Above: Hotel L’Esplanade (All photos by Caribbean Journal)
By Alexander Britell
GRAND CASE — The palm trees know.
You can see it in the way they shake, the way they wave in the wind in the late afternoon.
They know there’s an extra level of tranquility, an additional degree of quiet up here.
Here, in the foothills above Grand Case in French St Martin, is one of the region’s great hideaways.
Above: the sun sets over the town of Grand Case
It’s called L’Esplanade, and it’s a boutique hotel set a short walk from what may be the single most delicious street in the Caribbean: Grand Case Boulevard, home to classically-trained French chefs, haute-cuisine Creole restaurants and endless good meals.
The hillside hotel is made up of 24 rooms, each of which looks out on the water of Grand Case Bay, each spacious and comfortable, made in the Mediterranean style with a modern touch.
A few steps down from the lobby is the property’s pool, the place where you can watch the sunset and feel the palm trees move and get a Ti’ Punch from Alain, who’s been tending this bar for more than 12 years. Some days he lights up the grill and cooks up shrimp or fresh fish.
It’s an easy walk down to Grand Case Boulevard (where, at the foot of the hill, is L’Esplanade’s boutique spa called Ti’ Spa).
Do it once, and you’ll develop a welcome routine: a leisurely morning with fresh-delivered croissants and baguettes; an afternoon at the pool or at Grand Case Beach, then a stroll to the Boulevard for an unforgettable dinner.
Because this is a hotel for people who know precisely what they want: a calm, rarefied retreat up among the palm trees, coupled with some of the best food anywhere in the hemisphere.
A private place in the French Caribbean.
A place kept secret just for you.