New York, New York
August 11, 2005
Likewise, the Sofitel Bakoua is a high-end chain hotel camouflaged with French-Caribbean flair. The beautiful grounds unfold as soon as you enter the lobby, which subscribes to an open-air concept that incorporates the bar, dining area (where a fabulous continental breakfast is served), and reception area in one sprawling, tiled gazebo with a 180-degree view of the bay. Staff members were welcoming and helpful from the start—I made a stop at the gift shop in search of batteries, and though they didn’t have the size I needed, the man working there actually called around to other shops in Trois Ilets to find them for me. Likewise, bellmen were friendly and efficient in handling our bags.
We then crossed the lobby to the crest of the panoramic view—yachts moored in the water, the capital city of Fort-de-France spilling down the hill on the other side of the bay—and descended the stairs to each level of deluxe rooms. My room was on the bottom level, right on the beach, with a private screened porch. Inside, the dark wood-laminate floors, white down comforter (the new Sofitel MyBed concept), and softly lit, coved ceiling made the room’s small size work for it. My favorite part was the bay window with a pillowed nook. The room had clearly been renovated recently; rooms in the main building have yet to be refurbished as of summer 2005. The only downside—my corner room by the stairs caught a lot of outside noise, and the soundproofing could have been much better.
But the real appeal of the Sofitel lies in its outdoor amenities and location. The beach is man-made and very small, but there are enough sun chairs for an army, and the water here is extremely calm—perfect for children or those uneasy about the ocean. There is also a gorgeous infinity pool upstairs, near the bar—I usually don’t bother if I’m right on the ocean, but this pool was just too tempting. Also provided are lighted tennis courts, windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkel equipment; if your outdoor cravings aren’t sated yet, just talk to the front desk about arranging an excursion outside the hotel.
Another nice perk—a 20-minute ferry runs from the Trois Ilets pier (within walking distance) to Fort-de-France several times a day, enabling a day trip to the city without any driving and parking hassles.
From journal An Unexpected Natural Turn Along the Beaten Path