Terres Basses, St. Martin

Photo: Belmond
Photo: Belmond

Supposedly, moms don’t have favorites. Yours repeatedly said that she loved you and your siblings equally when you were little. Now she tries to balance out visits and phone calls so no one feels left out. But you’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that she really does prefer being with one of you more than the others. So this Mother’s Day, you’re going to tip the odds in your favor.

Your mom has been to St. Martin before. Well, technically, she’s been to St. Maarten before. The Dutch side of the island is home to Maho Beach and lots of duty-free shopping. Open-air restaurants and beach bars line the boardwalks. While huge cruise ships dock in Philipsburg, the busy capital. This time, you’re heading to the quieter French side, though. The northern—and larger—half of the island doesn’t have the casinos or the nightlife for which the Dutch side is famous. Instead, you’ll find lots of postcard-worthy, white-sand beaches.

Terres Basses isn’t far from either the airport or Marigot, the capital of the French side, but it feels worlds away from both on the western edge of the island. When you and your mom arrive in the French Lowlands, you find Baie Longue, a crescent-shaped beach with sugary sand and a view of the Caribbean Sea. Many consider it the most-beautiful beach on the entire island. And it’s nearly empty. A single resort—your resort—flows down the hillside and onto the sand.

Photo: Belmond
Photo: Belmond

That resort is Belmond La Samanna. Its whitewashed buildings are surrounded by tropical gardens. Your ocean-view room—decorated with hues that match the sand, the water, and the clouds—blends in with its surroundings. The balcony has an uninterrupted view of the calm turquoise water. Two freshwater pools sit near the beach and the al fresco restaurant. Plus bamboo beach cabanas provide protection from the hot sun. The two of you are already feeling quite relaxed.

Spend the next few days spoiling your mom. Eat breakfast at Interlude and watch the water shimmer as the sun rises higher and higher in the sky. Swim laps in the infinity pool before the sun loungers surrounding it start to fill up. Relax in an outdoor treatment room at the spa—-you’ll be glad you booked a sunburn rescue moisturizing wrap after a few days in the sun. Choose between a healthy salad or the delicious smelling grilled fish at the Beach Bar for lunch.

Feel like royalty in one of the beach cabanas, which is filled with a wraparound sofa bed, lots of pillows, and two loaded iPods. Use the flag service when you need another fruity drink. Rock in hammocks before returning to your room. Then dine on lobster and a decadent bottle of French wine at Trellis as the sun sets. There should be no question who the favorite is now.

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