Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Charming staff and lush grounds, though amenities are few and some areas are unkempt
There's something intangible about L'Hoste Hotel that makes it feel hip and trendy, despite a slightly run-down pool, rumpled cabanas, and few on-site features beyond the small open-air restaurant that only serves breakfast. Perhaps it is the young, French staff with a friendly attitude, or the reception's distinctive design quirks, such as oversize tree branches and a gazebo filled with cream-colored couches. Whatever the reason, what could easily turn out to be an average Orient Bay hotel manages to have a charming, free-spirited flair that self-sufficient couples and young families may enjoy.
The grounds are similar to those at so many other Orient Bay Hotels, featuring colorful Creole buildings in hues of pink, yellow, and turquoise amid flourishing palms, bougainvillea, and yellow allamanda flowers. Finding distinguishing characteristics that make it a better pick than the others, however, is a bit of a challenge. The pool is worn, and sadly, the thing that could have given L'Hoste its edge -- a fitness center -- has been shuttered.
Guests who follow a small path through the resort grounds will end up at La Playa Beach Restaurant along Orient Bay. Renovated in October 2011, the beach complex includes a sprawling restaurant, spa, and boutique, and free beach set-up for L'Hoste guests. Guests can also charge their meals and other services at La Playa (and a handful of other Orient Bay restaurants) directly to their rooms, providing quite a few more resort-style features for this low-on-amenities hotel.
Within walking distance to one of St. Martin's prettiest beaches, in an upscale gated community on the island's French side
Located just a short walk from the lovely white-sand Orient Bay, guests at L'Hoste have quick access to water sport rental shops, restaurants, bars, and massage huts right at the water's edge. The happening scene, pristine sand, and cerulean crashing waves are a major island draw, and all are within five minutes on foot. Take note: In true French spirit, the beach is clothing-optional.
The Orient Bay location is also attractive for its safety and well-manicured grounds. Monitored by a security gate off the main road, the area is ideal for families and solo travelers. When you do choose to head outside Orient Bay, keep in mind that the island tends to have quite a bit of traffic, so be sure to add extra minutes to your estimated travel time when promptness is important.
Hawaiian-style rooms with garden-view balconies, bamboo furnishings, and kitchenettes
L'Hoste's 56 rooms all feature terraces or balconies that face the hotel's simple garden filled with palm trees, stray cats, and colorful picnic benches.
Inside, the look is bright and airy, with island-style bamboo furnishings and white walls. Kitchenettes are decently equipped with two-stove burners, microwaves, teakettles, coffeemakers, mini-fridges, and just enough cookware and tableware.
However, the layout feels rather piecemeal at times, with the galley-style kitchen located in the entry hallway and hidden by a couple of sliding-mirror doors. The bathroom configuration in the Double Rooms is quite odd, with the toilet completely separated behind another door off the hallway -- almost like a broom closet. And in the Deluxe Rooms, a massive soaking tub with a hand shower is your only bathing option -- there is no proper shower.
A small neglected pool, breakfast-only restaurant, and lush grounds
Located within an upscale community featuring several resorts, restaurants, and one of the island's best beaches, the colorful 56-room L'Hoste Hotel has just the basic features with a deserted pool, and a breakfast-only restaurant. But a one-minute walk to Orient Bay and the hotel's partner restaurant, bar, spa, and boutique gives guests additional resort-like amenities -- all for budget-hotel prices.