La Samanna – Baie Longue, St. Martin, Lesser Antilles (French West Indies)

Caribbean Magic with a Moroccan Flair

La Samanna offers service, food, and ambience so special that most guests never venture beyond the tony, sybaritic enclave’s 55 impeccably groomed beachfront acres. Though located on the French side of an island split between France and the Netherlands, the feel is evocative of the Mediterranean and Morocco, with whitewashed villas and patios, hand- painted tiles adding splashes of color, and bold fabrics in hues drawn from the sea and sky.

The hotel’s glorious Baie Longue Beach, the island’s nicest, stretches for what seems like miles, promising untrammeled beauty and privacy. And in the evenings, a dramatic tented bar and terrace surrounded by bougainvillea and alla-manda is the spot for elegant candlelit dinners, and the chance to sample from the hotel’s prodigious wine cellar. Rates are high but pre­tension is low, and “name” patrons adorn the guest book but then disappear for a memorable stay that can be filled with every imaginable sport, or nothing more than a good book.

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