Belmond La Samanna is perched above one of the most amazing beaches in the West French Indies of the Caribbean and made up of 83 villas, cottages and suites. Recently renovated in 2020, Belmond La Samanna is a quiet, peaceful retreat overlooking beautiful sunsets and sparkling turquoise ocean waters of the Caribbean sea.
Perfect For: Small families | Honeymooners | Romantic Getaways | A Quiet Escape | A Stopover for Multi- Caribbean Island Vacation
Location: Spelled St. Martin or St. Maarten, it is a Caribbean island in the northeast section of the Caribbean islands, about 190 miles east of Puerto Rico. The flight from Miami to St. Martin is about 3 hours. The flight from New York to St. Martin is about 4 hours.
Getting There: St. Maarten is one of the easier Caribbean islands to arrive to, with non-stop flights from airports such as Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, New York and Newark. The island is a hub to fly on to St. Barts or Anguilla, so you may want to consider adding an extra couple of nights to your vacation in order to experience Belmond La Samanna.
Vibe: The vibe at Belmond La Samanna is very laid back, much more so than its neighboring island of St. Barts, where the scene is to see and be seen. While the crowd at Belmond La Samanna is very chic, it’s less champagne popping and people watching, and more book reading and lounge chair lazing. There’s not a lot to do at the resort, unless you count a small spa, a tennis court and a tough decision between pool and beach activity enough. If you’re looking for more than that plus a boat outing, than St. Martin may not be for you.
Accomodations: Belmond La Samanna ranges from 83 deluxe ocean view rooms and suites to 8 3- and 4-bedroom villas and cottages. Because of these larger accommodations, it is ideal for families to come with grandparents, cousins, and even nannies. We saw more than two families during our stay that included aunts and uncles, many children and grandparents. The private pool villas have their own private wraparound pool, which is nice if you are just looking for privacy.
Food & Beverage: The restaurant, Corail is where breakfast is served each morning, as well as lunch. Breakfast is served buffet style, or items can be ordered a la carte. Service is slow, as to be expected from a Caribbean island, and food was hit or miss. The most memorable item on the menu was the pineapple, which was probably the best pineapple I’ve ever had in my life. The hotel did offer gluten free bread as well, which is always a pleasant surprise at these small boutique island hotels. Other items like salt and butter were imported from France, so a simple breakfast of toast with butter and jam were very much enjoyed!
Baie Longue bar is the perfect spot to catch the sunset while sipping amazing cocktails, and the beachside restaurant La Plaj was very similar in feel to St. Barts. Finally, for dinner the option is L’Oursin, where everyone gathers for the more formal nighttime meals.
Wellness: The spa at Belmond La Samanna is small yet inviting. They also have a boutique next door that sells natural locally-made products like essential oils and soaps. The sun is so strong that it was the first time in a long time that we all got sun burns, so I had to make a trip to the spa for after-sun care products.
Things to Do around the Island: If you’re visiting for more than 2 nights, I recommend chartering a boat to take you to explore the local beaches and different islands. The concierge provides great recommendations, but we booked with a charter company that was about half the price, and our captain a Frenchman, born in France but raised in Sint Maarten who could have been a model on the cover of GQ. I’m not giving away my secrets, but I’ll be happy to book him for you when you plan your trip to St Martin with me!
I suggest an 8 hour charter – even though it seems like a long day, it goes by quickly and allows you to stop for lunch at Yellow Beach on Pinel Island. The highlight of our day was our stop at Tintamarre, or Flat Island, where we collected sea glass and played in the water in this little island paradise.
What Sets It Apart: There is no other property in St Martin or St. Maarten that even compares remotely close to Belmond La Samanna, and the beach is one of the best and most secluded in the Caribbean. The other hotels are more like 2 to 3 star hotels, and the island in general is very poor, particularly after being destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017. However, it still has a very French vibe, so if you want to feel worlds away and like you’re in the French Riviera, without having the budget for St. Barts, then St. Martin is a fantastic alternative. I love that all the rooms are direct ocean views, and what a beautiful ocean it is…. While the beach is very steep, the sand is beautiful, and most people lounge in the sun from morning until evening with no complaints. So, if you’re looking for a relaxed and dreamy place to lounge with the crashing sound of waves, this could be the ideal Caribbean resort for you.
How Much Does Hotel Belmond La Samanna Cost? This island resort closes seasonally, and staff go over to Italy where they work in the Belmond properties of Positano and Portofino. Due to this, Belmond La Samanna doesn’t really have a low season. Rates vary from about $800 per night plus taxes and fees for an entry level room to about $6,000 per night for a 4-bedroom villa.
Diego Travel Loves: The chic updated décor mixed with the traditional island building is the ultimate in barefoot luxury. Unpretentious yet refined, Belmond La Samanna is the perfect blend of island life with French style. I loved the soft coral pink and white striped umbrellas and the blue and white color palette in the rooms. The people at the resort are not stuffy, and care enough without being in your face. Remember that you’re on island time, and you’ll be snoozing to the sound of the crashing waves in no time.
Extras You’ll Get with Diego Travel:
If centralized air is important to you, this is not the hotel for you. Like many small island hotels, rooms are cooled on mini-splits, so be sure to request a room with a mini-split that doesn’t blow directly onto the bed. When you use a travel advisor, it’s these kind of details that are taken care of for you, as well as getting premiere choice in room location. Even though La Samanna is located in one of the best beaches in the island, a boat trip is a must to discover St Martin’s hidden gems. Over “Festive Period” or Christmas to New Years Eve season, be sure to book well in advance. It’s a popular spot for holiday vacation!
After receiving an invitation for a 3-night stay for 2 to Belmond La Samanna, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, even though I was in the midst of a literal hurricane in my work and personal life. My family was selling our home, our kids were changing schools, and work had never been busier since the start of the pandemic. I was quite literally fried and spinning my wheels, working 20 hours a day and scrambling to get our home packed up. We had two weeks until closing, and I turned to my husband one night while we were falling asleep and asked, “Why don’t we go to St. Martin this weekend with the kids?” He agreed, and less than 48 hours later, we were on the plane after getting our negative Covid tests. The flight is easy, the hotel picked us up from the airport, and honestly, it was a much-needed work trip where I actually disconnected and recharged my batteries.
Because Belmond La Samanna is a one-man show in St Maarten, I didn’t have the pressure to do multiple site visits like I normally do on work trips. I truly took the three-night trip to be present with my husband and kids. We watched them as they body surfed and tumbled down the steep beach, on repeat for hours on end. I read a good book. I worked minimally. And we took an unforgettable boat ride where I thought to myself, “How did I get so lucky?” I have my dream job, with my dream family, and while it’s not always glamourous traveling, St. Martin offered me time to slow down and appreciate the moments that are…and boy, Belmond La Samanna sure made me feel pretty glamorous.
Looking around, it felt like the crowd was primarily babymooners, with very pregnant bellies walking the soft sand on the beach. I loved that it was such a peaceful environment and really lent itself to just disconnecting and relaxation. If you’re in the mood for a gorgeous beach, a good beach novel that you can dive into, and reconnecting with the one you love, then let’s start planning a trip to St Martin.
If you have any questions about visiting St Martin or any other Caribbean Island for that matter, I’d be happy to answer them or help you book your stay so that you get all the added value mentioned above. Plus, once you travel VIP style with Diego Travel, you’ll never want to leave home without us again. You can get in touch with us on our Contact Us form, to get started on planning your next trip right now!