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.
- 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