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Arrival and check-in
- Link: Hotel La Pagerie
I arranged transport from the airport for 50 Euro each way (100 round-trip). But considering car rentals for the 4-day period were nearly ~$400, I opted to pay a taxi and save the extra cash.
We landed around 7pm. Our driver met us outside.
And after a loooong time in Martinique’s terrible traffic, we finally arrived to Hotel La Pagerie.
First impressions driving in:
- Holy crap Les Trois Ilets is so cute
- It’s so hot here
- So glad there’s stuff to do within easy walking distance
There was a live band playing in the lobby when we arrived, so I had to scream/write everything down. It was kind of an interesting check-in.
There were lots of people hanging out in the lobby, slurping down tropical drinks and wearing loose, flowy clothes. I couldn’t wait to get out of my winter gear and jeans and join them.
Check-in was easy enough, considering. I paid for the stay with the Citi Prestige card. They already had room keys and welcome letters.
They advised us to take precautions against the Zika virus.
This is a boutique hotel: no elite status, no welcome amenity, no free breakfast. Free wi-fi, thankfully. It actually felt good to be away from brand standards and let go of those expectations.
It’s a big hotel, but the setup is pretty simple. The buildings wrap around the central pool area – it’s a big rectangle. That means depending on where you start, you may have to walk down a few long hallways, which is what happened to us.
The hallways are all open-air, so the night breeze felt awesome. So humid, too!
We got Room 524 and headed up. The grounds were very well-kept. And there were lots of nice touches with the decor. You can tell someone really paid attention to the details. It felt like a popular hotel, but that management has maintained it well for a long time.
As is usual in beach destinations, the floors were tiled throughout.
The decor in the room was light wood and white with lime green splashes – very cute and tropical.
We had a king bed with lots of extra seating, including a pair of comfortable chairs, a desk, and an extra bed/couch. We called it a “third wheel bed” because it was the perfect little nook to curl up and sleep.
There was a Lavazza coffee machine with plenty of coffee.
The bathroom was stocked with soap and body lotion from Damana. All orange blossom scented. Instead of shampoo and body wash, they had an all-purpose pump in the shower labeled “hair and body wash.” (I felt your pain, Stefan!)
But it was very clean and had plenty of counter space and a couple of shelves, which was perfect.
We also had a balcony with a couple of wicker seats overlooking the pool. The breeze felt so good out there. Note that every room here has a balcony.
The wi-fi in our room was pretty weak. And I noticed it was stronger near the center of the hotel (where the pool was). So to get wi-fi, we had to sit out on the balcony, which was fine.
But it you get a corner room or one far from the wi-fi, that could be really inconvenient.
Also note you can only add 3 devices to the wi-fi per room. So if you’re traveling with someone, and you both have a phone and a laptop, you’ll need to get an extra wi-fi code. Something to be aware of because you can nip that in the bud when you check in.
Overall, the room was very comfortable and clean. I loved the bright colors. And aside from the usual tourist-on-vacation noises, it was very quiet.
The pool and its politics
We had a view of the pool.
The pool area was extremely scarce on layout recliner thingies. European tourists would wake up at the crack of dawn and start throwing their towels down, claiming a spot all day while they were out sight-seeing and having lunch.
I’d never really experienced that before, but it seemed really… rude? To block a spot all day for yourself? And it wasn’t just 1 or 2 spots that were blocked. Half the seats would be taken and there would only be a few people in the pool.
It wouldn’t be a problem if they have lots of spots. And because of the building setup, not every part of the pool always got sun.
Nearly every spot was taken each day I was there. So it got kind of uncomfortably competitive at times. A few times, I thought people were going to fit over a seat.
In any case, once I learned how to play the game, I was able to lay out in the ~90 degree BLAZING HOT sun. And it felt awesome after having such a gloomy winter in the Northeast this year.
Also, the poolside bar had terrible service. There are 2 ways to access it: walk up or swim up.
Obviously, swim up is awesome. But the servers acted like going over to the swim up side was the most laborious task ever. So we gave up after sitting there for 10 minutes or so, and didn’t really try again.
The pool here is a missed opportunity. Maybe they just don’t care?
In any regard, be prepared to fight for a spot around the pool, because the pool politics here are complex. Which is something you might not want to deal with on vacation.
Overall, it was nice enough.
There was an in-house restaurant with yummy but expensive food and drinks. And a lobby bar with incredibly strong drinks. Still, you’ll do better to simply walk across the street and access the dozens of other restaurants instead.
It took a while to get someone’s attention when I realized I’d need another wi-fi code. And when I got someone to help, they scolded me for keeping the “Do not disturb” sign on the door. I mean, I had plenty of towels and toiletries and coffee, so I thought I’d reuse or conserve what I already had.
“The maids need to clean every room, every day,” they told me. OK… So the next day, I left the sign off the door and let them make up the room.
The whole exchange struck me strange. They seemed to want to put the maids to work or something. I dunno. I’ve never been told to take the “Do not disturb” sign down before.
In any regard, after a long wait, I finally got an extra wi-fi code.
Hotel La Pagerie in Les Trois Ilets is fine. The hotel is well-located in a popular tourist area. But I wouldn’t stay here again because I wouldn’t stay in Les Trois Ilets again.
I’m glad I experienced it, but the area was far busier and, at times, chaotic, than I expected. Not that I had (m)any expectations, anyway.
There is a lot going on in Martinique. It’s very easy to take taxis everywhere. Transportation is expensive (taxis and car rentals).
Consider checking a bag if you want to use a lot of sunscreen. Because it costs about $25 for a small bottle of it in the pharmacies and shops on the island. Yeah. Price gouging at its finest.
Martinique, in general (and this includes the hotel) has the crowds but not the infrastructure to support heavy tourism.
Traffic was terrible. The pool area was crowded. Long lines and waits for service. Food is reasonably priced, and yes, there are lots of baguettes and pastries available.
I’m glad I went down for a few days. Got a cheap ticket, got a tan, saw a little more of this big world we live in.
But color me unimpressed with the French Caribbean. I probably won’t go back.
Have you been to the French Caribbean (Martinique or Guadeloupe)? Am I being too harsh on it? Feel free to share your experience!
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