Cotton Bay Village
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Travel Blogs from Castries
... through. Visiting St. Lucia's "drive in volcano" the only one of its type in the Caribbean was also exciting.
At the end of the tour we we tendered back to the cruise ship from the enchanting Soufriere just as the sun was about to set. Back on board the sun lit up the sky silhouetting the Pitons one last time for some amazing photo opportunities as we sailed away from St. Lucia.
Footnote: Pitons Management Area is UNESCO World Heritage ...
... was cold and refreshing and then a man persuaded us to pay to take his photo and sell us an old piece of coral.
By this time we were hoping the tour had ended but we were next taken to a British Fort called La Toc Battery which was being restored by an American woman who bought it years ago as an overgrown wreck. This was finally something worth seeing. She also had an amazing old bottle collection which she and her husband had collected ...
... the right quay for the bus to Arashi, which is recommended as the best snorkelling spot. Bus turns up after 10 minutes, and we head up the coast to the far NW corner. We meet Julie, a fellow cruiser, from California on the bus and she teams up with us as she doesn’t want to snorkel alone. Walk down to the beach, which looks really interesting for snorkelling, and leave our gear with a local family camping on the beach.
We swim out a long ...
... good. Tonight we splurged with a glass of Barossa Valley shiraz- Ross Wines "Lights Out'' - it was good and went well with our lamb cutlets. Most nights we enjoyed our own wine in our cabin!
Another big musical show called 'Sirens’ entertained us for an hour but we decided to miss the Caribbean Tropical Party by the pool and hit the sack!
... cats sat outside the cafe. On the way back we popped into a little place and booked a days diving, our last one of the trip. A few days later they picked us up and we went down to the Pitons and dived at the bottom of them. Had been so long since we dived it was nice to get in the water again. Enjoyed a couple of chilled out dives and was so pleased when i saw a turtel. I will never get bored of them. We spent the rest of our time ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
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Historical Traveler Reviews Cotton Bay Village Castries
This resort is still being finished although we were told that all units are now sold. As we travelled 'out of season' we, more or less, had the place to ourselves.The unit was spacious,clean and well furnished and we had no problems with any utilities other than when some contractors damaged a water pipe. This was fixed after about three hours. We found the restaurant service quite good but were disappointed in the menu choice and lack of vegetables. Travelling in to Rodney Bay for an evening meal or to go shopping incurred a $40 taxi fare so quite an expensive option on a daily basis. The new restaurant/bar/shop complex is being worked on and may be open for Xmas 2007?? Also, the access road is now being finished which should make a tremendous difference. The beach area in front of the restaurant is nice with shallow safe water. Be prepared for lots of sea grass in the water which makes it look rather grubby. It would be nice if the rest of the beach was kept cleaner. The pool area is superb with plenty of loungers and a very nice young man who keeps everything spotless. The water is sparkling and lovely and warm! If you like solitude and lazing around all day every day then this is the place for you (with some reservations). However, if you want some choice in where to shop or eat then opt for somewhere nearer town. Also, take lots of anti insect bite preperations!! This was our first visit to the Caribbean and we felt quite disappointed
Chilled out in style
Myself and my husband and 3 year old daughter have just had a wonderful stay at Cotton bay Village in St Lucia. It is our 3rd visit to the Island and we had heard mixed views and comments about this place, but were prepared to give it a chance as we were struggling to find accommodation to the standard that we wanted, having left it until last minute to book. We stayed in a large 2 bedroom apartment, which was fully furnished and full of all the latest equipment, much of which we didn't use, for instance Play Station, 3 TVs and a very complicated looking coffee machine.
The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and always courteous and polite. The restaurant on the beach was in a lovely location, always with a nice breeze, and the food was excellent. A great kid's menu as well which made my life a little easier. There was also room service, not only to your room but around the pool if you wanted it, which again proved very helpful.
The whole holiday proved to be just very relaxing and despite the fact that there were still a few construction people on the complex, they were rarely heard. Given another 6 months I think the whole holiday experience will be great, it just lacked numbers of people there to share your time with, but they have assured us that by Christmas the place will be really buzzing, and we have booked for next April already.
An honest appraisal
Cotton bay Village is a new concept in the Caribbean in that all of the 74 properties which comprise the resort are privately owned. Sunswept Resorts (the Management Agents) who also run Le Sport - the body holiday, Jalouise, and Rendezvous hotels on the Island, have committed to managing the resort and delivering a 5 star Spa and Golf resort for Families.
I have recently returned from a 5 week trip to the resort. I am heartened to read that reviews on trip advisor are now picking up, but saddened to find that there still appear to be some teething problems being experienced by some holiday makers. The resort is a brand new build, and essentially a brand new resort concept. The owners are working very hard to ensure that the build and finish is what you would expect from a 5 Star resort. Many properites have been furnished independently of the contractors and are finshed to a very high spec. My advice is that if you are 'unlucky' with your particular accomodation for whatever reason, ask to be moved to another unit as the staff try to accomodate wherever possible. The resort is not busy at the moment as not all of the facilities have yet been completed.
There is one restaurant - Beach front (not yet the 3 promised) and the food served there, together with the service is great. The staff make it their business to learn your name so that you will be greeted appropriately on your next visit and the smiles are always readily available. The additional restaurants are on schedule to open certainly by Oct '07, maybe before. These restaurants will offer a champagne and sea food bar as well as the eagerly awaited 'fine dining' restaurant. The beach front bar serves International and local drinks as well as cocktails and afternoon nibbles (home made tortilla chips and Plantain chips with dips are provided free!) An 'All Day' bar menu is also available as is room service of course. Wireless internet is also available in the bar/restaurant if you have a lap top.
A new resort will always experience some difficulties and issues, but it is the manner in which they are dealt with that truly matters. I experienced very few problems in the villa in which I stayed, but those I did i.e light bulb replacement and other very minor issues, maintenance staff attended and dealt with relatively quickly...this is the Caribbean after all!. The villa pool was cleaned daily by a charming young man who was eager to please. Having stayed in two of Sunswepts resorts previously, I can say that I have every confidence in the management of this resort and Sunswept are commited to delivering a high standard here.
The bottom line, in my opinion, having lived in it for 5 weeks is this.... Not all facilites are yet up and running. I have spoken to many agents who are currently flooding in to inspect the resort. Their feedback is very positive. Almost all have stated that once all restaurants are completed, travel agents worldwide will be promoting this resort as 5 star. In the meantime, greatly reduced packages are available due to the continuing finishing works on the resort, (make sure that whatever accomodation style you choose it is towards the beach front or middle of the resort)... there truly are some fabulous bargains to be had here before the resort really takes-off. My assessment would put the resort presently at 3.5star because of the finishing works but with 5 star trimmings!
Horrible, Horrible, Horrible
We returned 5/27 from a week long stay in the 3 bdrm Coral Penthouse. I was concerned prior to going because of the negative reviews I had read here. I wrote to the resort and was assured the comments were unfounded....
The resort claims to be 5 star...you be the judge, as I don't feel it even deserves 1 star. Upon arrival our "penthouse" had the following issues; broken safes, dirty broken jacuzzi, broken Plasma TV in living room (all unusable for the entire stay), A/C was problematic upon arrival, broken 2 days later, repaired 1 day later, dying again the day before we left. The guests in one bedroom had to move into the 3rd twinbed room. The top stair of the spiral staircase that leads outside to the pool, literally fell off while we were walking down it.
The gym had no attendant, A/C not working, no cups for water, no towels and "out of order" signs taped to 3 out of 7 machines.
The Spa had only 1 person working for everything (massages, facials, manicures, pedicures), the entire week. She was very though.
The pool had no attendant. There's a bar that looks like someone may work there some day. A few towels are left on sporadic lounges around 10am and that's it for the entire day.
There is only one open place to eat, not 3 as claimed. No sundries shop or deli as in the marketing materials.
One day we had no water, bathrooms, etc from 9am to almost 3pm. The resort claims it wasn't their fault. I can only guess at the truth of the situation.
Prior to check out I requested copies of our receipts for reconciliaiton. I asked again at checkout and was told no one was available to get them but they would fax them to me. I noted that there was an excessive "transportation" amount noted. After a lengthy discussion and showing our receipts for our transportation we were given a partial credit and told the balance was for our transportation back to the airport. Upon arrival at the airport the driver told us we needed to pay him. I assured him that Cotton Bay already charged us and he left. 20 minutes later he came back and pulled us out of the security line stating that Cotton Bay told him to collect the money from us. We didn't have time to argue and didn't want to make a bigger scene so we went and found an ATM machine, paid the driver and got back at the end of the line.
Additionally, we were charged taxes and service charges that were clearly stated as "included" in our package. The front desk clerk stated "only a portion" of this is included.
I wrote to Kevin, the property manager, on May 28th. He sent a one line email back on 5/31 saying he would look into this and get back to me the next day. I've never heard back from him. I've written several times since and no reply. I followed up with the booking rep who confirmed that they did overcharge us for the transportation but that it was actually our fault....I am still waiting for receipts to try and reconcile the bill, which is a nightmare to understand. I did get a fax of our bill again though...same one I already had.
I understand this is a new resort and therefore gave them several weeks to try and address my concerns. No follow up for weeks on their part just shows how poorly this place is run.
There are too many beautiful, well run, actual 5 star resorts in the islands, so don't waste time and money on this place.
We visited Cotton bay in February when it was nearing completion but that did not prevent us having a wonderful time. We stayed in a two bed apartment by the pool surrounded by beautiful gardens. Only the beach front restaurant was open but the food was excellent quality and service was impecable - staff could not do enough for our 5 year old daughter. We used the Kids Club most days and the staff were wonderful. The Bar is perched on the edge of the beach with beautiful views across the bay. The swimming was also great as the beach gently slopes down into the water.
Rooms were beautifully finished and service was efficient and discreet. A call to the butler was all that was needed to arrange a candle lit Valentines dinner or to arrange a scuba dive.
There were still signs of building works as the development is being finished off but this did not detract from a wonderful holiday experience.
We will be going back in July for some more heaven!
We have just arrived back from our stay of one week at Cotton Bay and it was a fabulous time. Keeping in mind when we booked the trip, we knew the resort would not be complete we took a gamble and the gamble paid off.
I just read complaints about air conditioning and ants, but if you have ever stayed in the carribbean, there are those little tiny, tiny ants, and not all villas are fully complete with a/c because of the fabulous winds there. We just opened our bathroom doors and opened our bedroom doors and cooled the whole place off.
We had a butler with our package and it was great. He took care of taxis, trips around the island, and dinner reservations, which because not all of the restaurants were completed at the resort and we got to go into Rodney Bay and have some very good food on our meal plan. Make sure you try The Edge or Buzz --- excellent.
As with any island cab ride they are expensive, but through the all inclusive food plan, the rides to the restaurant were included.
1461, the restaurant at Cotton Bay, was very good.
The service was impeccable. This is not the US and yes, things do take longer, but perhaps we all need to slow down and enjoy the view from the restaurant.
OUr room was completed and we had a two bedroom suite on the upper level. I did hear they are putting the finishing touches on the rooms, but ours was complete.
It seemed when we asked for something, we got it. Just be patient, sit back and relax.
We are looking forward to coming back when it is fully completed.
There are horse tours that go on the beach, but the employees clean the beach of the seaweed and minimal "horse poop" once or twice a day. Where else can you have the whole beach to yourselves? It was fabulous.
The pool was great too. Clean and Warm.
Has problems, but good value if price is low
We stayed in a Tamarind 2BR suite from March 17-24. It has some real problems, and my guess is they aren't going to be able to fix all of them... however, for us, it was a great bargain since we had a very nice, large suite for something like $250 per night. (We booked through American Airlines Vacations.) We knew there would be problems but took a gamble. In the end, it was worth it to have the kind of room we had (about 1200 sq ft, with full kitchen) since we were travelling with a baby and the Carribean can be so expensive. So we gave it a shot, and -- even though this place isn't for everyone and we'd have been mortified if we paid $600 per night -- we're glad we did.
The prior reviewer accurately mentioned some of the many negatives about this property: uneven service at best, lack of certain furnishings (no drawers for clothing, etc.), and we had minor ant problems as well. Strangely, we found the bathrooms to be very poorly lit -- that is, no lights by the sink. Also, having A/C only in the bedrooms is a terrible idea -- even though it's beautiful to open the siding doors and feel the breeze, that (i) doesn't help much during the daytime to cool the place, and (ii) invites LOTS of flying bugs in at night.
It's also true that the units, at least their kitchens, are not uniformly stocked -- we lacked basic pots and pans, food storage containers, etc. That made things difficult for us, since we prepare food for our 1-year old. After numerous requests, our butlers did get us a few pots, and we just made due. Not a good situation for a place that provides a full kitchen. (And no, there really is no place to sit and eat, other than the balcony.)
Other than those problems, the rooms, I have to say, are beautiful. Nicely furnished, flat-panel TVs/DVD players throughout, solid and tasteful furniture, good bedding, nice balconies (our unit, number 82 I believe, had 3) and outdoor lounge chairs, even good shampoos and soaps, etc. Housekeeping was very good, too.
We found most of food at the restaurant to be quite good. (Just stay away from the "paella" at dinner!) However, since the resort is located so far from any other restaurant, it would have been great for either more menu choices (the menu never changed during our 7 days), or having more on-site restaurant options, or both. Contrary to the prior reviewer, we generally found service at the restaurant to be very good. (But yes, taxi prices are rediculous... expect to pay about $1 per minute of driving time.)
The childcare was very good, and located just off the pool. We left our little one there for short periods, and hired one of the women who worked there (Laura) to sit for us when we went to dinner a few times. She was very nice and we were quite happy with all aspects of the childcare setup.
The beach is relatively pretty to look at from the restaurant, but not a great place to spend time. The water is full of seaweed, there are lots of horses, the water is a little rough and not very clear, and the sand generally looks a bit dirty. So if you're expecting a pristine Carribbean beach, you'll be very disappointed. Since having a baby on the beach is a handful, we spent most of our time at the pool/baby pool, which is quite nice. If being located on a beautiful beach is important to you, you'll probably be happier elsewhere.
My wife had a tough time at the spa, which was only partially ready for customers. She recieved a very good facial from the service provider, but that same woman apparently had no idea how to give a pedicure (and admitted it), and did so poor a job that my wife asked her not to finish it. When my wife told the spa manager that she didn't want to pay full price for the pedicure, the manager was defensive and basically told her to pay full price and that they'd finish the job later. She ended up cutting $15 off or something, but the manager obviously lacks the insight about what it means to be on vacation and at a spa, and that clients want to relax there rather than haggle over prices for substandard service. Coupled with the fact that the spa is still a construction zone (and thus is not terribly "atmospheric" at the moment), I think they really should consider cutting ALL of their prices there until construction is complete.
Here's the bottom line about Cotton Bay: while it's rooms and other buildings are constructed and furnished on a five-star level, the resort will never be a five-star resort in my opinion because they just don't understand what it takes from a service perspective to attain that status. For example, while our butlers were quite sweet, we had to ask several times for kitchen supplies, we asked for dishwasher soap and they returned with one tablet (again, we were staying for a week). We asked the pool bartender for a food menu, and they said we needed to call our butler. So it took the butler 15 minutes to get a menu and bring it, then another 20-30 minutes to bring the food. Little things all, but they add up. In short, this is a 3-to-4 star place, dressed up like a 5-star; if you can get it for the right price and can live with these shortcomings, it's actually quite a good bargain. But if the resort's prices start climbing, its relative value will disappear...and that's when the truly angry reviews will start pouring in.
Date: March 23 - 30
We just returned from our trip and while the accomodations were amazing...there are many problems.
For starters, if you are a beach person, you will be extremely disappointed. The resort is on the Atlantic coast so it is very windy
and the sand is the texture and color of dirt and the water is choked
with sea grass. The beach is also covered with horse droppings due to the daily horseback riding tours.
No one mentioned that all of the units are individually owned so they
are not furnished the same. Also, no matter what room, villa or townhouse you stay in, the bedrooms are the only rooms that are air conditioned. Bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms ARE NOT! None of the suites have any drawers or chest or drawers for your clothing. There are a few shelves in the closets but otherwise we had to live out of our suitcases for lack of storage space. The resort is also built on what used to be a swamp so all of us guests were covered in mosquito bites! They have an ant problem also.
We originally booked a Tamarind suite but requested to be moved after
two days because the air conditioning did not work, the sitting room and kitchen were infested with ants and there were no tables or mirrors anywhere in the unit. We could not figure out why no one thought of any place to sit down and eat since we had a full kitchen and where did they expect us women to dry our hair, put on make-up, etc. with no mirrors. The shower was SO small that you could barely turn around. We did get moved to a Calabsh suite which had plenty of
tables, mirrors and a spacious bathroom and shower but we still had ants in the sitting area.
While the staff was very friendly and helpful including our butlers, they are clueless as to how service their guests. The dining room staff was probably the worst offenders. I made the mistake of asking for a side order of sausage to go with my french toast and it took them about 20 minutes to figure out how to place the order. I would also suggest purchasing the meal plan because meals and drinks are expensive. Speaking of expensive, a 10 minute taxi ride into Rodney Bay is $32 US round trip!
We took a tour of the resort and all of the accomodations are top of the line but I can't see this place really taking off for the "money is no object" traveler they are looking to target. The resort is scheduled to officially open in June 2007.
Good family break
I have just returned from 1 week at Cotton Bay Village in St Lucia with my husband and our 2 1/2 year old son.
The accommodation was fantastic. We stayed in a 2 bed Calabash suite. We had the four-poster and our son had his separate room. We had a good size sitting room and kitchen with full facilities. All new and beautifully done.
There was only one restaurant open, which did limit us slightly, but having said that the food was a good standard, and room service/butler service very friendly and very quick.
If you a relying on a full blown Kids Club, then it hasn't actually got up and running yet, but will do in due course.
The Spa is great.
The facilites are due to be finished in the next few months, and I'm sure it will be a big success.
Quite frankly it should not have opened and accepted guests when it did. We were the second party to arrive at the hotel and as we, and subsequent guests, found out, very little was ready. This included no hot water, TVs and DVDs not installed or working, electrics that were unable to cope, no bar, Spa, Kids' Club etc etc and only one restaurant (really the casual dining beach restaurant).
That said, the staff were trying hard to please in difficult circumstances and the location is lovely. Although on the east coast, and therefore more prone to breezes and wind, it certainly felt more unspoilt and secluded as a result. Also, our room was superb (Coral suite). 3 beds, all ensuite with an extra bathroom, multiple balconies for sitting and lying on and a rooftop terrace with a jacuzzi. This is a superb family suite, well appointed and furnished. Also, the food was excellent and the restaurant staff very helpful.
Overall one is left with the sense of what might have been. The main facilites are desperately needed and it will be interesting to see how it develops from here on.