WHY

With crisp white villas dotted along the coast of Baie Longue’s mile-long white sands, Belmond La Samanna sits on the glamorous French side of the island. Accommodations range from deluxe oceanfront rooms with private balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea to three-bedroom cottages to four-bedroom private pool villas with wrap-around terraces, full kitchens and beachfront infinity pools. Guests can have a private dining experience nightly; options include beach picnics in the sand; in-room al fresco set-up on the balcony; and candlelit dinners in La Cave Wine Cellar – the largest private wine cellar in the Caribbean. New activities on offer in 2021 include a private turtle conservation experience where guests can watch baby turtles hatch and make their way out to sea, with 60 percent of the proceeds supporting Sea Shepherds SXM and their work in supporting marine life in Saint Martin. Guests will also have the exclusive opportunity to explore the historic, uninhabited island of Tintamarre with a marine conservationist; the pre-dawn experience allows travelers to spot Hawksbill sea turtles, schools of dolphins, fire corals, and the occasional humpback whale (during their mating season January-March). Rates in 2021 start from $575 per night excluding tax for a Deluxe Ocean View room.

HOW

With the borders now open between the Dutch and French sides of the island, travelers can fly into Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on the Dutch side, before crossing into the French side to vacation at Belmond La Samanna. Travelers from various states across the U.S. can fly direct into SXM with airlines like JetBlue, Delta, and United. New flights from Newark to SXM have recently launched on JetBlue.

While on property, guests can feel at ease with new comprehensive hygiene protocols such as digital check-in prior to arrival; restaurant menus displayed on chalkboards or printed on single-use and recyclable materials; physically-distanced wellness classes; and regular contactless temperature checks for all guests periodically throughout their stay.

RULES

All travelers to the island must complete a mandatory Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) whether arriving by air, boat or in transit. The original result of the PCR test must be uploaded upon receipt in order for the health authorization application to be processed. The processing time can take up to 12 hours. Children ages 10 and under are exempt from the mandatory rt-PCR tests. Travelers to the island are required to have health insurance coverage for their stay (additional insurance covering Covid-19 related expenses is strongly recommended) and are subject to temperature checks at the Airport Health Checkpoint. Should temperatures be abnormal, the guest would be subject to mandatory testing at their own expense. Detailed guidelines can be found here.

Travelers to the island will not need to quarantine at their accommodations during their stay. However, they will be required to self-monitor their body temperature on a daily basis for 8-14 days (based on where they are traveling from); Belmond La Samanna will have a standalone temperature check station onsite. Guests will receive a daily email alert with a link to submit the required information online.