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Trip Report St Lucia: A Tropical Paradise

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My husband and I just returned from five nights in St Lucia. Although we were disappointed in our choice of hotel, we'd love to return some day. Here is a summary of our experience:

Airline: JetBlue
We flew JetBlue from Buffalo to JFK to St Lucia, all without any delays or hiccups. We even arrived a few minutes early. I can't imagine flying to the Caribbean on any other airline.

Hotel: Coconut Bay Resort
We booked Coconut Bay via a JetBlue Getaways package. The cost was around $200 a night for this all inclusive property. Here is my review on tripadvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g652398-d534892-r147603586-Coconut_Bay_Resort_Spa-Vieux_Fort_Vieux_Fort_Quarter_St_Lucia.html

In summary, the food was lousy and the room needed a total overhaul, particularly the uncomfortable bedding and the tiny bathroom. I know, what should we have expected for the price we paid? But the tripadvisor reviews had given us such high hopes! On a positive note, the proximity to the airport is a real plus. We only had five nights in St Lucia and were glad the hotel was 5 minutes away, rather than 1.5 hours like many places on the island are. Plus, given how expensive food and drinks are in St Lucia, we liked not having to worry about how much we were spending. But, if you care about the quality of food at your hotel or are looking for a room that is nicer than an outdated Comfort Inn, then book elsewhere.

Excursions:
Pitons Sail & Snorkle - We booked this 1/2 day tour through the hotel and it was a great outing. We left from Laborie on a catamaran and stopped at Anse Des Pitons and Anse Chastenet to snorkle. The crew was excellent and made sure we always had a beverage in our hands. It was so dreamy to see the Pitons from a boat - It is definitely an experience that everyone must have at some point in their life.

Hotel Chocolat Tree to Bar Tour - The Hotel Chocolat is a beautiful boutique hotel on the Rabot Estate. It sit right behind the Ladera Resort, overlooking the Pitons. The tour was $65 and included a talk on how cocoa trees are grown, a chance to graft a small cocoa plant and the experience of making a chocolate bar using cocoa nibs and a mortar and pestle. The whole tour was very enlightening and made me realize how difficult it is to make real chocolate. The only disappointment was that the hotel did not give us a chocolate bar at the end. I did not have enough time or strength to finish mine and my husband's turned out very bitter tasting (his cocoa nibs had just turned to liquid when our time was up).

After the tour, my husband and I enjoyed lunch at the hotel restaurant. Our food was fantastic and the setting is stunning. The gimmick is that they incorporate cocoa into every dish, including the butter.

Full day St Lucia Tour - We arranged this through PHV Tours. Our driver, Kimbert, was excellent and we highly recommend contacting him for an island tour or for transfers from the airport. He took us anywhere we wanted to go and gave us a great overview of the island. The cost was just $100 for the two of us and we covered the lighthouse at the southern end of the island, the drive in volcano, Diamond waterfall and botanical gardens, snorkeling at Anse Mamin, and lunch at Sugar Bay Beach Resort. Our lunch was obviously not included, nor were any admission fees. Incidentally, we loved the food at Sugar Bay's beach restaurant. Once again, the setting was incredible. Oh, and the service. It was fantastic! The waiter made sure to pull my chair out for me whenever I sat down or got up. He was always in sight, not hovering, just nearby if we needed anything.

All in all, we had a wonderful trip despite our hotel. Seeing the Pitons has been a dream of mine and I was so thrilled to make it a reality.

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