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“A detailed review of wonderful La Samanna - don't listen to the negativity”
Review of Belmond La Samanna

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Belmond La Samanna
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Terres Basses
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 31, 2010

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!!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Jen3376
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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742 - 748 of 1,143 reviews

Reviewed May 31, 2010

We arrived at La Samanna for our fourth visit a day late due to flight problems. We had purchased the Pure Romance package which included transfers from and to the airport. We contacted the concierge and our transfer was promptly rescheduled. Upon arriving at the hotel we learned that we had been upgraded to a suite which was a pleasant surprise.

We had decided to obtain our rental car from Prestige, the company that has a desk at La Samanna. That all went well until we left our lights on when we returned from dinner and found the battery dead the next morning. We elected to take a more expensive car than wait to have the battery jumped, as the lady working the desk could not tell us how long it would take to get someone out to jump start the battery. BIG MISTAKE. The car was gone by the time we were through with breakfast and we were charged for a full tank of gas, which we did not owe, and after much arguing and at the request of the hotel, was removed, and also charged for a NEW battery which they would not remove. We were quoted an increase of $4.00 per day for the upgraded car but were charged $9. That too, was not removed. We ended up paying over $400 for a $180 per week rental car. The hotel did their best to make this situation right.

As returning guests, we got a special perk, private cocktails on the beach at Sundown. Romel made us feel like royalty.

Breakfast, included, was good but we missed the egg cooking station. We had two evening meals at the restaurant included with the package. We prefer the local French restaurants in Marigot and Grand Case. However. we can find no better view of the sea than from the dining room.

Two couples massages were included and the services were excellent.

Overall, we do feel like we were at a five star hotel. We felt totally taken care of in every way. We had a wonderful suite that opened up right to the sea and the view is spectacular. Housekeeping was great.

If you are wanting a hotel that is like an upscale US hotel, you won't find it at La Samanna. What you will find is a charming, beautiful older hotel on the most beautiful beach we have ever visited. There is no hustle and bustle. The atmosphere is very relaxed and unhurried.

We hope to return same time next year.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sandra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2010

We just returned from four nights at La Samanna and it was wonderful. The resort is fabulous and if you are looking for pure R&R you will get it at La Samanna. We found every single La Samanna employee we interacted with to be extremely pleasant, friendly and willing to go above and beyond to help in any way. We stayed in the basic beach front accomodation and found it very comfortable, very quiet and that it had everything we needed. It is definitely small, but we expected that based on the description. The infinity pool and the beach bar were great and steps away from our room. The main restaurant was great for breakfast. Our biggest (and probably only) complaint about La Samanna is that you can't really get a casual meal there for dinner. Actually, you can't get a casual or reasonably priced meal there. Although the food is fantastic, it kind of makes you feel like they are taking advantage of having you hostage at the resort. The price of entrees at the main restaurant is in the $50 range and men have to wear pants. Honestly, it was so hot I felt bad for my poor husband in pants. And one or two nights we really would have just enjoyed a simple meal. Even for lunch, it would have been nice to have a few more basic options. For example, the salad on the lunch menu cost $25 as did the basic club sandwich. The conceirge was wonderful but it was also hard to get a casual, simple or "local" cuisine suggestion from them as their recommendations were mostly five star restaurants (some good ones though!). Our favorite restaurant was one that the girls at the spa told us they really liked in Maho.

La Samanna is definitely not a place for kids or loud groups. Kids are strongly discouraged from eating in the main dining room and actually not allowed if they need a high chair. We left ours at home, but saw a couple of families and I thought they must be uncomfortable not being able to let their kids run around and be free! The first three days of our stay were so peaceful with mostly couples. The last day a group of at least 10 people arrived and they were sooooooo loud and obnoxious. They really did ruin the serenity that everyone else had been enjoying for the previous couple of days. It was no fault of La Samanna though and nothing that could really be done. We didn't let it bother us but did have to find another place to relax, read and swim.

Oh and there is a great fitness center and a great spa!

All in all, we definitely would recommend La Samanna but don't rate it as a good value because of the lack of reasonable food/meal options on the property.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JSJS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2010

We are finishing up a wonderful week at La Samanna and can't wait for a return visit! The setting is absolutely stunning and so many aspects of the place are charming and very pleasant.
The beach is almost perfect - beautiful sand, crystal clear Caribbean blue water and shining sun. Only complaint about the beach is that the beach chairs could stand to be updated, they don't reflect the fact that La Samanna is luxury property.

Our room is quaint and small, but extremely comfortable and delightfully decorated. We love the bright, Caribbean decor. The hotel grounds are beautifully landscaped and walking along the garden pathway from our room (located down on the beach) along the winding path up to the main hotel building is always such a pleasant experience.

Each morning a scrumptious breakfast buffet is served in the dining room and it is not to be missed! Unfortunately, they did away with the omelet station mid-way through our stay and we were very disappointed to see it go. It is one of the special features that lends a touch of class to La Samanna.. Hopefully they will see fit to bring it back!

We went for the Lobster Beach BBQ and sadly were disappointed. For the price, it really isn’t that good. Considering the multitude of outstanding restaurants in Grande Case, Marigot, Sandy Ground, etc we would have been better off bypassing the BBQ. We’ll know for next time.

All in all, La Samanna does most things very well.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank thetravellingkids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2010

La Samanna continues to be a jewel in the Caribbean. We stayed there many times, but after being robbed(not at La Samanna) we've been at the Malliouhana in Anguilla for almost 10 years. We decided to come back to La Samanna just for old times sake and we were very glad we did. I must admit there was a bit of apprehension because of some of the less than glowing reviews we've read.
A reservation glitch was efficiently remedied by the Front Desk upgrading our accommodation. The suite was more than adequate with a nice spacious bathroom. I especially enjoyed being able to make a cup of coffee(instant) upon arising and enjoying it on our patio.
The Breakfast Buffet (included with your room) is the best. It was outstanding years ago and the delicious tradition continues. The amicable staff in the restaurant is very attentive and they make every effort to please.
The entire staff of this facilty, including the gardeners, were extremely pleasant. We were most appreciative of the landscaping efforts which seem to be an on- going. We walked the garden path everyday always finding something to admire.
We did not utilize the pools as we love the beach, but they seemed nicely appointed and clean.
We had a wonderful time and we will positively be back.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MassachusettsSunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2010

After staying on St Maartins for many wonderful vacations, we decided to celebrate my wife's birthday at La Samanna. I stopped in to make a reservation for four and met with the concierge, Patrick, who refused to make a reservation for me. I asked why and was told that he could make a reservation at another restaurant but not there. I was told that I could call and make a res. Odd but OK, I called and made the reservation from my car cell phone. When we arrived the Maitre D had no record of our res. We waited for 30 minutes (reservation was originally set for 7:30) and we were seated at 8. The food was very disappointing - we've eaten all over the island Mario's, La Santal, le Pressoir, Spiga etc. - all were much better and for much less. Dinner for four including wine was over $500. As I thought over the night and the disappointing experience, I concluded that this was the first anti-American experience I've ever had on SXM. I've been going for nearly 20 years and had never been treated this way on either side of the island. I would definitely avoid the restaurant.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank sophias-nonno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LasaExec, Director of Operations at Belmond La Samanna, responded to this reviewResponded April 27, 2010

We would like to thank ‘sophias-nonno’ for sharing their comments. We are saddened to learn that the reservation process for their dinner led to such disappointment. Our Concierge team is available to ensure that reservation requests for our Le Reserve Restaurant are handled for guests staying with us at La Samanna as well as for visiting guests. We are proud to offer a Dining experience that is enjoyed by many, and significant advance reservations are usually handled by our Concierge and Restaurant teams daily and with complete accuracy. While we are puzzled as to the reference of ‘anti-American’, our team is honored and delighted to welcome an International clientele, many of whom are American. We hope to have an opportunity to welcome this guest in the future and we shall ensure a most enjoyable evening with us.

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Reviewed April 19, 2010

We recently spent 5 days at the La Samanna with our 15 year old son. The location is the best on the island if you are looking for a really nice and uncrowded beach. The downside is you have to drive if you want to eat elsewhere.

The attitude of the beach staff was horrible! Twice we got reprimanded, once because we did not move the beach chairs back from near the water (one would expect them to take care of it) as we left the beach and the second time when we picked up towels from the pool area early in the morning to the beach because the attendants were nowhere to be seen. In both cases, I was told "you will get me in trouble" and in the second instance, the attendant was in my face. I had to apologize to get him off my face.

Not a good way to be treated in a 4-diamond hotel, especially when the primary attraction is the beach itself.

We travel often, stay at high end places multiple times, and have never seen anything like this. We will definitely skip La Samanna in our Caribbean travels.

We rented a car from the airport (Hertz) and are very glad we did it as it gave us a chance to see the rest of the island. When we arrived however the bellman did not show up (even though one would have assumed the security at the gate would have alerted them) and I had to unload the luggage myself.

Staff elsewhere, including the hotel manager who looked dismayed when he heard our experience with the beach staff, was nice and accommodating. We did not bother complain the second time.

Rooms are ok, except for noisy air conditioners that blow straight to your face at night. Because of that we asked to change our room, and were given good alternatives. Food at the main restaurant, especially breakfast, is really good. Lunch by the beach cafe is ok, dinner not so good. Good fitness facility as well. Water sports is ok too. There is wireless internet but speed and reception varries so the best bet is to use it at the

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank athertoncalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LasaExec, Director of Operations at Belmond La Samanna, responded to this reviewResponded April 21, 2010

We would like to thank ‘athertoncalifornia’ for taking the time to share comments following their recent stay with us. While we were pleased to note that this guest particularly enjoyed our beach and location, the Restaurant Cuisine, Fitness Center and Water sports, we regret that the service approach of a Beach Attendant left such disappointment. Our Beach Service Team is positioned daily between 10am and 6pm to assist with our guests’ comfort. Refreshment service and fresh towels are offered and our Beach Team also delivers complimentary fresh fruit kebabs, ice cream and water daily throughout a guest’s stay. This team is also responsible to ensure our Beach furniture is maintained well for our guest comfort and not at risk of being lost or damaged when used close to the shore line. Regular service training programs are followed to promote the warmest standards of hospitality. We hope to have an opportunity to welcome this guest back in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond La Samanna

Address: Baie Longue | PO Box 4077, Terres Basses 86200, St Martin / St Maarten
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St Martin / St Maarten > Saint-Martin > Terres Basses
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Terres Basses
Price Range: $633 - $1,709 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond La Samanna 5*
Number of rooms: 83
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

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