Hotel Chocolat St Lucia: A Chocoholic’s Ultimate Cruise Excursion

Tucked away in Soufriere, St Lucia, is the ultimate chocoholic’s escape. The Rabot Hotel and Restaurant by Hotel Chocolat is set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers visitors the opportunity to see the bean to bar process in action. This is a perfect excursion for cruisers who want to visit Hotel Chocolat St Lucia.

St Lucia

How to visit Hotel Chocolat St Lucia

In St Lucia, you can choose to visit the Rabot Hotel and Restaurant by Hotel Chocolat independently or through an organised shore excursion.

Cruise ships dock in Castries, St Lucia, which is approximately a one-hour drive to Soufriere. You can pre-book a taxi and one of the tours available directly with Hotel Chocolat (Tree to Bean or Bean to Bar tour).

Alternatively, you can take a shore excursion through the cruise line. P&O Cruises offers a Chocolate Experience shore excursion to Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot Estate.

The P&O Cruises excursion is £95.00 per person and through my research, I found it’s the most cost effective way to do this trip. The cruise excursion offers the bean to bar experience and a lunch at Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant. The lunch is a true pleasure, with views of one of the iconic Pitons. More on this later.

Hotel Chocolat Bean to Bar Tour

This is best described as a chocolate-making workshop, which guides you through the process of transforming the cocoa beans grown on the Rabot Estate into a souvenir chocolate bar to take away with you.

Be prepared to work up a bit of perspiration as you pound the roasted cocoa nibs with a pestle and mortar.

Hotel Chocolat St Lucia chocolate making ingredients
The ingredients for the chocolate bar: roasted cocoa nibs, cocoa butter and sugar
Hotel Chocolat St Lucia bean to bar chocolate making

As you get to work on the cocoa nibs, the expert guide provides an interesting insight into the process from bean to bar. Our tour group comprised of no more than 15 people, which was ideal for asking questions and learning about the estate.

Hotel Chocolat’s 140-acre estate was established in 2006 after co-founder, Angus Thirlwell, realised the importance of chocolatiers being part of the whole process from tree to bar. Many chocolate brands don’t grown their own cocoa beans, but Hotel Chocolat does.

Hotel Chocolat bean to bar workshop

The stone mortar is pre-heated to assist in the process and this is particularly helpful at the second stage, when you add cocoa butter. It’s funny how the components on their own are not very palatable but combined creates something so widely enjoyed.

Once the cocoa nibs and cocoa butter has been pounded to a liquid consistency, sugar is the final ingredient to add.

Apparently, the less sugar added, the better, but I have a sweet tooth and decided to add it all!

St Lucia chocolate making

We pored the liquid chocolate into a mold to be cooled and headed off to the restaurant for my personal highlight of the trip – lunch!

Lunch at Hotel Chocolat St Lucia

Before the chocolate-making workshop we pre-ordered our three-course lunch. Whilst we waited for our chocolate bars to set, we were treated to a stunning cacao-infused meal. You can take a look at a sample Hotel Chocolat menu.

The restaurant at Hotel Chocolat is designed to give diners a unobstructed view of one of the Pitons. The scenery is green and luscious with a still quietness that offers the feeling of peaceful relaxation. Hotel guests have access to an infinity pool situated below the restaurant that I was quite envious of.

Pitons St Lucia
The view of one Piton from the Hotel Chocolat restaurant
Hotel Chocolat St Lucia restaurant

The restaurant’s menu is inspired by its surroundings and the abundance of cacao and cocoa on tap. I was impressed by the subtle inclusion of cacao in every course, whether is was a fish dish or dessert. We learnt that cacao is unroasted beans and therefore can be used in savoury dishes.

We began with a fresh bread with three accompaniments: balsamic vinegar, oil and a butter. The bread itself had been made with cacao nibs.

Hotel Chocolat St Lucia
Fresh bread with dipping accompaniments
Hotel Chocolat restaurant rabot estate

I opted for the tuna tartare for my main course, with others favouring a huge juicy burger. Every item on the menu is made to order at the restaurant’s open kitchen.

Hotel Chocolat restaurant
Cacao-infused tuna tartare on a cacao nib brochette, served with curried sweet potato, plantain crisps and pilau cacao rice

The presentation was stunning throughout the meal but the chef pulled out all the stops for dessert! Naturally, chocolate was the main ingredient in both desserts but I was mightily impressed by my mini meringue Piton. The Piton sat in a chocolate soup with sliced bananas, flaked almonds and caramel drizzle.

Hotel Chocolat St Lucia restaurant dessert
Magnificent Piton dessert
Hotel Chocolat restaurant dessert
Chocolate dessert at Hotel Chocolat

Overall Thoughts

A trip to the Rabot Estate and Restaurant by Hotel Chocolat is certainly worth it. Despite the hour’s journey from the cruise port, it gave us the opportunity to see local life and the famous Twin Pitons.

Pitons in St Lucia

The excursion with P&O Cruises was a good mix of hands-on chocolate making and a luxury private lunch. For the price of £95 per person, I was not disappointed.

This visit on our Caribbean cruise has made my decision to return to St Lucia for a land-based holiday to explore the island further. The mud baths are very close to Hotel Chocolat, along with Soufriere and the Pitons.

Hotel Chocolat has become a well-known brand within the UK and the company is expanding with retail shops in the US and Dubai. No doubt it’s strong providence will continue to attract chocolate lovers to Hotel Chocolat St Lucia.

If like me, you enjoy trying local cuisine from different countries, you can read about my experience of Oistin’s Fish Fry in Barbados.

Hotel Chocolat St Lucia is a great cruise excursion for chocoholics and foodies to experience the bean to bar process and luxury restaurant.
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Laura
Laura

Laura is a UK cruise blogger based in Cornwall, UK. She founded Cruise Lifestyle in 2016 to share useful advice about cruising, destinations and food.
Last port visited: Bridgetown, Barbados
Next port of call: unknown, but she can’t wait for cruising to resume safely!

Find me on: Twitter

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8 Comments

  1. February 2, 2021 / 9:31 am

    I’ve done this tour while staying on this beautiful island. It was one of the most delicious lunches I had, as well as, interesting to learning about the processing. The views from this hotel are just incredible aren’t they? Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • cruiselifestyle
      Author
      February 3, 2021 / 10:09 pm

      The meal was almost as amazing as the view!

  2. February 2, 2021 / 9:17 pm

    O wow! Making chocolate from scratch sounds so fun! I am not a huge fan of chocolate, but I know I would love this because I love making things from scratch. I also like that I can control the sweetness because I don’t have a sweet tooth. This is the first time I’ve seen a chocolate tour where you get to learn the process from the very beginning.

    • cruiselifestyle
      Author
      February 3, 2021 / 10:13 pm

      Yes, the workshop was very interesting to learn about the process. If I returned I’d choose the tree to bean tour to be able to visit the plantation too.

  3. February 3, 2021 / 10:58 pm

    OMG this place is the dream! I am a self-confessed chocoholic who has eaten wayyyy too much in the last year – if I’m ever in St. Lucia, I’m going here! Such an amazing setting as well!

    • cruiselifestyle
      Author
      February 4, 2021 / 3:05 pm

      I think it is perfect for chocoholics!

  4. February 3, 2021 / 11:30 pm

    I have been to St Lucia year ago and this type of excursion sounds like a dream. I love the hands on grinding of the beans aspect and the walk thru to a finished bar.

    • cruiselifestyle
      Author
      February 4, 2021 / 3:04 pm

      It is hard work but rewarding at the end!

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