Nestled in the heart of St. Lucia and just a 45-minute drive from the island’s international airport, Fond Doux Plantation & Resort is a romantic getaway that features intimate and private luxury cottages
Operating today as a plantation and an intimate holiday destination featuring an assortment of 15 uniquely crafted cottages, the colonial Fond Doux Plantation & Resort was originally owned by King Louis XIV and subsequently granted to the Devaux brothers. The Fond Doux Estate was purchased by its current owners, the Lamontagne family, in 1980 and operated as a banana plantation throughout the 1990s, in a period when the banana was nicknamed ‘green gold.’ By 1999 the Lamontagne family took the decision to diversify into heritage tourism and in 2006 had erected the resort’s first cottage, the ‘Angelina Villa’ in the gardens of the estate.
During the subsequent years, Fond Doux has since grown to become a Green Globe certified plantation resort with a total of 15 cottages, a triple-tier swimming pool, an organic spa, a gift shop, two onsite restaurants, a wedding gazebo and many hiking trails. The Green Globe Company Standard is designed for organisations within the travel and tourism industry and provides a framework to assess an organisation’s environmental sustainability. Its commitment to operating as an authentic plantation with sustainable business practices that extend to its hotel and catering services, has earned Fond Doux an enviable reputation and global acclaim. “Fond Doux is today the only authentic organic plantation in St. Lucia with most of its produce being harvested on the plantation. It is also the only resort on the island that engages in true eco building practices and natural preservation of historic buildings,” reveals Owner and Executive Director, Mrs. Eroline Lamontagne. “The British newspaper, The Guardian voted Fond Doux as one of the five best plantation retreats in the world and additionally, in 2008, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall visited the resort for an official tour.”
The Fond Doux Plantation has been in operation for around 250 years and is conveniently located just minutes away from some of St. Lucia’s main attractions, including the Pitons volcanic plugs; the island’s sulphur springs – known as the ‘Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano’; and the region’s best diving sites. All of which are set within a prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort offers an authentic Saint Lucian experience that is appreciated by a new trend of responsible travellers around the globe. Fond Doux is situated amongst lush cocoa groves so that guests can not only smell chocolate wafting by on the warm breeze, but can also actively engage in the processing of chocolate with cocoa harvesting, drying and even cocoa dancing.
This local flavour extends to the report’s two restaurants that provide both authentic Saint Lucian Creole and fusion style cuisine. The Cocoa Pod restaurant for example, offers tempting Saint Lucian dishes including Creole chicken and freshly caught fish, combined with locallygrown seasonings, vegetables and salads, which are traditional Saint Lucian staples that make for healthy and delicious culinary experiences. The Jardin Cacao Restaurant offers á la carte options for both lunch and dinner with a fusion of Caribbean and St. Lucian cuisine. The lunch menu has been thoughtfully designed to have lighter, healthier dishes to include organic soups, salads sandwiches, wraps, roti’s and pasta dishes. The dinner menus are created with the freshest produce found in the resort’s gardens, including local farmed fresh water shrimps. Visitors can enjoy a selection of signature dishes combined with a modern interpretation of authentic Saint Lucian cuisine to include vegetable soups, chicken/fish souse kaye, organic house salads, pan seared Mahi-Mahi, Creole shrimps, Jerk pan fried chicken breast and grilled beef sirloin.
“The inspirational concept behind the resort’s restaurants is to offer a ‘Plantation to Plate’ experience to its diners. Every day one of the resort’s gardeners visits a rare certified organic farm to harvest fresh organic fruits (grapefruit, guavas, star fruits, passion fruits, oranges and bananas) vegetables, (Chinese cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers), ground provisions (yam, dasheen, sweet potatoes, turnips and breadfruit) and local spices,” Mrs. Lamontagne explains. “The organic fruits are used to make fresh local juice, which guests can sample during breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chef then uses the vegetables, ground provisions and local spices to create authentic Saint Lucian and Caribbean dishes.”
Fond Doux ensures that it makes regular adjustments to the resort’s menus to coincide with the change in seasons and typically employs two chefs that use their culinary expertise to consistently produce excellent authentic Saint Lucian and Caribbean infused masterpieces while making use of the organic tropical fruits, vegetables and spices grown in their gardens.
During the coming years, the Fond Doux Plantation & Resort will continue to focus on delivering fantastic holiday and culinary experiences. This will include the addition of five additional cottages; the construction of a gym that will enhance guests’ visits by allowing them to add fitness to their daily activities; chocolate making on the resorts premises; and continuous staff training. The resort’s owners continue to meet the essential training needs of the staff through on property coaching activities as well as the training programmes that become available over time. Furthermore, as a Green Globe member, the resort is dedicated to championing the protection of the environment. “We are extremely satisfied with the recently signed Paris Agreement and believe that it has lived up to the demand of many environmental activists who were most pleased that the deal includs a long-term emissions reduction goal, the five-year review cycle and strong measures to ensure transparency,” Mrs. Lamontagne concludes. “The Lamontagne family is on a mission to continue raising awareness on the importance of protecting the environment. The resort is committed to self-sufficiency and is focusing all efforts on maximum participation in the community and the wider world.”