Roaming free in Anguilla
Sun. Sand as white and fine as icing sugar. A laid back attitude that allows you to take things at your own pace. These are things that Anguilla has in abundance. But, in many ways, this chill destination is defined by what it doesn’t have. Food & Wine has called it “the swank club in the Caribbean with no sign on the door.” And there are no cruise ships, no high-rises, no chain stores, no fast-food outlets and no all-inclusives, which is to say, no excuse not to roam. A small island—only 25 kilometres long—Anguilla is reached by a flight to St. Martin, followed by a short ferry ride. Lodgings vary, but best known are the villas—vacation homes that you can rent by the night or week. Villas range from small and basic to mansion-sized and celebrity-priced, sometimes with an entire staff of driver, butler and chef.
The newest luxury resort is the Viceroy, perched on a coral point separating two aquamarine bays on the west side of the island. With an unclut- tered modernist exterior and interior design by L.A. tastemaker Kelly Wearstler, the Viceroy offers 31 bluff- top and beachfront villas. For $7,500 a night, ours featured two large master suites, a sitting area, a private pool and whirlpool. The recently opened spa includes eight treatment rooms, three outdoor spa cabanas, three champion- ship-grade tennis courts, a beach club and a full selection of water sports.
Boat building is a national tradition, and boat racing is Anguilla’s national sport. All the beaches are public and are ranked among the world’s best. A series of coral reefs make diving and snorkeling attractive possibili- ties—Junk’s Hole and Sandy Island are two recommended spots—or book a fishing charter and angle for wahoo, marlin and swordfish.
At Temenos Villas, you’ll find a golf course designed by Greg Norman. Skirting Cove Bay, the 7,063-yard expanse includes dramatic elevation changes, mangrove thickets, a saltwater pond stocked with bonefish, and sweeping views out to the looming mountains of St. Martin.
A day on the green makes a man hungry. In Anguilla’s capital, The Valley, some of the best and most authentic food is served from the back of a truck. Hungry’s: Good Food!, a van painted with flowers and butterflies, is run by the former sous-chef and food- and-beverage manager of Cap Juluca, one of the island’s premier resorts. At lunchtime, there are lineups for soup made from whelk (similar to conch) and lobster quesadillas.
At Cap Juluca, dine on dishes created by Glendon Carty, one of Anguilla’s top chefs. Parisian chef Michel Rostang supervises the menu at Malliouhana Hotel & Spa, where you can choose from over 25,000 bottles of wine. And the restaurants at CuisinArt Resort & Spa serve vegetables and herbs from the on-site hydroponic farm and organic gardens.
For a nightcap, try the earthy little clubs that line Sandy Ground, a thin strip of land sandwiched between Anguilla’s main harbour and a large salt pond. The names of its 10 or so bars and bistros say it all, from Reggae Reef to the Elvis Beach Bar, which is housed in a sailboat that ran aground. Better yet, just stay in. By a private pool, sample Pyrat rum, a dark spirit originally made in Anguilla from a variety of rums that tastes a bit like toasted apricot. Then sit back and crank up the sound of rolling waves.
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