Boutique Hotels in MartiniqueMay 11, 2010 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
One of the six suites in La Suite Villa's main house, which has been built in Martinique's traditional Creole style
Martinique is the place to experience the perfect fusion of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean—particularly with a stay in one of its renowned boutique hotels. Whereas hotel development in the rest of the Caribbean has primarily followed a “bigger is better” mantra, this island has stuck to its small, intimate boutique properties. In line with Martinique’s status as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,” these hotels come with an emphasis on exceptional food.
To top if off, the island is going all out to woo the American market. It has increased its marketing budget, could possibly have its first U.S.-branded hotel in the Radisson and discussions have begun on adding flights from low-cost carriers such as JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways. So, it’s high time you pitched these properties to your clients.
La Suite Villa
La Suite Villa opened in December, 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 style, has six suites. Each suite is tastefully furnished and boasts 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. Unique touch: The property invites local painters and sculptors to showcase their work. Also, onsite is an infinity pool overlooking the Bay of Fort-de-France.
From here, guests have easy access to Martinique’s only golf course (the Empress Josephine Golf Course), the island’s newest casino (Casino des Trois-Ilets), tennis and beaches, and shopping, restaurants, bars and nightlife in Trois-Ilets’ vibrant Point du Bout resort area.
Contact Yanick Ricci, sales and marketing manager, at 011-596-596-635-730 for more information.
Villa St. Pierre
Villa St. Pierre has been described as the new “petite princess” of hotels in Martinique. It has only nine rooms—the ideal size for guests to receive exceptional pampering.
Villa St. Pierre rests in the heart of the historical northern town of St. Pierre, dubbed the Pompeii of the Caribbean following the 1902 eruption of nearby and now dormant Mt. Pelée. The town’s historical attractions surround the property, making it a great draw for history buffs.
All rooms are air-conditioned and come with a minibar, flat-screen TV and Internet. An onsite restaurant seats 20 and boasts a menu with French and Caribbean cuisine. Contact Director M. Givogre (011-596-596-786-845, [email protected]) with queries.
Le Domaine St. Aubin
Le Domaine Saint Aubin, on the hills along Martinique’s northern Atlantic coast between the towns of Le Trinite and Sainte Marie, recently underwent an expansion from 11 rooms to 30. The colonial look and feel of the historic 19th-century property has been extended to the new rooms as well.
All the 19 additional rooms are housed in newly built or thoroughly renovated free-standing cottages on a small hill facing the hotel’s main entrance. Each has air conditioning, a large colonial bed, authentic 19th- century furniture and decoration, and en suite bathrooms. There are no telephones, TVs or radios, although Wi-Fi is available throughout the property on request.
Contact Director Laurent Rosemain (011-596-596-693-477, ledomaine [email protected]) for details.
In the hills above the charming town of Le François on the Atlantic coast is the new Maison d’Hôtes Plein Soleil, commonly known as Plein Soleil.
The hotel is back in operation after a six-month renovation, during which it expanded its already popular restaurant, added a new pool area and increased its accommodations from 12 to 16. This property is perfect for couples, especially honeymooners.
All 16 guest rooms and suites are spread among five colorful villas, each designed in the style of Creole cases, 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. As in the past, the dramatic hilltop views of Le François from Plein Soleil’s guest rooms and suites, the surrounding bay and nearby islands are ample reason 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 their 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- fridges, direct phone lines and more.
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 styles 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 following several months of training with Alain Ducasse, one of France’s most illustrious culinary masters.
Guests can also lounge at the new pool area near the Jardin Suites or relax at the hotel’s stylish great house, either listening to some calming music or chatting with the property’s affable owner, Jean-Christophe Yoyo.
Agents should contact Yoyo (011-596-596-380-777, [email protected]) with queries.
U.S. Hotel Plans
The island is pondering the possibility of its first U.S.-branded resort in 45 years. The now-closed Hilton opened in the 1960s.
We met with Muriel Wiltord-Latamie, director of the U.S and Latin America for the Martinique Promotion Bureau, who told us the destination is still engaged in talks for its own Radisson. She is also optimistic about bringing a Marriott on board. The plan, she says, is to have the Marriott in Fort-de-France, Martinique’s tourism hub.
According to Wiltord-Latamie, the destination plans to have a direct JetBlue flight from New York by 2011. She says Martinique is considering flights from JFK, in addition to beefing up American Eagle flights out of San Juan. Currently there are daily American Eagle flights out of Puerto Rico, but she would like to see them increased to twice daily.
And the lift plans don’t stop there. Wiltord-Latamie says the destination is also considering adding flights from low-cost carrier AirTran.