A short 25-minute hop from Antigua will bring you to the beautiful Caribbean island of Anguilla, just 16 x 3 miles in size but with some of the very best beaches in the Caribbean. On my recent visit, I stayed at the contemporary Viceroy Hotel which overlooks two magnificent bays and boasts more than half a mile of pristine beach front. Facilities at the hotel are excellent, with five restaurants, a number of bars and three swimming pools. There is also a beach club offering non-motorised water sports, tennis courts, a stunning spa and an excellent kids club with a wide range of activities.
One of my favourite things about Anguilla was its lively restaurants and bars. There are some 100 restaurants to choose from on the island, from fine dining at hotels to more laid-back affairs on the beach accompanied by live music. I particularly enjoyed my evening at 'Sandy Ground', just a short cab ride from the hotel, where cocktails and tapas at the sand bar were followed by a cold beer or two and dancing to a live band at the Pump House.
The island has a very interesting Heritage Trail which takes you to an 18th century plantation house, the old court house and the Heritage Museum. The museum was opened by a local school teacher and historian when he retired as a means of exhibiting his private collection of artefacts, and it is certainly worth a visit. And being a small island, it's easy to explore by car or bicycle, with wonderful views of lush green hills ringed by beautiful beaches and bays.
Close to the Viceroy is the stylish Cap Juluca Hotel, set on a spectacular beach with fabulous ocean front accommodation and three superb restaurants. Especially memorable was the meal a the hotel’s Pimms restaurant, which overlooks the bay and serves a mixture of European and Caribbean cuisine.
The only other 5-star hotel on the island, and a member of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’, is CuisinArt. The hotel owns and manages an immaculate 18-hole golf course, which boasts a great club house and Italian restaurant. And if golf isn't your thing, you can indulge yourself at the award-winning spa with its 16 treatment rooms, hammam, thalasso pool and first-class fitness room. CuisinArt also has four restaurants and offers cooking classes, wine and rum tastings.
So if you are looking for a Caribbean break this winter, I would highly recommend Anguilla - a small island but with much to offer, either as a single destination holiday or combined with a few days in Antigua.