A 48-Hour Rendezvous in Anguilla
The beautiful island of Anguilla is remote, quiet, and picturesque. It’s also a bit of an arduous trek to travel to, which makes the arrival that much sweeter. Many visitors choose to fly into St. Maarten before hopping a charter boat or ferry to Anguilla (passing through customs twice) or flying to Puerto Rico and taking a connecting flight directly into Anguilla. Despite the travel time it takes to get there, this incomparably unique island welcomes you with open arms upon arrival.
Anguilla has several five-star resort offerings that provide guests with luxury services and amenities as well as exceptional culinary and spa offerings. One such example is The CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, which is a sprawling Mediterranean-themed property offering private villas and suites for both couples and families alike, not to mention a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
At the helm of the culinary offerings at CuisinArt is chef Jasper Schneider, a New York-native, who is no stranger to the Caribbean and its cuisine. Schneider spent four years as Executive Chef at The Palms Resort Turks and Caicos and at The Ritz Carlton, St. Thomas. Most recently, Schneider opened Sushi Samba in Coral Gables, Florida, before finding his home in Anguilla.
© 2016 CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Schneider has a purist food philosophy in which he believes in keeping his food simple. “I let whatever the main ingredient is be the star,” Schneider told The Daily Meal. His deep appreciation for the quality of the ingredients is evidenced in the property’s garden and two farms, where Schneider grows most of the ingredients prepared daily at the hotel. The hydroponic farm is particularly notable, churning out fresh seasonal vegetables, which are incorporated into many dishes designed by the chef. Herbs grown on the farm include parsley, thyme, basil, chives, and dill, among others. “I love the tomatoes we grow, as well as the eggplant. I really enjoy making gazpacho for Cafe Med, and the cherry tomato ceviche for our Tokyo bay restaurant. The habanero pepper we grow, we utilize it in our famous hot sauce we serve with our beach dishes,” he added.
Guests at the hotel can partake in a hands-on cooking class and property tour where chef Schneider is their own personal tour guide, showcasing the farm-to-table philosophy at the hotel while taking Caribbean cuisine enthusiasts on a gastronomic journey. While on a tour of the property, Schneider shows guests exactly where their food comes from before getting into the kitchen to provide a cooking demonstration filled with useful kitchen tips, such as knife skills, that guests can use long after the end of the class. He also includes the hotel’s recipes for their signature tomato gazpacho soup, among other dishes. “It’s all about having fun and putting passion behind what you do,” Schneider remarked.
Beyond the cooking classes and the hydroponic farm, the hotel surprises and delights in other ways. Those looking to take in a leisurely lunch by the pool or in the hotel lobby bar will be amazed by the homemade rum selection, with flavors like ginger or pineapple that will drink well on the rocks or accentuate any cocktail. For a fine dining evening, look no further than the hotel’s AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Le Bistro at Santorini, which has a focus on “farm, sea and land” dishes specially crafted by chef Schneider to please the guests’ palates.
© 2016 CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Just down the road from the CuisinArt is the sleek Viceroy Anguilla hotel that boasts three resort pools, an 8,000 square-foot oceanfront spa, a multi-level rock climbing wall, and a sea center on Meads Bay offering a host of water activities like sailing on the resort’s catamarans.
The spa itself is housed inside a two-story luxury villa overlooking the tranquil water, which couldn’t be a more perfect place to get a treatment. With a range of offerings to cater to a multitude of guests, the spa goer can handcraft his or her unique experience. The most popular treatments are the hot stone massage and the ultra-hydrating facial. More unique services include the bamboo hot stone massage or coral foot massage.
The spa is something of spectacular note at the Viceroy not only for its treatments, but also its fitness offerings. For yogis and yoginis alike, the spa has classes overlooking the stunning oceanfront, where you can deepen your practice to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach below. One morning while on property, I took an amazing vinyasa flow class in the spa taught by an extremely thoughtful and spiritual teacher, before heading inside to continue my deep relaxation with a signature spa treatment.
Following a morning of relaxation, I headed straight to the Sunset Lounge for a sushi lunch overlooking the beautiful water and infinity pool. The restaurant serves up devastatingly delicious specialty sushi rolls and small plates, like the crispy rice with spicy tuna, unagi sauce, avocado purée, and cilantro, as well as the hot barbecue wings dressed in Korean chile paste, soy, caramel sauce, sesame seeds, and oil, served with a side of Asian slaw.
Beyond the resort dining, we also tried a local restaurant, Mango’s Seaside Grill, owned by a couple from Massachusetts who now call Anguilla their home. Specialties of the house include grilled calamari served in the traditional Greek preparation, as well as its famous Barnes Bay lobster cake.
It doesn’t matter if you venture off the beaten path or stick to the crowd of culinary offerings at the best hotels on the island. You will be swept away with what Anguilla has to offer food-lovers and travel aficionados alike.