In the Caribbean, some islands are touristy. Others are stuffy. But somehow, Anguilla remains just right. Despite a spate of new construction, this British West Indian island still radiates an authentic, barefoot-chic charm. Just beyond the quaint clapboard houses, the powder-soft, white-sand beaches and the impossibly blue surf lie coral reefs teeming with marine life—ideal for snorkeling and diving. Jump in: There’s something for everyone on this fantasy island. Here’s where to stay and eat and what to do if . . .
Head To: Cap Juluca
Where to Stay: Situated on crescent-shaped Maundays Bay, recently renovated Cap Juluca (from $595 per night) is a favorite secret hideaway for celebrities and romance seekers alike. The property encompasses more than 179 acres, with villas and hotel rooms located along a two-mile stretch of sugary white-sand beach. Moorish-meets-Caribbean architecture infuses style to three restaurants, five cabana bars, a domed open-air lounge, a wine room and a pool.
Where to Eat: Make a dinner reservation at the hotel’s award-winning Pimms restaurant, famed for its fresh take on local seafood. (Try the delicious grilled island lobster and the mahi-mahi.) After dinner, head to Spice, a sexy Moroccan lounge, for fun cocktails like rum punch.
What to Do: Cap Jaluca is making your vacation planning easy to fit all your relaxation desires with new packages for the 2015-16 season. They include “Sun Kissed Yoga” where you start your day with a yoga session and end with a massage, the “Romantic Rendezvous” that offers couples massages and beach side private dining, the ultimate “Villa Vacation” that includes private transportation by plane or boat from St. Thomas, breakfast and lunch every day as well as welcome amenities and use of a golf cart the duration of your stay. There are several other new packages to choose from on the Cap Jaluca web site too.
YOU’RE WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS
Head To: Malliouhana
Where to Stay: Perched on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort (from $525 per night), offers access to both Meads Bay and Turtle Cove beaches on the west end of Anguilla. Vibrant colors give the newly refurbished resort a whimsical feel.
Where to Eat: Girlfriends will love the modern, Carib- bean twist on afternoon tea (order yours iced)! As you linger over sweet and savory snacks, plan the rest of your busy—or not—day on the island. Then get the whole gang together at the hotel’s Sunset Bar on the terrace for rum cocktails and shareable plates like conch and spiny lobster pizza, local tuna poke and guava panna cotta.
What to Do: The resort is mere minutes away from The CuisinArt Golf Club, a Greg Norman-designed championship course. The course is as challenging as it is picturesque: Players enjoy a spectacular view of St. Maarten and the Caribbean Sea at the tee box of the 384-yard starting hole. Or, pamper yourselves with the hotel spa’s 90-minute Island Drift treatment: a rum foot soak and a coconut milk rinse, followed by a luxe sugarcane body exfoliation and a lemongrass ginger steamed towel infusion, culminating in a coconut creme massage.
YOU’RE BRINGING THE KIDS
Head To: Viceroy Anguilla
Where to Stay: Sleek Viceroy Anguilla (from $800 per night) blends modern design with its natural surroundings. Every member of the family will enjoy the two nearby beaches, water sports (snorkeling, boogie boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking), the saltwater infinity pool overlooking the ocean, plus two other on-property pools. Kids and teen activities—like beach Olympics and sand art for kids 4 to 11, and steel drum lessons and bonfires for ages 12 to 17—mean your children can venture off on their own to make new friends, while under the watchful eye of hotel staffers.
Where to Eat: Stroll along Meads Bay beach until you hit Blanchards Beach Shack for laid-back, local fare. Ask for a table on the sand and order fish tacos and smoothies (for the kids) and lobster rolls and beer or frozen mango coladas (for you). You can also borrow the hotel’s bikes and head to Geraud’s Patisserie for flaky croissants and airy meringues.
What to Do: Explore the island on horseback: One-hour rides along untouched Cove Bay can be scheduled at sunrise, sunset and even during a full moon. For a cultural experience, take the whole crew to the Heritage Museum Collection to learn about Anguilla’s history.