Villa Grand Piton

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Top Ten

Because you get many of the amenities of a hotel, and we can provide hotel-like services to you (e.g., cooking, meal, transportation, massages). See here for a comparison between us and a hotel.

Category: Top Ten

Warm and mostly sunny. Highs in mid 80’s to low 90’s, and lows about 10 degrees lower. Rain, if any, is usually overnight or just brief passing showers. In the “rainy season” (June – November), there is a higher chance of a passing storm, but it’s uncommon to have a day that’s completely rained out.

Category: Top Ten

Our staff cleans and sweeps the house, makes the beds, changes the linen mid-week, cleans the pool, does general maintenance and landscaping, and is available in case some item needs urgent maintenance. They are there most of the day, and our night caretaker is there from about dusk to dawn. They can also advise you on restaurants and activities, and source meats and fresh fish for you, and help you make reservations.

Category: Top Ten

For a relaxing vacation, or if your group is more than four people, or you want more space than a small vehicle has, we recommend you hire our driver. His vehicles are comfortable and spacious, and he also acts as a tour guide and provides you a complimentary itinerary consultation the first morning of your stay. Most of our guests hire him and pay for it through our website with a credit card (Pay Online) since he does not have a credit card reader of his own.

Many roads in St Lucia, including the roads to the villa, are narrow and rough with steep hills. Most parking spots in Soufriere are small and on the streets. So if you prefer the adventure of driving during your stay, we recommend a small 4WD SUV, such as a Jimny Sport from Drive-A-Matic. It’s just barely large enough for four average-sized adults, but not much luggage or gear if you go to the beach.

You call call us for help deciding, or consult the guide we’ve put together.

Categories: Top Ten, Transportation

We do not allow parties or weddings. We may allow a small, quiet gathering, depending on the number of people, the purpose, and the hours involved. Contact us for approval.

Category: Top Ten

Since our home is open air (interior walls that don’t go to the ceiling, and windows that are not covered with glass) the air conditioners can’t cool the rooms much. But they blow cool air on the bed to cool you a bit and make sleeping more comfortable.

Category: Top Ten

We recommend $5-$10 US per day per staff person tip for our staff if you wish to tip them. Adjust that as you feel is appropriate for the level of service and interaction you had with the person. Drivers are at or above the upper end of that, since you probably spent a lot of time with them.

Category: Top Ten
You’ll need some form of transportation – either our taxi/driver service or rent a vehicle (4WD recommended). We aren’t in easy walking distance of anything, mostly because we are at an elevation of 550 feet!
Categories: Top Ten, Transportation
It is possible to walk to the beach – it takes about 25 minutes. But it’s not something we recommend as the road is steep and may be slippery due to loose gravel or mud after a rain. And it’s a lot harder on the way back up – we are at an elevation of 550 feet. Driving is much easier and quicker – it’s a short 6-8 minute drive to either Anse Chastanet or Hummingbird beach. The beaches are public up to a certain distance from the high-water mark. Some hotels may try to discourage you from using their beach.  Tell them you know the beaches are public and then they should leave you alone. It’s not clearly marked where the public part is, so please ask a hotel employee if you are uncertain.
Category: Top Ten

Our housekeeper, Doxie, can cook for you.  If you provide the groceries, her charge is $10US to cook breakfast and $20US to cook dinner (per meal, not per person). Pricing details, including her option to do the cooking and provide the groceries, can be found here.

Category: Top Ten

Preparing for your trip

We suggest you wait until you arrive. There is a currency conversion place at the airport just past the Immigration stands to the right. You can also use US dollars, but the exchange rate is slightly worse than the bank rate.

There’s inconsistent information on this, so, to be safe, we recommend that you passport be valid for at least six months after your arriva date. The airlines may deny you boarding if your paassport expires sooner than that.

That will depend on your plans. Contact us and we’ll help you make an estimate. If you establish a credit line that is higher than what you end up using, we refund the unused funds promptly after you leave, usually within 24 hours.

Most places that tourists vist accept credit cards. For tipping an incidentals, $100-$200 US should suffice. We usually take $100US with us and then withdraw $500 EC (around $200 US) from an ATM for spending money while we are there. Please note – we do not yet have a credit card machine at the villa, so you will need to either bring cash for villa services (cooking/meals, driving, massages) or establish a line of credit with us before our trip.

If you want to be in constant contact using your existing number, you will need an international plan. Most service providers will sell you a short-term international plan. If you don’t mind a temporary, local number, you can purchase a SIM card in St Lucia if your phone is “unlocked”. If you don’t need constant connection, a free alternative is to install “WhatsApp” which allows you to make calls and send texts, pictures, and voice messages all via WiFi. Your friends and family will have to install WhatsApp, too.

There is an extremely helpful discussion on cells phones in St Lucia on the Tripadvisor forum.

In order to drive in St Lucia, you will either need an international license or a St Lucian driving permit. If you don’t have or want to get an international license, the car rental agency will issue you a St Lucian permit at the same time you rent the vehicle (about $20 US).

Yes, you need a passport that is valid for at least six months after your arrival date.

Questions about St Lucia

The island electrical service is 220V. But we have both 220V and 110V (U. S.) service throughout the villa. You will not need an adapter or a transformer if you are from the US, Canada, or the UK.

The official language is English, with a French-based Creole patois spoken by many St Lucians in addition to English.

The official currency of St Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). The bank exchange rate is $2.70 EC to the US$ (37 cents US = one dollar EC). The US dollar is widely accepted but usually at a lower exchange rate ($2.50EC per $1 US)

The St Lucian culture follows England, with a 10% service charge added to many bills. So tips are not nearly as expected as they are in the United States. We frequently add a bit, especially if they were extra-pleasant or did something extra for us. If our bill doesn’t show a service charge, or we aren’t sure, we still tip, but usually 5-10%. The average hourly wage in St Lucia for those in the tourism industry is about the same as a Starbuck’s grande latte, so we know a little extra is appreciated.

Yes. Most travelers have no issues with the drinking water anywhere on the island.

St Lucia is not like Jamaica – it’s generally a very safe place. We’ve never had any issues at the villa, and our guests have never had any issues during their visits. Of course, use common sense: don’t wear expensive jewelry, don’t leave your valuables unattended, don’t flash wads of cash around, don’t go down dark alleys, don’t go in search of illegal drugs (marijuana is illegal), and don’t invite people back to the villa.

St Lucia is in a very temperate climate and much of the island is a rainforest, prime conditions for bugs to thrive. We have methods to try to control their population but we can’t eliminate them entirely.

Some mosquitoes in St Lucia can transmit diseases. However, they have to bite someone with the disease and then bite you to give you the disease. This kind of mosquito does not usually fly more than about a quarter of a mile, so being in places of low population density (such as at Villa Grand Piton) lowers the likelihood that a mosquito will bite an infected person and then fly far enough to bite you and transmit the disease. So although it is possible, it is very unlikely.

Transportation

Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort. The code for it is “UVF”.

Category: Transportation

In high season: Delta from Atlanta; American from Miami, Charlotte, Chicago, and Philadelphia; United from Chicago and Newark; Jetblue from Boston and JFK; Air Canada and WestJet from Toronto. Low season flights are more limited.

Category: Transportation

For a relaxing vacation, or if your group is more than four people, or you want more space than a small vehicle has, we recommend you hire our driver. His vehicles are comfortable and spacious, and he also acts as a tour guide and provides you a complimentary itinerary consultation the first morning of your stay. Most of our guests hire him and pay for it through our website with a credit card (Pay Online) since he does not have a credit card reader of his own.

Many roads in St Lucia, including the roads to the villa, are narrow and rough with steep hills. Most parking spots in Soufriere are small and on the streets. So if you prefer the adventure of driving during your stay, we recommend a small 4WD SUV, such as a Jimny Sport from Drive-A-Matic. It’s just barely large enough for four average-sized adults, but not much luggage or gear if you go to the beach.

You call call us for help deciding, or consult the guide we’ve put together.

Categories: Top Ten, Transportation

The driving is on the left-hand (“British”) side of the road.

Category: Transportation

Travel time is about 50-60 minutes.

Category: Transportation

The nearest beaches, Anse Chastanet and Hummingbird, are a 5-10 minute drive from the villa.

Category: Transportation

Let us know that you want to hire him and we will let him know. Letting us know a week or two ahead of time is fine. You don’t need a set schedule for the week – he provides a complimentary itinerary consultation on your first morning if you are using his services and not renting a vehicle.

Category: Transportation

Our driver accepts only cash, US or EC dollars. His prices are all quoted in US dollars. Alternatively, you may establish a credit line with us and we will pay him for you.

Category: Transportation

No, but we can arrange for you to be picked up at the airport. The cost is $80 US for four people, and $100 US for five or six people. Our driver’s vehicle is large enough for your group and your luggage.

Category: Transportation
You’ll need some form of transportation – either our taxi/driver service or rent a vehicle (4WD recommended). We aren’t in easy walking distance of anything, mostly because we are at an elevation of 550 feet!
Categories: Top Ten, Transportation

In order to drive in St Lucia, you will either need an international license or a St Lucian driving permit. If you don’t have or want to get an international license, the car rental agency will issue you a St Lucian permit at the same time you rent the vehicle (about $20 US).

Food and Beverages

In the village of Soufriere, there is a grocery, a bakery (mostly breads and savories; few, if any, typical US sweet breakfast pastries), a butcher, and an open-air market with fish and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also stands on the sidewalks in Soufriere. Doxie may be able to source items for you – discuss it with her and give her a day or two of notification.

The larger stores, including a liquor store and grocery, are near the airport. You may wish to stop at them on your way to the villa.

It typically contains: one roti (curried vegetables, with or without chicken, wrapped in a flat bread) per person, beer, wine, crackers, cheese, Coke and Sprite, fruit juice, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, bacon, eggs, bread, butter, jam, cereal, and local fruit. A bottle of Doxie’s tasty rum punch will be in the refrigerator for you. The welcome basket has enough food and beverage for a “happy hour” upon arrival, a light dinner, then breakfast the next morning.

Yes, you may, with some restrictions. The current duty-free allowance for alcoholic beverages is one liter per person. You may bring more than that, but you will have to declare it and pay the duty on the excess. The duty is calculated on your purchase price, so please bring a receipt for the excess volume.

We recommend that any food you bring into St Lucia is in its original packaging. Most non-perishable food is allowed in without inspection. Don’t bring in raw fruits or vegetables. Poultry is prohibited, and raw meat may be held for inspection. If you wish to bring in raw meat, please contact us for advice on how to do this.

Although we believe it is safe and drink it ourselves, we suggest you drink the water from our water cooler to be on the safe side. The water supply for the villa is rainwater that has been treated with chlorine and filtered so the bottled water will certainly taste better.

The local grocery store has the basics, and the grocery in La Tourney (near the airport on the way to the villa) has a better selection. If you are very particular about something, you may want to bring it with you, or contact us to see if it is available locally.

Prices vary considerable, with staples like flour and sugar and local vegetables being inexpensive, perhaps even less than in the US. Store-branded items run about 20-30% more expensive than in the US. Imported brand-name items (such as Cheetos) are 2-3 times as expensive as in the US.

Yes, she can make roti (curried vegetables, with or without chicken, wrapped in a flat bread). If you have booked for a week or more, the roti will be included in the complimentary welcome basket along with other food and beverages. If you’ve booked for a shorter time, you can purchase the entire welcome basket or just the roti.

There are a number of restaurants within a 10-20 minute drive of the villa, from food trucks to fine dining. If you wish to eat at the villa, our housekeeper can cook for you or you can have our driver get carryout for you.

Life at the villa

Yes. Since the villa is not sealed, you will get some “visitors” that can get in under the doors. Some are helpful and cute, like the cute little geckos (car insurance, anyone?) and visually-similar anoles. We appreciate them – they are harmless and tend to be shy and they feed on insects. That also means we get insects in the house.

Night time temperatures cool down to the mid 70’s in the winter and the uper 70’s to 80 in the winter. The air conditioning amd the ceiling and bed fans help make sleeping more comfortable. However, if you are sensitive to heat, it may still be too warm

Villa Grand Piton is a poor choice for younger children, due to our remote location at the top of a tall hill and the steepness of the grounds (for instance, the drop from the pool railing to the ground is about 30 feet), and the lack of places to play safely outdoors. The villa is not childproofed. For instance, there are 220-volt outlets up 12-18 inches from the floor which pose a serious safety hazard to small, inquisitive fingers. We also have no amenities for children (no cribs, high chairs, etc.).

Although we are not ADA-compliant, we are somewhat handicapped-friendly. The villa and parking area are on the same level, the doors are wide, and there are only three wide steps between the house and the pool

We recently upgraded the WiFi and it’s been fairly reliable. However, it may falter when it rains very hard (it’s supplied wirelessly), and there are occasional outages due to supplier issues.

It’s not as robust as we’d like it to be. So we’ve installed solar panels to supplement the purchased power, and have a backup generator in case of an outage. John or Kerryus will start it for you if needed.

Yes, ages 5 and up. Due to safety concerns, our home is not suitable for children under 5.

Yes, 10 pm to 8 am. These apply to all the properties on the hillside. Our staff has the right to turn your music down if we receive complaints about the noise.

In the late afternoon, shut most or all of the doors. Don’t leave lights on indoors while you are outside after dark. You can ask Alexa to turn off and on the lights so you don’t have to fumble for a switch in the dark.

The staff

Our night caretaker is there for several reasons.  Mostly, it’s in case you need something at night.  For instance, one time the water pump failed at 8 pm at night (we are on cistern water), and he was able to get it started again.  He also can start the generator in case of power failures, or let you in after dinner if you forget the keycode.  The infrastructure is not as robust as in the US, and our staff does not have vehicles (many people do not in St Lucia), so by having someone there at night we can make sure you are well taken care of. 

It is also partly a security measure.  We haven’t had any issues, and the villa locks up securely.  But it is located in a fairly secluded area at the top of a hill in a forest, and most of our guests find that having someone there gives them a little extra piece of mind. 

Category: The staff

We are staffed basically around-the-clock, just as a hotel has staff on-site at all times. Doxie and/or Kerryus show up at about 9 o’clock in the morning, but wait outside on the driveway until you open the back doors. They will will most likely be at the villa until mid to late afternoon. John, our night caretaker, arrives shortly before dusk and remains outdoors overnight, just in case you need something, until about dawn.

Category: The staff

Doxie sets the schedule of the staff for the week. She may switch up roles from time to time to give people time off and she may take a day off occasionally. If you want to know the schedule, discuss it with Doxie.

Category: The staff

The villa is not available for rental without the staff. Our standard of service is that someone is on site around-the-clock to maintain our property (which takes a lot of time in the Caribbean climate) and be there in case you have a question, or to assist in case something unexpected happens, such as a power outage.

Our staff is also there to ensure you have a memorable stay and address any issues you have as quickly as possible. According to a recent industry study, one in ten travelers visited the emergency room while on vacation. We sincerely hope nothing happens to any of our guests, but we want you to rest assured that our staff can quickly get help for you at any time of the day or night in case you need something.

Category: The staff

Yes, you may. But you may not send the staff home without Doxie’s permission. For instance, if you are planning particular days to be out and prefer the villa to be cleaned when you are not there, please let Doxie know your schedule and preference, and she will work to try and accommodate your scheduling request. Keep in mind that she will have to be at the villa on days you want her to cook dinner.

Category: The staff

Yes, for the standard services of cleaning, maintenance, caretaking, and general assistance. Cooking and meals are not included. The driver and masseuse are not employees of ours, so their services are extra.

Category: The staff

No. They all have homes in Soufriere. Our night caretaker will be on the property overnight, but you’ll probably not see him much unless you need him.

Category: The staff

Villa Supplies

On the countertop or the maple cart shelves: Mr Coffee coffee maker, espresso/cappuccino machine, NutriBullet blender, Ninja blender (best for frozen drinks), four-slice toaster. In the pantry or in cupboards, you will also find: pasta maker (manual), ice-cream maker, rice cooker/slow cooker, waffle maker, french press and pour-over coffee maker. There is an electric hand mixer in the drawers.

Category: Villa Supplies

Beach towels, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, sunglasses, regular umbrellas and rain jackets. Coolers and ice packs, metal thermoses, and melamine dishes and plastic glasses for picnics. Binoculars and a tripod.

Category: Villa Supplies

Large refrigerator/freezer with icemaker, small beverage-only refrigerator, dishwasher, electric cooktop, microwave oven, countertop oven (we do not have a built-in oven). There is a large propane grill on the deck.

Category: Villa Supplies

Mr Coffee drip coffee maker, DeLonghi espresso/cappuccino machine, french press and single-cup pour-over. We do not have a Keurig or equivalent.

Category: Villa Supplies

If you forgot your toothbrush, toothpaste, razor or a comb, ask Doxie when you arrive and she’ll get you some.

Category: Villa Supplies

We supply one half-pound bag of ground local coffee per stay and a selection of tea bags.

Category: Villa Supplies

The villa has free WiFi throughout, extending to the gazebo and covering the pool area.

Category: Villa Supplies

Yes, we have snorkel gear for your use. We have standard masks, full-face masks, fins, snorkels, snorkel vests and carrying bags.

Category: Villa Supplies

We have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but no live TV channels. We are working to get a provider for live TV with typical US channels, but we don’t have an estimate of when that will happen (as of 1/1/20).

Category: Villa Supplies

Yes, we have waterproof UE boom speakers for your use at the villa that will pair via bluetooth to your phone or the Amazon Echo speakers. Please do not take them to the beach or on other activities. Instructions are on the desk in the living room.

Category: Villa Supplies

There is a bookcase of books in the study area. There are playing cards and some board games in the TV room in the black media center.

Category: Villa Supplies

Yes, we’ve set up Alexa for your convenience. You can play music (with our Amazon Music Unlimited membership, control the lights throughout the house, ask for information about the villa (we’ve programmed answers to some questions), or get general information, such as the status of your departing flight.

Category: Villa Supplies

We have a washer and dryer next to the refrigerator behind the louvered doors.

Category: Villa Supplies

Yes, on the back deck we have a large stainless-steel propane grill with six burners and an infra-red side burner.

Category: Villa Supplies

Yes, we have a desktop computer and printer for guest use.

Category: Villa Supplies

We wish we could, but that is not possible in St Lucia. There’s no Amazon Prime or Lowe’s or WalMart. We have spares or extras for many items, but not all.

Category: Villa Supplies

No – we provide those.

Category: Villa Supplies

No, we have USB ports near the beds and several other places in the villa, and we have several types of phone charging cords.

Category: Villa Supplies

No – don’t worry about the basics. We provide: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, toilet paper, Qtips, dishwashing detergent and paper towels. If you forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, razor or a comb, ask Doxie when you arrive and she’ll get you some.

Category: Villa Supplies

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