St. Martin’s elegant, celebrity-favorite resort
27 Rooms / 56 Suites
On the westernmost point of the French side of St. Martin lies Belmond La Samanna, a full-service, 83-room resort whose private, secluded nature has attracted its fair share of celebrity guests (Oprah, Salma Hayek, Kevin Kline). The beauty of its location and the elevated level of service have created a large contingent of repeat guests, who visit again and again for a glamorous but laid-back Caribbean vacation. Some staff have worked at the property since it first opened 40 years ago, and Christmastime here is often like one big family reunion.
The resort’s location is second to none. It sits on the southeastern edge of Baie Longue (Long Bay) beach, arguably the most beautiful on St. Martin. The sweeping expanse of white sand bridges the gap between the stunning multi-million dollar homes of the Terres Basses neighborhood and the rolling waves of the Caribbean Sea. The beach is blissfully quiet and unpopulated, save for the charter boats that bring guests to snorkel the cove where cliffs meet the sea. Though the resort feels worlds apart from the busy island, it’s a short 10-minute drive to bustling Simpson Bay on the island’s Dutch side, and about 20 minutes away from the French capital city of Marigot.
Pristine whitewashed adobe exteriors and architectural elements give La Samanna a decidedly Mediterranean feel. Studio-style suites are available, along with one- and two-bedroom suites, three-bedroom beachfront cottages, and specialty suites. For a real treat, splurge on one of the villas, which sit high on a cliff at the end of the beach. The suites’ decor leans toward French luxury mixed with tropical accents. Some rooms are beachfront, offering direct access to the soft white sands of Baie Longue, while others are Cliffside. Top-level cliffside rooms have private cabanas and plunge pools.
Trellis offers fine island dining in an elegant open-air space overlooking the turquoise sea. It’s well-known for its traditional French fare and unbeatable setting. Be sure to grab a spot at the resort’s beach bar for a chilled drink and outstanding views of the sun sinking below the horizon. La Cave caters to those looking to celebrate — guests can book a private dinner in the cavernous, candlelit wine cellar.
Reserve one of the bamboo beach cabanas, which have large sofa beds and WiFi, and a private waiter is at your disposal all day long. Non-motorized watersports including use of kayaks, a Hobie cat, and snorkel gear are available for guests, as are twice weekly complimentary tennis classes on the resort’s three tennis courts. Also available: Pilates, yoga, and sessions with a trainer at the well-appointed fitness center.
Though La Samanna is frequented largely by couples, it is family-friendly. Amenities geared toward little ones include a kids camp, nanny service, and child safety measures like a bracelet that will sound an alarm should a child wearing it wander too close to the swimming pool.