48 Hours at the Zemi Beach House, Anguilla
I don't know why but when considering islands for our big eight weeks tour through the Caribbean, Anguilla was on top of my list. I guess that's because of the two famous properties that make up Anguilla's reputation for high end tourism. Well, thanks to a sudden chance that came up to our surprise, we had the chance to try out a brand new seaside resort that seemed to be different than all the other places in the Caribbean. Being the first luxury resort on Shoal Beach, the Zemi Beach House seemed to be a great place in between the Dorado Beach Ritz Carlton in Puerto Rico and the Le Toiny on Saint Barth. It did not take too long until we boarded our Seaborne flight to Anguilla in the late afternoon from San Juan. By the way you don't have too much choice when it comes to flights in the Caribbean, however Seaborne was a great choice. When we actually arrived at one of the smallest airports I have ever seen (my home airport Innsbruck seemed vast compared to Anguilla), we were told that the representative for the Zemi Beach already left, however people in Anguilla turned out to be extremely friendly and offered us one of the two taxis to the resort immediately. At a rate of 21 USD for a 15 minute ride, this seems actually fair considering that it's a Caribbean island.
At around 7 pm we were checking in at the Zemi Beach and immediately brought to the room by golf cart where all the paper work was done and a welcome drink was offered. I loved the in-room check-in just as I loved the entire room. It felt good to stay in a brand new hotel that had this sexy appeal. Generally who doesn't love to stay in new hotels? The beds are brand new, the towels as thick as possible and there are never signs of usages. Everything smells fresh and all employees strive to be successful. I loved our welcome gift which was a bottle of Mount Gay rum from Barbados along with a few sweets and fresh fruits plus a handwritten welcome letter. It's all about the details that makes me happy. To be honest, I was happy from the moment I saw the toiletries by one of my favourite brands - New York based Malin + Goetz. And here we go: a rum flavoured shower gel in harmony with the two rums on top of the minibar - I like hotels that have a slight alcoholic appeal.
I loved the layout of the bathroom which had double vanities with an amazing stone as a basin, a vanity desk just opposite and a deep soaking tub in the center of the room with a walk-in shower to the left and a semi-separated toilet to the right. There were two bath towels per person, a great hairdryer as well as black towels to remove your make-up - hello ladies that's for you! The bedroom was offering two queen beds with four pillows each, a small armchair next to the writing desk and access to the vast balcony with two armchairs and a dining table for four. I would say that's the perfect room for a family of four heading to Anguilla and spending all day on the pristine beaches.
One of the hotel's highlights is their photogenic infinity pool along an alley of palms and daybeds. What I did not know was the fact that it's not their only pool. We found out that there is a not less attractive adults-only infinity pool with daybeds as well right on top of the fitness lap pool. Indeed, I was a little bit impressed also because there was a superb white sand beach just in front of the main pool with a beach desk where you could rent snorkeling gear. There is an amazing reef just in front of the hotel making it one of the most attractive in the entire Caribbean.
After we were snorkeling, we walked along the white and soft beach until we reached a few restaurants. Unfortunately the famous Raggae bar was closed already so we opted for a typically late afternoon snack in a cool, cozy restaurant somewhere on Shoal Beach. Once we came back to the hotel, we went to the gym and then made sure to attend the Jazz Night at the main bar overlooking the sunset and the main pool while having a typical Caribbean beer. Another great day in Paradise came to an end and we can say it's been a real pleasure to experience Anguilla's latest luxury hotel and definitely the island's coolest one. As we arranged the taxi through the hotel, they suggested to be at the airport 2 hours in advance which I did not found to be accurate since we took a four seater to Saint Barth. I stopped by the Guest Relations Desk where we met Mark who took care of our concerns and offered to call the airline and ask them directly. When we returned to the room where were called by the same lady from the front desk as initially who insisted on the two hours time frame. I booked the taxi for an arrival at the airport one hour prior to departure and in the end we were the only ones flying to Sant Barth which was an amazing feeling, however I would have wished a bit more support by the hotel on this issue.
According to Condé Nast Traveler, Anguilla is the world's best island for food so our expectations for breakfast were also higher than on the other islands. As it turned out, the buffet was of extremely good quality and the service tried their best to be attentive. We got a great orange juice and the sweets were extremely tasty. The best part of breakfast at the hotel's casual restaurant was the possibility to sit on a table in the sand while overlooking the picture perfect beach and turquoise sea. After all, I am pleased to say that Zemi Beach is a great addition to Anguilla's upcoming hotel market and once the staff feels even more comfortable in their roles, this hotel is going to be a game changer, also thanks to the location on the other end of the island, slightly away from the other luxury hotels.