Keeping Ku in the Caribbean

Anguilla gets casual chic with a swanky new hotel

By: Eleanor M. Wilson

Managed by the same company that runs top-rated Cap Juluca, the former Shoal Bay Beach Hotel opened as Ku in late October 2005, after extensive remodeling.

“We borrowed some of Cap Juluca’s attributes,” said general manager Delroy Lake, “but rather than the more elegant luxury hotel atmosphere, we’ve created our own chic ambience. It has brought us a steady 90 percent occupancy in our first season.”

The resort describes itself as “South Beach meets St. Barts,” drawing the young and the young-at-heart. During my stay, “casual chic” seemed more accurate. St. Barts’ glamour prevails in the white draped entryway and in the billows of gauzy cloth hanging from the lobby ceiling over modern white furniture. But steps away from the only dining room located on a terrace equipped with patio furniture it’s all very casual, as guests dance barefoot on the beach.

A highlight for the hip crowd is the 75-foot beach bar, which is actually a low wall that separates the restaurant from beach. Accessible from both sides, the design blends a friendly group of patrons welcome in swim suits or dinner suits. The wall concept leaves no room for a bartender, so servers handle orders from the restaurant, bar and beach.

Twenty-seven well-appointed apartments with sea views are housed in three-story buildings where pure whiteness is relieved by cobalt blue balcony railings outside, plus pastel decorative pillows and colorful art inside.

The living/dining area has a pull-out sofa, television and DVD/CD player. A bar divides the full-service kitchen and the bedroom and bath are located off the entry hall. Apartments have air-conditioning and ceiling fans, plus iron and board, umbrella, room safe, alarm clock, coffee makers, robes and ample bathroom amenities.

Special Services
A mini market sells everything from morning juice and eggs to evening steaks, wine and sundries. One computer offers free Internet access.

In the lobby, there’s a tour desk for arranging car rentals, island excursions and dinner reservations at Cap Juluca or the local restaurant Flavours, where Ku guests have signing privileges. A massage room and small gym are located above the lobby and coming soon, a massage tent on the beach.

For a bit of adventure, the Shoal Bay Scuba Center located on the premises rents snorkel gear and a variety of water toys. The center operates daily dive trips to reefs and wrecks, deep-sea fishing trips, glass-bottom boat tours and sunset sails.

Anguilla can be reached by small plane from San Juan, or by jet from St. Maarten. Ku’s special Executive Service escorts St. Maarten arrivals through immigration paperwork and baggage claim. The cost is $45 per couple. Most guests also follow Ku’s VIP route to the Sea Shuttle boat with service to Blowing Hole, Anguilla. The shuttle is $65 per person, one way. (Neither option is commissionable, but make ideal gifts for preferred clients.)

In addition to 10 percent commission, for each seven-night booking, agents receive a free night to offer clients or to use themselves. Complimentary nights must be used in the same season of the booking and are not issued in high season.

Rates and Packages
Until Dec. 14, the rate for an ocean/gardenview suite is $160; ocean/poolview is $175; and beachfront suites are $200, plus 20 percent tax and service charge. Two children under age 7 are free in-suite with parents.

Two favorite packages are Love at Ku and Escape to Ku. Escape to Ku includes double accommodations for four nights, two dinners for two, bottle of wine, sunset cruise, taxi transfers, tax and service charge for $1,205-$1,360 per couple, depending on suite location. Wedding and dive packages will soon be added.

But clients looking to escape to Ku will have to wait, the resort is closed September to October.



Anguilla Tourist Board