A New Generation of Luxury Hotels for Anguilla
With a runway best suited to private jets, Anguilla mixes low-key luxury with some of the Caribbean’s best beaches. On a recent trip to this
island, I was able to see how newcomers Zemi Beach, Four Seasons and The Reef fare alongside the island’s established hotel stars.
A slick resort makes the most of a slightly awkward lozenge-shaped patch of land on the eastern
shore of Shoal Bay. Opened in March 2016, there’s an even split between hotel rooms and
residences. Overall, it’s making a firm stab at the family market, pitching a notch below the Four
Seasons when it comes to price. But there are with plenty of frills; two-bedroom suites have fully
equipped kitchens and their own plunge pools plus dreamy outdoor areas. The only thing that might put
off families – the surf can be quite strong by Anguillan standards. For winding down, the Rhum Bar
is devoted to the Caribbean’s staple drink; there are over 100 on offer. The food was notably good too;
Asian-influenced Stone provides fine dining in the evenings; 20 Knots by the pool is more relaxed and the fish tacos
were the meal highlight. The other standout? The spa. Created around a wooden house brought from Thailand, it stocks cult British
brands ila and Elemental Herbology and delivered the sort of serious-but-soothing massage you’d want but don’t always get in the Caribbean.
Technically, this is more of a reinvention but in taking this project, Four Seasons are putting down a strong marker in a region they’ve
historically been hesitant of (the only other FS in the Caribbean is in St Nevis). Externally, it’s a good fit for the chain, a sculptural space,
serenely placed on Barnes Bay – and on an island that’s just 35 square miles, it feels extraordinarily spacious, with long walkways and 180 rooms
and suites. Externally, little has changed from the building’s Viceroy days, but the interior decor has had a thorough overhaul. It’s now
softer and more thoughtful; its creams and browns aren’t a distraction from the myriad blues and greens of the Anguillan reefs outside, nor one of
Anguilla’s most spectacular infinity pools, on its own peninsula, with two choice beaches. The spa continues the spare-but-contemplative mood but
this is an active resort; tennis courts, a climbing wall and a full range of watersports. The food is generally good, but didn’t feel
particularly distinctive, especially when compared to Zemi or The Reef although I had rave reviews about the sushi from guests I met later in my trip.
Owned by CuisinArt mogul Leandro Rizzuto, the Reef on Merrywing Bay has a stellar position looking towards the neighboring island of St Martin.
Like the original CuisinArt resort further down the beach, the restaurants of The Reef benefit enormously from Rizzuto’s belief in good
ingredients; head chef Jasper Schneider has access to the resort’s hydroponic garden; the only one on the island. His kitchen at Breezes also has
cheffy wishlist items such as a 900-degree pizza oven. There’s also the Yacht Club for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a catwalk-worthy main
swimming pool and a quietly green policy that allows it to supply 12 hours of solar power itself each day (the aim is to be fully self-
sufficient). To be honest, the only caveat is the strange design of the main building. Although they’re spacious and gadget-filled, none of its 50
rooms have balconies or windows that open. Much better to opt for Superior Beachfront rooms and above, where there’s an accent on indoor/outdoor
living in low rise villas by the beach. The Reef backs onto Anguilla’s only golf course and some seriously good restaurants that are also part of
the CuisinArt portfolio.
Think of this as the one that got away; It opened too late for me to do anything but gaze from the outside but decor-wise, it’s essentially been
pared down to just two colours, white and a searing blue to blend in with the swimming pool. meaning there’s little to distract you from the milky
white sand – some of the Caribbean’s best – and the sea. A beachfront restaurant will the gamut from sushi to burgers but relaxation is the main
Original Article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahturner/2016/12/13/a-new-generation-of-luxury-hotels-for-anguilla/#368821016324