Above: Hotel Plein Soleil in Martinique (All photos by CJ)
By Alexander Britell
LE FRANCOIS — There are bananas growing by the pool. By my pool.
They are not yet ripe; it will be many weeks or months before they grow, or however long it takes for such things to happen.
There are bananas growing here because this hotel is up in the hills of Martinique, up above the banana plantations, up above the farms, up above the lagoon, at the end of a very rocky dirt road.
The road makes the approach difficult; one must drive carefully and gradually, darting around cracks; it is not particularly comfortable.
But the road to this hotel represents what you are leaving behind.
Because when you arrive, everything is smooth, clear, tranquil.
Many of the 16 rooms have their own private pools like this one (a Master Pool suite), along with their own private pool houses and indoor-outdoor showers.
They have outdoor sofas for lazing and even outdoor kitchens with their own espresso machines.
And they all have the views of the bay, the green hills and the small boats, and the only sound that is ever heard is the chatter of the birds or, at night, the intervals of the frogs. And the wind.
There is also a restaurant here, one of the island’s best: a gastronomic marvel with the kind of artfully-designed, rich cuisine you find at restaurants measured by constellations.
It’s different every night, the only consistency that the food is designed and created like fine art; perhaps a mousse of foie gras, or a plating of green sauce that looks just like a real banana leaf.
Above: nearby banana and cane farms
A bar, too, with a selection of Martinique’s great export: rhum agricole.
Everything is easy here; it is calm and meditative and secluded. It is Martinique’s great unknown hideaway. It is an enchanting place, a place unlike anywhere else in the region.
Above: the lobby lounge at Plein Soleil
And when I sit by the pool, staring at the brackish, turquoise bay, I think to myself.
“I may just stay here long enough to have a banana.”