St. Lucia Part One: Decisions, Decisions…

7 Aug

Helen of the West Indies

I booked our trip to St. Lucia on a whim. It was December, I was suffering from a serious case of winter blues and I was determined to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a warm place. And even though I had enjoyed my July honeymoon cruise, the trip whetted my appetite for truly inhabiting a Caribbean island in a way I hadn’t done since I had studied abroad in Martinique. Especially a Caribbean island that is small, lush, and where the beaches are small, intimate coves framed by mountains.

Unfortunately, our winter getaway never worked out. It was impossible for me to find plane tickets for less than $800 each and my husband couldn’t get away from work. So I impulsively checked out the prices for mid-July, our wedding anniversary, and was pleasantly surprised to find  airline tickets for less than half of the winter prices. If you are interested in flying from New York City, there are now non-stop flights from JFK to Hewannora, the newly established International airport in the south of the island. Excited, I bought our tickets on the spot and set about finding the perfect (yet cheap) place on the island for my husband and I to celebrate our first year of marriage.

I quickly ruled out all-inclusives. I had looked into Sandals the year before for my honeymoon and the prices were beyond prohibitive. Furthermore, I recalled my last all-inclusive experience in the Dominican Republic and how it felt so completely removed from the island and sterilized in contrast to an earlier monthlong home stay where I lived with a family, ate the food, and struggled to learn Spanish. But I didn’t want that either, we were going for romance, not a family vacation. In the same vein, camping was out and bunk beds in a hot musty hostel was a no-no. What I wanted was an experience that would help us bridge the gap between comfort and authenticity.

St. Lucia didn’t disappoint with its healthy variety of accommodations: traditional hotels, bed and breakfasts, villas, and inns abound on the island- mostly in a discreet manner, outside of Rodney Bay in the North. We looked at and liked TiKaye Village Resort & Spa in Anse Cochon and Villa Beach Cottages in Choc Bay, but although they are both amazing properties, the price wasn’t quite right for our budget. So, we ended up settling on Oasis Marigot, a well-managed set of villas tucked into the hills that surround the gorgeous Marigot Bay. For those of you who are interested, they are mostly known for organizing yacht day trips that enable visitors to see more of the island and break out of the beautiful, yet somewhat claustrophobic marina.

Marigot Bay view from DoLittle's Restaurant

Speaking of which, I got to thinking about the variety of activities we wanted to enjoy in the Soufriere area-snorkeling, laying around on the beach, biking at Anse Chastenet, experiencing the Sulphur Springs, and even possibly climbing Gros Piton– I realized that  staying at Marigot Bay for our entire stay wouldn’t be the best option for us. We would be spending hundreds of dollars just to keep going back and forth.So, needless to say, I was excited when I finally found Fond Doux Plantation. The first thing that struck me was the near unanimous positive reviews posted from visitors who had been guests in the cottages. Many of them gushed about their accommodations and the extra lengths that the owners, Lyton and Eroline LaMontaigne went to in order to make them feel at home. Speaking of the owners, they are native St. Lucians, another plus in my book but by no means the only one.

Hilltop Guava Cottage from http://www.fonddouxestate.com

You see, Fond Doux is a certified organic working cocoa plantation that also grows coconut and banana trees, nutmeg, and a variety of other edible and non-edible trees, flowers, and plants. They even export some of their cocoa beans to Hershey’s! And I, ever a food junkie, was excited to find out that the chef mostly uses ingredients from the plantation as well as from the Soufriere area and cooks up traditional St. Lucian fare. Even though I was in love, my husband wasn’t exactly sold on the idea. So, I excitedly sent him a link to the website and explained all of the reasons why I wanted to spend at least part of our stay there.

“But isn’t it in the jungle?” he asked, brow furrowed. I could tell that he was envisioning strange wild animals lurking on our doorstep, endless bugs and well, no beach. But I assured him that bugs wouldn’t be an issue and that there would be a free shuttle to Jalousie, a cove that was nestled in between the Pitons.

So it was decided. A relaxing long weekend in Marigot Bay and a five night Romance package at Fond Doux Plantation were quickly booked and all we had to do was wait for July 16th to embark on our adventure…

Jalousie Beach

Tune back in tomorrow to see if the reality met our expectations! And in the meantime, check out the following links for the hotels we checked out:

http://www.tikaye.com

http://www.villabeachcottages.com

http://www.oasismarigot.com

http://www.fonddouxestate.com


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One Response to “St. Lucia Part One: Decisions, Decisions…”

  1. Gregoire Boisrond Jr August 13, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    Nice work my Love! I’m honored to share some the journey with you my beautiful wife. Big up Fond Doux Plantation!

    -Greg

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