Well, after a year in quarantine, we finally caved and booked a trip! We decided to go to St. Martin (or St. Maarten, on the Dutch side). It was admittedly a logistical challenge with the required testing to both enter the island and then re-enter the U.S., and I was almost thinking we were crazy for going through with it. But I never thought getting away would be SO wonderful – time really applies perspective!
Some things we were looking for when selecting where to go:
- Somewhere tropical
- Beachfront with an actual beach (vs just pool)
- A fairly short and direct flight to our destination
- A quiet and nice resort with good service
- New or recently renovated
We looked at many places in the Bahamas (no resorts quite fitting the bill) and St. Barth (too far, added a second leg to the trip). We had stayed in a Belmond property, El Encanto, a few years back in Santa Barbara and were pretty obsessed with it — so when when we saw St. Martin had a beachfront Belmond, we decided it was for us.
The island of St. Martin is actually made up of two territories, known as “the Dutch side” and “the French side.” You can easily travel between the two. Our hotel was located on the Dutch side, about fifteen minutes from the airport.
Belmond La Semanna was fully renovated in 2019.
I’ll detail out our experience at La Samanna in a few ways. First things first:
Pool, Beach & Lounge Spots
La Samanna is located on St. Martin’s most beautiful beach – Baie Longue beach. It did not disappoint with that signature Caribbean white sand and turquoise water!
There were also two lovely pools – this is the infinity pool:
And then this pool, below. Both pools were absolutely dead when we were there. We’d typically have a full pool to ourselves for almost the entire day. When does that ever happen?!
There were also chairs overlooking the beach on this relaxing sun deck.
One thing I liked about La Samanna is ALL rooms overlook the beach. Even the base-level rooms, which are pictured here in the bigger building.
We had a 1 bedroom Terrace Suite, so it was a little freestanding unit, pictured below:
There were essentially three restaurants and a bar in the hotel. One was for breakfast only (Corail), one was for lunch and dinner (Laplaj), and then one for dinner only (L’Oursin). The food everywhere was very fresh and excellent.
Breakfast was at Corail each day – made to order.
We would head to the bar each night before dinner to watch these beautiful sunsets.
I barely took any pictures at night at L’Oursin. It’s fine dining right on the water’s edge though – gorgeous. The food was delicious.
Making this post makes me realized I sure missed traveling!
I would definitely recommend La Samanna. And I wish I could tell you all the great things we did in St. Martin but truth be told we barely left the resort. We wanted to be safe with the pandemic, and it was honestly just too pretty.
We did wear masks anywhere “indoors” in the resort (which was almost nowhere because it was open air, but people erred on the side of caution). We actually felt safer there than in the U.S., as St. Martin only had 46 cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic! As I mentioned we were tested both ways, and also participated in daily contact tracing. All in all, it was worth the extra steps for peace of mind. It was a GREAT time to travel, crowd-wise. The resort only had about 20 people there, so it was super quiet and relaxing!
If you all are interested, I linked up what I packed, here.
Hope everyone has a great rest of their week! And I can’t wait to hear where you all go when travel is back in full force!