Superb culinary experiences, dreamy resorts and a coveted no quarantine policy – here’s why the beautiful Caribbean of Anguilla makes the perfect location to restart your wanderlust adventures
As a recent addition to the UK’s green watchlist, the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla has much to offer to UK holidaymakers looking for the ultimate break as overseas travel reopens, not least its enviable record of public health and speedy vaccination rollout.
Here’s the plan: Anguilla will be open to fully-vaccinated guests, with no requirement to quarantine, from 1st July. Guests must have received their second vaccination at least three weeks prior to arrival, and present with a negative rt-PCR test taken 3-5 days prior to arrival. They can also expect to be tested on arrival, free of charge.
3 silky sand beaches, an eclectic mix of iconic properties and endless gourmet gallivants – escaping the UK has never looked so inviting. Sitting statuesquely in the eastern Caribbean sea, this British overseas territory is the embodiment of an under the radar haven.
Its elusive nature stems from its location – reaching Anguilla requires either a tiny air transfer from Antigua or sea-shuttle from St. Maarten to touch its pristine shores – and it’s also still a strictly cruise-free zone.
Keeping out the masses means that Anguilla has retained a coveted secluded feel – attracting celebrities such as Sandra Bullock, Paul McCartney and a sunbathing Harry Styles.
16 miles in circumference, this tiny island proves that size doesn’t matter – it’s still packed with luxe resorts, ample activities and enough delectable Caribbean cuisine to keep you entertained until even the swimsuit feels snug.
Romance? Barefoot elegance? Unfussy chic? And unrivalled bliss? Anguilla is Beyond Extraordinary.
Throughout the pandemic, the island has recorded incredibly low case numbers on island (with none currently active) and since January 2021 has implemented a successful vaccination programme with over 60% of the population having received their first dose* and 44% having received both doses.
Accessibility from London
Travellers can reach Anguilla via British Airways (Gatwick and Heathrow) or Virgin Atlantic (Heathrow) services to Antigua followed by a short inter-island transfer to Anguilla, or with KLM/Air France via Amsterdam/Paris to St Maarten followed by a boat transfer. KLM’s Cityhopper network makes the latter an excellent choice for those travelling from regional airports who can easily make the Schiphol connection, and avoid a long drive to London with potentially an overnight stay.
Following extensive campaigning by the authorities in Anguilla, a new airlift has recently been announced connecting San Juan (Puerto Rico) to the island with twice-weekly return flights. A recent upgrade of the runway at Clayton J Lloyd airport in Anguilla means that the runway is fully fit to receive increased numbers of charter and private jet flights.
Cape Air will also be offering twice-daily direct flights between St Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Anguilla from November 2021, increasing options for those looking to undertake a multi-island Caribbean odyssey, or a twin centre trip to the US and Anguilla.
Word on the beach: island news
1 Hotels & Accommodation
With luxury resorts, boutique hotels, villas, apartments and beach clubs there is something to suit every taste on Anguilla. As the island reopens, new properties have opened and refreshed resorts are ready to welcome visitors.
The elegant Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort, has created a number of new guest experiences to indulge in the best of Anguilla in-resort, with the new all-inclusive More Malliouhana package, available for 2021 stays. These include sea fishing experiences with a special seafood dinner using guests’ catch of the day, transparent paddleboards to try, and plenty of sport and wellness activities including yoga, pilates, and beach volleyball.
The resort has also opened a new two-bedroom beachfront suite on Turtle Cove, boasting views of the crystal clear waters, a lush landscaped portico, garden patio and private plunge pool. All guest rooms feature fresh new furnishings, amenities and artwork.
The new Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club (previously Resorts and Residences by CuisinArt) is set to open under new ownership from November 2021. Nestled in the crescent curve of Rendezvous Bay and home to the island’s only golf course, the resort will be refreshed with a more natural and authentic island design, seven dining options and redesigned spa. Greg Norman is also designing a shorter 9-hole course to accompany the 18-holes already available.
For more exclusive accommodation, the island is home to apartments and villas to suit groups of all sizes. Hummingbird apartment, just minutes from Meads Bay in the island’s West End, is a charming studio space within a traditional Caribbean house. Welcoming host Trudy will not only serve up a delicious dinner but also give plenty of insider tips for where to go and what to do.
Arawak Beach Club offers a colourful option in Island Harbour. Newly-refurbished beachfront studios are painted in the vibrant orange, blue and yellow tones that reflect Anguilla’s natural palette. Each spacious room has a stunning north-east view over the fishing harbour and large balconies, with a shared sun deck and easy access to several of the island’s best bars and dining.
Situated on the beautiful Meads Bay, newly opened The Cottage is a luxurious private villa perfect for relaxing and reconnecting with friends and family. The villa features a spacious gourmet kitchen and living areas, four elegant bedrooms and veranda with outdoor dining overlooking the white sandy beach.
2 Wine & Dine
As well as fabulous places to stay, the island also offers a wealth of dining experiences – from toes in the sand beach bars to fine-dining – along its 16 mile long stretch. Malliouhana’s open-air restaurant, Celeste, features unique takes on Caribbean-inspired classics such as Grilled Mahi with blackened spice, corn relish and spicy mango coulis, Conch Curry with coconut dumplings, cauliflower and sweet peppers and Pyrat Rum Baba with papaya ice cream and crystallised lime.
Bar Soleil still remains one of the best places to enjoy the picturesque Anguillan sunset from, and now features vaulted ceilings, long Turkish banquettes and candle-lit bird cages illuminating the magical space throughout as well as an extensive collection of Haitian art.
For those who fancy dining in with food delivered straight to the door, delivery service Epic Foods offer deliveries from a range of restaurants across the island, so a quiet evening in with delicious dishes can easily be on the menu. Food venues across the island run a variety of offers, so there’s always good value to be found.
For dinner and a show, check the schedule at Tasty’s to catch live music while enjoying classic island dishes served up in a traditional welcoming setting just off Sandy Ground.
3 Out and about
Explore the island with the ‘Early Bird Nature Walk’ around Belmond Cap Juluca, run by island-based Nature Explorers. During the 1.5 hour tour, guests can expect to spot a wide variety of species including land, water and seabirds that gather around Cove Pond including bananaquit, white-cheeked pintail, plovers, stilts and egrets. Depending on the time of year, eagle-eyed walkers may also spot overwintering osprey, peregrine falcons and blue heron. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Anguilla’s National Trust for adventures in the West End of the island, hiking along Anguilla’s coastline through tidal pools, beaches and low-lying scrub while spotting the island’s natural inhabitants and surroundings. Or, head to the Sandy Ground Pond (one of Anguilla’s Salt Ponds) to view some of the island’s birdlife and animals, including herons, egrets and even the occasional Green Iguana sunning itself on the shore.
Malliouhana, the island’s original luxury resort and part of the Auberge group, has a newly-opened spa offering a wide range of treatments within an airy, artfully-styled space in a tropical garden setting.
The complex includes six treatment rooms, its own infinity pool overlooking Meads Bay and the Caribbean Sea, a full-service hair and beauty salon and private fitness training rooms. Treatments are inspired by island flavour and fresh, local ingredients known for their benefits and healing properties including infusions and aromatic oils.
Retreat is a new full-service wellness studio, centrally located in Lower South Hill and open to residents and guests alike (subject to Covid-safe protocols). The studio offers a full range of barre-based fitness classes and has its own cold-pressed juice bar, so there’s no need to go far for refreshing and healthy nutrition after a workout. Cost: 5-class packages $135 (single classes, private classes and longer packages also available).
5 New leadership and networks
Stacey Liburd joined as Director of Tourism in January 2021, and has now been joined by Chief Marketing Officer Georgios Tserdakidis. Together, with the help of newly appointed Deputy Director of Tourism Shellya Webster, they are leading Anguilla’s approach post-pandemic including establishing new networks – the island recently joined luxury travel network Virtuoso with five of its leading resorts included.
*As at 18 June 2021, https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations?country=AIA~GBR
Effective from 1st July 2021, entry to Anguilla is open to all those that are fully vaccinated (with second dose received at least three weeks before arrival). Guests will be tested on arrival. There is no quarantine requirement but a negative rt-PCR test result taken 3-5 days prior to entry must be produced along with proof of vaccination in the form of an NHS Covid Pass letter. Entry fees will not apply, but all visitors must still apply for entry permission online at http://www.ivisitanguilla.com
Exemptions are in place for under 18s and pregnant women. Full details of all entry requirements are detailed at ivisitanguilla.com.