Food + Wine

World's Best Farm Hotels

by Colleen Clark

Hotel Chocolat, St. Lucia, West Indies

Field work: St. Lucia's cacao-growing business was rapidly disappearing when British entrepreneurs Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris bought the Rabot Estate, the island's oldest cacao farm, which dates back to 1745. In addition to replanting thousands of new trees on the estate, they've sparked a cacao renaissance, enticing 80 growers on the island to renew their businesses. Now guests at the Rabot Estate's hotel can visit those growers, learning how to take cacao from tree to chocolate bar. Hotel staff will also lead guests on nature walks through the estate's 140 lush acres to pick ripe papayas, mangoes, soursops, breadfruits, and guavas right off the trees.

Farm table: Set on a dramatic perch between the green peaks of the Pitons, Hotel Chocolat's restaurant Boucan offers a menu informed by the historical uses of cacao. The bean was used as a savory ingredient for 2,500 years before it found its way into sweeter dishes, so you might find it crushed into an herb pesto over line-caught yellowfin tuna, or seasoning a port wine sauce atop an Aberdeen Angus steak. But never fear, chocolate lovers, each meal also has its fair share of tarts, mousses, and ice creams.

Bedtime: Guests bed down each night in one of six comely cottages clustered around the towering branches of an old Royal Poinciana tree. The decor nods toward cacao's heritage with a serene white-and-chocolate color scheme with dark-wood four-poster beds draped in mosquito netting and whitewashed walls topped with wood-beam ceilings. And the turndown chocolates couldn't be richer (talk about sweet dreams!).

The Hotel Chocolat
The Rabot Estate
Soufrière
St. Lucia
West Indies
Tel: 800 757 7132
From $280 per night

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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