BY EDWARD RAWSON
The Karibe Hotel sits back off the main roads on a hillside. The hotel its self is airy. No closed in spaces, just large open walls visually closed by beautiful metal sculptures of tropical birds and flowers. Largely all the staff is multi-lingual to be able to accommodate guests who don’t speak French or Creole, but do speak English, Spanish and or Portuguese. It would appear that staff has been provided formal hospitality training by the way they deliver ultra polite yes sirs and no sirs in many languages with a big smiles. Its sprawling campus offers a large pool with a bar that sits inside so you can sit in the water and have a cold Prestige. Below the pool sits two rather well kept tennis courts and an outdoor event space. The bar in the hotel lobby offers several kinds of coffee and fresh squeezed tropical juices. At night rum punches and cold Prestiges are available with a host of other full service bar drinks. Over the years I have sat at this bar and struck up conversations with all types of people in visiting on business there for major development projects, Haitian Ministers, aid-workers, and those on vacation visiting family. I’ve even seen Wyclef there sitting with a friend.
The Karibe also provides a large conference space, which is frequently booked for all kinds of conferences, fashion shows, graduations and many other large events. Near their conference space is a hotel restaurant, which offers international and local cuisine. The restaurant itself is an outdoor space that resembles porch surrounded by tropical plants and flowers. It sits above the pool so you can see views of the well-manicured campus while you dine. Above the newer building on campus is a rooftop bar that provides breath-taking views down to the city and up to the hills above Petion-ville. Lots of casual seating spaces around the bar area make for intimate sets to enjoy a few drinks with friends. When crowded on weekend nights you will find people from all around the world hanging out in a very international seen. The rooms themselves are very well put together. They each have nice marble bathrooms and soft beds and porches where you can enjoy a quite moment sitting among the palm trees.
The Karibe like many of the nice hotels in Petion-Ville is pretty expensive to enjoy. Rooms run around $170-200 a night. Fresh squeezed juices are six dollars a piece and even a cold Prestige will run you about three dollars. Perspective is everything, because a hotel of a lesser quality in Miami will run you about the same, and you shouldn’t be surprised to spend $14 a drink. Granted Haiti is not Miami, but whatever brings you to Haiti you will find that off the busseling streets of Port au Prince where ebb and flow of organized chaos dances day in and day out, you can find a little quite oasis at the Karibe. You can rest your tired eyes on a comfortable bed in a quiet room. You can enjoy a little friendly service while you take a quick dip in the pool and soak up some sun before launch into whatever really brought you to Haiti.