It’s 1984, and on a boat trip around Anguilla, Linda and Charles Hickox spot the most beautiful mile-long cove on a scrub-covered island that no one had plans for. Their dream? To build the most beautiful hotel on the most beautiful beach of the Caribbean, and four years later, that’s exactly what the Cap Juluca proved to be.
It became an instant hit with the jet-setting travelers of the time, giving St Martin’s golden bays and hilly St. Barths serious competition. After all, the white-washed villas of the hotel, many of which had their own plunge pools, was unprecedented glamour in the 1980s, and the beach sure was one to ruin you for all others.
In 2017, another chapter began at the Cap Juluca when Belmond, known for its brilliant restorations of hotels like the Cipriani in Venice and the Copacabana Palace in Rio acquired it from Linda and Charles, and Texas-based architecture firm Rottet Studio was called in to give the hotel a breezy revamp.
The Belmond Cap Juluca Renovations
The Belmond Cap Juluca is a re-imagined hotel. Yes, the domed villas are very much there, and the Greco-Moorish archways that reflect the afternoon light haven’t been touched, but in the rooms, seagrass armoires, linen curtains and rattan furniture replaced what used to be spaces of dark furniture, chrome finishes and lanterns that would fit right into an Arabian Nights novel.
Public spaces have also been given a contemporary makeover with tall urns, stone spheres, linen curtains and woven-grass rugs scattered about to soften things up. At the hotel’s fine-dining stalwart Pimms, things have also been pared back and scrubbed up to put the spotlight on British chef Andrew Gaskin’s menu of scallops, peas in pumpkin oil and lobster bisque.
Your Home in the Caribbean
With their four-poster beds, twisted-abaca chairs, linen curtains that balloon with each drifting of the wind and cool arabesque tiles underfoot, villas at the Belmond Cap Juluca are as relaxing as they get. Then, of course, each residence is just steps away from the beach, so if we were you, we’d use more luggage space for sunscreen than shoes.
When it comes to islands in the Caribbean, each has its own highlights. Tiny Anguilla has the best beaches this side of the world, and the happiest bars pumping out reggae beats. This is where Robert De Niro comes to read his film scripts, and when Justin Bieber wanted a quiet family Christmas, he followed suit. There is an unassuming allure about Anguilla that, we for one, can’t get enough of.
It’s the kind of place where taking a lazy swim before lunch is the norm, and laid-back living goes hand in hand with a go-slow attitude, but if you ever wanted adventure, the choice of sporting activities and excursions around the hidden coves and bays of the island should do the trick. Snorkeling to the reefs off the shore is a glimpse into another world, while kayaking around Anguilla is the best way to see the island from the tranquility of the waters. Then there is scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing and golf at the Greg Norman-designed Cuisinart Golf Club.
For the perfect Caribbean getaway, we wouldn’t look much further…