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Checking in: The Viceroy Anguilla

January 7, 2013

We’re not even a month into winter and I’m already pining after warm weather and beachy bliss. It’s been a year since my visit to Anguilla, where I checked into The Viceroy Anguilla and I’m ready for my return visit. Here, my blog post for Caribbean Travel + Life on the Kelly Wearstler-designed resort with a Benjamin Bratt look-alike GM and a Cheers vibe.

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For my weekend jaunt to Anguilla, I had planned to explore the island’s 33 bone-white swaths of sand, sample its beachside shacks and upscale eateries (said to rival those of St. Barts), and confirm whether or not the rumor about goats (that they outnumber people) was true.

But once I arrived at the year-old Viceroy Anguilla, I found I had little desire to leave. It didn’t hurt that the property, with its restaurants (five), swimming pools (three), and beaches (two), had plenty to entertain. But it was the friendly, everyone-knows-your-name atmosphere that kept me rooted there: It reminded me of the Catskills resort in Dirty Dancing (only in the Caribbean) or a tropical Cheers.

Style wise, The Viceroy has an easy, neutral-hued elegance. The emphasis is clearly on the horizon, where blue waters meet blue skies – which isn’t to say that the hotel’s interiors (designed by Kelly Wearstler, the home and fashion design guru known for her retro-glam stylings) aren’t impressive. Driftwood sculptures and distressed mirrors, metallic spheres and low-slung furniture give public spaces and rooms—there are 166—a modern, beach-chic feel that befit the celebrity clientele who come here to unwind – and occasionally get their groove on (Shaq partied here over Christmas).

As for sampling the pleasures here, my first night, I had supper at Italian-Caribbean Coba, the hotel’s most upscale restaurant – and while I spotted a few women in evening wear, their floor-length gowns were, more often than not, paired with casual sandals rather than stilettos. The next morning, it was poolside yoga and a facial at the spa, followed by lunch at the beachfront Bamboo Bar & Grill, helmed by a New York expat who brings his impressive culinary chops to bear on island fare such as fried soft shell crab on johnny cakes and grilled wahoo with breadfruit salad.

But good looks and a place to work on my tan aren’t typically enough to keep me resort-bound. It was more than that: this place has a real sense of community, both amongst the guests, most of whom are New Yorkers, and the beyond-friendly staff. On your visit, you may find yourself playing hoops with the Benjamin Bratt look-alike GM, chatting with your butler about his favorite island eats, or even being offered a golf-cart ride by a guest. Making the Viceroy Anguilla truly, “Where everybody knows your name.”

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