Tag Archives: st lucia

Jalousie Plantation Hotel – This could be one of the best in the World

It is just possible, in my opinion of course, that The Jalousie Plantation Hotel sits in one of the prettiest and most stunning locations in the world – nestled snugly between the Gros and Petit Piton mountains. When I booked I knew that it was an awesome place, but what you see as you drive down the steep windy road into the hotel grounds is more than I imagined it ever could be.

jalousie plantation hotel

The Pitons love the camera and any picture you take of them is automatically picture postcard quality. The Petit Piton towers over the resort like a tropical monolith – but due to the mountains and their alignment, they never cast a shadow – the sun just rises and sets between them.

The main buildings of the plantation sit at the bottom of the valley just behind the bright white sandy beach, surrounded by masses of tropical greenery and flowers of every colour.

jalousie plantation hotel

The white villas hug the hillside behind, hiding from view behind palm trees. The roads are very steep but a shuttle bus is never more than a phone call away. In 12 days we never waited more than five minutes for one to arrive. And if you feel like a workout, walking either up or down is a challenge worth taking.

jalousie plantation hotel

Our Grand Luxury Villa, in the group known as “The 800s” boasted a simple white, black and coral decor and the four-poster king size bed was a heaven of crisp white Egyptian cotton. Both the lounge (which doubles as the children’s bedroom, and the bedroom have gigantic HD TVs hidden in cupboards (but the resort is so lovely we only turned one of them on once). The double walk in shower, huge double sink bathroom with its claw footed stand alone bath were luxurious and kitted out with smelly potions replenished daily.

jalousie plantation hotel

Outside a massive terrace consisting of lounge chairs, a set of tables and chairs and a separate area with a huge reclining bed – looked out towards the sea and the Gros Piton beyond. There was also an infinity plunge pool that was really more like a small swimming pool. Sitting on this terrace at night, sipping a beer or a glass of wine whilst the tree frogs sang in the background is such a lovely way to relax.

jalousie plantation hotel

Each room has its own butler, and on arrival you get a Firefly mobile phone so that you can contact them. I must admit that with all the staff so courteous and attentive – I wasn’t really left with much to ask of the butler. She did however turn the heating on in our plunge pool every afternoon to take the icy edge off it before we returned in the evening.

Hidden among the trees closer to the main buildings is a Spa, built as a series of tree houses of different heights connected by wooden walkways and steps. We had a hot stone massage in one of these havens of tranquility. The decor and the facilities are outstanding – more luxurious than many Spas that say they are more exclusive.

jalousie plantation hotel

Surrounding the Spa is a rainforest trail, again comprising wooden walkways and steps. It takes about 15 minutes to go round the circuit rewarding you with excellent views of the mountains and the sea and the rainforest itself. I think that the Hotel guests might be under the impression that the rainforest trail is much more grueling (perhaps the term trail conjures up images of muddy paths and clouds of insects – which is of course far from the truth) because in negotiating the pathways everyday during our stay we never once met anyone else.

Down on the beach you need to be early to grab a thatched straw umbrella and some comfortable loungers to go with it. Once ensconced in that welcome shade, the bar staff supply you with a red flag which you simply stick in the ground when you want a drink. Within seconds of planting the signal a waiter arrives to take your order. By the end of the holiday they often anticipated what we wanted and just brought it along without asking.

jalousie plantation hotel

The Bayside Restaurant is open air, sits just back from the shore and serves breakfast lunch and dinner of exceptional quality. It makes such a change to visit a restaurant where there are no buffet meals at all. Not even breakfast. At every meal you choose from the menu and they servce you individually. I cannot think of anywhere I have stayed in the world that does not resort to buffet style some of the time.This to me is a huge bonus.

Breakfast and its choice of smoothies was outstanding every day. Lunch was lighter, with crisp oven made pizzas, pastas and burgers. Dinner was fine dining but with minimal fuss and fluff. The mash potato is the lightest, cremiest and tastiest I have ever eaten. On one occasion I asked them to bring me another bowl full because it was simply iresistable.The General Manager of the hotel often lunches here from a table at the back. He then mingles with the guests in an unobtrusive way asking for feedback or just asking you how you are enjoying your stay.

After dinner here, the Bayside bar became a regular stop off for a nightcap served by the very friendly Lawrencia, who like just about every member of staff learned our names and preferences almost immediately. She mixes an awesome Mojito.

In the main house is the grander restaurant – the Great Room. It has a very majestic feel to it. The food again is fine dining but the focus seems quite rightly on taste and not overly fussy presentation. If you order a bottle of red wine, ask them to decant it into one of many fancy, curly and long differently shaped decanters. Then marvel how the wine waiter manages to pour your glasses without spilling one tiny drop. Try the Banana Souffle and Lime Sorbet at your peril. It melts divinely on the tongue and you will be unable to resist ordering another one on your next visit.

jalousie plantation hotel

The Cane Bar is for adults only, which we sampled whilst the wee one was at the children’s club. Cool, like a posh London nightclub the various rum cocktails have to be savoured. The Zombie cocktail was particularly impressive. This is a hidden gem within the resort and I’m not sure that many guest even knew it existed.

Back at the beach many water sports are free, such as Hoby Cat sailing, kayaks and pedal boats. . One day I tried something called a “Megawing”. This is effectively a huge rubber balloon dragged behind a speedboat with you hanging on for dear life. The lady who was on before us said it was scarier than any amusement park ride she had ever been on. I agreed with her after bouncing around on the sea for 10 minutes, but it was also one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done as well.

The children’s club put on a variety of events, trips and activities and the coordinators Canice and Giseld developed a great rapport with our son. A couple of outstanding people.

Canice also teaches all the classes up on the sundeck overlooking the Pitons and the bay. He is inspirational in his teaching of early morning and sunset Yoga and seems able to turn his hand to anything. He has boundless energy. The gym was well stocked and the tennis professional was always on hand.

So any niggles? Not really. There was a bit of a misunderstanding between the travel agent and the hotel about what the “all-inclusive package” actually included. But the duty manager was more than willing to come up with an acceptable compromise on the items that we felt should be included but weren’t.

jalousie plantation hotel

Overall then, this one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. I believe that it is more luxurious and offers better service than some of the more recognised Caribbean premier resorts such as Sandy Lane, Spice Island Beach Resort and Curtain Bluff – but it lacks the pretension and the soulless service that often typifies those places.

I truly hope that as they expand the accommodations and install even more impressive amenities, that they do not become tempted to emulate those other pretentious resorts because this is somewhere I would gladly return to on many occasions.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

The first flight to Gatwick from Edinburgh is at 06.15, one of the first flights out, and leaves before the flurry of low-cost airlines heading to Spain, and yet the airport was very quiet. There was no queue at the Club bag drop and a very rapid 5 minutes wait at security. After a swift orange juice and chocolate mini-muffin from the BA Lounge, and a quick Facebook and Twitter site check-in we were boarding the first leg of our journey.

The Boeing 737 was G-DOCY and wasn’t as battered as some Gatwick aircraft I have been on recently. Very uneventful flight with the typical BA hot breakfast of scrambled egg, sausage, bacon, mushrooms and a blob of tomato ketchup (which seems to have replaced the real tomatoes these days). Two cups of coffee, no holding at Gatwick and arrival much to my annoyance on an international stand with a bus to the terminal.

Through flight connections centre in 5 minutes and into the BA lounge for an early glass of Champagne. The lounge is now in the Galleries style – and is actually very comfortable – but much reduced in size as there is now no lower level. Still a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours before the long haul departure.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

At the gate priority boarding was given to Silver, Gold and Club Class passengers (as it should be) and to World Traveller Plus. The plane was G-VIIO – a three class Boeing 777-200 with three rows of Club in the forward cabin and 2 more rows after doors 2. I took my seat and a crew member almost immediately handed me a glass of champagne and a copy of The Times. I travelled in this same seat to Grenada on this very plane two years ago, but since then they’ve installed new generation of Club flat beds. The cabin did look a bit battered already, with some of the plastic seat surrounds displaying cracks and chips. But the seat is still comfy and the aircraft was clean.

Although the flight was full we seemed to get away very quickly and soon were waiting at the runway for a couple of landings before we were off. This is a video of the take of from Gatwick and the landing at St. Lucia taken from the rear-facing seat 2A.

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As soon as the seat belt signs went out the crew sprang into action, handing out wash bags and menus. I must say that the current Elemis Club wash bag is quite disappointing. They’ve replaced the miniature bottles of the Molton Brown era with sachets of facial wipes and moisturiser. This is another sad example of a downgrading of the overall Club experience.

Drinks came next as the cabin manager took lunch orders. I had another glass of champagne and enjoyed a packet of mixed nuts whilst deciding on what to eat for lunch.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

Review – London Gatwick to St Lucia

The menu was as follows:

Starters
Lemon poached prawn salad with herb oil
or
Winter bean cassoulet and bocconcini Mozzarella salad with rocket pesto

Salad
Fresh seasonal salad with vinaigrette

Main
Pan seared fillet steak with thyme scented gnocchi and creamed truffle jus

Chicken tikka masala with saag aloo and mushroom saffron rice

Walnut and blue cheese polenta with herbed wild mushroom and tomato coulis

Chilled main course salad of poached Loch Fyne salmon, roast new potatoes and Pommery mustard

Desert
Caramelised apple tart Tatin with cinnamon creme anglaise

Lincolnshire Poacher and Blue Wensleydale with oatcake biscuits and grapes

Fruit and chocolates

I also looked at the wine list and choose the red wine from Chile. BA have done me proud with red wines in the past and this one was no exception. Very strong, robust and spicy. I had many glasses of this over lunch with the crew filling glasses as they passed in each direction through the cabin.

The wines on offer were:

Champagne

Ayla Brut Majeur NV

White
Chablis 2008 Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, Burgundy, France
Old Well House Grenache Blanc 2009 Western Cape South Africa

Red
Chateau Barateau 2006 Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France
Villa San-Juliette Merlot 2007, Paso Robles, California, USA
Chono Reserva Syrah 2008, Elqui Valley, Chile

I decided not to have a starter and simply began with the salad.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

Then I had the steak which I thought was quite tender and cooked to my liking. The gnocchi was very tasty and the sauce was delicious.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

The desert was very sweet and moist and although I would have preferred it warm it was very tasty.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

After lunch I continued to watch “Never Let me Go”, a strangely placid but very dark science fiction film with Carey Mulligan, and then moved to a another film about a brother wrongly accused of murder which completely failed to engage my attention. Perhaps the wine was just too nice and was already lulling me into holiday mode.

Occasionally I would lift the window blind to look at the sea below and the blazing sun as we approached St Lucia.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

Afternoon tea arrived next, still wrapped in its cellophane and on a much smaller tray than I remember from earlier Club trips. The sandwiches were fine if a little dry, so needed washing down with even more red wine. By now I was completely in holiday mode.

Afternoon Tea
An individual choice of sandwiches featuring beef with horseradish and mature Cheddar with pickle.

Plain or fruit scones served with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

Very soon we were approaching St Lucia and I could see the beautiful Piton mountains out of the window as we landed. First off the plane, first through immigration and off to paradise for 12 days.

British Airways Club World Review London Gatwick to St Lucia

Over to you: I would love to hear your travel tales. Have you flown with BA in Club World? What did you think of the service. Was it a truly premium experience. Leave a comment, share your thoughts and let me know.