One of the reasons this hotel is controversial is because of the star rating. It is NOT a luxury hotel -it's a good family/budgetplus hotel - I'd say c 3.5 maybe stars. For us it was large, we'd have preferred smaller, and not in a pretty Caribbean style, but it wasn't a grim concrete block either - there are a lot of pics on the hotel's own site, which are accurate I'd say from experience. The grounds are Very spacious - like I said, it's the only resort hotel around! and you are Very uncrowded.
Lots of bougainvillea etc at the rear of the hotel, where the tennis courts are, the sea facing area is less ornate, but spacious and attractively laid out and planted.
DO understand that this hotel is on the Atlantic, not the Caribbean. The sea IS rougher - but we are not talking surf! One big issue for many is the presence of sea grass in the sea - there is a substantial amount of it, with some clear patches.
The sea grasses washes on to the beach, BUT this is cleared pretty much daily, and is only about a foot wide to step over. However, yes, the sea is not a big plus point for this hotel.
The beach, though, IS - it isn't large, BUT the sand is plentiful, deep, soft and golden ,which is not always the case I understand from Caribbean facing hotels on St Lucia.
The beach is quite narrow, but long, and there is no sense of crowding. The loungers were plentiful and I was never short of one as I lay under a coconut palm in the cooling Atlantic breeze (breeze was a big plus point in keeping the temperature very pleasant)(also keep the mossies away!).
There is a large sea-front decking area as well, with a lot of loungers. Plus loungers around the large pools.
The pools are very good - there's a very large children's pool, with sloping entrance, and about four foot from the beach, so easy access (just step over a small wooden 'fence' that keeps the sand out of the pool).
There are sitting platforms and fountains, and a mini jaccuzzi, and the whole pool is shallow. There's also a swim up bar which is great fun. The deeper pool is closer by, again very large, with volley ball if you want it. The adult pool is more remote, and smaller, but peaceful.
It's close to the spa at the far end of the gardens. I saw a woman having a massage by the shore, in the cooling breeze and shade and it looked lovely! Also for children (and adults!) is the lazy river, which winds on the other far side of the grounds, past the children's pool.
This is a great feature, though some say the rings supplied are too small for adults to lie in, only sit in - so, could bring your own large rings.
There are also two long water slides here, which are manned by staff for safety. These close at sunset. (so do the pools officially, but people were still swimming at dusk). There is a hot tub near the big main pool - very nice.
In between the childrens pool and the main pool is a large beach bar/grill. Some like this, some don't. I felt it was a bit downmarket, and would have preferred it not to be there, but it was popular at lunchtime, and those who ate there said it was very good for burgers/salads etc. I felt the 'frying smell' was off putting.
The main eating area is the cafeteria style Coconut walk, leading off the large lounge (some say the lounge is like an airport waiting room - I found it very pleasant and spacious, and I like it being open to the outdoors). Now, for me, the food is NOT the best point of this hotel. It's 'OK' but not fantastic.
There's variety, but the quality is of a good canteen. To an extent, it depends what you want - and what you want to pay. Like I say, this is a comfortable family hotel. There is a children's food menu, which I feel is a plus point. We never went hungry, but we didn't exactly look forward to meals in any gluttonous way! Breakfast was good, possibly the best meal.
Some evenings were waitress service, and the food then could be much better - sometimes service was slow (this is the Caribbean!).
However, upstairs there are two small restaurants you have to reserve for. The Asian one was OK, but the food not that brilliant (but I'm not a big fan anyway) BUT the Italian one was excellent! I would recommend this all the time -BUT the menu was limited (it's not supposed to be for everyday fare).
The quality of food here was very, very good. They also took the trouble to serve my fussy eater kiddy with plain pasta (not on the menu!) and even served him that when we ate at the Asian restaurant next door (same kitchen) which I thought excellent customer care.
Young children, apparently, have to eat at an earlier sitting, and there is supposed to be a long-trouser dress code, but I'm not sure it was always followed!
Twice weekly there are big BBQs which take place extensively around the pool area - a lot of work goes into them, and they are very good. A wide variety of food, and good quality - not just BBQ.
We found the rooms spacious (two double beds and a sitting area), and all face the sea, but only the upper floors (more expensive)(only four floors in all) get the full sea view - we saw it through the palm trees. The TV picks up a lot of US channels which is good for kids.
The balcony is very small, but you can't really sit there because of the mossies anyway (the sea breeze doesn't reach that far in). The air con was good. There's no fridge in the room, but an ice bucket and ice machine at the foot of the staircase (there are lifts too). No bath, only shower, but for us that was fine.
There's an ironing board and iron in the wardrobe.(note- there is a launderette, but you pay for it!)(bad point) Safety deposit box in the wardrobe. Decor is 'med/carib' with attractive colours. Suited us fine. We only ever saw one cockroach - dead, just inside our door.
There is a gap under the door to the outer walkway, which we put a towel across in future, and under the bathroom door as the b/room has louvred windows to the outside which are not mossie proof. We used mossie killer plug ins overnight in the room, plus a/c and were not troubled by bites.
I have, overall, only one main moan about this hotel, it's the MUSIC. I was absolutely horrified that when we were there they pumped very loud stereo pop music out over BOTH the pool areas. It reached far and wide and could even be heard, the thumping bass, out by the adult pool, which is supposed to be quiet.
I found respite only on the beach, with the wind against the music, and in two wind shadows, behidn the entertainment theatre and the (smelly!) beach bar.
The music was utterly appalling - they also tannoyed the damn acquarobic sessions around the whole grounds, as if anyone else were the slightest interested!
This is a major downer for me, and just ruined the days. We go to the carib for peace and quiet - the setting was gorgeous, and then this noise ruined it. If you want music, people bring their Ipods these days!!
Entertainment was, for me, poor, in that it was irrelevant and unnecessary. There was supposed to be a disco upstairs every night I think - not for us!
Plus after the BBQ there were bands and dancers - not interested and rather loud. Evenings they sometimes ruined the lounge by having a far too loud band, or pumping out loud music again. They seem to think it creates an atmosphere of liveliness.....
Staff were, overall, extremely good. They are clearly making an effort, and that is a good sign. All the parents of young children I spoke to said the kids club was excellent as well- there's also a water fountain area for them which is turned on daily.
There is no organised club for older children, which is a lack I feel. Sec.school age children get quickly bored,but they did organise beach cricket and some volleyball - just need more of it!
The hotel also misses a real opportunity by not palling up with the windsurfing station and organising proper watersports activities on option. One good thing was the pool tables plus the games room with PS2 etc (free) for hot noon times. Snorkelling kit available, plus tennis and table tennis. All free.
Don't go to this hotel if you want an elegant, upmarket,classy, peaceful, luxury resort. Go if you want a good value, clean, very spacious, kid-focussed place with loads of space and fantastic open views and cooling breeze. We liked it and enjoyed it - apart from the damn pool music!
Food could stand improving - but maybe that's what you get for your budget. AI bar was fantastic - on tap slush/cokes/etc for kids, and you couldbe dead drunk by noon if you wanted! I pigged on sweet, fruity cocktails in the evening. Yum!
The location of the hotel means it is remote from the main tourist areas. The hotel organises trips which I felt were extremely expensive. We hired a car - pricey but worth it -from Avis at the hotel (same price as Hertz at the airport), BUT they were out of four by fours (BAD - buy more for the tourists!).
You're about 45 minutes from the Pitons (closer to here than they are from Castries) and the fantastic Jalousie and Ladera hotels (well worth a visit) and the 'volcano' (collapsed side with steaming pongy hot mud - again, worth a visit!).
There is access to the rainforest but do NOT go there without a four by four - we did and the car hardly made it!! Dirt/mud road at the end! Warning warning! There are mangrove swamps near by (not for us) plus ATV place which looked fun (we didn't get there). It's about 1.5 hours to drive to Castries - very scenic drive. Castries is horrible anyway - far too build up.
Rodney bay very resorty. We liked the south - Pitons are best. Didn't see much of the stretch Pitons/Castries, but its the most remote apparently (and very scenic). Vieux Fort, the local town, is a working St Lucian town, and though authentic therefore, is not for tourists. Good supermarket there.
If you take CBR for what it is, and not for what it can be sold as by the brochures, then it is good. It has significant plus points, and some minus ones, depending on your tastes (eg, some folk may find the ghastly pool music a plus!!).
(Ps - it says 'selfcatering on the side' but we were AI - I couldn't change this on the form - sorry)
Travel operator: Kenwood Travel
However, due to a flight cancellation we stayed in the Coconut Bay, which is only 5 mins from the airport from about 6pm till 5pm the following day.
The hotel itself is lovely although if I'd been put here for my holiday I don't think I would've been too impressed.
It's on the south side of the island therefore the sea is the Atlantic and very rough and cold (at least I assume that it was cold as we never went near it!).
The room was average sized unlike the 2 star one which was huge in comparison and the balcony was tiny with 2 seats more suitable for children and a small footstool type table. There was also a slight aroma of dampness from the bed and the linen was very stiff and like sandpaper (starched?).
The food also was not great, for a 4 star anyway.
We spoke to other residents at this hotel. A group of 23 Brits who were there for a wedding were not impressed with it. They had originally booked for the Moon Palace, Cancun, Mexico, but as it had been badly damaged in the recent hurricane, they had been redirected to the Coconut Bay. Some had previously been to the Moon Palace in Cancun and stated that there was no comparison between hotels.
I have also been to Cancun, although not at the Moon Palace unfortunately, but would have been distraught had I been the bride. It certainly isn't the worst hotel I've stayed in but definitely is not worth it's 4 star rating.
If you intend going here don't have too high expectations or pay too much and you'll probably have a wonderful time.
If you like to go into the sea you'd be better off staying on the west side of the island as that's where the Caribbean is!
Travel operator: Kuoni
Staff couldn;t cope, very seedy hotel, pubic areas not clean, didnt feel very safe in nearby town, however we hired a jeep and toured the island, a relief to get out of hotel !
Food always cold, uncovered, etc. during our stay hotel ran out of rum, gin,beer and trying to buy a special bottle of wine was a major event.
Worst thing--was charged
Travel operator: janetsmithtravel
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