If you think you’ve seen one Caribbean island you’ve seen them all, think again. Although popular spots such as St. Johns and St. Maarten are certainly beautiful, the tourist hordes have made finding a peaceful stretch of beach at either spot nigh on impossible. For blue skies, quieter beaches and hospitable locals, head to Anguilla. Although a bit more expensive than other Caribbean islands, it’s worth the visit for the plethora of great food options and tranquil beachfront lodgings.
Cap Juluca is one of the oldest properties on the island. Opened in 1988, it sits on 179 acres of lush greenery, amid frangipani, jasmine and sea grape trees. The whitewashed neo-Moorish design stands out, as does the resort’s attention to service. Guests are treated like beloved family. All 98 rooms and villas (rates start at $595 for a superior room in the low season to $1,595 for a junior suite during the winter season) face the ocean, even the smallest, which at 700 square feet, isn’t exactly tiny. Opt for the 1,100-square-foot Junior Suite. It has an elevated king bed with white cotton linens and mosquito netting, a massive tub fit for two overlooking a solarium and an expansive covered patio just steps from the beach.
The resort serves a variety of cuisine from “Eurobbean” (a type of European/Caribbean fusion) at high-end Pimms, to pan-Asian at Spice and American at Blue. Pimms is the best option, as you won’t find many places stateside serving similar fare.
In December 2009, Cap Juluca took over managing four-year-old Temenos Golf Course. The $50 million Greg Norman course is the only one of its kind on the island and features dramatic vistas of the sea, numerous elevation changes and challenging holes. The 10th and 16th holes are particularly brutal. Golfers can choose from a number of packages including unlimited golf for a $100 supplement per night, except during high season (greens fees are additional).
If you want a full-blown culinary escape, head to nearby Cuisinart Resort & Spa. Like Cap Juluca, it offers breathtaking views of the ocean, a beautiful stretch of white sand beach and luxurious accommodations. But it’s vastly superior to other resorts on the island when it comes to cuisine. The resort has its own organic garden—featuring black-eyed peas, peppers, pumpkins, okra, soybeans, avocados, guavas, tamarinds, limes and oranges—and an 18,000-foot hydroponic farm, complete with raised beds containing herbs, lettuce and peppers. The produce is used at the various restaurants onsite. Santorini is the best option for dinner, as you’ll delight in the Mediterranean-inspired fresh seafood. Cuisinart also schedules wine and rum tastings throughout the week in the resort’s 3,600-bottle cellar.
Flight information: There are no direct flights from U.S. airports to Anguilla. Travelers must connect via San Juan, Puerto Rico, or St. Maarten. American Airlines, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways all run regular flights to San Juan or St. Maarten from cities along the Eastern seaboard. Flights range from $600 to $1350 during the high season. Travelers can take a 20-minute ferry from St. Maarten to Anguilla if flights between the two islands are full.