L’Esplanade hotel sits on a hill overlooking the village and bay of Grand Case. It is a property I have always admired from afar and finally, on a sunny February day and on an invitation from the hotel owner, I got to drive through the gates. My husband and I were both excited to see what it would be like up close. We were about to enjoy another staycation on French St Martin, and this time we would be calling L’Esplanade our home for a few days.
You might remember my post last year about our memorable stay at a small boutique hotel named Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case on French St. Martin. Now, allow me to introduce you to Le Petit’s big, sexy sister, L’Esplanade Hotel.
Our first meeting
L’Esplanade has the architecture of the Mediterranean, Moroccan design details and all the French Caribbean feels so customary in the village of Grand Case. Driving up the small hill we were met with our first up close encounter with the hotel. There she was, in all her splendor, gloriously beckoning us to come and enjoy all that she has to offer.
We found a parking spot in the back, right by the entrance to the lobby, an open space with a view so stunning it momentarily stops you in your tracks and forces you to admire the beauty of the Grand Case bay below. On the right on a small table was a jar with fresh water and lemon and on another table was a bucket filled with ice. In it sit a bottle of red and a bottle of white wine. A complimentary treat for every guest.
We took the winding steps down to the front desk and boutique. Like at Le Petit, this front desk served not only as a check in and check out area but also as a concierge and cute little boutique selling beachwear, jewelry and more. Here, you can rent DVD’s, purchase wine and other items for the room, make your restaurant reservation or just chat with Philomena or one of the other lovely front desk ladies.
With just 24 rooms L’Esplanade is just my cup of tea. I love small boutique hotels that feel more like a home away from home. I also love how you can bump into either Kristin or Marc, the owners of the hotel at any given time. They are not only friendly and welcoming but they tend to make you feel more like a long lost friend than a guest at their hotel. It is no wonder L’Esplanade has so many repeat customers. People from all over the world come back time and time again, sometimes booking two weeks or more at the time.
After we checked in Philomena took us to our room. Wait. Scratch that. Our condo. The word “room” just does not suit our assigned accommodation.
I am one of those people that research the hell out of any place I am about to visit and needless to say I know L’Esplanade’s website in and out. So, I knew that all the rooms come with a balcony where you can enjoy the sunset over the bay below, and that you can choose from a deluxe studio, a deluxe loft, an oversized loft or a one bedroom suite. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for what we encountered behind the front door.
Imagine our excitement when we saw that the space we would be inhabiting for 4 days was an oversized loft. We were greeted by the smell of polished wood, the welcoming cool temperature, the sweet sounds of reggae playing from the i-Pod station in the living area. The people at L’Esplanade know exactly how to make you lock the door behind you and refuse to ever leave again. They made sure that at check in the curtains were open so that when we came in we immediately focused on the balcony behind the glass sliding door and the magnificent view it offered. The sun had just began its descend into the waters of the Grand Case bay as we started to explore our new surroundings. A beautiful orange glow illuminated the downstairs area, where there was an open kitchen, a toilet under the stairs, a dining table, a living area with large screen tv, i-Pod station and DVD player and of course the balcony.
We took the stairs up to the loft where the bedroom was located and I took a sigh of delight. In the bedroom was a large four post king size bed, a tv with two chairs and a smaller balcony with two wooden lounge chaises, perfect for romantic sunsets.
Adjacent to the bedroom was the bathroom with a dual sink and a walk-in shower with an overhead rainforest shower head. A large window by the shower made the bathroom aglow with natural light. I have never seen such a beautiful shower before and needless to say, this easily became my most favorite part of the entire room. That, and the bed f course.
All the comforts of home
Just like at Le Petit, this hotel too is meticulous in making sure their guests get a 5-star experience. On the kitchen counter was a basket with tea, coffee, French Madeleines, and little jars of jam, while in the fridge was a large bottle of water, two beers and some sodas. Next to the basket laid a fresh French baguette.
The bathroom also had everything one could ever need plus more. Kristin makes sure to stock the bathrooms with all the essentials like shampoo, conditioner and so on, plus make up remover wipes and a sewing kit. No details are overlooked here.
The outdoor playground
L’Esplanade, unlike her little sister might not be right on the beach but she definitely makes up for that fact with her incredible outdoor amenities like the swimming pool, surrounded by a lush landscape. The highlight was definitely the swim-up bar. By the end of our stay we were best friends with bartenders Frank and Alan.
The gorgeous beach of Grand Case is just a stroll away but we found it very hard to stay away from the pool and our new friends at the bar. Every day Frank, his girlfriend and Alan would entertain us with stories, great cocktails and food from the grill. The bar became our special hangout spot and the place to meet the other guests.
WARNING: beware of Alan’s concoction, the TGV, named after France’s fast train. It’s a delicious cocktail that is so refreshing but at the same time will get you from 0 to drunk in a minute.
All the eats
I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again. Grand Case is the place to be for amazing gastronomical experiences. The restaurants here are the best. With so many options you could easily eat at a different restaurant every night of the week. Spiga, La Villa, La Cottage, Rainbow, Barranco, L’Auberge Gourmand and Bistro Caraïbes are just a few of the exquisite choices for dinner.
To make it easier for every guest L’Esplanade offers a shuttle service in its own van as a complimentary service to her guests. So, dining out in the gourmet mecca of St. Martin is as easy as get in van and check in at restaurant. The ladies at front desk are always standing by to assist you with making reservations and helping you choose the right restaurant for the evening.
Stroll “Le Boulevard de Grand Case” after a refreshing swim in the crystal clear water of the Grand Case beach and take a seat at the Lolos for a creole lunch or at Rainbow Beach club for a decadent LFL (Long French Lunch) complete with a bottle of rosé.
A closer to home option was lunch at the bar. Frank and crew took excellent care of us. The pool bar offers a small simple menu of salads and burgers, including a delicious salmon burger that you can have with fries and/or salad. But Frank always took it a step further by bringing delicious fresh catch, pumpkin rice or whatever else he and his girlfriend would pre-make at home to make sure every guest remained perched on their bar stool. My husband and I had our two preferred stools in the water and had no problem making the swim up bar our preferred lunch spot. Then again we do live on this gorgeous island and will always have plenty of opportunities to eat in the many restaurants in Grand Case. So I do urge you to venture out and discover this great little fishing village as well, as tempting as it might be to hang at the pool every day.
As if having your own kitchen and complimentary drinks in the room wasn’t enough, there are breakfast order sheets in the kitchen. You can choose from delicious options like croissants and other fresh pastries as well as coffee, tea or hot chocolate and of course OJ or Grapefruit juice. We completed our forms every day and handed it in at the front desk every evening. Every morning promptly at the specified time on the form there would be a knock on our door and in came our breakfast nicely on a tray that was set on the balcony table. Having breakfast with a view was just another one of those perfect moments at L’Esplanade.
Heal, Rejuvenate and Destress at L’Esplanade
I discovered that this hotel is so much more than just an amazing room, great service, friendly people and amazing cocktails at the swim-up bar. L’Esplanade recently added the Ti Spa and the Ti Temple to its amenities.
Ti Spa is owned and operated by Estelle. Originally from Brittany, France, Estelle has been on the island of St. Martin for 20 years, did her beautician course and training in France and has worked in New York for several years. The Ti Spa is her little baby and makes for an excellent addition to the hotel. The spa uses local beauty lines as well as lines from Brittany, London and Barcelona.
One of the best treatments you can treat yourself to at Ti Spa is the 5 energy facial, a personalized facial based on your 5 energy. I can tell you that this facial was ultra relaxing and it really soothed my skin. My face felt renewed after and I looked years younger. Check out the other treatments offered al Ti Spa here.
Next to the pool is the Ti Temple, a space designed for wellness and de-stressing. The sound of the large wind chime in the tamarind tree makes you instantly shed the stress of your daily life. Ti Temple offers daily yoga classes and you can choose morning classes or classes in the afternoon. My absolute favorite yoga teacher here is Dinah and I have since my stay at L’Esplanade been back several times for her Vinyasa Yoga class. She is, like Kristin calls her, the rockstar of yoga and her class is both fun and healing. Dinah always brings her dog Pluto with her, who walks amongst the yoga doers, probably checking if your downward dog is on point . Yoga classes are complimentary to hotel guests and you can check out the schedule here.
St. Martin is a lovely melting pot with over 100 different nationalities and just like this very special Caribbean island, L’Esplanade too expresses her love for the world with Brazilian wood, Balinese furniture, French linens, Moroccan design and a beautiful Mediterranean architecture.
Whether you are traveling by yourself with your partner or with other couples, L’Esplanade is perfect for you. I love how the two hotels work together in offering each other’s services to all guests. If you feel like a private beach setting, take the complimentary shuttle to Le Petit Hotel and use the lounge chairs on the beach there. Remy over at Le Petit is more than happy to help you with any water activity you might want to experience, like paddle boarding or snorkeling. Le Petit’s guests are also welcome to use the pool, temple and spa at L’Esplanade.
This hotel exudes romance and the view, the restaurants in the area, the undeniably amazing amenities and the gorgeous rooms are enough to leave you in a state of tranquility after your stay here. L’Esplanade is simply put a luxurious place above the rest.
*The opinions expressed above are my own and are based on my own personal experiences at L’Esplanade. I received no compensation for this blog post, other than a complimentary stay at L’Esplanade as well as a facial at Ti Spa. All other costs incurred with the stay were my own.
Looks like a lovely place to stay. I’d love to visit St. Martin someday.