Saturday, June 22, 2024

Escape to La Samanna in St. Martin

Finally, with the vaccine rollouts, we can see sunshine at the end of the travel tunnel!

And I was fortunate to see some true sunlight with my wife this past week at the re-opening of the stunning La Samanna, a Belmond Hotel in St. Martin.

As people begin to travel again, one of the first concerns is about the safety and protocols for the flights, the country to where they are traveling and the hotel itself. Personally, I am a loyal Delta Airlines traveler. They have taken the additional step of distancing flyers by blocking middle seats, offering some space while flying along with mandatory face coverings over your nose and mouth. St. Martin has also taken the extra steps to ensure that their tourists and residents remain COVID-free. You must fill out online forms and upload your recent negative test results in order to get approved to enter the country. These documents are checked prior to boarding your flight and upon entry to St. Martin.

Belmond La Samanna had all of the health and safety procedures in place. From fully masked staff, an automatic temperature reading upon entry to the lobby, distancing at the pool and restaurants and a wonderful health kit waiting for you on your bed, each concern that you may have was addressed.

Once we walked into the lobby, the bright blue ocean was a quick reminder of how travel transforms you. I took a deep breath, my shoulders relaxed and I knew it would be a revitalizing vacation. We were greeted by the lovely Matthias, Francisco and Stephanie with champagne in hand to get us checked in for our room. The room was ready upon our arrival and we stood in awe of the views from our terrace. I knew I was going to have to work a little during this trip and the terrace off of our room made for the perfect spot.

Our first stop was the pool for a little food and some sunshine. La Samanna has two pools that feature different experiences. The first day we decided to try the main pool and it was paradise. The views of the ocean combined with the delicious food and craft cocktails made and delivered by the delightful Bruna was the perfect kick off to this trip.

And what would a trip to a French island be without a wine and cheese tasting? La Samanna has an amazing space called The Cave which is exactly what it sounds like! From the sunlight and warmth, we walked into the dark and cool wine cellar with our guide and sommelier, Luca. He had us all set up for our private tasting with candle light, chilled white wines and an assortment of cheeses. Luca is from Sicily and had worked at the other Belmond properties in Tuscany, so it was fun for us to ask questions about wines from all over the world. His stories were delightful and the wines he selected for us were unique and delicious. It is an experience that you will want to have during your stay.

We dined that evening at the premier restaurant on property called L’Oursin. The views of the ocean along with the fresh seafood and service by the adorable Walter, made it the romantic meal that met all of our expectations. Walter even made us an excellent Manhattan night cap to take to our terrace to close out the night.

The next day, we were off to explore the infinity pool which is next to a more casual dining spot called Laplaj. The pool was wonderful and the fish tacos for lunch were fresh and delicious. Yet another perfect day in paradise.

We were delighted to be staying at La Samanna on the night that they were having an outdoor BBQ and live music. Our night started with dirty martinis at the beach bar made by Sebastian. He did not disappoint with his bartending skills! We moved to a table overlooking the ocean where we were served salads, shrimp, fresh fish, ribs, chicken and steak all while listening to live music. It was definitely the perfect last evening on our trip.

In order to go back into the United States, it was necessary to get a negative COVID test within 48 hours of departure from St Martin. Appoline, who is in charge of the good health of all guests, assisted us in getting our testing completed on property with results in only 15 mins. One of the other safety features that I was quite impressed with is Belmond’s new app. You can get all services via messenger and their responses were so quick. I also loved the “passport” booklet that they gave us upon check in. It featured scan codes for anything you might need on the property.

I have to give props to Eleanore who is the General Manager at La Samanna. Her team was warm, kind and incredibly good at their jobs. Of course I always am happy to meet a woman General Manager who is truly fantastic at her job.

Also, in full disclosure, I proudly serve on the LGBTQ Advisory Board for Belmond under the guidance of an amazing man, Elio. He is constantly searching for more ways that Belmond can better accommodate and welcome our community.

Hotel information:

If you book a stay at this property through me, you will receive the following perks:

Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

Daily Buffet breakfast for two guests per bedroom

A complimentary lunch for up to two people once during stay, excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities

Fruit basket in the room

Complimentary Wi-Fi

Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

For stays of 5 nights or more:

One day luxury car rental (tax, gas, and insurance additional)

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