Let your mind wander to the Caribbean… sparkling aqua water, palm trees, relaxation… ahhhh… There’s no better escape from the winter blues! But which of the many beautiful islands should you visit? Our travel consultant Marylyn McLaughin shares why Anguilla tops our list. She recently planned a trip for two families to visit the island for a holiday gathering of great friends and celebration of a 50th birthday. The families, teenagers included, were in need of an escape from the hectic metro NYC lifestyle. A stay at the Viceroy of Anguilla was the solution!
A little background from Marylyn: I first visited Anguilla when I was expecting my first child in 1990. My husband and I stayed at the economical, now-defunct Mariners on Sandy Ground. We returned to Anguilla three more times over the next 15 years, as time allowed. We enjoyed stays at the Malliouhana and Cap Juluca hotels on subsequent trips. I’ve not been back for a few years, but have sent some clients, and my resort of choice today is the Viceroy.
Part of the British West Indies, the island of Anguilla has retained its ease and sense of community. Although the landscape has changed in the last 25 years, the fabric of the citizens has not. You are quickly welcomed and set at ease by the warm and relaxed reception of your hosts. Anguilla is one of the few islands that allows you to rent a car and just get lost, exploring over 33 beaches in just a 16 mile island. It is not lush with forests and mountains, but the beaches are simply beautiful. They’ll compel you to sit for a while and maybe even take a nap!
You come to Anguilla to relax, swim, sun, and enjoy the people around you. Visitors love the infamous Rum Punch cocktail, and eating grilled lobster and crayfish. Anguilla does not take itself too seriously, even amidst the continued development of upscale resorts and a new designer golf course. Anguilla still prides itself on it’s “Goat Crossing” signs, and its beach fish fry. Note – Anguilla is not the best island for golfing nor is it a place to hobnob with the rich and famous (although they do vacation there).
Why the Viceroy?
The Viceroy, a 5-star property that has earned its perch at the top of the Caribbean “A” list, keeps careful to blend itself into the feel of the island. The property sits on a peninsula between two beautiful beaches, Meads Bay and Barnes Bay.
The design of the hotel is chic, yet natural. The common areas are open and combine the island’s colonial wood with organic fabrics. The feel is laid-back luxury, just like the island itself! Various dining options include the upscale Coba (where my clients enjoyed a holiday dinner), casual pool and beach-side grills, and the fabulous Sunset Lounge. My clients loved viewing the sunsets while sipping a cocktail and dancing to the DJ! They also took advantage of the in villa dining prepared and served by the Viceroy’s acclaimed kitchen.
What is there to do at the Viceroy? Our travelers relaxed at the private pool at their villa, the main resort pool, and the beach! Paddleboarding, snorkeling, and swimming were the main activities. They even hit the fitness center and took a yoga class. The plan was to decompress, and that they did!
More Anguilla Destinations
Elsewhere on the island…
- We recommend dining at Anguilla’s classic restaurants Blanchards and The Barrel Stay, for a fun time and delicious treats.
- The Dune Preserve at beautiful Rendezvous Bay is an island institution and a must visit. Bankie Banx has assembled top up & coming island musicians to perform nightly at this rustic sprawling beach shack. It’s a priceless experience, especially if you get to hear Bankie perform!
- Our travelers also visited Scilly Cay, and as instructed, went to Island Harbour and waved for a boat. They spent an afternoon eating the amazing island BBQ, listening to reggae, and enjoying rum punches. Scilly Cay is pricey for lunch, but the grilled lobster is one of my most memorable meals, and the vibe is priceless.
What Our Travelers Said
“Hi Marylyn, Thank you so much for organizing my 50th birthday trip. Everything was AMAZING! We loved the Viceroy, the dinners you organized were yummy and the travel to and from was seamless! As you can imagine, we lit up the Viceroy a bit with our crew. We were the talk of the island with our Thursday night dance party in the Sunset Lounge with DJ Sugar. When we arrived at the ferry on Sunday we were told everyone heard about the party with people dancing on tables. Again, thank you so much. I had a smile on my face all week! We look forward to returning. ~ JoAnn and Jeff
Final thoughts from Marylyn: When you get this type of feedback, it makes you realize the magic of trip design. The recipe? Listen to the client, select a fitting and extraordinary place (such as Anguilla), and match the property to their personality. It seems to have worked. I am currently planning my return to Anguilla as we speak. I will report back upon my return!