Caribbean

Anguilla Reinvented

written by | Posted on February 1st, 2009

There’s plenty new to see and do on the island’s sleepy shores, thanks to new amenities, owners and resorts.

For years, the story of tourism in Anguilla has centered on its three main resorts—Cap Juluca, CuisinArt Resort & Spa, and Maliouhana—resorts which have dominated the small, sleepy island’s tourist market with luxury accommodations and reliable service. Though additions and renovations have updated the resorts to modern levels of luxury through the years, there hasn’t been a truly new, unique development to hit the island in some time.

Until now, that is. This year, two of Anguilla’s “big three” resorts are debuting exciting new looks: CuisinArt with its massive and inventive new spa, which debuted in December, and Cap Juluca, with new ownership and a new look to match. And this April will see the introduction of a new brand, the first to challenge the dominance of these established luxury resorts—Viceroy Anguilla.

the new kid “Anguilla’s always been about four- to five-star luxury niche resorts, independently owned. We’re the new kid on the block,” explains Jan Tibaldi, general manager of the Viceroy Anguilla, a 172-room property opening its doors in April. “When you command quite a high price tag compared with other luxury hotels on the island, you have to have your ducks in a row.”

For the Viceroy, that means going above and beyond in every respect, whether it’s providing guests with plunge pools or jacuzzis in every accommodation, from basic guestrooms to its 5-bedroom, 6,500-sq.-ft. villas, to opening an exclusive spa right on the water this summer. “The vibe we’re trying to generate for luxury travelers is to evoke a sense of place, a kind of Caribbean couture, like no other anywhere,” Tibaldi describes. “With the Arawak history here, we’re trying to blend that with design amenities and remain consistent with international traditions of five-star luxury.” And when it comes to activities for guests, Tibaldi says, “We want them to have a whole lot to do and a whole lot of nothing to do.” So families can play tennis together or take advantage of watersports like sailing, kayaking and scuba diving, or simply relax along the 3,200 ft. of beachfront. “It’s not like a Club Med environment,” Tibaldi emphasizes. “We think less is better, while still providing quality things while you’re here.”

Another tactic to set the Viceroy apart: remaining open year-round, while most Anguillan resorts close for the summer. “With the economic downturn, we have to get aggressive in looking for market share,” Tibaldi explains.

Rates at the Viceroy Anguilla start at $550 per room per night.

venus rising Meanwhile, Kathy Eggleston, spa director at CuisinArt Resort & Spa, is positively giddy about her new home, the brand-new Venus Spa. “Before, we had a limited number of treatment rooms, no real relaxation room, and no wet rooms,” she describes. “And we have all those beautiful facilities now, so it’s really, really nice.”

The resort, known for its world-class dining, has added a world-class spa to its offerings, she says, with capabilities above and beyond the average massage or manicure. The first floor gym, for example, is “…all redone and all new,” she explains. “It’s all new TechnoGym equipment from Italy, everything state of the art. We have every conceivable piece that you would want in there, we have covered every machine that exercises every part of your body, including a Kinesis System, which is a cable training system that’s popular now.”

Of course, most vacationers would rather lay back and let their spa therapists do the work, and the new spa opens up plenty of ways to do just that. “In the new building, on the first floor we have an indoor saltwater pool where we’ll be doing aqua therapy, aqua massage and aqua reflexology,” Eggleston says. “It’s a beautiful room with all white marble floors and walls, and a dome ceiling right over the pool area. The pool is tiled in different shades of blue glass tile—it’s just really, really pretty.” But it’s not just a pretty place. “There are four alcoves in the pool where you can sit with water jets that come out. Within that area, we have two water treatment rooms, with a Vichy shower in one. And we’ve designed a Water Journey package with wraps and scrubs, all these bundled little packages that include the pool,” she says. Taking full advantage of its new water capabilities, the spa also sent its head therapists to Canada for aquatherapy classes, so they’re freshly trained in the art of relaxing the body and spirit.