Wining and Dining in Anguilla

Palm trees on Shoal Bay beach in Anguilla
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The Spa at Viceroy Anguilla offers cabanas where massages and a full menu of other wellness treatments are administered.
The Spa at Viceroy Anguilla offers cabanas where massages and a full menu of other wellness treatments are administered.

Home to some of the best resorts and beaches in the Caribbean, Anguilla has garnered a reputation for pampering affluent vacationers with tasty cuisine, beautiful settings and friendly locals.

We break down the best spots for a rum punch, reveal our picks for the best dining options and, of course, give you some high-end hotel options for your favorite A-listers.

Viceroy Anguilla

Location is what sets Viceroy Anguilla apart from other notable luxury resorts in Anguilla; it sits on two beaches, Half Shell Beach and Meads Bay. Hint: Half Shell is the smaller of the two, attracting fewer people because the water is a bit rocky.

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We stayed in room No. 212, modestly sized with a king bed, flat-screen TV and a patio equipped with a hot tub and lounging area. For couples who don’t need all the bells and whistles, this room is a good fit.

For families or smaller groups, however, go with the Five-Bedroom Beachfront Villa. It comes with a golf cart to make it easier for guests to get around the grounds, as well as a “Lifestyle Assistant” (think butler). We love its enormous balcony and that it sports several outdoor showers.

Luxury travel advisors should reach out to Wesley Woolard ([email protected]; 305-600-6294), travel sales coordinator, for special arrangements.

The best dining option on the island set within a hotel is Coba, the signature restaurant of Viceroy Anguilla. The ambiance is outstanding and commands guests’ attention as soon as they walk through the door. The restaurant usually welcomes patrons with some tasteful live music, such as covers of popular American classics.

Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa has beachfront villas for which butler service can be arranged.
Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa has beachfront villas for which butler service can be arranged.

We were incredibly pleased with our selection of the crab cake for an appetizer and the grilled beef tenderloin and local lobster with mushrooms as an entrée. But don’t ignore the pretzel bread that is served before dinner and comes with a honey Dijon mustard-flavored butter. Be careful, it can spoil the best of appetites. We were also told another must-have is the crayfish risotto or one of the steak dishes with a side of grilled crayfish.

Typically, reservations can be made one week in advance. However, during the resort’s Festive Season (December 15 – January 5), make dinner reservations at the time of the hotel booking. Seek out Arron Gwinnett ([email protected]; 264-497-7000), director of food and beverage, for special seating arrangements.

The resort is also home to an 8,800-square-foot spa. Ordinarily, spa reservations can be made the week prior; however during the resort’s Festive Season, they should be made at least a month in advance.

Nice Touch: The waiting area or lobby of the spa is located outdoors. There are four chairs and two tables set up there so you can fill out forms without missing views of the ocean. Hint: The Double Rainbow is the spa’s most popular treatment (so named for the double rainbows that are often sighted in Anguilla), in which two therapists administer a massage and a facial. Note: Spa buy-outs and in-room treatments are both available.

To help customize the experience, get in touch with Murielle Henneigen ([email protected]; 264-333-8023), spa director.

Cap Juluca has benefited from $12 million in upgrades with more improvements planned for the future.
Cap Juluca has benefited from $12 million in upgrades with more improvements planned for the future.

Ultimacy Villa

For a lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path option, we recommend the quaint Ultimacy Villa Retreat. The eight-room luxury boutique opened in 2009.

We hear the most popular accommodation is the top-floor Master Suite with a Jacuzzi and ocean view.

Note: There is no spa here, but onsite massages and other treatments can be arranged. Upon request, the property turns the pool deck and lounge area into a temporary spa. Normally, one needs to book just a few hours before the desired treatment time, but for the Christmas season they should reserve one at the time of booking their room.

There is no restaurant here either, but in-room and onsite dining can be arranged through the hotel’s own private chef, Vernon Hughes of E’s Oven Restaurant and formerly of Cap Juluca. Hint: A Caribbean-style barbecue/party is always a hit amongst VIPs. There is plenty of room for a band or DJ to set up and the pool deck is a great party venue.

Ultimacy Villa also has an excellent private gym and a great sports bar area, nicknamed “The Snug.” Also, the large deck and outdoor dining/bar area mean that guests really can spend all day/everyday outside if they want — especially if they take a service package and have a chef preparing meals and a butler pouring drinks all day.

Luxury travel advisors should reach out to Sherille Hughes ([email protected]), owner of Ultimacy Villa.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa

The most popular rooms here are No. 2100, a Beachfront Three-Bedroom Villa and No. 1008, a Beachfront Two-Bedroom Suite.

Tip: The Beachfront Villas are most suitable for large families and groups; they come either with one bedroom (with one full and two half baths) or three bedrooms (with three full and two half baths). Both Beachfront Villa categories have large outdoor patios with private pools and panoramic views of the Caribbean. Hint: Private butler service can be arranged for the villas.

Luxury travel advisors with special room requests can reach out to Shevonne Harrigan-Fleming ([email protected]; 800-943-3210), the resort’s reservations manager.

The CuisinArt’s 27,000- square-foot Venus Spa has 16 treatment rooms, including couples and VIP suites, as well as a Gentlemen’s Club Room. The Anguillan Massage is the most popular treatment. Hint: Ask for Nicky for the most revitalizing massages and for Ethel for the best pedicure.

Kathy Eggleston ([email protected]; 264-235-2017), spa director, can assist with special requests.

Note: The most popular dining option here is the Chef’s Table Dining Experience for Chef Jasper Schneider’s eight-course dinner, which serves farm-to-table selections and wines from the cellar to match. Be sure to reserve the Chef’s Table option at the time of booking.

Ultimacy Villa’s main living room offers ocean views and is the focal point of the third floor.
Ultimacy Villa’s main living room offers ocean views and is the focal point of the third floor.

For any special food requests or special seating, get in touch with “cuisine concierge” Abigail St. Claire ([email protected]; 264-498-2000).

Cap Juluca

You wouldn’t know Cap Juluca is one of the oldest hotels on the island by looking at it — in fact, we say it’s never looked better.

Since taking the property back over in 2012, Charles and Linda Hickox have invested nearly $12 million into the legendary resort, with more improvements planned for the future.

A highlight of the recent redo was the new Jonquil Suite — a 3,290-square-foot villa with two master bedrooms, a sitting room, a full-service kitchen, an oceanfront dining terrace, a Jacuzzi and a private, freshwater infinity pool. Hint: Guests staying in the Jonquil Suite also receive complimentary non-motorized water sports, complimentary cart for transportation around the resort, full breakfast daily and welcome and farewell amenities.

Verna Rogers ([email protected]; 264-497-6779), reservations manager, can assist with special arrangements.

Dining: We Suggest…

The best place for lunch on Anguilla is Smokey’s at the Cove. It is known for its “Special Rum Punch,” which we think earns the ‘special’ moniker due to the abundance of rum and its size. This drink packs a serious punch (pun intended). Everything on the menu is delicious, fresh and quick to eat so you can get back to the beach. We recommend either the lobster roll, which was very light and not too filling, or the ribs. You’re going to eat a lot of seafood during any trip to Anguilla, so you may as well get a good piece of meat while you can.

Our favorite spot to eat outside of a hotel was Veya. The layout of the restaurant has a very subtle, relaxing Moroccan theme. We ordered the spicy Indian yellow pea soup for an appetizer and had the poached lobster with spinach risotto as our entrée. We washed both down with a crisp glass of the restaurant’s house Sauvignon Blanc. Nice Touch: There is also usually light, live music in the background.

Where to Party

Since Anguilla is so small, getting around the island is pretty easy; it’s a 20-minute drive to get to most places.

During our visit, Elvis’ Beach Bar seemed to be the most popular choice amongst locals. In reality, it’s a 16-foot boat-turned-bar, helmed by Elvis “The King” Fleming. The bar is rapidly developing a cult following for its warm, loose atmosphere. Try the Elvis’ Rum Punch.

Located a short walking distance from there is arguably Anguilla’s second-most popular nightlife spot, The Pumphouse, another really chill, casual bar with some light eats to help the drinking process go smoothly. The “Flaming Fromage,” a whole calvados-flamed camembert, which comes with a baguette for dipping, gets our vote.

But our clear-cut favorite spot for a little late night R&R in Anguilla is Bankie Banx’s Dune Preserve Beach Bar, owned by local reggae legend Bankie Banx, who actually lives in the back of the bar and performs almost nightly. Just go and you’ll see.

Getting to Anguilla

Most guests get to Anguilla via St. Maarten Airport (serviced by American, Delta, Jet Blue, U.S. Airways and United) where most high-end resorts offer complimentary meet-and-greet services to arriving guests. Arrangements can be made in advance to take the boat shuttle from the airport to Anguilla, a 25-minute ride. Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport, located in the center of the island, receives many inter-island flights daily from Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Antigua and St. Kitts.

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