Thursday, March 20, 2008

A match made in heaven

When the emailed enquiry came through to our offices, our very first reaction was 'surely someone must be playing a practical joke'? Here was a very specific request from a developer for a rather unusual property - and the requirements almost exactly matched a listing that we had recently taken onto our books: 100+ acres, working cocoa plantation, great seaviews etc...
Naturally we treated the enquiry seriously and it quickly emerged that the request was genuine - this really was to be a match made in heaven.

With not a moment to be lost, we worked hand-in-hand with both parties to formalise the sale and as the developers, Hotel Chocolat, state on their website: "... after a long and difficult search, we found what looked like an ideal old estate in St Lucia. Co-founder Peter Harris and I shot over and in the face of strong competition signed contracts within a week to buy Rabot Estate."

The story of Hotel Chocolat at Rabot Estate in St Lucia has to date been one of successful collaboration with the local community and of governmental support.

The Hotel Chocolat website best explains the project:
"... Our move to buy a cocoa estate goes against the overall trend in the chocolate market, which is to specialise more and more in a particular part of the chocolate making process. However we decided to do it for these reasons:
a) We can make it a successful West Indian business in its own right.
b) It fits with our Engaged Ethics programme.
c) The future battleground in super premium chocolate will be about true chocolate expertise.
Our cocoa estate connects the origins of chocolate (cocoa growing) directly with our consumers. We are one of the very few in the world market to do this.
Our plan to make it a successful West Indian business is in three phases:

1. Re-establish Rabot Estate as a viable, thriving cocoa grower.
2. Build a chocolate factory in St Lucia.
3. Build a boutique chocolate hotel."


On 7th of March 2008, as part of their Caribbean tour, HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Rabot Estate for the ground- breaking ceremony of the chocolate factory.

Terra Online is proud to have been a part of this success story.