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“Perfect location for a yoga retreat”
Review of Balenbouche Estate

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Balenbouche Estate
Ranked #1 of 2 Laborie B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 March 2017

As a first time traveler to St. Lucia and the first yoga retreat I led, I could not have asked for a more magical place than Balenbouche. The first couple of days really felt surreal, as if we were in a movie. We sat on the veranda for meals with a beautiful island breeze, amazing fresh food and wonderful, warm hosts. Uta, Verena, Anitanja and of course Jai were all a delight to be around. The barn looks so old and weathered, but when you step inside it just takes your breath away. Such amazing energy that is indescribable. It's the perfect space for letting go and inviting transformation-exactly what our retreat guests needed. The cottages are unique, rustic and charming. The first night was difficult sleeping, but I got used to the sounds of the critters easily and slept amazing the rest of the trip. It felt so good to be so close to nature-sleeping in a warm, comfortable bed with mosquito netting, but knowing the creatures of the island and the property were just outside. Each cottage is different and some offer more privacy than others. The walk to the beaches was so serene and there is so much to explore on the property (always with a dog by your side)! Verena was incredibly helpful with planning our excursions and every detail of our retreat. Anitanja's cooking was incredible, especially given the dietary restrictions with our group. And Uta's presence was just glowing with radiance. I am looking forward to bringing another group to Balenbouche again!

Room Tip: Cottages vary greatly, so choose based on number of guests in your party and desired privacy
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  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank infoH8938VA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 98 reviews

Reviewed 4 March 2017 via mobile

Everything about the stay was lovely, the acomadation is divine and the food exemplary. You are welcomed and made to feel welcome for the duration of your stay. The friends I went with got married there in 2015 and the setting is incredible, the most beautiful flowers and ruins of the old sure mill made for the perfect backdrop for their special day.

Stayed: February 2017, travelled with friends
Thank samburkill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2017

I had the pleasure of staying in "Almond" house as part of a yoga retreat group of nine women. The main house, as well as each guest house, was unique and beautiful. The mix of old world Caribbean plantation mixed with European history is perfect. At every turn there is something to captivate the senses, gardens, banyon trees, art, and nature combined in harmony. Our hosts, Uta, Annitanya and Verena saw that we lacked for nothing, always a fresh selection of local foods, plenty of access to activities and culture, and personal time sharing their rich history and experiences. The rooms/cottages were all different, my private room and bath was beautiful. Since it was February, there was a glorious breeze flowing through all the open air areas. The bathroom was large, with a beautiful natural stone shower, which was half enclosed. Most housing was partially open to the outside, allowing a blur between myself and the beautiful surroundings. Mosquito netting was provided over every bed, which I used. However, I did not have any issues with unwanted creatures.... Rooms were clean, fresh and decorated to various cultures and colors. I would highly recommend this place to stay! I was with a group, so we had drivers and activities planned. I would ask at Balenbouche if they help with excursions and drivers to get out and see the area, but I spent days exploring the old sugar mill machinery, two beaches, countless gardens and the yoga barn at the Estate. A review would not be complete without mentioning the incredible animals. The Island would seem to be where all dogs and cats go once they have reached enlightenment. These watchful spirits stay with you on your wanderings, never pushy, always present, keeping you company even when you are alone. No kidding, it's a magical place. Go and you'll see, waking up and seeing the quietly strong Uta floating through the field to pick fresh flowers for you to enjoy during your morning coffee. Magical!

Room Tip: there are individual cottages, a cottage with two separate bed/bathrooms. Definitely pick and indiv...
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  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Thank donnapease3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2017

There are so many extraordinary things I can say about our stay at Balenbouche, and of course, St Lucia, itself. My husband and I were looking for a more authentic island experience outside of the "resort" style vacation. Driving down the driveway into Balenbouche, we knew we had picked a place that was just what we were looking for. The beauty of the estate, the rich history, and the family made it feel like a home away from home.

Our week long trip we stayed in the Frangipani cottage. The cottage was very quaint, comfortable, and had all the basic necessities for travelers. It is one of the more secluded cottages, so I highly recommend it for couples! Be sure to spend some time in the evening stargazing outside of the Frangipani cottage, because the view from the field next to the cotton barn is spectacular!

Breakfast is served at the main house every morning, and a couple nights a week dinner is offered. We absolutely really enjoyed the meals on the Estate as they do try to use fresh fruits and other ingredients grown right on the grounds. Plus, they do spoil you and accommodate all dietary restrictions. Additionally, the meals, while in USD are much more economical than eating at some of the more popular destinations like the resorts. Obviously, heading out to some of the local eateries is a good option, too. Our favorites are: L'Escape for dinner, a five minute walk from the Estate toward Soufriere, as well as Debbie's Place and Lushe for lunch, a five to ten minute drive back towards Vieux Fort!

We felt that we really didn't even need to leave the Estate to be entertained as you have the Middle Beach to sunbath and swim as long as the current isn't too rough. It was usually calm while we were there, and you can always walk around the grounds checking out all of the Estate's beauty as well as the old Sugarmill. You'll definitely meet friends at breakfast and dinner, so you may have people to hang out with on the Estate, too, much like we did! There really is so much to behold on Balenbouche!

Internet is accessible on the veranda at the main house at anytime. The phone may be used for local calls also, but be sure to ask before doing so.

We rented a car for about $450 for the week, which came in handy as we traveled all over the island, including taking a trip up to Castries for a Sunset cruise. You can definitely take the buses each way from Balenbouche for about 10 EC. We drove so much and really explored the island, so we felt a car was a better fit for us! For a more economical experience, you can definitely take the buses everywhere you need to go and won't have to wait but 10-20 minutes outside Balenbouche! Taxis charge more, so be sure to emphasize you want to catch a bus, not a taxi!

Overall, we had a grand experience. Uta, Verena, Anita, and the pups were all super helpful in making our stay the best possible on the Island. There is too much to say to truly be able to experience in one short review, so you would need to go there yourself!

Room Tip: Frangipani Cottage is one of the more secluded cottages, highly recommend for couples!
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  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank joannewetzel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2017

This was our first trip to St Lucia. Would I stay at Balenbouche again? Absolutely! If you want a resort holiday, experience and facilities then Balenbouche is not for you - but this is the point. It offers something very different. This is a little bit of St Lucia being protected from the sanitized resort by the energy and vision of a wonderful family who respect the history and natural environment of this old sugar plantation. The cottages are simple, clean and comfortable. They may not be the best equipped but you have everything you need to prepare meals and enjoy your stay. If you need anything then Verena and family are discretely on hand. If you don't want to cook, I can really recommend the evening meals (and breakfast) on the terrace of the main house. Fantastic fresh food lovingly prepared. There is good wifi, but only at the main house, and the veranda is always open when you want to connect. Hot water is provided by solar, but we always had enough to shower. We were there with a group of friends occupying all the cottages and everyone was happy and comfortable. The central barn was great for getting together for music (the reason for our trip) and perfect for morning yoga or meditation. The extensive gardens are beautiful with lovely, short walks to two lovely beaches. I swam most days but the sea is much rougher than the west coast and you have to take care with powerful tides. Kids and youngsters would need very careful supervision. The local minibuses are great for trips round to Soufriere (5EC dollars) or the other way to the wonderful beach/cafe at Laborie (3EC dollars) and Vieux Fort (5 EC dollars). Just stand at the road end (we never waited longer than 20 mins). View Fort is great for supplies at the street market (fruit, veg and fish) and supermarket. Verena can organize taxis and car hire (by the day 60US dollars) if you want, although we managed just fine on local buses for the week. We will be back!

Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank pisaac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Balenbouche Estate

Address: Balembouche, Laborie, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Laborie Quarter > Laborie
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Laborie
Price Range: €98 - €122 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Balenbouche Estate 3.5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Balenbouche Estate is a Historic Plantation Guesthouse offering several tropical vacation cottages. The 80 acre property includes an expansive park with colonial plantation house, 18th century sugar mill, yoga barn, fruit orchards, lily ponds, nature trails and two secluded beaches just a 5 minute walk away. Balenbouche is not a resort and remains a working organic farm, heritage site, and family residence with a focus on wellness, sustainability and conservation. Our eco-chic accommodations are created from historic structures and sleep between 2 and 6 people, some include kitchens. We prepare breakfast daily, and dinner 2 - 3 times a week by reservation. There is a restaurant within walking distance. Several other St Lucia restaurants as well as a supermarket are a short drive away. We are located 20 minutes from the International airport and 30 minutes from the town of Soufriere, near many of the islands best attractions. Balenbouche is a magical place, a world in itself, popular with artists, photographers, green travelers, wedding couples, honeymooners and families. Our family has owned and managed the estate for three generations. Gradually, the property was transformed into a well known St Lucia attraction, guesthouse and retreat venue. Many of our guests feel very much at home at Balenbouche Estate, and keep returning! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Balenbouche Estate Hotel Laborie

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