Is housekeeping and cook service included? How about grocery shopping?
Your rental does include all cooking and housekeeping. Christy Holder is our manager as well our chef par excellence at the house. Christy generally is responsible for lunch and dinner, while Martina manages the housekeeping and breakfast responsibilities.Once your reservation is confirmed, we will send you more details on how you can arrange for groceries to be stocked at cost for your arrival. Although Christy and Martina do handle all the cooking and housekeeping, once you have settled in for a day or so, you will be responsible for obtaining groceries and beverages of your choice. Christy can go with you to shop or do your shopping for you, but this is not a "normal" part of her job, so an extra gratuity would be expected, especially to cover her transportation as she does not have a vehicle.All linens are included in your rental, including pool and beach towels. Les Chaudieres also comes stocked with paper supplies (napkins, toilet paper, paper towels), salt, pepper, basic spices, and condiments. You might consider bringing special goodies that you love and which may not be available on the island, such as certain crackers, hors d'oeuvres, gourmet cheese, better wines, etc. Be sure to ask the staff about the fruits and vegetables available locally. Depending on the season, some are available for free from our own backyard, including mangos, coconuts, oranges, limes, grapefruit, bananas and avocados. The Anse Galet plantation below the house may have some items if our backyard is "out of season". Some fruits and vegetables are available in the nearby village of Anse la Raye. Ask any of the staff about availability of local fresh fruit and vegetables and staples.Much of the fresh seafood goes directly to the hotels, but you can usually get an Anse la Raye fisherman to deliver the catch of the day right to the villa. Ask Paul or Christy to arrange for fresh fish or listen for the conch horn blow in the village. Some of our favorites are flying fish, tuna and lobster. If you feel adventurous, ask for conch or octopus. Land crabs from the valley are turned into delicious stuffed crabs by Christie. If you are courageous, go on the crab hunt yourself with Paul! We recommend Julian's Supermarket, a fairly well stocked grocery store just north of the airport at Castries. But stop at the open air market for your fresh vegetables and fruits, fresh herbs, pottery, baskets and souvenirs. Wine and spirits are sold at the grocery stores.
What other amenities are available at Les Chaudieres?
The Stereo System
The stereo system is installed in the sideboard in the main room. Three speakers deliver beautiful sound everywhere in the Big Room. Additional outdoor speakers bring music poolside. The stereo accommodates compact discs and the setting at Les Chaudieres creates a perfect atmosphere to truly enjoy your favorite music, so don't forget to bring your favorite CDs. Please use care when operating the system, and be sure to turn the volume down when turning the unit on or off.
Newly renovated in late 1999, the kitchen is complete with a large refrigerator and freezer, double sinks, and stove. All utensils and cookware are provided for your use, including juicer, blender, ice cream maker and microwave. The kitchen and baths rely on both a solar hot water system and an electric backup heater.
What electrical supply is available?
The electrical current throughout the house is 220 volt A.C. - 50 Hz
Although wall sockets look familiar, DO NOT plug in American appliances without a voltage reducing adapter or transformer or they will be ruined. The island's electric supply is very "dirty" therefore we do not recommend plugging in sensitive electronic equipment like laptop computers without surge suppression. There are two 110 volt A.C. (US) sockets located in the dining area and in the kitchen. DO NOT use the plug for the stereo for any reason. It is a special low wattage circuit for the stereo only and will be harmed by any other use.
How private is the villa?
We have no close neighbors at all which makes the house very private. Christy leaves after she serves and cleans up dinner (but you can certainly send her home earlier if you'd like). Martina prepares breakfast and does housekeeping and usually leaves by lunchtime. Paul, our caretaker, lives on a separate floor of the house. He can take you on many day trips, hikes, boat rides, etc., acting as a tour guide, but will disappear at night. All of the staff can be as obsequious or as social as you like. They generally take their clues from you, but feel free to let them know your preferences.
Tell us more about the nearest beaches…
The beach just below the house, Anse Galet, is usually deserted. It is best in the morning or the early afternoon as the sun goes down behind the ridge later in the afternoon, but some people might actually prefer that. Tevas or water sandals might also be good here as it is somewhat rocky in spots. If you are fairly limber you can clamor down the many steps (132?) off the pool terrace. Down is easy, coming back up earns you a rum and a dip in the pool! Taking pool floats is enjoyable and Anse Galet has some of the best snorkeling on the island. You can also drive around to it if you don't want to use the steps.
Anse Couchon is a nearby beach which used to be uninhabited, but alas now has a small hotel, Ti Kaye. It is still a very pretty sandy beach with good snorkeling and gentle waves.
" Pig Bay" just north of Anse La Raye is also a good beach - Martina, Paul or Christy can tell you exactly how to get there by car.
These are the closest beaches to the villa. Of course there are many others on the island. Most of the larger resort hotels are up near or above Castries. Anse Chastanet in Soufriere has a nice beach and a restaurant. There is a small beach and a nice lunch spot at Marigot Bay, as well as a small grocery store for essentials.
You will need to bring your own snorkeling and dive equipment.
And what about dive operations?
Anse Chastanet (Hotel) has a good dive program. There is also a dive operation at Marigot Bay.
What about money and valuables?
St. Lucia uses Eastern Caribbean (EC). $1.00 US equals approximately $2.70 EC.
EC dollars are best for use anywhere on the island. Travelers checks, credit cards, and US currency can be used but not quite as widely, nor with the best exchange rate. You can trade in some US dollars at the bank in the airport upon arrival to get through the first few days, and on your first trip to Castries exchange your US for EC at one of the banks, keeping in mind that they close for lunch at noon. Bring your passport into town if you will be cashing travelers checks. While theft is not an enormous problem on the island or at Les Chaudieres, it is not unheard of, and it is best to remove any temptation. While at the house keep all valuables including cash, travelers checks, airline tickets, passports, etc., in the wall safe. Life at Les Chaudieres tends to be casual, so bring your costume jewelry instead of family heirlooms. The safe combination will be forwarded to you upon confirmation of your reservation. Be sure to reserve approximately $20 EC cash per person for your airport exit tariff.
Check In and Check Out:
In order to best allow the staff to prepare for your visit and to respect the stay of guests just vacating the house and of those following you, we ask that you respect the following arrival and departure times:
Check In time not prior to 2 p.m.
Check Out time, no later than noon.
Tell me some options for day trips and sightseeing…
Paul, Les Chaudieres' caretaker, is a guide par excellence, although being a tour guide is not necessarily part of his job description, and an extra gratuity is earned. Guiding certain day trips is his forte (those marked with * can be guided by Paul):
- We almost insist you try the dugout boat day trip. Bring your snorkeling gear. And pack a picnic, or enjoy lunch at Anse Chastanet.*
- There are several waterfall hikes to choose from…Canaries, Soufriere, …*
- The rainforest hike.*
- Mountain Bike rentals at Anse Chastanet.
- Horseback riding at _____ south of Soufriere.
- The Sulphur Pits south of Soufriere - a "walk-in" volcano!
- The Diamond Botanical gardens and historic French baths in Soufriere.
- Historic distillery behind Anse La Raye*
- Friday night Jump Up - in Anse La Raye.*
- Heritage Tourism 451-6058, 451-6220, 451-6967
- Tours with the St. Lucia National Trust, 453-7656
- Sailing charters, out of Marigot Bay
- Leatherback turtles, call Jan Sparks 452-8100
- Maria Islands Nature Reserve and Fregate Island.
On a trip to Soufriere we would recommend lunching at Dasheene with a gorgeous view of the Pitons and a delicious menu.
Other than Dasheene, and perhaps a lunch at Marigot, the best restaurant is at Les Chaudieres with Christy and Martina's cooking. Although there are some great restaurants on the islands, people constantly tell us they prefer to just dine at home with Christy.
- The open air market in Castries - best for fresh produce and some handmade crafts.
- Point Seraphine in Castries has many duty free shops.
Your rental does not include air or ground transportation.
The George Charles Airport in Castries is certainly the closest airport to the villa (about 20-30 minutes). And the Hewanorra Airport in Vieux Fort is about a 1.5 hours drive. But this can be deceiving, as it does depend on which airline is most convenient to you in other ways. For example, we can fly USAir nonstop from Philly, but it goes into Hewanorra and then you have the longer drive. Or, we can fly American Airlines but it has a stop and a change of planes in Puerto Rico, although that flight arrives in Castries. So, it all depends on your preference. Once your reservation is confirmed, we will send you driving instructions on how to reach the villa from either airport. A passport, original birth certificate, or notarized birth certificate are required to enter the country, but be sure to double check these requirements with your travel agent or airline prior to departure.
For ground transportation on the island there are basically three choices: rent a car and drive yourself, use taxis, or rent a car and use taxis to supplement. Almost all of our visitors rent a car just to have the convenience of a car on hand, to run to the store, nearby beaches, etc. Taxis are not readily available once you are at the villa and require some advance planning if you are going to rely on them, so that option does not allow for spontaneous trips. Some larger parties use both taxis and rental cars - taxis to get extra people and luggage back and forth to the airport, but also rent a car for their own use at the house. Cars on St. Lucia are not as large as American cars and do not hold more than 5 people usually, and they have smaller trunks or luggage compartments.
For car rentals we recommend Drive-A-Matic which has cars and great four-wheel drive vehicles, similar to Troopers. They can be reached at 1-758-452-0544 or check out http://www.drivestlucia.com. They will need to know which airport you will be coming in to, as well as the airline, flight number, date and time. Be sure to let them know you are staying at Les Chaudieres. Almost all of the other large car rental firms (Avis, Budget, Hertz) can also be found at either airport. Gasoline is available in nearby Anse la Raye or Cul de Sac Valley.
Christy can assist in arranging taxi service as needed. Airport transfers by taxi are approximately $30 from Vigie and approximately $60 U.S. from Hewanorra, not including gratuities, depending on # of people. Be sure to confirm the price in advance.
The telephone number at Les Chaudieres is 758-451-4228. Calls may be directly dialed from the States to the house. On outbound calls from Les Chaudieres please use a credit card or calling card. A passport, original birth certificate, or notarized birth certificate are required to enter the country. Double check these requirements with your travel agent prior to departure.
Be sure to add your name, experiences and suggestions to the guest book. And after your visit, we encourage you to write us with your suggestions and discoveries which will help us provide the best Caribbean experience we can to other visitors or your return visit.
For additional information on Les Chaudieres or to check availability contact:
901 Mt. Lebanon Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
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