10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Nothing Like It Anywhere - Can Be Transcendant
"My wife and I recently returned from a 7 night stay. It's true - the property is truly unique. We loved it. As others have commented about the rooms, service, and the ongoing construction, I will offer a few tips to those undeterred by the negatives as the hotel progresses towards completion.
1) Get a meal plan. It was included in the "Tropical Tranquility" package we booked. There are no off site restaurants easily accessible, and the food at all the restaurants is fine. Eating dinner at the Jade Mountain Club was very relaxed, with xlnt service, and the caribbean / indian fusion restaurant was especially good; the chef there was really interested in the guests.
2) We had breakfast delivered to the room most mornings. The wait time in their dining room was too long. it was nice to have a more leisurely beginning to the day anyway.
3) For some inexplicable reason, the ceiling fans are not adjustable from the wall switch. Have housekeeping turn the ceiling fans up to high during the day, and have turn-down turn them down to low in the evening. Otherwise, they are too loud to sleep with.
4) Ask the desk for mosquito coils, and use them.
5) Bring ear plugs. The construction noise isn't really disruptive, but resort workers in the early a.m. down the hill make enough noise to wake you up.
6) Bring a portable i-pod player w/ speakers. As the rooms are open, the evenings amorous activities in adjacent rooms can be easily heard, so the music can give you some privacy ( this works both ways, obviously ). Unless you're an exhibitionist and like that sort of thing ( the newlyweds in the room next to us sure did ).
7) Lack of communication with the front desk is indeed a problem, so plan ahead for any service needs. It is a nuisance to have to go out to reception to have a simple question or service request handled.
8) You will be hiking up and down the hill, and it's steep. It isn't handicapped or senior friendly. For a hotel with these aspirations, and at these prices, one could reasonably expect a cable car or funicular. We didn't mind; it was good to earn our relaxation.
9) Negotiate a discounted rate directly with the hotel. Until the hotel is complete, and some service issues are ironed out, it is difficult to justify rack rate.
The Troubetzkoys have conceived and built one of the most beautiful, dramatic, exclusive, and unique hotels in the entire world. I've no doubt that it will soon earn it's place with the worlds most elite places to stay. It will be transcendant. It's not yet, but they're well on their way."
- Travel date: Thu 17th of May 2007
what a great place!
"After raving to my friends about staying at Jade Mountain I was pretty shocked when one of them remarked that it wasn't getting good reviews. I came here to see what she was talking about and couldn't believe some of the stuff that people were saying about their vacation and how it related to the same hotel I stayed at.
I stayed at Jade Mountain for a week in February and had an amazing time! I've been lucky enough to travel the Caribbean over the years and have stayed at some very nice resorts in Barbados (Coral Reef Club), Antigua (Coco's) and some other 'fine' properties. As nice as they were NOTHING compares to the rooms at Jade Mountain. After staying at Jade every other room in the world is just a box. I really enjoyed being able to step from my bed into my full sized swimming pool. Waking up with the sun and seeing the pitons across the water is amazing. Having hummingbirds fly around my room is something I don't get at a Hilton. I didn't get many mosquito bites, but I slept under the net that was draped over my king sized bed. A few mosquito's are the price to pay for sleeping surrounded by plants and water I guess. St Lucia IS a tropical island. I suppose if I wanted no bugs I could stay in an air conditioned room in Orlando.
I would have liked the new hotel grounds to be further along finished but it still looks great and once it all matures it will be totally amazing. In the meantime the crisscross of walkways, stairs, bridges and water ponds is like something out of a movie! I've never seen anything like it anywhere I've been.
The food at the hotel is very good. There are 3 or 4 different places to eat- from the Jade Mountain Club to the beach restaurant. A wide variety of selection and some decent well priced wines. Service is very good and very very friendly. The staff at Jade and Anse Chastanet are terrific. We had some delays a couple of times but this is a very busy hotel (as it's so very popular) so we just sat back and relaxed with a drink while waiting for our dinner. I mean, really, what's the rush?
Like many Caribbean islands St Lucia is developing. There's a lot of poverty and the local village is quite poor. However everyone is very friendly and approachable. We did a walking tour with the hotel guide, Memo, and also went by taxi one night to a local hangout for a dinner. It was decent homecooked food in a local setting overlooking the main street and a filling meal -cheap! There certainly were some characters in the village but they were really harmless. Most people I met were great.
As for the 'road' to the hotel, yea, it's something but the taxi drivers take it slow and seem to be familiar with it so really it didn't bother me. Wasn't any worse than the road to the cottage really.
I can't speak to the internet use there as when I'm on vacation, I'm ON vacation. I don't stress over email or internet chat.
If you are used to a Hilton box and an air conditioned country club environment, then don't go to Jade Mountain. If you want friendly service and an unique experience in a real caribbean fine hotel, this is the place for you."
- Travel date: Wed 16th of May 2007
"we stayed in JB 2 for four nights at jade mountain. the ride to the hotel is a horrendous 1 hour drive. the roads curved every two seconds and we were told by our taxi driver that the roads are referred to as A Snake's Footprint. the drive alone made us nasseaus. we quickly summed up that we would not be leaving our hotel once we got there, as the towns were all filthy....homes made of cyder blocks and plywood (each with about 50 articles of clothing hanging on a line).....roadside stands with ropes hanging from trees with skinned animals for sale.....kids walking around with large machettis. Our suite at jade mountain on the other hand, was beautiful...very large......decorated with modern decor.....recycled materials (wood..glass...etc).
the plunge pool is not heated.....and was really too cold to use. when you are standing inside your suite....the water in the distance looks beautiful, however, when you are on your balcony and look down......you see a lot of pvc pipes, trucks, garbage, and old rickety sheds. the beach was ok, but nothing to write home about. the water is just like the jersery shore.........kind of mucky. on our first day at the beach we noticed that everyone had large red mosquito bites on their arms and legs. on our second day, we had them too. you can tell who had been there the longest, because they had the most bites. it had looked like some people had been there for over a week or so. we went thru both of our bottles of bug spray...and always slept under the mosquito net, but we were still all bitten up by the time we went home as well. jade mountain really should take pointers from the Four Seasons and put in electric bug shades in the suites, because the mosquito net doesn't cut it.
we decided to walk around this path to see what the hotel calls "the private beach".....and when we rounded the corner......there were tiki tables...no chairs......and about 6 black men lighting something on fire. we saw the smoke, and made an about face turn to quickly walk back to the other beach.
our electricity and plumbing did not work pretty much every day for hours at a time. one night we came up from the beach, and could not shower or even see anything for that matter because there was no power. we could not even flush our toilet. we lit a candle and managed to walk up the many steps up to the jade mountain club restaurant to see if they were even serving dinner. the restaurant was open and lit by a bunch of flourescent hand held lanters that had an obnoxious purple glow like a mosquito lamp. we asked our waitress how the kitchen could even be up and running...and she said that the chef was sweating and it was hard for him to see. i am a visual person...and just imagining a sweaty chef cooking our dinner was not very appetizing. i had to use the ladies room while i was there, and because the plumbing had not been working in the entire place, the toilet had been used by many.....and could not be flushed....so i opted to wait it out.
the internet service was also down at the hotel.....so there was no connecting to the outside world. we could not even see a copy of our final bill when we were checking out because the internet was down then as well. i called my credit card to see how much was charged from jade mountain, and realized that i was overcharged. i emailed jade mountain requesting that i see a copy of my final bill. after emailing and calling numerous times, i finally received a copy.....and it was incorrect. therefore, i had to contact them again numerous times pointing out all of the charges that we did not in fact order or receive. my credit card was finally issued a credit......but come on.......when you are paying $1200 a night for a suite..... you should not have to deal with this kind of nonsense. i mean.....the basics......such as electricity....and running water....were not even adequate. i would not return to jade mountain.....or st. lucia for that matter."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of May 2007
Headed Towards Magical
"We stayed at Jade Mountain for ten days at the end of March, it was our honeymoon, we are in our 30s and had a fantastic time â however, the past several reports, both good and bad are accurate. Here is our take:
This could be the most amazing resort in the world but the fact that the resort is not finished and that the service is not at the level one would expect for the prices (we averaged $1,500 a night) are reasons this resort does not receive an excellent rating.
Here's our overview of the resort -
The Rooms - Words cannot describe how spectacular some of the rooms are. Not all rooms are created equally, but after seeing eight of the rooms (out of 24) I can report that overall the rooms are fantastic. Consistently, the rooms all have giant bathtubs with spectacular views of the Ocean and the Pitons. They also of course have the infinity pool with custom tiles that looks like it flows out into the ocean. The fourth wall allows plants to grow freely in the room and some mornings a neighborly hummingbird would come and feed off some of the plants at the edge of our room. In addition, maid service was excellent - they mop every day and give you 9-12 towels, which with your own pool you actually need. One negative of the room (and one of the only) is that the toilets are definitely not private - imagine a large studio room with a toilet in the corner, but once you get used to it, its fine. The rooms do differ, and you have to prioritize what you want. Some rooms have larger pools, others get sun on the patio from 9 till 3, and other rooms get sun from 11-6 with views of sunset. Some rooms are incredibly private, other rooms allow people walking by or workers to see into the front parts of the rooms. Some have areas to lay out, others just have the pool. All the bedroom areas are private. From what we could tell, the rooms with '1's in them would provide the most sun and a sunset. 'B' level also appeared to offer some of the largest rooms. If you prioritize the types of things that are important, the staff may do their best to meet those needs - of course it helps to be paying for a premium room which allows more flexibility.
Anse Chastnet - The main resort is charming. It has a laid back Caribbean feel that much of the other islands in the Caribbean have lost. The beach is nice also, although itâs a volcanic beach which means its grayish in color (bring flip flops as it gets hot). The Indian restaurant on the beach was also excellent and for the most part the food across the all three restaurants was good.
As mentioned, these negatives should be fixed in the future, its just unclear when. First, the hotel is under construction. Please note the rooms are completed â and when you are in your room its fabulous. But when you go outside you see construction. Not major construction, but workmen everywhere, putting tiles on the stairs, and some of the facilities (kitchen, etc.) were not completed. Some of this should be resolved soon as the Spa opens at the end of April. They also do not use large construction tools, but they still use drills and you can hear the buzzing. In addition, the black trash bag walls at the back of the resort (where they are building a real kitchen and other additions) are a constant reminder that the resort is not finished. Finally, they are trying to grow shrubs, etc, but some of the rooms definitely have less privacy than others due to the construction.
Second negative, the service can be spotty. I believe this is a reflection of the laisse faire attitude of Anse Chastnet, the problem is when rooms at Jade Mountain can be three times as expensive as AC this kind of service is out of place. I hope its improving as sometimes the service is fantastic but other times it is horrible. For example, when we arrived and were headed to the resort our taxi driver spoke with the hotel twice telling them the exact time we would arrive. When we did arrive no one was there to meet us for at least 10 minutes, then when someone did show up, they could not get a van to drive us to the resort. So we get to our room, and the reception women shows us the room. She shows us our 'welcome packet' and says our registration information is missing and we need to sign the paperwork for our credit card, etc before we can do anything. She says she will go get it and be 'right back'. We waited. We unpacked. We sat on the chairs. We waited. She never came back. Keep in mind we had been enroute for 12 hours and all we wanted to do was lie down, jump in the pool and explore but were unsure where reception was, etc and so we waited. Four hours later there was a knock on the door and the security guard had brought our registration papers. Unfortunately the security guard had never been a part of the registration process before and was unable to answer any questions. First the guard was unsure if we were on the meal plan so she left to check. Then she took our information incorrectly - and then came back. Then she hadn't gotten the right form signed.....you get the point. 4 times. I'm sorry to be so detailed on this but it was painful and a terrible way to start what turned out to be a fantastic stay. The other services issues were minor - waitresses arguing over who had to wait on us down at the main restaurant and a checkout that was painful again. The good part is that these can all be resolved with some close guidance/watchful eye by management - the bad news is that we did not see that. My hope is that in the next year this will be resolved as if the service was equal on a regular basis to a five star resort this would be a truly magical - most of the time they get the service right.
Here are some tips
Bring bug spray - there are lots of mosquitos and lots of sitting water due to the construction. It looked like this was going to be fixed soon but I always think there will be bugs - that is part of the nature aspect. There is a mosquito net on the bed that works wonders at night.
The construction sounds do occur all day - we actually brought our ipod with speakers and with the sound on low we were able to get rid of all background noise
The steps are not bad. If you are in moderate shape you will be able to do them twice a day with no issue. We never took the van and were fine going up and down to the beach.
Bring a bottle of alcohol (we bought a bottle of rum at duty free in Miami) as the only choice is room service and it is outrageously expensive.
The meal plan turned out to be a fantastic deal. If you don't need to escape to another hotel/restuarant then this is the way to go as breakfast and dinner are large and the individual items are expensive.
The road is bad, but doable and taxis are used to it. It keeps people in, but also keeps people out and adds to the remote feel of the place.
Overall, I would highly recommend Jade Mountan in 3-6 months once they've had a chance to get most of the construction completed and service on-par with the prices being charged. My wife and I do plan on going back as it is truly amazing and a great place to get away from it all in a truly spectacular setting."
- Travel date: Sun 22nd of April 2007
Beautiful! Loved it!
"We stayed at Jade Mountain for a week in March of 2007. There has not been one day since we came back home that we don't talk about or remember the magical moments we spent in St. Lucia. We have already spread the words and recommended Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountains to family and friends. Everything was wonderful - from the incredible accomodation at Jade Mountain (WOW) to the services and smile of every single staff member we encountered. There was only one issue: If you are vegetarian, there are not many options or variety at the Jade Mountain restaurant. You will have to rely on the restaurants at Anse Chastanet. Besides, the service at this particular restaurant at Jade Mountain was very slow - apparently the kitchen is at a certain distance from the restaurant.
However, our romantic dinner at the beach was unforgettable. We can't wait to go back. And next time, we'll stay for 2 weeks. One week in Paradise went by too fast."
- Travel date: Wed 18th of April 2007
the place is not done!
"I could have written much the same review as the one from Iowa on 4/8/07. Having read about Anse Chastanet and, especially, Jade Mountain for many years I was very excited to book a Sun Suite Category room (the biggest and best they have) a full one-year before my arrival and 6 months prior to the opening in November 2006.
My disappointment began long before I arrived as it took at least 6 different phone calls to get the reservationists to put me in the room category I had requested. Each time I called to re-confirm my reservation they had would have me in a different room or even in the wrong hotel (Anse Chastanet vs Jade Mountain).
We arrived to two days of rain in the dry season (won't blame hotel for mother nature) but since most of the common areas of the hotel are far from finished, we hiked through lots of mud to get to our $1,600 per night room. While the room was among the most fabulous I have ever seen, (the Sun Suite Category) it was a far cry from what was described to us in literature and on the website. The room (#JB1) ws no where near 2000 s.f. in size, nor was the pool 900 s.f., nor was there a "wine cellar" (as described in literature; not that I needed one by any means) to be found anywhere and lastly, and most disappointingly, the view (while still beautiful) was not close to the 270 degrees claimed. Without these exaggerations, I would have been incredibly impresessed with the room, as-is. Cutting back on the exaggerations will leave fewer disappointed guests. An unsightly damaged fan blade and a broken fixture on the Jacuzzi added to the disallusionment.
No telephones in guest rooms makes communicating with the staff a chore. The multi-color bag system does not work very well and walking to the "temporary" reception area everytime you need to speak with someone is burdensome. No public area to telephone back home; need to walk all the way down to Anse Chastanet.
We were greeted in the morning to the sounds of workers throughout the hotel. The only thing complete about the hotel were the rooms. The common grounds (reception area, restaurant, land-scaping, water features, walk-ways, staircases, etc) are no where near completion. Construction workers are everywhere, and a small army of security guards to match. Dirt, dust, temporary wooden staircases, stagnant water in unfinished water features, plywood walls, roped-off walk-ways. It resembled a construction site.
No restaurant dedicated to Jade Mountain. Must rely on Anse Chastanet which has average, at-best, dining. Meals at Ladera and in the Marigot Bay area were marketly superior. Room service is slow, as most everthing must come a long way from the kitchens of Anse Chastanet. Two bottles of water were left in room at check-in, but never to be replenished again ($1,600 per night??)
The hotel employees, while for the most part a very nice group of people, are not trained to assist guests at a hotel of this magnitude and pricing. Two requests for off-site dinner reservations, on two consectutive nights, were not made. A rental car request was met by a car that was clearly an individual's private auto (wide sports wheels, very high mileage, lot's of after-market extras). Night lighting in room, much too bright to sleep by, could not (or would not?) be turned off by staff. At check-out, there was no final bill to reveiw and approve. They indicated that they would send one to me back home. Still have not received, although they took the liberty of charging my credit card immediatley.
While the open fourth wall is a wonderful concept, the weather and mosquitos made life uncomfortable, especially at night (again, I can not blame the hotel for mother nature). No breeze, high temperatures and ruthless mosquitos made for many a sleepless night. No insect replellants in the rooms and a request was met by an offer to purchase a can myself from the resort ($1,600 per night??)
I believe this resort, once completed, and with a well trained staff (a la Ritz, Four Seasons, Rosewood, etc) could be among the most beautiful and exclusive in the world. Right now, though, it is a work in process, and people should know that fact before they commit the time and money to vacationing there."
- Travel date: Wed 11th of April 2007
Amazing Architecture but Systematically Flawed
"We chose this resort based on a mention in Johansen's Guide. After checking out the website we sent a few questions to the resort via email...and never heard back, this should have been a clear indicator of the type of service we would experience.
St Lucia as an island is typical of most Carribbean islands...poor residents and less than stellar infrastructure. Soufriere, like most of the island towns we encountered, is a really rough town and we stayed away from it.
We rented a car(jeep recommended) and found the road to Anse Chastenet from Soufriere scary...we thought we had taken the wrong turn. I wondered why the owners keep it this way as it the first impression one gets entering the resort...frankly it is downright dangerous.
The greeting once we got to the resort was impressive as it was a chance for the staff to divert our attention from the unfinished areas of Jade Mountain by using a rehearsed script of how beautiful things will be once finished. We found lots of dirt, gravel, unfinished fountains with dirty water, coulumns with rebar sticking out at the top( we were informed that the owner/architect finds this to be aesthetically pleasing). Frankly, Jade Mountain is still unfinished. The room was beautiful but had some issues with electricity and lighting. This was promised to be addressed immediately but never happened, which is kind of what the whole theme of our stay represented...problems with no solutions.
We requested to take care of our room bill up front, the staff botched this horribly by double charging a debit card and then saying that the card was declined. It took time out of our vacation and very expensive international phone calls on an unreliable communication system by us to our bank to resolve the situation ourselves...as the staff seemed unconcerned or incapable. We requested an accurate accounting of our bill during our stay, but were told by staff that the system was down...it was down most of our stay.
We attempted to book several excursions, and found further incompetence by wrong dates, miscommunications between staff and misleading information to keep us from following up on future tours.
After word got around to the staff about our problems we encountered cold or indifferent receptions at all areas of the resort.
Management was hard to find to express our views, and when they did turn up...it was in inconvenient situations ( two came up to me in the spa during a treatment to inquire as to how I was enjoying my stay).
We checked other resorts like Discovery, Ladera and Jalousie. Most seemed nice although we thought Jalousie was more professional and beautiful and we might return there. Ladera's restaurant has lousy service as well.
At the resort, we had to be very attentive to our food orders or requests because they were quite often incorrect or never recieved.
One of us is in the hospitality business at a high end luxury property in the US. We feel that the first year after opening a new resort the ownership should be intimately involved on a daily basis to help staff, and monitor guest's experiences. We never saw or heard that the Troubetzkoys were ever on property.
There is a flat service rate on every bill you create at the resort...so the staff get an automatic tip. That creates a complacent attitude among the staff. If the system was changed to a guest determined percentage of the bill, the staff may be more motivated to work harder for a better tip...knowing that lousy service would not get them a good one.
We did encounter some stellar staff during our visit. Gifter the Social Director, Stella in the Spa, Michael the driver and Pamela the Bartender seemed always glad to see us.
All in all the resort was not worth the $1000+ per night. We have travelled to places with half the price with 20X better service.
The natural beauty of St. Lucia luckily counteracted much of the disasterous experiences of this resort.
We found boating to be the best way to experience some of the best sites of the island.
We will not recommend this resort nor will we return."
- Travel date: Tue 10th of April 2007
Amazing room....but serious problems
"We rented the best room in the resort for 3 nights ($1,600 per night) and expectations were high. The room was amazing but there were serious problems that would keep us from going again.
While staying in a room with a missing wall would be an unusual experience any time the climate in St Lucia in April was not conducive to an outdoor experience. It was too hot and too buggy to sleep outdoors. I came home covered in serious bites (misquitoes and/or "no see em's" or whatever) and sleeping was very difficult. The ceiling fans were on but didn't do much and, of course, no air conditioning at all anywhere on the resort grounds.
Bueatiful grounds, beach and facilities (although seriously under construction....and it looks like a looonnnngggg construction phase) but lots of steps to get too and from the beach and restaurant area from the fancy rooms. It was 200+ steps from the beach to the Jade "sanctuaries" at the top. No elevator at all. Don't forget anything when you go down!
And...the rest of the island appears to be a dump...at least the parts we saw. The road from the airport is a nightmare and much, much worse over the last mile or two to the resort. It is literally the worst road I have ever been on! (No work in progress on it or hope given for repair any time soon.) We went into "town" to a recommended restaurant one night...big mistake...a horrible place and we were the ONLY customers in it. Cab driver stayed with us and suggested we hurry back to the hotel as soon as possible.
Anyway....the infinity pool and room itself (climate and bugs aside) was an interesting experience!!"
- Travel date: Sat 7th of April 2007
The most beautiful resort in the Carribean
"I was a bit reluctant to write this review because I did not want everybody to discover this "most" fabulous place. But sharing experiences are a good thing....
This is our third visit to Anse Chastanet/Jade Mountain resort in SoufriÃ¨re St-Lucia. This year, we were lucky to experience their new resort, Jade Mountain, built higher up on the hill of Anse Chastanet with a magnificient view of the Pitons. Our room was incredible with more than 1,600 square feet of luxury. The open fourth wall overlooking the Pitons and SoufriÃ¨re Bay was the most fabulous view and comfort we have ever experienced.
After every evening meal, we would come back to our room and slip in the infinity pool (one in each room) and watch the moonlite pitons and stars before going to bed.
The three excellent restaurants (all "a la carte") offers a wide variety of dining experiences. The staff is always very friendly and extremely polite. I think the food was even better this year than our two previous stays.
The secluded beach is wonderful with snorkelling, a wonderful spa, drinks and lunch brought to our palapas.
Every year, we travel around the World during a three week holiday, (India, South America, Vietnam, Africa, etc.) but we will always come back to Anse Chastanet for our March getaway because we think this is "our paradise". Experience it, you will never go anywhere else.
Marc Brazeau, Ottawa, Canada"
- Travel date: Fri 30th of March 2007
"Outstanding facility. Beautiful room. Good to great food. All activities were excellent. One caveat, understand that you must not mind walking uphill and downhill here. We didn't, and it was an amazing time. Must go diving on the reef. Be careful with the beach cocktails, very potent.
The best vacation spot in the caribbean that we have been."
- Travel date: Fri 23rd of March 2007