Caribbean Concierge: Guadeloupe’s La Creole Beach and Spa
Our new Caribbean Concierge feature talks to the people who help make Caribbean travel work. The latest edition talks to Gwladys Martial, the concierge at La Creole Beach and Spa on Grand-Terre in the islands of Guadeloupe.
Where are you from, and how long have you been working for La Creole Beach and Spa?
I am Guadeloupéenne and have been the Concierge for La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa since October 2008
What do you enjoy most about Guadeloupe?
The people! Our natural warmth — we are very laid-back and welcoming. We have a strong appreciation for life and the beautiful environment that we have been gifted with as our home. We are happy to share it with others always!
What’s your favorite part of working at La Creole Beach & Spa?
What I enjoy most about my job is the interaction with guests. But beyond that, it is a genuine pleasure for me to assist each guest in discovering the islands of Guadeloupe to enjoy their diversity, beauty and cultural richness. My wish is that all guests leaving La Creole would say, “I have not seen everything, I must come back.” My favorite La Creole moment is our welcome cocktail in the evenings. We greet all our guests and share our traditional “planteur” punch and “Accras de morue.” On this occasion, we are not only presenting the hotel but also the “Art de Vivre” in Guadeloupe. This is also an opportunity for guests to meet each other and it is not uncommon for new friendships to develop during our cocktails.
Above: La Creole Beach and Spa
What‘s the most interesting or difficult request you have received from a guest?
Each request is unique, no two are alike. There was a guest who during his stay had no request for his first five days but on the 6th day at 8pm, he came to me on his way to dinner and requested “a big boat” for 8 AM the following morning. Without elaborating, just “I need a Big Boat for me and my family.” Voila, I found him a big boat and he was very pleased.
What’s something most people don’t know about visiting Guadeloupe that they should?
We are an archipelago of five islands, not one island, but five islands. Visitors who don’t know this are always pleasantly surprised when they arrive and discover there are more islands to explore. Each island has its unique character and there is great diversity that meets everyone’s expectations, a beach paradise with lagoons, a preserved wilderness, a tropical forest with an active volcano, the culture, the rich history, the food, the rhum, the spices, and other indigenous products.
What are some attractions in the Guadeloupe Islands you recommend to guests?
As you can imagine, with five islands, the attractions are countless but no one should leave Guadeloupe without doing the following:
•Island-Hop beyond Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre: Take the ferry and travel to our three outer islands, each offers a different world. Marie-Galante is our authentic Caribbean paradise; Les Saintes, which will remind you of St Barth in the early 90s and La Desirade is a haven of tranquility, so peaceful and relaxing
•Climb to the top of La Soufriere on Basse-Terre, a once in a lifetime experience to view the world from the top of a mildly active Volcano
•Welcome the end of the day in Deshaies, the sunsets there are captivating
•Discover the nature reserve lagoon Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin that lies between Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre
Where is your favorite place to eat off property?
La Route du Rhum restaurant located in Gosier at the Marina – they serve traditional Creole cuisine including delicious grilled lobster and Columbo. It is also one of the oldest restaurants in the Marina and was named for the famous sailing race from France to Guadeloupe that takes place every 4 years.
Where is your favorite bar off property?
I love going to “Le Club” in Gosier, it is a small bar/club that plays the best Zouk Retro music! It has an excellent vibe with a great mix of locals and visitors and of course, very good cocktails!
If you had to recommend one experience in Guadeloupe, what would it be?
Drink refreshing coconut water, eat cassava cakes or even better, try our famous “Bokit” at the Gosier night market every Friday on Grande-Terre.
What souvenir do you recommend every visitor should take home with them to remember Guadeloupe?
Some vintage rhum of course, like award-winning Longueteau or Bielle, to savour like a cognac…