Rendezvous Bay Hotel and Villas, Anguilla

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Rendezvous Bay Hotel and Villas, Anguilla

“That’s Anguilla not Antigua,” is the stock response when we tell people about Rendezvous Bay in Anguilla. Antigua is a commercial hub with an airport that lands 747’s.Anguilla is a much smaller island (near St. Martin) that has a much smaller runway – MUCH smaller….Anguilla is not even in our spell checker!

Anguilla is only 16 miles in length and about 3.5 miles wide at its widest. It is dryer than most of the islands in the vicinity, making it much more comfortable than the tropical neighbors.Rendezvous Bay and its name sake resort is a large bay almost two miles across, just west of  Blowing Point, the nearest village on most maps. The position is such that great views of the sunset are a daily occurrence, with many visitors standing on the fine white sandy beach looking for the elusive green flash associated with sunset.

The Rendezvous Bay Hotel is a local project, not a multi-national conglomeration that has the same furniture and artwork installed in every room in the world. Rendezvous Bay Hotel is locally owned and managed. The hotel and the rooms reflect this in every detail.RendezvousBayis an authentically Anguillan resort set on one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean with limited space and nearly unlimited indulgences. The patriarch of the resort, Jeremiah Gumbs passed from this earth in 2004. He held a velvet glove on the quality and direction of the resort. He guided his family and employees with inspirational words and his real world actions. We never met a person who stayed at the resort, who, when leaving for home, was not fully committed to returning as soon as they could.

So when we heard that they planned a development of luxury residences, we assumed the worst, but once we understood what was being done our fears disappeared. The development plans and administration look to be world class, and at 2 million to more than 15 million USD per residence they are in line with the scope, location, and quality. These homes and smaller attached dwellings are drop-dead Caribbean gorgeous. It is clearly a once in a lifetime opportunity. We suspect these residences will disappear as soon as they are released for sale: Anguilla has a moratorium on foreign resort development and imposes severe restrictions on foreign ownership of beach side residences.

Rendezvous Bay Hotel, in its current incarnation, is the best of the old Caribbean hospitality. It has a welcome graciousness that is missing from commercial and glitzy Caribbean hubs. The quieter pace of life and of vacationing provides for a purposeful relaxation with nothing but excellent choices.

Those choices include, deep-sea fishing and reef spear fishing. The scuba diving and snorkeling are excellent, and beach combing (one of our favorites) seems almost a ritual. Hiking and biking and sailing around the island also provide private rewards when meeting those who make Anguilla their home. Even more remote opportunities exist if you hire a vessel to visit Prickly Pear Cays, SandyIsland, orScrub Island.

And, if you like a more urban contemporary setting, St. Martin and its world class evening spots are but a 12 dollar ferry ride with numerous trips a day back and forth. Bring your passport: St. Martin is another country.

Getting to Anguilla

The commercial carriers Liat, Caribbean Star, and American Eagle offer reliable but limited service. Private aircraft should check runway length and services before departure. Many elect to fly to St. Martin and take the ferry over to Anguilla. It’s our favorite and provides travelers with the feeling that they really are getting away from it all. Cabs are available on both St. Martin to get to the quay and to pick you up in Anguilla and take you toRendezvous Bay. The ferry lands at Blowing Point in Anguilla, less than a mile or so from Rendezvous Bay. You can rent cars in Anguilla. We suggest the smaller size higher clearance vehicle like the Suzuki Samurai or Toyota Rav 4. Some of the roads paved and unpaved get potted in the rain. Definitely hire a car and driver for a tour of the island. And figure out how to have a beach-side evening barbeque of chicken, fish, and rum. Time it for sunset, and watch for the mysterious and elusive green flash that occurs then. Pack light, but do have some semi formal clothes for evening dining: Anguillais, after all, a British Administrated territory. Once the resort closes to rebuild you will have to wait two years before you can go, but it should be well worth the wait!

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