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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Escape the Crowds in French St. Martin

Forget traffic jams and overcrowded northeastern beaches—you’ll find empty stretches of sand and discounted summer rates on this spectacular Caribbean island.


1. Where to Stay

The Karibuni Lodge offers free boat rides to nearby Pinel Island.  

Explore eighteen lush waterfront acres at the Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa (from $194, including breakfast), tucked away in the Anse Marcel cove on the island’s northern end. Decorated in cheery yellows, greens, and blues, each of the hotel’s 250 rooms and suites was renovated in December 2011, and the property features all of the things you would expect from a resort, including a massive infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. For a private balcony with views of gleaming yachts, book a Marina Suite, which starts at $899 during the high season but is currently discounted at $638.

Lounge in the poolside hammock at the charming Karibuni Lodge (from $283, including breakfast), a two-and-a-half-year-old, family-run boutique property with six color-themed suites that boast king-size beds and simple island-inspired décor. (Book the Pink Suite for your own private pool.) Perched above the Bay de Cul-de-Sac, the hotel is perfectly situated for a day trip to the nearby islets: Pinel, Little Key, and Tintamarre.

Enjoy a secluded two-mile, white-sand beach with butler service at the newly renovated La Samanna (from $445, including breakfast), located near the French-Dutch border on the western coast. All 83 rooms and suites feature sea views and an updated white-and-beige décor, but for a splurge you can book a one-bedroom suite featuring a terrace and private plunge pool for $1,145, down from the high season rate of $2,500. You’ll have the property nearly all to yourself in spring and summer, which make the two pools, massive floating trampoline, and new open-air Baie Longue bar all the more enjoyable.

Published on May 31, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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