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Trip Report, Dec 22 – Jan 8 (long)

Travel & news discussion about Anguilla

Trip Report, Dec 22 – Jan 8 (long)

Postby Christine (Swe) » Sat Jan 28, 2006 10:55 am

Trip Report, Dec 22 – Jan 8

First I have copied in my first part, which has already been posted.
(so scroll down if you have already read the first part)

********* (Part 1) *********

This was the 4th Christmas we spent on Anguilla. I found this island on Internet during the year of 2000 (when searching for the best island in the Caribbean to visit, if you want the best beaches combined with very good restaurants) and after some delays we booked it for our Christmas 2001. That was our first Christmas (and visit) to Anguilla. After that we were there for Christmas 2003, 2004 and 2005. (We were booked also for 2002 but health issues forced us to cancel any trips that year.)

Background:
We are a family of 4 living in Sweden. Our daughters are now 12 and 18 years old. We have been travelling a lot. Some places we have been to, before we found Anguilla, are: Cayman Islands, Grenada, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Hawaii, and about 10 times to different places in the US (some because of business/work and some for pleasure like California and Florida with Key West). My husband has also been to around 10 other different islands in the south of Caribbean when spending nearly a half year there sailing. Now we wanted to find the best place and found “Anguilla”.
Lucky us !!!

We are used to book our travels ourselves. We don’t like “organised” travels. So therefor it was just pure luck that we found the hotel Madeariman on SBE, where we have stayed all our visits to Anguilla. When we travel we want to stay at “small” hotels. We don’t like “hotel feelings”. So a villa or small hotel is what we prefer. But the most important for us is the location for the place we stay at. We have always wanted to be on the beach or close to, because our daughters have always been with us (and they love to be on a beach or in the water ....) Madeariman has it all. They only have 5 rooms. And the one (no.5) we always have stayed in now also have a full kitchen. But most important: we (my husband and I) could stay on the verandah and watch our daughters go into the water and swim without leaving our room. (And for some reason that happened most of the time. My husband and I stayed up on the verandah reading books and sipping a glass of wine or a Carib while our daughters where down on the beach.) So if you don’t like “hotel feelings” when visiting the Caribbean, but still like the benefits when staying at a hotel then you should consider Madeariman. It is on SBE and on the best part of it.

There are lots of discussions on this board about the differences of Upper Shoal Bay and the other part of Shoal Bay. Here is was I think after 4 Christmas trips there: Upper Shoal Bay has much, “MUCH” more wind then the other part. I would never “ever” choose to stay on Upper part during Dec-Jan. It can be very windy also on the other part during Christmas but if you turn the corner to Upper, from the lower part, it is always almost 3 times the wind there. BUT that can be very good if you visit during a hotter period of the year than Dec-Jan. So if you go in the summer, it is probably better to stay on Upper SB, because more wind there. But I cannot actually have an opinion on that, bacause I don’t know. But I do know that if you visit during Dec-Jan and wants to stay on SBE, you should defenitely choose Shoal Bay Villas, Ku, Elodias or Madeariman. Beacause they are on the less windy part of SBE. And the beach outside these hotels cannot be beat!!! (If you stay on Elodias you are not on the beach, you have to walk a little to get down there, but still on the less windy part.)

How to get there?
When coming from Europe there is no choise. It is via SXM. But from there you defenitely have a choise though. We have all visits choosed Trans Anguilla. If we have come another day than the 23rd of December I maybe have decided to try the ferry one visit, but when arriving late on the 23rd (day before Christmas Eve) then the ferry is “out of the question” (because “everyone” is on that ferry the day before Christmas).

I “LOVE” Trans Anguilla!
I’m a little amazed when reading all your comments and questions about the private charters on boat from the airport to Anguilla which has the same cost as TA (Trans Anguilla). I’m amazed that not everyone choose TA. But I can understand that you don’t, if you are afraid of small planes (they take 8 persons, incl. the pilot). There are lots of questions on this board about VIP-service as well and how to book it and how much it cost. If you fly with TA you get that VIP-service without paying anything extra. And I also smile a little when I read posts about the expensive boat transfer not waiting more then .... minutes after your reservation. When reserving TA you tell them the number of the flight you are arriving to SXM with. And that is all! If that flight is delayed they will know, and they will still be there waiting for you when you finally arrive. (I for sure know, we were delayed almost 6 hours on our first visit. But TA was there still ready to take us over to AXA within no delays at all after we finally arrived to SXM with Air France.) They have always worked perfect: taken us through immigration line under a minute, taken our baggage tickets and fetched our luggage. And the only thing that delayed our departure from SXM had been the time it has taken Air France to load of our checked in-luggage from the AF-flight.

Hmmm...... I haven’t yet started to write anything about all the beaches we love on Anguilla (SBE, Rendezvous, Savannah Bay, Sandy Hill and ... and .... and .... and ....)
I have so many things to say about these georgeous beaches.

And all these restaurants: Hibernia is for sure No 1 !!!!! Roy’s is No 2 !
And ..... and .... and ......

And I haven’t written anything about Bartletts, where we bought all our gifts this year and last year and also lots of things for ourselves (paintings)

But I think I will have to write a part two.

Thank you for now, sorry it was long without saying anything about beaches or restaurants.

******* (End of part 1, now follows part 2.) **********

Now to one of the things we have been going to Anguilla for: ”the beaches”

Shoal Bay East: (SBE)
This is number 1 for me. I love the sand. I love the water, which most of the times are very good for swimming. I love that there are so many beach bars where you can go for an easy lunch. I love the beauty of how the sand is “shaped” in all those small hills, going up and down and forth and back (hmmm .... that sounds extremely strange, but I hope at least those of you who have been there understand what I mean). I love the lights in the morning when the sun raises over the hotel and trees. But what I love the most are the lights in the afternoon/evening when the sun starts to go down. Wow, these colours.
I’ve never seen SBE as busy as this year. But that doesn’t mean I think it was to busy for us. It was more tourists there than ever before. But still very “not crowded” (hmmm .... that also sounds strange ... but you know: only crowded for being a beach on Anguilla). On one of the most “crowded” days a couple from St.Martin, who where there on a daytrip, started talking to me and my husband. They loved SBE and thought it was so little people on the beach. When we told them that “this is crowded” they stared at us as we were stupid. They asked where we stayed and we pointed on the verandah behind the palm tree and we offered them to see our room. We showed it for them and then Claes (my husband) had to find Bev so they could reserve a room for their next visit, which were going to be at Madeariman on Anguilla instead of St.Martin.

Rendezvous Bay: (RB)
This is number 2 for me. If we hadn’t fallen in love with Madeariman Hotel on SBE or it we couldn’t get a room there next time we go, I would try hard to get a beach front room at RBH. What a location for a hotel!!!! On the best part of RB, where there is less wind and most pieceful from other parts of RB. We have every visit to Anguilla spent a few afternoons on RB. We park close to AGH and then walk left when stepping out on the beach. I’m so amazed that on all our visits we have had more then 500 meters to ourselves there. Noone on that part between AGH and RBH. Amazing !!!!! The sand is super and the water is super. No rocks in the water there either (as no rocks in the water on SBE ouside the hotels of SBV, Ku and Madeariman).

Little Bay:
This is number 3 (or maybe sharing second place with RB). This year we had perfect weather for all our days on the island. And very little wind so snorkeling was better then ever on Little Bay (we went there 2 times this year). My daughters saw a lot of fish. But they were most excited of the big turtle they saw. They took lots of photos on it with their under-water-camera (so now I’ve seen it as well).

Then we also love Shoal Bay West, Savannah Bay, Sandy Hill Bay, Meads Bay and I have probably forgot to mention some more but .... it is tough because there are so many VERY good beaches on Anguilla.

Weather:
We had very good weather this year. Only rain during the nights or very short ones during day time, lasting only some minutes. We have always on all our 4 visits during this same time had good weather with extremely little or no rain. And lots of sun every day. But what was better this year then any other visit was that it was so little wind the weeks we where there. And during Dec-Jan it can get windy.

Snorkeling:
I would not visit Anguilla for their snorkeling. It isn’t so good. But I guess that depends what you compare it with. We had two very good days this year at Little Bay. But we are a little spoiled after having been snorkeling in the Maldives. Nothing compares to that.

Gifts and shopping:
I hate shopping, so I love that their isn’t much of that on Anguilla. But we have found two good stores:
- Bartletts: we have found so many very good things there our last visits. Many different kind of presents (to friends, or memories of the island for yourself)
- Irie Life: we have bought many clothes and shoes there during all our visits

Restaurants:
After many restaurant visits during all 4 travels to Anguilla (and we have always stayed for 2 weeks or more every time) we have found some we love more then others. But I can also say that some we have loved a lot have dissapointed us so much so we don’t go there any longer. Following is a list of our highlights last trip.

Hibernia: (my no.1)
Wow, what a restaurant! Beautiful in all ways. But the most important: the food. The best meals on the island. And we managed to go there twice this year. And Mary Pat was very friendly and nice (never saw her without a smile on her face). And the service was very good. We were lucky to stay close. But even of you stay at the West End of Anguilla you MUST go their for dinner or lunch! (Expensive, but worth every cent!)

Roy’s: (my no.2)
I love their new restaurant in Sandy Ground. (I loved the old one in Crocus Hill as well.) The new location is very good. More wind and more open then Crocus Hill. But most important: still the same good food and the same good attitude. This is the only restaurant (together with Hibernia) where we never have been disappointed. Every visit we have had very good food (not as spectacular in spices as Hibernia) but consistently very good. (I think we have ate there a total of 10 times during all our 4 visits to the island.) And we have tried most of the things on their menu: from a real very good steak (my husband hunts a lot here in Sweden during the weekends and he consider himself an “expert” on meat. And he was VERY impressed of the steak Roy grilled for him (Claes is “very” picky when ordering meat at a restaurant. Not many places get “thumbs up” from him. But Roy’s did (and Hibernia). We have also loved their different dishes with lobster and the hamburger is very good and of course I must mention “my” favourite: the fish and chips. (Not expensive)

Those two stand our for us, but here is some more places we love:

Picante: Great place. Inexpensive but very good food and athmosphere. (Inexpensive)

Ku: We ate dinner there 3 times. Loved their “Surf and Thurf Paella” (not sure I spelled that the right way). It is topped with a crayfish and below that, there are lots of wonderful things. (Moderate to Expensive)

E’s Oven: very good food but service is a little slow (Inexpensive)

Tastys: very good food as well. We have found that the most pieceful time there is dinner, because then there is no traffic outside the windows. But breakfast and lunch are well worth a visit as well. But because of no beach outside the windows and with all the traffic I think dinner is best time there. There are so many other good restaurants to visit for lunch which are on a beach. (Moderate)

Ferryboat Inn: Great location! And the burgers were as good as I’ve read and hoped they would be. (Inexpensive)

Corner Bar Pizza: Best pizzas on the island! You must try the Seafood Lover. (Inexpensive)

Madeariman: Very good for lunch (not for breakfast though ....). Ate sallads and pizzas there for lunch several times. Very, “very” good pizzas and sallads, but service was a little slow some time.

Uncle Earnie’s: I love that place. Sorry, I know many of you think it is not good at all. But next time, try their crayfish. It was superb! You get 5 or 6 halfes. And they are grilled very nicely, still juicy and fresh and only cost 15 USD. Wow! (As opposite to the crayfish we have had on Savannah Bay now, 2 years in a row. They have been dry and not fresh at all, a “fishy” taste and smell. And they cost 30 USD.) The service is very fast (fastest on the island I think), but I think that is because they want their customers to finish quickly so they can get new guests. (And there is nothing wrong with that, a win-win situation for everyone ..... ) (Inexpensive)

Right now I cannot remember any other restaurant worth a recommendation of all the ones we have visited. But I must give two we loved alot past visits but didn’t revisit this trip: Oliver! And Cedar Grove! Loved both of them a lot on previous trips, but never managed to get there this year.

Oh well, this was a long report. But we love Anguilla so very much!
But I can see the changes coming to the island. We will for sure visit Anguilla a 5th time. But for next Christmas we have already reserved flights and a villa on Mauritius. It is only one more hour for us in travel time. I expect the snorkeling there to be better than Anguilla. But I know the beaches there cannot beat the ones on Anguilla! Anguilla is the best island we know for sure! We are already preparing to be on Anguilla again for next-next Christmas Trip. Cannot wait to see all our friends on this georgeous, lovely, magnific and “so very special” island.

Anguilla for sure is: “tranquility wrapped in blue”
(And my favourite destination ever !)
Christine (Swe)
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:59 pm
Location: Österskär, Sweden

Postby pepper » Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:28 am

Thanks for your report.
Could you please tell me where Bartlett's is?
I have never heard of that place for gifts.
Thanks.
pepper
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:51 am

Bartletts

Postby ALR » Sat Jan 28, 2006 5:10 pm

Pepper,
I think Bartlett's is at the Sandy Ground roundabout. It's next to the Smoothie place.
ALR
 
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:54 pm

Postby pepper » Sat Jan 28, 2006 8:31 pm

Thanks ALR.
That's news to me.
I'll have to look for it when we get there.
I always buy many gifts at Sandals and Such.
pepper
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:51 am

Postby jonz » Sun Jan 29, 2006 1:29 pm

According to Bob Green's site - it is on Back Street, South Hill.

http://www.news.ai/ref/bartletts.html - shows some picturres and a fairly long (if dated) write up.

HTH - Bea
jonz
 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:30 am
Location: Pueblo, Colorado

Postby pepper » Sun Jan 29, 2006 1:42 pm

Bless you Jonz.
That is exactly the information I needed.
The place looks great.
pepper
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:51 am

Postby O.T. » Sun Jan 29, 2006 2:15 pm

Ehh.. I think it has moved from the Back Street location (next to Flavours) to the Sandy Ground roundabout.
O.T.
 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:11 pm
Location: British Isles

Postby Christine (Swe) » Sun Jan 29, 2006 2:26 pm

Hi Pepper,

I have always loved all your knowledge of Anguilla, after all your many trips there. Always love to read whatever you write. Every time I find some new good tips or get a good laugh when you make a good comment on something .. :-)

The web site above about Bartlett is great, but out of date with the location. They have moved some years ago. You find them in the roundabout where you turn to get to Sandy Ground. They are right there, not "in" the roundabout ... but in the roundabout .... ;-) There shop is at the side of the roundabout. When you go into the roundabout from West End you drive out from the roundabout "before" first exit (which you take to get to the Valley) into their parking lot. (Hmmmm .... that description could probably not help ... sounds strange ....
But they are "at" the roundabout. And it is a great shop for presents, and memories for yourself as well. (Last visit we bought lots of things but the best things were two paintings (not as presents ... they were for ourselves to keep up the memories ...)
Christine (Swe)
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:59 pm
Location: Österskär, Sweden

Postby pepper » Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:00 pm

Hi Christine:
Thanks for your very kind comments, AND for adding to my already confused brain. LOL

But not to worry. We now have your directions tucked safely into our travel documents wallet, and I have no doubt that "Mr. Knows-Just-Where-Everything-Always-Is," will have no problem at all finding it. (wink, wink)

:-)
pepper
 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:51 am

Postby Christine (Swe) » Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:06 pm

:-)))
Christine (Swe)
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:59 pm
Location: Österskär, Sweden

Postby Howard » Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:45 pm

Pepper--it is the next building from what used to be Vista market (Now Ace Hardware) going toward the Valley. When are you going this year ?? We arrive 31 March for 10 days
Howard
 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:11 am

Postby pepper » Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:21 pm

Too bad we shall miss you Howard.
:-(
By the time you get there (25 days after me) I shall be home shivering and reading about what a wonderful time you are having.
Where do you stay now that Frangi (as we knew it) bit the dust?
pepper
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:51 am

Postby jonz » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:22 pm

Christine -

Thanks for the directions. I know where you mean and now I'll make an effort to stop there. It looks like there is much more in the shop than I thought.

Thanks - Bea
jonz
 
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