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C’est MartiniqueMay 29, 2013 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
|Deluxe suite at Cap Est Lagoon & Spa|
When the French Caribbean island of Martinique celebrated American Airlines’ new nonstop service from Miami to Fort-de-France, Travel Agent was alongside for the ride. While on the island, we toured some of the best hotels there and brought back our impressions of them. Here’s what we found.
One of the most luxurious hotels in Martinique, Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa, part of the Relais & Chateaux collection, has 50 oceanview suites across three distinct room categories (19 Garden, 24 Deluxe and seven Executive), each comprising a living room and sleeping quarters. Thirty-one rooms have private pools and outdoor showers.
Barely 10 years old, the resort has a full-service spa offering Guerlain treatments and amenities, and serves excellent cuisine. In fact, the resort recently earned a coveted fifth star, validating its place among the finest in the Caribbean. The Relais & Chateaux property was judged anonymously by an independent inspection agency overseen by Le Comite Francais d’Accreditation or French Committee for Accreditation.
We stayed in Room No. 123, a Deluxe Suite. It came with a patio that included a plunge pool but the most attractive feature was the outdoor rain shower—one of the best Travel Agent has ever used. It is covered (in the event that it rains) but is positioned in such a way that you will still feel the sun beating on your face as you shower.
The resort has all the amenities for a romantic, couples’ getaway but it is also good for families because it is near a barrier reef, which means calm waters that make the swimming conditions well-suited for children. It does get pretty windy here but that’s a good thing for wind-surfing enthusiasts—you can even take lessons (for a fee).
Agents should reach out to Valerie Deguitre ([email protected]), marketing and sales manager, with any queries.
One of the best hotels we toured in Martinique is one you may have a tough time finding in any brochure. On the Atlantic side of Martinique, Islet Oscar Guest House is a five-room house that is registered as a historical monument and, according to Martinique residents, was physically relocated after the original owner lost it in a poker game.
|A cool pool is part of the all-inclusive fun at Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek.|
It is accessible by a 10-minute boat ride from the marina of Francois, near Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa. It is also just minutes away from the famous Empress Josephine’s Bathtub. This Creole house, loaded with history and antiques, consists of five bedrooms. Many water activities, such as fishing, canoeing, diving and waterskiing, can be organized by the host. The property can also be booked in its entirety, making it an option worth considering for multigenerational vacations. For more information, agents are advised to e-mail the resort at [email protected].
The Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek is Martinique’s only major all-inclusive and one of the few hotels in the destination that is well known by Americans. The 289-room resort has all the amenities you would expect at an all-inclusive and few you might not, like great food and premium beers served on tap. Services include water sport activities, full-service spa, two restaurants, and a very lively bar, where dancing usually commences late in the night. Because of the frequent rotation of support staff, Club Med advises agents to direct any queries to 800-ClubMed.
At the Hotel Plein Soleil, all 16 guest rooms and suites are spread among five colorful villas, each designed in Creole style, or petite houses adorned with wooden fretwork. Though they share similar architecture, each villa is unique; some, in fact, appear to be carved from the hillside. The dramatic hilltop views of Le Francois from Plein Soleil’s guest rooms and suites, the surrounding bay and nearby islands are ample reasons to visit.
Near the hotel’s new pool area, a single-story villa consists of two Jardin Suites. Each of these 1,033-square-foot suites has a spacious, airy bedroom with a high ceiling, large bathroom, expansive deck and private plunge pool.
The property’s bi-level Duplex Suites offer even more comfort over its 1,302 square feet of living space. An inviting living room receives guests on the first floor and a sizable bedroom, deluxe bathroom and private plunge pool are on the ground floor.
Other room categories include Master Rooms (537 square feet) and Guest Rooms (322 square feet). All rooms have contemporary designer furnishings, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, mini- fridge, direct phone lines and more. We were told that six master bedrooms are expected to get outdoor showers by September. As of now, even the indoor showers are something of a selling point in that they have two showerheads, so a couple can shower together and not have to take turns.
One of the major attractions at Plein Soleil is its food. Housed in an 1880s French colonial home that serves as the hotel’s main building, the restaurant has a robust menu that combines traditional French and Creole cooking techniques to create gastronomic works of art. The dining area also underwent renovations. It now stretches over a wide and inviting terrace that is traversed by a tropical fish pond with soothing waterspouts. Guests enjoy the flavors created by Chef Nathanael Ducteil, who recently returned to Martinique after several months of training with Alain Ducasse, one of France’s true culinary masters.
Agents should direct any questions they may have to the hotel’s owner Jean-Christophe Yoyo ([email protected], 596-596-38-0777).
La Suite Villa opened about three years ago across the bay from the capital city of Fort-de-France in the hills above the scenic seaside village of Trois-Ilets. Its charming main house, built in the island’s traditional Creole pattern, has six suites. Each suite is tastefully furnished and includes a Jacuzzi. In addition to the six suites, La Suite Villa has nine private villas. Available in two- or three-room layouts, the colorful villas each have their own private garden, covered terrace, outdoor shower, solarium and Jacuzzi.
The La Suite Villa restaurant and bar serves French-Creole specialties. The property invites local painters and sculptors to showcase their work. The art is by far the coolest touch of this resort. The artists featured here, in fact, come from North America, Cuba, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Also onsite is an infinity pool overlooking the Bay of Fort-de-France. Get in touch with Yanick Ricci ([email protected], 336-8910-7356), sales and marketing manager, to ask any questions you may have.