The actual deck area around the infinity pool is deceptively small
Getting to the beach requires a walk up and down a somewhat steep road, and can be tiring
The beach, though lovely, is small
This 44-room, 121-acre hotel is the top upscale option on Guadeloupe. It dominates the side of a mountain and descends gradually down to the ocean, leading to its own tiny but essentially private beach cove, complete with a long pier and platform-topped boulder. Meanwhile, up on top, an infinity pool offers a stunning view of waves crashing against a handsome cliffside. It's a dream Caribbean setting, and the rustic-luxe bungalows have enormous terraces (if smallish bedrooms), many with terrific ocean views. Those who like the southern shore of Grande-Terre but would prefer an all-inclusive option should consider Club Med La Caravelle, though it's more crowded and family-oriented than romantic La Toubana.
A serene property on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, with an infinity pool, ocean-view restaurant, and pretty little sea cove that attract French, other European, and American travelers
The parking lot outside isn't much to look at, but after stepping through the entrance the serene, intimate nature of the property is immediately felt. The wooden walkway that transports guests to reception, the restaurant and pool, and the beach is surrounded by a fish pond. (Those cylinders partially submerged in the pool by the restaurant are full of doomed lobsters, by the way.) The open-air restaurant is large for 44 rooms and goes right up to the infinity pool. It truly deserves the "infinity" moniker as it seems to meld seamlessly with the ocean, and is decorated with old cannons and portholes through which underwater swimmers can take in the sea view. The left path from the entrance branches off into greenery-lined walkways leading to carefully screened guest bungalows and to the beach area. The beach is home to a beach bar and restaurant, and a long pier that protects what amounts to the hotel's private cove, complete with its own boulder topped with a wooden platform.
Just outside centrally located Sainte-Anne, which means most of the top tourist spots are less than 30 minutes away
It may sound like a quick trip from the airport on paper, but what should be a 30-minute drive can take much longer during peak season, when the main road can turn into a parking lot -- and these conditions are the same for guests who leave the hotel for the nearby tourist sights of southern Grande-Terre. Even off-peak, roads are quite narrow, and parts of the journey can involve a dangerously twisty road that barely has room for two Paris-sized Citroens abreast. The hotel itself sits up a series of inclines and through residential areas that level off into the property's rather unlovely parking lot. Past the door, though, the location is hard to beat, and the property overlooks waves crashing against a daunting cliffside. It's also not far from a large public beach, but guests seem to prefer the hotel's own little beach -- for good reason. Most of the most popular tourist sights are within a 30-minute drive, traffic permitting.
Rustic-luxe rooms are small but most include terraces with good views of the ocean, and bungalows come with kitchenettes.
The bungalow decor doesn't wow, but it's attractively rustic -- picture traditional dark wood furniture, white duvets on the beds, white walls and vaulted ceilings, and contrasting red fabric accents. The smallish bedrooms have the modern comforts expected from a hotel at this price point (AC, cable TV, safes, Wi-Fi, hairdryers), but the real draw here are the spacious patios, most of which have good views of the sea. Bungalows come with small kitchenettes. Bathrooms are a bit on the small side. Rooms are carefully screened for privacy with wooden barriers and make good use of the mountainous slope to ensure guest privacy. Most rooms are Sea View Bungalows or Garden View Junior Suites, though there are also five larger Classic Suites and five Patio Suites. The Master Suite is the most luxurious accommodation, and comes with a private pool, laundry machine, coffeemaker, full bar, and living room.
The private beach cove takes deserved center stage, though the infinity pool all the way on top of the property also impresses.
It's all about the beach and pool at this hotel, with good reason. The charming cove has its own platform-topped boulder, and a long pier for sunbathing, sailboat viewing, and diving. The ocean views from the chic infinity pool are what people think of when they hear the words "Caribbean vacation." For more corporeal needs, the Ocean Spa has three massage rooms and a (quite dark) hammam. For more corporate needs, two meeting rooms are available for rent -- the Salon Caraibes has a grand piano, but that doesn't hold a candle to the Salon Panoramic, which earns its name with grand views of the shoreline.
The main restaurant, Le Grand Bleu, serves all three meals (including the free breakfast buffet) and faces the ocean. Le Bar de La Mer is by the infinity pool, and the aptly named On the Beach serves cocktails and casual lunch fare.
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