Honeymoon Destination: Anguilla
A slender island a short ferry ride away from St. Martin, Anguilla is a white-sand paradise in the British West Indies, a 17-mile long refuge where life moves slowly and the beaches still feel like secrets. This is a place where the turquoise ocean and warm winds are as welcoming as any you’ll find in the Caribbean, a place where an utter lack of pretense rules the island, despite the predominance of stunning luxury properties. If you find romance in the organic—a sherbet sky at dusk, the smell of jasmine and herbs on the wind—then Anguilla is an enchanting place to be in love.
The five-star, 93-room CuisinArt Resort and Spa makes the most of the island’s natural beauty — clean white Mediterranean villas line the beach, offering every guest an ocean view — while far exceeding the usual beach-resort routine. With pastry classes from the resident French chef, tours of the resort’s hydroponic farm (where your dinner’s vegetables are grown), warm-oil seashell massages and biking tours of the island, CuisinArt — like Anguilla itself — is a unique Caribbean treasure.
BY DAY You can have your kiwi smoothies and omelets delivered to the room, but you won’t want to stay indoors too long: An infinity pool with a view of the sea beckons, as does the surf itself. Go on a snorkeling trip off a catamaran (with a lovely light lunch on-boat), or simply float on the resort’s giant anchored rafts just a short swim from the beach. Rent a bike to see the island, kayak along the coast, or take a break from the sun with a pastry class to learn to make a delicate almond tuille. (The two-hour class is low pressure and good fun.) And you must also tack on a tour of the resort’s sprawling hydroponic farm — the world’s first resort-based garden of its kind — which is more interesting than it sounds. Inside the glassed-in greenhouse, you’ll find a small farm’s worth of vegetables and herbs. (Pluck a sweet tomato off the vine — all the food you eat here is that fresh.) And of course, don’t forget the Venus Spa, where you’ll have a “couples suite” to yourselves for a scrub, cooling rain shower, massage and mineral bath soak.
BY NIGHT The wine cellar at CuisinArt is something to behold (3,600 bottles!), and the concierge is happy to arrange a private tasting for you in the beautiful little space. (For the adventurous, there are also tastings of Pyrat rum, an Anguilla specialty.) Follow it up with a romantic dinner for two: If you stay in the villas (and you should — read on), you can arrange to eat next to your private pool, for a candlelit, white-tablecloth dinner under the stars.
WHAT TO EAT Given the obvious commitment to fresh food and a French executive chef whose résumé includes a handful of great restaurants around the world, it should come as no surprise that the food at the resort’s two eateries is excellent. (Santorini, the more upscale of the two, has been awarded a coveted four diamonds by AAA.) The Tuesday and Friday night (fresh!) lobster grills will be a trip highlight, as will your trip to Scilly Cay, a tiny island with nothing on it but one teeny restaurant (really just a smattering of tables on the beach, a small kitchen and a covered bar), where you’ll eat the best barbecued chicken of your life. The secret’s in the tangy-sweet marinade, a specialty that owner Eudocie Wallace has cultivated right along with his dangerously delicious rum punch.
WHERE TO STAY There’s no wrong move to make at CuisinArt (cuisinartresort.com), but for your ’moon, the resort’s new villas are the way to go. Six graceful abodes with small private pools, outdoor showers, courtyards, stocked kitchens, living rooms, and various numbers of open, airy rooms (you want the one-bedroom, one-bath) offer delicious luxury—and privacy.
WHAT TO PACK Plenty of bathing suits (you’ll live in them); casual sundresses for day, and dressier ones for evening; sunscreen; hats; tennis shoes if you plan on walking or biking the island; your passport; and plenty of single bills — in addition to tipping on-property, literally everyone, from the person who lifts your bag off the boat to the women who open the door to the customs office, expects a tip. And they’re not shy about asking for it.
BEST TIMES TO GO Summer is quite hot, and much of the island shuts down during September and October. Your best bet is late fall through late spring.
NEWLYWED NEWS If you don’t opt for a villa, look into the Sea of Love romance package, which books you for eight days and seven nights in one of the beachfront suites, and includes all breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners (including one chef’s-table dinner with wine pairings), a sunset sail, a car rental and a couple’s massage, for $3,565 per couple.
GETTING THERE Several airlines fly nonstop to St. Martin. From there, it’s a quick 20-minute ferry to Anguilla, where Cuisin-Art will have a driver waiting to chauffeur you the 15 minutes to the resort.