On the island of Anguilla in the Eastern Caribbean, travelers can find a haven of luxury resorts and villas, secluded beaches, gourmet dining spots and active experiences, all in a picturesque tropical setting.
The often-overlooked Caribbean island, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma just a year ago, is almost completely back to its former glory with the reopening of most of its biggest resorts and attractions, and more major openings will be coming in the next few months.
Whether it’s relaxing on one of its many exclusive beaches, exploring uninhabited islands, taking a swim in the clear blue waters, or discovering its history and culture, Anguilla offers experiences for all travelers. Here's what we suggest:
Where to stay
View Fort Estate
For an over-the-top luxury experience, travelers can stay at View Fort Estate of Anguilla, set on the island’s highest point overlooking the waters of Crocus Bay. The estate comprises a four-bedroom main house and four individual bedroom suites housed in a 200-year-old heritage property.
The villa’s main house includes spacious living and dining areas, while the expansive kitchen has a large center island with a breakfast bar offering high-backed stools for casual meals. Other facilities in the main house include a home entertainment unit, a library and Wi-Fi throughout the property and grounds.
Accommodations, like The Master Suite, in the main house takes guests back to Anguilla’s early 19th century with an antique bed and traditional high wooden ceilings (Note: There are also modern staples, such as granite flooring.) The Master Suite's doors open to a balcony that offers ocean views.
Each stay at ViewFort Estate includes butler service, a concierge, Sunday afternoon tea service, all-day snacks and cocktail service, and a beach shuttle to Crocus Bay, five minutes away.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla
This resort, set along the island’s northwest shore atop bluffs overlooking Barnes Bay and Meads Bay, offers a total of 181 accommodations—80 percent with ocean views—spread out among its rooms, suites, villas, townhouses and residences. The Five-Bedroom Beachfront Villa, one of the more extravagant accommodations at the resort, offers 8,092 square feet of space and offers exclusive perks, such as direct access to Barnes Bay, a sun deck with private plunge pool, and a full gourmet kitchen.
Guests can take advantage of the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla’s many recreational facilities, which include three pools, basketball and tennis courts, a rock climbing wall and the Sea Centre, offering non-motorized water sports, including sailing, windsurfing and snorkeling. Families will enjoy the Kids for All Seasons facility, which hosts kid-friendly activities, such as arts and crafts, treasure hunts, nature walks and cooking classes.
Guest can choose from four culinary spots: Bamboo Bar & Grill, an open-air eatery perched along Meads Bay, good for a laid-back lunch with cocktails and casual fare; Half Shell Beach Bar, right on Barnes Bay Beach; Cobà, an elegant restaurant offering views of both Barnes Bay and Meads Bay; or the Sunset Lounge, an open-air lounge that serves signature cocktails, sushi and other light bites while DJs or live bands perform. Or, guests can let the cuisine come to them with in-room dining. Day or night, guests can choose from in-room dining menus, including a barbecue feast for villa guests, with items like burgers, hot dogs and various desserts.
Zemi Beach House
Zemi Beach House, situated right on Shoal Bay Beach, is coming back from its annual closure on October 21. At Zemi Beach House, guests start their vacation with a private plane or sea shuttle to the hotel from St. Maarten. Once they arrive, guests can enjoy the hotel’s Thai House Spa, three bars, two restaurants, pools, fitness center and variety of water sports and beachfront activities.
Guests can enjoy casual beachfront dining at the hotel’s all-day restaurant, 20 Knots, serving Caribbean-style cuisine; or, guests can opt for a more elegant experience at Stone, Zemi’s fine-dining restaurant that offers a seasonal menu of sea-to-table entrees.
Rejuvenating treatments can be found at the Zemi Thai House Spa, which consists of private spa suites, five treatment rooms, relaxation areas with picturesque views, a juice bar, wellness boutique and a yoga deck, all housed within a 300-year-old Thai house. The spa offers a menu of facials, salt scrubs and massages.
Additionally, travelers can take advantage of a new Welcome Back Promotion: From now through December 19, 2018, guests can book three nights and receive a fourth night for free, or book five nights and receive a sixth and seventh night free. Additionally, all rooms and suites will include a complimentary daily buffet breakfast.
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Guests can experience a completely revamped version of the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa when it reopens on November 1. The resort, which closed in September 2017 following Hurricane Irma, will reopen with a new design to its 91 suites and seven villas, transformed interiors, expanded golf and spa programming, and new dining venues.
At the lobby bar, KazBar, guests can enjoy meze menus with North African influences, including wine flights and small plates; the resort’s Beach Bar will offer Caribbean dishes; the former outdoor Café Mediterraneo will reopen as Mosaic, an all-day dining venue offering cuisines from around the world; Santorini Restaurant, now located in the Clubhouse, will retain its Greek flavors, with dishes from the entire Mediterranean region; and Tokyo Bay, which reopened in June 2018, serves Japanese dishes and private dining.
The resort’s reopening will be the debut of the renovated Greg Norman Signature Design 18-hole championship course. Set against the Caribbean and spanning 7,063 yards, the par-72 course underwent extensive bunker renovations, while enhanced maintenance programs have been initiated.
The new spa menu at Spa by CuisinArt will offer organic facials and body treatments with products by Repechage and Eminence Organics. The “Farm to Spa” program, powered by the resort’s Hydroponic Farm, will be expanded with multiple new treatments and workshops to help guests create their own custom scrubs and salts to take home. The spa’s Healing Waters Pool will also return, offering hydrotherapy and restorative soaks in healing, nutrient-rich mineralized salt water. New monthly wellness workshops will offer daylong fitness, education and treatment programs focusing on essential oils, detoxification, self-empowerment, meditation and more. New fitness amenities will also be added, including an updated Fitness Center with Technogym equipment and virtual spinning, plus a new array of fitness classes such as kickboxing, aqua conditioning and aqua cycling.
What to Do
Spend Time at the Beach
If you’re traveling to Anguilla, spending time at one of its 33 beaches is a must. Anguilla’s beaches have ranked among the top in the world, lauded for their clear waters, miles of white sand and their mix of experiences, from a lively beach-side bar and restaurant scene in Sandy Ground Beach to the secluded, quiet environment of Shoal Bay West. Guests should take a visit to both Shoal Bay and Meads Bay, as they are considered two of the best beaches on the island.
Visit a Secluded Island
Guests can get away from their getaway at one of several tiny secluded islands off the coast of Anguilla’s main island. One of these spots is Sandy Island, a small cay off Sandy Ground beach that can be reached by the daily sea shuttle called Happiness that leaves every hour. The island, which opened in 1984, has only a handful of staff members and nothing more than a restaurant and bar, hammocks and lounge chairs, and some picnic tables—the rest is just white sand and uninterrupted views of the water.
Sandy Island’s restaurant offers a lunch menu of lobster, crayfish, grouper and other grilled seafood dishes along with special cocktails showcasing tropical flavors.
Bonus: There are usually only a few other visitors on the island at once, meaning guests will be able to find additional peace and quiet.
Explore Anguilla’s History
Travelers can learn about Anguilla’s history and its people at the Heritage Collection Museum. The small museum in the East End displays a number of archaeological and historical artifacts, as well as photographs, from the time of the Arawak Indians to the 1967 Anguilla revolution.
Where to Eat
If travelers get a craving for authentic Italian cuisine on their trip to Anguilla, then Dolce Vita in Sandy Ground is the place to go. Backed by Abbi Ibrahim and Christopher Bacchiega, two chefs who worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Mantova, Italy, Dolce Vita serves homemade pastas, seafood, signature desserts and offers an extensive list of cocktails and wines.
Blanchard’s Restaurant in the West End Village, and its Beach Shack (reopening November 5) right next door, are considered some of the top dining spots on the island. Located right on Meads Bay beach, the Beach Shack offers a laid-back, picnic table seating on the sand and serves burgers, sandwiches, tacos, homemade desserts and ice cream, and a list of frozen drinks, beer and wine.
The more upscale Blanchard’s Restaurant, also reopening on November 5, offers a menu of flavors from the Caribbean, Asia, America and the Mediterranean. The restaurant will dole out a new menu when it reopens, but it will still have its long-time favorites like citrus chicken, sesame-crusted mahi, and grilled crayfish.
Additionally, Blanchard’s can arrange events at its two venues, whether it’s a casual dinner at the Beach Shack or a more elaborate event at Blanchard’s next door. Blanchard’s has hosted weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate events and family gatherings.
This upscale restaurant in Sandy Ground, reopening October 22, serves multi-course dinners showcasing gourmet dishes, such as Colombo spiced duck breast with roasted brussel sprouts and carrot puree, as well as sauteed red snapper, basil mashed potato, citrus-garlic sauce, cilantro, mint and avocado. Guests can top off their meal with a decadent dessert, like the coconut cake with coconut caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Veya also has an impressive list of wines and champagne from all over the world, including the United States, France, Italy, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa, among other places. Additionally, on select days during the week, Veya has live bands perform to create a lively atmosphere.