We’re jammin’ at Belmond Cap Juluca, a Moroccan-inspired marvel in the Leeward Islands’ northernmost spot, Anguilla. There’s a laid-back, leisurely pace of life at this waterfront retreat, where the biggest effort will be deciding between the sublime ceviche at the club, a carb coma courtesy of Cip’s by Cipriani, or barbecued ribs served out of a vintage food truck on the beach. Sea-facing suites are standard issue, as are blindingly white buildings with arches, domes and billowing white drapes bringing a little North African flair.
Noon. Check-out between 12-6pm will be charged 50 per cent of an additional night; after 6pm, you'll be charged for one additional night. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £3209.36 ($4,264), including tax at 22 per cent.
Rates usually include a buffet breakfast.
The hotel is right on Maundays Bay, and each room has its own reserved pair of sunloungers to which the beach attendants will keep delivering chilled towels, water and sorbets.
The hotel closes every September and October, and reopens on 1 November.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, valet parking, beach, kids’ club, tennis court, state-of-the-art gym, watersports, villa hosts. In rooms: TV, air-conditioning, free bottled water, and tea and coffee.
Our favourite rooms
Each room has its own bicycles, but if that sounds like too much exertion go for a suite or above, which will bag you a golf buggy as well. If you want to be steps from the sand, choose a room on ground level and get to your sun-worshipping spot swiftly. Or head up for the views in a Premium Beachfront King Room with sea-facing sunloungers on the rooftop terrace.
The family-friendly heated pool is open 24 hours a day, with a series of chaises and cabanas to sequester. The spa also has a pool.
The Arawak Spa has three treatment rooms, including one for couples, where you can enjoy massages, facials and beauty treatments including blow-dries and mani-pedis. If you’re feeling fancy, move things down to one of the beach cabanas.
You won’t need much more than books, bikinis and board shorts around here.
Some of the resort is accessible for wheelchair users, and there are specially adapted rooms available.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added to all rooms. Babysitting is available with a day’s notice for $25 an hour.
Extra beds can be added to all suites and cots can be added to all rooms. There are villas with two, three and five bedrooms for families.
The resort has a kids’ club and indoor playroom.
There’s a slide and climbing frame, as well as a beach in reach.
The family-friendly heated pool is open 24 hours a day, but there are no lifeguards on duty.
Children are allowed in all of the restaurants at all times. Highchairs are available.
Babysitting is available with a day’s notice for $25 an hour.
No need to pack
Plug covers, outdoor toys, paints and paper, baby bedlinen.
The hotel uses locally sourced, seasonal produce where possible, and the bath products are also environmentally kind.
Go for a table at the edge of the terrace at Cip’s for sea views with a wave-crashing soundtrack. At Maundays Club, choose a seat by the emerald-tiled pool.
Barefoot and bikinis, but something slightly smarter for Pimms.
The waterfront Cip’s by Cipriani is where breakfast is served. Be sure to return at the end of the day, since the terrace over Maundays Bay is one of the island’s most spectacular sunset spots – and you can order carby Italian comfort food to accompany it. Also on the edge of the bay, Pimms cooks up Caribbean classics using lots of local produce (highlight: the lobster). The Cap Shack on the far end of the beach serves barbecued tapas (ribs, tacos, burgers) right out of a vintage truck, with a bar for rum punch and cracking calypso beats.
Maundays Clubs is one you’ll definitely want to be a part of: Hemingway would love to sip a daiquiri at this poolside space, with green panelled walls, a black marble bar and a tinkling fountain. It has the added bonus of the only Peruvian restaurant in Anguilla, which serves up super ceviche for lunch and dinner.
Breakfast hours are 6.30am to 10am. Dinner at Cip’s and Pimms is available from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Lunch at the Cap Shack is from noon to 5pm.
Any dish from the restaurant menus is available to order in.
Belmond Cap Juluca is near the southern shores of the Caribbean island of Anguilla, the northernmost of the Leeward Islands.
Princess Juliana international airport on Sint Maarten is 12 miles away; the journey to Anguilla should take around 40 minutes. Hotel transfers, which include a boat trip and pick-up from the Blowing Point ferry terminal, cost $325 per person. The other option is to land at Anguilla’s Clayton J Lloyd international airport; transfers are $120 and journey time is 10 minutes. You can fly to this airport from Sint Maarten (seven minutes), Puerto Rico (50 minutes), Antigua (45 minutes), Saint Kitts (20 minutes) and Saint Thomas (30 minutes).
The hotel has free valet parking, but if you’re not planning on leaving the Maundays Bay resort, you won’t need your own set of wheels.
Boats from Sint Maarten dock in at the Blowing Point terminal on Anguilla.
Worth getting out of bed for
The resort has plenty to keep you captive, whether you fancy some water-based sports (stand-up paddle-boarding, sailing, snorkelling, kayaking, tubing or waterskiing), tennis coaching with Anguilla’s acclaimed instructor Shawn, an afternoon at the spa or a yoga class. Golfers can tee off at the 18-hole course on the Cuisinart Resort a 10-minute drive away in Rendezvous Bay. The hotel can help facilitate boat rentals so you can cruise the Caribbean in style, stopping off to snorkel on reefs and drop anchor at the best beaches – one of which is Little Bay, where there’s a rock for the brave to jump off. Enjoy Bankie Banx’ banging beats at the musician’s Dune Preserve, a shack on the shore with regular live-music sets.
If lobster on a sandbank sounds like your kind of meal, head to Sand Bar, a restaurant that’s only accessible by boat, where the crustacean cookery is next-level. For a laid-back lunch, try Beach Shack on Meads Bay, where tacos and jerk-chicken sandwiches are washed down with frozen cocktails. The island’s most marvellous Mexican food can be found at Picantein the West End. Enjoy a whistlestop whizz around the world Veya in North Hill Village, where dishes include Moroccan-spice shrimp, Korean barbecued pork and Vietnamese-style crispy calamari.
The temple-like Sunset Lounge at the Four Seasons outpost on Barnes Bay is, predictably, a great spot for sunset – the classic cocktails and live music aren’t bad, either.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this island hotel in the Caribbean and unpacked their board shorts and Bermudas, a full account of their luxury beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla…
In A-list-favoured Anguilla, the Caribbean’s ultimate Hollywood haven, Belmond Cap Juluca has just benefitted from a $100-million makeover and it’s not hard to see where the money went. On an already-photogenic island, Maundays Bay is probably its prettiest patch, and the hotel’s dazzling white Moorish villas form an orderly line along the sand. There’s no standard signage around here: hang the green tassel to have your room made up, or the red one for privacy. Even the minibars are slicker than your average: boxy fridges are swapped out for elegant cabinets, with gorgeous glassware and a choice of liquors to drink from it. Every room has a sea view – if you’ve chosen wisely, you’ll have a balcony and a rooftop terrace to admire it from. This is the sort of stay you won’t want to venture far from (though you must, for some reggae raves at the very least) – which is just as well, since the Cap Shack gives you beachside barbecues, Pimms has breathtaking views of the bay and Maundays Club serves up the best ceviche this side of the Andes.