Disclosure, I am a travel agent.
if you desire a resort with nonstop activities, nightlife and free-flowing alcohol, Le Domaine is NOT suggested. However if your wishes are oriented to a Caribbean of yesteryear, laid-back, quiet, relaxing, beautiful beaches and gourmet food read-on.
Le Domaine is located on the French side of St. Martin, a distinction including a more lush landscape and a reputation for being laid-back, quiet and limited nightlife. Approximately 45 minutes from the airport a car is a necessity if you wish to explore beyond the resort.
From the airport, be sure to request good directions. While there is one main road, there are roundabouts and signage is just OK. Rent a small car as roads are narrow and while BMW’s and Jeeps are available, best to be discreet. Also if your credit card does not offer insurance, be sure to take the optional insurance as every car from econo-boxes to Mercedes has scratches and dents. Also consider taking pics of the car on your cell at pick-up in case you may have to dispute a future damage claim.
Check-In and Orientation: Check-in was seamless. There is a small reception area (open-design in keeping with Caribbean design). The desk staff was proficient in English and French and even though I am far from bilingurial, a simple hello in French goes a long way. Staff made copies of our passport and credit card for incidentals. We checked in and were shown where our room was and available parking.
The resort is what I reference as a “boutique oriented” i.e. smaller in scale and design. The rooms and suites are within 2-3 story buildings surrounding and offering views of the manicured gardens. While an ocean view may technically be available from the higher floors, due to the design of the resort, a straight-on ocean view while enjoyable would not necessarily be missed as the ground are beautiful and the sounds of the ocean can be heard throughout the resort.
We were place in Building 900, close to reception and just steps from the parking, on the 2nd floor. All building have elevators and open stairs. Our room (pics attached) was absolutely charming. The central a/c was on. Upon entry there were ample closets and a ¾ bathroom with a large shower stall, toilet and small sink. Shelves held extra towels and toiletries. Fully tiled, large mirror, excellent lighting and Hansgrohe fixtures (a well respected German brand).
Beyond the entry way was the room itself. Large by most measures there is a king bed (dual twins with a feather comforter/ luxury linens, fresh flowers on the bed spread), a small writing desk, a wicker lounger, a built-in hidden bar refrigerator and shelf with tea kettle, a selection of teas and a ice bucket and two champagne flutes. Beyond is a generous two-person tub and large plate glass slider opening onto the deck/patio which is screened from the neighbors. Of note the large window at the tub can be screened using the internal shade for privacy; or if you wish you can bathe while feeling as part of the outdoors, great at dusk before dinner. There is also an additional dual-vanity, large mirror and socket for shaver (there is a built-in hair dryer). The double-bathtub area can be made private with a curtain. Overall the room can be most romantic yet also easily utilitarian for friends traveling together.
A few reviews mentioned “construction”. There is a construction site just beyond Building 700. On the days we were at the resort and on the beach I did not hear the construction which seems to be relegated to “earth moving”. There was no sign of immediate foundation work or similar and doubtful the site would be an annoyance.
The Beach: The resort has private access to the beach which is one of the most beautiful and private on St. Martin. While there is a public beach concession i.e. rental lounges and umbrellas, the majority of the beach is used by guests of Le Domaine and The Radisson Blu next door. From the majority of the guest rooms, the beach is a 2-3 minute walk through the gardens.
The beach is within a cove setting with a few boats moored offshore. There is also a concession for motorized watersports i.e. jet skis, kayaks. The beach is quiet i.e. no beach volleyball, no DJ’s and the like. Of note, this is the French-side of the island and a few women sunbathe topless yet it is the minority. There is towel service and the loungers are well cushioned and umbrellas plentiful. There is a roped off swimming area and there are decent waves even within the cove setting.
Just above the beach area are tables and chairs for relaxing and dining. The two beach bars offer all choices of drinks and it is not uncommon to see guests with a bottle service from the bar with water, wine and champagne (again French). There is also the Kafe which offers excellent food by the beach. While not inexpensive, gourmet quality including the fresh catch of the day on ice available. More about dining later.
The pool area is large with ample deck area providing sun and shade areas. The pool offers a small children’s area as well as two jetted tubs attached. There is a water aerobics class once a week. The pool is well maintained and spotless. Personally I went from beach to pool and so forth as I prefer swimming in a pool yet relaxing on the beach.
Dining: In general the French side of the island is more expensive and oriented towards gourmet dining. In addition as prices are dominated in Euros, there is an inherent inflation factor for North Americans yet more places are beginning to denominate in both currencies.
Breakfast is buffet style and served in the signature Table du Marche. The dining room is open-air sides and a retractable roof; all the tables have a water view. Breakfast is available until 10A and there is room service with the patio’s offering a table and chairs for dining. If you desire the all-out buffest of the all-inclusive resorts, you will be disappointed. The buffet at Le Domaine is the basics yet with good selection of items, juices and fruits. Due to the size of the resort, no lines for dining and one never feel rushed. The bakery products were the highlight and I already miss the Nutella crepes.
Dinner: Table du Marche is the signature dining establishment of the proprietor of the resort i.e. Chef Leroy. While the menu is limited, there is a diversity of choices and an available children’s menu as well. The dinner service is true fine-dining i.e. gourmet food and refined service. Fresh lobster is available as is the fresh catch of the day. The produce seemed locally procured. This is not a restaurant where one devours their meals; it is where one spends the evening casually enjoying the food and atmosphere in a truly unhurried pace. While it is the signature restaurant, as foodies we also tried additional restaurants within close proximity of Le-Domaine.
Other Dining Choices: Within close proximity i.e. walking distance of Le Domaine and The Radisson Just beyond the Radisson entry are two excellent restaurants. Da Tony is an Italian option with an emphasis on Mediterranean fare. The sauces are light, the food fresh and all prepared with ample olive oil and French culinary skills. The Calypso is also an excellent choice with a diverse casual menu from pizzas and salads to fresh fish/seafood and meat selection. Both restaurants are open-air and offer diversity if one does not wish to leave the resort area. In addition the Radisson has a beachside dining option for dinner (similar to Le Domaine’s) as well as a bar area in the lobby.
Please note, as mentioned above, dining is not inexpensive. In addition to Euro denomination, the cooking even casual is gourmet with fresh ingredients, Thus if in search of a diversity of restaurants and fast-food, the Dutch side of the island would be a better option overall. However if you enjoy elevated dining while on vacation, you will not be disappointed.
Working Out: Surprising for a smaller boutique resort the working facilities were most impressive. Just steps from the reception the workout area is located in a stand-alone building. Well equipped with cardiovascular machines, circuit training as well as mats for yoga, free weights and so forth. Towels and water are provided.
Internet Access: The wireless access in our room was strong and connectivity was not an issue. To be honest after the first day, the desire to log-on diminished as the resort truly encourages relaxation.
If your vacation desires are to return to the Caribbean of yesteryear i.e. an era before mega-resorts and non-stop partying, Le-Domaine is for you. It is quiet, peaceful, friendly, a beautiful setting on a gorgeous island. The resort would be an excellent option for weddings, honeymoons, family gatherings, friends getting together and so forth.
As I advised one of my peers, Le-Domaine is in the design and spirit of such resorts as Caneel Bay, Little Dix Bay, Jumby Bay yet at a cost structure affordable by many. Again if you desire the value and options of an all-inclusive, there are better options. However if you can appreciate the value of Le-Domaine and its unique positioning and setting, you will desire to return. I am already planning my next visit for late November.
- Also Known As:
- Le Domaine De Lonvilliers Hotel Anse Marcel
- Le Domaine De Lonvilliers Hotel
- Le Domaine Hotel
- Le Domaine De Lonvilliers
- Le Domaine Beach Resort & Spa St Maarten-St Martin/Anse Marcel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the North of the Island of Saint Martin, in the FrenchWest Indies, in the magnificent bay of Anse Marcel, the Domainede Lonvilliers is a blend of Creole charm and refinement.The Hotel consists of 5 buildings in the Creole style in the heart of alush tropical garden, bordered by a beautiful white sandy beach.Our restaurants :La Table du Marché, Leroys Kfé, the Beach club and the Beach Barin addition to our Ti Snack welcome you every day in a heavenlysetting at the edge of the Caribbean sea.Close by, you will find a charming little leisure port/marina withshops and boutiques.The relaxed but exclusive atmosphere of the Domaine de Lonvilliersinvites you to experience a unique environment. The Domaine deLonvillier is the ideal place for your relaxing holidays in an idyllicsetting. ... more less
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