Anguilla… Sweet Like Vanilla

CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort (courtesy of the hotel)

CeBlue Villas and Beach Resort (courtesy of the hotel)

Anguilla… rhymes with vanilla, but most likely takes its’ name from the word ‘eel’ in various European languages due to it’s unique shape. Although the island has gained popularity in recent years thanks to A-list visitors like Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, and Miranda Kerr, Anguilla has long enticed in-the-know travellers to experience any number of it’s 33 pristine beaches. A British overseas territory located in the north eastern region of the Caribbean, just five miles north of St. Maarten, and 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, the island is best known for its powder-white sand beaches, all with crystal-clear turquoise waters matched by few places in the world. Its warm, friendly people keep visitors coming back with an island culture infused with a love of the land and dependence on the sea, reflected in its history and cultural festivals that celebrate Anguillian traditions of fishing, boat racing, and cuisine.

Now, the re-opening of the famed Malliouhana Resort & Spa has placed Anguilla again at the forefront of the global conversation. Special offers and new dining options all create great reasons to choose Anguilla for that special winter getaway.

Upcoming Events

The 25th Annual Moonsplash Music Festival will take place March 27-29 under the full moon on gorgeous Rendezvous Bay. Hosted at The Dune Preserve, it is the longest running independent music festival in the Eastern Caribbean and highlights some of the biggest names in reggae and popular emerging talent.

The following weekend, Easter weekend, April 4-5, is the 7th Annual Festival del Mar. An epicurean celebration of all things from the sea, it is hosted in the picturesque fishing village of Island Harbour and features a multiplicity of seaside activities, including fishing competitions, culinary competitions, swimming races, crab races, and of course, Anguilla’s National Sport and beloved pastime, boat racing.

Malliouhana Hotel

Malliouhana Hotel

Accommodations

The renowned Malliouhana Hotel & Spa re-opened its doors in November 2014 after a three year closure and restoration by Auberge Resorts. Malliouhana has been considered one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean since its original opening in 1984. The resort features 55 rooms, two beaches, two restaurants and bars, an extensive array of sports and fitness facilities as well as a 15,000 square-foot spa all on 20 acres of elevated beachfront land.

Nightly rates start at $525 for a garden view deluxe room, inclusive of a continental breakfast buffet for two.

http://malliouhana.aubergeresorts.com/ or www.aubergeresorts.com

Ce Blue Beach Resort & Villas, Anguilla’s first and only luxury private residence club, has introduced a new concept for Caribbean vacations: the hybrid villa-resort. CéBlue encompasses just eight private villas, all with lush native landscaping, dramatic oceanfront vistas and configurations up to six bedrooms. Outside, each villa has a spacious 2,000 square foot covered deck plus 3,000 square feet of open terrace with a private pool, outdoor rain shower & bath. While privacy is paramount at CéBlue, guests who seek out a more traditional resort experience can take advantage of a clubhouse with luxury resort amenities and a variety of beachfront activities and entertainment options.

Beaches Edge West End Villa

Beaches Edge West End Villa

Beaches Edge has recently enhanced their two five-bedroom West End Villas with all new soft furnishings. Travelers will enjoy brand new luxury bedding and bath linens, updated accessories and expanded pool-side seating and umbrellas.

www.beachesedge.com

Frangipani Beach Resort acquired the villa formerly known as Seychelles in January 2015.  The five-bedroom/four-bathroom villa, scheduled to open in November 2015, is the only one of its kind directly on Meads Bay and features a private infinity pool, butler service and access to the amenities at Frangipani Beach Resort including the fitness facilities and complimentary water sports. Nightly rates will start at $3000.

www.frangipaniresort.com

Kishti Villa Collection will introduce not one but two new six-bedroom retreats to Anguilla’s amazing Meads Bay on March 18, 2015. Known as Kishti on Meads, the twin villas launch the brand-new Kishti Villa Collection, which also includes the five-room Kishti at Black Garden, a few miles east on Anguilla’s north shore. Each villa highlights capacious interiors featuring dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea (“kishti” is Urdu for canoe), with Cecconi Simone-designed interiors highlighting Eastern objets d’arts and Western artworks that create a distinctive environment of unusual refinement. The new six-bedroom villas offer: two kitchens per villa; patio and rooftop gardens; a home theater and home office; personal gym; and a staff of 11, including a butler and chef. The Kishti Villa Collection is exclusively represented by Ricketts Luxury Properties.

www.rickettsluxury.com

Altamer Russian - Amethyst Villa

Altamer Russian – Amethyst Villa

Altamer resort in Shoal Bay West recently renovated and transformed one of its three beachside villas, the Russian Amethyst, into an art villa. Curated by Jennie Lamensdorf, the villa boasts a variety of contemporary paintings from the personal collection of Francis Greenburger, Chairman and CEO of the resort’s New City-based developer, Time Equities Inc. (TEI).

http://www.altamer.com

Properties in Paradise, one of Anguilla’s premier real estate and consulting firms, has added the seven-bedroom estate Santosha Villa available for weekly rentals, and added the newly re-launched Elements Villas (Sea, Sand and Sky), formerly Temenos, to the firm’s portfolio. Lastly, Zenaida Beach & Tennis Estate is offering their summer rates for the whole winter season, a savings of nearly 50 percent.

http://www.propertiesinparadiseaxa.com/

Viceroy Anguilla (c) Viceroy

Viceroy Anguilla (c) Viceroy

The swanky Viceroy Anguilla is offering packages for Valentine’s Day for couples having large destination weddings or small, intimate gatherings to tie the knot. The Love & Legacy Package applies to groups of at least 100 adults staying for three nights and starts at US$500 per person, while Love in the Sky rewards couples who book six roundtrip seats on a Tradewind Aviation flight from San Juan to Anguilla with complimentary seats on the same flight. For those who prefer a couples-only ceremony, Love is Simple and The Elegance of a Vow include the wedding ceremony, a dedicated wedding specialist, a three-course dinner for two at the resort’s signature restaurant Coba and more. The packages are US$4,200 and $4,800 respectively, and also include personal assistance with the marriage license and certificate service. Of course, the fun doesn’t stop after the ceremony, as couples who host a wedding with more than 100 rooms will receive a complimentary five-night stay in a suite, a romantic dinner for two and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for their first anniversary.

www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla 

Allamanda Beach Club is offering a Couples Spring Break Getaway. The four-day package includes daily continental breakfast, car rental for the four days, a one-hour glass bottom boat ride, a 40-minute massage for two and dinner for two on the final evening. The package is $1,640 and is valid April 15 through December 15, 2015.

Restaurants

French pastries - Cafe de Paris (courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

French pastries – Cafe de Paris (courtesy of Cafe de Paris Facebook page)

Café de Paris offers a blend of French and Anguillian specialties. Led by the team that operated Big Spring restaurant in Island Harbour, Café de Paris is set among a lush garden in the West End of Anguilla.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-de-Paris/274341452725952.

Dad’s Restaurant on Sandy Ground is offering “You Catch It – We Cook It” for fresh seafood at its best. Patrons can bring in their freshly caught fish for the chef to prepare it to their liking with three side dishes. Dad’s also features live music and dancing in the evening.

https://www.facebook.com/DadsAnguilla.

Pizza at Daisy's

Pizza at Daisy’s (courtesy of Daisy’s Facebook page)

Daisy’s is another restaurant new to the Anguilla scene. Located in a traditional Anguillian home in George Hill, the restaurant serves Caribbean food as well as thin- and thick-crust pizzas. Daisy’s is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.

https://www.facebook.com/DaisysAXA.

Ruthy’s Yum Yum is a new locally-owned restaurant featuring fusion-style menu options and international flair. Located in Little Dix, near Shoal Bay East, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

www.instagram.com/ruthysyumyum

Sarjai’s Restaurant opened in December 2014 by Chef Darren Connor, a member of the Anguilla National Culinary Team. Named for his daughter, the restaurant is located on Meads Bay and features a menu of local and regional dishes with an international flair. Sarjai is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarjais-Restaurant/359863227519292.

Romney’s is Anguilla’s newest restaurant, located in Lower South Hill. Serving tasty local cuisine and favorites such as oven-fresh pizza, succulent burgers, mouthwatering quesadillas and more, Romney’s is the place to dine this winter and is under the capable direction of Chef Kevin Paul.

For reservations or take-out orders please call 1-264-497-6810 or www.facebook.com/romneys

Anguilla is easily accessible via daily flights that connect directly to Anguilla from San Juan or St. Maarten. For those coming from St. Maarten, Anguilla is just a short seven-minute flight or 20 minute ferry boat ride away.

 www.iVisitAnguilla.com 

The Caribbean is Calling

Take Me to Nevis - Paradise Nevis Hotel

Take Me to Nevis – Paradise Beach Nevis

It’s the dead of winter and almost 20 inches of snow just rained down in Chicago. So, what better time than the present to plan that trip to the Caribbean? Well, you’re in luck since the islands want YOU. Paradise Beach Nevis, the newest luxury development on the charming Caribbean island of Nevis, officially opened its doors last month.

Paradise Beach is the island’s only villa option located directly on the beach offering guests the intimacy of a posh private home with all the service of a five-star resort. Guests have seven exquisitely designed three and four bedroom villas to choose from – all inspired by a sophisticated blend of Balinese and Caribbean culture. Each villa features hand-woven thatched roofs with 20-foot vaulted ceilings, privacy walls enclosing lush gardens plus an outdoor dining pavilion, and a waterfall pool overlooking the Caribbean and neighboring St. Kitts or beautiful gardens.

Renowned designer Adam Tihany created the villas to blend seamlessly into the natural landscape, and new contemporary interiors. Each villa has two king bedrooms, one or two queen bedrooms, a full entertainment kitchen, open living space and romantic outdoor showers. Guests are catered to with concierge and butler service and a private chef can be arranged to whip up a romantic dinner under the stars or a full party spread. The villas are all air-conditioned, but, sliding, floor-to-ceiling Balinese glass walls can completely open to create an authentic island setting capturing fresh tropical breezes.

Ideal for a family or group of friends, Paradise Beach Nevis offers guests a luxurious villa experience in a gorgeous oceanfront setting. The villas are a tropical oasis for privacy and relaxation, but guests interested in venturing out have access to the resort’s stretch of white-sand beach and private beach bar as well as nearby restaurants, sight-seeing attractions, tennis and golf as well as Nevisian cultural activities and events. Paradise Beach – formerly known as Villa Paradiso – is managed by Richard Williams and Associates.

Rates start at $2700/night for a three-bedroom garden villa.

http://paradisebeachnevis.com 

Antarctica: Adventure aboard the Expedition

Antarctica. So hot, it's cold.

Antarctica. So hot, it’s cold.

Massive, magnificent, and astounding, Antarctica is a continent of superlative, a must-see corner of the planet topping almost every adventurous traveler’s wishlist. Each day presents a new discovery, whether you’re cruising icy waterways, trekking through boisterous penguin rookeries, or paddling by inquisitive whales as you explore the floe edge by kayak.

The awe-inspiring, vast expanses of Antarctica will reach to your very core and you can’t help but be forever changed which is why we think exploring aboard the Expedition in small-ship style is a great way to see the craggy expanse. With adventure options that make it even more spectacular, you can set sail for the ultimate adventure—kayak, hike, Zodiac cruise, and camp all on the Great White continent!

From $4,999/per person

Call 877 412-8527 to chat with an Expedition Specialist or visit:

www.expeditiontrips.com 

Feeling Colorado in the Fall

We missed our chance to head to Colorado this Fall, so it’s on our agenda for next year. Thankfully, photographer, Payton VanGorp, captured the essence for us here.

The Colorful Fall Foliage and Big Fluffy Clouds of Crested Butte, CO

Colorful Fall Foliage and Big Fluffy Clouds of Crested Butte, CO (c) Payton VanGorp

NIZUC Resort and Spa – Mexico’s Sexiest Luxury Beachside Resort

Nizuc's Beach

Nizuc’s Beach

We’re obsessed with Mexico and won’t deny it. The array of different dishes from cochinita pibil to ceviche, the aqua colored waters off the Caribbean coast, and, of course, the nightlife. If you think it’s all Senor Frog’s and ponchos, you haven’t seen what this great country and her people have to offer. Enter one of our latest favorite indulgences: NIZUC Resort & Spa.

Once a base station for Mayan astronomers and a presidential retreat for world leaders, it opened in March 2013 on a 29-acre exclusive beachfront escape and just 15 minutes from the Cancun Airport on the secluded Punta Nizuc. Numerous artistic talents collaborated to create a destination that fuses a uniquely modern sensibility with an essentially Mayan ethos – a perfect blend of site-specific architecture and design that is evident throughout the property’s 274 suites and villas (most with private plunge pools), as well as its meticulously appointed public areas.

The resort’s amenities allow guests to customize their daily experience to range from sunning at one of the multiple pools (Adults Only and Family Friendly) to indulging at one of the six world-class restaurants including Mexican, Peruvian, Italian, Asian and a beachside Grill.  Or simply rejuvenate at the 30,000 square foot ESPA facility complete with male and female hydrotherapy areas and 10 indoor/outdoor treatment rooms. For the active set, paddleboards and kayaks await on the beach, while two on-site tennis courts and the nearby TPC Cancun are ready to test their skills.

Set within a paradise of protected mangroves and lush local foliage facing the white sands of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second largest coral reef in the world – Nizuc is home to two secluded white sand beaches and is surrounded by the region’s natural wonders, archeological sites and amazing attractions including the world’s first Underwater Art Museum. Nizuc is a place to enjoy the luxe life where the warmth of the Mexican spirit envelopes each guest upon arrival and extends to every interaction from that point forward.

So what are you waiting for? The arrival of Quetzalcoatl?

www.nizuc.com

Indiana’s Surprising Charms: The French Lick Resort

The French Lick Hotel

The French Lick Hotel – West Baden, Indiana

What a Wonderful World!

By Sarah Ivens

I nearly called this article ‘Weird and Wonderful’ for never have I stayed in a place so uniquely fascinating, bewildering and beguiling. Set off a leafy, twisty road in a hidden part of quiet Indiana, the French Lick Resort is as beautifully strange as it’s name.

As soon as I checked in at the enclave’s top notch hotel, West Baden, time stood still and I fell down the rabbit hole. Leaving modern cars, computers and cares outside, guests stumble into a gigantic glass atrium, the largest freestanding dome in the United States. A woman is playing the harp in one corner. A gigantic fireplace, big enough to hold 14ft logs, crackles in another. Clinking cups echo musically as an elegant English afternoon tea, complete with fine china and divine cakes, is served for the peckish. Pacing the ornate tiled floors are dapper looking gents clutching golf clubs, wearing big grins; while ladies doze on chaise longues under sparkling chandeliers, paperbacks resting in their hands.

There are no clocks, no televisions, no overbearing tour guides whipping people into action. Guests are left to be in the moment – or in 1902, when the resort first opened for business, with journalists of the day declaring it the eight wonder of the world.

The French Lick

The resort’s natural mineral water and spa baths were alleged to cure almost anything and had been drawing crowds to the area for 100 previous to that, but when the slick new owners started investing their fortunes at the turn of the 20th century, it soon became the place to be – a palace of parties Gatsby would have been proud of. Clark Gable loved it there, as did John Barrymore and Bing Crosby and from it’s opening to 1931, it ran like a dream. Amenities included a casino, a live theater and an opera.

Tomato juice was served for the first time ever at the hotel in 1917, invented by chef Louis Perrin when he ran out of orange juice and needed an alternative at breakfast for his demanding guests. When not dining, lucky guests had their choice of a natatorium, two golf courses, bicycling on a double-decked covered oval bicycle track that was the largest in the country, and horseback riding. To cater to their well-heeled clientele, the hotel even provided a bank, a stock brokerage and a trolley bus between amenities. Back then, the enchanting glass dome that had hypnotized me when I arrived was filled with palm trees and free range exotic birds.

Legend has it that today, at night, ghosts of depressed money men, not birds, have free roam of the atrium. According to locals, many of the country’s richest men were staying there, in bedrooms overlooking the lobby, the day of the Wall Street Crash in 1929, and decided to jump from their balconies rather than face financial ruin. The beautiful people were finished, and sadly two years later, so was the hotel.

But in the nineties, an Indiana local – who happened to have a few hundred million to spare – polished this sparkling gem back to life and turned it once again into a decadent resort fit for kings, queens… and Willie Nelson, who was a recent guest.

A Building with a View

An Enchanting Glass Dome Fit For a King… or a Traveling Band of English Misfits

Famous golf course architect Pete Dye designed his masterpiece and namesake course here in 2009, and it’s now a constant winner of top venue awards in golfing magazines and will play host to next hear’s Senior PGA Championship. The two spas, one at West Baden and one at French Lick, are homages to taste and tranquility, each possessing outdoor swimming pools, which provide perfect settings for a re-read of Tender Is The Night, and a cheeky swig of an Old Fashioned. The resort steakhouse, named 1875 after the year the Kentucky Derby first ran, is a haven of comfort food and worry-erasing wine, while supper up at the Pete Dye Mansion offers mouthwatering BBQ and sundaes overlooking rolling green hills and the 18th hole. Horse-drawn carriages can trot you back to your bed at night, or can deliver you to one of the many white rocking chairs lined up overlooking the fragrant English garden fountains, waiting to swing you to sleep at sunset.

The most remarkable thing about this decadent step back in time for me was remembering how to unwind properly. With patchy network reception and a plethora of old school pursuits to indulge in (anyone for billiards?), it was easy forget the mad dash of the world around me and slow down and relax. In my little slice of old Indiana, I found a new me. And I liked it.

www.frenchlick.com

Marin, California: Straus Home Ranch

Straus Home Ranch

Straus Home Ranch

This once-sleepy stretch of the California coastal highway –  just north of San Francisco in West Marin – has become a hotbed of innovation in artisan / organic / sustainable food and farmland conservation movements also chronicled in the recent, excellent documentary film, Rebels with a Cause – featuring interviews with the Straus family matriarch, Ellen Straus, who co-founded MALT, the nation’s first agricultural land trust.

Food on the home ranch

Food on the home ranch

“Years ago, my siblings and I launched Straus Family Creamery – the first organic dairy west of the Mississippi – which is owned by our older brother. Now, separately, my two sisters (Vivien and Miriam) and I have renovated our family’s Civil War-era home into a vacation rental,” says Michael Straus of Straus Home Ranch. Alas – and now the rental is on the market for those to feel a little closer to the excellent Straus family brand (complete with recyclable glass bottles and farm raised milk).

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

We think it’s a perfect home-base for exploring the artisan cheese revolution (assisted, of course, by the iPhone app created by Vivien, CheeseTrail.org), kayaking on Tomales Bay, hiking in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, or simply escaping to what Michael likes to think of as the “Lost Coast of West Marin”.

  • Overnight: $500 / night

straushomeranch.com