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Luxury Hotels: Pristine Beach & Old World Charm on this French Island

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

For a few nights recently, we revisited La Samanna, a Belmond Hotel and rekindled our head over heels excitement for this resort.

Sophisticated Clientele & European Charm in the Caribbean

Over a decade ago we visited St. Martin’s La Samanna Resort and fell in love with the property. Over the years, having visited other islands, other countries, and other resorts, the memory faded. For a few nights recently, we revisited La Samanna, a Belmond Hotel and rekindled our head over heels excitement for this resort.

First and foremost, La Samanna’s fan club stems from well-heeled, sophisticated yet unpretentious travelers who love the beach. These travelers cherish the sound of waves from their room, enjoy sitting in the sun on the beach for hours each day, actively walk the mile and half of untouched coast, and relish swimming in the turquoise sea. Beach, beach, beach!

Sand is powder white and the beach is wide enough to be several chaise lounge lengths to the water. White umbrellas with coral-colored trim matching coral-colored towels are paired together along the calm beach. Young beach attendants constantly refresh your bottled water and are ready to deliver a tray of ceviche or a farm fresh leafy green salad for lunch. Too hot? Walk twenty-five feet and you are plunging in turquoise water so clear it could be your backyard swimming pool.

La Samanna is a secret not often shared. It is old, but not dated; charming and not cookie-cutter; and for travelers who see perfection in the imperfect. Grounds are well landscaped without being overly manicured. Footpaths leading to the beach are more a worn patch of grass instead of a marble walkway. No accommodation is more than 50’ from the sand, so barefoot luxury is literal. La Samanna has a soul.

Rooms are comfortable, spacious and purpose driven. High quality furnishings, patterned throw pillows with fabulous trims, and a light beachy color palette, the décor constantly draws your eyes to your porch or patio and the bold blue Caribbean sea in the backdrop.

Who Is at Home at La Samanna?

Travelers who enjoyed Caneel Bay or Bitter End Yacht Club, enjoy Curtain Bluff, Belmond's Maroma, or European classic hotels, will be right at home.

There is no “typical” demographic at La Samanna. Young couples in their 30s mix with French families with young children, next to active empty-nesters in their 60s. Guests here enjoy a balance of activity and laziness.

Each morning in the well-equipped gym about 6-10 guests start their morning working about between 8 am and 10 am. By midday guests are catnapping in the sun or reading their Kindle. And for the more active, guests enjoy long walks along the beach and paddle-boarding or tennis clinics.

Tip: Want to have the gym to yourself? We found that going to breakfast first at 8:30 and then the gym at 10:00, we had the facility to ourselves.

Food is Fresh, Clean and Delicious.

Cuisine is delicious; La Samanna is in part of the French Republic after all! Breakfast brings richly brewed coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, baked breads with that fabulous European butter, and an array of egg dishes. Lunch is casual and often based on the fresh fish of the day prepared in tacos, ceviche, or grilled to your favor. Dinner at L’Oursin is upscale, more formal, and a place for simply prepared and equally flavorful steaks and pan seared fish. Eat and enjoy without feeling heavy.

The Perfect Visit.

While you can certainly enjoy La Samanna for long lengths, four nights is a perfect amount of time to unplug and recharge. If life prohibits you from fully disconnecting, you can still stay in touch with “the real world”. Wifi is strong throughout the resort, even on the beach!

Getting to La Samanna is easy with many nonstop flights from major cities into St. Maarten (SXM). From the airport to the resort, the drive is about 15 minutes. The concierge can arrange a driver to meet you and organize a private, scheduled transfer for about $80. Since most flights arrive early in the day, you can be laying in the sun by lunchtime.

Tip: Taxis are readily available and cost about $25 each way.

Current Travel Guidelines...Always Subject to Change.

As of publish date, St. Maarten requires a negative test result within 5 days from arrival to the island. They have an easy to navigate traveler portal, where you upload test results, purchase mandatory travel insurance ($30 per person), and receive your travel approval (usually within 12 hours from submission). Upon arrival to the island, produce your passport and your travel approval letter and you are in your taxi in minutes.

Currently, the United States CDC requires a negative test to be taken within 72 hours of your return back to the US. La Samanna's Quality & Hygiene Manager seamlessly coordinates testing at the property. We had a 10:00 am appointment at their Business Center. A lovely nurse swabbed us by 10:05 am, and our negative test results were printed and delivered by envelope to our room by 11:00 am. Cost was about $150 per person to fulfill the CDC’s comfort that we were traveling back to United States safely.

Same rates, more benefits.

Elli Travel is a Belmond Bellini partner and rates are the same as those on the website. Book your stay at La Samanna with your Elli Travel Advisor to receive the following benefits:

  • $90 resort credit per room per stay; $200 resort credit per suite per stay

  • A la carte breakfast for two daily

  • Complimentary upgrade based upon availability at time of check in

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

  • VIP welcome treats

  • $500 future travel voucher on reservations of $5,000+

Contact your Elli Travel advisor, or email to secure travel


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