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Boucan by Hotel Chocolat 4.5

Soufriere, Soufriere Quarter, St. Lucia

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Lodges have open-air rainfall showers and views of Petit Piton
  • Sophisticated, Piton view restaurant is one of the island’s best
  • Cacao creatively incorporated into everything, from food to spa treatments 
  • Quartz-lined infinity pool with gorgeous Piton views
  • Free scheduled shuttle service to Sugar Beach
  • Free chocolate snacks are placed in rooms in each day
  • Free breakfast buffet with fresh fruit smoothies and hot chocolate
  • Guests can make their own chocolate from scratch (for a fee)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Free self-parking 

Cons

  • Not on the beach and not much within walking distance
  • No air-conditioning or TVs (pro for some)
  • Lodges are small
  • Not ideal for those with chocolate allergies or aversions
  • No children under 12 (pro for some)

Bottom Line

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat is a luxury hotel located on a historic cocoa estate outside Soufriere. The hotel’s 14 Lodges and Luxe Lodges are full of understated glamor, with plantation-style slatted shutters evoking a sense of place -- plus all have eye-popping views of Petit Piton. True to its name, chocolate plays a role in almost every element of the hotel, most notably its popular restaurant that attracts locals and non-guests with its “cacao cuisine.” There’s a sleek infinity pool, a splendid spa, and an overall atmosphere of exclusivity. The lack of in-room air-conditioning and TVs won’t appeal to everyone, and there’s no beach (although the hotel provides free daily shuttles to one nearby). Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort offers an excellent alternative for travelers looking to stay right on the beach. 

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Scene

Hip, chocolate-themed luxury hotel anchored by a fantastic restaurant

Named after the Creole term for cocoa drying sheds, Boucan was founded by luxury British chocolate firm Hotel Chocolat. Perched high above sea level, the hotel is set on a working cocoa estate that dates back to the 18th century. The name Hotel Chocolat is no exaggeration, and chocolate is a common element throughout the hotel. It’s in the food, the cocktails, the spa treatments. Even the decor -- with its liberal use of rectangular forms and deep brown woods -- feels like a nod to the tones and textures of chocolate. It would be easy for these ceaseless references to chocolate to feel tacky or tiring, but the hotel incorporates this theme with delicate style. However, it goes without saying that Boucan isn’t the best choice for guests who don’t love chocolate.

Aside from chocolate, the hotel’s other prominent feature is its Piton views. Muted decor allows these outstanding views to claim the spotlight in the restaurant, main pool, and all of the plantation-style lodges. The hotel’s superb restaurant dominates the property -- both physically (this commanding, contemporary building also serves as the reception area) and in terms of fame, with the hotel itself often playing second fiddle. 

Children under 12 aren’t allowed, and the property’s uneven terrain isn’t suitable for those with mobility issues. Guests are almost all couples, with the hotel’s trendy, too-cool-for-school vibe attracting a particularly young crowd. Boucan puts a great deal of emphasis on exclusivity, strictly enforcing the resident guest-only areas of the property. 

Location

On a 140-acre cocoa estate, a short drive from the town of Soufriere

Map of Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

Boucan is set off the main highway in a serene, rural area outside Soufriere. A handful of notable places are within walking distance, including Ladera Resort and Fond Doux Plantation & Resort, both of which have top-notch restaurants. It’s also about a 30-minute walk to Sulphur Springs. The nearest beach is Sugar Beach, a 15-minute drive away. (Boucan provides free shuttle service.) Soufriere, which is the nearest hub of banks and other tourist-friendly amenities, can be reached in a 10-minute drive. Attractions like the Tet Paul Nature Trail and Diamond Botanical Gardens are less than a 15-minute drive away. Hewanorra International Airport can be reached in around 40 minutes by car. 

Rooms

Simple, chic rooms with striking views of Petit Piton

Boucan’s guest rooms are subtly glamorous, with minimalist black-and-white color schemes. Hand-crafted dark wood furniture and wooden floors contrast against bright white walls and linens. Four-poster beds swathed in mosquito netting, slatted shutters, and vaulted ceilings add touches of local character. There are no TVs, no phones, and no air-conditioning, but all rooms have free Wi-Fi as well as iPods preloaded with diverse music. Minibars feature local beer, wine, water, and soft drinks. Coffee- and tea-making facilities are stocked daily with freshly ground coffee and Jing tea. Guests can also expect to find free treats in their rooms each day, such as pieces of chocolate or house-made cookies. Eye-catching bathrooms are outfitted with granite counters, twin vessel sinks, and high-end bath products by REN. Stone-tiled rainfall showers are open to the sky. 

There are only two room categories: Lodges and Luxe Lodges, both of which have gorgeous views of Petit Piton. While standard Lodges are on the small side, the larger Luxe Lodges have bigger beds, twin showers, and private terraces with lounge chairs.

Features

Exceptional restaurant with cacao cuisine, cacao-spiked spa treatments, pool, and chocolate making

Boucan has a number of wonderful features, most with chocolate-themed touches, but the Boucan Restaurant is the clear stand-out. It draws travelers and locals alike with its imaginative menu of farm-to-table fare. Cacao is included in both sweet and savory dishes, along with other locally sourced ingredients. Breakfast is included in room rates and provides an impressive spread of fresh fruits, porridge, muffins, as well as hot items like eggs and bacon. Rooms service is available during restaurant hours.  

The dining room is simple and chic with a gleaming open kitchen, and plain wooden tables under a modern, angular roof that tips open toward 180-degree views of Petit Piton. The restaurant shares its space with a lounge area, which has boxy wooden sofas and a beautiful charcoal-colored bar. A blackboard menu lists cocktail specials, including chocolate-infused drinks like martinis made with 12-percent dark chocolate and cocoa bitters. 

The hotel’s distinctive, 50-foot-long infinity pool is lined with black quartz, creating the illusion that it’s filled with liquid chocolate. A stunning view of Petit Piton peeking up over a tangle of greenery serves as the pool’s backdrop. Lovely wooden lounge chairs with beige cushions are lined along one side of the pool, shaded by a low roof. An unassuming bar area set just behind the loungers serves cocktails and snacks. The pool, together with the adjacent sundeck, forms a guests-only area called Club Boucan. A second, rectangular pool is found in the Hummingbird Sanctuary. As its name suggests, this relaxation area is a prime location for spotting the many hummingbirds that flit around the hotel’s leafy property. It offers wooden rocking chairs and lounge chairs with comfy cushions, set under a graceful wooden shelter. A row of potted plants along one edge of the small pool create a sense of privacy -- an important feature because the busy restaurant is set directly in front of it. 

The intimate Cocoa Juvenate Spa has whitewashed wooden walls adorned with interesting cocoa-bean artwork. Slatted, dark wood windows create a breezy atmosphere. The spa offers a range of massages and body treatments that incorporate cacao beans, including a detox body wrap with a paste made from clay, cacao, and fresh banana. 

Though Boucan is not on the beach, the hotel provides free daily shuttle service to nearby Sugar Beach -- although it’s worth noting that the resort on this beach charges for the use of lounge chairs. The hotel’s “Tree to Bean” tour (for a fee) offers guests the experience of harvesting cacao pods from the estate’s groves and making their own chocolate bars. The hotel also has two boats available for area tours, and airport transfers are provided for a fee. Free Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the hotel, and there’s free self-parking on-site. Wedding planning services are also available. 

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Address

Rabot Estate, P.O. Box 312, Soufriere, Caribbean

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