An exclusive retreat on Anguilla pampers guests with privacy, luxury and service, writes.
From the beach in front of Cap Juluca on Anguilla, the island of St. Maarten looks close enough to touch. But under a broiling Caribbean sun occasionally cooled by a plump passing cloud, I find it far better to reach for a rum punch. And with ever-present staff eager to please by bringing drinks, towels, iced water or food, elite treatment is never far from hand.
Cap Juluca, a luxury resort that attracts celebrities, such as Liam Neeson, Jennifer Aniston and Denzel Washington, has recently undergone a multi-million refurbishment to enhance its already upscale allure.
Perched on the sweeping mile-long crescent beach of Maundays Bay, the resort is a 179-acre haven of sand and water with stylishly warm Greco-Moorish architecture housing 69 guestrooms, villas and suites amid lush landscaping refreshed with 60,000 new flowering plants.
All rooms have been repainted and sport clean lines, splashes of color, new amenities, furnishings and Frette linens and towels, along with cool abstract art and killer views of the Caribbean.
My one-bedroom unit was elegant and simple, navy-colored accents breaking up white walls and dark molding, and French doors opening to a cozy white-stone patio and that beckoning beach beyond.
A highlight of the refurbishment is the new Jonquil Suite, a 3,290-square-foot villa with two master bedrooms, a sitting room, full-service kitchen, oceanfront dining terrace, Jacuzzi and private, freshwater infinity pool.
The wood-beamed ceilings, bold geometric patterns and textured jute and shag rugs, along with pops of turquoise, make the Jonquil the go-to suite for a luxurious stay.
The resort’s dining venues have also received a boost, including the main restaurant Pimms (a Wine Spectator 2011 Award of Excellence winner) with its spectacular beachside location.
The menu, already heavy on seafood, goes even more so this time around, according to owners Charles and Linda Hickox, who oversaw much of the resort’s redesign. Lobster dominates, naturally. My favorite dish is the delicious out-of-the shell pan-roasted island lobster with basil butter sauce.
For other meals with a dazzling view, try Blue, an open-air affair redesigned with a bright white and pale azure backdrop, accented with vibrant colors, and hosting barbecue nights, live reggae music and beach dancing. It’s a great place for breakfast, where the lobster omelet is insanely decadent.
The Spice Lounge evokes a Moroccan ambience, a waterfront bar with music, dancing and a new global tapas menu. And don’t miss Maundays Bar at the refurbished main house/lobby, redone with rattan furniture, dark woods and romantic lighting.
If you’re up for athletic endeavors, chat up Activities Director Cardigan Connor, a native Anguillan and retired cricket champion who at 52 looks more like 32 and is renowned for his work as a personal trainer and masseur to Steven Tyler, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick.
Whatever happens, you’ll likely be drawn back time and again to that wonderful beach, St. Maarten so tantalizingly close – and now easy to actually touch. The resort just introduced its new Juluca Pride, a luxury cruiser that takes guests on private charters to St. Maarten and St. Barth’s, making leaving the beach so much easier. capjuluca.com