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ANGUILLA RETAINS THE ISLAND PARADISE STATUS

By Michael Hepworth

A trip to the British Island of Anguilla last year confirmed my suspicions that this is one of the few unspoilt Caribbean Islands left. It is only a tiny Island , 16 miles long and four miles wide, and with about 11,000 happy inhabitants. It remains a playground and retreat for the wealthy and famous, and is known for outstanding snorkeling, and beaches with fine powdery sand that you can sink deep into. It is of course available to normal folks who donít mend paying pretty high prices for something special. The locals are some of the friendliest people you will meet in the Caribbean , and maybe that comes from the fact that most of them have now got British passports, a valuable commodity even today. They also are well trained to totally respect privacy of their guests.

Anguilla has about 33 beaches, all of them different, and most straight out of a picture postcard. Regular visitors include Eddie Murphy, Beyonce, Meg Ryan, Richard Gere, Martin J.Fox and Robert de Niro, and they get the chance to dine at any of the 70 restaurants on the island that are all highly regarded, and priced about the same as Central London. That means expensive for those of you who have not been to London lately. There is one nightclub on Anguilla that is naturally very popular on the weekends, and veteran soul acts play St.Maarten each month. Kool & the Gang performed the week I was there.  To get to Anguilla you have to fly to the Dutch Island of St.Maarten from Miami , and then catch a boat or a ferry the short stretch to Anguilla . There are facilities for private aircraft on the Island , and many celebrities choose that option. The very chic French island of St.Barths is about an hour away by boat. It is always best to have your boat and ground transportation pre-arranged to avoid any delays or hassles when you arrive at the airport.

Shopping is not one of the reasons to go to Anguilla . There are a few boutiques dotted around, maybe one supermarket and a dozen or so art galleries selling the works of local artists. One artist to visit is Cheddie Richardson, a sculptor and wood carver who does some amazing things with wood carvings. Collectors come from all over the world to collect his carvings and sculptures, so a visit to his gallery is a must see.

I was fortunate enough to stay at Cerulean Villa, a private beachfront resort at Barnes Bay with seven bedrooms (average size 515 square feet) that each have their own private entrance and a terrace with comfortable seating. Cerulean has been open since 1997 and was designed by the world class architect Deborah Berke, and although I was unable to extract any significant gossip from the manager Bruce Hearn, it was pretty clear that some big names in business and the entertainment industry had spent some serious holiday time at Cerulean. Glowing reviews from Vogue, Playboy, Millionaire Magazine and Travel & Leisure Magazine have also helped the profile of the venue.

A staff of 14 are at your beckoned call, and prices are based on the season, and the villa usually books out for a week or more. The slight Moorish design of the villa adds to the pleasure of a stay at Cerulean, which is a very light and airy villa with French doors that open out to the sea. Each room has an en-suite European style bathroom, and the other area of the villa for the use of the guests covers 13,000 square foot of living space with two living rooms separated by a bar. The grounds also include a tennis court, gym, freshwater pool, waterfall and tropical gardens. For those of us who need to stay in the daily world, they have cable television, VCRs, DVDs, books, videos and use of the internet and e-mail.

One of the advantages of choosing a place like Cerulean for a family get together is the fact that children are particularly welcome at the villa. They pretty much have the run of the place, and a supervised childrenís program has an amazing selection of things to keep the little darlings occupied. How about swimming with the dolphins, beach pony rides, glass bottom boat trips, treasure hunts, tennis clinics, arts and crafts programs, kite flying or building sandcastles. The 40x25 foot freshwater pool overlooks the sea and is suitable for swimming laps as well as just floating. Surrounding the pool is a 3,000 square foot stone deck with plenty of lounge chairs, umbrellas and tables for dining al fresco. On a deck above pool level is a Jacuzzi situated in the perfect spot to relax with a cocktail and watch the sunset over the sea.  Cerulean can also arrange for scuba divers to get certified, as well as setting up sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing and a whole host of physical activities.

Spa treatments take place in the room from a visiting therapist who has been trained by none other than Susan Ciminelli from New York . Treatments include aromatherapy, facials, pumpkin and prune fruit enzyme peels, seaweed body wraps, Belgian Rose salt scrubs, massages, manicures, pedicures and deep conditioning hair treatments. Over the top weddings are also available for 14 people at a base cost of $90,000, although I was unclear just how many had taken place at that price.

Gourmet menus prepared by chef Andy Gumbs (who has been resident chef for six years) features all the local sea food delicacies such as crayfish, sea bass, and lobster. The menu each day was different and some of his standout dishes include a grilled loin of New Zealand lamb with a warm lentil salad and a delicious Risotto with asparagus and truffle oil. Other specialties include Anguillan pumpkin soup, grilled lobster tails, artichoke and tomato tart with old style mustard and chocolate bread pudding with Jack Danielís sauce. Exotic tropical drinks, including Ceruleanís signature Mango Margarita, and slightly decadent hors díoeuvres are also served before dinner. Wine pairings are always carefully selected, and a relaxing lunch or dinner under the stars will set anybody up for a day of fun. Beach dinners with limbo dancers, fire eaters, reggae singers and steel bands are all part of the entertainment mix available at Cerulean. There are three or four other luxury hotels/villas to choose from on Anguilla , but if you really want to do this island in style, then Cerulean is the place for you.

Temenos Anguilla, a St.Regis Retreat opens later this year and is aiming to be the Caribbean ís most exclusive luxury destination. The 286 acre property will be featuring over a mile of pristine private beaches, a 97 room luxury hotel and the first championship golf course on the island personally designed by Greg Norman and totaling 7,200 yards. His yacht has been a regular visitor to Anguilla the last couple of years. Views of the French island of St.Maarten are the highlights of this particular stretch of beach, and the villas on the estate reflect the Greek Mediterranean design, with soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and the best fixtures and fittings money can buy.

Cap Juluca has been a favorite spot for the well to do for some time, and this exclusive hotel/resort will continue to be top class and likely unaffected by the arrival of Temenos.  The property occupies 179 acres of land and inland waters and houses eighteen separate Moorish-style beachfront villas, each house no more than 6 rooms. The signature restaurant of Georgeís is located right on the beach where drinks, snacks and meals are served. The food is Spanish Mediterranean style from Chef George Reid, and his other restaurant, Pimms, is set on a coral outcrop only six feet from the bay looking westward across the half moon of azure blue waters to the lighted Moorish domes, turrets and parapets of the resort.  St. Maarten International Airport is serviced by direct flights from New York , Chicago , Miami , Raleigh/Durham, Paris and Frankfurt . American Eagle connects Anguilla directly with San Juan , from which direct flights service almost every major city in the USA . The ferry takes fifteen minutes to Anguilla, and the private flight just eight minutes.

Fact Sheet

Cerulean Villa

Tel USA- 212.285.2070         Fax 212.962.6470    management@cerulean-villa.com

www.cerulean-villa.com

Rates- May 1-November 12, $ 30,000 per week.

            November 12-May 1 $ 42,000 per week.

Xmas and New Year packages $75,000 per week (2 week minimum)

Food, Beverages, Tips and Taxes not included.

 

Cheddies Carving Studios-Driftwood House, PO Box 599 , The Cove.

Tel 264.497.6027

www.cheddieonline.com

 

Cap Juluca- 1-888-858-5822

info@capjuluca.com

 

 

Also.

www.go-anguilla.com

www.dreamanguilla.com

 
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