We have just returned from staying at the Bel Jou, having looked forward to this only hotel owned by Saga, no children at all and a taste of the Caribbean. What an expensive let down, it was cheaper going to The Maldives this time last year, and the staff and food was 100% better.
As other 'reviewers' have mentioned the location up a VERY steep hill made any attempts at taking a walk outside the gated hotel an impossibility. Security guards patrolled the hotel and grounds 24 hours a day. The gardens are very small so no walking there either. There is a serious mosquito and sand fly problem here with many guests being bitten and these bites causing serious problems in some cases. During the two weeks we were there no 'fogging' by outside contractors took place.
The three half day included trips were a rushed affair and only the Lushan trip was quite interesting.
The room was disappointing, with not enough hanging or drawer space, very small beds and mouldy smelling toilet room. The air con unit was so noisy and couldn't be altered so sleep was interupted all night
There are 54 steep steps from the garden to the hotel reception and not of an even height, these flooded badly when it rained.
Jeannette on Reception, Mitchell in the Dining Room and Gabriel the Chef, were very friendly and helpful staff. Ian the Guest Relations (not a Saga Rep) was always willing to help and nothing was too much trouble.
The hotel activities were varied, interesting and we took part in the majority of them.
The shuttle bus had a good timetable, but places were limited so it was on a first come basis.
Castries was a typical shanty town and not a place to enjoy walking around to do shopping.
The views from the hotel were OK but nothing special as the sea was quite some distance away, otherwise we had a good view of the cruise liners in the port.
The food left a lot to be desired, roast meats were baked hard on the outside and raw on the inside. Vegetables and the salad bar were limited and whilst we tried all the caribbean food it was not very appetising. The soups however were excellent, we didn't like Calaloo and Peanut soup was interesting............
Afternoon tea was excellent, the only meal we looked forward to.
The two hand gel dispensers were rarely being used by the guests.
There was entertainment in the restaurant on 6/7 nights, but you had to remain at your table as there was not enough comfortable seating to be able to move away. Many guests went back to their rooms as a result it was empty by 10.30-11.00 every night.
I would not recommend this hotel, and obviously never return either. Saga has a lot of work to do here to bring it up to QQQQ standard that it states in the brochure.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- St. Lucia's wonderful, adults only hotel. Boasting stunning views over Castries and out across the gorgeous ocean from its setting atop a lush, tropical hillside, the 4-star Bel Jou provides a tranquil, tropical retreat for today's adult and senior travelers, free from the distractions of the more overrun resorts. With many opportunities for sightseeing and sampling island life, the hotel's relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a leisurely holiday or a lively Caribbean experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bel Jou Castries
- Bel Jou Hotel St. Lucia/Castries