Three extraordinary Caribbean hotels for under $150

Yes, the Caribbean is awfully hot right now. And yes, faithful watchers of weather, hurricane season is indeed upon us. But for the next several months, visitors to the Caribbean will benefit from low-season rates that make the region a great value for cost-conscious travelers. With very few exceptions, low season in the Caribbean lasts until mid-November at the earliest and mid-December at the latest.

Here are three very special Caribbean hotels that are set apart from the pack. All offer double rooms in low-season for $150 per night or less. Uncommon care is taken by the proprietors of these three hotels to create remarkable, unique, and locally-grounded environments. All are hugely successful at their mission.

1. Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Tucked into the hills above Port Antonio, Hotel Mocking Bird Hill feels like a hidden treasure. It’s surrounded by fabulous greenery and operates along comprehensively eco-friendly principles, with local staff, reliance on solar energy and rainwater harvesting, anaerobic wastewater treatment, and the absence of in-room air-conditioning. (On the last count, don’t worry. At this altitude air-conditioning is not essential.) There’s a swimming pool here for guests who don’t want to schlep down to the coast’s beaches. The hotel’s restaurant, Mille Fleurs, which sources much of its bounty locally, is unequivocally fantastic. Doubles begin at $138 per night in the off-season. Mocking Bird Hill may close for a week or two in September.

2. Papillote Wilderness Retreat, Roseau, Dominica.

On Dominica, quite possibly the greenest and least exploited island in the Caribbean, another exquisite eco-resort can be found: Papillote Wilderness Retreat, a true labor of love. The resort stretches over a hillside that doubles as a well-maintained botanical garden. The grounds boast mineral springs (one hot and one cold) for soaking. Rooms are simple but cheerful, and make the most of Papillote’s natural setting. The hotel’s restaurant is top-notch and stocked more often than not with local produce. Hotel staff teem with knowledge about the island’s history and ecology. They can assist in organizing hikes and other tours of the island led by able local guides. Doubles begin at $115 per night. Note that Papillote will be closed in September and the first three weeks of October.

3. Auberge Les Petits Saints, Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe.

This beautifully furnished hotel, with an aesthetic somewhere between ornate country estate and neon-pastel riot, offers lovely views over the island of Terre-de-Haut (see above) in Guadeloupe’s Les Saintes archipelago. There really is a feel of antique abandon here, which is delightful through and through. There is a pool on the property, as well. This is France, albeit overseas France, and the in-house restaurant is of course very good, with a mouthwatering Basque tasting plate and fanciful cocktails as standouts. The cozy restaurant terrace twinkles with lights and conversations at night and is without question a really special place to spend an evening. Doubles begin at €110 (currently $141) per night during low season.

(Image: Alex Robertson Textor)

Where on Earth? Week 46 – Roseau, Dominica

Not Central America, but close. This picture was actually taken just outside of the center of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, when I was visiting the Caribbean island during Christmas 2006; a holiday season full of steel drums, reggae music and fried plantain. Much less developed for tourists, Dominica is one of the Caribbean islands that doesn’t boast flocks of foreigners lounging on sandy beaches, cocktails in hand. Instead it’s referred to as the Nature Island and high on the list of hikers, scuba divers and other outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers.