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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Gallic on Martinique

As shoulder season kicks off, take advantage of new direct flights to this sophisticated island in the French West Indies to enjoy seasonal bargains, smaller crowds, and Creole cuisine.


1. Where to Stay

A bedroom inside one of the villas at Plein Soleil.  

Wear your walking shoes when checking in to Plein Soleil ($155/night), which sits atop remarkably steep hills in the eastern port of Le François, where you’ll find white-sand beaches a short drive from the airport. Five colorful, Creole-style villas house sixteen uncluttered, bright rooms and suites overlooking bougainvillea-rich tropical gardens and a leafy banana plantation. For added luxury, book one of the four Master Pool rooms with swimming pools on private patios shaded by palm trees.

Sleep in style at La Suite Villa ($225/night), located on the Caribbean side of the island in the village of Les Trois-Îlets. Run by a French expat who’s an avid modern-art collector, the property is filled with bold paintings and sculptures in its six suites and nine villas, all of which have large picture windows, multicolor throws, and the occasional silver lamé armchair. Get to know your neighbors over a glass of rhum agricole at the convivial lobby bar, which has oversize, Picasso-esque oil paintings and plush couches.

Splurge on the island’s only five-star resort, Hotel Cap Est Lagoon ($400/night), which has a secluded location and carefully landscaped garden walls to maximize privacy. More than half of the property’s 50 suites feature personal plunge pools, and all sport casually elegant interiors with polished hardwood floors and burgundy abaca textiles, and direct access to a private beach on the Atlantic coast. Treat yourself to a massage at the on-site Guerlain Spa, which you’ve earned since you’re spending a lot less than you would on St. Barth’sits ritzy Hotel Le Toiny, for example, starts at $790/night in October.

Published on Oct 4, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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