24 Hours at the Karibuni Lodge, Saint Martin
Hurricane Irma Update: We haven't heard from the property yet. There is no update from Karibuni Lodge. Our thoughts are with the lovely Manon & team on spot and all others affected by this terrible natural disaster.
There are a handful of places that are so chic and cool perfectly attracting the dazzling and beautiful ones. One of these places are Saint Tropez and Saint Barth. Two ultra glamorous hotspots with amazing hotels, gorgeous restaurants and unique clubs, however these places are everything else than cheap and value for money is not your primary focus when heading to these celebrity hotspots. By complete chance we have got a one night layover on the island of Saint Martin just in between our fabulous stay in Antigua and our bustling stay in New York City - and in fact we have been impressed. Impressed not just by the island itself which is divided into two parts, also by our extremely hidden hideaway where we had the pleasure to stay for the night. While Saint Marteen (as the Dutch side is called) is full of massive hotel blocks and crowded beaches, Saint Martin (the French part) is more laid-back and beautiful. I would say Saint Martin is a perfect symbiosis of French towns Ramatuelle and Ile de Re - you have an amazing landscape with stunning beaches, gorgous affordable restaurants as well as beautiful hidden places to stay. Basically this place has all I need for a great vacation and indeed once I found the Karibuni Lodge while doing some online research, I knew this place won't disappoint.
After six weeks of travelling through the Caribbean, my colleague Lukas and me were not surprised to see our flight from Antigua to be delayed for an hour. Arriving an hour late in Saint Martin also meant we will miss sunset and won't make it to our accommodation on time. Once we finally arrived in Cul-de-Sac, a lovely town 50 minutes North-East of the Princes Juliana Airport, we made us on our way to the Karibuni Lodge. Thanks to the lovely arrival form we were sent by Manon - the young and friendly owner of the Karibuni Lodge - we found the property within a few minutes. When the car stopped, Manon was already waiting for us and welcomed us in a very personal way. It was so amazing to be back at a familiar place after all the hassle with the flight and we were completely happy once we figured out that there is no need for any check-in, boring paper work or credit card for any extra charges - this seems to be a place where guests are still appreciated as friends rather than paying customers.
After we were given some information about the property including the times for the boat shuttle to the hotel's own island just across the bay, Manon accompanied us to our Junior Suite which was situated on the top of the property boasting an amazing view of the turqoise Caribbean. As soon as we got a first glimpse of the terrace, we could gather a view onto our private jacuzzi which looked simply outstanding in front of the gorgeous background and next to a super comfy hammock. While we would have been absolutely fine with the outside area of our suite already, we proceeded with the inside area to inspect. The total ambiance of the room was great with a double bed facing the terrace and sea, two comfy lounge chairs in the center of the room as well as a writing desk with chair next to the entrance door.
Normally I would not expect branded toiletries from hotels of four stars and below, however this time I was so happy to find L'Occitaine products in the stylish bathroom with walk-in shower and single vanity. As a lovely add-on the toilet was separated next to a small wardrobe and a private kitchen with microwave, basin, tea machine and Nespresso coffee machine. When I opened the minibar, I felt more like staying at a five star hotel rather than a cool Caribbean place - there was a bottle of champagne along with other upscale products. While the coffee capsules were at an additional charge, we were surprised with a gorgeous pretty little breakfast. Upon waking up, we had to hang a wooden bird on the terrace so the staff could see that we are ready for breakfast. Within 10 minutes a lovely staff member arrived with a tray full of breakfast products including Baguette, pain au chocolat, fresh fruits, lemon cake and two frsh juices. We were also served with cocoa powder and fresh milk to make a hot chocolate as ordered. I really loved that personal touch and the possibility to have breakfast in-suite at no additional charge.
I mean what's better than having a juice and enjoying a pain au chocolat while overlooking the beautiful bay and the gorgeous island in front of the suite? If the day starts in such a great way it can only get better with a private boat ride to the hotel's own island just opposite the town of Cul-de-sac. The island offers a beach club along a beautiful restaurant where one can have a light lunch with the feet in the sand while the sun is shining on the sea making it a dazzling piece of art perfectly added to the amazing white sand. Actually there is everything one needs for a gorgeous vacation on one of the world's most beautiful places. The Karibuni Lodge is one of the best places we have ever been when it comes to value for money - staying in a private villa with pool or jacuzzi, free boat shuttle to a private island with beach chairs, a gorgeous restaurant as well as most personal service. And all that comes with a price tag of around 200 euros a night which is absolutely great! While many travelers going to Saint Barth just stop in Saint Martin for a layover of a few hours, I would plan a two night stay on the french site of Saint Martin in addition to a few nights on Saint Barth plus add another two nights on Anguilla which would be the best Caribbean island hopping option from our point of view!
We were guests of the Karibuni Lodge however all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.