- The handsome Creole Huts mimic the habitations of the island's early settlers
- True to the name, hummingbirds are everywhere
- Rooms come with fully stocked patio kitchenettes and kettle grills
- Right next to the botanical garden
- Guests get discounts on entry to botanical garden and mammal zoo
- Creole Huts and Tree House rooms have outdoor showers
- Fresh flowers daily on guest terraces
- Guests arriving in the evening are greeted with local cocktails
- Meal service available featuring local seafood
- Free Wi-Fi
- No nearby beach
- Little privacy in some rooms, where toilets are separated from bedrooms by a curtain, not a door
- No restaurant or common area (but room service available)
- Creole Huts have screens instead of windows
- Rooms can be dimly lit
- Creole Huts and Tree Houses don't have indoor showers
- No AC or TV in rooms, though there are fans and the winds on the top of the mountain keep air circulating
This nine-room, mid-range wooded mountaintop retreat with summer-cabin-style bungalows is right next to the botanical garden but nowhere near the beach, making it rather unique among Guadeloupe hotels. Some of the cabins were built explicitly to mimic the habitats of the Creole settlers, emphasizing an unplugged experience surrounded by nature, while others are distinctly modern. Those who don't care so much about Creole culture and just want to be near the beach may want to look into Caraib'Bay or Habitation Grande Anse, which are much closer to Grande Anse beach, while those who demand ocean views should consider Greek-isle-themed Caraibes Bonheur. But for those who never outgrew summer camp, don't need the ocean, and like their Guadeloupe to be Creole, this is a good bet.
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Oyster Hotel Review
Au Jardin des Colibris
What ocean? This mountaintop retreat is all about living in the woods, and will appeal to onetime summer campers from Europe and Quebec who yearn for the smell of a charcoal grill amid the trees rather than suntan lotion and salt air.
With its perch atop a mountain and right next to the botanical garden (about a five-minute drive from the village of Deshaies), this hotel deep in the woods offers non-beach shelter for European and Quebecois families who spend their days hanging out in a close-knit property that sees grill-outs between dips in the pool. The owners' collection of brightly painted metal birds, lizards, and fish (made in Haiti from old gasoline barrels) work their way in almost everywhere -- they're second in ubiquity only to the eponymous hummingbirds that swarm around the hollow coconut shells that the staff regularly fills with sugar. (The air is constantly thick with the twitter of birds.) The unusual surroundings (for a Caribbean island), small size, and staff's enthusiasm for Guadeloupe's history and culture mean guests are unlikely to feel like just another beach-going tourist from Europe here. The owner's appreciation for Guadeloupe's history is a major factor in how the hotel was built, and the Creole cabins were constructed specifically to mimic the habitations of the early settlers of the island. In addition, his young son Tanguy has a side business selling fresh eggs to guests (the property has three free-roaming chickens). Those who are looking forward to really fresh omelets to eat should let the front desk know his egg-collecting talents are needed.
On the far end of the less touristy Basse-Terre part of Guadeloupe, but next door to the botanical garden
The hotel sits on the less-traveled half of Guadeloupe, Basse-Terre, and requires up to an hour's travel from the airport in Pointe-a-Pitre, depending on traffic, much of it over unrelentingly tortuous mountain roads. (The small, colorful village of Deshaies and its handful of waterfront eateries are one kilometer away, a two-minute drive right down the slope.) The hotel itself is right next to the botanical garden, and is accessed by a bumpy, badly kept dirt-and-gravel road that leads to the property deep in the woods on top of the mountain -- there are plenty of trees and mountain breezes, but very limited ocean views. To get to the most popular tourist spots on Grande-Terre (the more visited beaches and towns like Sainte-Anne) on the opposite side of Guadeloupe requires recreating that airport trip in reverse, and then tacking on an additional 15 minutes or more, depending on traffic. The remoteness and non-beachiness of it all, though, make for a rather unique Caribbean vacation, and guests will definitely not have to deal with the feeling of being one of the tourist mob while at Au Jardin des Colibris.
Rustic Creole huts that mimic the cabins of early French settlers, or bright, modern bungalows, all with generous patios and kitchenettes
Rooms lack many of the conveniences 21st-century travelers take for granted, including AC, TV, in-room safes, and breakfasts (or even a common area to dine or sit), but the Tree House and Creole Huts are solid, plain but handsome wooden structures that seem to have been designed by a guy who had a really, really good time at summer camps as a kid. There are outdoors showers, hammocks, swinging chairs, and kettle grills everywhere, along with fully stocked kitchenettes and large patios or terraces with tables with more than enough places for most families. The Creole Huts were made to resemble the homes of the island's early settlers (kids will probably like climbing the ladder to the bed above the toilet), but include thankfully modern cooking conveniences (a fully stocked kitchenette with fridge) on the terrace as well. Just like in summer camp, though, those who require privacy will be put off by the curtain that stands in for the door to the toilet, the fact that an outdoor shower doesn't necessarily mean there's also an indoor shower, and the maybe-too-authentic touch of the Creole Huts, which have roll-down screens instead of glass windows.
Since rooms don't come with AC, guests will need to rely on the mountain breezes and electric fans to stay cool. With no TV, it's as a good a place as any to start working on those friendship bracelets. (There are small boomboxes, so your relaxation can be accompanied by the pop songs of your choice.) On other hand, the Charming Cottages and Mini Villa are wildly different, being brightly lit, tile-floored, and thoroughly modern, decorated in various pastels or bright red on white. They have indoor showers, and, in the case of the Charming Cottage, a scarlet-tiled bathroom counter. Both the Mini Villa and the Charming Cottages include bunk beds for kids. In the case of the Mini Villa, the kids' bunk bed is in the same room as the master bed, which will afford parents no privacy.
Staff members can arrange authentic Guadeloupe tours that can take guests even farther off the beaten tourist path once they're ready to leave the hummingbird-filled property.
Though he hails from the south of France originally, tourist-turned-local hotelier Matt Cornet has raised his family here for the last 10 years, and has fully embraced Creole culture. Not only did he build those Creole huts to follow the footsteps of the island's earlier settlers, he also arranges tours for guests that avoid the usual tourist itinerary and focus on authentic Guadeloupe cultural experiences. Staff greet guests arriving in the evening with local cocktails like passionfruit rum drinks or Ti punch. For cooks who insist on free-range organic eggs, Cornet's son will sell guests fresh eggs from the three chickens running around the property. There's no restaurant, or even a common dining area, so guests will have to visit nearby eateries, stock up on groceries in town and cook for themselves, or avail themselves of Au Jardin des Colibris' room service, which consists of assorted platters of French-Creole cuisine (local swordfish, grilled cod, smoked fish, West Indian puddings).
The pool sits in an elevated, fenced-off area right next to the Mini Villa, with a weathered wooden deck and a potted plant where it appears someone gave some thought to putting a diving board. Off one side of the pool is a covered wooden sitting area, where bathers can escape the sun or afternoon showers, or where parents can hang out while still keeping an eye on kids in the water. The Jardin botanique de Deshaies, Guadeloupe's popular botanical garden, is right next door, and is easily accessible from hotel, which offers a discount on tickets. (It also also gives guests discounts on tickets to the zoo in Bouillante.) There is no gym or shuttle service offered, but there is free Wi-Fi.
Balcony / Terrace / Patio
Mini Bar (with liquor)
Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
Smoking Rooms Available
Supervised Kids Activities
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