping from active volcano to scuba diving, we came across Fond Doux Estate, a working cocoa plantation that also functions as a boutique hotel comprised of several individual villas scattered around the lush grounds.
It was a complete surprise to be walking through foliage just short of a junglewith starfruit, cocoa pods, banana bunches and ginger lilies all aroundand then to emerge into a clearing with the cheery yellow cottage, Angelina Villa, you see above. This house, over 200 years old, is one of the ten cottages available for your stay, but sadly it's the only one we saw since the grounds are so sprawling. Fond Doux is not on a beach, so families or couples who elect to stay here will get a decidely non-touristy look at St. Lucia. And for nightly rates beginning from only $100 and cocoa tea with breakfast, the deal is literally sweetened.
Although you may find the cottage furnishings dated, they are antiques or made-in-St. Lucia items, which have been collected by the friendly couple who sold their beachside island home in order to restore Fond Doux Estate and make it what it is nowan working attraction in its own right. And the guests might be few, but occasionally tours from the cruise ships and other resorts make it up here to dine at the Jardin Cocoa restaurants and learn about the St. Lucia history of cocoa production, as Britain's Price Charles did when he visited Fond Doux in 2008.
Cottage sizes can accommodate anywhere from a couple to a large family, and we wouldn't be surprised if family reunions booked the whole place up. Just don't miss the swimming pools, tucked up from the main grounds in a secluded area and surrounded by tropical flowers. They might not be on a beach, but the little waterfall and trio of pools adds some needed interest and you know we can't turn down an exotic pool.
Disclosure: HotelChatter traveled to St. Lucia as a guest of Jetblue and the St. Lucia Tourism Board
[All photots: HotelChatter]