Fodor's Expert Review Villa Beach Cottages

John Compton (Castries-Gros Islet) Hwy., Choc, Gros Islet, St. Lucia See on Map

Jane Zarem

A cluster of tidy housekeeping cottages with gingerbread-laced facades are steps from the beach at this family-run establishment 3 miles (5 km) north of the airport in Castries. A pair of cottages dates back to World War II (they were dismantled and moved here in 1958 from Beanfield Air Base in Vieux Fort). One of those cottages was occupied several times over the years by one of St. Lucia's two Nobel laureates, the poet Sir Derek Walcott. In fact, this place has lots of repeat guests—couples, families, and groups of friends.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Units are very close together.

room

The one- or two-bedroom units have large, fully equipped kitchens and airy rooms with handcrafted wooden furniture—including intricately carved four-poster beds. The Honeymoon Cottage is a duplex; the sitting–dining room and kitchen are on the ground floor, and a wooden spiral staircase leads to the upstairs bedroom and bath. The Derek Walcott Suite features some of the poet’s watercolors and a collection of his books. Each cottage has a large balcony (with a hammock) facing the water, guaranteeing glorious sunset views.

There’s a minimart and laundromat for the convenience of guests; a supermarket, bank, post office, and other shops are nearby.

bathroom

Bathrooms are spacious, with tiled floor and walls, high ceiling, walk-in shower, and a pedestal sink; some cottages have two sinks and a jetted tub.

lobby

A small building serves as a reception area, lending library, and business center with a couple of computers and a printer for guest use. Koko’s Mini-Mart sells a few groceries, snacks, cold drinks, necessities, toiletries, and souvenirs.

pool

Between the units and the beach, two small pools are just big enough for a refreshing dip. One pool has a waterfall feature; the other, a whirlpool feature. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for guests, along with some hammocks.

spa

There’s no spa, but in-room or poolside massage services can be arranged.

dining

A small open-air restaurant will serves meals on 24-hour notice, but the plan is for guests to cook for themselves in their villa, use the barbecue grill, or go elsewhere to eat.

You can pre-order some basic groceries to stock your pantry before arrival.

drinking

There is no bar on the property, but you can certainly toast the sunset on your own balcony—with or without your neighbors.

beach

The cottages all face the sea and a narrow strip of Choc Bay Beach that’s just steps from your door.

LOCATION

Getting Around

A rental car is recommended to explore, go out for meals, or shop for groceries. 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 from Rodney Bay is the most comfortable way to travel. Buses (privately-owned vans) travel up and down the Castries-Gros Islet Highway, which passes right in front of the hotel; the fare to Castries or Rodney Bay is EC$1.50 (about US$ .60) each way, and the ride is always an adventure! Taxis, of course, are always available.

Restaurants

Coal Pot (10-minute drive) is a waterfront restaurant in Castries (Vigie Cove) that serves light lunches and gourmet dinners. It’s tiny, so you’ll need reservations. Rodney Bay Village (10-minute drive), however, is restaurant-central. All along Reduit Beach Avenue, from Baywalk Mall to the beach, you’ll find one restaurant after another. For seafood, for example, try Buzz Seafood and Grill; for French Caribbean dining, try Jacques Waterfront Dining in Harmony Suites Hotel; for barbecue, head for Delirius; and if you have dinner at Ti Bananne at Coco Palm Hotel, you can stick around for the live music.

Bars

For nightlife, you also have to go to Rodney Bay (10-minute drive), where Verve dance club attracts a fairly young crowd. Also at Rodney Bay, try your luck at Treasure Bay Casino—St. Lucia’s one and only casino.

Gros Islet Jump-Up (15-minute drive), the island's largest street party, is a Friday-night ritual. Huge speakers set up on the street blast Caribbean music all night long. You can 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 villas are spacious, with comfortable furniture and full-size kitchens. Add a balcony with a sunset view and a convenient location, and you’ll agree that this is a fine place to stay.

QUICK FACTS

Views
20 units
Breakfast no
Lunch no
Dinner no
Bar no
Cafe no
Room Service no
$
Pool
yes
Free Parking
No

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 758-450–2884; 866-542–1991 in U.S.

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