Since starting at Hotel Chocolat 18 months ago, I’ve been working alongside Angus on our new hotel in Saint Lucia. From sourcing everything from crockery and glasses to bed linen and toiletries, I already felt that I knew the hotel inside and out, despite never even having been to the Caribbean! So, when Angus suggested that I go out there last month I obviously jumped at the chance!
The hotel is in the soft opening stage, with 6 of our Cocoa Pods ready and 8 Cocoa Pods Luxe still being completed, so it was a pretty exciting stage to see the hotel (I will be hinting for a return trip once it’s complete).
I went out with David Demaison, our Cacao Cuisine Development Chef, who created the menu at Boucan, the hotel’s restaurant, and we arrived to a very warm welcome from Estates Director, Phil Buckley, his wife, Judy, and the Saint Lucian team – as well as a Cacao Bellini, which was amazing.
The hotel beat all my expectations, in the middle of our cocoa plantation, the surroundings are stunning and the Boucan restaurant has views to die for.
The bedrooms are ‘Plantation Chic’ with the most amazing open sky showers – adding to the whole feeling of being at one with nature. There are too many highlights to write here, but I think one that really stood out (apart from the black quartz infinity pool which is very special), was the opportunity to take part in the Tree-to-Bar experience. This is a half day tour where guests can spend some time in our cacao nurseries, where we are grafting cocoa, followed by the chance to graft your own cocoa tree (I definitely need to come back in two years to see it bearing cocoa!) then to the kitchen to make fresh chocolate!
It really brought to life how much hard work and passion goes into growing cacao both on our estate and on the farms of our Engaged Ethics farmers. It made me very proud to see what an impact we’re having on the local farmers in reviving their interest in cocoa farming.
Despite eating Boucan’s cacao cuisine every evening, I certainly did not bore of the menu and, in fact, I left feeling much healthier and truly revived (nothing to do with being dragged on walks around our 140 acre Estate every morning…). The whole trip was an experience never to forget!