Anguilla's tropical-paradise credentials have never been in doubt, but Malliouhana was the luxury hotel that put this unspoilt Caribbean isle on the map. Now part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, privacy, peacefulness and pristine bays are the order of the day here, and they're not the only things to have attracted the attention of notable A-listers. Centred on a huge lobby space (from where you might borrow bikes for free to explore the coast or arrange moonlit paddleboard trips and catch-n'-cook fishing excursions), palm-tree-studded paths lead to your vibrant residence, destination spa, or an ocean-facing restaurant where the seafood deserves a Hollywood epic of its own.
Sixty-three, including garden, ocean and beachfront rooms, plus one, two and three bedroom suites.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm, but both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £1122.52 ($1,352), including tax at 23 per cent.
Rates don't usually include breakfast, but a selection of fruits, juices and local dishes can be purchased at the hotel for $25 per person.
Free yoga and fitness classes will help you keep that beach bod.
At the hotel
Twenty-five acres of grounds, two swimming pools (one adults-only and another for families), programmed activities for kids, access to two beaches, non-motorized watersports, a fitness centre, free yoga and boot camp classes, tennis and basketball courts, bikes to borrow, boutique, valet parking, WiFi throughout and a handcrafted cocktail on arrival. In rooms: flatscreen TV, Nespresso coffee machine, tea kettle, custom-blended bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The island-inspired design – sunny yellows, coral-like blues and exotic animal triptychs – makes every room wow-worthy. But you came for that big splash of sea, right? Maximise time spent gazing off at the crystalline Caribbean and splurge for an Ocean View suite with its private covered terrace and sun deck set up with mod tangerine-orange hammocks.
There are two. Splash around with the kiddos in the family-friendly, heated freshwater infinity-edge pool with a shallow end for newbie swimmers. Or, nab a tranquil cabana beside the adults-only heated saltwater infinity-edge pool. Both pools have plenty of sunloungers with nautical navy-and-white striped cushions on their ocean-facing decks, so you can get right to work on those tan lines.
Secluded and serene, the Auberge Spa at Malliouhana has six treatment rooms. The Auberge-trained therapists will leave you feeling tingly and tropical from head-to-toe following a banana rum hair and scalp treatment or tension-melting warm shell massage (hot rocks are so mainland). There's also a sauna, steam room and outdoor spa pool.
You'll spend most of your time popping between the swimming pools and the beach, so now's your chance to trot out designer cover-ups and stylish sarongs.
Gather round the fire pit for campfire treat of s'mores as the sun goes down over the crystal Caribbean sea.
Cribs and cots are free, and there's no extra charge for children under 17 years. The Mini-Explorers programme is available daily from 10am to 4pm for five to 11 year olds. Babysitting is available for $15 hour but must be booked 24 hours in advance.
The Mini-Explorers Programme is designed for five to 12 year olds with beach activities and an array of cultural experiences. Morning sessions run from 10am to 1.45pm (including lunch) and the afternoon sessions start at 2pm until 4pm. Kids can stay for half days ($70 for the morning; $55 for the afternoon), or the full day ($95).
Monday, Thursday and Saturday are spent kayaking about Turtle Cove, learning nautical knot tying, sailing around neighbouring coves, boat racing and fishing. Wednesdays are for food, where bush tea parties and cooking lessons are on the agenda. On Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, kids can enjoy arts and crafts, go flower-picking in the hotel's tropical gardens and create salt scrubs using local flowers and herbs.
Menus can be adapted for kids and highchairs are available (on request).
Babysitting is available for $15 hour but must be booked 24 hours in advance.
You’ll have unobstructed Caribbean views from any table you choose.
Sarongs by day and sultry sundresses by night for the Mrs. No jackets are required at dinner for the Mr, but pressed linens are in order.
Settle in for leisurely, ocean-view breakfasts and dinners at open-air Celeste restaurant. Start your morning with freshly squeezed juices, huevos rancheros and fluffy buttermilk pancakes. For dinner, order a round of sharing plates – aubergine caponata and artichokes à la barigoule– before mains of fresh seafood, creamy risotto or tender steaks. For more traditional offerings, Leon's bar serves simple, Caribbean dishes on the beach, opt for a signature Johnny Cake with crab and avocado or the slow-cooked short ribs with mashed potato.
For an intimate, romantic setting head to Bar Soleil. With plantation-style ceiling fans and candlelit birdcages, watch the sun go down over the Caribbean over a citrusy cocktail and some light tapas bites. For something a little more lively, Leon's Bar at Mead's Bay has you covered, providing the ultimate toes-in-sand beach shack experience. Ask for the speciality rum punch, and nab yourself a palm-strung hammock from which to sway along to live reggae beats.
Breakfast is available in the Celeste restaurant from 7am to 11 am and dinner is served from 6:30pm to 10.00pm. Both bars serve from 11am through to 10 pm.
Ring up room service during restaurant hours for items off of the day’s menu: perhaps bourbon French toast at breakfast, a jerk chicken burger for lunch and whatever specialties the chef has whipped up for dinner.
On the Caribbean island of Anguilla, in the British West Indies, Malliouhana is a beachfront idyll with easy access to all the island’s offerings.
Clayton J Lloyd International Airport (AXA; formerly known as Anguilla Wallblake Airport) is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Several airlines, including British Airways (www.britishairways.com) offer connecting flights to AXA through Antigua from London Gatwick. American Airlines commences direct flights from Miami to Anguilla (AXA) commencing 11 December 2021 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Major US-based airlines like United (www.united.com) and American (www.aa.com) also offer connecting flights into Clayton J Lloyd International Airport (AXA) through San Juan, Puerto Rico, from most major international cities. Another option is to fly into neighbouring island St Martin’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), which receives flights on British Airways from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and from cities such as New York, Miami and Paris on major airlines, including Air France (www.airfrance.com) and JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) connecting through various points (major cities, Barbados and Antigua). You’ll then transfer by boat or air shuttle to Anguilla. Transferring by air shuttle is the quickest – a 5to 7 minute flight in a small plane – via Trans Anguilla $465 a person, Anguilla Air Service for $485 a person or Shared Anguilla Air Service for $95 a person.
Clayton J Lloyd International Airport is 11km, or a 15-minute car ride away. Taxis are available and the hotel can arrange for transfers. Major car hire firms such as Avis (www.avis.com) have contracted with local companies, and free valet parking is available at the hotel.
Arriving in St Martin at SXM, you can opt for a 25-minute boat ride to the Anguilla ferry terminal. Hop aboard either the shared shuttle service for $85 a person, or the private ferry shuttle for $450 a person. Both shuttles include meet and greet services. Once in Anguilla, have your passports and forms ready to make your way through customs
Worth getting out of bed for
The tranquil 16-mile long Caribbean isle of Anguilla in the British West Indies has 33-seemingly untouched beaches, making it an ideal spot to disconnect from your otherwise plugged-in world and play castaway. Spanning 1.5 miles of sugary-sand beach, Malliouhana has every activity from sailing escapades to pro-worthy tennis clinics, a basketball court for pick-up games and bright-orange bikes to borrow for an island spin, there's also a golf course just ten minutes away. As is the hallmark of Auberge hotels collection, the concierge is only too willing to cater to every whim, and can arrange everything from beachfront horseback rides to a day on the links at the nearby Greg Norman signature-design golf course. Just ask.
Relaxed beachfront dining is always in style in laid-back Anguilla. Stroll five minutes down the beach towards Meads Bay, where the twinkling lights and swaying palm trees welcome you to the open-air Straw Hat (+1 264 497 8300) restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can watch the waves roll in from your ocean-facing table (there’s not a bad seat in the house). The menu focuses on simply prepared local seafood, but Caribbean specialties, such as curried goat, also make an appearance on the menu. Wear your bathing suits just in case you need to cool off with a mid-meal dip. For a night out, head to Veya (+1 264 498-8392), a 10-minute drive from the resort. Billowing curtains and live music (R&B, reggae, jazz acts) set a romantic mood in this tree house-like space that’s tucked away in a lush garden on a hillside overlooking the sea. There’s a global influence to local, just-snagged seafood and Caribbean dishes, which are paired with an impressive wine list. Word is out about this spot, though, so be sure to make a reservation in advance.
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 beachfront hotel in the British Virgin Islands and unpacked their broad-brimmed hats and seashells, a full account of their luxury island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Malliouhana on Anguilla…
Malliouhana’s melodic moniker is the native Arawak name for the island of Anguilla. Although it borrows from the islands wild beginnings, a rustic beach camp this is not. No, this is a design hound’s dream den – a mix of classic colonial Caribbean architecture, with splashes of tropical patterns and smart nautical stripes as needed. Then there’s the four-room spa with all-natural treatments and the swaths of sand for sun and surf just steps below the bluff. Of course, the crystal-clear Caribbean Ocean views and sandy secluded bayside beaches remain.
This intimate boutique hotel is a cover-all-your-bases retreat with service so attentive and personalised that you can easily feel like you’re the only ones there. And, no request is too much, no obscure water sport difficult to arrange, no sophisticated dish impossible for the chef to create – which is exactly as you’d expect from the luxury-experts at the Auberge group. As for us, well, we’ll be saluting the sun in morning yoga down at the beach …and then taking a tour of the area on horseback. We could get used to island living.