Take a walk in the Brandy Manor Valley

Take a walk in the Brandy Manor Valley

Coming off the road that runs from Portsmouth to the east coast of the island is a gentle walk that we can recommend to take in the Dominican countryside, and wildlife. Simply look out for these signs and you can park your car here before you walk or we can arrange to drop you or collect you as one can even walk from the Hotel The Champs but you may prefer to only do the longer walk one way.

 

Gate Brandy Manor horse riding

The Gate to Brandy Manor

 

The beginning of the road is concrete as it traverses a small river, but after that it’s not surfaced fully.

Amongst all this nature there are three businesses down this road – Brandy Manor (horse riding and accommodation on your left, Lily’s Guesthouse  further on to your right(also accommodation) and a prawn farm at the end. Despite this one rarely sees other people.

 

 

You will see a tributary of the Indian River on your walk, amongst all the other wildlife such as mango trees, coffee shrubs, wild flowers and palm trees.

Be sure to look up so you don’t miss bird life, and also down so you don’t trip up on the uneven road.  Also you have to look around you to soak in all the greenery.

palms

Our proprietor – Hans

riverside farming

Riverside farming

If you decide to walk to this trail from Hotel The Champs, the directions are very simple – walk from Picard to Portsmouth and at the bus station you turn right past Benjamin Park (cricket and football field) and walk further for about 30 minutes at which point you’ll reach the signposts on first picture.

If you would like to arrange horse riding we can put you in touch with the Brandy Manor.

 

We think this is a great walk to enjoy for the whole family – really any age can do it as it’s almost totally flat and well shaded.

Champs Interview part 3 – Kevin – our new chef!

Champs Interview part 3 – Kevin – our new chef!

Chef Kevin was very busy in the kitchen when I arrived to interview him. There was an amazing fresh garlic-y smell infiltrating the restaurant area from the kitchen. He was finishing up making a garlic herb butter which he showed me and said he would join me for the interview asap. 15 minutes later he appeared in his chef’s hat ready for the photo….

chef in chef hat

 

 

What made you decide to become a chef?

I always liked cooking and enjoyed it and found it fascinating since a child and always around parents adopted grandparents  I grew up in Fond St Jean near Stowe and Petit Savanne in the south  – there’s a little hamlet above it called Fab. It’s a small village where everyone is your aunt or uncle.

Font St Jean is the opposite end of the island from Hotel The Champs (see red pin on map below)

As a kid it (cooking) was something we had to learn-  as first of 5, left by parents so they could work overseas you learn fast – in the home/hostel I grew up at age 9 I was cooking for 15 people in household.

When I was about eleven, I got a job washing pots, beating the cake, learned how to make pastries etc. locally on the weekend and after schoolwork and home economics. I have always had that love for cooking.

I grew up fast, it was encouraged not as a vocation or career but useful to contribute to the household, yet I still had to do the dirty work i.e. cleaning and sweeping etc.

I asked Kevin if there was a rota so that chores were shared, he said not really…

There were only verbal rotas so as non-blood child, I did the hard graft. I was the male version of Cinderella.

Are you the classic grumpy chef everyone fears, it doesn’t seem like it?!

Some people are a bit afraid of me. I must be in a good mood. I can snap in and out of it. Creative people, we want to be left to our own devices, but we still have employers and must keep them happy. So slowly we manage to get our employers to let us do what we want more. I prefer a menu that’s less conventional because I have ideas and like to create. I cannot maintain a standardised menu. I like getting the leeway of being able to be creative and change the menu to get variety in our lives. Hotel guests love it. It works well in Dominica because of some produce being available at different times.

So is your family still spread around like a lot of people here?

I moved back to DA September 21st 2005. I have three sons Kinou lives here, one in UK one in US.

Tell me something funny

Once was making gourmet style my way bread pudding – there were two jars both with white stuff in it. Just grabbed and didn’t taste – big mistake – lost all that LOVE when I tasted it just before it went in. I’d put salt instead of sugar. So glad I didn’t waste time baking it!

Also I was 19 I went to work at a small hotel resort in the BVI’s and I was making pumpkin soup and it was suggested I put cinnamon in it. I stirred quite a lot of dried powdered cinnamon as it didn’t smell or taste like cinnamon. That was when I learned that herbs and spices in powder form is much stronger. We fixed it but adding more pumpkin and coconut milk. Then it turned out great. I hadn’t encountered using dried herbs for cooking until then (only for baking).

 

What’s your favourite item on the menu?

I have no favourite on the menu because menu changes so much but I do love Italian and French, especially Mediterranean food.

I over 20 years with Asian, French, Italian, Spanish and American chefs then went to culinary school because I was asked to. That was to a certificate. Instead of 4 years I did fast track as already had experience so did it in 2 years – at Johnson and Wales University in Providence Island.

 

Come join us for a delicious meal any time Thurs-Sunday unless you’re staying at the hotel then it’s whenever you wish….  and we are now also offering take-out of part of the menu.

 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

P.S. here’s my current favourite item on the menu… Thai Coconut Shrimp on a bed of sauteed vegetables, Avocado and Papaya Accra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read recent Guest reviews – Hotel The Champs

Read recent Guest reviews – Hotel The Champs

We aren’t sure how many of you book your hotel stays through online travel agents or directly with the hotels themselves. There are advantages to both sides.  We do love looking at our reviews as they’re real guest experiences which we are proud of and now are going to share some with you. Below is a selection from 3 of the biggest  online travel agents: Booking.com, Airbnb and Tripadvisor.

guest review booking.com booking.com logo

airbnb guest review airbnb logo

guest review tripadvisor tripadvisor logo

There are many more wonderful reviews on these sites you should check out. We look forward to having you to stay (again?) so you can experience our special hotel on the nature island! We encourage you to book direct with us for the best deals.

Champs Interview Part 2 – Sabrina – 10 YEARS!

Champs Interview Part 2 – Sabrina – 10 YEARS!

Name: Sabrina

How long have you worked here? Since November 25th 2010, it was Thanksgiving which is how I remember so precisely. Things have changed since the departure of Ross. I used to have to work late more often, so it was a late night on Thanksgiving but that doesn’t happen these days.

What’s your favourite item on the food menu? Pork loin with peppercorn sauce

How far away do you live? Lagoon at the end by Purple Turtle – this it the far end of Portsmouth and Purple Turtle is a popular beachfront bar and restaurant…so i just get a short bus ride and walk up the hill to come to work.

 

Sabrina

Sabrina in front of the re-purposed plastic bottles curtain

What’s your favourite spot in Dominica? I like Purple Turtle’s beach parties (these happen most Sundays). I went to the parade for Carnival which was really fun this year. Last year I didn’t go because I had a small baby who is one year old now, so doing things like that is a bit easier.

We were sitting in the dining room during the interview and were interrupted by a hotel guest who had a piece of plant in his hand that looked like LionTooth and he was asking for Aloe Vera, she said she would get him some in a minute when done with the interview. I promised not to take much longer. The next thing she was going to do was going to do would be to show the guest which plant was the Aloe Vera and make sure he had a piece.

So you like helping guests? Yes I really do, but it’s funny because some guest come from another world and are used to getting everything NOW i.e. immediately, things are more developed where they are from. We are used to island time and we help them get used to it too. We work with what we have.

I stated that some things at the hotel were pretty awesome, like the chairs that hang from the tables  in the dining room instead of being on the floor, making it easier to clean. 

Sabrina: Yes, there are so many improvements that have been made like that and the shade blinds make a big difference in the restaurant. It was really an experience – us staff – me and two colleagues walked from our homes in Lagoon to the hotel the morning after the storm, through all the wreckage and helped re-build from that moment on.

We are sure you will enjoy meeting Sabrina when you visit or remember her well from your stay.

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 5 in Dominica – Hotel The Champs – TravelMyth Award Winners

TOP 5 in Dominica – Hotel The Champs – TravelMyth Award Winners

Hotel The Champs has been awarded the Top 5 of hotels in Dominica by Travelmyth – the hotel search engine for sophisticated travellers seeking unique hotel experiences. 

 

award winner top 5

We are proud, yet not that surprised – what with our location so convenient for many amazing attractions as well as our beautiful views and swimming pool, we are pretty idyllic and hope you agree!

We would like to thank Travelmyth for this recognition and congratulate our staff for another year of achievements and smiles. Book your room today!

 

rainbow and view pool lounge chairs

 

 

 

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