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Based in London, I have been visiting St Maarten for over 15 years, and for an island that's barely 37sq miles, I have always been amazed by the incredible choice of activities and the contrast of the French and Dutch sides.

I vividly remember the day of my first visit to the island when I walked through immigration and then literally straight out of the airport. The fact there was no long queues at Customs made me feel wonderfully liberated.

With well over 25 years working with Caribbean tourism organisations and selling vacations to this beautiful part of the world, this tiny island was like a breath of fresh air. It had nicely balanced traditional old school Caribbean with a dash of European modernism not to mention it being a stones throw away from Anguilla and St Barths.

Like any excited tourist, I had read about all these restaurants on the island and I wanted to count them all to confirm that there were really over 300 eateries. I seem to remember stopping after 130 and gave them the benefit of the doubt.

I fell in love straight away and decided out of all the umpteen islands I had visited, this is where I wanted to lay my hat and make it my home in the sun. Conscious of suffering a little mild sun stroke, I thought I might get a second opinion, hence I invited a couple of well-travelled friends across in the months following and they unanimously gave it the thumbs up.

Having learnt that Orient Express who owns La Samanna on the French side was building a marina development, I investigated, had an early eveningmeeting with the sales representative and even though I couldn't quite see the plans she laid out, I was totally sold on the concept. The development has truly lived up to its expectations and I continue to savour every minute that I spend in the apartment. I love the sunrise at about 6am where the reflection on the marina just glistens and reaffirms the peacefulness at that time of the day. Outdoor dining on the covered terraced is de rigueur, it somehow makes the food and wine taste more delightful.

I am happy to share my home with you and perhaps hope to meet you one day and share your experiences and stories.

Personal Regards,
Paul Samuda
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