Review of La Plantation - St. Martin
February 1, 1997

This is our report from our stay at La Plantation from 2/1/97 to 2/8/97. This report deals exclusively with the hotel and is intended for those who might be considering La Plantation for a stay. Our trip report is under a separate subject as a trip report.

This was the third time we had stayed in SXM for a week, after many times of visiting SXM on cruise ships. As always, we stayed on the French side close to Orient Beach. Previous stays were at Green Cay Village and L'Hoste. La Plantation is a little cheaper than L'Hoste and a LOT cheaper than Green Cay--if you're renting Green Cay by yourself, that is. We booked through Jim Ruos (here on $P$) at Caribbean Islands Travel Service, as always. If you want to book any of the Orient Beach hotels, Jim's your man.

Plantation is located on the hills above Orient Beach, roughly in the area of Green Cay Village, if you know where that is. It is not directly on the beach, but you can walk down directly to Coki or Bikini Beach, if you have a mind. It's not a bad walk, maybe 5-10 minutes, depending on which unit you are staying in. If you normally head to the beach at Club Orient and are kind of lazy, like me, you will drive to Club O. We timed the drive--taking our time--at 6 minutes one day. There is a pool and restaurant and small boutique at the reception area. We were never at the pool during the day, so don't know how much traffic there was there. The reception desk could arrange various tours and water sports for you, but we never took advantage of their services. We did note that the car rentals through the hotel were significantly more per week than what we paid through Jim Ruos.

The restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ate breakfast there a couple of mornings but no other meals. Included with the cost of your hotel room at LaPlantation is their continental breakfast. The restaurant is pretty and the coffee and croissant are good and it is free, so one can't be too picky, but it wasn't the greatest. Croissant and baguettes were provided, along with apples, usually bananas, (usually SPOILED!) pineapple, corn flakes and coffee and tea. You could get a hot breakfast there, for around $7-$8 PP. We had omelettes one morning, which were pretty good. The restaurant was usually pretty busy for breakfast.

There are 17 units at Plantation, most of which consist of 2 studios and one suite within each building. We paid $178 per night for the suite (wtih two people), vs.$210 per night for the top floor rooms for the same time frame for L'Hoste. When we had called for reservations in August, #304 was already gone at L'Hoste and we had been wanting to try Plantation anyway, and were glad that we did. At Plantation, the studio was $149 per night, vs.$178 per night for the suite. We felt that the extra few bucks were well worth it. If Jim Ruos' figures are to be believed, cause I didn't measure it myself, with the suite you get approximately 750 square feet vs. 377 square feet for the studio.

We had specified when we booked that we wanted the room with the best available view and were assigned room number 630. We certainly had nothing to complain of with regard to the view, as we were situated in the first row of buildings at Plantation, with no buildings in front of us, basically all the way to the water. We looked straight out at Tintamar and off to our right in front of us was L'Hoste and off to the left in front of us was Esmerelda. Our suite, as well as all the others, was surrounded by beautiful flowering plants. The gardeners were always busy around the hotel, grooming the plants and planting more flowers. Our unit, as did the others, had parking spaces for three cars.

We did not specify that we wanted the best available facilities for nudity on our porch and there was a road which had a really good view onto our porch. Because of the railing, though, Eric could be nude and it would have been hard for anyone to see even from the road. There were a couple of units right on the hill above us--namely, numbers 860 and 870--which it looked as though no one could see in to their porch. However, this was because the flowers and plants had all grown up around the porch and it's possible that you could not see OUT very well either from there. If you want a studio unit with a really good view, request number 832, which was right next to us and had a wrap-around porch which looked out right over L'Hoste and had a beautiful view.

OK, let's describe the suite in detail, starting at the patio. Our patio faced Orient Bay, as I said, and was approximately 10-12 feet deep and 30-35 feet long. We had a wicker dining table and four wicker chairs (2 with pads). We could have wished for a chaise lounge or two, but there were none. Facing the ocean, there were two single and two center full glass doors. We kept the two single doors locked all the time.

As you faced the ocean, off to the left was the L-shaped kitchen area, which consisted of an apartment-sized refrigerator and stove, with coffee maker and toaster, with a tile-topped counter with 4 bar stools. Standard silverware was provided, including a corkscrew and a can opener (which sort of worked!), paring knife, and 8 plates, 4 cereal bowls, a wine carafe and coffee cups. Glasses were kind of light, with 6 miscellaneous assorted water glasses and 4 juice glasses. There was one small and one large sauce pan, 2 small fry pans, a medium stew pot with lid and a small casserole dish. There was NO ice bucket, so we kept the ice cube tray filled and dumped the ice into the plastic collander, which we kept in the freezer, so that we would have ice for our trips to the beach. There was dishwashing liquid and a dishtowel provided, but no food or supplies of any nature--salt and pepper, etc. If you want to do any cooking here at all, you might bring or buy either paper towels or napkins and some paper plates, as well as powdered cream and sugar and coffee filters for those coffee hounds like us. The coffee machine technically took the cone type filters but our Mr. Coffee-type filters fit fine into the basket. The coffee maker made around 3 good sized cups.

The spacious main living area consisted of about 25 feet wide by 20 feet deep. The furniture was rattan but very comfortable. There was a small round dining table with 3 chairs, 2 sofas (one a sleeper sofa), a coffee table and two other side chairs and a TV. The TV featured cable, with HBO, CNN, and a couple of other channels. Two of us kind of almost rattled around in the space and it would have been more than adequate for a couple and two children to share. The bathroom had a double sink with about 5 feet of mirrors. There was a typical French shower stall, no door. There was some storage under the sink, plus a large key-type safe. There were two hanging knobs in the bathroom and a 110 shaver outlet ONLY. All other outlets were 220 and there was NO hairdryer. Toilet paper and bath soap were provided, but NO shampoo or lotion. The bedroom could be closed off from the main part of the unit and held a king-sized bed with 2 night stands, 1 small dresser with 2 drawers over 3, plus a closet with 3 feet of hanging space and 4 shelves beside it. There was much more than adequate storage space for a week at Orient Beach!

The entire unit was air-conditioned, and the a/c worked well, although it was supposedly automatically turned off from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. and sometimes you had to manually turn it back on. There was also a celing fan, if you preferred, but it was at the top of the cathedral ceiling and provided little air to the actual living space.

Kind of an oddity that we noted was that all the doors locked with a key--even when you were inside. You had to use the key to let yourself OUT. The front door also did not automatically lock when you left and it took a little getting used to. There were signs on the doors for the patio which stated that for security reasons, people were always supposed to lock their doors at night, as well as close the shutters. We did always lock the doors, although we never bothered with the shutters.

Maid service was OK, as we always had clean towels and the bed was always made and she did the dishes which we left in the sink. If it wasn't actually IN the sink, it didn't get washed though, and the crumbs which I deliberately left on the counter in the kitchen stayed there for the course of the week until I couldn't stand it anymore and cleaned them up myself.

Early in the week we picked up a stray cat that spent most of his time sleeping in one of the chairs on our patio. By the end of the week, he was always waiting for me by the door when I walked out and he scarfed up his share of hand-outs over the course of the week.

One thing that we did notice was that the place seemed a little quiet. If we go back there again, we would probably bring along either a radio or tape player so that we could have some music to listen to. The stereo unit at Green Cay made our enjoyment of the place so much greater.

Beach towels were provided at the front desk and I would assume that you could get fresh ones each day. We didn't bother but just let our towels dry each day and re-used them. We had also brought a couple of towels from home, which I would do again.

Would I return to La Plantatation again? Absolutely! Was it a good value? Absolutely. As I said at the beginning, during the winter, it is technically a little cheaper for the suite at Plantation than the top floor rooms at L'Hoste. Rates during the summer at L'Hoste were $150 per night for the 3rd floor rooms, times 6 nights. Rates for May to September 1 at Plantation for the suite were $118 per night. L'Hoste is right ON the beach, which has lots of advantages. With Plantation, you can get a larger space, with almost full kitchen facilities, a great view and a separate bedroom for less money. You can't go wrong with either one.

Carol & Eric in Virginia

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