All the French flair—plus Indian and African accents—sans the fashionista prices.
Rent a car (jumbocar.com) so you can hop between the white-sand beaches down south, like Les Salines (the water is ginclear), and the black-sand stretches up north, like secluded Anse Ceron; martinique.org. Nearby is seaside Le Petibonum, legendary for its crisp cod accras (fritters) and stop-at-two ti punches (rum with a splash of cane syrup and lime); 596-596-780-434. At the covered market in colonial Fort de France, there's more deliciousness: fresh mangoes at the stalls, and chicken colombo (it's like a curry) at Chez Carole. For haute digs, settle in Cap Est Lagoon, where all 50 suites face the sea. From $526; capest.com. If food is your focus, check into the 16-room Hôtel Plein Soleil, where the chef is a disciple of Alain Ducasse and fancy feasts (roasted lamb with a celeriac emulsion) are de rigueur. Rooms from $143; hotelpleinsoleil.fr.—B. P.