Best on the Beach: Selling Luxury in Anguilla

Written by  Melanie Reffes

Caribbean Anguila
Brand new on the picture-perfect island across the sea from St. Martin, The Reef sits pretty on the less-trodden beach fronting Merrywing Bay. A short golf cart ride away from its bigger sister, CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa; the seaside resort is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Stylishly designed with 80 suites in four beachfront buildings, the beauty on the Bay also comes with two tennis courts and a pair of restaurants: The Yacht Club and Breezes on the beach.

Golfers are given preferred rates and tee-times at the adjacent Golf Club, and massage-seekers check into the Venus Spa next door at the bigger resort. Posh and plush from bathrobes and L’Occitane amenities to sunrise yoga classes, en-suite espresso machines and closets bigger than studio apartments, The Reef is also techno-trendy with a dedicated APP for booking golf times, massages and restaurant reservations, Apple computers in the library, Bluetooth-enabled clock radios in the suites, and bedside panels that control room lighting. Proud as a peacock of the new resort, General Manager Stephane Zaharia also manages the CuisinArt Resort. She says, “This is contemporary beachfront chic with distinctive options for guests, like glass bottom kayak rides, aqua biking, drone workshops and for foodies the resort invites with the island’s first and only oyster bar, and sweet treats like frozen grapes that refresh on a sunny afternoon.”

Next door to The Reef, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa is the perennial favorite of the well-heeled and the travel agents who book their holidays. On Rendezvous Bay, the resort is owned by Brooklyn-born Lee Rizzuto who named it after the kitchen appliance company with the same name that he also owns. Meticulously manicured on 275 beachfront acres, 91 suites, penthouses and villas are inspired by the bright whites and deep blues of the Greek islands. Clever extras include a bowl of cherry tomatoes from the hydroponic garden as an alternative to mints on the pillow and metal keys, not the credit card-type with the magnetic stripe, open the doors. To greet the morning, an espresso maker with Nespresso brew pods and in-room dining is a treat on the balcony.
Ideal for a winter vacation or a romantic weekend for Valentine’s Day, both resorts work with travel agents in the US. “We have always had a very close relationship with our travel agent partners and as they introduce The Reef to their clients, we are available to answer any questions their clients may be asking and assist with all reservation requests,” adds Stephane Zaharia, general manager.
Welcoming families, couples and singles, the sprawling resort comes with an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course (the only one on the island), Venus Spa, cycling, tennis, basketball, bocce ball and impeccable service that is more intuitive than intrusive. Wide-reaching from the lobby to the Beach Bar, the infinity pool is Moorish-style with a long canal that flows to the ocean’s edge. Continental breakfast at Café Mediterraneo is included in room rates while dinner at the AAA Four Diamond Le Bistro at Santorini is art on a plate. A perfectionist in his perfect kitchen, Chef Jasper Schneider creates farm, sea and land signatures like crayfish with burnt lemon and lamb chops bathed in a black garlic jus. For the heartiest appetites, eight-course Chef’s Table Food & Wine Experience, $195 per person, is elegant in the private dining room that comfortably seats sixteen.
Overlooking the golf course, Chef Biagio does his Italian plates proud at Restaurant Italia, with mains like Grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs (we presume his Grandma) and a toasty Panini stuffed with prosciutto, smoked mozzarella and arugula. For those with a yen for Japanese fare, Tokyo Bay is the island’s first sushi restaurant. In the same round building as the spa, sushi and sashimi come with 360-degree views of the mountains across the sea in St. Martin.
A lobster dinner - that’s just one lobster and nothing else - at any one of Anguilla’s restaurants can run as high as $65, which makes the Saturday night all-you-can-eat Lobster Barbecue a great deal. Set up on the patio in front of Le Bistro at Santorini, the buffet priced at $95  per person (cheaper for kids) is an awesome array of salads, slow-cooked brisket, jerk chicken, pasta, grilled fish, barbecue ribs and those Anguillan spiny lobsters big and buttery from the charcoal grill. Not for the faint-of-appetite, the dessert bar is as pretty as it is tasty with tarts and tortes, cakes and puddings and for diet-ditchers, the cake lollipops are a must-try.
For fans and fanatics, Rum Tastings at the Lobby bar are popular at $45 per person, wine classes are held Mondays and Thursdays and for the kids, gratis tours of the on-site hydroponic garden are given Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Getting There
Small planes and private jets land at Anguilla’s Clayton J. Lloyd Airport, although many prefer to fly into the bigger Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten and hop a fast boat or slower ferry from Simpson Bay in St. Maarten or from Marigot in St. Martin.
Both resorts offer a Meet and Greet service at the airport in St. Maarten, escorting guests to the ferry dock across the street. After a scenic twenty minute sail to Anguilla’s Blowing Point Ferry Terminal, guests are met by a Resort Greeter for the short car ride to the resort. Those preferring to make their own way can book a GB Express ferry or take the cheaper public ferry from the French side of the dual nation island.

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