Caribbean sea air swished through my hair while a cup of rum punch sloshes about in my hand (the other was grasped to the seat keeping me stable) as a boat, a “ferry” as they call it, sped up swiftly and slowed back down. It’s speed and stability are determined by the wake zones and how rough the waters are each day.
This was how we were transferred to the island of Anguilla after arriving via air at the St. Martin airport. Once onboard, your luggage is tucked away at the front of the boat and you are offered rum punch, beer, water, or soft drinks. Opt for the punch, it immediately transports you into an island time vibe. The scenery is of picturesque mountains dotted with brightly-hued homes overlooking the water as the view of St. Martin grows further away.
Anguilla is situated in the British West Indies in the eastern Caribbean. It’s a mere 16 miles long, by three miles wide, at its widest point. The U.S. dollar is widely accepted making it easy for American travel. It boasts warm balmy temperatures with pleasant lower than expected humidity. Water varies in hues of the brightest most aqua blues that didn’t seem real. I submerged myself in them to make sure and to experience their beauty.
Upon arrival, there was some apparent storm damage and reconstruction taking place, but what outshone the scene–which was still absolutely stunning–was a community of locals ready and waiting to welcome you onto their beautiful island, eager to share this spectacular place they call home.
There’s a genuine warmth extended through the locals’ gracious hospitality. Along with those in the resort industry, some shop and restaurant owners have hospitality backgrounds as well. Even the cab ride from the boat dock was like a mini island tour with the driver pointing out landmarks along the way including the best grocery stores closest to the property where we were staying.
Now is the perfect time to visit because the resorts are not at their full capacity, they are easing back with soft re-openings before the crowds return for season in mid to late fall.
Our home for the week was the Four Seasons Anguilla Resort and Residences. Its advantage over other accommodations is its westside location on the Island with views of the the most spectacular sunsets over the ocean. Once you arrive at the resort, you’ll be greeted with a cool towel and a cold tropical cocktail placed in hand.
The resort is family family, kids seemed well-behaved but the sprawling resort offers places of secluded reprieve, even the beach has options to have your own space away from anyone. The adult pool feels spa-like with soothing music and ocean views. In the evenings, live music from the Sunset Lounge filled the air adding to the stunning aprés-sunset atmosphere.
Although luxurious, the opulent property had an embracing feel which makes guests feel comfortable in casual island attire. Service throughout our stay was authentic and relaxed, informal yet polished.
Half Shell Beach Bar was a favorite and one of five dining options on the property. It set the scene for the perfect beach day. It’s a place you’d want to stop by if passing on foot or pull up to by boat. The mango papaya salad was lunchtime perfection with lightly dressed greens, toasted coconut, and cashews for a delicious crunch. Indulge in the moringa cocktail, a rum-based frozen blend of this superfood green with a touch of sweetness.
Another recommended way to spend a day at the beach is at the Sunshine Shack. Their saying is “Live Up! Love Up! Live On!” Enjoy the live reggae music, grilled seafood and meats, and drinks served chair side under an umbrella. You may also choose an open-air patio table or take a seat at the adjacent bar. Most of the beachfront establishments offer chair set ups and beachside service.
The Island offers renowned restaurants with international cuisine. Some are run by classically-trained chefs. One of which is Veya, a fine-dining establishment. At this husband-wife run restaurant, she is the chef and he is a wine connoisseur. They say they create food they want to eat. Recently the pair opened Meze, it’s Moroccan themed with comfortable lounge seating and soft sexy lighting offering crafted cocktails, wines, and smaller-portioned sharable plates.
Another option is La Dolce Vita, an authentic Italian restaurant. One of the specialties is a table-side filleted branzano and an elegant wine list is arranged by region. It has an open-air beachfront setting with the sand just steps away. Their “resident dog” rests peacefully on the beach. Patrons seemed to enjoy his company and offered pets before departing. This is a place suitable for both a romantic meal or to bring the family.
There are many more places to visit on the island, but keeping with our only agenda to relax and recharge we ventured around sparingly. Gives good reason to return to this hospitable island reprieve.