Rachel and Kyle Ford relaxing at Anse Marcel Beach Resort, St. Martin, 2015.

Rachel and Kyle Ford relaxing at Anse Marcel Beach Resort, St. Martin, 2015.

Every year in November, Kyle and I take a much-needed vacation to the French island of St. Martin.  Here are some of the highlights from this year.

We prefer to stay on Anse Marcel Beach and this year we discovered our new favorite hotel, the Anse Marcel Beach Resort.  While this gorgeous, isolated beach requires a rental car and a drive up and down one of the steepest hills I've seen since Lombard Street, the destination is well worth the journey.

Aside from Anse Marcel, our absolute version of paradise is a small island a short ferry ride away, called Pinel.  We like to claim lounges at Yellow Beach and stay for the day.  The highlight this year was the table- placed right in the water for our bottle of rosé.

Each morning, we enjoyed a Parisian breakfast (cappuccino and croissant, please) at French market and wine shop, Bacchus.  Of course, we'd purchase a few extra baguettes and pastries for our evening happy hour on our terrace.  And, then, there were the [many] beverages (with a view!).  One of our favorite lunch spots is Rancho Del Sol, where we enjoyed breathtaking scenery while nibbling on everything from nachos to seared tuna and french fries.

I discovered a pharmacy with French products that I love (Phyto! L'Occitane!) for a fraction of the US price, which I happily stocked up on.

And this year, we finally made it to Bikini Beach, which was sadly over-run with seaweed last year.  On this trip, we also had the brilliant idea to stop in the town of Marigot for lunch, both when we landed and before we departed.  Our favorite restaurant in Marigot is Bistro De La Mer.

Referred to as the 'culinary capital of the Caribbean,' we enjoyed our evening meals in the town of Grand Case, where we dined upon delicious French meals and fine wine.  Some of our favorites include: Bistrot Caraibes, L'Auberge Gourmande, Le Cottage, Le Pressoir, and Calmos Cafe.

When it came time to depart for NYC, we took the advice of some friends, dropped our suitcases at the airport, and took a short cab ride to Sunset Grill for a last Carib while the planes flew dangerously close overhead.  We knew it was time to head back when we saw our plane come in!

Until next year, SXM!