Laurent et Joëlle Rosemain
REASONS TO GO
To eat or have a drink
To stay in a beautifully designed boutique hotel
The incredible view of the wind-swept Atlantic coast
We are on the windward coast, the stormy side of the island.
Here, the sea is called ocean and the waves are breakers that only experienced fishermen know how to tame; the same breakers threaten swimmers and delight surfers.
Perched on a promontory overlooking the ocean, the large villa of Domaine de Saint-Aubin is full of charm: a large veranda with slender columns, pilaster-framed doors and windows, carved-wood friezes and lace, a pink roof embellished with dormers. At its feet sprawls a garden with fruit trees; cane fields and banana groves stretch beyond.
This is a truly exceptional site.
HISTORY: SAINT-AUBIN TO DESPOINTES AND BACK
C’est en 1919 que Vincent Huyghues-Despointes commande à un architecte martiniquais nommé Pamphile la superbe bâtisse aux accents de demeure louisianaise que l’on connaît aujourd’hui. Sa structure imposante lui vaudra le surnom de "Château Despointes".
Mais l'origine du domaine remonte à plus loin...
In 1919, Vincent Huyghues-Despointes commissioned an architect from Martinique named Pamphile to construct the beautiful building with Louisiana accents that we know today. Its imposing structure earned it the nickname "Chateau Despointes".
But the origin of the estate goes back even further ...
In the 18th century, the estate belonged to the Beaupré Saint Aubin family. Their lands, located between Sainte-Marie and Trinité, stretched all the way to the ocean.
Like almost everywhere on the island, sugar cane was grown there. But through bad luck or historical comeuppance, the wealthy family lost its estate sometime after the French Revolution. All evidence suggests that, like so many békés of the time, the Beaupré de Saint-Aubin, committed royalists anxious to preserve their heritage—including slavery—appealed to the English, who occupied the island in 1793.
The winds of revolt had been blowing since 1789, and not only in France; the Caribbean was feeling them too. In 1791, in Santo Domingo, the largest and most prosperous of the French colonies, slaves and freedmen demanded freedom and the same rights as white citizens. Deadly struggles followed, leading to the abolition of slavery in 1794 and the proclamation of the Republic of Santo Domingo in 1805.
France regained control of Martinique in 1814 and, in retaliation, confiscated the Beaupré Saint-Aubin property; most of their fragmented lands were sold to another large family, the Huygues-Despointes.
Ironically, because of the English occupation, abolition did not apply to Martinique, but the Beaupré de Saint-Aubin lost their property in the affair ...
As the years passed, Chateau Despointes gradually lost its splendor. The villa fell into neglect, for a time earning it a troubling and scandalous reputation as a haunted house.
But Laurent and Jöelle Rosemain must not believe in ghosts.
She is a former theater costume designer with culinary talent, and he is a local boy and a jazz musician. Together, they sought out an old home to renovate. They bought the estate in 2004 with the firm intention of restoring the former bourgeois residence and turning it into a charming hotel.
The house has the spirit of a home.
Is it the old mahogany furniture? Or the little chaise longue upholstered with vintage fabric? Or maybe it’s the old photographs at the entrance or the cat stretching on the terrace facing the sea? It’s all this and more.
It’s the meticulous decoration, attention to detail, old photos, and thoughtfully arranged trinkets that seem to have been collected over the years—all witness to a life. Every corner here is inhabited. A few books scattered here, a handful of old straw hats there, a worn cushion that has surely supported a thousand quite moments ...
Habitation Clément also has refined furniture and decoration,
but it is primarily a place to visit.
Saint-Aubin is a home.
Domaine Saint-Aubin reopened in November 2006.
- There are six bedrooms on the first floor and 14 more in the more recent villas out back.
- There are three independent ocean-facing villas.
The villa has served as a backdrop for several historic films, including Aliker in 2007.
The owner’s most distant known ancestor was Jean-Adrien Rosemain, nicknamed "Volange". Born in 1715, he was one of the first "free people of color" to own a shoemaking workshop in Saint Pierre, the former capital of Martinique.
The former name of Îlet Saint-Aubin was Îlet de Caerman. It indicated the entrance to Trinité to ships coming from the Dominica Channel.
The estate was also known as Habitation Petite Rivière.
The cane fields surrounding the villa were formerly attached to the estate and today supply the distillerie Saint-James.
HOW TO GET THERE
Telephone : 0596 596 69 34 77