On a recent trip to Guadeloupe, we were fortunate enough to spend two nights at Le Jardin Malanga. Located on the western, untouched island of Basse-Terre, the property is secluded in natural surroundings and can only be described as a tropical, Caribbean paradise.
Once we landed in the bustling city of Pointe-a-Pitre and retrieved our rental car, we headed southwest for about an hour to the hillside town of Trois Rivieres. Driving through the village, we noticed colorful huts and villas interchangeably dotting the landscape, showcasing the diversity of the inhabitants. After maneuvering the winding mountain roads, we suddenly stumbled upon the gate of Le Jardin Malanga. We rang the bell, and the gate opened to a sprawling green landscape, hidden within this local mountain community.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the lovely hotel managers, Claire and Laurent, who were waiting to show us to our verdant accommodations. A short climb up a small hill led us to our private cabin, cloaked by palm trees and vibrant flora. Welcomed by a porch perfect for two, we continued inside to a king sized bed, decorated in tropical flowers, and down a hall that led to a bright white bathroom. The accommodations were not only beautiful, but extremely clean and inviting.
The property consists of three of these rustic cabins and a large main house that holds the front desk and additional rooms. The main house is framed by a pool that seems to spill out over the towering mountains and a quaint restaurant, Panga, run by a 3-person staff. A delightful breakfast is served daily from 7 AM - 9 AM, and features a basket of French breads, croissants, tropical fruits and homemade jams. Woozy, the breakfast chef, stopped by our table each morning to see if he could prepare eggs and ham for us. We always said yes!
Because the restaurant only holds ten tables, Woozy also asked if we would be joining them for dinner, which cost 38 Euro for 3 courses. We reserved our table at breakfast and were back for dinner at 7 PM. We were delighted to see that Claire, Laurent and Woozy were the ones running the show at dinner time.
Laurent was working as the head chef and prepared one of the most memorable meals I had on the island. The first course was a salad, tossed with roasted veggies, ham and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. A delectable roasted duck with a semi-sweet glaze was served as the main course, paired with a creamy polenta and a roasted veggie skewer. The meal ended with a fluffy passion fruit layered cake, a scoop of mango ice cream and a tasty mango puree. A full bar was set up, so we started with ti-punches and moved on to a bottle of French wine for the remainder of the meal. I highly recommend taking advantage of the on-site restaurant during a stay here.
After dinner, we hung out in the restaurant for a bit with Claire and Laurent, trading life stories and talking politics. It was refreshing to be able to spend time with the hotel employees and get to know more about them. Their warmth was infectious, and they made our stay more special than we could have ever imagined. From the restaurant, we sat on our porch until bedtime, listening to the calming sounds of the rainforest around us and naming the geckos that passed us by.
In addition to the hotel’s enjoyable amenities, the location could not be better for exploring the island itself. Le Jardin Malanga is only 20 minutes away from the marina, where you can catch a ferry to the island of Les Saintes daily. There are also some great restaurants in the marina to grab a quick bokit for lunch.
The hotel is just south of the Guadeloupe National Park, where you have access to a ton of hiking trails and other green adventures. It takes 30 minutes to get to the trails for Chutes du Carbet, 3 magnificent waterfalls hidden in the jungle, and about 40 minutes to reach the trailhead for La Soufriere Volcano. We decided to hike to the first waterfall on the Chutes du Carbet trail, and it was truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Between the accommodations, staff, food, amenities and location, we could not have been happier with a place to stay on Basse-Terre. Le Jardin Malanga has been one of my favorite hotels that I’ve stayed at worldwide, and I could only hope everyone gets to experience this magical place once in their lives.
For more information on Le Jardin Malanga, please click here.