Fodor's Expert Review Bay Gardens Hotel

Castries–Gros Islet Hwy., Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, St. Lucia See on Map

Jane Zarem

Independent travelers and regional business people swear by this cheerful, well-run boutique hotel in Rodney Bay Village. The hotel faces the main highway, but it's surrounded by pretty flower gardens—and it’s just a brief shuttle ride to beautiful Reduit Beach and a short walk to several popular restaurants, two large shopping malls, and a casino!

YOU SHOULD KNOW While eminently popular and often sold out, the hotel has been around for quite awhile—and it shows.

room

Some rooms surround the main pool and are close to the restaurant and lobby; more secluded rooms near the back of the property are quieter. The 59 rooms and 28 suites are large but fairly ordinary. Nevertheless, the units are comfortable. All rooms have a mini-fridge and either a patio or balcony; junior suites also have sitting areas and microwaves; and 16 Croton suites add a living room, dining area, and full kitchen—and can interconnect to become two-bedroom suites.

Croton suites are the best bet.

bathroom

Bathrooms are fairly nondescript, although some have been modernized with new fixtures, granite-topped vanities, and vessel sinks. Some have a shower/tub combination; other have showers only.

lobby

The lobby is small and bright, with a high ceiling that exposes the building's second floor. There is seating opposite the reception desk and a pair of small shops that sell beachwear, souvenirs, and sundries. The shuttle schedule is posted in the lobby for guests to plan their trips to the beach. The lobby opens to the restaurant, courtyard, and main pool area.

pool

The hotel has three pools. The main pool is small serpentine design with a shallow children’s section at one end; it’s in the courtyard just off the lobby. The second and third pools are in a quieter part of the property; one of those pools has a waterfall feature. Each pool has a few lounge chairs and umbrellas for shade.

spa

The hotel does not have its own spa, but guests are welcome to refresh and rejuvenate at Bay Gardens Beach Resort’s La Mer Spa, where a menu of massages, facials, scrubs, and nail services are available.

Hourly shuttle service between the two hotels is complimentary.

gym

The air-conditioned fitness center here has a number of cardio and strength machines for guests to use. In addition, fitness and wellness classes and sessions are offered in yoga, Pilates, and aqua aerobics.

dining

Spices Restaurant serves breakfast and lunch and features modern Caribbean cuisine at dinner, along with a table d'hôte menu featuring Teppanyaki (Japanese) cuisine and another featuring lobster. There’s also a farm-to-table menu, a pizza menu, and one that appeals mainly to kids.

drinking

Cinnamon Bar, adjacent to the restaurant and main pool, serves cold beverages all day long until 10:30 at night. You won’t go thirsty!

beach

The hotel is not on the beach, but a complimentary shuttle regularly transports hotel guests to and from Bay Gardens Beach Resort, a sister property on Reduit Beach—St. Lucia’s longest, broadest, most popular beach. Non-motorized water sports are complimentary: Hobie Cat sailing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, and paddleboating. For an extra charge, you can go waterskiing, wakeboarding, and water tubing. Splash Island Water Park is just offshore; each family staying at the hotel receives 6 complimentary half-day passes. There’s a beach bar and grill for refreshments.

LOCATION

Getting Around

It’s a short walk to the restaurants, bars, and shops in Rodney Bay Village. A rental car is recommended if you want to explore further on your own. Driving is not a problem in the north, as the terrain is fairly flat. To visit the iconic sites in Soufrière, however, a boat tour is the most comfortable way to travel—and they depart from Rodney Bay. Taxis are always available.

Restaurants

For delicious French Caribbean dining, head for Jacques Waterfront Dining (10-minute walk) in nearby Harmony Suites Hotel. Also nearby, Buzz Seafood and Grill (10-minute walk, specializes in seafood. Farther along on Reduit Beach Avenue, from Baywalk Mall to the beach, you'll find one restaurant after another. For barbecue, for example, head for Delirius; and if you have dinner at Ti Bananne at Coco Palm Hotel, you can stick around for the live music. You can also go to Hi-Tide Restaurant (2-minute drive) at at sister hotel Bay Gardens Beach Resort for a change of scene.

Bars

A number of Rodney Bay Village bars and nightspots are not far from the main road, so that’s within walking distance of the hotel. Depending on how far into the village you plan to go, though, you might consider a taxi or your rental car. Verve (5-minute walk) is a dance club, for example, and attracts a fairly young crowd. Or you can walk over to Treasure Bay Casino (5-minute walk)—St. Lucia’s one and only casino—and try your luck; it's at Baywalk Mall.

Don’t miss Gros Islet Jump-Up (5-minute drive), the island's largest street party. It’s a Friday-night ritual. Huge speakers set up on the street blast Caribbean music all night long. You can also buy barbecued fish and chicken from villagers who set up grills along the roadside—along with beer and soda. Take a taxi to Gros Islet. The streets get so crowded that you’re unlikely to find a parking spot for a rental car. Your taxi driver will arrange a pickup time.


WHY WE LIKE IT

The hotel may not be a sparkly resort, but it’s certainly comfortable; it’s convenient to Rodney Bay Village; and the friendly service is delightful. Overall, the value is hard to beat.

QUICK FACTS

Business, Service
71 rooms
Breakfast yes
Lunch yes
Dinner yes
Bar yes
Cafe no
Room Service no
$
Gym, Pool
yes
Free Parking
No

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 758-457–8010;877-620–3200

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