Travel

Travel guide: Escape to Anguilla

Author: Elle Canada

Travel

Travel guide: Escape to Anguilla

Sun, sand, surf and total privacy – the main reasons that appeal to many for hopping on a plane and jetting to the Caribbean for a relaxing escape. And Anguilla has those in spades. But it gets better (we’re talking Jennifer Aniston A-list caliber better). This tiny island off the coast of the bustle of St. Maarten is so chill and quiet that celebrities have been dotting over to it for years to escape photogs, the media and fans. But don’t think you’ll be lounging yourself into boredom (if that’s even possible these days). With countless galleries and museums, countless restaurants featuring just about any cuisine imaginable, beachside bars, a slew of spas, private beaches and even a pro golf course, Anguilla has plenty to discover – just at an unbelievably relaxing pace.

Anguilla travel guide: Getting there
Hop on a flight to St. Maarten, arrange for a private ferry, and in just 30 minutes (and we won’t lie, across some choppy waves) you’ll be on the shores of Anguilla. Did we mention that you get to sip on some cocktails for the ride?

Anguilla travel guide: Where to sleep and spa
Celebs rest their heads at any number of chic villas and hotels on the island (if they don’t already own one of the stunning homes). Here are the top spots to get pampered like a star.

The Viceroy Anguilla, viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/anguilla

Unlike most villas and resorts on Anguilla, this hip and architecturally amazing hotel is perched atop a rocky cliff rather than nestled in the sandy beach. There is a beach nearby, though, but don’t think you will miss the sand with the Kelly Wearstler designed rooms, infinity pools, tennis courts (private lessons, anyone?), a huge spa, and a balcony hot tub in your suite. It’s also the spot to stay on top of your fitness routine while relaxing with beach boot camps, personal trainers and a gym that will put your one at home to shame.

Can’t miss:
The sushi at the Sunset Lounge, prepared by chefs who trained under master Iron Chef Morimoto, and the ever-indulgent spa tapas menu poolside in your private cabana. It will make a sushi lover out of even the most squeamish.

The Frangipani, frangipaniresort.com
On the more affordable end of accommodations but not to be overlooked is the Frangipani, a smaller hotel with an amazing location along Meade’s Bay. Locals truck to the hotel’s Straw Hat restaurant for specialty drinks (try their rum punch with an added twist of tea), beachside location and mix of international food. The intimacy of the hotel means lots of quiet R&R time, but you’re also minutes away from larger resorts for quick afternoon jaunts.

Can’t miss: Its biggest selling point is a velvety soft sand beach that has so few people on it you’ll think you are on your own private stretch of land. You’ll see the Viceroy in the distance, but even its grand structure can’t compete with the tossing surf and cozy lounging chairs.

Looking to do a little island hopping? Skip over to the spice island of Grenada with our travel guide.

Read on for more of our travel guide to Anguilla ... cuisinart-view.jpg

Cap Juluca, capjuluca.com

A mainstay on the island is this gem. Its classic Caribbean vibe makes it feel familiar but still luxurious at the same time, and also a favourite haunt for the upper class thanks to the secluded beach and massive suites available. If you only have time to swing by for dinner, it’s still a must, with Pimms serving up delicious seafood entrees and inventive desserts. It’s the best place to sip on some authentic Angullian Lobster Bisque and a cool cocktail. Looking for an ultra-romantic evening? Book the private wine room that comes with a special five-course menu and of course, a massive selection of vintage wines.

Can’t miss: The sunset on Cap Juluca’s beach is one of the prettiest you’ll find, so be sure to get there for pre-dinner bevies.

CuisinArt, cuisinartresort.com
The massive facilities at the CuisinArt Hotel had us dreaming of massages, facials and thermal pools long before the trip. Once we had arrived on the sprawling property (which is now also home to Anguilla’s only golf course that draws in big name celebs) and swished over to the spa, it was easy to see why the spa is so popular. Be sure to test out the amazing massages. You can’t go wrong with the Warmed Seashell Massage (think hot stone massage but with Anguilla’s own seashells), or the Anguillan Massage tailored to your specific needs.

Can’t miss: If the name is familiar, that’s because the owner of this luxe hotel is also the founder of the famed Cuisinart culinary line. So it’s no wonder they take their food seriously. Take time to visit the hydroponic garden, where the “Doctor” (aka, Howard M. Resh, Ph.D, the garden specialist) will show you all the vibrant colours of the greenhouse and you can see where your pre-spa lunch began.

Get pampered with the world's best spa treatments for jet-lag.

What to do in sunny Anguilla on the next page ... bankie-bar.jpg

Anguilla travel guide: Must dos

To truly capture not only the vibe and feeling of Anguilla but also the Caribbean, a stop by Bankie Banx’s Dune Preserve beach bar (pictured above) is a must. A tree house-like shack (built by the man himself, Bankie), it’s a maze of open-air rooms with cozy couches, bars and dance floors. In the back, you’ll find a stage set for impromptu performances, and home to yearly festivals that draw in the locals and musicians like John Mayer. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet Bankie yourself, with a load of stories and an eagerness to chat over a cool drink. A visit here will be at the top of your memory list once you’re back home.

And a day exploring the winding roads and multitude of art galleries should also be high on your list (you can’t sit on the beach all day long). You can easily spend an afternoon trolling around, but you can’t miss a swing by the Savannah Gallery, owned and operated by Canadian Frank Costin. Go with your credit card in hand, because chances are you’ll want to ship one of the local artist’s works on display back home (we had our eye on at least two pieces that were hard to pass up).

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Travel guide: Escape to Anguilla