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The kaleidoscope of color and beauty that greets guests at the newly restored Malliouhana, on the island of Anguilla, is both dizzying and captivating. The sleek, white exterior features three Moroccan-style canopies, revealing open-air doorways with views of the turquoise sea. Haitian art — lush tropical jungle scenes reminiscent of bygone days — is placed next to a wall displaying perfectly polished vintage diving masks.
Black-and-white photographs evoke 1950s and 1960s Caribbean glamour, while reflective tile floors and modern woven accents offer a touch of the 21st century. Interior designer Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL Studio made a total design statement while keeping a connection to the sea and sand. This is still just the “lobby.”
“Malliouhana” is the original Arawak name for Anguilla, which is why in 1984, when opening the first five-star resort on Anguilla, proprietors chose the name. Very quickly, the resort became the place for elite vacationers. The view from the restaurant was legendary.
On Nov. 1, 2014 —30 years after its debut and after a three-year closure — the Malliouhana reopened its doors as Malliouhana, An Auberge Resort (now part of the Auberge Resorts Collection). The relaxed sophistication, both in the design and in the restaurant menu, is readily apparent, but important details from its previous life remain. Still there are the view, the art that patrons came to know and love, the excellent service and the distinct Anguillan friendliness.
Open-air walkways and mint walls lead travelers throughout the property. Set on 20 acres of incredible beachfront with white-sand beaches and two layered infinity pools, the property is fresh off an extensive $80 million renovation. Guests can choose between 44 guestrooms and suites. There are oceanview and gardenview options, and configurations range from abundant 720-square-foot double rooms to astonishing 2,500-square-foot suites.
All rooms are decorated in the same Caribbean-meets-South-of-France style as the public spaces. Nespresso coffee machines are provided in each room as well as Malliouhana’s custom blend, all-natural bath products. Most bathrooms have dual vanities and separate soaking tubs. One aesthetic yet practical touch is the bright orange chaise lounge on the porch, complementing the blue water beyond.
The opening of the Restaurant at Malliouhana was eagerly anticipated by Anguilla regulars, and although the dishes have changed, the quality has not. After searching high and low for a chef, Malliouhana management was dining in New York City at the Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate when they realized they had found their ideal candidate. Chef Jeremy Bearman was offered the prestigious position, and the resort now reaps the benefits of his talent.
Bearman uses locally-sourced ingredients from Anguilla and neighboring islands to create an elegant and healthy American menu with Caribbean flavors. Dishes such as Berkshire pork ribs with tamarind glaze, conch and spiny lobster pizza and Anguillan snapper with daikon kimchi do not disappoint. The Restaurant at Malliouhana serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. After the meal, guests and visitors can relax in the Sunset Bar while enjoying rums from around the world.
Malliouhana has plenty to offer with the restaurant, luxurious rooms, infinity pools with panoramic views and beach life, but it doesn't stop there. Yoga on the beach, biking and bicycle tours, horseback riding, kayaking, sailing, family activities, golf excursions, tennis, paddleboarding, deep-sea fishing and culture tours abound.
Personal trainers are available for guests who want to take their workouts up a notch. After all of those rigorous sports, the spa is the perfect place to rejuvenate sore muscles. It is housed in an intimate Caribbean villa with tropical gardens, an outdoor rest area, a couples’ suite and signature spa treatments. The Warm Shell Massage, for example, uses seashells filled with lava and saltwater, and the Island Drift tempts with a rum foot soak and coconut milk rinse.
Malliouhana welcomes new and returning guests with a look to the future and a nod to the past. More than 50 percent of the original staff returned to the resort, a testament to the friendly, beckoning vibe that surrounds the property.
Anguilla is known for its award-winning beaches, fresh seafood cuisine, people who love their home and those who come to enjoy it. The Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort, embodies all of this and more.