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Anguilla Hotel & Villa Reviews

KU 04/10/2006
Reviewers Rating: Excellent
We just returned from a week in Anguilla, where we stayed at KU, a wonderful beach-front hotel on Shoal Bay East, judged the fourth best beach in the world.
Frankly, we had read a number of so-so or downright awful reviews of KU's first season - most of them from the first few months it was open - that we had some trepidation about staying at the hotel. But we had committed ourselves back in October and decided to keep our minds open, be tolerant of the occasional mistakes and omissions we might run into in a new hotel, and hope for the best.
As it turned out, KU vastly exceeded our expectations. Yes, they may well have had serious problems with facilities and staffing when they first opened last fall, but our possible complaints about this hotel are so trivial that they don't bear mentioning. We had a delightful stay and would highly recommend the hotel to anyone seeking a mid-priced alternative to the super-expensive all-inclusive resorts that tend to be located over on the western side of this marvelous island.
We arrived late in the evening, about 11 pm, and were pleasantly surprised to have three of the staff come out to greet us as soon as our taxi arrived. Our bags were brought in, we were served rum punch during the short registration, and then shown to an air-conditioned beach-front suite - living room, full kitchen, bedroom and bathroom - with a lovely deck overlooking what was at that time of night dark sand opening out onto a black ocean under a sky full of stars. The staff had put out a tray of sliced fruits and other finger food to help us relax after a long trip, we took off our shoes and walked the few steps onto one of the softest beaches we've ever encountered.
Living room and bedroom had separate air conditioners and each had a ceiling fan. The kitchen was fully stocked with everything we'd need other than food. We solved that problem the next morning by picking up the basics in a local market, going to Mary's Bakery in the Valley for bread, scones and coconut pasties for breakfast, and handling other needs in KU's convenient store. The television gave us far more channels than we have at home, with an attached DVD/CD player.
The next morning we awakened to the sound of roosters crowing, walked out on the deck and were greeted by a sight that's exactly like the photographs in KU's online brochure - soft white sand beach, emerald water, and a sky that went on forever. Paradise! We've been to many beaches around the world on three oceans but have never before experienced sand that has the consistency of powdered sugar. And the water was ever so warm.
We were struck by the color scheme of the hotel overall and our apartment specifically, soft and soothing, blues and whites. The hotel is beautifully landscaped even though the island hadn't had rain for a full three months, the pool and restaurant and grounds are well-maintained, service is fast, and desk service is exceptional. Beach chairs and umbrellas are in place around the clock (the beach at night is incredible) and extremely comfortable and functional. We had everything we needed to make this a wonderful escape. I couldn't think of any way that KU could change to make it even better.
Plus we were at off-season rates of just $200 for the suite, a real bargain considering that most other hotels that size were $235 and up according to numerous visitors we met around the island. And I doubt the accommodations were nearly as good as those provided by KU.
During our stay we had a chance to visit the ritzy Cuisinart resort for dinner with friends and must admit that if money is no object, then Cuisinart is the type of high-end, extremely pricey resort that many Americans seem to insist upon when on vacation. We also visited Cap Juluca, the parent hotel to KU, and although it's a lovely place, given the choice we'd go back to KU. Big hotel versus small hotel, high prices versus reasonable prices, hotel food versus good local restaurants within walking distance - take your pick. I'm ready to reserve at KU again for next year!
We also had some trepidation about restaurants but we knew, from the reports we had read, that Uncle Ernies, located right next to KU, was going to be The Place for a great lunch. Well, the food was good but the service, as they say on Anguilla, came with a lot of "attitude" - not the most pleasant experience. On walks down the beach to the wonderful Malakh Day Spa we passed a better alternative where, for a few dollars more, we were able to enjoy the covered beachside deck at Sand Pipers, the restaurant at Shoal Bay Villas. Local wahoo fish for lunch, yum!
Our three best dinner experiences besides the extraordinarily-expensive dinner at Cuisinart (actually, better than that) were at Tasty's ($73 for two including large portions, drinks, dessert and service charge included), E's Oven ($85 for two including the same), and Chef Shamash's Zara Restaurant ($93 for calamari with hot sauce, unbelievable duck, banana-leaf wrapped snapper, drinks, and awesome sorbet). So who says you can't get a great meal for under $200 on Anguilla?
We were so delighted with Tasty's but were surprised that E's Oven seemed a bit better, then were amazed at how Chef Shamash pulled off the best meal of the entire trip to Anguilla. It was also refreshing that he has an open kitchen, that he sings while he cooks and likes to meet diners; he's a fascinating person and quite the expert when it comes to putting together sublime dishes.
Overall, a terrific vacation, a wonderful post-winter getaway, thanks to KU, a wonderful island, great service, marvelous food.

Riverdale

3 stars Anquilla Great House

Anquilla Great House
Hotel Details | Book Hotel | Book With Air
  • On Anguilla’s Rendezvous Bay, a long crescent of white-sand beach fringed by the turquoise Caribbean Sea, this intimate 35-room island resort offers a quieter, more private approach to the British West Indies.
  • Watch waves lap at the shore from your private porch in one of the resort’s linked cottages, laced with gingerbread trim, set among lush gardens, and featuring ocean views.
  • For travelers who prefer solitude and natural island beauty, the Anguilla Great House Beach Resort is a lovely alternative to massive resorts elsewhere, with many of the same activities offered, such as sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing.

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