Two rustic restaurants offer decent open-air dining; meal plans available
No-frills spa uses natural ingredients for its treatments
Freebies include a plantation tour, breakfast, and beach shuttle service
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Not on the beach and nothing within walking distance
Some cottages could use an update
Units lack AC and TVs
The pool is small
Fond Doux Plantation & Resort is a tranquil, three-pearl property located on an active cocoa plantation dating back to the 18th century, but it isn't located on the beach, and the setting is a bit remote. Its 15 guest rooms are housed in quaint Creole cottages, set amid dense tropical greenery, and some have private plunge pools and open-air rainfall showers. All have mini-fridges, coffeemakers, kettles, and free Wi-Fi, but there's no AC or TVs. Highlight features include two restaurants with open-air dining, a picturesque (but small) pool, and a spa. As you might expect for a property so integrated with its natural surroundings, some of the rooms and facilities are a bit rough around the edges. It’s perfect for adventurous travelers, but not a good fit for those after sleek, modern accommodations. Travelers seeking a more typical resort experience might prefer Coconut Bay Beach & Spa Resort.
This secluded retreat offers guests a taste of simple, traditional island living
Dating back over 250 years, Fond Doux Plantation is one of the oldest working agricultural plantations in the Caribbean. The property is defined by thick, hilly expanses of palms, bamboo, breadfruit trees, and exotic flowers and fruits. Gingerbread guest room cottages are widely spread over this 135-acre estate, giving guests plenty of peace and privacy. The estate hosts tours and lunches for non-guests, but the property is large enough that this extra traffic rarely disturbs the quiet, back-to-nature vibe.
The resort’s strong sense of place is comparable to luxury properties like Ladera Resort, with Fond Doux offering a more affordable (and therefore less refined) version of the authentic plantation experience. Guests should come prepared for a memorable but rustic stay, which means no TVs, no AC, and a cacophony of rainforest sounds after dark. Walking to some of the hillside cottages can be a steep trek, but staff are on hand to carry your luggage. With a bar that closes well before midnight, the resort draws guests -- mostly couples -- who prefer a vacation focused on hikes and bird-watching rather than late-night partying.
Up in the hills, a 20-minute drive south from the town of Soufriere
Fond Doux Plantation is located along St. Lucia’s winding, main west coast road, close to some of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s set between the two Pitons, although there aren’t any views of them from the property. The resort is less than a 20-minute drive from the Diamond waterfall and botanical gardens, while Sulphur Springs can be reached in about 10 minutes by car.
There aren’t any shops or restaurants within walking distance (although this is the case for most of the resorts found around Soufriere). There’s also no beach, but Fond Doux offers free shuttle service at fixed daily times to nearby Sugar Beach, about a 17-minute ride.
Charming cottages with plantation-style decor and terraces, but no AC or TVs.
Guest rooms at Fond Doux are freestanding cottages, each of which is individually decorated. Flourishes of madras print, polished wooden floors, and vaulted ceilings channel the property’s colonial past. Cream-colored walls are decorated with vivid local artwork. Most have four-poster beds, along with a mix of warm wood and rattan furniture.
All cottages have mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and kettles, along with packets of tea and coffee. There’s no air-conditioning, but the temperature cools off nicely at night thanks to the property’s elevated location. TVs are also purposefully absent, but free Wi-Fi is offered throughout.
Expansive terraces are furnished with a mixture of hammocks, rocking chairs, and tables, with some also featuring private plunge pools. All have enchanting views of the plantation’s lush grounds. Most cottages have semi-enclosed rainfall showers and separate toilets. Azha bath products are set beside clay basin sinks.
One- and two-bedroom cottages have roomy seating areas and kitchens with ovens, but the ones we checked out looked a bit worn. Kitchen appliances were dated, and these units also lacked the delightful open-air showers found in the other cottages, instead offering comparably generic bathrooms with older fixtures and walk-in showers.
Two causal restaurants, a spa, and free beach shuttle, and small but picturesque pool
Fond Doux offers a surprisingly extensive line-up of on-site features considering its small number of guest rooms. The split-level pool couldn’t be more different from a standard resort pool, comprised of three small pools set on a hillside overlooking the property. The upper level has two round, rock-framed pools and water cascades down to a third pool on the lower level (a staircase connects the two areas for guests). The downside is that the pool is considerable small.
A pleasant reading gazebo on the upper pool deck shelters some loungers, wooden tables, and a long shelf filled with books and board games. While there’s no bar, there’s a phone that guests can use to call the restaurant and request poolside drink service.
The resort has two open-air restaurants, Cocoa Pod and Bamboo. Cocoa Pod’s unfussy decor makes generous use of natural materials, with a stone partition dividing the dining area into two sections. Cocoa Pod offers buffet breakfast and lunch. The free breakfast is a light spread of pastries and fruit, with the additional option to order freshly prepared eggs any style. As with many buffets in the Caribbean, birds trying to snatch food can be a problem, but the staff do their best to shoo them away.
Bamboo offers a la carte lunch and dinner, along with bar services (although the bar doesn’t stay open late). Like Cocoa Pod, natural materials play a big role in Bamboo’s decor, with the restaurant decked out floor-to-ceiling in wood and (appropriately) bamboo. The menu is mostly Creole cuisine plus some international dishes, many of which use herbs and veggies harvested on the plantation. Meal plan options are available, as well as room service.
Mama La Terre Spa is tiny and unstylish, featuring garish orange and green walls. There’s just one treatment room and a small menu of services that includes massages and scrubs. Treatments incorporate natural, organic ingredients and local products like mud from nearby Sulfur Springs.
Free daily shuttle service to Sugar Beach is available, and guests can also take a free tour of the plantation. Other free activities include Zumba classes and tree planting. The resort also offers a number of other activities for a surcharge, such as cooking classes and guided walking tours of the property -- the latter includes a stop at a gorgeous viewpoint that overlooks Petit Piton and Sugar Beach.
A small, colorful boutique set in an independent building near reception sells beachwear and souvenirs. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout, and there’s free parking on-site.
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