It’s been awhile (25+ years) since I’ve stayed at a Caribbean resort but my memory of most of them was disappointment at the lack of cleanliness, superior service and beautiful décor. Belmond’s La Samanna Resort on the Caribbean Island of St. Martin changed my perception. We picked St. Martin because of the ease of flights from Seattle (just one connection in Atlanta) and picked La Samanna because I had family stay there a couple years ago.
We traveled with another family and stayed in one of their four bedroom villas (they have eight villas on property), ours was called Villa Mouette. The villa set up was perfect for both of our families and the private infinity pool got a big thumbs up from both parents and teens. If you stay in a villa, I’d highly recommend stocking the full service kitchen. The resort provides limited supplies but stopping at a grocery store would be helpful. I felt like we were ordering room service all day long.
Overall, the service at La Samanna was outstanding. We had a private villa concierge who stopped by daily to see what arrangements we needed for the day (i.e. dinner reservations, taxis, doctors, hair stylists, etc.). And everyone else at the resort from the breakfast ladies at Interlude to the front desk to the spa personnel were nothing but friendly and accommodating. I love going to a high end resort where the staff lacks “attitude.”
The beach is lovely with helpful beach attendants who set up your chaises for you, bring fresh water and offer a full service menu. The beach activities hut offers a lot of options which came in helpful with the teens. Besides utilizing the Hobie Cats, paddle boards and kayaks, we also took advantage of their 1 ½ hour jet ski guided tour.
If I had to do this trip over again … wait scratch that thought … if I get to do this trip over again, I would rent a car because it’s not easy to get around the island. It cost about $40 for every taxi trip we took and the resort is quite far from the island’s main towns of Phillipsburg (Dutch side) and Marigot (French side). ATMs are hard to come by as well.
The towns on the island are a bit disappointing so if you come to St. Martin plan on spending most of your time luxuriating at La Samanna.
Rating*: 5/5 (*Rating Scale – 1: Terrible, 2: Poor, 3: Average, 4: Very Good, 5: Excellent)
Type of Traveler: Romantic getaway, honeymooners, families (great for families because of the multitude of 3- and 4-bedroom options)
Best Time of Year: Winter
Key Features: Gorgeous beach, wonderful restaurant, laid back atmosphere
Drawbacks: Limited dinner options (fine dining or room service). With four teenagers, they got very tired of room service and were not at all interested in the fine dining option at Trellis.