If you’re looking to escape to a secluded paradise, Anguilla is the place to be.
White sand beaches and astonishing turquoise seas encapsulate the Northern Caribbean destination situated east of Puerto Rico, directly above Saint Martin. The island is easy, yet stylish. The upscale destination is a popular spot for the spritzer-sipping crowd, but the well-rounded vacation experience Anguilla offers is attractive to all.
The natives are warm and welcoming. The food is good. There’s fun stuff to do and cool things to see. Visit, if you haven’t already.
WHERE TO STAY
Situated on 35 lush acres of beachfront property, this distinctive Caribbean resort offers exquisite dining, stunning interiors, easy access to Barnes and Meads Bay, sporting facilities, an attractive spa and most importantly, ladies, a designer boutique that carries Herve Leger dresses just in case you forget yours at home.
Rally up the troops and splurge on a decked out Villa. Amenities like butler service, private spa pools and a full gourmet kitchen are included. It is also the vacation home to a few celebs, who are typically tucked away on the far end of the resort, in villas 1-3 — just in case you care.
There are 4 luxury hotels in Anguilla, and according to the 2013 US News & World Report, Cap Juluca tops the list. The light breezes of serenity and romance permeate through the hotel’s lush grounds nestled along the incomparable crescent of Maundays Bay. Enjoy fine Caribbean fusion cuisine at the property’s Blue Beachfront Bistro while taking in panoramic views of neighboring St. Maarten. And when you’re done, sign up for a guided island bike tour before returning to your private beachfront pool suite.
Anguilla’s CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa houses a hydroponic farm, harvesting broccoli rabe, bok choy, watercress, and string beans — organic travelers, this locale’s for you! But aside from fragrant herbs and healthy greenery, the sophisticated property, located on Rendezvous Bay, is home to the award-winning Venus Spa. Indulge in a rejuvenating 80-minute warm seashell massage, which employs classic massage techniques with heated seashells and purifying oils.
WHAT TO DO
Shoal Bay, Little Bay, Meads Bay, the options are endless. Our pick: board the Sea Pro, operated by the “dream team,” Wayne and Terrell, for a day trip to Sandy Island. Take a dip, eat grilled lobster and shrimp with a cold Red Stripe, and be sure to accept the offer to cliff jump en route to this offshore gem.
Anguilla Lit Fest
Anguilla’s Lit Fest offers inspirational workshops, informative seminars and stirring discussions with celebrated literary duds and darlings from the US, the Caribbean and beyond. This year marks the 3rd annual jollification; don’t miss the next one in 2015.
WHERE TO EAT
Hibernia Restaurant & Art Gallery
Husband and wife chef-owners Raoul Rodriguez and Mary Pat have created an eclectic oasis where food and art skillfully meet. Every single detail at Hibernia is intact, down to the gold bamboo butter knife and mini hand-carved vases housing fragrant jasmine lilies that decorate the dinner table.
As for the grub—unorthodox but delicious. Start with a seasonal garden salad prepared with baby oak leaf, romaine and frisee lettuce, mixed with scallions, grated carrots, roasted sunflower seeds and goat cheese with lavender, fresh tarragon and basil. The vinaigrette dressing is a blend of olive oil and home-made red wine vinegar. For your main course, try the grilled snapper fillet with shiitake, christophene and pumpkin gratin, drizzled with a bitter orange sauce.
And before you leave, peruse the bathroom (yes the bathroom) and very spiritual art gallery.
There are roughly 120 eateries on this 16-mile long, 3-mile wide island; obviously eating out is popular among both natives and tourists. Blanchards is a two-tier restaurant with patio-style dining options overlooking the serene turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Pleated floral skirts styled with denim tops, off the shoulder jersey dresses and statement necklaces is the attire of choice for Blanchards fashionable patrons, noshing on local favorites like the Caribbean delight trio which consists of crawfish and carrots, jerk chicken and sweet potato puree, and mahi mahi served with coconut rice. Delish!
You’re unlikely to find the hypnotic dancehalls of Jamaica or seaside beach fetes of Tobago happening in Anguilla: this secluded paradise is pretty laid back. But if you’re down for a little live music while enjoying a few stiff cocktails and chatting up locals, the Pumphouse and Dune Preserve are the spots for you.
Follow Metanoya Z. Webb on Twitter at @GtStiletto