The Karibuni saga
After a one year stay in Kenya, a very unforgettable and tremendous learning experience, Erick, Marion and their newly born baby, Manon, happened to land in the French West Indies, on the island of St Martin in 1988. Their heart deeply impressed by the Kenyan sense of hospitality. The word « karibuni » meaning « welcome » being written on each front door of the « Swahili » homes.
As soon as they arrived on the island, Erick and Marion Clement set up the first restaurant on the Pinel islet. They call it « le Karibuni ». At the very beginning they served only sandwiches and sodas, beach chairs and snorkeling equipment.
A few years later, the coffee stall becomes a famous restaurant well known by the residents and tourists from all over the world. Worldwide known stars politicians, singers, actors have unaffectedly shared the benches and straw huts of this secluded and convivial place.
Very often customers were pointing out the wish of staying overnight in the very close neighborhood. This idea started to develop and the project to materialize.
Two years ago Erick and Marion bought, next to their property, a 3 units condominium, they were in a bad shape. Everything but the roofs needed to be renovated. All interiors and outside decks had to be replaced. They selected then a team to do the job. A friend from France, expert in marine carpentry, would do the wood part, plumbers, electricians, house painters, another expert in colored and waxed concrete would do the rest of it.
Most important, Henri, a very calm and efficient friend foreman would follow up.
The team was there. Tons of red woods ordered in Guyana were piled up on the parking. Ideas flew out.
The lines of action were to permanently fit into the surrounding countryside, to utilize the Caribbean resources, woods, natural pigments, corrugated irons, local concrete. Heavy works was done in a joyful mood. Then came the question of the interior design. Nothing really matches with the researched spirit.
The group of leaders decided collectively to accomplish everything on the spot, made-to-measure furniture, some colored with waxed concrete, some untreated, wood is so beautiful.
Most of items are found on the island, a local upholsterer will take care of the armchairs and curtains. The pools coating is chosen, it will be black and the watercolor will appear to be dark turquoise like a deep river.
A very resourceful friend will create a unique metallic grille to wind round a giant yucca tree at the entrance of the lodge. Bougainvilleas, coconut trees, tropical flowers, fragrant lys are planted. Everything grows up, it is a good sign. The property is enclosed with a nice wooden fence. Teak doors finish to secure this hideaway. The name of this location will be obviously « le Karibuni Lodge ». This « boutique hotel » opened end of December 2010.