Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, I enjoyed a wonderful trip to New York City and the Caribbean islands of Anguilla and St Martin. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class from London to New York
- Review: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
- Review: TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, New York City
- Review: JetBlue Airbus A321 Business Class (Mint) from New York to St Maarten
- Review: KLM Airbus A330 Business Class from Amsterdam to St Maarten
- Review: Bemond La Samanna, St Martin
- Review: Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla (today)
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Anguilla
- Review: Delta Airbus A350 Business Class from Detroit to Amsterdam
Today (February 10, 2020): Review of Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla (Caribbean)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Belmond Cap Juluca
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
Belmond Cap Juluca is an island chic beachfront hideaway located along the intimate crescent and healing shores of Maundays Bay on the exclusive island of Anguilla in the British West Indies. The glamorous and idyllic resort offers Belmond’s world-class service and is considered to have the best beach in the Caribbean. Capturing the charisma, character and charm of the Caribbean, Belmond Cap Juluca recently completed extensive renovations of its 23-whitewashed Moorish villas, taking the already impeccable resort to an even higher standard of excellence.
Have you ever stayed at Belmond Cap Juluca? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Belmond Cap Juluca is located in the British West Indies on the serene shores of the tiny laid-back island of Anguilla, which is a haven for those wishing to escape and disconnect from everyday distractions. Anguilla boasts some of the best beaches in the Caribbean with the soft white sand and clear blue waters where dolphins swim in the surf. There is a well-developed pioneering food scene with plenty of colorful beach bars. Discerning travelers come here to sprawl on the island’s silky beaches, swim in clear turquoise waters, play Robinson Crusoe on offshore islands, and snorkel or dive the fish-filled reefs and wrecks. Anguilla is popular among jetsetters and celebrities, who enjoy the island’s low-profile character and luxurious offerings.
- Enjoying a privileged setting in the south-west of the island, the five-star property is wrapped around the turquoise waters and pristine white sands of a magnificent half crescent bay. Offering a view of both the sunrise and sunset, the spectacular mile-long cove is widely considered as on one of the world’s best beaches and the paradisiacal setting encourages hotel guests to unwind to the slow rhythm of Caribbean island life. Dozens of comfortable loungers and stylish umbrellas are placed along the beach’s entire length, and beach service is provided. Complimentary water sports are available on the beach including scuba diving excursions, water skiing, wake boarding, sea kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding, and catamaran sailing.
- One of the Caribbean’s most iconic properties, Belmond Cap Juluca is steeped in rich history and romance. In 1984, on a boat trip around Anguilla, Linda and Charles Hickox spotted the undeveloped Maundays Bay and decided to build a restaurant here, which they named Pimms. Four years later, the couple opened a hotel on the same site – Cap Juluca, named for the rainbow spirit of the Arawak whose presence can still be felt as rains come and go, with the sun shining through the bright colors of the rainbow. The hotel opened to wide acclaim and was an instant hit with the jet-setting travelers of the time, offering unprecedented luxury and glamor, such as private plunge pools (unheard of in the 1980s). Due to its success, the hotel expanded several times over the next decades, with the room inventory increasing from 18 to 96.
- In 2017, another chapter began for the hotel when Belmond – one of the most exclusive hotel brands in the world – acquired the property from Linda and Charles. Formerly known as Orient Express until its rebranding in 2014, Belmond manages a collection of 49 iconic hotels, trains and river cruises in 24 countries, bringing together some of the world’s most sensational journeys and destinations. With Belmond, you can stay in timeless hotels in Venice, Amalfi and Rio de Janeiro; embrace the spirit of adventure at Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat; glide along the rails through the Swiss Alps; soar across the Andes; or explore the mystifying rivers of Myanmar. Upon its acquisition of Cap Juluca, Belmond carried out a top-to-toe renovation and added a further 23 beachfront villas or suites, bringing the resort’s total inventory to 121 rooms.
- On the outside, the resort features a striking Greco-Moorish architecture and comprises dozens of crisp white pavilions that line the pristine white sands and the sparkling Caribbean Sea. On the inside, the contemporary decor – created by US design firm Rottet Studio – reflects the style of a private residence. The lobby’s high domed ceiling is designed to reveal and dramatically frame the mesmerizing view of the Caribbean Sea. The lobby gives way to a shaded courtyard with a deep green tiled Moroccan pool which offers a panoramic view of the beach. Connecting the lobby pavilion with the cove of Maundays Bay, is a lovely palm-lined terrace with infinity-edge pool. This space – added after the Belmond takeover – offers guests the best of both worlds: direct access to the beach and shaded corners to enjoy poolside tapas and cocktails.
- Located just steps from the white sandy shores are 129 guest rooms and suites – all with large private verandas or balconies. During my holiday, I stayed in a first-floor deluxe beachfront room, which is the hotel’s entry room category. The spacious bedroom came with a kingsize bed, sitting area, a 6ft (1.8m) high ‘maxibar’, and a Moorish-style balcony. The interior honored laid-back island life with natural fabrics injected with a mix of blues, greens and botanical prints, along with the clever use of handcrafted limestone floor. Overlooking a walled botanical courtyard, the large bathroom was equipped with two lavatories and a deep soaking tub. Belmond Cap Juluca also offers multi-bedroom villas that offer more space for families and groups of friends, featuring high spec kitchens, large dining areas and private pools.
- Belmond Cap Juluca offers several excellent restaurants and bars:
- The newly reinvigorated Pimms restaurant – the hotel’s signature restaurant – serves authentic Caribbean classics and Anguillan delicacies in relaxed elegant surroundings.
- The casual all day dining restaurant CIPs by Cipriani references the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, offering Italian cuisine (including the famous Cipriani carpaccio). A quality breakfast buffet is also offered here each morning (à la carte dishes are charged).
- Freshly squeezed fruit juices, smoothies and light bites are on offer at the fashionable Maundays Lounge and Pool Terrace during the day (located next to the lobby). By night, service here turns to sophisticated ceviche and tapas as the rum cocktails flow.
- A rustic beach bar – ‘The Cap Shack’ – is located on a remote stretch of Maundays Bay. Open to island dwellers and seafarers alike, the shack serves creatively mixed rum punches, catch of the day and BBQ beach tapas from a food truck.
- Belmond Cap Juluca has its own spa, called Arawak Spa. The Arawaks who first inhabited this land celebrated the renewal and rejuvenation of each new day by honoring Atabeyra, the mother goddess of fertility. They would burn incense and offerings of sage, lemongrass and sacred herbs to awaken the mind and spirit. Like the Arawaks, the Arawak spa rituals are designed to bring guests into harmony with nature and refocus your energy. Housed in one of the pavilions along the beach, the spa has three treatment rooms, two beach cabanas, a tiny pool and a seductive menu of massages and rituals. The resort also features other wellness and leisure facilities, such as a well-equipped fitness room, located besides the lobby.
- Belmond also manages another property, close to Anguilla: the tropical hideaway Belmond La Samanna on the island of St Martin (30 minutes by boat from Anguilla). Characterized by white stucco Mediterranean architecture adorned with lush tropical foliage, Belmond La Samanna is an exclusive luxury resort secluded on Baie Longue. Set amidst 55 acres of tropical gardens, curled next to a pristine beach, Belmond La Samanna is a paradise for the active and non-active vacationer. Both Belmond resorts offer an easy twin center stay with a chance for guests to enjoy the serenity of Anguilla and ‘Joie de Vivre’ of St Martin. I suggest you first stay at Belmond La Samanna before proceeding to Belmond Juluca, to save the best for last.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- All beaches in Anguilla are open to the public, and so is the beach of Maundays Bay, where Belmond Cap Juluca is located. However, it is the only hotel in this part of Anguilla, so the beach feels very private and quiet with only few day trippers venturing out to this corner of the island.
- The property offers an excellent breakfast buffet (in non-COVID19 times). Unfortunately, not all breakfast items are included in the room rate: a la carte dishes – such as pumpkin fritters or eggs Benedict – are offered for a supplement.
- Belmond Cap Juluca offers 64 rooms, 42 suites and 23 two to five bedroom villas, all positioned along the white sand beach to get the best view of the turquoise sea. However, the most affordable entry-category rooms (classed as Deluxe) are a bit underwhelming for the price tag (above $1000 USD in high season). I advise to splurge on a more premium room or suite, some of which come with separate living rooms, rooftop terraces or private plunge pools.
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 8/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good 8,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a fruit basket in the room, and $100 USD spa credit).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Belmond Cap Juluca (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Anguilla has a pleasant tropical climate with average highs that hover in the 80s °F (around 28 °C), usually tempered by cooling trade winds. December to March are the most popular months to visit, characterized by warm, generally dry days, whilst the summer months between June and November tend to be more humid, with regular showers and the possibility of tropical storms and hurricanes. The best time to visit the island is April and May, a sweet spot featuring lower prices and fewer crowds.
HOW TO GET THERE
Visitors to Anguilla must either fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry (or pivate sea shuttle) to the island, or fly in directly (by way of a small seaplane) from San Juan Puerto Rico. Once in Anguilla, the resort is a short 15 min taxi ride from either the harbor or airfield.