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As a French overseas department in the Leeward Islands, Guadeloupe offers visitors an enticing blend of European and Creole culture. Expect spicy Caribbean cuisine and French colonial architecture, prices in Euros, and tropical beaches fringed with rainforest on one side and crystal clear waters on the other. The archipelago comprises a main island divided into the butterfly-wing halves of Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre, as well as a scattering of smaller islands and islets to the south — each with its own charms. Here, we look at a handful of the best places to stay while discovering Guadeloupe’s secrets, from luxury spa hotels to backpacker surf camps.
Best Overall: Hotel Amaudo
Three-star Hotel Amaudo is ranked on TripAdvisor as the best hotel in Guadeloupe with near-perfect reviews praising it for its setting, hospitality, and value. Perched mountainside near Saint-Francois, it overlooks beautiful Anse à la Barque bay and is the ideal choice for those that want to be near the sights of Grande-Terre without being in the center of town. The colonial-style house charms with white shutters and balconies, palm-filled gardens, and airy interiors.
Spend your days sunbathing by the shimmering infinity pool or admiring ocean panoramas from the hammocks in the gazebo. The hotel is also just a short stroll from the white sands of Anse des Rochers beach. There are 14 air-conditioned, en-suite rooms, all with Wi-Fi, TV, a kettle, and a fridge. In the morning, a generous breakfast is served alongside Pointe Noire teas in the sea-view dining room. There is no restaurant for lunch or dinner, but the eateries of Saint-Francois are a 10-minute drive away.
Best Budget: LoBleu Hotel
Although true budget hotels are hard to come by in Guadeloupe, LoBleu Hotel offers simple, comfortable standard rooms for as little as €99 in low season. It is located just outside Terre-de-Haut in Les Saintes, an archipelago known for its stunning beaches and gourmet bistros. It is one of surprisingly few hotels located directly on the sand, with loungers and tables at the water’s edge and a distinctly beachy, laid-back vibe. Life at LoBleu revolves around the terrace deck; watch boats bobbing in the bay while enjoying the affordable continental breakfast, or come for Planter’s Punch and sunset vistas in the late afternoon.
The hotel has 11 simple rooms and family-friendly junior suites. If you can afford it, it’s well worth paying a little extra for a sea view and a balcony. Ask the welcoming owners for recommendations regarding the best local restaurants and bars, many of which are within easy walking distance. They can also arrange activities including glass-bottom kayaking, diving, and sailing.
Best Boutique: Le Jardin Malanga
High above the town of Trois Rivieres on the south coast of Basse-Terre sits the garden sanctuary of Le Jardin Malanga. This atmospheric boutique was once a banana plantation and today, the original redwood plantation house is complemented by acres of tropical gardens and stunning ocean views. Le Maison Coloniale offers three air-conditioned bedrooms — a two-bedroom ground floor suite and two triple rooms on the first floor. Families and groups of friends can find added privacy in a series of two-bedroom cottages elsewhere on the property.
A highlight of this hotel is Le Panga, a communal dining table that serves fine Creole and French cuisine prepared with local fruits, seafood, and spices. Breakfast is served daily and dinner is available every day except Wednesday (FYI: reservations are required). When you’re not lounging by the infinity pool or admiring incredible views of the Les Saintes islands, get out and explore attractions such as Guadeloupe National Park or mysterious archeological site Les Roches Gravées. The hotel can arrange rental cars and offers free Wi-Fi.
Best for Families: La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa
La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa sits on the outskirts of bustling Le Gosier, within easy reach of family-friendly attractions like the Aquarium of Guadeloupe and Fort Fleur d’Epee. It’s steps from a sandy beach and has three swimming pools (one exclusively for children). Teens and adults will appreciate Le Kaz Notik watersports club, which offers everything from scuba diving to jet skiing. During the French school holidays, you can leave little ones aged four to 12 at the complimentary Kids Club.
All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Many floor plans accommodate kids and connecting rooms are available, but for home-away-from-home privacy, opt for a two-bedroom Duplex Apartment. Of the three restaurants, beachfront pizzeria Le Case is a surefire hit with younger family members. Kids aged two and under stay and eat for free, while kids aged three to 11 stay for free in their parents’ room and eat half price. Use the babysitting service when visiting the spa or bars.
Best for Romance: Au Jardin des Colibris
Nature-loving couples in search of a secluded getaway should head to the northwest coast of Basse-Terre. Au Jardin des Colibris is located next to Deshaies’ magnificent botanical garden, but its own gardens are also filled with exotic flowers and the jewel-toned hummingbirds for which it was named. Accommodation options range from private villas and bungalows to authentic Creole huts built in the style of the early settlers; the most romantic option, however, is the Treehouse Cabin.
This wooden bower looks out over the tree canopy and features a king bed, an outdoor shower, and a private terrace with a hammock and sun loungers. You can cook for yourself in the full kitchen, or ask for Caribbean meals to be delivered to your room. Reconnect over a breakfast of local coffee and fresh fruits on your terrace table before enjoying a massage in the poolside gazebo. Masks, snorkels, and coolers are available to borrow from reception and come in handy on romantic excursions to nearby Grande Anse beach.
Best for Luxury: La Toubana Hotel & Spa
For the most upscale experience Guadeloupe has to offer, look to La Toubana Hotel & Spa on the outskirts of Sainte-Anne. The hotel’s pink-washed bungalows cascade down the mountainside from the main resort at the top to a picture-perfect private beach complete with a wooden deck and sun loungers. Each one offers mesmerizing sea views from a private, furnished terrace, while hardwood floors and pale fabrics create an air of understated elegance inside. For ultimate luxury, book a Master Suite with a living room, full kitchen, and covered pool terrace.
All guests have access to the mountain-top infinity pool where Bar de la Mer serves tropical cocktails to complement the ocean view. There are two restaurants — beachfront Toubana La Plage for light lunches by the sea, and Le Grand Bleu with its lobster pond and traditional Creole menu. Ask the concierge to arrange a catamaran tour or deep sea fishing trip, or treat yourself to a decadent massage in one of the Ocean Spa’s four treatment rooms.
Best for Seclusion: Tendacayou Ecolodge & Spa
Tendacayou Ecolodge & Spa is only a five-minute drive from Deshaies, but its location deep within a tract of unspoiled mountain rainforest means that it feels a million miles from anywhere. An oasis of palm and mango trees, this is the ideal option for those wishing to escape the real world for a little while. Whether you choose a poolside bungalow, a traditional Creole house, or a treetop cabin, rooms are TV, telephone, and internet-free. All accommodations are unique, but the treetop cabins are particularly special, with rooms connected by canopy walkways and individual highlights ranging from open-air Jacuzzis to meditation perches.
The spa is a garden complex complete with natural river pools and waterfalls. You can detox in the Turkish hammam, achieve peace in the Zen garden, or submit to an essential oil massage. In the adjoining relaxation lounge, swing beds overlook Grande Anse beach below. Owner Sylvie is a Cordon Bleu chef and serves delicious meals created using the freshest market produce at on-site restaurant Le Poisson Rouge.
Best Golf Resort: Bwa Chik Hotel & Golf
Want to spend your vacation working on your handicap? Saint-Francois golf resort Bwa Chik Hotel & Golf is the best fit for you. The hotel overlooks the town’s par 71, 18-hole golf course, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior and renovated in 2010. Course facilities include a Caddy Store, a Pro Shop, and a Club House for brasserie lunches and gourmet dinners. Professional coaching can also be arranged if you're interested. In between tee times, cool off in the hotel’s sparkling swimming pool or head to the nearby beaches.
All rooms here offer golf course or swimming pool views from a private, furnished terrace. Choose a Classic Room for two or a Duplex Room with a kitchenette and mezzanine for family vacations or golfing weekends with your friends. In the morning, an American breakfast is served al fresco by the pool. Although there’s no restaurant on-site, you’re just a short stroll from several popular eateries in the lively Marina Saint-Francois. The Birdy Bar hosts cocktail and jazz evenings every Thursday.
Best Hostel: SunSet Surf Camp
Backpackers on a budget will find their home away from home at SunSet Surf Camp. Offering affordable accommodation in a friendly, rustic setting, the camp is located a 15-minute walk from Raisins Clairs beach on the edge of Saint-Francois. It’s also a mere 500 meters from the nearest surf spot and offers board rental and professional surfing or kitesurfing lessons. If you don’t surf, you’re still more than welcome and can book simple single, double, or triple rooms with private bathrooms.
The camp is set in a tranquil garden complete with a swimming pool and hammocks strung beneath swaying palms. You can cook for yourself in the open kitchen while fresh fish dinners are offered twice a week at the communal outdoor tables. After an afternoon surf session, regroup at the bar to swap stories with your fellow travelers. In the rest lounge you’ll find a lending library, board games, a computer, Wi-Fi, and a guitar for the musically inclined. Don't forget to take advantage of complimentary bike use to explore the local area.