This hotel is an absolute joy. Perched on a hillside beneath the Pitons, it is a wonderfully peaceful retreat comprising 16 self-contained villas. Each is surrounded by rich, exotic and colourful vegetation with its own swimming small pool, verandah and hammock. The views through the trees and over the bourgainvillea bushes are stunning, especially as the sun goes down.
Stonefields is privately owned and has been set-up with great love and care. The staff are helpful and friendly with the restaurant and bar area - both high above the sea - expertly overseen by the delightful Mr Alcee.
The rooms are comfortable without being spectacular. There is both air con and a ceiling fan above the large four poster which is draped in a mosquito net. There is no TV anywhere on the complex but docking stations in each roof allows for music and a decent wi-fi signal. Each room has a small kitchen area and an outside shower unit. Ours was not in great repair and was a little tempremental but it was good fun, not least when a bunch of bananas fell off the tree above the area. It is the breathtaking view and the atmosphere - humming birds darted among the flowers over the pool - that are the stars here.
There is a decent, well stocked bar near the main pool, which is quite small given there is no hotel beach, close to the Mango Tree restaurant which has its own superb view. The restaurant was good and reasonably priced but we felt the menu was limited and the cooking not in the class of those at the neighbouring Ladera or Hotel Chocolat.
Breakfast again was adequate but nothing special given the local fruits and ingredients available. A number of items such as yogurt were extra while the quality of bread and rolls were average as were the eggs, often cold after the walk from the kitchens.
That said, this should not put you off this hotel. In the days we were there we ate in the Mango Tree twice, at the poolside BBQ - a highlight - and out three times. The Dasheen at Ladera was the best we experienced while at Soufriere, ten minutes away by taxi, Orlando's or the laidback, slightly more down market, Humming Bird, had a great bar, cocktails and decent creole food overseen by the splendid Joyce, a picture hanging proudly on the wall recalls the day she was honoured by the Queen. Service, however, can be slow.
There is no beach at Stonefields but the hotel runs a shuttle service to the brash US-dominated Sugar Beach resort nearby or to a bay used by locals and a 10 minute walk away - 20 minutes back as it is up a steep hill. This was virtually deserted except for a couple of yachts and those visiting the only bar/restaurant. Swimming was stunning although there is quite a pull from the currents with plenty of fish to see. Go quickly, there is a plan by a major hotel chain to develop the beach - much to the annoyance of some locals.
From the sand or the sea, you are able too to appreciate the beauty of Stonefields as only a few of the rooftops are visable, the rest perfectly merged into the hillside and dense vegetation.
There is a problem with the beaches for although they are officially 'public' the reality is that they are dominated by the hotels who appear to resent non residents. At Sugar Beach non residents are either moved to the end of the beach where the boats come in or charged ridiculous amounts for hire while at Anse Chastanet, probably the best sandy beach near Soufriere, it is dominated by hotel liungers which can't be hired and, dangerously, all others are made to feel like second class citizens.
From Sugar Beach, Anse Chastanet and the disappointing, dirty harbour at Soufriere it is possible to take a yacht or speed boat up the coast to Pigeon Island, Rodney Bay and the yachty haven on Marigot Bay - try the Capella restaurant there.
Pigeon Island, a National Park with its broken colonial buildings and fort left from the skirmishes between Britain and France is well worth a visit. There are two beaches, great walks, a gem of a local restaurant, views of Martinique as well as the crashing waves of the Atlantic on one side and the calm of the Caribbean on the other.
Either way, calm, charm, peace and friendship awaits your return to Stonefields.