- Not located on the beach
- Nothing within walking distance
- No in-room TVs or telephones (a pro for some)
A slightly rustic natural retreat ideal for travelers in search of an authentic island experience
Located at the end of a narrow path that cuts through thick rainforest on either side, the 18-villa Stonefield Estate Villa Resort & Spa puts the focus on nature -- from the jaw-dropping views of Petit Piton from each timber plantation-style villa, to the open-air Mango Tree restaurant, with a menu utilizing fresh fruits and spices grown right on the property.
Stonefield’s 26-acre grounds were once a cocoa plantation, and guests can still find cocoa seeds growing among the overflowing greenery that surrounds the resort. Guests are also likely to encounter fragrant frangipani, juicy mangoes, and the resort’s resident parrot more often than they'll see fellow guests. Of course, such a natural setting can have its share of adverse effects -- some travelers might complain about the heavy presence of mosquitoes (though each bed does have its own mosquito net), while others might find the lack of air conditioning in nine of the 17 villas a deal breaker. And technophiles will certainly grumble at the lack of TV or telephone in the villas. But those guests in search of an authentic -- albeit rustic -- experience will find Stonefield right up their alley.
Amenities here are on par with most of the other resorts in the area -- like Ladera and Fond Doux Holiday Plantation, Stonefield has a charming spa, an excellent restaurant, a cliff-top pool, a small fitness center, and a boutique. But what sets Stonefield apart are its rates, which are almost half those at Ladera. And though prices are slightly higher than at Fond Doux, Stonefield’s pool, spa, and restaurant are far nicer and better maintained.
Beach bums be warned: The resort has no direct beach access. And though it attempts to make up for that with a free shuttle to nearby Jalousie and Malgretoute beaches, the result is disappointing due to a $20 beach chair charge at the former and a complete lack of chairs and umbrellas at the latter.
On the southern side of the island, near major tourist destinations and next to Petit Piton
Located along Soufriere Bay just north of Petit Piton, Stonefield ensures that near-arm’s-length views of the massive volcano are available from virtually every corner of the property. Though the resort lacks any beach access of its own, it offers a free shuttle to nearby Jalousie and Malgretoute beaches, the former of which features powder-white sand and up-close views of both of the Pitons. Additional hot spots are a short drive away, including several of St. Lucia’s best restaurants, the Tet-Paul nature trail, the Diamond waterfall and botanical gardens, and La Soufriere Sulphur Springs and volcano. However, shopping is virtually non-existent in this area -- all nearby experiences are strictly tourist destinations.
Be aware that some nearby attractions require a drive through the main town of Soufriere, which can be seedy in many parts -- not to mention extremely challenging to drive. Even more daunting is the long drive between the south and north sides of the island, which is filled with hairpin turns, massive potholes and serious inclines.
The spacious plantation-style villas at Stonefield are impressive. Each villa features its own private pool and sundeck, and awe-inspiring views of Petit Piton and the sea. Inside is a beautifully rustic design scheme: The majority of furnishings and design accents are fashioned from local timber, and modern technology has been almost completely nixed -- save for iPod docks and modern kitchen appliances. Additional authentic elements include jalousie shutters, stone floors, and four-poster beds with mosquito nets, as well as unique details like indoor/outdoor garden showers, sundecks with hammocks, and glass-top coffee tables filled with sand and seashells.
Of course, all of this authenticity has its drawbacks. Some might shy away from -- or even be downright indignant about -- the absence of TVs and phones in the rooms.
While the restaurant is a bit pricey, it serves up delicious gourmet Creole dishes in a breathtaking setting.
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