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Hotel Plein Soleil 3.5

Le Francois, Arrondissement of Le Marin, Martinique

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Spacious rooms, some with enclosed terraces with kitchenettes
  • Some rooms with private pools, outdoor bedrooms, and water views
  • An art-packed living room and loft in the main house stocked with books
  • An eclectic collection of artwork displayed in the main house of the hotel
  • A stylish restaurant headed by a local chef trained in France by Alain Ducasse
  • Intimate, retreat-like atmosphere with an attentive staff
  • Large outdoor pool set among lush greenery
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Remote location, requiring navigation along a rocky, dirt road
  • Not on the beach
  • No spa or fitness center
  • Restaurant closed on Mondays
  • Quiet atmosphere with no bar scene
  • The property is hilly, requiring guests to navigate stairs
  • Steep driveway to access the main house

Bottom Line

Hotel Plein Soleil is an art-filled, 16-room, upper-middle-range boutique hotel set in an off-the-beaten-track location among lush, flowering grounds with views of the Bay of Thalémont. A young chef trained under star-chef Alain Ducasse heads the stylish restaurant while an attentive staff caters to guests, mostly families and couples, who prefer to hide away in rooms and suites set in five colorful Caribbean-Creole style villas, some with private pools and terraces with kitchenettes. The main house offers a relaxed residential feel with plush seating and stark white walls that showcase the owner's carefully curated, eclectic collection of artwork. Those seeking more amenities such as a spa and a beachfront location may prefer the nearby Cap Est Lagoon Resort and Spa.

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Scene

A quietly chic, retreat-like boutique hotel in a country garden setting; the main house has a restaurant and art-filled lounge

The main house of this chic, retreat-like boutique, houses a living room-style lobby that is elegant but casual

Getting to Hotel Plein Soliel may cause guests to question their choice of hotel. It requires turning off the main road onto a narrow, rock-strewn dirt drive that winds its way to the property. Fields planted with thick rows of banana trees, an abandoned bus stop, and wandering cows fill the frames of the car windows on both sides of the road as drivers navigate around rocks and over deep pot-holes. After a few twists and a finishing ascent, guests arrive in the hotel parking lot surrounded by a canopy of trees and views of the countryside.

From the parking lot, guests can follow the hill down the slope to reach a large swimming pool surrounded by rows of lounge chairs and thatch umbrellas, while the steep drive to the top of the hill delivers guests past paths lined with flowering plants that lead to the villas and finally to the main house, perched at the highest point on the property.

The open-air building holds the front desk, restaurant, bar, lounge, living room, and library. The atmosphere is elegant but casual, stylish but unfussy. In the living room, stark white walls and soaring ceilings with exposed beams serve as the canvas for the multitude of colorful paintings. Wide sofas invite visitors to sit and contemplate the layers of interesting objects. A second-story loft reveals more paintings, stacked leaning against the wall as if waiting their turn. Books are tucked into the support beams of the walls while a napping cat rests peacefully on a velvet sofa.

The restaurant, in contrast, is an organized space of tables covered with white tablecloths slid beneath sea-urchin style chandeliers. Bordering the restaurant on one side is a long koi pond with puckering fish, sprouting greenery, and bamboo. In the morning, guests linger over breakfasts that feature local fruit, homemade breads and jams, and espresso. Lunches are best on the outdoor terrace overlooking the sea. In the area that serves as the buffer between the living room and restaurant, a portrait of a woman by a Vietnamese artist, rich in hues of red, rests on a table overlooking a terraced seating area, an ideal spot for a pre-dinner cocktail. While the hotel has a small bar, commanded by a canvas of a lounging nude, it doesn't draw a bar scene. On most nights guests prefer to retire to their rooms to languish on their private terraces, take a leisurely swim, and turn in early.

Location

At the end of a dirt road bordered by banana farms and the occasional wandering cow, Hotel Plein Soliel is set on a hillside overlooking the Bay of Thalémont on Martinique's east coast, a 40-minute drive to the international airport.

Map of Hotel Plein Soleil

Hotel Plein Soleil is far removed from the congested city of Fort de France and the tourist areas on Martinique's Caribbean coast. To access the resort, guests must navigate a rock-strewn, pot-holed dirt road to access the hotel. It is set on a hilltop overlooking the Bay of Francois, among rolling lawns, colorful flowering plants, and tall palms.

  • 15-minute drive to Habitation Clément
  • 30-minute drive to the Caravelle Peninsula, a popular spot for hiking and surfing
  • 35-minute drive to Cap Macabou Beach
  • 40-minute drive to Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport
  • 50-minute drive to Balata Garden
  • 50-minute drive to Diamond Beach
  • 50-minute drive to Cap Chavlier Beach
  • 50-minute drive to Martinique Golf and Country Club
  • 52-minute drive to Salines Beach
  • 55-minute drive to Pointe du Bout, Les Trois-Îlets
  • One-hour, 40-minute drive to Mt Pelée

Rooms

A collection of spacious rooms and suites with casually elegant Caribbean style, modern amenities, and outdoor terraces with kitchenettes and private pools

The Suite Duplex incorporates Creole-Caribbean style with colorful accents

The hotel's 16 rooms are set in five colorful -- purple, red, peach, and lime green -- Creole-Caribbean style villas trimmed with fretwork and surrounded by thick, flowering greenery. The hotel features four room categories. The Guest Rooms (325 square feet) are designed for couples, offering queen-size beds and views of the Bay of Thalémont. These rooms can be connected to the Master Pool rooms via an interior staircase to create a larger villa-type room that's ideal for families or couples traveling together.

The Master Pool rooms include bedrooms with king-size four-poster beds, private bathrooms, and French doors that open to a veranda with a kitchenette, dining table, and lounge furniture. The terrace also holds a private pool with teak lounge chairs and an open-air bedroom/relaxation space with a second bathroom and shower.

Other room categories include the Garden Suites, which feature contemporary style and bathrooms that open to a large terrace with kitchenettes and a private pool and garden area. The bedrooms are furnished with queen-size beds and chaise lounges (ideal for small children). The Duplex Suites are designed for families, offering a living room on the first floor with vaulted ceilings, muted red walls, black and white canvas floral artwork, hardwood floors, and three oversize chaise lounges. The lower level of the suite holds a large master bedroom with mauve walls, white exposed-beam ceilings, and a double vanity bathroom that opens to a pool and a terrace with a kitchenette and dining area overlooking the bay.

All of the rooms vary in decor but follow a similar casually elegant, contemporary Caribbean style with a color palette of neutral (taupe) linen fabrics, bright white shuttered cabinetry, and bathrooms with raised bowl sinks. The beds are finished with high-quality sheets and, in some rooms, are draped with mosquito netting. Additional amenities include safes, flat-screen TVs, and Lavazza coffee machines.

Features

An outdoor pool set among lush greenery, an art-filled living room, and a notable restaurant headed by an French-trained chef

The hotel’s restaurant, run by a French-trained chef, serves creative Franco-Caribbean cuisine

While many of the rooms at Hotel Plein Soliel come equipped with private pools, the hotel also offers a large pool set in the middle of the property. Ringed with imperfect lounge chairs and a few grass-top umbrellas, the pool is a serene place to cool off and gaze at the colorful cascading vines of flowering bourganvilla and surrounding greenery. The hotel doesn't have a spa or fitness center, but there are plenty of activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and surfing on the island's east coast. The on-site restaurant is gastronomic adventure consisting of homemade breads and jams served at breakfast and dinners of creative Franco-Caribbean cuisine by chef Nathanaël Ducteil.

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Address

Pointe Thalemont, Mansarde Rance, Le Francois 97240, Caribbean

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