We stayed at the Quintess Colibri villa in Saint Martin at the end of January. We loved the people we were with, the home, the beach, and the level of service provided by La Samanna and our charming Host. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Quintess St Marten view

Plus, the gym, tennis courts and boutiques are all just a short distance away and the villa is wonderful, with a fantastic entertaining area and a large yard with an amazing view. Our daughter became engaged shortly before we left for the trip, so we kept looking at the yard with the breathtaking view of the bay and the island grasses thinking it would be a great place for an intimate destination wedding. We so enjoyed spending time with our friends, taking in the views and laughing at the friendly iguanas lounging on the rocks that we didn't feel the need to go too far. There's nothing quite like waking up by the ocean, walking down to find a great spot on your own private beach and then spending the day snorkeling, swimming or just walking in the sand. Whereas when you go on a safari, you want to wake up every day and see new things, Saint Martin is the kind of place that you can just relax for the whole trip. What a getaway.

One day we took a trip to Pinel Island, which was lovely. We had a fantastic lunch at a restaurant on the island and then we spent the day snorkeling in the quiet waters. We would love to do that again. We also ventured out to the French side of the island, where we discovered exceptional restaurants, including the feet-in-the-sand La Cigale, where we dined twice. One evening we made the short journey out to Grand Case, a Creole village by the sea that features a street market on Tuesday nights, called Mardis de Grand Case. The atmosphere there is a lot of fun – it's a festival of sorts, with a parade and cars parked for miles out of town. We arrived around 5:00 p.m., walked around for an hour, had dinner, and then departed before the traffic got too crazy. It was a great time.

Quintess St Marten Boat Trip

During our trip, we saw an enormous yacht in the bay and then later a helicopter hovering very close to the yacht. Then we saw skidoos speeding across the bay as if they were racing, again and again. After speculating about which celebrity yacht it might be (Kate Middleton and her family were rumored to be vacationing in the Caribbean), we asked a few locals, who revealed that they may have been filming a new James Bond film in Saint Martin waters. Though we couldn't confirm the reports, it was exciting to be close to the action.

Also, I just have to share, last February we took a family trip to Los Cabos, Mexico. There were fourteen of us, including six grandchildren, and we stayed for five nights in two Cielos homes that were just one house apart from one another. Everyone had the time of their lives. Our daughter, who's getting a PhD in comparative literature and speaks Spanish like a native, was totally in her element and two of our grandchildren, who were each three years old at the time, found their new Cabo home to be so comfortable that they flat out refused to leave at the end of the trip. The two seven-year-old grandchildren were slightly more sophisticated, presenting a list of reasons why we should never leave Los Cabos. I know we're all looking forward to returning to Cielos Palmillas in February of 2013, when we'll celebrate the joyous event of our daughter's wedding.

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