As I’m writing this article, it has been a month and a half since we arrived here. And I must say that, for now, we appreciate Guadeloupe’s true value. Of course, you might say that we are still in a tropical setting, what we already know having spent six years in French Polynesia. But here, things seem, and are, quite different. By living in Basse-Terre, we clearly feel like we are closer to nature, to this beautiful bottom of valleys’ greenery, this luxuriant vegetation we can see in the slightest walks and hikes. Besides, I invite you to come and dream during our walk in the Bassin Bleu, a magnificent place to discover!
Those who’ve been following us on our blog since a few years know that we had started to test accommodations when we were in French Polynesia. The purpose was of course to be able to recommend and give an opinion on accommodations that we didn’t know before. And I must say that it worked quite well! Indeed, we had the opportunity to test many accommodations locally, which clearly helped our readers. So, Melanie and I decided that we should keep doing it here in Guadeloupe. We looked for accommodations that share our values and for which we would have a crush, and that’s when the Jardin des Colibris in Deshaies came into play.
As soon as we saw the first pictures of the place, we were immediately amazed: a superb setting in the middle of the forest, tree houses, wooden huts, wooden villas with swimming pools, a flowered garden and hummingbirds everywhere. In short, the scenery seemed too beautiful not to try! Also, in partnership with the accommodation, we had the opportunity to stay two nights in a superb Creole hut with a wooden mezzanine. However, as we explain every time, we were able to form our own opinion about our stay, and we remain entirely in control of everything we write about it. This is a necessary condition for us to ensure our impartiality.
But let’s get back to the topic in hand. In any case, it will do us good to explore a part of the island of Basse-Terre that we do not know yet. We did not go higher than the road of Mamelles, on the West coast. On the program of these two days: discovery of this magnificent small corner of paradise, stroll in the garden, a lot of pictures with the family, a few hours on the superb beach of Grande Anse, and a small aperitif with our friend Laetitia from Mayotte, who’ve been living here for many years now. Let’s start the story of our two days spent there, as well as our opinion about this place!
Knowing that we live in Vieux-Fort and that Louis, our eldest child, had started school again that week, we picked him up at school at 4pm and left for an hour and a half drive. Arrived at about 5:30 pm, we enter the parking of the Jardin du Paradis, just a step away from the Botanical Garden of Deshaies (that we will come back to visit when it will be opened, by the way). The place is as we had imagined: in the middle of the vegetation, we can already see some huts around, a beautiful, flowered garden, and parking spots named after the accommodations. The night is falling, but the atmosphere seems to be already very nice. We approach the reception, where we can observe the Guide du Routard’s recommendations since 2006 – 15 years in a row, wow!
We are warmly welcomed by Floria. She explains us how the place works, asks if we have been there before, what we want to do for our stay, and then quickly presents us the activities we can do around the ecolodge. She also explains us that the lodge provides snorkeling equipment, society games for children, coolers, books, and beach toys. Everything is clearly thought so that anyone can spend an excellent stay, either in couple, or even more in family, in its small cocoon. In short, we enjoy a personalized welcome, which is a pleasure because, to be honest, it is not often the case. Floria comes with us to our Creole hut through a small, flowered alley crossing a very beautiful garden. It is now dark, but we feel greatly well here. She quickly presents us our hut, about which I’ll talk to you in detail below, and that we find honestly superb. Matthieu, the owner of the Ecolodge, comes to see us, to exchange and discuss. A good moment in company of a simple person, in the good sense of the word, as we like anyway.
Even if it is dark, we discover with pleasure the hut we’ll stay in for our two days, while tasting our welcome juice, kindly brought by Floria some minutes after our arrival. I must say that Melanie and I are quite amazed at the quality of our hut with mezzanine. There is at the same time a natural atmosphere reminded by the predominant use of wood in every corner, but also a warm, cocooning atmosphere. Everything is perfectly arranged and tastefully decorated.
There is a very large wooden terrace and a fully equipped kitchen, overlooking a beautiful tropical garden. You’ll find everything you need to be totally self-sufficient (microwave, fridge, kettle, coffee/tea maker, hotplates, dishes, etc.), and that’s also one of the main interests of the place, according to us. Small precision for our readers: the Ecolodge, apart from breakfasts, does not offer catering. However, they work in partnership with a local caterer who offers a range of dishes, pizzas, starters, and desserts. This is what we chose for the evening of our arrival. It’ s very convenient and it saves you, if you arrive late like we did, from having to plan or even prepare your own food. We had chosen local cuisine: fricassé de Chatrou, poulet boucané … and pizza for the kids!
But let’s go back to the discovery of the place. On the terrace, there is a big table for 4 persons, a clothesline, a high chair for Teo, which is very appreciable, even if this little boy has less and less desire to spend time on it… The must? A very good quality hammock hanging on the beams of the terrace. We had ordered a Creole aperitif for two persons for our arrival, and we can tell you right away: drinking a Ti-Punch with marlin rillettes, lying in this hammock, we couldn’t be better! There is also a water dispenser for the hummingbirds as well as a mixture of water and sugar cane for Tanagers birds. A barbecue and a composter to deposit all the green waste are available. By the way, the Ecolodge really does its best about ecology, especially with several compost bins and different recycling bins at disposal (glass, plastic), the use of energy saving light bulbs, water savers at every tap, no air conditioning in the wooden huts, with a good ventilation of the accommodations.
Inside, there is a nice king-size bed (160×200) with mosquito net and a mezzanine with a double bed (also with mosquito net) for Louis, high up. There is a steep ladder to climb, so I think it’s okay for 5/6 years children, but not before. We even find the baby cot provided for free by the lodge. Great! The room is really spacious, without air conditioning to respect the spirit of an ecolodge and to get closer to the nature. And, between us, during the two nights spent there, we never felt warm (sheet was even greatly appreciated during the night). Bedding is also very good, in our opinion. There is of course a bathroom and a separate toilet.
The highlight remains the shower with open sky, which is truly awesome. We all take our shower in this superb setting, and the children (as well as the adults) love it. You can see palm trees and a breadfruit tree from the shower, all with a beautiful starry sky. It’s really a nice concept we never had the opportunity to test until now, during our six years in French Polynesia (although I guess it must exist somewhere). There is also a welcome booklet that explains a lot about the lodge, including what you can do in the area, but I’ll tell you about it later. You also have access to free Wifi (although it seemed a bit unstable at times when we were there, to be honest).
As for decoration, there is plenty to see. Everything reminds of nature, with many wooden sculptures, statuettes, magnetized margouillats, madras towels, and a decoration inviting to calm and relaxation. It’s all a matter of taste, of course, but we’ve personally been seduced.
As usual, before telling you about our two days there, we briefly explain you what the Jardin des Colibris offers. Because of (yes, it’s a bit harsh to say…haha) the two children, we couldn’t test the beautiful tree houses, nor the “Jungle” type accommodations with private pool. It’s a pity, but having visited the places with Matthieu, we understand why there is a minimum age. These accommodations are really high, and clearly, a child the same age than Teo (16 months) could very quickly fall overboard.
We were lucky enough to have a little guided tour from Matthieu to show us the place in detail, as well as the garden. So, here are the different types of accommodation you will find in this ecolodge:
The unusual accommodations
- The wooden creole hut (42m2): it’s the “simplest” room and looks like the one I described above, but without the mezzanine. It is ideal for 2 adults, but it is possible to add an extra bed,
- The Creole hut with mezzanine (55m2): this is the one we slept in. Frankly, we loved it, and so did the children. Perfect for a couple with 1 child/1 baby for example, like us.
- The Nid des Colibris (30m2): I visited it, and it is superb, perched in the middle of the trees! Moreover, you have a 2×2 m resting area with a net, like on a catamaran but in the middle of the trees, perfect to be dreaming on,
- The Treehouse (66m2): a perfect corner with a 30m2 terrace, a huge bedroom, and a living room next to it equipped with a sofa bed. Perfect for 2 to 4 people,
- The Jungle Lodge (75m2): my favorite one. A superb accommodation with a mezzanine (for 2 children of 12 years old minimum), a private swimming pool and a water garden as a bathroom that makes you drool over!
Gites and villas
- There are also several cottages (garden side) and villas that can accommodate from 2 to 10 people (for the Nature Bay). We visited two of them and, honestly, they are amazing, with private swimming pool. If you are a family with kids, I think it’s perfect. There is plenty of space!
So, if you liked our story of the two days there, and if you are considering coming there, I would definitely recommend the Jungle Lodge for a couple without children, and a villa with a private pool for families. You can’t be disappointed! All the accommodations we visited during our stay are beautifully decorated, always in a nature/cozy/ecolodge atmosphere, and you can’t help but feel good about it.
Here is the continuation of our stay at the Jardin des Colibris. As mentioned above, we arrived relatively late, around 5:30 pm, as the night was about to fall. We especially appreciated our Creole aperitif, our meal being correct without being exceptional for our taste. But the frame is so beautiful! We decide, as the bad parents we are, to put the two small ones to bed rather early so that we can fully enjoy the places and, finally rest. It is fair to say that two boys at home, as Melanie says, it keeps thing busy… We stay a little while chatting on our beautiful wooden terrace, where we cross from time to time Tanagers and hummingbirds passing by at full speed. A few first pictures attempts late in the evening, but nothing very conclusive as it cruelly lacks of light. We shall try again tomorrow, in full day. We then decide to go to bed early, tired of the past day, and knowing obviously that the children are going to wake up early.
And I could almost say that I was wrong because, finally, we will not be up before 7 am, what is the equivalent of a lie-in for us, it is necessary to say it! We slept very well, having almost even been cold during the night. We slept with the song of the frogs in background, which it is honestly appreciable. We enjoy our breakfast early in the morning, which was brought to us the day before so that we can have it whenever we want. Everybody is delighted, sun is here, the sky is quite blue: it is going to be such a beautiful day. We spend some time shooting pictures of our hut and all the decoration – it is really superb.
Matthieu comes to pick us up for a small guided tour of the different accommodations we talked about above. It’s great to know more about the places, and to see and understand how they were imagined. We’ll spend about 2 hours with Melanie taking pictures and showing you all this on our Instagram account in Story, to please everyone. And for the pleasure of the eyes, here is a small slideshow of the pictures we were able to take. Some of the accommodations are really dreamy, aren’t they?
Once the photo tour finished, we decide to go and enjoy the superb swimming pool this place offers. We are alone in this little corner of paradise. The pool is huge, perfect for swimming and relaxing, all in the middle of a nice garden. To be honest, it’s been a while since we felt so good somewhere, calm, serene, in such a splendid setting. A small family moment of happiness, quite simply, those kind of moments we should seek more often. We decide to go to Deshaies to have a bite to eat, praying to find something open. It is true that, in this Covid crisis, it is not always simple to eat outside. Fortunately, we found a small snack in town where we tasted our first Bokit, a local sandwich fried in oil. It is not bad at all, even if I think that we might find some more or less good in the streets.
We go back bed Teo who still needs a nap at his age, especially in the afternoon. In the meantime, I go with Louis, we bring a waterproof camera (Olympus TG6) and leave to discover the large garden surrounding all the huts, villas, and tree houses. There is a lot to enjoy in photography, and with a careful eye, there are really many beautiful things to photograph: various flowers, orchids, anolis. We spend there a good hour with Louis, who develop a real taste for photography. Fortunately, he did not ask me yet to buy him a real camera (he is still a little young to take care of it, between us).
Once Teo is awake, we take advantage of the beautiful sunny day to go to the magnificent beach of Grande Anse, in Deshaies. I must say that since our arrival and the almost direct lockdown, we haven’t had yet the opportunity to go see the beautiful white sand beaches of Grande-Terre. It is for us the most beautiful beach we have seen since our arrival here in Guadeloupe! Apparently, the fact of being in full Covid period is the reason why the beach is almost empty, the tourists being obviously not there as I’m writing this article. This beach, with the colors of the afternoon, is superb – a huge and endless beach of golden sand. Our friend Laetitia joined us, our former diving instructor from Mayotte. We will spend the end of the afternoon and until the sunset talking and drinking some beers. We are not bad at all here!
We go back to our hut at the beginning of the evening to pack up our bags, because it is unfortunately already time to leave for us. Louis has to go to school the next morning, and we have to go back down early the next day.
Before concluding on our very nice stay here, I wanted to say a few words about the things to see and do around Deshaies. Obviously, we haven’t done any of that yet, but we will! Among the cool things, I’ve noted:
- A sea excursion passing through the mangrove, on the islet Caret, Blanc, Oiseaux,
- Discovery of the rainforest: crayfish waterfall, Moreaux falls, the Quiock river’s traces, the 3 horns’ or the hummingbirds’ waterfall,
- On the seaside, of course, you can go diving in various spots, do a snorkeling tour in the Cousteau reserve, rent a boat to go on the lagoon, do day trips in the mangrove, canyoning, dolphin and cetacean trips, etc.
- The botanical garden of Deshaies, which is right next to the Ecolodge (but unfortunately still closed at the time of writing this article).
I’m coming to the end of this article about our first discovery of an accommodation in Guadeloupe. For a first time here, I must say that we were more than delighted! The places are sublime, and the integration of the cabins, villas, and the nest of the Colibris in the nature is truly perfect. I regret not having been able to stay in a tree house or in a lodge with a private pool, but maybe it will be the occasion for us to come back when the grandparents will take care of the little ones!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this discovery and that it made you want to stay there for a few nights. In our opinion, you can’t be disappointed! It is calm, relaxing, soothing, and everything is done to make you feel good. To keep reading, I invite you to discover the Paradise waterfall in Vieux-Habitants.
See you soon for a new discovery!
Sylvain and Mélanie