Jalousie and Observations about St. Lucia

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Jan 17th, 2008, 08:03 AM
  #1
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Jalousie and Observations about St. Lucia

St. Lucia is the 13th island I've been to. We stayed 7 nights at Jalousie. First the good aspects of the hotel:

1. Location cannot be beat - one piton rises up right from the water
2. Spacious rooms and bathrooms
3. Good beach - not huge but big enough; calm clear water
4. Great snorkeling off the beach
5. Expedia gave me 40% off
6. Hotel upgraded us to a suite and granted my request to be in the lowest rung down the hill with unobstructed ocean view
7. Somehow, though ants were swarming on our deck, they never came inside. Just a few gnats and mosquitoes got into our cottage. But don't go if you have issues with critters. We saw all manner of insects, frogs, lizards, birds, a stray dog who lives on the property and lots of stray cats.

One note: if you see a white cat with grey spots and a grey tail roaming around the 100s, please show him some kindness. He is super tame and actually slept on my foot and in my lap. He starting hanging around our cottage all the time. Please also provide any unwanted food, even bread. Its amazing what an act of kindness just leaving a plate of water out is (they were drinking from our plunge pool). I was sad to leave him.

Now for what wasn't so great:

1. 55 minute ride from airport made me nauseated; took helicopter on the return ($135 for heli, $65 for cab). Roads are good but insanely curvy and drivers go around the turns very fast.

2. Prepare for 15 more minutes of driving once you see the Jalousie entrance - lots of twisting roads. You will wonder when and if you will ever reach reception.

3. Very little light on the property. Needed a flashlight just to walk from our door down the path to the shuttle stop, which had one street lamp at the stop.

4. Cottages could use some refurb. The wooden structure/mini bar holding the fridge was rotting away underneath and the door was hanging by a hinge; the gutter was partially hanging off the roof; AC remote swing arm didnt work; and worst of all, the shower would go scalding or freezing out of nowhere.

It was impossible to get a decent temperarture. And if one person was using shower #1, you couldnt simultaneously use the second shower without water in #1 going freezing. I mentioned this to maintence and 3 desk employees but it was never fixed. Oh and the sofa bed mattress is basically a hammock.

5. Shuttles were mostly on time but we had to wait too long IMO 5 times.

6. Maid service spotty: sheet didn't fit the bed; I asked for an extra blanket and got something that looked like a reject from Motel 6 full of holes; I asked for a firm pillow and got the thinnest pillow I've ever seen, which the maid dropped behind the sofa. I requested another and got a better one, hiding it in the closet for safe keeping. So of course the maid took it.

7. Some employees were nice and went out of their way, but many acted burdened to be doing their job and some were outright rude. I didnt apprecieate being asked personal questions (are you married, how old are you?) by some of the male waiters and beach team members either. Problem is, they are so busy trying to get you into their activities (yoga, cricket), they chat you up on the beach, but when you really need them, good luck.

For example, twice we raised our flag for beach svc and waited - and waited, and waited. One waitress told me "oh yes no one came bc it was raining." (wtf?!) It was sprinkling at best.

8. FOOD PRICE. As expected yes it was obscenely priced. HOWEVER, don't listen to the people on here who say AI is best. Unless you're a glutton who drinks like a fish you'll never spend the $150-200+ per day extra for AI. You just have to be strategic. My individual TOTAL food bill was about $300 for the WEEK. (No counting the one night we ate at Dasheene).

For example, I ordered a pizza at Palm Court one night and saved half for lunch the next day. We also brought oatmeal and lots of snacks from home. Order ONE room svc breakfast, which is more than enough for 2 people with some left over, and use the leftovers for snacks or a light lunch (make tomato and cheese sandwiches with the toast). Twice we ordered a fruit plate ($14) at the beach to supplement our lunch. And if you take a tour get the cab driver to stop at a supermarket or quickie place to get cold sandwiches, etc.

9. FOOD QUALITY. In a word, bland to bad. Definitely not worth what they charge, but then how could fish and chips EVER be worth $18? (we split one for lunch one day, which was less painful). The pizza I got at Palm Court is the worst one I've ever had. They seem to not know the dif between tomato and barbecue sauce!! Yet when I told the hostess this she never offered to take it off the bill.

The waiters make you feel cheap if you don't order expensive items and push the booze on you ad nauseum (we don't drink so that was fun).

The $24 buffet at the Pier was the best deal I could find for dinner that wasn't awful. I didnt even think about the Plantation bc I wasn't interested in being robbed without a gun. Everything on the Pier buffet is cold including the fish/meat but at least it's all you can eat. An employee told us many guests use that as their meal. Well duh of course they do when you're charging $32 for gnocchi and $37 for a fish dinner!!!

10. Water sports don't operate their own boats so if you want a water taxi, you deal with individuals. One made us wait 15 mins while he got fuel in Souffreire on the way to Anse Chastanet. We also had to wait for this boat for 2 hrs bc watersports kept saying 'no boat is available'.

The water taxi guys also give misinformation. "Oh the snorkel spot is just a little swim from the beach." They dropped me at a beach to snorkel the pinnacles, and there was no way I could have swum to it. It cost us $50 roundtrip just to go to A. Chastanet.

11. The front desk was frequently out of cash after 5pm and couldnt cash our travelers' checks. There is no ATM on the property.

12. Sunlink tours gave me misinformation, the reps didnt agree with each other about tour times, and left me hanging. They promised to let me know if the canopy tour was going the next morning and I never heard back! If you want to go somewhere, do it on your own. For example we took a cab to sulfur springs and 2 waterfalls (though jalousie had given us a wrong price. I felt bad for the driver who said teh price was actually $20 more than we paid).
You can just take a cab to do the canopy ride in the rain forest.

We also took our own boat to snorkel at 3 dif spots. I highly recommend Mystic Man for this. The driver was very nice and stopped where we requested (including way out in the middle of the ocean at a shipwreck). We had the boat to ourselves. Down side is its small and had no ladder so the driver had to physically lift me from the water each time. Why on earth don't any of these boats have ladders? Still it beat the cattle boats I saw with at least 35 people on board.

13. The location is the best on the island IMO but its so far and expensive to go ANYWHERE. The 10 min ride to Ladera was $30 roundtrip. I decided not to do the rainforest canopy ride bc it was 3 hrs of driving just to get there and back, with the canopy ride itself taking 3 hrs.

A few other observations:

1. A taxi tour of the island took 5 hours and was mostly a waste IMO. The atlantic coast is hard to see from the road, mostly blocked by foliage. So you might want to stick with just going up to Castries. Our driver also didnt say much and didnt point a lot of things out.

2. Castries is nice as island captials go. Souffreire is very poor and rundown. I wouldnt want to walk around there.

2. Reduit/Rodney Bay beach is awful. Fodors said it's the island's best?! It was bland and so crowded we left immediately - loads of cruise passengers.

3. Anse Chastanet's beach was grey sand, crowded by boats and small -much worse than Jalousie's. Snorkeling wasn't as good either. Their second beach is ever smaller and rocky. So glad I didnt stay there.

4. Once you get north of Castries the roads get straighter and there's a highway but it looked very generic compared to the south. Definitely not as pretty - too civilized and too many hotels on top of each other. Glad I stayed in the south.

5. Dasheene. Go for lunch bc at night you wont see anything. The food was so spicy, it was torture literally getting it down. Pumpkin ravioli was ruined by an insanely hot red creole sauce all over it. Not sure why this place is so highly rated. Better yet get a cab to take you there to see the view, have a drink and leave.

6. There are no street lights on the road from Jalousie to Dasheene.

7. Definitely go to Toraille and Piton waterfalls (the latter is warm water. Highlights of our trip). Sulfer Springs smells awful but you get used to it.


Overall though if I went back I'd prob go to Jalousie again despite the problems, only bc where else will you get a good beach AND the pitons? Not at A. Chastanet. Stonefield has no beach. Ditto Ladera and it's so costly there.

Honestly I dont get why anyone wants to pay such a high price to basically go camping with a third wall missing, as you do with A. Chast and Ladera. Sure there's mosquito netting on the bed, but what about when you're not in bed?! You're vulnerable to all weather, outside noise and animals/insects who choose to come in. In essence you're living outdoors.

Somehow the north just didnt do it for me. I loved the lushness and "Survivor"-esq aspects of the south. If Jalousie would lower their food prices and/or provide cooking facilities in the villas, it would be vastly improved.

travelyums is offline  
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Jan 17th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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Good trip report. We thought about going to Jaloiuse a few years ago when it was Hilton and we planned to use points. We wound up somewhere else.
I wonder since it is no longer a hilton if that is when the food and service has gone downhill? Who owns it now?
girlonthego is offline  
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Jan 17th, 2008, 10:22 AM
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Sunswept resorts which also owns LeSport. One employee who'd been there for many years said it was really bad under the Hilton and that's why it was sold off. They are now in the process of refurbing the cottages (at least in the 900s) and plan to sell them off individually.

Buyers get a set # of weeks there per year and a percentage of rental income. They told me they were selling for $500k to $1.2 million. Anyone who'd pay that for one of those cottages that doesn't even have a mini kitchen is missing some screws.
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Jan 17th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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My first trip to the Caribbean was to the Jalousie Hilton in 2001, and I'm sorry to say that the food was generally mediocre at best then. We opted for the full breakfast every morning, which was generally the best meal of the day, though it cost a whopping $30 pp.

Still, I would consider returning there on a future trip to St. Lucia for the location alone. Within the US and the Caribbean I've not see the equal for stunning, lush scenery paired with a lovely beach.

It's a good thing that the food and service are so bad there. Can you imagine what they could charge if the rooms, service, and food were all first rate? In other words, if the rest of the resort could equal the setting? It would be more expensive than Necker Island!
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Jan 21st, 2008, 01:01 PM
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travelyums --

thanks for your informative post.

we are headed to jalousie feb 28 - mar 10 2008. we also booked online with 40% off for an ocean villa.

how did you get upgraded or on lowest rung of the hill? did you call the hotel or ask at time of check in?

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Jan 29th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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I didnt request the upgrade - we got it automatically when we checked in because, I assume, they hotel was half empty that week.

I did however request a unit in the 100s (the lowest on the hill) with an unobstructed view of the ocean.

If you do a search on tripadvisor you'll see where a poster has listed the unit numbers with the best views, but basically all the 100s are good. Some of the 100s are connected, however. If you want a villa off by itself, 108 and I think 109 are.

However we still relied on shuttles as even from the 100s I considered it too long a walk to the beach in the hot sun carrying all my stuff.
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