Historical Traveller Reviews of Anse Chastanet Hotel
from A TripAdvisor Member
Having spent many a holiday in the carribbean, we found none more enjoyable than our recent trip to Anse Chastanet. If you are looking for unique accommodation in a beautiful setting you could not select better. The staff at Anse Chastanet far exceed any anywhere else we have stayed, they were genuinely friendly and nothing was too much trouble for any of them. They really ensured our holiday was a memorable one and we would return in an instant.
A Natural Paradise
from A TripAdvisor Member
We have just returned from two blissful weeks at ANSE CHASTANET. This clearly is not the property for everybody which might explain why there so many many mixed comments. Perhaps it is also a question of age or travel experience!? Those who have had the good luck to experience life - and particularly hotel life- prior to the take over of corporate branding structures might appreciate the subtle luxuries of ANSE CHASTANET much more than someone who has never even set foot into a non - hotel - chain environment before. ANSE CHASTANET is for individualists, not conformists! Vive la difference!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Almost Paradise review of resort Anse Chastanet August 28 2003. Some of the most beautiful, open-planned rooms with private terraces offering jaw-dropping views. Dark sand beach. Overpriced average food.I came across the resort while searching for a Caribbean getaway before we had our second child. The resort looked particularly beautiful because it was not built up and the nature unspoiled. When we arrived we saw the resort was far more beautiful than described with elegant open designed levels set in an exotic forest with colorful trees and flowers cascading down to a dramatic private beach. A paradise. Later we were shown to our room and our mouths dropped as we saw our room with open deck and bedroom with a stunning panorama of both the Piton Mountains and the Caribbean Sea. My wife and I visited Anse Chastanet resort in August of 2003, low season, on the Summer Delight package giving you the 6th night free and $300 of free food and beverage. To drive or not to drive? We chose to rent a Jeep during our stay, for a few reasons. The drive from the airport to Anse Chastanet is stunning and takes approx 1 1/2 hours. St Lucia is all steep mountains covered in dense trees and flowers. You must be a competent driver to handle the hundreds of hairpin turns. Do not do it at night as you miss out on the scenery and it is dangerous. Also the hotel charges US$190 for airport transfers by van, which online reviewers felt, was a rip off. Lasltly, having a car allows you to eat out and see the sights independently. The jeep costs $350 a week from.... We arrived at Castries airport at 11:00pm, so we stayed at the local Friendship Inn overnight and then did the drive AM.The hotel suggests you do not drive for some of the above reasons but it also introduces a trap. There is a notorius stretch of road connecting the main road to the resort. It is a 2-mile stretch of unsealed road with potholes enough to shake you into submitting: OK, now I am here, I will not leave the resort. If you stay within the resort only, you are forced to eat their dinners, which are cost prohibitive at US$120 per couple. More about that pothole later. The hotel has its free water taxi service to the local town Soufriere, but daytime only. Without a car any sight seeing must be done through their tours at hotel rates. In considering the above, I am glad we had our jeep. We ate out a lot for approx US$40 per couple, saw all the local sights independently and avoided transfer fees. However for those who cant be bothered, staying on the resort with their meal plan is still a great holiday but a more expensive one. We have stayed in 5 stars around the world and this room holds its own with the best. Although in a very different way, we were reminded of Le Sirenuse in Positano. The St Lucian mountain curves and cliffs are even reminiscent of the Amalfi coast just without all the pomp. Here there is great attention to detail to create a unity between the guest and the abundant nature and dramatic scenery. Local woven basket lampshades, madras covered beds and sofas, hand painted ceilings, dark tropical wooden floors, grand bathrooms, terracotta tiles, white washed walls and local flowers. Our bedroom opens onto our deck with only a few mirrored pillars and wooden shutters in between. The deck opens onto the Pitons and sea panorama. We never wanted to spend so much time in a hotel room. The sounds of tree frogs, cicadas and birds lull you to sleep while the many fans and fly-screened shutters keep any bugs or mosquitoes out. Mosquito nets are supplied but we found unnecessary even in the wet season. Not all rooms are the same. We got a Superior which was kindly upgraded to a Hillside Deluxe. Another possible benefit of coming off-season. Our room made our holiday. The Premium rooms are extraordinary. Hillside Deluxe are beautiful. From what I saw the standard rooms were smaller and uninteresting. The Superior octagonal rooms are the original rooms and are very nice with small wraparound balconies. The choice of all categories have views looking onto both the Pitons and the Ocean. The rooms facing north overlooking the forest have less light and are simply not as special. Although some feature trees within the rooms, which are very special, we preferred our panorama. If you do go for the Premiums these are their rank. #1: 7E, #2: 7F, #3: 7A then #4: 7B. Be prepared for long steep climbs between your room, the dining area and further to the beach area. Some older guests find this to be a real problem. I would have to say that 7E Passion Flower and 7F Royal Plum are amongst the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen. Anse Chastanet is expanding. We counted another 15 rooms under construction and another 2 areas being leveled for construction. I fear the resort may lose its charm and privacy if it has another 50+ guests. The beach is dramatically beautiful set among steep tree covered hills and dense palms. It is a silver black sand beach which is typical for St Lucia. Only the northern and southern tips at Rodney Bay and Vieux Fort have white sand beaches. We would have preferred the splendor of a white and turquoise beach when on a Caribbean holiday (the Grenadines or south of Tulum, Mexico). The beach is smallish. Its volcanic silver sand gets hot but has character and the water temperature is perfect. It doesnt make you dream the day away the same as a white sand Caribbean beach does, however we had a very relaxing time at the beach. The snorkeling is OK, the hotel supplies free snorkel gear, kayaks and windsailing to guests. My wife loved the refreshing peppermint spray, insist on it from the beach staff. Alot of divers enjoy Scuba St Lucia but we are not divers. We had a great afternoon sail which is decently priced at US$39 per person and had a lovely selection of local guava, mango, passionfruit, cheeseplate, cakes, sushi, chicken and drinks which they describe as snacks. The sail is 1pm-4pm, dont have lunch, enjoy the sail and meal. My wife had a disappointing massage at the Kai Belte Spa, US$79 an hour and left with a headache. If you want a natural massage, visit the Piton waterfall on the road to Jalousie, about 2 miles from Soufriere (mentioned later). The food is the let down of the resort. The breakfast is pleasant US$13 for continental with fruits, breads, cereals and tea/coffee or US$18 to add eggs+bacon. The setting is inspiring perched over the resort and ocean view. Lunch and Beach snacks are quite good but pricey. Sandwiches and Burgers for US$10-15. Fresh squeezed local limejuice & frozen mango daiquiris were great. The Big Clincher is dinner. It is the kind of food that makes you lose your appetite and is exorbitantly priced at US$120 per couple with drinks (incl 18% tax+service). Bland tasting food dressed with International names. We ate it one night then ate out every other night to escape the dinner trap. If you cant be bothered leaving the resort and you can deal with the dinners, then the M.A.P meal plan at US$60 + 18% tax/service p/person p/day for breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner makes sense. I believe in High Season you have to get the meal plan, which is unfortunate. The dinner is a four-course fixed-price only menu. Our first suggestion to the resort was to offer an a la carte dinner menu and a new chef. I am unsure of the origin of the chef but many boutique resorts around the world have found the irreplaceable value of an Italian chef just using local fish, crabs, pasta and local produce to create some glorious simple meals. We yearned for simple local cuisine and discovered a few good dinner spots. The Still Plantation had tasty local meals using only produce grown on their plantation and The Still Beach Resort is the same establishment but the Plantation is open for lunch while the Beach resort is both lunch and dinner and is located actually right at the entrance of the 2-mile road to the Anse Chastanet resort. Another good spot was Café Beau, formerly Bang owned by Lord Glenconner, known for its Jerk dishes. It is quite a lovely setting by the sea. Its located on the adjacent land to the Hilton Jalousie resort, so if you drive you have to leave your car in the Hilton car park and their shuttle bus takes you there. Its easier but pricey to get a water taxi. On Wednesday nights they have local music and dancing. Both these restaurants cost approx US$20 per person. The Hilton Jalousie itself is hideous beyond description, you might well stay on a golf course with a TV strapped to your forehead. They imported white sand to cover up the natural volcanic silver black sand, so the result is a strange looking fake beach. The Old Court House in town had bad food and Camillas wasnt good and pricey. Good general local dishes and drinks to look out for are: Pepperpot Stew, Akrat fishballs, Local Juices: passionfruit, lime and mango and fresh coconuts which locals will crack open for you. After 6 nights the options were limited but 2 good restaurants worked out fine. My wife and I are passionate about food and I hope our narrowed choices are helpful. The Anse Chastanet breakfast and lunch snacks were fine but their dinners were not. Take advantage of nice local appetizers served before dinner on Tuesday Managers Night and Friday nights down in the beach bar. Some good local attractions were the Piton waterfalls, also known as Malgretout, where you can bathe under a waterfall with hot volcanic spring water and afterwards have a fresh coconut from one of the dudes in the parking lot. Follow the road to Jalousie and you will see the sign. Diamond Falls are also worth a visit with nice hot spring water but you cant bathe in the waterfall, only in outdoor and indoor tiled baths. The actual falls are not so special but it does have a stunning and well maintained Botanical Garden with a lot of French European history. Using the free Anse Chastanet water taxi to Soufriere and Anse Mamin (the adjacent beach to the resort) is always a nice quick trip and the afternoon sail was really enjoyable. The driest and hottest part of the seasonal year is February-April High-Season. July-August is wet season which means shifting clouds with light rains (or stronger) which quickly clear to hot summer sun. Travels in the wet season gives you a balance of sun and rain. Off-season also means less people and lower prices. Note the Piton area including Soufriere and Anse Chastanet tend to be more cloudy than Northern and Southern St Lucia because of dense vegetation. Overall the highlights of the holiday has been our glorious room, the relaxing swims and the venturing out to experience some of St Lucia and its people. We are well rested and replenished and would recommend a holiday here to anyone and I hope this has helped satisfy the curious.
Not worth the price
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I traveled to Anse Chastanet to celebrate our anniversary. We were in a Hillside Deluxe room for our 7 days. What we liked: We didn't mind the bumpy, long ride from the smaller airport.
The hillside rooms were large and pretty. We didn't get eaten up by mosquitos. The Spa has wondeful treatments and the ladies there are very good. The beach is beautiful and the snorkeling was great! The dinners were interesting and tasty, although not extremely filling. 99% of the employees were pleasant to deal with, and they were very service minded. Agnes spoiled me at meal times. Please seek her out! The room was very large. The nightly entertainment groups were good too. No radio or TV was fine by us!The sights, sounds, smells (flowers) and ambiance were breath taking.
What we did not like: We didn't get bit by the mosquitos, but did get bit by fleas, and as the bites occured at night, I assume the bugs were present in the bed! The breakfasts were abundant, but not any better than any HoJo's or Village Inn I have been to. My most unfavorite thing that happened was my new nightgown was stolen from my room! Staying here for 7 nights was just a bit too much. 3 or 4 days staying here and then spending the rest of the week up north at a Sandals would have been just perfect!
Overall we loved the scenery, and had a nice, romantic time just being lazy and laying on the beach, drinking banana daquiri's. We took a short sightseeing trip and had fun, but because Anse is so remote, we didn't get to do many things that were very touristy. However, I think the resort is a bit run down, and too pricey (even in the off season!).
I would go back to St. Lucia, but I would stay in a different setting- perhaps the Sandals resorts at the top of the map...
Not Worth The Money
from A TripAdvisor Member
Just returned from the resort where we stayed for our honeymoon. The resort is very pretty, nice beach and surroundings and the accomadation is fine if you are prepared to pay for it. A lot of the decor is very seventies and does seem a bit tired.
The staff are on the whole very pleasent, but agree with other reviewers about the low pay they get. A lot of the money does not seem to be finding its way to the staff.
The food was the worst part of the experience, a fusion of european and caribean cooking that never worked. The portions are tiny and we felt hungry for most of the trip. The chef needs a good kick up the backside!
On the whole, we enjoyed the holiday but felt we paid far too much for the trip!
Beautiful beaches but not much else
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I chose Anse Chastanet for our honeymoon last June (2002).
First the things we liked about it: -nice and quiet -beautiful beaches -good spa -we took a great sunset sailboat trip (worth the price)
Unfortunately, the list of things we didn't like is longer: -So hot and humid you don't want to do any of the activities they offer, such as mountain biking or hiking -Expensive excursions that are not worth the trip, i.e. one trip just drops you in Castries for 2 hours but you run out of things to do in about 15 minutes and locals just keep asking you for money. -major problem with bugs, my husband and I were both covered in huge bites -the open air rooms seem like a good idea but really are not. Mosquito netting is ineffective and a lizard fell on my head while I was sleeping!! -Okay food, lunches are terribly expensive and not great. -Inattentive staff. We tried tipping more in hopes of better service but it didn't make a difference. -Nothing to do in the evenings. We are not partiers but it would have been nice if there were some things going on in the evening. We were asleep every night by 9 p.m.
Overall we were disappointed and felt that the resort was overpriced.
We left a day early because we desperately wanted to be home, in air conditioning, without all the bugs.
Hot, humid, romantic, cash cow
Anse Chastenet is an interesting place. It is a group of buildings built into a ravine including various room types and a larger "centre" for dining. At the bottom of the ravine is a well managed natural coral beach with a large bar, small spa + rooms and an excellent dive centre / school. The ravine can be very airless and humid although it is slightly better the higher you climb. The ravine / hotel is reached via a 15 minute ride along a completely appalling dirt track strewn with large boulders. The taxi drivers say that the hotel owners leave the road this way to keep the locals out (this is actually a public beach). The hotel is care-worn and in need of renovation. If air conditioning was introduced, it would be worse for customers as they would never get used to the heat that most of the day is spent within. It probably appeals to more the more adventurous among us, and helps us get back to nature. Whilst some of the room designs are fantastic, there are problems with bugs and the heat. Furthermore, the food, whilst billed as Michelin level (the chef worked at a one star restaurant) is certainly not. You wil find that you are eating in a very hot / humid and open environment with all of the issues that might bring. There are doubts about cleanliness and quality, particularly for vegetarians. For access to this romatic hideaway, we pay a very, very high price. There is no doubt that someone benefits greatly from this, but it is not the staff. However, despite this, the staff are exceptional (friendly, courteous and helpful). I would pay particular credit to the dive school and to a trainer called Callistas who was patient, well qualified and a great laugh. Despite having paid an inclusive deal for 7 nights, we decided we needed a change after 4. When we said we were checking out, the reception rolled out the assistant manager, Peter (a fine chap upon arrival) who was going to tell us that we should pay a 3 night cancellation fee. When we said that we didn't care and would forego any re help thinking he has done this all before (perhaps on a daily basis) and that there may have been disagreements. Anse Chastenet will fight you for your money if you want it back. All in all, it was fun whilst it lasted (we were here for a wedding) but we preferred the Jalousie Hilton for the last three nights (which was utter delight). They wanted our money too, but were able to deliver something perhaps more tangible in return.
Anse Chastanet - Amazing Experience!
from A TripAdvisor Member
We just returned from our honeymoon at Anse Chastanet in late May. It really was an incredible experience, and we loved it! I think the best description I have come up with for this place is: "really posh camp for grownups." However, this resort may not be not for everyone, and I think that is the reason for all of the "love it or hate it" reviews on this site.- Air conditioning - there is none at this resort. If you are the type that does not like to be outdoors, this may not be the place for you. We did not find the heat to be overy oppressive, especially after adapting to the "island" pace - by that I mean slow! May is the end of the dry season, and we heard from the staff that it is among the hottest times of the year in St. Lucia. I imagine that the temperature in December or January would be just about perfect. Drinking lots of water and taking it slow on the steps was key. But we stayed in a Hillside Deluxe room, which seemed to get more breeze than rooms that were lower on the hill. With the ceiling fans and oscillating fan in our room, we did not find sleeping to be a big problem. - Accomodations - this was one of our favorite parts of the trip. We stayed in room 8A, which has a fabulous view of the water and amazing sunset views. All of the rooms are decorated with local prints and art, and ours was huge - sitting area, sleeping area, a loft with an extra bed, and a shower that you could fit 10+ people in - no joke! Perhaps the people who wrote that the rooms need renovation thought that the island style was out of date - but we did not find the rooms to be in need of repair - it is just that the styling is not what you would find at the Hilton down the beach. Frankly, we thought this added to the charm of the place. - Food - We had read some posts on this site about how people did not like the food. However, we loved the food! Granted, we like to experiement with new restaurants and new kinds of cuisine - this may not be the place for people that don't likeot;meat and potatoes" father would probably think the food is weird. To enjoy the food, it helps if you like seafood and curry. The food at Anse Chastanet is described as continental with a Carribbean flair - a lot of local fruits and vegetables in the dishes. We thought the food was fantastic, even compared with some higher end restaurants in Chicago. One note about the meal plan - it is a good idea to get it, because the food is not cheap here. But included in the meal plan are all your drinks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an afternoon snack - you definitely don't go hungry! - Bugs - yes there are bugs. Bugspray is a must, especially if you go on any of the hikes offered by the hotel. But the good news is that we saw only one "scary" bug - no nasty flying insects buzzing around all the lights because the hotel uses yellow bug lights in all their fixtures. The mosquito net over the bed is also essential. We did have one tiny lizard and tree frog that came to visit in our bathroom, but they didn't bother me and I didn't bother them. And two friendly birds would fly into our room to visit us every morning - you don't get that at a Sandals! - The steps - there are a lot of them, esp if you stay in a room that is higher up the hill. If you are not in at least average shape, this may not be the place for you. But I am no athelete and I managed the steps just fine - they aren't steep, there are just a lot of them. I used the steps as an excuse to indulge at mealtimes. - The road - yes, the road to the hotel is bad, particularly when we visited, because the main road in St. Lucia was under construction and we had to take a detour most of the way. I would recommend taking a motion-sickness pill before this ride if you get carsick. There really isn't any way to avoid this problem if you are going to St. Lucia, regardless of which hotel you are staying at - all I can say is that it's worth it for the end result! And also - get the meal plan, because leaving the resort is hard to do and there's not a lot fo have an option for a water taxi instead of a car, that is the way to go!I hope this review was helpful to people considering a trip to Anse Chastanet. We would like to go back at some point, but will need to build up some cash first, because it is on the expensive side. We had done the "Total Romance" package because it included a lot of activities that we wanted (dive lesson, massage for 2, trip to Castries, etc) but next time I think we would just get the meal plan and not a package. You get free snorkeling and use of the water crafts just for being a guest at the hotel, and there are several complimentary hikes to keep you busy as well. If you are looking for an experience that is different from an ordinary hotel and have an open mind, then Anse Chastanet provides a truly unique and wonderful experience!
Glad to leave
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I planned to stay 7 days at the acclaimed 5 star resort, Anse Chastanet in mid May, 2003. There was much validity in the negative reports we had read. The road to the resort was no road at all, but several ruts with huge rocks strewn about. Although the driver was only going 15 mph, the jolts were so bad my husband arrived with a pounding headache. I grew up in the country and handled it a bit better, but the old, abandoned, washed-out dirt road leading through the corn fields at home couldn't hold a candle to this "five star" beauty. Putting that aside, the scenary had great potential for beauty; however, I concluded we must have arrived in the dry season, because the mountains and valleys were a barren brown. If you choose to go, be sure to check out the best season. The service was good, and the employees were friendly. The food was decent to good. The entire resort is in dire need of renovation. The decor is very outdated and tacky. We had stone massages at the spa, and this was possibly the best part of the trip. We paid for an all inclusive package, and it was very expensive. For 1,000 a day, we expected top rate everything. I believe the worst and deciding factor in our early departure was no a/c and bugs. The rooms and restaurants are open air, and it gets very hot. O.K. if you like camping, but hardly suggested for romance; we stayed on opposite sides of the bed to avoid worsening the hot, sticky nights. There is a net over the bed, but it must have holes. After the two days and nights we stayed, I counted 20 mosquito (?) bites on my arms and legs alone. My husband went swimming once, and was stung by a jellyfish. There is not much to do there except lie on the beach and eat. Spoiling the ambient, we saw at least five other couples at the reception complaining and some wanting refunds. If you are relatively overweight or have problems walking/climbing, don't come here. A poor lady who had these problems almost fainted climbing the 100 + steps back to her room. We tting a refund, and were told that it would take up to a month to see the money charged back to our credit card. They were not friendly when it came to this! I am not a negative person; if you are here for studying the natural environment or like roughing it, this is probably a good place, or if you are an extreme optimist you may make it. As for us, we left for New York where the quest for cool was granted; the weather there was 45 degrees and we didn't bring jackets:)
Too Expensive...Not Local Friendly
from A TripAdvisor Member
Ansa Chastanet is a great natural, relaxing resort. In hopes of them improving the service they provide, I am writing this review:1) For what you get, the resort is too expensive. We spent about $440/night and I do think the hillside rooms were worth the price. As we didn't get the all inclusive package, we went a la carte for meals. I was surprised that the dinner menu did not have any prices and at check out our meals came out to over $120 just for dinner!! I wasn't happy that they don't disclose menu prices but the resort overall is worthy of a visit2) The biggest complaint I had was that they don't pay their staff very well. I did a little research and apparently the best paid staff get around $400/month!!! No wonder we were constantly bombarded with the staff to help in exchange for tips. I think for the price of the rooms, the staff should be paid a lot more to not make them dependent on tips.3) Also, I was told that the resort does not make any money on the airport to resort transfer ($85/each way!!). Talking to the taxi drivers, I discovered that they get paid about $40 per trip and the resort sometimes does not pay them for trips as they pay on a monthly basis and refuse to give the taxi drivers accurate accounting. This was very upsetting to me because part of me visiting similar locations is to help the local population with the tourism.In summary, great resort but they need to be more concerned with helping the local population and be more honest and forthcoming about their pricing. Hopefully, this will alert them to this important issue