Celebrity Watch in Martinique
In the 1960s and '70s Martinique was to the chic set what St. Barth is today. Pan Am (remember them?) had direct flights out of New York, and the Park Avenue crowd was vying for the front seats. Air France was flying in with its first-class full up, taken by Chanel-clad madams and their sophisticated monsieurs with white-silk pocket hankies. The safe harbor at the (Hotel) Bakoua had moored yachts, fender to fender. The Bakoua and the former Meridien were abuzz with beautiful people—women in long dresses, men in tropical whites.
In 1999, a remake of Steve McQueen's The Thomas Crown Affair was filmed here. Handsome lead Pierce Bronson helped put Martinique back on the map of the stars. The opening of the luxurious Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa in 2003 saw the return of what had been called the international jet set: celebrities; politicos, and Euro-aristocracy, such as the queen of Denmark and her entourage. However, management has a strict privacy rule and they "don't tell." Also in Le François, known as the Beverly Hills of Martinique, Plein Soleil has been called a celebrity hotel. Many of the celebs who come to the islands are French, known mainly to the French.
In recent years, celebrity watchers have spied American actress Sharon Stone, singer Lionel Richie, and mogul Bill Gates. Some star-struck islanders hang out at the waterfront restaurants in Marin. The marina is where many of the rich and famous pull up on yachts that take up 100 feet of dock space. Others rent exclusive villas, complete with staff.
"The thing about Martinique is discretion," says Mike Parker, the British architect whose firm, MPA Associates, designed the tourist complex Village Creole. "I was in a café there when a waiter asked me over to communicate with an American tourist. It was Grammy-winner George Benson, in town for a concert, just wandering around on his own. We spent hours over lunch in this public place. He thought it was cool that people are friendly here, yet discreet. There is no paparazzi."
The beautiful people add their magic to that of the beautiful island named Martinique.
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