White sand beaches and first-class accommodations make this Caribbean destination a must visit.
That’s because Anguilla, which rhymes with “vanilla,” bans large airplanes, commercial cruise ships (over 500 passengers), casinos, Jet Skis, most fast-food chain restaurants and duty-free stores. Thus, what you do get is a serene sense of seclusion on an island, roughly the size of Nantucket, with dozens of creamy-white sand beaches, exquisite hotels and resorts, standout food, and a warm and welcoming culture that feels authentic.
Not to be confused with Antigua, Anguilla lies 165 miles east of Puerto Rico and can be reached in 20 minutes by ferry from St. Martin, which is where most airplanes from Boston land. The Arawak and Carib peoples founded the long, slender cay, which became a British colony in 1650 when British settlers arrived and named it after the European term for eel. Now Anguilla functions as a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom, meaning you’ll need a passport per British law and the locals speak English.
“Anguilla is a small, noncommercialized island with friendly people, wonderful cuisine, and a safe environment,” says Paulo Paias, general manager of Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa, a luxurious beachfront resort on the north side of the island. Voted the #1 hotel on Anguilla and #2 in the Caribbean by U.S. News & World Report in 2019, the intimate 65-room getaway lies nestled on six lush acres drenched with fuchsia bougainvillea and palms overlooking the warm, turquoise waters of Shoal East Bay. Rooms and suites blend into the natural surroundings with decorative elements in wood, wicker, cotton, and stone. The spa, tucked into an authentic, 300-year-old dark-wood Thai home, has the only hammam on the island, along with five treatment rooms, a yoga deck, and a pebble-filled meditation sanctuary. A second-level adults-only lounge pool offers a quiet place to read and relax, while a lower-level pool lies steps from the resort’s casual toes-in-the-sand restaurant and bar, where you can watch the sun set with a cocktail before feasting alfresco on fresh local seafood, like conch and Caribbean lobster. For more formal meals, Stone offers upscale island specialties, such as pan-seared mahi-mahi with leek confit and potato foam, while the opulent Rhum Room with its 100-plus small-batch, single-estate rum selection, is your ultimate spot for a nightcap.
Should you, and perhaps your family, prefer to spread out on a larger property there is CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa on the southern side of the island. “The newly transformed property has all the elements of a 5-star resort,” says president and managing director, Stephane Zaharia, “including stunning beachfront accommodations hugging the shoreline of Rendezvous Bay; a world-class spa by CuisinArt; an18-hole, Greg Norman Signature Design Championship Course; and myriad culinary specialties.”
Leandro Rizzuto founded the property and with his parents built the Conair hair products company, which in 1989 acquired kitchen appliance maker Cuisinart. Check-in occurs in the sparkling white lobby with carved mosaic columns, chandeliers, and a dramatic vista down to the beach via a series of feature pools. The resort’s 91 suites and 7 villas reside in various Greek-style whitewashed buildings and feature marble bathrooms, fresh white walls, and, in most cases, ocean views.
For dining, Beach Bar & Grill lies steps from the sand and offers Caribbean specialties, like vegetable roti and Jamaican jerk chicken, while Mosaic, adjacent to the central pool, offers an all-day global menu. Santorini serves Mediterranean dishes and Tokyo Bay is your go-to spot for sushi.
Anguilla has put itself on the map for the quality of its food and not just in the many resorts sprinkled across the island. In the mid-1980s, the luxury getaway, Malliouhana brought in father and son Michelin-starred French chefs, Joseph and Michel Rostang. Other high-end properties began opening up their own upscale restaurants, and local establishments upped the ante regarding the quality of their food as well. The island now has an award-winning Anguilla National Culinary Team and over 100 local eateries, ranging from roadside barbecue joints to beachfront seafood shacks like Sunshine Shack in Rendezvous Bay famous for its grilled Caribbean lobster, chicken and ribs. What’s more, Anguilla will celebrate its second annual weeklong food festival—Extraordinary Eats!—in April 2020. In fact, Anguilla harvests its own salt. You can purchase it in island gift shops, including the one at Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa, as a fond reminder of your time on the island. ↵
Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa | zemibeach.com
CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa | cuisinartresort.com