I believe in going somewhere new every year even if it’s just a few towns away from your home. For the past few years, we have celebrated my Birthday in a unique and faraway location. This year we chose…Anguilla! I had heard that this Caribbean island in the British West Indes had THE most beautiful beaches and was well known for live music and delicious restaurants. Boom. I’m in. And I will tell you it definitely lived up to the hype! Getting there was not for the faint of heart. With two boys under two years old, we left our home at 3am took a flight to Atlanta. A flight to St. Maarten. And a boat to Anguilla. Yeahhhhh. It was an adventure for sure but one we will never forget. If making memories is the goal, we made a thousand.
Now I cannot separate my experience in Anguilla without talking about my experience at our hotel, Cap Juluca. This hotel is nearly 30 years old and is located on stunning Maunday’s bay. I chose it because it is known for creating a unique and authentic Anguilla experience where the employees are like family and it does not feel like a big corporate hotel. The reviews of the hotel said that it needs renovating and that the condition of it was mediocre. In the quest for a “real” experience, I discounted those reviews and booked the trip. And wow. Am I glad I did. It was so beautiful. The location was picture perfect. And the employees were so warm and welcoming. Cap Juluca has just been purchased by the Belmond Hotel group and you can tell that the staff is uneasy about how the change will affect them. I can understand why. This hotel is special because it ISN’T a chain hotel with all the glossy predictability and sterile service. Instead, it has people like Jasmin who hands-down may be the best concierge I’ve ever talked to. Jasmin was passionate and knowledgeable about the island and willing to give you an opinion on how you should spend your day. Her love of what she was talking about was infectious and I found it so refreshing.
We spent most of our days at the beach just steps from our room. The pool was tucked away behind a building and we never saw a single person there the entire trip. One of the hallmarks of this hotel is how private and quiet it is which I really, really loved. We ventured out to eat at Blanchard’s one night and it was exceptional. I had read the book “Live What You Love” written by the owner of Blanchard’s seven years ago never dreaming I’d actually be able to go to the restaurant. I guess in a way I was living “what I love” too. On Father’s Day we took a cab to the other end of the Island to hear live reggae music at Gwen’s Reggae Bar and Grill. Our cab driver Teddy was a seemingly quiet and serious man on the drive over to Gwen’s. We told him we would only be staying an hour or so. He said he would stay and wait for us. Well after my husband got us a round of drinks, I look up to Teddy hitting the dance floor! Minutes later, he has taken the microphone away from the lead singer and singing himself. Go Teddy!
The trip was made special by the staff at Cap Juluca who know service! In fact on our last day we made mention to manager Carol that we have to leave because we are out of diapers!! We both laughed. It was true. We discovered we only had one more diaper for Jack and realized we would have to use swim diapers for the trip home. Well after dinner we came back to our room…and sitting on the bedside table was a new package of Huggies in Jack’s size. Now that IS good customer service if I’ve ever known it. Thank you Carol! I hope that those at Belmonds know how fantastic their staff is and that they ultimately work to enhance what is already truly exceptional about such a special place in this beautiful world.