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Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:46

The Allure of Anguilla

Written by  Melanie Reffes

A tiny treasure in the northern Caribbean, Anguilla is serene, secluded and a scenic ferry away from St. Maarten/St. Martin. West of St. Kitts and east of Puerto Rico, the sunny sliver has legions of adoring fans that come for the immaculate coral reefs, sapphire blue ocean, white sandy beaches and some of the finest restaurants, resorts and villas in the region. “Whether you are looking to indulge your senses in relaxation or rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit, Anguilla is the vacation your soul has been yearning for,” says Candis Niles, director of tourism for the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB).

Running through the end of August, “The Prix Fixe Summer” is a bargain bonanza from restaurant meals to hotel suites. Properties offering two nights gratis with a seven night booking include Cap Juluca; Paradise Cove; Meads Bay Beach Villas; Spyglass Villa; Temenos Villas; Anguilla Great House; Carimar Beach Club; Ku Resort and Rum Punch Villa. On the dining scene, a $45 menu will be served up at Blanchards, Veya, Koal Keel, Cuisinart’s Cafe and The Old Caribe while menus for $35 can be ordered at Tasty’s, Roy’s Bayside Grill, Ripples, E’s Oven and Kuyah.

Hosted by the ATB since 1997, Anguilla Summer Festival kicks off on July 29 and keeps the island hopping until August 7, with calypso competitions, boat races and soca parties from dusk till dawn. Inspired by the island’s African and Caribbean heritage, the multi-cultural festival is a feast for the senses with May pole dancers, Mock-a-Jumbies and sunrise street jams. Held at the Landsome Bowl Cultural Centre, the fete is also a treat for the younger set with Prince and Princess Pageants and kiddies parades. 


Posh Digs

Picturesque on the northeast shore between the villages of Shoal Bay East and Island Harbour, the aptly named Ultimacy Villa is the ultimate super villa with eight bedrooms, ten bathrooms, and three living rooms, including one with cathedral ceilings that invite the cooling easterly breezes. Other amenities include a recreation room with a classic Wurlitzer jukebox, Butler Ryan who caters to every whim and Chef Shane who scrambles the tastiest omelettes this side of anywhere. Sherille Hughes, who with her husband Dr. Frankie Hughes owns Paradise Cove says, “With our unsurpassed amenities, there is no need to leave the property.”

Expect fawning, frou-frou snacks and jaw-dropping views at CuisinArt Golf & Spa Resort. Also found here is the world’s first resort hydroponic farm and the island’s only championship golf course, revered for the impressive vistas of St. Maarten at the 390-yard hole. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the seaside paradise also does a brisk business in celebrity arrivals but a brisker business in keeping the details under wraps. For travel through November 20, the “Stay 7 Nights, Pay for 5” deal is high-end splendor well worth the bragging rights. www.cuisinar

Recently sold to new owners, Cap Juluca will close August 20 for renovations with a re-opening slated for the end of October. Guaranteed crowd pleasers will still include lobster benedict for breakfast at the Blue Beachfront Bistro and mango sorbet served on the beach to break up the monotony of a tough day in a sun lounger.


Sake it to me 

The island’s first authentic Japanese restaurant, Tokyo Bay impresses with artisan sushi rolled with Caribbean Yellow Fin and shots of Hakutsuru Nama Sake. Contemporary-chic at the Cuisinart Resort, the Japanese eatery offers an elegant dining room for special occasions and a rooftop lounge to view the last speck of sun as it sinks behind the horizon. 

Crowning the coralline point where Barnes Bay and Meads Bay meet, Sunset Lounge at the Viceroy Resort turns a dusky evening into a memorable feast of East meets West with maki rolls crafted with pulled pork and green onions. www.vice


Night Moves

If it’s the weekend, the party is at Sandy Ground where revelers get groovy till the sun comes up. Hot spots include Ripples for a game of darts; The Pumphouse for reggae and goat tacos and at Elvis’ Beach Bar, the beach morphs into a sandy dance floor. 

At Johnno’s, the classic Jump-Up and Sammy’s rum punch are the main attractions. Live bands perform at night and on Sunday afternoon; the quintessential Caribbean bar is the go-to spot for just about everyone on the island. 


Good Business

For clients who like to mix business with pleasure, the advantages of setting up shop in Anguilla are no secret. From a legal system based on English law and a lack of foreign exchange restrictions, it’s the ideal choice for American financial movers and shakers. Known as ACORN or Anguilla’s Commercial Online Registration Network, companies can now incorporate from anywhere in the world 24-hours a day, 365 days a year using the latest interactive technology. For more information, visit www.anguil
or email the Registrar, Mr. Lanston Connor: lanston_c@an<br< a="">>

For meetings and executive retreats, the conference facility at Paradise Cove is the first of its kind on the island and offers meeting rooms in a separate wing away from the hotel suites. www.paradisecovean


A Good Read 

It was nirvana for literary lovers over the Memorial Day weekend when the Anguilla Literary Festival was the hottest ticket on the island. The four-day fete at Paradise Cove celebrated the best wordsmiths from Anguilla, the USA and the Caribbean with readings, workshops, panel discussions and spirited soirees at resorts and restaurants island-wide. Officially dubbed the “Anguilla Lit Fest: A Literary Jollification,” the auspicious festival featured best-selling author Terry McMillan of How Stella Got Her Groove Back fame and actress and author Sheryl Lee Ralph who read from her bestseller Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dream Girl.

Candis Niles, of the Anguilla Tourist Board noted, “This year (2012) marks the first year for the festival, which we believe is an excellent way to entice travelers during the off season. We are already looking forward to next year’s festival.”


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