ST. LUCIA – During a recent trip to St. Lucia, Travel Agent toured the 17-villa Stonefield Estate Villa Resort & Spa, a former lime and coconut plantation that was transformed into a hotel roughly five years ago.
Only 13 percent of all bookings last year were made through an agent, but the resort just started to market heavily in the U.S., which is why you may not heard of this property until now.
This is one of those “disconnect” luxury resorts where no televisions or landlines can be found in the rooms, although cell phones can be requested upon check in. The resort will be becoming a little more connected in June, however, when all the rooms become equipped with iPod docking stations, according to Ernie George, the property’s general manager.
George told us roughly 80 percent of the guests are Americans while 5-10 percent come from Canada and the rest arrive from the United Kingdom. He says most guests usually stay for seven to nine days, but shorter stays of four or five nights became more common when JetBlue Airways launched nonstop service to the island about a year ago.
The only downside here is the lack of a beach on the property. Stonefield, however, uses the very nearby beach at the Jalouise Plantation and plans to add a path from the resort to Jalouise’s beach sometime in the near future, George said. Other plans for the resort include the construction of 13 more villas within the next two years.
The best room at this resort is the Hillside Majestic Ocean View villa. There is only one of these. We saw the Hillside Ocean View room. This room, although not the top category, was pretty impressive, with views of one of the two Piton mountains right smack in front of the room.
The views from the three-bedroom villa’s outdoor plunge pool and hammock are what makes the room worth booking. There are four of these rooms at the resort and they start at roughly $650 a night. The top category is pretty similar although it has 700 square feet of extra room and a larger pool.
The modest but elegant spa, which opened in 2008, has just two treatment rooms and a salon, but most massages at the resort are done in the rooms or outdoors.
Thirty percent of all food served at the resort’s signature restaurant Mango Tree, is grown on the property. The resort also offers cooking classes once a week, beginning in February, and holds Thursday-night barbecues.
Recommend this resort to affluent honeymooners or couples in general. But for the more budget-conscious client, suggest perhaps a one- or two-night stay here followed by a three-or-four-night stay at a nearby Sandals or another more affordable all-inclusive.
Commission ranges from 15 to 20 percent based on the volume of the booking, said George.