In today’s modern age, the term ‘undiscovered paradise’ is becoming scarcer and scarcer, much like an endangered animal spotted once in a blue moon. But on the stunning island of Anguilla, such secret tranquility still exists.
Stretching 16 miles of unspoilt luxury, editor Sophie Ritchie shares her guide to the Caribbean’s exclusive utopia
33 silky sands beaches, an eclectic mix of iconic properties and endless gourmet gallivants – winter sun 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 most recently, 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.
Where to stay
Best for the foodies: CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Mingling Mediterranean architecture with contemporary interiors and lip-smacking dishes, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa’s array of 91 suites and seven villas are ideal for those who love to both explore and recline horizontally during a holiday.
Step inside the spacious entrance and gaze around at the nautical-inspired decor, before one of the welcoming team leads you to a suite bigger than most millennials’ entire homes. If the ocean views with waves lapping up the sand don’t make you swoon, then the culinary gems certainly will.
Spoilt for choice, guests can dine at a number of eateries; Mosaic for open kitchen entertainment; Tokyo Bay for a sushi fix; Santorini at The Clubhouse for Med-inspired mouthfuls and, lastly, for a simple bite of ceviche; the seafood-centric Beach Bar & Grill.
Breakfast with the ocean breeze and devour a selection of fresh fruit and hot classics, or sink your teeth into endless snacks and feast upon dinners served against the backdrop of a burning sun lowering itself back into the water. Either way, this gourmet resort offers it all and more. cuisinartresort.com
Best for something exclusive: Belmond Cap Juluca
An iconic resort in its own right, Belmond Cap Juluca is a luxuriously exclusive hideaway found on the satin sands of the crescent-shaped Maunday’s Bay.
An opulent escape filled with institutional glamour, rooms here feature Greco-Moorish interiors with just the right dose of très stylish furnishings. The turquoise waters are truly exquisite, as are the ample dining opportunities found at Pimms restaurant, Cip’s by Ciprani, sand-side Cap Shack and Maunday’s Club.
Whether you’re looking for horse rides along the sand or simply deluxe dining, this hedonistic resort offers it all and more. But, be warned, once you’ve arrived you’ll have a tough time saying goodbye. belmond.com
Best for boho chic: Malliouhana Resort, a Luxury Caribbean Auberge Hotel
If you prefer a property with addictively chic personality, book a room at the laid-back Malliouhana Resort, a Luxury Caribbean Auberge Hotel.
A retreat for the A-list, Malliouhana is the definition of undetected luxury – with a duo of pools, Michelin chef dishes, debonair rooms and palm tree pathways.
Interiors emulate low-key glam, with seaside sophistication and contemporary aesthetics defined by robin’s egg blues and bright yellows. Make the most of your private terrace and wake up to the sights of an endless ocean horizon – when it comes to idyllic views, Anguilla’s skyline is as romantic as they come.
There’s a certain magic about this resort, particularly when night falls and the humid air conjures a feeling of colonial mystery. Two words – we love. aubergeresorts.com
Where to eat
Anguilla’s eclectic resorts cater to every gourmand’s whim – but nothing beats fresh, local cuisine when taking a tastebud trip
1 Pitstop at SunShine Shack for sumptuous broiled lobster, reggae tunes and eccentric licence plate decor – there’s enough on the walls to make a hoarder turn green with envy. sunshineshack.net
2 Welcoming customers for over 30 years, Hibernia Restaurant Art Gallery serves up delicious French-Asian fusion cuisine – with an Asian art gallery and eclectic sculpture garden to explore during a visit too. hiberniarestaurant.com
3 Devour a plateful of fresh fish at Da’Vida’s Beach Bar before washing it down with a house cocktail and hopping in a kayak to the nearby Little Bay Beach. Lunchtime breaks will never be the same again. davidaanguilla.com
What to do
From rum rendezvous to ocean adventure, Anguilla is an explorer’s paradise
1 Forget the clock and enjoy daytime drinks at the suave Zemi Beach House, a five-star hotel with everything from spa to sips. If you’re a rum lover, the Rhum Room’s collection of over 100 small-batch, single-estate rums are bound to impress. zemibeach.com
2 Enjoy a guided kayak tour with Liquid Glow and paddle through the stunning crystal clear waters of Anguilla from Crocus Bay to Little Bay for the chance to spot turtles, stingrays and hundreds of tropical fishes. Weave through the water and marvel at viewing caves and cactuses growing on the cliff side – before rocking up (quite literally) at Little Bay for rope climbing, snorkelling and aquatic adventures. anguillakayak.com
3 It would be pure sacrilege to visit Anguilla and not tick off a few of its 33 beaches. Our personal favourites include Meads Bay, Shoal Bay East, legendary crescent shaped Maundays Bay and the gentle curve of Rendezvous Bay. If you’re in the mood to explore further, catch a boat from Sandy Ground to Sandy Island or Prickly Pear, where glorious tanning opportunities and rum punch awaits.ivisitanguilla.com
Make it happen
Getting there: British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Antigua six times a week during the summer from £457 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges. To book please visit ba.com/Antigua or call 0344 493 0120. Anguilla is then just a short 50-minute hop via Trans Anguilla Airlines transanguilla.com.
Start the adventure: To discover more and start planning your trip, please visit ivisitanguilla.com.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor