Room Key: Club Med Buccaneers Creek
Address: Les Boucaniers, Pointe Marin, 97227 Sainte Anne, Martinique, French West Indies
Telephone: (011) 596-59 676-7272
Reservations: (800) CLUB MED
General Manager: Hendel Duplessy
Rooms: 293 air-conditioned rooms (176 at present, 117 more -- including 44 suites -- by late April)
Rates: Land-only, all-inclusive seven nights from $1,120 per person, double, from April 22 to June 16, Sept. 2 to Nov. 3. From $1,260, June 17 to Sept. 1. Annual Club Med membership fees of $60 per adult and $30 per child are additional; promotions and packages offered at certain times of year.
Martinique -- Forget the Buccaneers Creek of old: the bar beads --
later followed by the paper bar tickets -- the sparsely furnished,
dormitory-like rooms sans air conditioning and the buffet lines
that had a boarding-school feel.
The Club Med
Buccaneers Creek of 2006 is now in the big leagues in terms of
amenities and facilities; decor and diversions; and cuisine and
actually is the oldest of the Club Med villages in the Caribbean.
The original Buccaneers Creek opened in 1969 and operated for 35
years without a pool or in-room telephones before closing in 2004
for an 18-month, $60 million makeover from top to
And what a
makeover it was.
Creek that reopened in December, with a first phase of 176 rooms,
heralded not only the new face-lift for the resort but also the
relaunch of the island of Martinique itself as a prime-time
in its heyday in the 1980s was 90% young American single guests who
partied hard, paired up and broke up, all in the space of a week --
and kept coming back for more, recalled a veteran Club Med guest,
who admitted he had been part of that scene and now had returned
out of curiosity and nostalgia.
We sure had fun,
but this place really needed a face-lift when we were done, he
Today, the age of
the average guest at Buccaneers Creek is between 45 and 55 years
old, but I saw many who were older as well as several families with young kids -- even though
this Club Med village does not promote a special program for
raised in Canada, Hendel Duplessy, the charismatic chef de village,
or general manager, whos been on the Club Med circuit for a number
of years on several continents, said that Americans make up about
one-third of the guests now. The rest are French, but we hope to
get a 50-50 split pretty soon.
wont be difficult once the word is out in the U.S. about the
resorts three-mile-long beach, rimmed with soft sand barged in from
Barbuda; the dining areas that overlook the water; and the curvy
pier lined with water-skiers awaiting their turns to ski nautique
around the bay.
Not to mention
Bar le Madou, where Ti-Punch -- the signature drink of Martinique,
made with two fingers of white rum laced with zest of lime and a
dollop of sugarcane syrup -- is poured countless times each day, or
the Creole-decorated spa, where a Moroccan-born masseuse kneaded
out my neck knots.
departure from Caribbean norms of old, the Club Med Buccaneers
Creek is definitely not the type of resort where guests are fenced
in or discouraged from stepping beyond the huge stand of 3,500
coconut palm trees at the entrance.
In fact, the
Discovery Desk G.O.s (gracious organizers, in Club Med parlance)
circulate among the G.M.s (for gracious members -- otherwise called
guests), suggesting guided tours to Mont Pelee volcano, the Foret
de Montravail tropical rain forest, the village markets, Les
Ombrages botanical gardens and the shops and galleries in the
capital of Fort-de-France.
We encourage them
to get out and meet the Martiniquaises and, in fact, 60% of our
guests do do something off site, Duplessy said. They even rent
cars. Driving is on the right, and the roads arent bad, but the
dos danes [donkey backs, or speed bumps] are
I didnt rent a
car but instead walked some 15 minutes along the beach, up a stone
walkway and past the white-washed tombstones of a flower-filled
cemetery, into the village of Sainte Anne.
inexpensive cafes offered seafood and Creole snacks. The euro was
the currency here, as everywhere on Martinique, and the sole ATM
got a workout from Club Med guests who wandered into the souvenir
On the villages
outskirts I found an open-air flea market where bikinis sold for
$12 and homemade mustard for $3 a jar.
Even if guests
chose not to leave Club Med Buccaneers Creek, a sense of
Martiniques place in history permeated the resort. From the local
artwork that decorated the guest rooms to the Creole music
comprising nightly entertainment, not to mention the replica of the
only-in-Martinique yole boat in the open-air lobby, the island
culture informs and entertains.
(Real yoles, by
the way, crisscross Marin Bay, just around the point from the
cluster at Buccaneers Creek carried a traditional French-Creole
moniker. Sovedezo, the building where I stayed, translated
to Safe from water.
proverbs and expressions are carved into the headboards in resort
bedrooms, and translations are included in the guest-room
saying read Adan jaden bokay, ni ampil bon bagay, which
meant A mans home is his castle.
That goes for
women, as well.
beachfront tower at the southern, quieter end of the resort village
-- an authentic structure still standing from the original fishing
village, called Quartier du Port, that was once there -- is
particularly popular with honeymooning guests.
The tower was the
only building not demolished in the ground-up
The second phase
of Buccaneers Creek, scheduled for completion in
late April, will offer 117 additional guest units, including 44
suites. More growth may yet be in the works, as theres plenty of
open land all around the Club Med property.
Club Med always
has the best location, no matter where in the world the villages
are, because we always get in first, Duplessy said. Here in
Martinique, we are on the perfect beach, and we have the perfect
weather, he added.
I second that.
La vie en rose is alive and well at Club Med Buccaneers
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
details on this article, see Martinique aims to advance tourism.