João Canziani

With a buzzing hotel scene, barbecue, and calypso beats, this 16-mile-long Caribbean island makes for a carefree winter getaway.

September 14, 2010

Day 1

Anguillan residents call themselves “Belongers.” Here’s how to become one.

Check-In: Modernists stay atop a bluff at the new Viceroy Anguilla (doubles from $695) with 166 teak-and-cream rooms that have private decks and plunge pools. A more traditional option is the 179-acre Cap Juluca (doubles from $425, including breakfast), which underwent a $22 million renovation two years ago. All 98 rooms, now with Frette linens and Moroccan-style rugs, line a calm bay.

Lunch: Borrow one of the Viceroy’s trail bikes and pedal to the open-air Straw Hat Restaurant (lunch for two $70), famous for its grilled Anguillan crayfish drizzled with ginger vinaigrette.

Music: While away the afternoon with a Pyrat rum piña colada at Dune Preserve (drinks for two $15), a driftwood bar owned by Anguilla-born reggae artist and raconteur Bankie Banx.

Dinner: On an island with dozens of roadside grill stands, the local standout is B&D’s Barbecue (dinner for two $25) for its smoky pork ribs to go. If you’d rather linger over West Indian dishes (Creole conch stew with fried plantains; goat curry), grab a table at E’s Oven (dinner for two $100). Chef Vernon Hughes cooks on the same spot where his mother presided over her stone furnace.

Drinks: Rum punches and reggae bands are the draw at the Pumphouse (drinks for two $16). Get there early on Thursdays; calypso night draws the crowds.

Day 2

Breakfast: French expat Geraud Lavest oversees the kitchen at Geraud’s Patisserie (breakfast for two $24) where the café au lait is straight out of Paris but the mango-topped French toast has a tropical spin. In October, you’ll find Lavest bottling house-made peach-ginger marmalade. The jars ($8) will also pack neatly in your suitcase.

Beach: Anguilla has 33 beaches with sand that ranges from pink to vanilla and shallow bays well-suited for snorkeling. Bring fins and a mask to gin-colored Crocus Bay to spot angelfish. Then head down the beach to designer Fabiana Liburd’s boutique Why Knot. Ask her to show you how to tie her signature cover-up in the local style.

Lunch: On weekends, chicken barbecue, complete with Carib lagers and live music near the surf, is the main attraction at Smokey’s at the Cove (lunch for two $60).

Spa: CuisinArt Resort & Spa (doubles from $815) has the largest spa and fitness center on the island. Choose the cucumber and aloe wrap ($120): this hydrating treatment uses products from the resort’s hydroponic farm.

Dinner: Don’t leave Anguilla without an evening at KoalKeel (dinner for two $130), which is set in a limestone cottage built in the 18th century by Dutch sugarcane planters. Chef Gwendolyn Smith’s menu includes crayfish ravioli, pigeon-pea soup, lamb medallions with pumpkin gratin, and—for a sweet finale—the rum truffle tower.

Viceroy Anguilla

Kelly Wearstler-designed interiors set the stage for this secludedescape along 3,200 feet of pristine white-sand beachfront; amenitiesinclude private oceanview pools, gourmet kitchens, a two-story spa,three restaurants, and Viceroy's renowned hospitality and pampering. Wearstler has found a subdued vocabulary, using tons (literally) of stonework—pink coral; Bardiglio marble—to offset driftwood light fixtures. Most of the 166 guest rooms have their own sundeck and plunge pool, while linen-covered sofas in the Sunset Lounge are positioned to catch the last rays during cocktail hour. Local designers are featured in the boutique, including jeweler Ilka Harrigan, who makes tropics-inspired bangles.

Dune Preserve

The Scene: Using pieces of shipwrecked racing boats and washed-up driftwood, owner Bankie Banx and his best friend, Bullett, built the Dune Preserve in 1994. Four hurricanes later, the landscape has changed, but the spirit of the bar is still going strong, and it's been the site of live performances by Jimmy Buffett and Kevin Bacon. "It's the only beach bar in the world where you are likely to run into a former president, a former pirate, and a former Wall Street bigwig all in the same day," says the Dune's business manager, Olaide Banx, noting that Bill Clinton has swung by twice.

Signature Drink: Dune Rum Punch, with "top secret" ingredients; $6.

Don't Miss: Arguing with Bankie about global economics and letting Bullett teach you how to build a world-class racing boat.

KoalKeel

Don't leave Anguilla without an evening in this limestone cottage built in the 18th century by Dutch sugarcane planters. Chef Gwendolyn Smith’s menu includes crayfish ravioli, pigeon-pea soup, lamb medallions with pumpkin gratin, and—for a sweet finale—the rum truffle tower.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa

Mediterranean villas and the island's largest spa (16 treatment rooms, including VIP and couples suites, and dual hammams) tucked into a crystal-blue bend on Anguilla's Rendezvous Bay.

Cap Juluca

Located on spectacular Maundays Bay, this 179-acre Caribbean resort with its striking Moorish architecture has long been a favorite of everyone from honeymooners to Hollywood A-listers. A recent renovation freshened public spaces as well as the interiors of its 97 rooms and suites and six private pool villas—known for their Morocco–meets–West Indies décor (dark-wood louvered windows and white-tiled floors paired with colorful silk pillows and arched doorways). The lodgings are spread along two miles of sugary white-sand beach, as are the three restaurants, five cabana bars (where servers dole out free snacks), a spectacular domed open-air lounge, a wine bar, and a pool.

Straw Hat Restaurant

Famous for its grilled Anguillan crayfish drizzled with ginger vinaigrette.

B&D’s Barbecue

On an island with dozens of roadside grill stands, this local standout is known for its smoky pork ribs to go.

E’s Oven

For West Indian dishes like Creole conch stew with fried plantains or goat curry. Chef Vernon Hughes cooks on the same spot where his mother presided over her stone furnace.

Pumphouse

Rum punches and reggae bands are the draw here. Get there early on Thursdays; calypso night draws the crowds.

Geraud’s Patisserie

French expat Geraud Lavest oversees the kitchen where the café au lait is straight out of Paris but the mango-topped French toast has a tropical spin. In October, you'll find Lavest bottling house-made peach-ginger marmalade. The jars ($8) will also pack neatly in your suitcase.

Fabiana's Why Knot

Ask designer Fabiana Liburd to show you how to tie her signature cover-up in the local style.

Smokey’s at the Cove

On weekends, chicken barbecue, complete with Carib lagers and live music near the surf, is the main attraction.

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