anguillas iconic malliouhana exterior pool

Anguilla has emerged as one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious escapes. The island is free of cruise ships and crowded all inclusives, instead featuring a pared down lineup consisting of exclusive villas and swanky outposts from groups such as Four Seasons and Belmond. But the icon that started it all and continues forging a glamorous path forward into the future is Malliouhana, a timeless property celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

“[Malliouhana] is where it all started for the island,” says Albert Lake, the resort’s long-time sommelier. He would know; he’s worked at Malliouhana since its opening in 1984. Along the way, he built an award-winning 1,500-label wine cellar and helped elevate the entire island’s approach to hospitality. “This is the hotel that sets the standard here on Anguilla.”

anguilla malliouhana resort exterior view
Courtesy, Malliouhana

After a brief stint under the Auberge Resorts umbrella, Malliouhana, which is the Arawak name for the island of Anguilla, is back to its independent roots, allowing the property to put forward its own authentic vision for hospitality.

The team is now working to restock that wine cellar in collaboration with James Beard award-winning sommelier Shelley Lindgren, with goals of featuring a more diverse and modern list as opposed to only big-name label hunting. Elsewhere around the resort, fine-dining restaurant Celeste has been revamped under executive chef Robert Hopkins, open-air Bar Soleil remains an idyllic place for an afternoon spritz or a sundowner, and culinary-centric activities now range from chocolate and rum pairings to bespoke poolside wine tastings.

The property’s refreshed style is self-described as Elizabeth Taylor meets Tom Ford, a playful pairing of feminine and masculine traits. Decor is colorful and vibrant, at times veering into the whimsical, as is the case for the wall of vintage diving helmets on display in the lobby, and a shimmering tiled floor that reflects sunlight during the daytime hours.

In Malliouhana’s 63 guest rooms and suites, that fanciful touch takes the form of Haitian canvas paintings showcasing eclectic animal menageries, and tropical-fruit patterned cloth drapes hiding away closet spaces. Rooms feature poster beds and bright, tropical colors, with pastel blues and bright yellows mixed with candy-striped outdoor furniture. Balconies and terraces are positioned to maximize privacy, and in most cases, sweeping ocean views, while expansive multi-bedroom villas offer private pools.

anguilla malliouhana resort infiniti pool and beach
Courtesy, Malliouhana

Accommodations are spread across lush, manicured grounds in small, white-washed buildings with befitting floral names such as Jasmine, Orchid, and Frangipani. Stroll the brick-and-pebble pathways interlacing the property and you’ll find small signs with QR codes for pulling up information about the incredible assortment of local flora on display.

Guests have direct access to two beaches, including the secluded Turtle Cove and the soft sands of Mead’s Bay. The latter features a full setup with serviced chairs and water sports, such as transparent paddle boards allowing you to gaze into the crystal clear waters below. Mead’s Bay is also home to Leon’s, a casual toes-in-the-sand restaurant and bar.

The showpiece of the property though is its two-tiered infinity pool perched atop the bluff next to the estate-like main house. The higher pool level is adults only and features a row of lounge chairs built into a shallow edge of the pool. Here, water trickles down a stone wall face and empties into the second pool. The scene is instantly recognizable — a landmark and sexy hideaway, and the unforgettable vibe you’ll crave returning to time and again. Close your eyes and envision Malliouhana, and this is the scene that will be beckoning you.

anguilla malliouhana resort spa
Courtesy, Malliouhana

After a day well spent at the pool, don’t forget to book yourself a treatment at the indulgent Spa at Malliouhana. If active wellness is more your speed, then yoga sessions, tennis lessons, and cruiser bicycles are among the hotel’s additional offerings. For an off-site excursion, hit the water with a boat charter including a lunch stop at Sandy Island (more sand bar than deserted island), surrounded by Anguilla’s almost impossible cerulean seas. To help travelers celebrate its 40th anniversary, Malliouhana has partnered with Tradewind Aviation to offer scheduled and chartered flights from San Juan, inclusive of the airline’s VIP Experience.

Featured image courtesy of Malliouhana

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