You Say St. Martin And I Say St. Maarten

Before you jump in and shout, “Let’s call the whole thing off!”, let me quickly point out we are both correct . . assuming we are both talking about the enchanted Caribbean island located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles.  St. Martin is the common English spelling and St. Maarten is the traditional Dutch spelling.  St. Morton is a complete mauling of the name and indicates you probably have way too much salt in your diet.

St. Maarten coastlineChristopher Columbus discovered St. Maarten on November 11th, the holy day of St. Martin of Tours, and thus named the island after him.  If I had known back in college days that all you had to do to get an island named after you is become a saint, I might have behaved a little better.   I am not suggesting by the picture below that this constituted Christopher’s mode of transportation.  I remember from zoology class that there are such things as sea horses but I am relatively certain these are not examples.St. Maarten horseback riding

One of the peculiarities of this tiny island is that it is shared by two sovereign nations, Holland and France.   This fact no doubt explains the provocative phrase the tourist board likes to bandy about. “Where European sophistication and raw island passion have fallen in love.”   Another way to say it is St. Maarten is a “Caribbean Paradise with European Panache”.   Suffice it to say that there is a lot of “Old World” charm on this “New World” isle.

I could ramble on about the myriad activities (take horseback riding on the beach, as a random example), the splendid and variegated beaches, the night life that never ends (can you say 14 world-class, Vegas style casinos) and the dozens of dazzling places to dine but, as you no doubt have observed from past posts, I am a humble man of very few words.  You haven’t noticed?

I would much rather husband our brief time together and tell you about an amazing resort located on this Caribbean gem.  I am referring to none other than the incomparable

La Samanna

The name of this resort comes from the owner’s three children:  Samantha, Natalie and Amanda.  It’s fortunate he wasn’t more prolific or the resort might be unpronounceable.

La Sammana Main EntranceIn the words of the The ID Travel Group brochure, “La Samanna, an Orient-Express hotel, lies in 55 acres of lush, tropical gardens, overlooking Baie Longue stretch of white
sand beach.”  This property is ideally suited for anyone looking for a place to relax and let the gently lapping waters of the bay gingerly wash away the accumulated cares deposited there by a frenetic lifestyle.  If stress is the poison that kills, La Samanna is the antidote that revives.

That doesn’t mean that resuscitation has to take only one form.  An exuberant toast shared by new-found friends under a canopy of stars can be just as invigorating as an afternoon nap in a gently St. Maarten toastswaying hammock.   A sumptuous dinner in an elegant bistro famous for their French cuisine, with apologies to Shakespeare, can serve as well to “knit the raveled sleeve of care” as a restful night’s repose.

Here is one of those insider tips we love to share in these “Incredible Isles” posts.

 “For a couple looking to dine at the most exclusive and romantic table on the island, Le Cave is the spot.  Located in the wine cellar of La Samanna, guests can arrange a private dinner with a customized tasting menu and wine pairings.  It is the most amazing setting for a special occasion.” –Jennifer Molloy, Reservations Manager.

If even these prescriptions are insufficient to straighten out the kinks in your tortured La Samanna Spapsyche, then there are always the nine beckoning spa treatment rooms where the combination of Asian transcendental music and lightly dancing magical fingers will have you slithering out of the treatment room like a great gray slug.  OK, not one of my more gentile metaphors but, you have to admit, it does evoke a powerful, if rather slimy, mental image.La Samanna Spa

I know you will be completely shocked when I tell you, I just happen to have a very special offer should you at this point be gathering up possessions to sell so you can experience La Samanna for yourself.  I am not going to give you a lot of details because 1) that is not what we do here and 2)  if I did, I would have to add a couple of hundred words in mice type of legal disclaimer.

So let me just hint that my little offer includes upgrades, paying for less nights than you stay, some free insurance and such.  If you are intrigued, contact me and I will quite gladly send you the offer . . . along with the mice type disclaimer . . . suitable for framing!

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