Fodor's Expert Review Calabash Cove Resort & Spa
Bonaire Estate, off Castries–Gros Islet Hwy., south of Rodney Bay, Marisule, Gros Islet, St. Lucia See on Map Fodor's Choice
The luxurious suites and individual cottages all face the sea at this inviting boutique resort on Bonaire Bay, down a long dirt road just south of Rodney Bay. The manor house at the top of a tropical hillside has lovely suites, an excellent restaurant, a dramatic pool, and a magnificent view. Walkways meander through lush tropical greenery to access the private, Balinese-inspired cottages—constructed of mahogany, stone, and other natural materials—that spill gently down the hillside to a secluded beach.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hillside terrain may be difficult for those with physical challenges.
Surrounded by lush vegetation for privacy, each of the nine Water’s Edge cottages has a separate sitting room, private plunge pool, a hammock on the patio, outdoor rainfall shower, and full bar. Thirteen large ocean-view junior suites are luxuriously furnished, and four manor house junior suites have swim-up access to the infinity pool. All suites and cottages have a mini-fridge—and, perhaps more importantly, a glorious sunset view.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Only the bedrooms in the cottages have air-conditioning.
Cottages have a jetted tub in a corner of the bedroom, his/her sinks and a toilet in a separate room, and a rainfall shower that’s open to the sun and stars. Manor house suites also have an open-concept bathroom, with a jetted tub for two and granite-topped vanity with double sinks open to the bedroom; the rainfall shower and water closet have more privacy.
The large, airy lobby has a reception area and comfortable seating for guests checking in/out or waiting for friends. Up a few steps, a mezzanine has a small gift shop and an air-conditioned guest lounge with soft couches and chairs and a few books and games. The lobby opens to the restaurant and bar—and the ocean view.
Don’t be put off by the long, bone-crunching dirt road leading up to the hotel entrance. Once you’ve arrived, it’s long forgotten!
The free-form infinity pool, which cascades down to a sun deck with a magnificent view of the sea, has several clusters of lounge chairs, cabanas for two, and a swim-up bar.
Treatment rooms in Ti Spa are set up for couples; candles and soft music on a Bose sound system set the mood. Or you can have a massage, facial, wrap, or scrub in the outdoor garden gazebo, on the boardwalk at the water’s edge, or in the privacy of your own patio or cottage.
Hair and nail salon services are also available—including bridal styling, corn rows, make up application, and French mani/pedi.
The small air-conditioned gym has a handful of Cybex machines: treadmills, stationary cycles, elliptical machine, exercise balls, yoga mats, a bench and free weights—enough to keep you in shape while on vacation, given that you'll be walking up and down the hillside to get to the beach.
The open-air Windsong restaurant, high on the hill and a few steps from the lobby, offers an unobstructed view of the sea (or, in the evening, the twinkling lights of Castries) from every table—and, of course, memorable meals at breakfast (included), lunch, and especially dinner.
Guests can walk up or swim up to the pool bar—and enjoy cocktails at lunchtime and in the evening at the small bar and lounge adjacent to the restaurant,.
The resort is on a hillside, so getting to the lovely beach on Bonaire Bay requires a stroll down a garden path. Sun loungers and umbrellas await—on the sand and on the broad, palm-studded lawn. The boardwalk and dock are ideal for an evening stroll or romantic dinner. Kayaks and paddleboards are available for guests to use.
A rental car is recommended to explore on your own. Driving is not a problem in the north, as the terrain is fairly flat. To visit the iconic sites in Soufrière, however, a boat tour from Rodney Bay is the most comfortable way to travel. Taxis are always available.
Coal Pot (15-minute drive) is a waterfront restaurant in Castries (Vigie Cove) that serves light lunches and gourmet dinners. It’s tiny, so you’ll need reservations. Rodney Bay Village, however, is restaurant-central. All along Reduit Beach Avenue, from Baywalk Mall to the beach, you’ll find one restaurant after another. For seafood, for example, try Buzz Seafood and Grill (10-minute drive); for French Caribbean dining, try Jacques Waterfront Dining in Harmony Suites Hotel; for barbecue, head for Delirius; and if you have dinner at Ti Bananne at Coco Palm Hotel, you can stick around for the live music.
For nightlife, you also have to go to Rodney Bay (10-minute drive), where Verve dance club attracts a fairly young crowd. Also at Rodney Bay, try your luck at Treasure Bay Casino—St. Lucia’s one and only casino.
Gros Islet Jump-Up (15-minute drive), the island's largest street party, is a Friday-night ritual. Huge speakers set up on the street blast Caribbean music all night long. You can also buy barbecued fish and chicken from villagers who set up grills along the roadside—along with beer and soda. Take a taxi to Gros Islet. The streets get so crowded that you’re unlikely to find a parking spot for a rental car. Your taxi driver will arrange a pickup time.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Guests can expect a warm welcome, a classy environment, stylish accommodations, delicious dining, and dramatic ocean views.