Sitting on the beach at Cap Juluca on the Caribbean island of Anguilla earlier this year, fat white clouds in a seriously blue sky, St. Maarten on the near horizon seemingly close enough to touch, I couldn’t imagine the place getting much better. After all, the luxury resort attracts celebs like Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington, drawn to the crescent beach on Maundays Bay that is so relaxing, once you’re on it, you don’t want to leave.
But they say it’s been improved. Cap Juluca, and its 69 newly refurbished beachfront guestrooms, was closed for a bit but reopened in November, with a refreshed signature restaurant, Pimms, which already has some pretty stunning sunset dining on the beach, and more live entertainment. Also redesigned was Blue, the open-air beachfront restaurant where all meals can be had (you must have the tuna tartar with salmon on a round of avocado) where they’ve added Wednesday-night beach barbecues, with live reggae music and dancing on the beach.
It’s a wonderfully relaxing place, where you can lounge in comfortable rattan beach chairs and attendants unbidden bring a cooler of ice and water, or anything of a more serious liquid nature you might require if you’re too lazy to make your way to nearby beach bars.
The 15 villas housing the guestrooms stretch the length of the beach, set back amid palm trees and other landscaping, each of Greek design, cool and bright, made of white stucco with arched openings, white stone patios and dark, louvered doors. You don’t get a key unless you ask, it’s reportedly that safe, and it’s one less thing to lose on the beach.
All rooms were repainted with clean lines, splashes of color, new amenities, furnishings and new Frette linens and towels, along with abstract art and great views of the Caribbean. My one-bedroom unit was elegant and simple, navy-colored accents breaking up white walls and dark molding and French doors opening to that beckoning beach beyond.
If you’ve got a large party, and the money, check out the new Jonquil Suite, a 3,290-square-foot villa with two master bedrooms, full kitchen, dining terrace, Jacuzzi and huge, freshwater infinity pool.
Pimms is the go-to dining spot here, a Wine Spectator 2011 Award of Excellence winner, where the pan-roasted lobster with basil-butter sauce is sublime. Next to it is the Spice Lounge, Moroccan in style, and over in the main house is Maundays Bar, dark and moody and a great place to snag a rum cocktail and sit on the veranda gazing at that sky-blue ocean.
Cardigan Connor is the activities director, a retired cricket champion (who will patiently explain a game to Americans like me who haven’t a clue how it’s played), and known for his work as a trainer and masseuse with famous guests like Steven Tyler, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick.
With the celebrity drawing power the luxury resort has, it’s pretty pricey, rooms running from $1,000 a night on up in high season. But deals can be had, such as the one running through Dec. 18, the “Tangled Up in You Package,” starting at $2,753 which gets you five nights in a private pool suite, private boat journey, beach dinner and more. If you want to stretch out your holiday, and have nearly $15,000 to do it, check out the 12-night Julucan Christmas and New Year’s deal, or the shorter one just for New Year’s, seven nights starting at $9,620. Other, less financially frightening deals include “More Maundays,” with seventh night free for booking six, good from Jan. 5-March 31; the “Discover Cap Juluca” package starting at $495, and a host of others. Check them all out at www.capjuluca.com
you do, you’ll likely find yourself back on that beach, St. Maarten seemingly
close enough to touch. Which you can now do. The resort just added a new luxury
cruiser, the Juluca Pride, to take guests on private charters to it and nearby
St. Barths. It just could make leaving the beach a little bit easier to take.
Photos by Paul E. Kandarian, from top beach at Cap Juluca, lunch at Blue, and Pimms restaurant.