Travelers love Shoal Bay for its crystal-clear water and white-sand beach. // © 2011 Mark Edward Harris
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston picked one of the most idyllic places on earth to break up, the tiny coral island of Scilly Cay, which is located a short boat ride away from the Anguillian town of Island Harbour. What a waste of a great vacation spot.
During lunchtime, celebrities and everyday people alike head to the popular Scilly Cay restaurant, owned and operated by Sandra and Eudoxie Wallace. Having no electricity on the island means that all the food is freshly prepared. Sea grape leaves line the plates that are piled with grilled Anguilla lobster, crawfish and chicken marinated in the restaurant's signature sauce with sides of pasta salad and fruit. It's all washed down with Eudoxie's rum punch, an elixir that may not be a marriage saver but one that can, at least momentarily, ease the tension.
Two miles from Scilly Cay is Shoal Bay, rated as one of the best beaches in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today and Fodor's. Its calm, crystal-clear water and pure white sand justify its status. On the other side of the 16-mile-long island are the numerous white-sand bunkers at the Greg Norman-designed Temenos Golf Course. Dramatic water holes and unforgiving tight fairways add elements of challenge to Anguilla's only golf course, reopened in December 2009 by the Cap Juluca Resort.
Cap Juluca, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, has 18 Moorish-style beachfront villas with a maximum of six suites per building, all with ocean views and direct beach access. A recent $28 million makeover added 60,000 flowering plants to the grounds and state-of-the-art electronics to every room in addition to creating a re-envisioned spa and renovating three restaurants. The most celebrated of its eateries, Pimms at Cap Juluca, overlooks Maundays Bay and features "Eurobbean" cuisine, an emerging culinary style that blends Caribbean and European flavors. Anguillian lobster bisque and green peppercorn-marinated swordfish serve as savory examples.
The newest resort on the island is the Viceroy Anguilla, which features an interior design by Kelly Wearstler, whose work routinely graces the pages of the top home and fashion magazines. With more than 3,200 feet of beach frontage along both Barnes and Meads Bays, the Viceroy Anguilla has 166 private villas, beachfront suites and bluff-top guestrooms. The resort's signature restaurant, Coba, offers dining with great views as does its more casual Sunset Lounge and The Half Shell beach bar and restaurant.
While Anguilla's resorts make it tempting for clients to stay put for their entire vacation, at least half a day should be devoted to an exploration of the island.
A good place to start is The Heritage Collection Museum on the outskirts of The Valley, Anguilla's capital city. This is a must-stop attraction for history buffs or for those just interested in a better understanding of the island's past. Visitors will learn, for example, that the name "Anguilla" was derived from the word for "eel" (Spanish: anguila; French: anguille; Italian: anguilla) because of the island's eel-like shape.
Anguilla's Wallblake Airport handles mostly inter-island traffic including limited flights from Puerto Rico. Most visitors fly into St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport and take a water ferry or puddle jumper. Day trips are also viable via a half-hour ferry from St. Maarten (the Dutch side) or from St. Martin (the French side). Make sure to remind clients to bring their passports to enter this Caribbean paradise in the British West Indies.