La Samanna overlooks beautiful Baie Longue.
For many years, the La Samanna has been the unrivalled enclave of luxury in St. Martin. Long before it became part of the Belmond group, it stood out in a sea of timeshares, chain resorts and small boutique hotels.
But it wasn’t till a brief visit in June that we had the opportunity to finally stay there and gain a glimpse at a side of St. Martin that until then had been hidden to us.
Nestled in a villa community on Baie Longue about 15 minutes from Princess Juliana International Airport, Belmond La Samanna is its own destination. Set in 55 acres surrounded by lush mangroves that provide an added sense of privacy, La Samanna offers 80 or so rooms, suites and villas.
The first thing you notice when you arrive is the blue Caribbean Sea, set against white buildings, framed by pink and red bougainvilla and flamboyant flowers.
After a gracious welcome, a short jaunt in a golf cart and a small flight of stairs led us to our room – a villa suite complete with a rooftop patio and plunge pool.
Here is how a typical day at La Samanna starts: get up, make an espresso and enjoy it while soaking in the beautiful vista on either the main balcony or the rooftop. Want to really wake yourself up? Take a quick plunge in the refreshing private pool – also good, by the way, for sipping champagne or some other beverage in the late afternoon or early evening.
Rooms are bright and well-appointed with the understated luxury associated with the Belmond brand. If I could change one thing: the walk-in showers that seem to be a trend in upscale hotels these days. But for me, it just means the whole bathroom gets wet.
Access to the beach in front of the hotel can be slightly challenging in places. But with its long swath of sand, it offers great shore walking opportunities for the guests who like to keep active. I was the most content at the hotel’s infinity pool, located beside the beach restaurant. A second pool is located just beside the main building for those people, like me, who head straight for a swim after breakfast. The ocean is stunning – the turquoise everyone is after when they visit the Caribbean. You look out over a clear horizon, interrupted occasionally only by passing yachts or small ferries darting to and fro.
Dining is one area where La Samanna really shines. St. Martin is known for its many fine restaurants, so the bar is set high. La Samanna more than holds its own, combining French elegance with the right degree of island informality.
Dinner can be enjoyed at stylish L’Oursin Restaurant or at the adjoining Baie Longue Bar with lighter options and creative cocktails. For those of you who like to roll off the beach for lunch, the LaPlaj is open for lunch and offers full bar service most of the day.
Breakfast is a relaxed with a full buffet or, as I had chosen, more simple options, like a coffee au lait. Full room service is also available.
Just across from the main reception, is a small village type collection of shops, onsite car rental (very handy), spa and fitness facilities.
View from the Main Lobby
La Samanna wears its relatively new Belmond designation proudly. It’s a stylish, well run establishment and its focus on guest satisfaction is evident in many little ways. Staff obviously take pride in their jobs and the resort, and we found them helpful and friendly, without exception.
Belmond La Samanna is a place to live well at a slow pace and bask in a distinct ‘Eurobbean’ style. It offers a side of St. Martin that you could certainly get used to.
LaPlaj is a perfect place to soak up the sun.
Photos courtesy of Belmond La Samanna