Most tourists who visit St Lucia are allured to the more commercial northern end of the Caribbean island. They’re attracted to the beachfront mega-resorts, designer shopping malls, and corporate restaurants and nightlife of Castries and Gros Islet. When they want to experience the culture and history of St Lucia, they head south for an afternoon to visit a plantation or the Pitons, St Lucia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The savvy traveler realizes that the Southern region of St Lucia is worth more than a day trip and stays in one of the many boutique resorts away from the beaten path. Fond Doux Plantation and Resort is the perfect example.
Located in St Lucia’s playground
Fond Doux is a boutique resort nestled into the rainforest on a 250-year-old working plantation. It’s located less than five miles outside of Soufriere Town in the remains of the extinct volcanic crater that helped form the island over 400,000 years ago. The four-mile caldera also houses the famed Pitons, active sulfur springs, mud baths, and plenty of lush vegetation perfect for organic produce.
Fond Doux helps its guests explore those sites through its own private tours. Tours range from those geared for the casual tourists with leisurely hikes to those more adventurous wanting to trek the Pitons. Sugar Beach is also close by, and Fond Doux does offer a free shuttle for resort guests. Beyond the natural attractions, there are also plenty of restaurants, like Boucon Restaurant, serving up fresh, local, and original cuisine. All are within a short cab ride from Fond Doux. Don’t worry about getting around either. Fond Doux operates its own car service at a very affordable rate.
Stay in your own private cottage
Guests stay in one of 15 private cottages that have been built into the resort’s gardens and woods. The structures are 19th century colonial buildings that were relocated to Fond Doux from elsewhere on the island. Each cabin has been uniquely decorated by a local artist and has a balcony with a view of the rainforest where you can watch hummingbirds at play. The cottages were designed to make guests feel at home and offer plenty of privacy nestled into the resort’s hillsides, gardens, and jungle. It truly feels like home away from home.
All that privacy does come with quite a bit of walking from the cottages to the rest of the resort’s amenities. The pool and restaurants may be a five to ten minute walk away along winding, wooded paths. While none of the walks are too strenuous, the walkways might not be ideal for those with mobility issues. A standard one-bedroom cabin costs 300 USD a night during the high season with options to upgrade to a one-bedroom honeymoon suite at 425 USD a night. Honeymoon suites include a private splash pool and outdoor rainforest shower. For larger groups, two bedroom cottages are available at 425 USD a night. The two bedroom cottages include a fully equipped kitchen.
Enjoy the benefits of a working plantation
Yes, Fond Doux is an actual working cocoa plantation. In the courtyard throughout the day, cocoa beans dry on racks filling the air with the sweet, seductive aroma of chocolate. Some of that chocolate makes its way into Fond Doux’s cuisine. The cocoa tea served at breakfast is a fan favorite. Besides cocoa, Fond Doux grows plenty of other organic vegetables, fruits, and spices which guests get to enjoy in the resort’s “plantation to plate” restaurant. Cottages are stocked daily with fresh mangos, bananas, and other seasonal fruits. If guests need a snack while relaxing by the pool, grounds men are happy to climb a tree and pick a mango or coconut (There’s no charge but a tip is recommended).
Help save the Planet
Fond Doux has achieved a Green Globe certification for its efforts in creating sustainable, environmentally friendly tourism. To help conserve energy, efficiency light bulbs illuminate the property and accommodations. None of the rooms have air conditioners or televisions, which encouraged guests to reconnect with nature by allowing the Caribbean breeze to cool cabins and the sounds of the rainforest to stimulate imaginations. Plaques are dispersed throughout the resort reminding guests to conserve water by turning off faucets, taking short showers, and reusing towels. While some of these items may sound inconvenient, a quick walk along the resort’s many nature trails serves as a reminder of the importance of conserving the environment.
All products used at Mama Le Terre Spa are 100% natural made from local, organically grown ingredients. Fruits are used to make the creams and scrubs, and the massage oils are infused with coconuts, herbs, and other organic aromatics. They even offer a cocoa facial.
A different kind of Caribbean experience
Fond Doux Plantation and Resort is for travelers tired of the cookie cutter Caribbean resort experience. The resort is located far from the trodden path in the lush foliage of the rainforest. It’s an intimate, boutique experience still with all the amenities– swimming pools, spa, and restaurants- one would find at a larger resort. Travelers looking to experience the St Lucian culture and foodies wanting for a unique culinary experience should look to stay at this working plantation.