Destination Guide

St. Martin

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Courtesy of Belmond La Samanna

St. Martin, split between French and Dutch territories, is one of the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. While the island is home to an international airport and one spectacular resort, Belmond La Samanna, St. Martin is largely built-up and touristy, so it works better as a jumping-off point to other Caribbean islands.


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The beach at Belmond La Samanna.

Belmond La Samanna

Located on the French side of St. Martin (only 10 to 15 minutes from the airport), Belmond La Samanna offers an easy, short getaway or a jumping-off point for a multi-stop Caribbean adventure. In classic Mediterranean-Caribbean style, the property is made up of multiple white block buildings with vibrant red and pink-hued bougainvillea throughout.

The hotel’s 90 rooms, suites and villas cascade down the hill to the beach, and all offer ocean views from either balconies or terraces. Rooms closest to the main building at the top of the hill have the most spectacular views, but those further down the hill have the shorter walk to the beach. The décor highlights the ocean, with big windows, a neutral beige-and-white color palette and bursts of sea-inspired turquoise and aqua.

Diners can alternate meals between the fine-dining L'Ourisin, casual Corail, Laplaj the all-day beach bar (which turns into seaside Italian spot La Spiaggia by night), and Baie Lounge Bar, the best place on the island to watch the sunset with a signature rum punch. The hotel can also arrange private dinners on the beach or in Le Cave wine cellar. The five-room spa offers a variety of treatments, but many guests prefer to enjoy the services of the excellent masseuses on their private balcony or terrace. There is also a gym, three tennis courts, two pools and two boutiques selling resort-wear. Make sure to check the weekly schedule of programming, which offers complimentary tennis clinics, pilates, yoga and musical evenings.

La Samanna proudly displays work throughout the property from local artist-in-residence Sir Roland Richardson, who often visits the resort to host lectures and invites guests to watch him work.

The three- and four-bedroom villas are great for families looking for the privacy of a large home, but with the convenience of a personal butler and hotel facilities. Each has a private pool, kitchen with Italian marble flooring and teak accents throughout. These villas are set quite high up on the bluff, so have fantastic ocean views through floor-to-ceiling windows, but no direct beach access (though the beach is just a golf cart ride away).

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