Thursday, June 27, 2024
HomeTravelOne of Anguilla’s First Luxury Hotels Is Still One of Its Best...

One of Anguilla’s First Luxury Hotels Is Still One of Its Best — Read Our Review



Getting to Anguilla is a bit more complicated than some other Caribbean islands: The only direct flights from the U.S. are from Miami, or you can fly into St. Martin and take a 30-minute ferry ride (but you need to go through customs on both sides).

All that is to say that once you arrive, you really want to relax in a beautiful environment — and Malliouhana delivers in spades. As you pull into the resort perched atop a dramatic bluff, the white exterior stands out against the lush green plants and trees, and the turquoise blue water you glimpse through the signature arches at the back of the lobby beckons.

Courtesy of Malliouhana


From there, I’m happy to say that it only gets better. By the time my husband and I, plus our two sons (ages 8 and 2), reached our room, we had walked past the glittering, two-tiered cliffside pool dotted with ruffled yellow umbrellas and sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea, the cozy poolside Bar Soleil, and the leafy garden path punctuated with small signs sporting scannable QR codes leading to webpages explaining details about each plant.

Our room was sun-bathed and spacious, with a generously sized outdoor area. Days began with breakfast at the ocean-facing Celeste and then moved on to the pool, the pristine Mead’s Bay beach, and for one glorious afternoon while the kids were at the kid’s club, the serene spa. In between, we discovered some of the magic and history of this boutique property, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Admittedly, I was somewhat skeptical when I learned the resort was no longer part of the Auberge Resorts Collection (it was a member from 2014 to 2023), but new management Storey Hotel Management (who also run Nanuku Resort in Fiji and the Ameswell Hotel in California) have done a fine job continuing the best parts of Auberge while maintaining Malliouhana’s unique and historic boutique identity.

Here’s my review of Malliouhana.

Malliouhana

  • The distinct design woven throughout the property, using elements like arches and stripes, a turquoise, white, and yellow color palette, and coastal colonial furnishings.
  • There are plenty of water sports at the beach and excellent service there and at the pool
  • This lush property is bursting with greenery and stunning landscaping.
  • The second, somewhat secret beach, Turtle Cove, isn’t really swimmable — but is stunning to walk along
  • The dynamic kid’s club offers a diverse roster of activities and is located right on the beach

The Rooms

Courtesy of Malliouhana


Our family of four stayed in a Junior Suite boasting a color palette of white, yellow, and turquoise, with a yellow-and-white striped carpet and painted walls in pale yellow and turquoise, with white grid lines as accents. It was decorated with coral-shaped turquoise-colored lamps, a gray patterned sofa, and a large-scale triptych painting in the same style as much of the other artwork (from the original owner’s collection) hanging around the hotel. Vibrant, lush exotic animal and jungle scenes — reminiscent of Henri Rousseau’s distinct style — complete the design story.

Our room had a large entryway foyer with a sizeable round table (perfect for dropping our keys and sunscreen on) and two closets with a minibar in between. To the right was a marble bathroom with two sinks and an extra-large shower. Down a few steps from the foyer was the oversized main room, outfitted with two queen beds (a king is also an option). One side of the room had a sitting area with a rectangular glass dining table holding a complimentary box with house-made jerk-spiced nuts, tamarind balls, and coconut sugar cake. The patterned L-shaped couch was in one corner, and a wide, full-length mirror that doubles as a television was in the other.

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors opened onto a roomy, two-level covered patio and terrace with an ocean view. The covered patio had a dining table and chairs and a large circular yellow-and-white-striped daybed, while the open terrace below had two turquoise-and-white-striped lounge chairs overlooking the ocean.

Each night at turndown, we were treated to a different local treat in honor of the hotel’s 40th anniversary. One night, we got guava cheese, a popular Caribbean treat of chewy guava jelly candy, while on another, we got local Anguillan bush tea. Our favorite was a glass jar of freshly harvested aloe and an oozing leaf for us to put on our sun-kissed skin.

There are 63 rooms and suites (one-, two-, or three-bedroom) at Malliouhana, and most have nearly the same design and color palette. Garden, ocean view, and oceanfront rooms are available, and they are spread amongst mostly two- or three-story white buildings around the 25-acre property. It’s worth noting that some upper-level garden suites have ocean views in the distance. The largest accommodation is the 4,500-square-foot three-bedroom villa suite above the spa, complete with a private infinity plunge pool and dedicated 24/7 butler service. All rooms and suites have outdoor space.

Food and Drink

Courtesy of Malliouhana


There are three food and beverage outlets at Malliouhana, each satisfying a different need. The blue and white maritime-themed Celeste overlooks the glistening Caribbean Sea in the main building, open for breakfast and dinner (the only outlet open in the mornings). The food has both Mediterranean and Caribbean accents, with fresh tropical juices and both American and Caribbean-style egg dishes at breakfast, while dinner brings plenty of freshly caught local fish in plates like marinated conch, grilled Anguillan lobster, and pan-seared red snapper fillet. Local goat stew, red wine braised short ribs, and chicken and serrano ham croquettes also make appearances.

Bar Soleil is the poolside bar and restaurant open for lunch and dinner, offering a more casual option than Celeste. Here’s where you’ll find ceviche, salads, flatbreads, shrimp tacos, and sandwiches like an Anguillan lobster roll, juicy wagyu beef burger, and a local grilled mahi mahi sandwich. Add beer, wine, or a cocktail like the Malli Rum Punch, Soleil Mojito, Watermelon Mule, Riviera Daiquiri, or one of the five martinis. Top-quality Cuban and Honduran cigars are also on offer here. You can eat and drink at the intimate bar, patio tables, or the two-tiered pool lined with chairs and cabanas.

Finally, there’s Leon’s at Mead’s Bay, which functions like a beach club, serving casual Caribbean fare right on the beach for a toes-in-the-sand lunch or dinner. Addictive conch fritters, BBQ fried chicken wings, sushi, pizza, and more are available here. Weekends bring live music.

Activities and Experiences

Courtesy of Malliouhana


Unsurprisingly, most activities here focus on the beach and the pool. A two-level infinity pool (the top tier is for adults only) is lined with bright yellow umbrellas and cabanas. There are two beaches, although one (Turtle Cove) is often not swimmable. Most of the action happens on Mead’s Bay beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand with plenty of chairs and umbrellas set up. A watersports shack is on one side, offering activities like complimentary snorkeling and kayaking and, for a fee, things like banana boating, wakeboarding, water skiing, and more. Sunset cruises, fishing excursions, free bikes, and tennis courts are also available.

One of our favorite activities was the rum and chocolate tasting, featuring infused rums (think passionfruit and mango) made by Malliouhana’s original bartender, Gloria Leveret, each carefully paired with filled chocolates made by pastry chef Tim Franklin. It’s led by longtime employee Chesney Hughes, who shares some of the hotel’s history and rum-making in Anguilla.

The Spa

Courtesy of Malliouhana


The spa is in its own building and includes six treatment rooms, an adults-only infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a full-service salon, sleek fitness training rooms, an expansive fitness center, and an outdoor fitness area. The deep turquoise and white palette references the rest of the hotel’s design and treatments, which utilize local ingredients like coconut, ginger, and aloe vera.

Daily complimentary fitness classes are available, including outdoor sunrise yoga and kickboxing and a full-body workout class in the fitness training room.

Family-friendly Offerings

The excellent Mini Explorer’s Kid’s Club right on the beach at Mead’s Bay is led by a dynamic staff and features rotating activities like Nautical Knot Tying, a Taste of Anguilla, Hermit Crab Racing, the Art of Anguillan Fishing, pickleball, and soccer. My older son loved learning to play the steel drums and looking at coral under a microscope. And both kids couldn’t get enough of the pirate ship-style play area outside in the sand.

Certified babysitters are also available, and all the restaurants have kid’s menus. Baby gear like cribs and highchairs are available on request.

Accessibility and Sustainability

The property is on a bluff, so it’s hilly, with many stairs. That said, Celeste restaurant and the main lobby are accessible, as are several guestrooms.

The hotel makes a concerted effort to conserve native plants in the landscape, gray water is used for irrigation, and an eco-tour is available to guests. Solar water heaters are used in guestrooms, there are no plastic water bottles used (but bottle refilling stations throughout), and most food ingredients are locally sourced.

Location

Courtesy of Malliouhana


Malliouhana is on the West End of Anguilla, seven miles from Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport and 10 minutes from the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal, where you can take a 25-minute ferry ride from St. Martin (which has more direct flight options). The hotel can arrange a pick-up from either location, so you only need to rent a car if you want to explore the island on your own, but taxis are plentiful.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Stay

Malliouhana is an independent hotel, but it is part of the American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts network and the Capital One Premier Collection, so if you book through one of those, you’ll get perks like an early check-in and room upgrade when available, daily breakfast for two, a $100 resort credit, and a 4 p.m. check-out. It’s also part of the Virtuoso network, so if you book through a Virtuoso travel advisor, you’ll get perks like upgrades when available, free nights, and resort credit.



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments