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“Paradise (Before the Fall?)”

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Hotel La Plantation
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Orient Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Paradise (Before the Fall?)”
Reviewed April 21, 2013

Our discovery of La Plantation on Orient Bay in 2012 was a happy accident! We had booked with Air Transat to stay at a beachside hotel on Orient Bay ; three weeks before we were due to leave Air Transat told us that it was no longer flying to St. Martin (not in fact true, as we were able to ascertain on the island) and that our vacation was cancelled. Through Air Canada we found a flight-and-hotel package featuring La Plantation. Once at Orient Bay, after comparisons on the spot, we found that La Plantation was in fact the better ‘choice’ -so much so that following our two week stay in late March 2012 we returned for another two weeks in February-March 2013.
La Plantation is approximately 400 m. from the beach. The rooms are grouped in two’s and three’s in bungalows scattered through an extensive, lush tropical garden (a very good setup for privacy). The rooms are large, the ceilings high; they come with wide verandas looking out onto the gardens and the sea. They are equipped with kitchens well-suited for the preparation of simple meals (excellent produce, fresh seafood, and pâtés and cheeses are available from the Simply Supermarket a short drive or taxi ride away). The rooms are cleaned and the beds made daily. We found the staff at the front desk extremely helpful (for instance in helping us to check in for our return flight when the hotel computers’ internet connection failed). Breakfast is served around the hotel’s swimming pool (where the bar is also located); the choice of food on the buffet tables is good; the service is excellent and friendly. One member of the staff gave the member of our party who was seriously studying French the best oral practice a beginner could have; she also delighted in speaking Creole (from one of the Caribbean islands) with the member of our party who had learned his Creole half way ‘round the world, in his native Mauritius. And breakfast time is a good occasion for people watching. The French were at home, courteous and even friendly. The Americas, numerous this year, were, some of them, sociable; others not. The Anglo Canadians and French Canadians were locked in their two solitudes (more so than in 2012). One family of Brits performed the feat of surrounding their table with a cloud of thick fog.

The point of going to La Plantation is of course its proximity to Orient Bay and the many good restaurants in the area. The sandy beach is vast. Buildings have not invaded the landscape. This is not Florida (or today’s Riviera). The beach -wonderfully empty for us in 2012 -was much busier this year. The world is coming to Orient Bay. The Americans were back; the languages spoken on the beach included Spanish, Russian, Chinese (Mandarin?), and Japanese. And of course French. This year, in particular, French women were exposing themselves to the sun’s rays as though they were preparing for an old-time advertisement by Ambre Solaire (but topless) or as if there was no tomorrow. The beach and the bay are vast enough that they can easily accommodate the greater influx of tourists, the daily invasions of parties from cruise ships, the motor boats, and even the occasional groups of Americans noisily impersonating Mafia families or reliving frat party days.
Our suppers: The restaurant at La Plantation now has a good chef (last year it did not). We went there twice (apparently the chef trained at the nearby Astrolabe). Our biggest disappointment was at Coco Beach, the beach house closest to La Plantation. Last year the food was very good and cheap, and the service (by Nathalie) excellent. This year it was very expensive (the most expensive meal we had on the island) and mediocre (a mishmash of ingredients worthy of an untrained short-order cook), the service –abysmal. AVOID IT (even though it offers the convenience of charging your drinks and meals directly to your bill at La Plantation). Côté Plage in the mock ‘Village d’Orient' constructed near the Bay (15 minutes walk from La Plantation) offered very good food at a reasonable price. (Amélie provides excellent service and knows how to open and pour a bottle of wine). For our more expensive meals ($100 to $120 a head, with a good bottle of wine and tips) we went into Grand Case to Tastevin, l’Océan 82 and our last year’s discovery, the Ti Bouchon. The hands-down winner for a return visit was the Ti Bouchon.
A few quibbles about La Plantation. Please bring back the chef who made the heavenly creamy scrambled eggs last year (this year the eggs were merely earthly, but still good). Tell your baker that he or his assistant is skimping on the butter in the croissants. And a prayer of encouragement: do continue to invest in the maintenance and development of your gardens. They make your hotel very special.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Nick L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
453 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2013

La Plantation is about 1/4 Mile from Orient Beach and actually I enjoyed the walk. The Hotel is clean, well managed, I got the breakfast included in my room cost. I got a lobster dinner one night and it was fantastic. The room I got was huge and on the lower end of the accomidations, the veranda was also huge. Only minor problem was their wireless internet and the Free PC's to use also seemed to have the same sproratic problems. I could not use "tango' as it kept dropping the signal. I suggest using a beach bar for internet. I would definately go back.

Room Tip: This is a very big property with seperate buildings and within these are three seperate places each...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
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1 Thank James A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
1 review
Reviewed April 10, 2013

We stayed for 9 days (March 17-26, 2013 Room 862). It happened to be the same room we had 5 years perviously, an upper ocean view studio. It's far from being an 'over the top' place but it's clean and the staff are friendly. My wife, who is extremely fussy about cleanliness and bugs is very comfortable at this property. Clean and creature free!

The studio is one big room with a separate bathroom and open concept shower. Kitchen has new cupboard unit with a built-in beer fridge, new sink/taps and flat top 2 burner stovetop (we didn't cook). New AC unit in the room worked wonderfullyl and the cleaning staff closed all the shutters/curtains daily which ensured a wonderfully cool retreat at the end of hot beach day! Small flat screen tv, 2 small wooden chairs and small table. There was a small arm-less sofa which was not really comfortable to sit on and the tv was off in the corner far away from the bed and sofa. The bed has a net around it to keep the misquitos off at night. There were a few misquitos but nothing worth mentioning. It was a relief to see netting as its relaxing to know you don't have to worry about being bit. The netting however does restrict the air flow of the ceiling fans and AC. We peeled the net back for a night since my wife needs to have that air movement. I had woke the in the morning with several bites and she had none. Life's not fair. We didn't take insect sprays with us and frankly didn't need.

The open concept shower, my wife was a little worried about taking a shower and getting the floor wet and then standing in a puddle of water with an electrical hair appliance in her hand. I told her not to worry that I had taken out a lot of insurance. The water in the shower area did not spray all over like you might think and the floor drained well.

We are from North America so you will need a plug adapter for the French side ('European' adapter, round prongs and not the 'Carribean', flat prongs)), even though St Martin is in the Carribean, don't be fooled. I went to the local CAA Travel office and told them what country I was going to and they sold me the wrong (carribean) adapter. Also, you may need a power converter if your electrical appliance wasn't made with dual voltages. ie 110/220. If it only says 110V then you are going to need a converter!

Point of interest: If you upgrade to the One Bedroom Upper Studio, like the one next to us Room 860, they are quite a bit nicer. Bathroom with double sinks, contained shower (I don't think there was a tub), full sofa, cushioned chairs, coffee table and TV, full kitchen with an Island/stools is what I remember the tour by our neighbours (B/D from Ontario, who were great!)

It includes a free breakfast. Have you read about that? Heard how boring it is to have the same breakfast food morning after morning after morning?....Just the way we like it! It was good. It consisted of scrambled eggs (5 years ago it was hard boiled eggs, my favorite), brown/white bread/toast, coffee, tea, juice dispenser, good varienty of jams, Croissants (awesome), fruit (bananas, oranges, pineapple), sliced ham and swiss cheese. We are not big breakfast people but it was good. Restaurant was clean and waitress were prompt to clear dishes, bring pastries and keep the buffet stocked. My wife is a creature - wait for it - of habit. THE biggest highlight of her ENTIRE trip to St Martins 5 years ago was the latte machine at La Plantation. This is not a lie or exaggeration. She loves them and enjoyed starting her day off with 2 of those while sitting at the restaurant, next to the pool with her thoughts. She was very disappointed however she made do with the thermos' of coffee and hot milk.

There was a couple of things in the room that needed repair. I did not notifiy the desk but I had hoped the cleaning staff would have fixed it;
1. Door chain was not bolted to the wall / door jam. But the door locked and that's good enough for me.
2. Toilet - 2 chrome flush buttons were missing so 2 bare plastic posts were visible in the top hole. Sanitary? Whatever, I pressed them using a tissue. Again, I was expecting the maids would at least pick up on this one. If they did, it wasn't a priority for the maintenance crew.
3. I was charged 19.00 euros for printing a 30 page b&w document on their printer. I thought that was excessive. It was charged to my room and when I checked out and paid my tab, I told them I thought it was excessive so they lowered it to 16.00 (better than nothing). Before we left to St Martin, the hotel we stayed at in Canada it was going to cost me $9.00 but didn't have time at that point. Oh well.

Not bad for negative comments

Great place, good location and make sure you stop by the desk to ask what is happening in/around the area because although the French side isn't known for its night life there are a few activities that were interesting; Wakiki beach Sunday nights has dance/music, Grand Case (Every Tuesday in March/April) they close the street to traffic and have 3 or 4 bands, vendors, food stands on the street with thousands of tourists milling around. Great people watching / food tasting experience. Mostly closed about 12a.m. but no doubt because of local laws.

When I started typing this I had nothing to say :/

Room Tip: It's worth it to upgrade to the upper ocean view room or studios! you get a view and more privac...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Cant_Take_the_Cold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here in July of last year and had a lovely experience. The bungalows are very nice, the property is quiet and well kept, there was plenty of parking for the car we rented, and it was close to Orient Beach.
To people who are used to going to the tropics and staying in super air conditioned, hi-rise towers, with no natural scenery, this place is not for you. It is the tropics, there may be a mosquito in your room (that's what the net is for), a bug may come into your room if you leave food out. Welcome to the islands.
Orient beach is nice, clean, with some relaxing bars, but for true beauty and perfect swimming, head to St. Petersburg. Grab 2 chairs, and umbrella, and a bucket of beer for $20!
In general the food on the island wasn't great, but there was a lovely french restaurant on the other side of the island that was very good.
In general this hotel is a good value, and I would stay here again.
Oh! and there is a cat that comes around during breakfast (we named her breakfast kitty), please give her little pieces of ham, she is very skinny :)

Room Tip: As for a room up the hill overlooking the bay, but note there will be a very steep driveway!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Tori5327
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Samorin
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2013

It is a lovely hotel consisting of beautiful bungalows just a few steps away from the famous Orient Beach. The staff is very friendly and we got an upgrade to the upper level. The breakfast could be a bit boring for some people, but for us it wasn't an issue. There is also a pool, but we haven't used it all. Though, looked nice. The internet works only around the reception, but that's good enough for checking your mails. Come on, you are on holidays and try to live without all the gadgets ! There is a rent a car possibility at the reception, very convenient. We rented one small car for 2 days and had very good fun all around the island. Hope to be back next year with the kids too.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Imrich L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Charles, Illinois
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

This was our first trip to SXM and I have to say I am a bit confused over why so many people rave about this island. Yes the water is beautiful, the beaches are nice and the shopping and restaurants plentiful, but after you have seen one hundred nearly identical duty free shops, a dozen restaurants featuring local creole cuisine, and a million street vendors selling the same crap the warts tend to show through. In this case, the warts are the run down, somewhat dirty towns, often lousy roads, and the arid landscape which, while not any worse than many other Carribean islands, is really just more of the same. I was hoping to be blown away by Ste. Martin and I guess I just wasn't.

But I digress - this is a review of La Plantation and if you are going to go to SXM, La Plantation is a great place to stay. The rooms are spacious (we did not have any mosquito issue, unlike others) and the views from our upper level suite (we were upgraded without asking) were amazing. The pool area is nice and the breakfasts tasty as long as you don't mind the exact same spread (scrambled eggs, fruit, cereal and croissants) every morning. The staff was great the bed was comfy, and everything worked, which is not always the case in the islands. I am told that some of the rooms may have been remodeled and ours apparently was one of them.) The hotel is a few hundred yards up a hill from the beach and also steps from the Orient Bay village, featuring a number of shops and restaurants. The climb back up the hill after a day in the sun can be tiring or refreshing depending on your point of view and how many Caribs you have consumed. While I might prefer accomodations right on the water, the hotel gives free privileges (otherwise beach chairs have to be rented) at three different beach areas - I would stick with Coco Beach, which is much less crowded than the others, though the food and drink is a little more expensive than it is further down (where it can get very crowded).

So what's not to like? Well, for one the hotel still needs a bit more upkeep. The boards on our deck were literally falling off and the tennis court? - well don't bother. It is there (at the adjoining resort), but it is garbage strewn and missing one essential - a net. The gym is a storage room for old mattresses and lamps. And even finding the resort can be a bit of a challenge, though it is in a nice quaint gated community - where the gates are seemingly always open - where security does not seem to be an issue. And the distance from the beach is less than ideal. But these are all minor considerations. If I ever go back to SXM, I would not hesitate to stay at La Plantation.

Room Tip: If you don't mind the extra climb, choose an upper level room for the incredible view.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Dadejole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level Contributor
46 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2013

We enjoyed a week in paradise at this resort -- the rooms are quaint with a caribbean charm, the views are beautiful, and the meals were fantastic. It is set back from the beach a few blocks, but that may be a good thing, as it makes things feel a bit more secluded.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank RobotButter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel La Plantation

Property: Hotel La Plantation
Address: C5 Parc de La Baie Orientale, Orient Bay 97150, St. Maarten-St. Martin
Location: Caribbean > St. Maarten-St. Martin > Saint-Martin > Orient Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Orient Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel La Plantation 4*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on the north Atlantic coast of St Martin in the heart of the beautiful Orient Bay Resort, LA PLANTATION voted one of the best small hotels in the Caribbean, features St Martin’s most popular beach with its 3 mile stretch of white sand and turquoise waters. Hotel LA PLANTATION unites French West Indian Charm the comfort of modern amenities and personalised service.17 Stylish colonial villas are set amidst 7.5 acres of tropical gardens. A harmonious blend of luxurious palms, banana trees, bougainvilliers , hibiscus and alamanda encircle the Creole coloured villas capped with shingled roofs. Each ground floor villa comprises one suite and 2 studios which maybe rented separately or combined through interior, connecting doors. The atmosphere is decisively exotic, guest rooms are tastefully decorated in warm colours and original art work. The large terraces are cooled by the trade winds and offer for the upper level categories panoramic views over the bay, surrounding islands and the marine reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Plantation Marigot
La Plantation Hotel

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