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Featured place to stay: Papillote Wilderness Retreat, Dominica

Posted by Richard Hammond at 05:51 on Saturday 28 October 2006

There are plenty of green options springing up on the Caribbean's "nature island", but Papillote was the first eco inn. It is surrounded by mountainous rainforest, the food is local and fresh, and there is the genuinely friendly, local touch that defines Dominica.

But don't expect white sandy beaches. Papillote is inland, high up in the Roseau Valley in the south of Dominica, and sells itself on its four-acre, "world-class" tropical garden nurtured by the owner, Anne Jno Baptiste, over the past 25 years. Her collection of tree ferns, tropical fruits and orchids is impressive, yet I'd recommend Papillote even if you're not a blooming Bellamy. I stayed there earlier this year after hiking up to Boiling Lake, the island's main attraction. There can be few better ways to relax after a gruelling day's walk than soaking in one of Papillote's outdoor hot natural spring mineral pools surrounded by earthy moss and lichen-covered statues. And, just 15 minutes' walk away, is the towering Trafalgar Falls with its own natural rocky bathing pool.

The rooms range from simple doubles to much larger suites with private verandas overlooking the valley. There are also great views of the rainforest from the dining-room terrace where the menu includes fruits from the organic garden, Creole chicken and their own rum punch. ·

 +1 767 448 2287, papillote.dm, rooms from US$110.

This article, by Richard Hammond, was first published in the Guardian.

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