Walking in the “Backyard” of The Champs

Walking in the “Backyard” of The Champs

You don’t need a car, you don’t need a taxi if you like you can start walking from Hotel The Champs. You just walk direction Portsmouth an turn to your right at Borrow Square (“Bus station”) direction 1 mile / Calibishi. This will take you about 30 minutes.

When you turned to you right you keep following the road till you see a construction company on you right hand (you will see materials / cement trucks etc) here you turn to your right into the bush where you see a nice path to walk.

We had sun and rain on our early Sunday morning walk. The rain can be a nice refreshment. The walk is very easy and relaxing. After 25 minutes walking you reach the point where you see the signs of the Waitikubuli trail. We turned because we prefer short hikes on our Sunday mornings. But you can turn to your right at the signs (if you keep going straight it will be a dead ended road.

If you follow the road to your right you will go further up and will reach a nice view point. If you continue you will will end up at Ross Castle Estate in Picard where you will have to cross a (half broken) hanging bridge. Not too sure how long this will take it all depends if you are an experienced hiker.

On our short hike we enjoyed the view over Portsmouth and Cabrits National Park.

If you look well you can even see we had a rainbow on our way back.



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.


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.

Walk to the Saturday market in Portsmouth

Walk to the Saturday market in Portsmouth

Many of our guests who stay on a Friday night enjoy an early morning walk to the Saturday market in Portsmouth.


You see rainbows regularly in Dominica

We wanted to illustrate what the journey is like. It was a slightly overcast day which made it cool at 7am and more chance for rainbows. There is lots to see en route.

We start with a short walk down the hill through Picard, then round the bend past a local supermarket called LA Enterprise. One can find more than just the essentials here as well as some fresh items – but better to wait to see all that at the market.

mini mart groceries

caribbean sea cabrits in background

Cabrits National Park behind Caribbean sea to your left as you walk to the market

The road then bends around sharply to the right when you meet the Caribbean Sea.

From here you can see the Cabrits National Park in the distance, to your left while you continue to walk along the road adjacent to the Caribbean Sea.

You will cross the Indian River, looking up it your right (Caribbean sea to your left) . Tours up this river to see wildlife are very popular, often ending with a drink at a rum bar. Speak to us for how to book when you’re here.

Indian River Bridge

The bridge crossing the Indian River


Flowers on the roadside

Indian River

The Indian River









As you proceed further you will pass the bus stop to your left from where you can catch rides south and also Dee’s, a small shop where you will find souvenirs and groceries. You will no doubt find many people to talk to along he way.

Minibus Bus stop

Minibuses at Portsmouth T-Junction

mini mart groceries

Dee’s Mini Mart – Groceries and curios can be found here



You will have passed the NBD bank on your way (to your right) if you need cash, as early in the morning the one next to Dee’s is locked (see left photo green building)

You will soon arrive at the market… you definitely can’t miss it!



Approaching the heart of the market












The market is busy early in the morning, as farmers from all over the north come to sell their wares. Make sure to go to the back of the market by the waterfront to see the undercover area also (you may also see meat and fish available)

You will find it’s better to ask people before taking their photo.

Our kitchen uses fresh produce grown and caught locally from this market and other local sources. You will find that our menu changes daily in accordance with what is fresh and available.



the market is busy from early mornings

ginger bananas potatoes peppers tomatoes

a variety of fresh produce locally grown










If there is anything particular you’re interested in trying do feel free to talk to us about it. We will make every effort to incorporate it into the menu during your stay. We hope that you will feel absorbed in island life and culture and take amazing memories home with you, and possibly even a few new recipes!


fresh fish

bananas plantain pumpkin avocados

Bananas, plantain, avocado and pumpkin

market stall

The under cover part of the market


Dive Package: Top Hotel & Top Dive Center

Dive Package: Top Hotel & Top Dive Center

Dive Package: Top Hotel & Top Dive Center

Hotel the Champs and Cabrits Dive Center 

join forces to offer top-rated dive packages

The north of Dominica has been buzzing with excitement this year, but it is still somewhat undiscovered as a destination for dive, and travellers are enthusiastic to explore Portsmouth and the north.

Around the hills of the Cabrits National Park, in Douglas Bay and Toucarie Bay you will truly find some of the world’s top dive spots.  


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Hotel the Champs offers a top-rated personalised accommodation experience across an intimate five-room hotel and has partnered with Dominica’s only PADI 5 Star Rated Dive Centre, Cabrits Dive Center to offer idyllic dive and sleep packages for guests with varying dive experience and vacation wishes.

These dive packages have attracted the attention of specialized dive tour operators and the team from Hotel the Champs and Cabrits Dive Center were requested to conduct some training webinars to their Sales Agents last July.




A large US tour operator has already contracted to sell these dive packages through the 2020/21 season.  All parties are pleased with this partnership and look forward to taking this package model to other tour operators and trade partners and also directly to the visitors.

So, if you are reading this blog post and are interested to find out more, then contact Hotel The Champs or Cabrits Dive Center and ask for the special Dive Package offers.

Here is a nice article to find our more about Cabrits Dive Center and the owners Virginie & Rémi Granger.



Congratulations! Happy 60th birthday Lise

Congratulations! Happy 60th birthday Lise

Congratulations! Happy 60th birthday Lise

On Saturday June 29th our proprietor Lise reached her big-six-o and of course that was a good reason to celebrate and to do some other things than just the usual weekend workdays.

We actually started already on Friday by giving ourselves time to get a guided tour of the new Hotel Kempinski which is still under construction. The opening is scheduled for October and it looks like they still have a lot to do but General Manager Michael Schoonewagen feels confident they will be ready in time.

What an impressive 5-star Grand Luxe resort this is going to be. A majestic entry and lobby, sea views all around, 3 restaurants, a conference center, more swimming pools than you can imagine, a fitness and spa complex like you’ve never seen and even the smallest room is bigger and more luxurious than the superior rooms in Hotel The Champs.
Our tour also included all the kitchens, offices, and the spaces “in the back” for the staff. Picture this: a buffet restaurant for the 175 staff that can easily compete with any public restaurant on island :-).

This resort is absolutely going to be a big addition to our island and for those guests who cannot afford the 5-start room rates (they are scary…) The Champs can offer a great alternative:
Book a Superior XL room at The Champs and have some money left to go dine in one of the 3 restaurants of Kempinski or treat yourself to a day in their spa. Our beds and our personalized service will make you feel like a 5-star VIP guest and the perks at Kempinski will complete your vacation of a lifetime. We will be happy to shuttle you up and down.

So back to Lise’s birthday. Friday night we enjoyed dinner prepared by Chef Francis and Tarnita in our own restaurant at Hotel The Champs. Friday night is pizza night but we took one of the alternative dishes, the mussels & shrimps in white wine sauce with a side salad. I just love that sauce. I used one of the shells of the mussels to scoop up the sauce to the very last bit. Delicious.
For the Saturday we had in mind to go “shop” for a new car for Lise and her staff team. The current vehicle has survived hurricane Maria but we never really brought it back in good shape and the engine is giving us challenges so we’re ready for the next one.
Bad luck for us, or is it that we just don’t pay enough attention? We drove to Canefield to find out that Auto Trade is not open for sales in Saturday morning since the hurricane. Well, I tried to check that on Friday using my WhatsApp but I should have made a phone call. So now Lise just had a nice island ride in the sun on the Saturday but no signed deal for a new car. Sorry Lise!

Saturday evening dinner was the “pièce de résistance” of Lise’s birthday. We were going to have dinner in the Zing Zing Restaurant of Secret Bay. What a delicious and relaxing experience.
We were treated by executive chef Grant Lynott and his team to culinary trip around the world with start and finish in Dominican ingredients and flavors that we did not discover in the 12 years we are here on island. Paired with the welcome cocktail, via the excellent wines, to the after dinner drink the taste combinations of food and drinks were heavenly.

So beloved guests staying at Hotel The Champs here is some good news for you: the Zing Zing Restaurant is now open to the public, but be aware, you cannot just walk in. If you’re staying at The Champs and you have something special to celebrate and would like to have dinner or lunch at the Zing Zing, then we can try to make a reservation for you. If they have an opening then you will receive two forms to fill in: one for your credit card and one to inform the kitchen about your food preferences, allergies, dietary requirements etc. Chef Grant wants to be well prepared because this is what he wants to give you: “Indulge in nutrient-rich, colorful and succulent island fare with a personalised dinner program designed by our executive chef himself and delivered fresh in the comfortable surroundings of the beautiful Zing Zing Restaurant.“
Dinner or lunch at Secret Bay is not just eating; it’s a culinary feast for your all your senses and especially for your taste buds.

And the party for Lise’s birthday wasn’t over yet. For Sunday afternoon Lise had invited her island friends to come over for a pot luck pool party. While Lise provided a good start for the drinks and snacks the other guests came with their own favorites to share with all. We cooled in the pool, were lazy at the sun beds, sat in the shade of the big umbrella, and chatted with each other. A great relax until after sunset and time the switch the colorful pool lights on. Our Dominican StayCation guests joined the fun and had a good time like all the others.
Now that our extended pool deck is (almost) ready with small service area, a changing room and toilet and room to move all around at the pool a new facility opens up at The Champs. Dominicans can now come and enjoy our special StayCation offers and see with Lise how to combine that with time at the pool with their friends and family. Hotel guests of course have free access to the pool and get complimentary use of pool towels. Friends can be invited using our new Pool & Restaurant Combo and you can all have a great afternoon at the pool and enjoy the colorful cocktails and savory snacks of The Champs. Life in Dominica keeps getting better and better with Hotel The Champs.

Are you already seeing yourself enjoying a dinner at Secret Bay, a spa treatment at Kempinski, or an afternoon at the pool of Hotel The Champs Check out the links, book a StayCation and allow yourself to live life to the fullest right here in Dominica.

Hike to and Picknick at Syndicate (Milton) Falls:

Hike to and Picknick at Syndicate (Milton) Falls:

Hike to and Picknick at Syndicate (Milton) Falls:

You walk about 10 minutes before you reach the river, there you have to cross the river 4 times.  Hans crossing the river to be able to follow the path that leads to the waterfall. 

Here you can sit and relax, enjoy your pick-nick or and take a swim in the pool. You can stay as long as you want.
You take the same route back to your car or taxi.