Dive head-first into the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies and you’ll find the French outpost of Martinique. This Caribbean island is nothing short of sensational as it claims astonishing landscapes that vary quite wildly. The shimmering beaches that stretch for miles along the southern coastline are renowned for their ivory-white sand, palm trees and calm sea waters. Head to the northern shores and the lush rainforests and wild mountains will leave you in awe. In exploring the natural beauty that Martinique has to offer, you’ll see everything from rugged crags and walkable gorges to gushing waterfalls, but the defining element is the ever-present Mount Pelée, which soars over the island from all angles.
In addition to the alluring scenery, Martinique is a sophisticated cultural hotspot of the area that continues long after its jovial Carnival celebrations are finished. The exotic enclave makes up one of eighteen integral overseas regions of the French Republic, and it retains a certain savoir-faire to it. Between the Parisian pastries, Indian madras fabrics, rumba-inspired music and laid-back island attitude, our Martinique Destination Guide lays out what may be the Caribbean’s most striking melting pot. Sure, St. Barth is known for its glitz and glam, but for those who are in-the-know, Martinique is the place to be.
Where to Stay
Martinique is constantly overlooked by the jet-set community for mainstream destinations such as St. Barth or the Bahamas, but that doesn’t make it any less of a travel destination. In fact, part of Martinique’s charm is that it still feels truly authentic. This isn’t an island where you’ll find endless cookie-cutter resorts with the same sun-chasing tourist crowd. Here you’ll find charming boutique hotels with hospitable staff and personalized service. This is no better epitomized than La Suite Villa, a 5-star hilltop hotel located in Les Trois-Îlets. Overlooking the gorgeous bay and surrounded by beauty, the boutique hotel infuses the natural riches of Martinique with art and glamor for its own inimitable, whimsical design. The main building consists of a few exclusive suites, each of which are equipped with a panoramic view of the sea, outdoor terrace and private jacuzzi.
Just a short walk away lie the villas, which come with the option of 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms and include a living room and kitchen. They’re designed like a cocoon to ensure enduring comfort and coziness, while tropical gardens, covered terraces, solariums and outdoor shower elevate the experience to another level completely. The striking mix of colors throughout the hotel property is charming and perfectly suits the friendly attitude and approachable nature of the staff. Rounding out the amenities are an award-winning gourmet restaurant, relaxing swimming pool and outdoor spa.
Our Martinique Destination Guide includes a Luxury Hotel Guide with an informative list of accommodation options.
Where to Dine
As a cultural melting pot, the sophisticated heritage of Martinique is most apparent in its top-notch culinary scene, which takes from French, Caribbean and African traditions. Freshly-caught fish, amazing rum cocktails and seaside locations mean dining in Martinique will be a memorable experience. Le Belem at the Relais et Chateaux Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa is not only a dream come true for your taste buds, but you’ll be charmed by the breezy location directly facing the ocean.
The setting is classy and cozy, open to the outdoors and lulled by trade winds to allow for an exceptionally beautiful sight as the sun goes down. The elegant Caribbean setting is only heightened with the gourmet cuisine that takes influence directly from French and Creole traditions. Headed by chef Jordan Delamotte, the menu consists of a number of light dishes that are creative and tasty, such as the smoked duck breast, served with confit shallots and orange sauce or blue crayfish with breaded bisque and green juice.
Our Martinique Destination Guide also includes a Restaurant Guide for Martinique to find the perfect dining experience during your stay.
What to Do
When in Martinique, it’s certainly important to get a healthy dose of sun and sand. All of the beaches across Martinique are public, although most hotels normally charge non-guests to use private changing facilities. The beautiful coral-sand beaches can be found around Pointe du Bout, but for an experience that’s off the trodden path, try the island’s wilder coastline near Ste-Anne, such as Anse-Trabaud, Les Salines or Baie des Anglais. On the eastern coast is where you’ll find a handful of adrenaline-pumping surfing spots, while scuba diving sites are scattered across the outskirts of the island. When it’s time to mix it up, head to Jardin de Balata, a verdant mosaic of lawns and flower meadows, for a couple of hours immersed in nature’s peace and tranquility.
Since Martinique is a French region, European traditions sit side-by-side with the local island lifestyle. The island has all the sunshine one could ask for, but its cultural centers and hospitable people truly set Martinique apart from other Caribbean destinations. This manifests itself in Fort-de-France, the island’s busy capital. Packed with colorful buildings and lively streets, Fort-de-France exudes an irresistible spirit around the year, but especially during Martinique’s vibrant Carnival, which commences on the first Sunday after the Epiphany and reaches its climax on Shrove Tuesday. When it comes to drinks, every Caribbean island has its own signature rum punch, and in Martinique, it’s Ti’ punch. Whether you find yourself at your local beach bar or full-out rum tastings, Ti’ punch is something that’s easily enjoyed throughout the duration of your stay.
What to Wear
On one hand, any trip to Martinique will be characterized by its fair share of beach days and walking in nature. On the other, this is still part of France and the sophisticated attitude that sweeps through the region and international clientele means that the latest resort collections are always in style. Featuring a high-cut design, macrame side details and cheeky rear, this Maylana Jess Mustard One-Piece is a wonderful swimsuit that will keep you through Martinique with a vibrant and striking statement. You can also bring along this KAYU St. Tropez Pom-Pom Embellished Straw Tote for the day, whose roomy interior will hold all of your necessities in a friendly, easy-to-carry, stylish woven tote.
Our Martinique Destination Guide also includes a comprehensive Style Sheet with everything that should be inside your suitcase.