Set on a historical cocoa farm at the edge of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rabot Hotel From Hotel Chocolat is dedicated to ethical operations. Hotel Chocolat, the British chocolate firm, transformed St Lucia’s oldest cocoa farm into an atmospheric, 25-room retreat surrounded by rich rainforest. During construction, the team restored the Rabot Estate House—which dates back to 1745—and converted the original Boucan units into luxury lodges. Today, the hotel continues to make certified organic chocolate via traditional methods. Its Project Chocolat is a center for sustainable farming, working with local grower partners to encourage sustainable development in Saint Lucia. In order to regenerate cacao and coffee farming on the island, the hotel launched its Island Growers program, which supports and connects 75 cacao growers and their families. Bolstering the local culture and community is also a focal point for the property. Rabot Hotel is also an active member of the Soufriere Foundation, which supports, facilitates, and coordinates local development initiatives. The hotel harvests rainwater—120,000 gallons can be stored across the resort—and sources 95 percent of its produce locally.
The architects restored and renovated the Rabot Estate House, which dates back to 1745, and converted the original Boucan units into luxury lodges.
The hotel uses recycled materials and thoughtfully disposes of waste where possible. The team composts as much as possible, though options on the island are somewhat limited.
Rabot Hotel uses LED lights and solar-powered hot water pumps and lighting.
Rabot Hotel harvests rainwater and is able to store approximately 120,000 gallons across the resort.
Local products and produce are used wherever possible. More than 95% of the ingredients used in the restaurants are sourced on the island.
The hotel is a key player in regenerating cacao and coffee farming on the island, hosts cultural music events at Project Chocolat, and celebrates all local holidays.
Many activities are about connecting with nature, including Forest Bathing, yoga, farm-to-table experiences, and Project Chocolat, which connects guests with ethical cacao growing.
The hotel is proud to have a nearly equal gender split across management and the general workforce. The majority of employees at the hotel are Saint Lucian.
The hotel promotes its initiatives via its website, social media, property tours, signage throughout the hotel, and the Hotel Chocolat communications channels.
We spoke with the team behind Rabot Hotel From Hotel Chocolat to learn the latest on the hotel’s conscious journey.
Being ethical is at the heart of everything we do. This has been rooted in our brand from the very beginning. We treat workers fairly, tread lightly on the planet, strive to leave things better than we found them, and act with a conscience.
We only have one non-St Lucian who works for us on the island—we have hired 150 local staff. In 2009, we launched the Island Growers program, which supports and connects 75 cacao growers and their families. We are also active members of the Soufriere Foundation, which promotes, encourages, supports, facilitates, and coordinates local development initiatives. We support the local organization Helen’s Daughters by offering space where their apprentices can learn and farm, their members can come together, and they can host free healthcare clinics for the local agricultural communities. Our Estate is a destination for local schools and colleges to learn about farming.
We also neighbor a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the iconic Piton mountains. We are responsible for the retention and preservation of 150 acres of primary and secondary rainforest and have also been a key player in regenerating and protecting the cacao industry on Saint Lucia. We host tours at Project Chocolat that incorporate traditional practices such as cocoa tea and making chocolate from scratch. Finally, we host cultural music and celebrate all national holidays, including Jounen Kwéyòl, an important day of celebration during Creole Heritage Month.
There are three main challenges on a small island like Saint Lucia. The first is eliminating all imported items. We are proud to source more than 95 percent of the ingredients used in our restaurants locally and we build our menu to reflect that. The second challenge is building a coherent and sustainable recycling system to support hotels. To help push this forward, we are an active participant in recycling trials with other hotels on the island. Finally, sourcing green energy can be a challenge. We use solar-powered water pumps and lights wherever we can.