anywhere but HERE

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!!!! So head to Anguilla!...


This past November, I planned a trip for two families to visit Anguilla and stay at the Viceroy during Thanksgiving week. The trip was twofold, a holiday gathering of great friends, and most importantly, a celebration of a 50th birthday! The two families, both Northeast US types, each with two teens in tow, were in need of an “escape” from the hectic NYC metro lifestyle. That is why I chose Anguilla for them!...

I first visited Anguilla when I was expecting my first of four sons.....way back in 1990. My husband and I stayed at the economical, Mariners on Sandy Ground. We were young and needed a last getaway before our life would “change.” The Mariners is long gone, wrecked by Luis and then Lenny, and not rebuilt... Tom and I would return to Anguilla three more times over the next 15 years when time allowed, as we quickly expanded our family! We stayed at Malliouhana, and also Cap Juluca on subsequent trips. I have not been back for over five years, but have sent some clients, and my resort of choice today? Viceroy....

First, why Anguilla? Well, Anguilla is an island that has retained it’s ease and sense of community. Although the landscape has changed over these past 25 years, the fabric of the citizens has not. You are quickly welcomed and set at ease by the warm and relaxed reception of your hosts. Anguilla is one of the few islands that allows you to rent a car and just get lost, exploring over 33 beaches in just a 16 mile island. It is not lush with forests and mountains, but the beaches are simply beautiful. They call out to be sat on and slept on! You do not come to Anguilla to golf the best courses in the islands. You don’t come to “be seen”, nor to hob nob with the rich and famous ( although they do vacation here!). You come to Anguilla to relax, swim, sun, and enjoy the people around you. You come here to drink the infamous Rhum Punch, and eat grilled lobster and crayfish. Anguilla does not take itself too serious, even amidst the continued development of upscale resorts and a new designer golf course. Anguilla still prides itself on it’s “Goat Crossing” signs, and its’ beach fish fry....

The Viceroy, is a 5 star property, that has become a standard at the top of the Carribbean A list, but it has been careful to blend itself into the feel of this island. The property sits right on a “peninsula” set between two beautiful beaches....Meads Bay and Barnes Bay. The design of the hotel is chic, yet “natural” The common areas are open and combine the elements of the island’s colonial wood with organic fabrics. The feel is laid back luxury, just like the island of Anguilla! There are a variety of eating options ranging from the upscale Coba ( where my clients had Thankgiving dinner), to the more casual pool and beachside grills, and of course.....The Sunset Lounge! My clients loved viewing the sunsets while sipping a cocktail, and of course the DJ at night! They also took advantage of the in villa dining prepared and served by the Viceroy acclaimed kitchen.

What did they do at Viceroy? They hung out at the private pool at their villa, hung out at the main resort pool, hung out at the beach, did a little paddleboarding, snorkeling, and a ton of swimming. Sure, they hit the fitness center, and took in a yoga class, but the idea was originally to decompress, and that they did! They got out to eat on two occassions, at the Anguilla classic, Blanchards, and also another long standing favorite, The Barrel Stay. I had eaten at both of these places over the years, and knew they would not be dissapointed! They did not get to The Dune Preserve on this trip, but promised to go back and spend a night or two there. The Dune Preserve is an Anguillan institution and must visit. Bankie Banx has assembled some top and up and coming island talent to perform nightly at his rustic Rendevous Bay “sprawling beach shack”. It is a priceless experience, especially if you get to hear Bankie perform! They did get to another must visit institution, Scilly Cay. They went, as instructed, to Island Harbour, and “waved for a boat”. They spent an afternoon eating the amazing island BBQ, listening to reggae, and enjoying Rhum punches. Scilly Cay is a pricey lunch, but the grilled lobster is one of my most memorable meals, and the vibe is priceless.

I have included a short synopsis of my clients' feedback upon return from their trip

Hi Marylyn,

I just wanted to reach out and thank you so much for organizing my 50th birthday trip! Every thing was AMAZING! We loved the Viceroy, the dinners you organized were yummy and the travel to and from was seamless!!!!!!!

As you can imagine, we lit up the Viceroy a bit with our crew! We were the talk of the Island with our Thursday night dance party in the Sunset Lounge with DJ Sugar. When we arrived at the Ferry on Sunday we were told everyone heard about the party with people dancing on tables. I will give you one guess who that was!!!!????

Again, thank you so much. I had a smile on my face from Tuesday - Sunday! We look forward to going again! We will show you the pictures this summer! xx, JoAnn (Jeff too!)

When you get this type of feedback, it makes you realize the magic of trip design. The recipe? Listen to the client, select a fitting and extraordinary place ( such as Anguilla), and match the property to their personality. It seems to have worked.

I am currently planning my return to Anguilla as we speak. I will report back upon my return! 

lisa berkery