An area spanning 2500 hectares, sloping down to the sea from Black River Gorges National Park, Domaine de Bel Ombre, or Beautiful Shadows in Creole, is promoted as the “unspoiled south”. Although the beaches may not be as beautiful as other parts of the island, and the area can be breezy in winter, it suits those seeking a restful holiday in natural surrounds far from commercialization and crowds.
The area owes its development to the Irish naturalist Charles Telfair, who arrived here in the early nineteenth century and was given the rights to the “small Eden of Bel Ombre” by the first British governor, Robert Farquhar. He introduced farming tools, the island’s first horizontal mill and created vast orchards and vegetable gardens, becoming particularly known for his enlightened treatment of slaves. A sugar estate, opened in 1910, further developed the region, and the old sugar mill can be visited today at the entrance to the Heritage resort. As sugar fortunes plummeted, the Domaine de Bel Ombre opened up to tourism and the first hotels appeared in 2004, along with a golf course and nature reserve.