by Steve Baker
After a few days in Anguilla, our team of lucky travel vets caught a late afternoon ferry over to St. Martin to start our tour of the island villas, hotels and of course the
restaurants. We were met at the ferry in Marigot and we scooted over to the beautiful Villa Terrasse de Mer, overlooking Baie Rouge beach, with bays and hills in the distance. The housekeeper, Paula, welcomed us with a big smile (and a hug for Lidy), and took us on a tour of the house. Two bedrooms open into the villa, while the other two extend off the pool deck and a separate cottage in the back.
With a spirited guide, we toured a number of villas in the Terres Basses area, which is very close to La Samanna Hotel. A stunning hotel with architecture reminiscent of the Greek isles, the resort sits on glorious Baie Longue Beach with its turquoise water.
Named "love nest", this villa is a well-thought-out two bedroom, with views of the beach and a shimmering pool, complete with a small waterfall (while in the love nest, right?). The master bathroom is expansive, with his and her sinks and several large windows, allowing for lots of natural St. Martin light. An enclosed gazebo by the pool makes for an ideal lunch spot when it’s a bit breezy.
Also in Terres Basses and sitting right on the sand of Baie Rouge Beach, Villa Little Jazz Bird has the best of both worlds: complete beach access and a sprawling pool and patio. This four bedroom villa has daybeds in the master (nice for small children who need to stay close to their parents) and a lovely outdoor table with umbrellas for lunch and dinner by the pool.
After a grand tour, we took a late lunch at Dreams Beach in nearby Sandy Ground, indulging in a sushi platter to beat all other sushi platters (known as “the sushi trilogy”).
We loved Villa SHE HAR - Villa Harmony
in Maundays Bay, with its views of the north shore of St. Martin and lush greenery out front. With both an upper and lower level and two pools, the house allows for a large group to find different areas of privacy and tranquility. The villa is equipped with a 12-passenger golf cart to zoom off to nearby hotel Cap Juluca’s beaches and restaurants—a nice (and yes, very fun) perk!
We awoke to a hot and joyful St. Martin morning and started our next round of tours. Villa C COR - Villa Coral a modern two bedroom with clean lines was a highlight. The design fuses both traditional Caribbean style—red roofs, colorful umbrellas and fragrant flowers throughout—with a modern simplicity—an infinity pool with dark hints of indigo, an updated kitchen with an island and barstools, and a media room hideaway. The master bath features a stone-tiled outdoor shower, and the upper viewing deck has a 200-degree view. We love the features on this house, especially since it’s a two-bedroom.
A four bedroom near Plum Bay, has recently been redone. They’ve expanded the terrace and refinished the pool in a flush Travertine and River-rock, which cascades to a lower shallow pool perfect for children. The deck, a rich mahogany color, provides ample room for chaise lounges, and the views of lush gardens and the sea just beyond it sets the perfect calming ambiance. The master bedroom and all bathrooms have been renovated (think tufted ottomans at the foot of each bed and open showers with large frosted glasses). The style is a mix of subdued cream-colored elegance and style features that feel so appropriate to Caribbean living. We loved the updates that have been made here!
Later in the day we stopped for lunch in the Marina in Marigot and sampled the ceviche of (what else) mahi-mahi!
We took a quick trip to the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort to see if it is the best hotel for our guests who may require an overnight stay en route to St. Barths. While a large estate (ten acres and 395 rooms) and very convenient to one of the airports, it is a hotel that may be fine value for a short trip, but otherwise we’d still suggest La Samanna for a layover.
It wouldn’t be a trip to St. Martin for us without a sojourn at Mario’s Bistro, so we appointed that our farewell dinner spot. It’s a lovely setting right on the canal of the Sandy Ground area near Marigot, and it’s lots of fun watching the small boats coming and going from Simpson Bay. Lidy noted that St. Martin as an island has gone through some wonderful improvements as of late—the area between Nettle Bay and Marigot looks tidy and more cheerful than in years past.
We had a lovely trip to St. Martin and were reminded what an indeed, friendly island it is. We can’t wait to tell you about it, and tell you how easy it is to get there!