Just returned from 8 nights at La Samanna and had a fantastic time. I am so glad I did not listen to any of the negative reviews about this property. I would love to help other couples contimplating going to this resort, so I am writing a very honest review and hope to give some tips to others traveling here. The hotel and grounds are beautiful, service is good and although it is expensive it is not pretentious or stuffy. It is to me, one of the best resorts I have stayed at, and I will definitely return in the future. I will review the resort in sections to make it easier to reference.
Arrival and room: First of all, it is low season, so great rates are available. We were part of a 2 night free promtion which included an upgrade to a one bedroom suite. When we arrived (late at night and exhausted with our rental car) we were greeted by the doorman who took our key and just said go inside I'll take care of everything. So nice. Then we received a cool towel and a tropical drink as we checked in. The desk person was pleasant and told me we would be receiving a suite. Her personally walked us up to the suite to show us around. Our suite was located in the mail building (in the pictures its the bigger building that they show) I think there is a mix of regular rooms and a few suites. We were on the 3rd floor in a suite called the Terrace Suite. It was amazing. Beautifully decorated living room, bedroom, great bathroom with caribbean tile double showers, double sinks, bathtub and great closet area with safe. The furnishings were caribbean flair and beautiful but also comfortable. The bed was a four poster bed. Flat screen TV's in both living room and bedroom. But the greatest part, is the outside. Our suite had 3 terraces! One long one in the front, another on the side with a couch, table and chairs, wet bar and fridge, then another round terrace with lounge chairs, all with sweeping views of the beach and ocean. Just beyond beautiful. I would recommend this suite if possible. It is nice to be in the main building, since you just go downstairs for breakfast, concierge, etc. Only issue is, no elevator, but it adds to the charm of the hotel and the steps weren't that bad. Rooms included a hair dryer, bug spray (leave yours at home), great toiletries french soaps and shampoos, robes and towels to use out on the terrace. We received a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit, welcome notes from the manager and also a welcome gift of a candle and a departing we also received another candle, very nice touch.
Pools and Beach: The main pool was great but the beach and beach bar are the star of this resort. We visited many other beaches on the island and this by far is the nicest beach. It is so private and beatuful, you basicaly have it all to yourself. Since this hotel is smaller, and has very few kids (I only saw 2 the entire time and only at breakfast) it is ultimate relaxtion. Free wi fi worked good on our phones at the beach bar. We sat at the beach and you can raise your service flag is you need something. We also sat up at the beach bar and used the infinity pool quite a bit. there is a watersports hut on the beach, and they were helpful. There is pretty decent snorkeling right at this beach! Its around the rocks all the way to the left below the villas. A lot of fish and some cool things, definitley good for free! We also took a snorkeling trip through the hotel (their own boat) wiht one other couple for $75 very reasonable, and great to be private...with just one other couple vs a tour trip on the island with like 30 people. So this was a great amenity for us.
Service - Any staff that we encountered were pleasant and friendly. The concierge was always hepful, and housekeeprs very sweet. Loved Reggie the doorman. However, I would agree with other reviews that this is one area that is sort of lacking in terms of it being a 4 diamond and leading small hotel of the world property. For example, at the beach bar, no one really comes to your chair to ask you if you want drinks, there is no designated server there. Once in a while someone would come, but I would say maybe 2-3 times in 8 days. Sort of odd, since they'd make alot more money if they approached people. But other than that everyone was friendly and nice. It wasnt a big deal to get up and go up to the bar to get a drink or whatever. But if you are expecting to be waited on hand and foot, then this is not for you. I woudlnt describe it as 5 star Pennisula Hotel or Ritz in the U.S. service, but I think people need to remember its the Caribbean, and the pace is slow. Also its on the French side, and it has a little more of a European hotel feel, so different than American standards. The French are used to taking their time after meals, sipping coffee and having pastries, where Americans tend to want their checks. They will accomodate you in this respect once you just make it known to them. Its vacation after all and if you just relax and go with the flow you will not find any problems. If you are a picky person who is expecting ultimate luxurious service it may not be for you. Actually, St. Martin would not be for you. I would try St. Barts for that.
Prices - ok, don't go to this hotel if you want to eat all of your meals at the hotel. It is not an all inclusive and yes its very expensive. But, breakfast is included, so we always ate a big breakfast and only ate lunch at the beach bar a few times. The breakfast is decent, not the best buffet I've ever had, but good. And the beach bar food was excellent, and they will make a special plate for you if you want, say a cheeseburger or chicken sandwich. All you have to do is ask. However....you need a CAR on this island. We went to a local grocery store like 5 minutes away, to get snacks for room, soda, etc. the little fridge we had was very convienent for this. Also they give you free bottled water in your room every night. Trust me, there are so many great restaurants, we went out to dinner every night. there arent casual eating options at this resort, and a car is a must.
Location - This is important, because for those of you who think you don't want to stay on the French side you need to understand where La Samanna is. It is just over the border on the French side, and is actually closer to the dutch towns than Marigot or the more French towns. It is a great location. Just minutes to Maho and Simpson Bay and the airport. These areas had great nightlife and were our favorites. It is not locatedin the very "French" part of the island, so its a good mix of Americans, French, all different type of people. You definitely need a car this is a must!
So overall, this property is beautiful. Clean, beautiful landsape, great rooms, amazing beach and pool areas, private, quiet, romantic, good amenities. Not much more you can ask for. I would be happy to provide more information on this resort or the island of St. Martin, just email me through my profile. I miss it already!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Belmond La Samanna nestles amongst lush gardens overlooking 55 acres of spectacular beachfront. A complete resort in itself, Belmond La Samanna offers a spectacular private beach, two poolside terraces, 83 luxurious rooms and suites and 8 recently renovated 4600sq. ft. villas with private pools. Enjoy its sophisticated food offerings and award winning wine cellar, indulge in its European Elysees Spa, or simply enjoy the privacy and relaxation of this sophisticated and sensual French-Caribbean enclave. Gourmet dishes are served in the elegant Trellis, and Baie Longue Bar offers pool-side dining and views of Baie Long Beach. Dine on your private terrace and later enjoy a drink from the wine cellar. Belmond La Samanna is everything you could wish for in a Caribbean hideaway. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Samanna By Orient-Express Hotel St. Maarten/St. Martin
- La Samanna Hotel
- La Samanna Resort St Martin