Sponsored feature | Octotber 2016 | 6 minute read
This relaxed and stunning British Overseas Territory is much-loved by celebrities for its world-class food scene and huge range of accommodation, which means Anguilla has something to offer every kind of traveller.
Lying close to French St Barts and Saint Maarten/St Martin, the tiny British Territory of Anguilla is just 35 square miles, with six traffic lights and a modest population of 15,000.
With an impressive food scene boasting some 120 restaurants, dining on Anguilla is a treat for visitors and locals alike, from relaxed Caribbean beachside bistros and BBQ shacks to fine-dining restaurants offering world-class menus and impressive wine choices.
The CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa prides itself on taking its guests on an epicurean journey, using fresh ingredients from its hydroponic farm in its Italian and Japanese restaurants and even offering cooking lessons for hands-on foodies.
Perhaps it’s this unassuming but subtly impressive vibe that attracts the jet set to the island. Millionaire author Dan Brown has a villa on the golf course owned by CuisinArt, while the Clintons and Liam Neeson have enjoyed dining at Trattoria Tramonto on peaceful Shoal Bay West. Justin Bieber saw the last New Year in on the island, along with Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner.
With 33 beaches on the island, there’s plenty of room for publicity-shy celebrities as well as mere mortals. Anguilla boasts some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, with beautiful fine-white sand.
Castaway isle: The uninhabited Prickly Pear Cays are a pair of pristine islands just off Anguilla and one of its six protected marine areas. Unsurprisingly, the isles offer crystal- clear waters perfect for snorkelling and diving
Crocus Bay: Crocus Hill, the highest point on Anguilla, crowns this turquoise bay. It’s the site of a military invasion by the French in 1745 (who were fought off by the English in 15 minutes) and home to DaVida’s Bayside Grilll and fine-dining restaurant
Tee time: Anguilla’s championship 18-hole golf course at CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa was designed by Greg Norman and offers dramatic elevation changes. The club has a pro shop and the beautiful Italia restaurant
The best festivals: Music festival Moonsplash takes place in March and has seen the likes of John Mayer perform. Or check out Festival del Mar, celebrating the island’s martime history over Easter, Anguilla Lit Fest in May and the huge Summer Festival in July
Island Harbour: Anguilla’s quaint fishing town is on the East End of Anguilla. Sit on the pier and watch the colourful boats come and go, bringing in the catch of the day. From here, hop across to Scilly Cay for lobsters and rum punch
Out and about
While Rendezvous Bay is dotted with colourful beach bars the secluded Little Bay is a picturesque spot only reached by boat or a rope down the cliff and perfect for romantics who want to be marooned.
Water-based activities abound in Anguilla. Sailing is the national sport and the island hosts a plethora of boat races thoughout the year, including the Anguilla Yacht Regatta in May. The island has long been a popular stop for the sailing fraternity, who seek its sheltered bays for a peaceful spot to anchor. For non boat-owners there is still a way. Tradition Sailing offers day trips on its fabulous historic wooden sailing sloop. The island is also known for its kite surfing and is perfect for beginners, thanks to its shallow waters and light noon wind, as well as the more advanced, who can take advantage of the afternoon’s powerful trade winds for high speeds.
If that seems like a lot of effort, stand-up paddleboarding is perfect for exploring the beaches and reefs which hug the island.
Under the sea, divers and snorkellers will find vertical wall terrains, colourful corals, an abundance of tropical fish and nine wrecks, including the impressive Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo. There are seven marine parks!
Anguilla is an ideal spot to see wild turtles. From April to November many of Anguilla’s beaches become the nesting grounds for three of the world’s seven turtle species: leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles. Dolphins can be seen year-round in Anguilla and humpback whales swim close to the island in winter to breed, though they can also be seen in summer.
Twitchers will also be in heaven, since Anguilla has over 20 wetlands which attract huge numbers of birds. At least 135 species have been recorded on the island, including flamingos, pelicans, owls and hummingbirds.
Landlubbers will have no trouble getting around this low-lying island, where hire cars are recommended. The flat topography is also good news for bikers, who can amble along gently undulating roads. And horse riders can canter freely along the beach or explore in-land.
Accommodation in Anguilla ranges from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to small local B&Bs – there is something to suit all visitors to Anguilla. The island has a great selection of luxurious villas, from modern, state-of the-art properties to more relaxed beachside retreats. Ani Villas Anguilla sits on top of a dramatic cliff with breathtaking views and comes with tennis courts, infinity pools, a gym and fully staffed.
Anguilla is home to some charismatic boutique properties, such as the delightful La Vue, set in manicured gardens with sweeping sea views over Sandy Ground. For inspiration, scan the Charming Escapes Collection of hand-picked small hotels, inns and guest houses, which offer a more affordable way to experience the island. The Ferryboat Inn is an intimate, family-owned house located on the beach at Blowing Point. It has two studio apartments and four one-bed apartments with views across to St Martin.
Debuting this October 20 is the new Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla (formerly Viceroy Anguilla). The accommodation ranges from one-bedroom suites to luxurious oceanfront five-bedroom villas. It has a choice of international restaurants and the stunning ocean view sunset lounge.
The Reef by CuisinArt opens in November, set on Merrywing Bay. It will have 80 accommodations, with golf course or sea views as well as a fitness centre, library, boutique and The Yacht Club restaurant. Also opening in November is The Manoah, a St. Tropez-style boutique hotel with an Ocean Beach Club and restaurant. The stylish 25-bedroom property is set on the stunning Shoal Bay East.
Just along the beach, Zemi Beach House Resort and Spa opened earlier this year and has 63 luxury rooms and suites, each with ocean views, plus a Thai Spa, two infinity pools, a ‘Rhum Room’ featuring hundreds of rums from all over the world and two restaurants.
How to get there
Flights to Antigua with British Airways start AT £617. Liat has a daily flight between Antigua and Anguilla, from $269 return. Alternatively, charter flights with Anguilla Air Services are available. Your guests can also fly to St. Martin with Air France/KLM and on to Anguilla via private charter or a local ferry.
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