Should I find myself in need of a place to stay in Roseau a suite at this hotel would be on my short list.

Overall Impression This waterfront hotel in the heart of Dominica’s main city was well suited for tourism and business activities. Its amenities and facilities, especially the in suite WiFi internet access, were convenient. Facilities included a bay facing swimming pool, water fronting restaurant, meeting rooms, shops, dive center, bar, spa, and fitness room. While I spent most of my days exploring the island and made use of only some of the hotel facilities it was nice to know they were there. I took advantage of the restaurant and fitness room daily and visited the spa once. The facilities were functional although the hotel was showing some signs of age.

My waterfront suite with a waterfront covered balcony and a kitchenette was spacious and comfortable, allowing me ample room to work and relax at the hotel named for a former fort. I loved the surf sounds and waterfront views from my suite. Should I find myself in need of a place to stay in Roseau a suite at this hotel would be on my short list.

Children Yes, the hotel welcomed children of all ages.

Class of Accommodation Three star waterfront city hotel

Connectivity There was complimentary high speed WiFi in my suite. It worked well during my stay. Although the system allowed me to download emails to my iPad I was unable to use the search engines or surf the web for the first two days of my stay. After that I had regular internet access and email capability.

General Manager Frederique Huard

Handicapped Access The hotel was limited in its access for guests in wheelchairs as many parts of the property could only be reached via stairs.

Length of Stay Four nights

Location On the bay in the heart of the island’s capital city.

Owned And Managed Phillip Nassief

Pets Allowed No

Size The multi-story hotel with multiple buildings had 73 rooms and a staff compliment of 100.

Year Opened-Renovated The hotel first opened its doors in 1964 under a different ownership than the present one. In 1979, it was totally destroyed by Hurricane David. The hotel was rebuilt and reopened in 1989 under the present ownership with 32 rooms. In 2000, 21 rooms, duty free shops, an additional bar and a dining room were added. In 2004, another 20 rooms were added along with a new swimming pool and bar.

Lobby And Common Areas The hotel was constructed around an 18 century fort erected to protect Dominica from attack from French invaders. In spite of the damage from the 1979 hurricane much of the original building survived and formed the reception area, Marquis and Balas Bar and functions office.

The core of the hotel was historic with new buildings added over time. The area around the reception and bar had stone floors and walls. The cozy reception area, manned by two or three young ladies, was home to a desk in the back and open on two sides. There was a sofa against the wall and two armless chairs with a table in between in the opposite corner facing the hotel’s library bookshelf with loaner books and board games. The desk area was framed by two bright red walls. Above there was a high wood ceiling. Past the entrance hallway, framed on the outside by a gold colored cannon on either side, there was a special events and dining room area on the right. The hotel bar was an open sitting area under a covered roof in the center next to reception and a courtyard. At the end of the hall there were public restrooms and past them a set of stone stairs led to the rest of the hotel, the area fronting the water. At the top of the stairs there were several options. To the left and right there were staff offices and hotel rooms as well as an activities desk. Straight forward and to the left there were more hotel rooms and a few steps down there was a terrace facing the water. In the terrace there were three round Jacuzzi tubs. Two of the tubs were filled with murky looking water and a third one was empty. The building walls looked like they needed a coat of paint indoors and outdoors. The interior hallway next to my suite had dead plants peaking out of decorator openings and a worn look. The walls in the buildings visible from the pool likewise looked in need of paint.

To the right an open area led to stairs and an elevator to go down (although the main entrance was at street level this was the fifth and highest floor of the hotel) to further water fronting guest rooms, the pool area (second floor), the gym (up a short staircase from the second floor), spa (second floor), dive center (ground floor), Waterfront Restaurant (up a short staircase from the second floor, courtyard with waterfall and small pond, and duty free gift shops (ground floor).

Bathroom From the bedroom to the bathroom there was no door. I simply walked back and was in the bathroom. The center of the bathroom was taken up by a double sided wood vanity with small mirrors on two sides and full length mirrors on the other two sides. On the right side of the bathroom, there was a large built-in wood closet with an electronic safe, hanging and shelf space. On the left side of the vanity there were twin sinks set atop a russet marble base. A large wood framed mirror was set on the wall above them. The rear of the bathroom was taken up by a Jacuzzi bathtub (there were rust stains on the inside of the tub). To the right of the bathtub there was a shower with a glass door (there was no soap dish or any surface other than the floor on which to place soap or toiletries). To the left of the bathtub there was a toilet within a water closet. There was no light above the Jacuzzi or in the interior of the shower.

Room I stayed in Suite 207, the Point Michel Suite (named for a village by the same name in south Dominica), a 600-square foot waterfront suite on the second floor of a five story building steps away from the pool. The best feature of the suite, in addition to its size and amenities, was the view of the water from almost every angle. The view from my room and balcony was to a rocky shore, part of the town, a jetty and the Caribbean Sea. At the end of the day, the sunset to the right as I stood on my balcony, was pretty and welcome.

To enter my two bathroom oceanfront suite I used an electronic key card. Immediately to the left of the entrance there was a full bathroom with a shower. A short hallway led to a dining and kitchenette area. In the center of the room atop a beige and rust color flower patterned square rug (there was a larger rug in the same pattern in the living area) there was a round wood table with two matching cushioned wood chairs. A 2009 wood framed oil painting of an Indian River landscape hung on one wall. On the opposite wall there was a 2009 unframed oil painting of a rural landscape by the same artist. Behind the table on the left side of the room there was a kitchen area with a sink, Frigidaire microwave oven, and Tropical mini refrigerator. White cabinets were stocked with dinnerware, glassware, and cutlery. On the black and beige marble countertop there was a Clatronic blender, Oster hot water pitcher and a Saachi coffeemaker.

Next was a living area with a sofa and two armchairs set around a rattan and glass square coffee table. The cloth furniture was upholstered in shades of apricot, fuchsia and gold. Floor to ceiling muted yellow gold curtains covered sliding glass doors that led to side and rear outer areas (in the adjacent bedroom there were curtains matching those in the living area). A pale blond desk and armless chair occupied the space next to the right side of the living room and provided a place for a large LG flatscreen television. Twin lamps sat across the room atop end tables.

The flooring was of medium beige ceramic tiles. The temperature was controlled by a central air conditioner with an individual thermostat and fans in each room. From the living area a sliding glass door and mosquito screen led to a waterfront covered balcony, my favorite area of the suite.

Double white doors led to the bedroom which had a doorless bathroom on the right and water facing windows on the left. There was a queen bed in the middle set against a built-in large headboard that reached the ceiling. On either side of the bed there was a glass topped square night table with a lamp (the night table on the right also had a phone). Across from the bed there was a pale blonde dresser with a lamp, alarm clock and Hitachi flatscreen television on top. There were also two apricot and gold armchairs like the ones in the adjacent living area and one foot stool. A planter occupied the left corner nearest the bathroom. There was a strong smell of cigarette and air freshener in the room although the hotel had a no smoking policy in guest rooms.

Food And Restaurants On arrival there was a welcome plate with three slices of cake, cheese, spice and vanilla with chocolate layers. I liked the cheese and vanilla cakes best. Meals were served at the Waterfront restaurant overlooking the Caribbean Sea (although I ate nearly all my meals on the veranda there was an indoor air conditioned dining area). Dishes were made fresh daily using local ingredients “with an international flare.”

Breakfast, served between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on a water fronting covered veranda at the Waterfront Restaurant, was buffet style and completely self service (the staff removed dirty dishes). There was sliced fruit (melon, watermelon, orange, banana and papaya), yogurt, cold cereal, hot oatmeal, bottled juices, pastries and breads (the croissant style bread was my favorite) and jams, scrambled eggs, boiled fish, sausage and bacon in chafing dishes. In addition to the restaurant meal options at the hotel it was possible to order room service and the Balas Bar had snacks in its menu.

Lunch was buffet style. The day I had lunch it was a Caribbean themed lunch with jerk chicken, citron fish, provisions (root vegetables and dumplings), rice, three types of salad and two dessert platters (pineapple and a variety of cakes including carrot cake and chocolate cake). Dinner, served a la carte at the Waterfront Restaurant, was satisfying. I tried the calalou soup which was creamy and flavorful, and the smoked marlin appetizer with a small salad and pita pockets, a favorite.

Amenities There were toiletries, two white cotton bathrobes, electronic safe, cable television, telephone, iron, ironing board, and complimentary WiFi. There were two fresh flower arrangements in the living area and one smaller one in the bathroom, an umbrella, three telephones (in the living area, bedroom night table and bathroom). Pool towels were available at reception I discovered by asking.

Facilities Massage and Wellness Centre, pool, gym, hot and cold water Jacuzzi tubs, duty free shops, two restaurants, three bars, and small lending library.

Pool The 920 square foot pool faced the bay. At its deepest end it was 4 feet deep.

Fitness center and spa There was a bay facing 449 square foot air conditioned fitness center with a pleasant water view housing six types of Life Fitness bicycle, treadmill, elliptical and weight machines and free weights; and a 249 square foot spa.

Denice, who had four years of experience and was trained by a masseuse from Guyana, gave me a one hour Swedish Massage which included arms, legs, feet, stomach, head and stretching. She had confident hands and a pleasant demeanor.

Conference Facilities There were two 368 square foot meeting rooms and a 1,521 square foot conference room. Audiovisual equipment was available.

Other I could hear loud sounds from the common areas near my room into the evening and early morning. I could also hear the sounds of the surf below my window. The ground level waterfront area below the restaurant was undergoing renovations and the sounds of the work carried upstairs to the veranda making for a very noisy lunch. Smoking was allowed in the guest terraces and balconies, in Bala’s Bar and the Boardwalk. I saw guests smoking in the pool area as well.

According to a spokesperson, the Hotel provides food to a soup kitchen every day and has sponsored several activities in the community.

Cleanliness Very good

Date of Review July 2011


Photos and Article by Elena del Valle

Service The room was serviced once daily. I requested a spa appointment in the early morning and the front desk attendant said she would be in touch to confirm the time and I never heard from her. She scheduled the masseuse but didn’t tell me. The front desk sent me to the Business Center when I asked about using a computer with a printer to check-in for my flight. After looking around with little success I encountered the duty manager who explained the Business Center had been closed (there was ample a signage for the Business Center around the hotel) nd the front desk person was temporary and didn’t know.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

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