|Stonedge Hotel - Salisbury|
|I am a 42 year old, married father of two. I have traveled with my wife and on occasion with my children to Hawaii-Hilton Hawaiian Village & Maui Marriott. Jamaica-Sea Gardens, Mo Bay. Mexico-Las Velas, Cancun. Aruba-Holiday Inn Sunspree. Dominican Republic- Rui Mambo, Puerto Plata. Florida-various places. Caribbean Cruise on the Bolero. Plus other non sun vacations.
|Travel and Flight|
|I found arranging a flight, with its necessary connectors, for my specific travel dates to be trying. In the end I hopped on a train from Toronto (Oshawa) to Montreal (Dorval). I stayed overnight at a Best Western. I then flew Air Canada to Barbados, Caribbean Star from Barbados to Dominica. On return, the Caribbean Star flight was diverted to Antigua to accommodate more passengers. We deplaned then reboarded another plane for Barbados. I then flew Air Canada from Barbados to Toronto. The Airmiles Reward Program covered most of my train ride, my overnight hotel stay (taxes included) and Air Canada flights (taxes not included).
Upon reaching Melville Hall Airport in Dominica I discovered that because of an error at the head office in Roseau my rental vehicle was not there. This turned out to be tolerable as it gave me a chance to observe, in a taxi, how to drive and negotiate on the left-hand side of the road. I eventually picked up my vehicle later that day in Roseau.
|My trip to Dominica was solo and my purpose was eco-travel. I found Stonedge Hotel - http://stonedge.free.fr/index.htm - to be a pleasant and inexpensive base from which to start and end my day's adventure. Stonedge is found approximately mid-island on the west coast near the village of Salisbury. A 1/4 mile bumpy dirt road off the main coastal route leads you to the hotel. You can chose to stay in one of 5 linked cabins or in a room in the main building. The cabins, hotel and furniture are made from rough cut indigenous woods. The cabins, situated 20 feet from a sea cliff, are painted in vibrant blue, yellow and lime colours.The sea cliff drops about 200 feet to a stone beach. The cabin interiors are basic, bunkie like, with sink, shower and toilet. The double back doors swing out to a view of the Caribbean sea. The concrete back steps are a good place to enjoy the view, watch the sun go down or the stars at night.
I chose to stay in the main building. The owner's quarters and three guest rooms are on the second floor loft. My room was comfortable with a bed, nightstands, closet, chair and bathroom (toilet, sink, shower). Everything is hand made with a simple and somewhat crude design. The windows have shutters but no glass. The shutters were open when I got there and I left them that way for the duration of my stay. Bedding, two towels and face cloths where provided as well as a fancy purple ineffective bug net. The mattress & pillows were firm. The rooms and cabins do not have TV, radio or phone. The lobby hosts a TV with good reception and dvd movies. The loft's hall has a bookcase with a number of books. Didier, the owner, allows guests to email home on the hotel's computer. The lobby and its adjoining porch have the feel of an old time mountain lodge. I loved it.
|The grounds had a emptied pool, possibly no longer in use. I did not ask. It also had a mini-putt course which, with a quick sweep, would probably be fun. Flowering shrubs and bushes attracted many different types of hummingbirds and finch. Bats chased bugs around at night. It was very quiet and peaceful while I was there.
|I had most of my breakfasts at Stonedge. All were good. Most mornings I had eggs, salad & roasted potatoes, coffee, fresh juice and bread. I also tried a larger breakfast with all of the above plus rice and beans with a seasoned chicken wing. One morning I had Belgium pancakes.
I had 4 dinners at the hotel. My favorite was a delicious pizza. Didier shared a lovely bottle of red wine with me that went well with the meal. Bon appetite.
|I only snorkeled while in Dominica. It was enjoyable but not the most spectacular I have ever seen. However an experienced dive couple staying at the hotel said the diving was among the best they had ever done. Stonedge is close to at least one dive center. I am confident Stonedge could provide you with more details.
| Everyday I left the hotel with destinations in mind. Didier and Danah were always helpful with suggestions and directions.
Here are some of the hikes I took, but not all:
- Milton Falls: a 40 to 50 minute hike through farming land to a river. Go up stream to a beautiful, lesser visited falls.
- Trafalgar Falls (twin falls Mamma & Papa): Once past the lookout, I followed tour groups to Mamma and swam at her base. I then climbed up to Papa and swam at his base. The climb to Papa was more difficult then I anticipated. A guide would defiantly have made the climb easier. Next I found the hot water pools below Mamma and soaked there for a while.
-Boiling Lake: I hired a guide in the village of Laudat. The hike took 4.5 hours and was wondrous. My guide, Kelvin Noel (lives in Laudet), was both personable and informative. Kelvin made the hike a truly memorable outing. One should be physically fit for this hike.
-Freshwater Lake: I took the 50 minute hike around the lake on a well groomed trail. At times, due to the high elevation, you will be walking through clouds. Ahhh, dreamy. I later took a dip in the lake. The water felt cool, heavy and energizing.
-Victoria Falls: I attempted the hike on my own but gladly joined a couple from France and their guide. The hike itself is not all that long. However, deciding paths and climbing spots on huge slippery boulders can be daunting on your own. Take a guide for greater enjoyment. After the hike we all had a meal cooked by a Rastafarian named Moses. An enjoyable trip and company.
|- Mosquitoes! I would recommend long pants & bug repellent at night.
- Dominica, for the most part, and Stonedge Hotel are cash only.
- All toilets at the hotel, for practical reasons, have their lids removed. You must lift and push down a lever to ensure a good water seal.
- Water at the hotel was not drinkable, but bottled water was provided upon request.
- Shopping in Dominica is limited.
- A vehicle is necessary to really enjoy your stay.
|- Didier and Danah. The 44 year old owner and his younger Dominican girlfriend are welcoming hosts. They were always helpful and friendly. They are the true stars at Stonedge.
- $15 US per person per night. The least expensive hotel around but still having great charm.
- Check out the local culture in the nearby village of Salisbury. Arrange for someone to show you around on a Friday night. Have a BBQ, chat with the locals, try a few bush rums, enjoy the music and wait for the Sensay dancers.
|I read and concur that the time to go to Dominica is now. Every year the Island's infrastructure grows infringing on nature. Dominica has a abundance of natural beauty and I feel fortunate to have seen a small portion of it. Stonedge Hotel is a good choice for divers or eco-travelers who are looking for a inexpensive base with an exceptional owner.
Photo Link : http://ca.pg.photos.yahoo.com
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Happy Holidays