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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Stick to Your Budget in St. Martin

New JetBlue service to the island (from $125 each way) started January 17; stay on the French side for an affordable escape to tropical paradise.


1. Where to Stay


Just across the border, ten minutes from Dutch St. Martin’s Princess Juliana airport, La Samanna isn’t cheap, but you can stay at the tony property, the only real luxury hotel on the island, for a relatively reasonable rate during the hotel’s Best Deal Days (from $675 for high season; from $395 for low). Beachfront rooms are somewhat dated-looking (bright colors, bamboo furniture, and terra-cotta floors), so get your ocean views in a remodeled deluxe room in the Main House. At the new beach bar, the infinity pool overlooks the pristine Baie Longue.

In Grand Case, the island’s gastronomic capital known for its beachside restaurant row, L’Esplanade (from $495 for high season; from $245 for low) has 24 rooms with ocean views, Balinese furniture, and fully equipped kitchens. The best bargains are the recently revamped deluxe studios, with private terraces and open-air showers. Find free beach access and lounge chairs two miles away at sister property Le Petit Hotel. Neither hotel has a restaurant, but owners Kristin and Marc Petrelluzzi (both U.S. expats), are full of recommendations for all tastes and budgets.

Book the Nacre suite at Sol e Luna, a popular restaurant turned inn in Mt. Vernon (from $180 for high season; from $150 for low), for its white on white décor and private outdoor Jacuzzi. Though the neighborhood is residential, the hotel is a quick drive from both Orient Beach and Grand Case (and ten miles from the airport) and its six rooms come with kitchenettes, expansive travertine bathrooms, and free wi-fi. If you don’t stay there, be sure to eat there: Phyllo-encrusted seven-hour lamb is a house specialty.

Published on Jan 15, 2008 as a web exclusive.

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