Just Back from Anse Chastenet

Old May 6th, 2000, 01:21 PM
  #1  
diane
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Just Back from Anse Chastenet

I used this forum so much prior to our trip to Anse Chastenet that I knew I'd have to share my trip when I returned. Here're my thoughts, good and not so good. <BR> <BR>The flight from Boston to San Juan and then on to St. Lucia went smoothly. There was a little confusion at the airport as to how we were going to get to AC as the receptionist at the hotel had said to just wait, and someone would find us. They did. The ride was about 1 1/2 hours for 20 miles. The one thing our driver said to us was that if we were prone to motion sickness to let him know so we could stop, because the roads are twisty and turny. Our driver was impatient and tried passing two vehicles on a curve on a two lane road with no breakdown area. An oncoming car almost stopped us. We thought we were going to die. The road to AC is two miles of a one lane road that gives a whole new meaning to potholes. When we arrived at the hotel they told us we had been upgraded from a standard hillside to a deluxe beachside. We didn't want a beachside room as we understood from this forum that there was not much of a breeze (and there wasn't - thank goodness for the ceiling fan). We were told there were no hillside rooms available. Also, we had requested a king size bed (my husband is 6'6") and our room had two double beds pushed together. I asked the person who brought us to our room if we couldn't have a king size bed and was told there were none. The assistant manager got involved and said that they could offer us a villa that was off the property and that they would stock the refrigerator and give us a car to use to get to the hotel and beach. The Sunset Lodge was nice and had a good view, but it was another mile up that awful road from the hotel. The beachside room seemed much more convenient so we stayed there. I have to say management went out of their way to try to accommodate us. However, don't plan on too much romance in two double beds with separate bug nets pulled down. And, you will need the bug nets. <BR> <BR>There really are 103 steps from the beach to the reception area; about 6 more to the lounge, and another 10 or so to the restaurant. We thought of lots of reasons why we didn't need to go upstairs often. <BR> <BR>Food: Food at AC is expensive. Breakfast is $11 US for a buffet of cold fruit, rolls, juice and cold cereal with room temperature evaporated milk, or if you're lucky, a box of 2% milk. If you want eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc., add an extra $7. Lunch ran about $10 and up per person for a sandwich, salad bar, and other usual lunch stuff. Dinner is $45 per person and does not include any beverages. All meals have 18% added on: 8% tax and 10% gratuity, which they call a service charge. Meals were okay. The best food was at the dinner buffet at the beachside restaurant which they only have a few nights a week. We decided to try other restaurants: Bang - went on a Friday night and had the place to ourselves. Food was adequate but much less expensive than AC, however, the $40 round trip cab ride quickly made the tally close to an AC meal. Hummingbird: 2 miles from AC. $20 round trip for a cab. The restaurant is one of the most romantic I have been to; food was okay, we were there the night they had a buffet. Found out later we could have ordered from the menu as well. That food looked much better. The Still: right next to the Hummingbird; again, food was okay. Cats seem to be prevelant at Hummingbird and the Still. One of the cats at the Still had a gimpy leg and sort of ruined my appetite. I don't think good food is a big deal to St. Lucians, or else my standards are too high. <BR> <BR>Getting around: Expensive is the first word that comes to mind. Difficult is the second. <BR> <BR>We ended up not doing a lot of what we had planned on simply because of the expense. A trip to the craft market and a plantation (including lunch)was $45 p.p. Craft market was a huge disappointment and plantation tour just okay. Food was actually quite good. <BR> <BR>Did the complimentary walk into Soufriere. That was informative and we got to see what the town looked like. <BR> <BR>The last day there we went on a full day sail ($65 per person). It was the best! We sailed to Marigot Bay, had a box lunch from the hotel (this was good, too), did a little shopping and then sailed to a beach to do some snorkeling. <BR> <BR>All in all the people at the hotel were extremely nice and accommodating, the other couples we met were fun and interesting and from all over the world. We're active and felt confined to the hotel grounds. Walking distances was difficult because you're always going up or down hill. <BR> <BR>This is just my take on the hotel and island. We met people who were extending their stays and others who just didn't want to leave. We were ready to come home and will do a better job of checking out accessibility before we spend that much money again. <BR> <BR>If you have questions, please post them on this forum.
 
Old May 7th, 2000, 03:40 AM
  #2  
Gina
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Diane: <BR>Thank you for such a great personal report. I am surprised to find out about the beds in Anse Chastanet. I thought this place supposed to be one of the most romantic places in the world. Maybe I am wrong but until now I thought that romance also includes sleeping with a partner in one bed (not two beds put together). My husband and I have a reservation there for four nights in December and we are active too. I read on the Anse Chastanet's web site about walking trails on their property of 600 acres and complimentary daily hikes. Are there really walking trails? Can you use them on your own without paying an extra $? What else is there to do? How about snorkeling? Are there any birds to watch? Did you eat at Dasheene? We will try Hummingbird. Would you please give me more details on your full day sailing trip? Where, with whom, how long, how many stops, etc. Would you go back to St. Lucia? Does Anse Chastanet has a free snorkeling gear for its guests? Thank you again Diane for your report and for taking your time to answer my questions. <BR>
 
Old May 7th, 2000, 08:14 AM
  #3  
diane
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Ac does have walking trails. There's one that goes straight up a hill behind the dive shop - didn't try it as it was quite steep. Also, they have a tour of their plantation that I understand is also quite steep. Those tours are scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Talked to someone who went and they said it was informative. You don't have to pay to use the walking trails. There are lots of birds - large frigates (can't swim, so if they land in the water they drown, but still somehow manage to catch fish). Most of the birds can be watched while trying to keep them from eating your breakfast. If you leave your table they're on it, pecking at everything. They even eat butter and jelly! <BR> <BR>Snorkeling gear is complimentary for hotel guests. I didn't go out really far because I got stung three times in one day by jellyfish - I wasn't snorkeling at the time so didn't see them, but it did make me a little wary of being too far from shore. I heard later on that many others got stung as well. AC tries to play this down and say it's isolated. Not by the reports I was hearing from others. I saw a few different kinds of colorful fish, but another man was telling us he saw cuttlefish, octopus and a sea turtle. Wish I hadn't been so timid. <BR> <BR>The other thing I forgot to mention, and I'm not sure why noone else has mentioned it, is that there is a really foul smell that pervades AC from time to time. I can only relate it to an overflowing septic system. You get it on the beach, in the restaurant and it was so bad in our room one night that I couldn't sleep. Don't know where it comes from. <BR> <BR>We didn't eat at Dasheene. It was the one place I really wanted to go to, but the cab rides are so expensive and unsettling that we decided to skip it as it was probably about another $40 round trip ride. I just got tired of constantly shelling out money. Don't think I've ever been someplace where I had no choice but to rely on a cab. <BR> <BR>Other things to do:There is a tennis court, and you can get rackets and balls from the dive shop. You can scuba dive and also get lessons if you need them. Other than that and spending time on the beach, you'll need to sign up for tours on their bulletin board. <BR> <BR>The all day sail was through AC, on their 37' O'day sailboat. The boat is beautiful and the captain, Kent, and his mate, (oops, for his name), were lots of fun and informative. We only made the two stops I mentioned and we motored for about 1/2 hour on the way out, and again on the way back. Not sure why we couldn't have gone under sail sooner, but since I'm not a sailor... <BR> <BR>Let me know if I haven't answered any of your questions.
 
Old May 7th, 2000, 10:57 AM
  #4  
Steve
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Diane, my girlfriend and I are going to AC June 7th for 6 nights. We are booked for a standard room. You ended up in a deluxe beachside. If you had the choice, would you have taken the hillside standard instead of the beachside because of the smell? Also, what nights are the dinner buffets on the beach? Did you buy any bottles of wine at a liquor store there and was it expensive? It sounds like it is a good idea to stay right at the resort. did you get the $60 a day meal plan?
 
Old May 7th, 2000, 11:52 AM
  #5  
diane
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We brought 4 bottles of wine with us and had a glass prior to dinner. Not sure what the price of wine is there. We didn't even get to see a hillside unit, they're pretty well secluded, and I am not sure if the odor travelled further uphill than the restaurant. However, from folks we talked with, there was a breeze hillside, where there was none beachside. <BR> <BR>Rum drinks were about $5.50 US plus the 18% tax and service charge. <BR> <BR>We were offered a couple of different meal plans when we arrived and chose note to take them. We could have changed our minds at any time. They offer a plan for $60 per person that includes breakfast (the whole menu, so valued at $18), dinner (valued at $45) and afternoon tea (not sure of the price, but they had little sandwiches and desserts, so you could probably skip lunch and eat that from 2:00-4:00. <BR> <BR>Dinner buffets were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (I think). Thursdays they offer dinner in the upstairs restaurant as well, so that's the only night you have to make reservations at reception. The entertainment was good. If you want to eat dinner in the Tree House restaurant (smaller and more intimate, but the same menu as the larger restaurant), and want a table at the edge to see the sunset, get there by 7:00 or probably after 8:30. Some people get a little testy if they can't get the table they want and you can't reserve. The Tree House is where we got a good noseful right in the middle of dinner. Another couple mentioned they had the same experience. <BR> <BR>I'd say if I was going to do it again I'd plan to take the meal plan but go to Hummingbird and the Still. Even with the cab ride and drinks it came out to about $10 US less and the change was nice. <BR> <BR>P.S. If you see "boiled fish" or an entree is described as boiled fish, be prepared for some pretty dry tasteless stuff unless they spice it up with a sauce. I ordered boiled marlin with a sauce and have never had such a chewy fish in my life!
 
Old May 7th, 2000, 02:55 PM
  #6  
Betty
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I spent a week at AC in July 1998 and had both positve and negative things to say about our trip. Check out my trip report at http://caribtravelnews.com/c0998_04.htm#stlbetty <BR> <BR>There are others there too about AC.
 
Old May 8th, 2000, 06:08 AM
  #7  
Robyn
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Diane: <BR> <BR>Thank you for your informative and honest trip report. I have long been considering AC as for a vacation but it's very expensive and if I am going to be paying that much I want to know the good and the bad. Thanks.
 
Old May 8th, 2000, 07:03 AM
  #8  
diane
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I thought I had all the information I needed and had made a good choice. We spent 7 nights, didn't do too much and used frequent flier miles to get to St. Lucia. I shopped til I dropped to get the lowest room rate, and we still spent well over $3,000. I have to think you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere.
 
Old May 8th, 2000, 07:30 AM
  #9  
lisa
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Hi Diane. Thanks for your honest trip report. It is good to hear your impressions of both the positive and negative. Overall I have to say if that had been our experience on St. Lucia, I think I would have been pretty disappointed. The only thing about your report I don't understand is about the taxi fares. When we were staying at Ladera, they told us the only way to get to and from Anse Chastanet was by water taxi because the roads in and out were so bad, so that's how they transported us to the beach at AC -- in a minivan from Ladera to the dock at Soufriere, and then in a water taxi from the dock to Anse Chastanet (the shuttles were free). I just assumed that was how everyone got around at Anse Chastanet -- by water taxi rather than over land -- but obviously I was wrong. We talked to other people staying in town who also said they took water taxis to Anse Chastanet and they were very inexpensive (they just haggled with the boatmen for the best fare). Was this not an option when you were there? I just think it's bizarre that the hotel would not have mentioned the water taxi option -- it was only about a 5-minute trip to the dock in town, if that. You could get to Jalousie Hilton and Bang via water taxi as well, and avoid the bad roads.
 
Old May 8th, 2000, 07:36 AM
  #10  
diane
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Lisa: The road to AC is really bad and unfortunately the AC water taxi does not run after 5:45, so unless we wanted to go into town early and hang around or have a very early dinner, it wasn't an option. Didn't think about using one of the town water taxis for a return. Don't know if they run after dark either. Not sure if the AC water taxi is gratis either. They're not big on advertising its use except for a complimentary ride back from the walking tour into Soufriere.
 
Old May 8th, 2000, 09:53 AM
  #11  
Sondra
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Lisa: The management of AC does not make it easy for its guests to leave the resort. They want to keep its guests there so they spend more money in the restaurant and in the bar. We also found that we felt "stuck" there. <BR>Water taxis were very limiting as well.
 
Old May 8th, 2000, 05:35 PM
  #12  
Bonnie
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Diane, You wrote a good trip report, the good, bad and ugly. Anse Chastanet is certainly not for everyone. We stayed there for a week last year and our experiences were somewhat different. I too, did a lot of research looking for the perfect place for what we wanted. We were also there in May. We got the MAP plan and I wouldn't consider going there without it. They said it was difficult to get around, but it was hard to imagine just how difficult until we were there. We really went for the snorkeling and diving and were not disappointed at all. We didn't get any jellyfish bites, nor did I hear of anyone that did. We did get some little red bites, the didn't itch or sting, I'm not sure what they were. We didn't smell anything bad except close to the bathrooms down by the beach. We went on the plantation tour, which was free and I really would recommend it, interesting and I didn't think it was a very difficult walk, they took you to the other beach by water taxi, we didn't have to walk. We also took the complimentary water taxi to town and bought some rum, etc. there. Our plan included $200 for drinks and that's about what we spent. We aldo got free sodas, water, a bottle of wine and other things in our refrigerator. We took 3 trips: the rainforest, a sunset cruise and a water taxi to the Bang. The water taxi was pretty cheap, much less than the land taxis. We enjoyed the entertainment and the dinners on the beach. I thought the worse thing about the trip was how hot it was as night and the ceiling fan didn't help too much. We were upgraded to the beachfront rooms also, I would rather stay up on the hill where there is more of a breeze at night. The day after we got there I had a massage at the mini spa, it was $35 and excellent. St. Lucia is more expensive than other easier to get to islands, but it was a different experience rather than going to Aruba, Cancun, etc. Bonnie
 
Old May 9th, 2000, 05:56 AM
  #13  
diane
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Bonnie: I'm sure everyone has different experiences going to the same place. The purpose of my trip report was to tell my experiences and give another perspective to the place that got so many glowing reports on this forum that I decided I had found paradise before I even got there. After spending time at AC I felt disillusioned by what I had read. Lots of people didn't get stung by jellyfish, including my husband, but I did and others should know there's a possibility of getting stung. You obviously had different services offered than did we. The three meal packages offered did not include any kind of a credit for beverages of any sort. The day we checked in there was a large bottle of water in our refrigerator. The next day, when it wasn't replaced, I inquired and was told that we could arrange to have it replaced through reception and it would be added to our bill. There was fresh fruit in our room the day we arrived. We would have had to pay to have more of that every day as well. No mention or offer was ever made about snacks in our room. That would have been nice. We got desperate and bought a can of mixed nuts in the boutique for around $13 US.
 
Old May 9th, 2000, 09:09 AM
  #14  
Sandra
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Diane, <BR> <BR>Thanks for the insight on AC. I am going there for my honeymoon from July 3-10th. We booked AC in part because of the glowing reviews in the forums along with the A&E Special. We also booked a standard Hillside and i really hope we get a hillside room. My fiance only agreed to a non-airconditioned hotel because of the fact that the Hillside rooms supposedly gets a nice breeze. hopefully we will get what we aked for. i think I might opt for the meal plan now that I've heard how pricey it could get but I'll be sure to hit Hummingbird and the Still. <BR> <BR>At least I've heard what could go wrong so I will be prepared and won't be as upset if it doesn't go exactly as planned. I'll be sure to post my thoughts on AC when I return.
 
Old May 9th, 2000, 11:07 AM
  #15  
Mariko
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Message: Sandra <BR> <BR>I look forward to reading your trip report on AC. I will also be going to AC on my honeymoon in September. I would like to know how you found the standard hillside room and if the breeze was enough to sleep comfortably. We decided on AC much like you did because of good comments and the A&E show. It's too bad that everyone did not have such a wonderfull experience there as some did. I hope you have a lot of good things to report when you get back.
 
Old May 10th, 2000, 05:57 AM
  #16  
lin gitterman
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Not sure what you expected Diane, but if you had done your research (even on this site) you would have known that the roads are bad, there are bugs and steps and it is expensive. Fourth most romantic hotel in the world is not going to be a bargain! Secluded is the operative term here and that generally relates to bad roads and increased costs for getting stuff (food) in there. We are also very active and found much to do - rainforest, Anse Mamin, bike trips, etc. While I acknowledge that this site is for all opinions (the whole free speech thing) I think that the Anse web site actually shows that you are perched on a mountain - ergo, lots of up and down to access anything. Not an entirely fair trip posting!
 
Old May 10th, 2000, 06:25 AM
  #17  
diane
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Lin: Now you've expressed your opinion, and I expressed mine. Hope you feel better...
 
Old May 10th, 2000, 05:12 PM
  #18  
Sandra
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Lin: <BR> <BR>What's your problem? It's one thing to hear about bad roads, nasty insects and many steps -- it's quite another when you actually EXPERIENCE them. Not everybody HAS to like AC.
 
Old May 10th, 2000, 07:59 PM
  #19  
Sheila
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I agree with Sandra. No one has to like anything. Personally, I'm always interested in reading negative comments as well as the positive; I appreciate the time Diane took to share her impressions.
 
Old May 11th, 2000, 05:50 AM
  #20  
lin gitterman
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I don't have a problem but I guess I'm still basking in the glow of getting married on the beach at Anse, and everything being perfect and wonderful and ALL of the staff being great. I read the forums extensively before we went and knew exactly what to expect - both negative and positive. I have learned to temper my comments - no offense meant and I hope none taken.
 

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