Almond Smugglers Cove

Cap Estates , Castries , St. Lucia , Caribbean
4 star hotel

Overview

Ratings summary

Brilliant
12
Good
6
Average
2
Poor
3
Awful
8

Rating by feature

  • 3.5 room
  • 3 pool
  • 3.5 beach
  • 3 service
  • 4 dining
  • 4 amenities
  • 1 value
  • 3.5 food
  • 1 cleanliness
  • 2 location
 

31 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

best holiday of a lifetime

5
Brilliant
by

"this hotel is amazing, i had the best time ever, the staff are all friendly and very polite, the rooms were always immaculate, would recommend to anybody!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 6th of January 2011

active fun relaxing inshape trip

5
Brilliant
by

"i could not beleive how it has changed from almond it is more hands on more activities better restaurants better service and more smiles. It rained twice and even with the activities we had a super time. It is like a La sport just not as expensive its great for families and kids the water slide had more adults then kids the service was simply outstanding A lot of choices for food and activities i would reccomend this place to anyone who likes to do more then just sit on the beach"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 6th of January 2011

Were the sheets washed?

3
Average
by

"Had to stay here for one night because Virgin flight was delayed due to 'bird strike' on incoming flight .
Virgin worked hard to find us accommodation but seemed not to know where there were available rooms so there was a fair amount of bussing around.
Smugglers Cove is a beautiful site but the rooms we were allocated were not up to scratch: the locks were faulty on both rooms, there was no lock on interconnecting doors, air-con didn.t work there was a rusty broken safe, there were insects on the floor and no way of dealing withthem and, WORST OF ALL, the bed sheets were un-ironed and had stains all over them!!! The mechanical faults were remedied before 11pm, but we were tired and didn't examine the bed until after we'd slept in it --and no, we didn't make the stains!!!
This was an emergency but really----"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 3rd of January 2011

The excellent , the good and the need to be addressed urgently...

1
Awful
by

"Hello
My husband I returned from Smugglers Cove just before Christmas; our daugher was married there.
The excellent - I cannot praise Lorna, the wedding planner enough. Simply superb and a real asset to the resort.
We also found most of the staff keen to greet us, especially the resturant staff. I have to mention Chrissie, Fiona and Rose for always going out of their way to make us feel welcome and valued.
The good - We enjoyed the Waterside resturant but preffered the Cove for evening meals as no booking was required. Food great, always a variery to suit.
Accomodation - liked it, in fact on of the few holidays which both of us actually unpacked. Always kept clean and spotless.
Need to be addressed urgently - Managment team - why do you not greet the guests in the same way the staff do? We saw 'Management' on our travels around the resort but not once were we greeted, not good at all, in fact its downright rude.
We were unfortunate to have property stolen from our room whilst we were away for the day despite the room being locked. There was no forced entry either. We reported it to Management who contacted the Police who came the next day to take a statement. I am still waiting for crime number so cannot pursue insurance until I receive this.
My question to the Management team - we were made aware (from other guests) of a number of thefts during our stay. How come, when room access is by keycard only , that the 'perpetrator' cannot be easily identified?
To conclude - St Lucia is a beautiful island and the people genuinly want you to have an enjoyable stay. However its highly unlikly we will return, certainly not to this resort until the security of the accomodation is addressed."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 2nd of January 2011

Great value for the price!

4
Good
by

"We were there over Christmas and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed the food at all the restaurants, especially the Italian restaurant. The grounds are beautiful. We liked the fact that the resort is spread out and that the rooms ressemble little cottages instead of apartment buildings like we saw at other resorts. We enjoyed the kayaks and paddle boats. There is water skiing and sailing offered too. Some buildings need to be repainted and updated and hopefully the new management will get going on that. We had a great time, although there was more rain than usual the week we were there."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 29th of December 2010

Smuggler's Cove, St Lucia is "Simply Beautiful"

4
Good
by

"My husband and I had just returned from our 8th trip to St. Lucia (7th to this resort) when Hurrican Tomas struck. I am so pleased that the resort is up and running again and am anxious to hear about the new ownership as this is our favorite place away from home. Each day we walked to Smuggler's Cove and then snorkeled our way back into our cove. Great snorkeling. The watersport team is incredible - Sherman, Val, Gary and Jackie - thanks for always taking such good care of us and for being a joy to be around. The water was smooth and we had a great time skiing. We love the bugalow type rooms and the beautiful walks to and fro. The food was good, we enjoyed seeing the International Dancers and we can't wait to go back again. Hopefully, with the change in ownership, the resort will have better upper management that understands that the most important asset they have is their workers. Happy workers equal happy guests and happy guests equal returning guests."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 4th of January 2011

The Perfect Balance......

5
Brilliant
by

"Got back a couple of days ago. We had an excellent holiday. During our stay, the hotel changed hands. The new regime has found the perfect balance between the 4* Almond touch and the need for activities and entertainment, the latter of which was sadly lacking under Almond.

Teddy, Jackie and the rest of the activities team were quite magnificent - and worked tirelessly to make sure those who wished to be involved were involved; grandparents, parents, teenagers and kids alike - volleyball, cricket, caribbean dancing, music lessons, and so forth. You name it, they did it. Thanks also to Sherman and team at the watersports, which is part of the all inclusive experience - even the waterskiing and banana boat rides are free. The night-time entertainment appears to be expanding too. However, If you want a quiet holiday, then the opportunity is still there, and nothing has changed in that respect.....

Food too was excellent in all of the restaurants, as was the presentation and service. Our daughter has a serious nut allergy, and the staff bent over backwards in each of the restaurants to ensure her safety. Breakfast and lunch in the Cove were a delight - and our thanks to everyone who served our family so politely, including Fiona and Margaret . For dinner, we recommend the Waterside and In particular, Cafe Asia, the latter hosted by the resident chef, Ian - who made a point of coming front of house and speaking to all the guests during dinner.

There were one or two niggles, such as the pump failing on one of the swimming pools, leading to bad circulation and green water for a period. However, as with other issues which arose from time to time ie things going wrong in the room etc, they were dealt with politely and effectively when reported - and the staff and management could not have been more helpful and courteous."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 26th of December 2010

Nice 3.5 star Resort....with very nice hotel grounds

4
Good
by

"We were moved to this resort one week before our vacation because our hotel was shut down because of the hurricane 2 months earlier. After reading reviews, we didn't know what to expect. The 1 1/2 hour trip from the hotel was very scenic, but too long after a full day of travel. Check-in was quick and easy. Our opinions are below.

Rooms: we had a superior deluxe beachfront room. The location was great and the room and bed were very nice. The bed was comfortable and AC worked fine.
Beach: the beach was nice but the few vendors that were there came up to us within 10 minutes of us sitting down 2 days in a row. Needless to say, we spent 98% of our time at the adults-only pool. This was disappointing as we really enjoy spending more time on the beach and less time at the pool.
Pools: the Adults-only pool was great, clean, and a short swim to the bar. Great views!!
Staff: This is hard to rate as 80% of the staff was courteous and nice but 20% of the staff was unhappy, never smiled, and wouldn't even answer a question if you asked. It was actually odd that there were so many differences between the people that worked there. In the end, the staff was more positive than negative.
Food: we really enjoyed the breakfast buffet and lunch at La tratoria. We ate dinner at Cafe Asia (formerly Cafe Enid) and although it was ok, it wasn't great. The waterside grill was very nice and the food was good. la Tratoria had great lunches and dinners. The buffet always had some good food and some food we stayed away from. The chicken, fish, and vegetables were always good, but the beef was always hard to chew. After 2 days of eating different meals with beef, i switched to chicken, fish or veggies and was much happier.
Gym: i used the gym everyday and it was great as there were plenty of cardio machines, a universal weight machine, and some free weights.
Weather: 80's and sunny everyday. it rained twice for a few minutes during a 6 day stay. so the weather was great.
Internet: The internet worked well and was free in the hotel lobby.
In the end, the resort was very nice and we enjoyed our stay. We would recommend this to anyone looking for good food, good views, and nice pools at a reasonable cost. If you want great food and great service, i would recommend someplace else."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 23rd of December 2010

Underwhelming - the reviews were spot on!

2
Poor
by

"This hotel could be fantastic and you can have a great holiday here but...

- high chairs were filthy...and the more you look around the place the more grime you see
- you will be offered tea...but then staff disappear..you might get a teabag...then you might get water but you will have probably finished your breakfast by then
- pools were dodgy - low water levels, one pool was green, another distinctly murky - no efforts by staff to remedy the situation and no pool closure

Reinvestment needed here. The place has been used to it's limit. I would not return and I would not visit another Almond resort. This is the only hotel I have been to that I would not return to."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 20th of December 2010

A fantastic dining experience - really enjoyed it!

4
Good
by

"We have just enjoyed a stay at this resort, here is our account of our experience.

Access: The Transfer time by road is about 1½ hours. This will depend on your day and time of arrival. The roads were still under repair following the damage caused by Hurricane Tomas but the Island has recovered well and this should not been seen as a negative, as the situation will only improve from here.

Rooms: We were fortunate to be upgraded to a room with a living area, bedroom and bathroom. The room was bright, very clean, serviced daily and there was only one minor hiccup with the hot water supply. We were very pleased with it. (We had access to a standard room as a courtesy room prior to departure and agreed it would have been more than adequate for us had we not got the upgrade)

Weather: We arrived just about as the Hurricane season was due to end. Thr first couple of days were overcast with showers on occasions but the sun prevailed throughout our stay of 12 days.

Front Desk: The welcome was informal and efficient. We were kept hanging around for a while but were in the room inside 45 minutes of arrival, having had a cold face towel and a rum punch! We missed the Hotel Orientation, because the holiday (Virgin) Rep called her meeting for the same time. With hindsight we should have gone to the Hotel Orientation the next day, because it wouod have been worthwhile. However, we spent an hour wandering around meeting staff on our first day, which was well worthwhile.

Restaurants / Food: WOW! This holiday was a top class dining experience. There are four restaurants. The Cove is the main buffet style restaurant, although they do occasional (very good) al la carte meals too. Breakfasts here are excellent, with a huge choice of general and local fare. Try the spinach! La Trattoria is the Italian, and we tended to use this for (long) lunches, with plenty of choices and pizzas to your specification. The Waterside is not exclusively fish, there are chicken and veggie options - but the fish is always very good. Last and certainly not least is the newly branded Cafe Asia (formerly Cafe Enids). This is a fantastic culinary experience, and the pride and joy of Executive Chef Ian Sherlock. He is an accessible guy who turns up in all of his restautants and meets the diners. It is good to see someone so hands on wih his staff and customers, and his creations alone make this hotel worth visiting. The dining was the highlight of the holiday for us.

Bars: Two of the three bars were open - although the beach bar, which was closed, is all of six steps down from the pool bar! Staff were friendly and helpful, there was seldom a wait to be served. Local Piton beer was good, and rum punches and all the usual cocktails were available. House wines were pleasant and served correctly (i.e. the red was not chilled!) Beware the local spiced rum though :-)

Entertainment: There was live entertaiment every night except Sunday. The house band was enthusiastic and did their best to engage a sometimes reticent audience. There were dancers, a steel drum player and on Saturday the fire eater and limbo show.They bent over backwards to please us!

Facilities: The place pretty much had it all. The watersports centre was well equipped and came at no extra charge, although the sea conditions meant there was nothing doing for about 40% of the time. There was a gym (which we avoided!) but if you plan to use it, take your trainers and leotards. This applies to you girls as well. All the pools except the spa were open by the time we left, they had worked wonders to get them back up and running following the flooding caused by the hurricane.

Staff: Couldn't fault them at all. We could not single out anyone, they were all so cheerful and hospitable. As reported by others, you get back what you put in, so "Good Morning", "please" and "thank you" will reap benefits. Thank you all!

St. Lucia: We weren't encouraged to go off the resort independently, but in the end we did and you must! We visited the cricket ground, and as a result used the same taxi driver for a tour along the west coast to the volcano the next day. This guy was really good - ask for Terry at the rank near the lobby, or message us and we will give you a phone number. He was a safe driver and knowledgable about the Island, it's politics, economy and history. A 5 hour trip will set you back $160US.

Other matters: One gripe concerned the water supply. The normally safe supply was compromised by the flooding etc. The hotel were issuing bottled water for the rooms at no charge, because Virgin were not recommending consumption of the tap water. However, the ice in the drinks was from the ice makers, which were not supplied by bottled water. This was a cause for concern. The water will be right back to normal soon enough, we're sure.

Wildlife: Not too much to worry about here. There was a solitary cat near the Cove, but it wasn't a problem. The birds were entertaining at breakfast, and there were humming birds in the gardens. Whilst not particularly visible, the mosquitoes made their presence felt on us despite our diligent preparations. Go prepared. Should you venture into the rain forest, you might encounter a boa constrictor, but you might also find them at a view point too, where for a tip you can be photographed with one.

We don't think anyone will be disappointed if, as we've said before, your expectations are realistic. We have several fellow guest use the phrase: "It's not Sandals but..." Well if you want Sandals, go to Sandals - and PAY FOR IT! This place worked for us - very well indeed. Well done Almond Smugglers Cove and St. Lucia."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 19th of December 2010

Mr Chris Watson

1
Awful
by

"Well I would like to verify the first review I read which stated exactly how it is at smugglers cove ,dirty pool , not enough para soles , main restaurant discussing ,dirty table clothes ,shortage of cutlery and milk jugs ,staff attitude were take it or leave it , no point in complaining as the management at reception looked down the noses at you made me feel very uncomfortable when I went to report our patio door had been forced with a bar or something I was told it must have been drunken guests what a joke , the bathroom had been recently painted bath stains painted over with emulsion lol ,spiders and Mosquitos throughout I fact the gap around the door just let them in , the room some mornings was like a zoo with things running around , we even had a giant frog one morning in the bathroom , how he got in god knows , the Italian restaurant food very good but soon as you finished they wanted you out, also the cafe Asia was good , me use restricted but nice , the shops were little wooden sheds which were good for any bits you may want and the one gentleman buy the name of Noel was brilliant and a credit to the rest of the staff they should have lessons from him in communication skills he was so obliging and very curious to everyone great guy, also Javid behind the bar also great personality and helpful , water sports what a joke , towels bigger joke we took three days before we could get one , entertainment very poor except for one female vocalist ,and the guys playing steel band were good other entertainment non existent , not enough seats or tables for people to sit on and a shortage of staff to serve drinks and not enough plastic mugs which you drinks were served available as they were not enough staff to collect the used ones and wash them up for re,use . We booked for 15 days to be honest a week was enough at this resort at one stage I wanted to cut our losses and if I could have got a flight out to turkey we would have gone , four star , well that's a joke the whole place is sixties very dated and needs a lot of love and attention to bring it up anywhere near a four star resort ,I think Virgin mis sold the place ,it was my first holiday with virgin I would think twice before using them again ,a lot more research would have to be done, even down to if you have a fridge in your room the don't put anything in it lol as with Thomas Cook holidays to turkey all inclusive is what it says even down to ice creams and soft drinks throughout the day ,at Letoonia resorts . I felt I had been robbed without any violence on the smuggler cove package . "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 1st of January 2015

Rating breakdown

  • 2 Location
  • 1 Beach
  • 2 Room
  • 1 Pool
  • 1 Service
  • 1 Value
  • 1 Food
  • 1 Cleanliness

One Great Holiday

5
Brilliant
by

"Just returned from a week at smugglers cove, we were a party of 6, in three double rooms, each one with a king size double bed and large flat screen TV (yes like the one in the photographs). All the staff were very frendly helpful and polite, no problems with drinks at the bar from rum punch, elaborate cocktails to beer and spirits all freshly made. The food was excellent and varied depending on where you chose to dine, the resuraunts are kept clean and tidy. All of St Lucia's beaches are public and one or two locals may appear to try and sell you a necklace or aloe oil, but not to take your wallet or camera, Free beach towels are provided (they must have ordered new stock as they were very good)no problem with watersports equipment,all in great holiday experience (and a weeks not long enough). "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 9th of April 2011

Rating breakdown

  • 5 Beach
  • 5 Room
  • 4 Pool
  • 4 Service
  • 4 Dining
  • 4 Amenities
  • 4 Food
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Top traveller tips for Almond Smugglers Cove

  • laomie1 by laomie1

    "Rodney Bay, Castries, Restaurant - Charthouse in Rodney Bay "

  • IanNicholls by IanNicholls

    "St Lucia lovely - resort awful "

  • vickyc18 by vickyc18

    "amazing hotel! great food, great watersports, friendly helpful staff "

  • Christopher W by Christopher W

    "Train the staff correctly in communication skills , refurb the resort , or Advertise it as a one star resort . "

Almond Smugglers Cove is also called

  • Almond Smugglers Cove Resort
  • Almond Smugglers Cove Castries
  • Almond Smugglers Cove Hotel

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