Beautiful beach retreatLuxury and tranquillity on Shoal Bay East
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Destination: Anguilla, Caribbean
Vacation: Luxury tropical retreat
Seeking: Idyllic romantic getaway
Highlight: Spectacular beaches
After sipping our way through an impressively tasty Mount Gay rum punch all too easily on arrival we glimpsed the first flashes of turquoise waters as the golf cart tour of the property got underway. Like something akin to the first foray into Jurassic Park, in terms of the wonder and excitement at least, each element of the resort was pointed out and introduced to us.
The beautiful restaurants, Rhum Bar, 300-year-old imported Thai spa, the main pool area, the lush greenery. It was all beautiful. But it was the ocean, and the beach, that had us transfixed. Shimmering blues and ever-changing shades of dazzling turquoise pressed up against a broad and crowdless stretch of powdered sugar white sand.
Zemi Beach House, part of the Hilton luxury LXR collection, is a boutique destination radiating tranquillity with 76 contemporary Caribbean-inspired accommodations, including rooms, penthouses, and beachfront suites. It’s an immaculate luxury resort with an instantly calming aura, and everything has been optimally and thoughtfully created to guide your gaze outwards to Shoal Bay East, arguably not only Anguilla’s best beach, but the best beach in the world. It’s easy to see why it normally features prominently in that debate.
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“Newly built but timeless in all the ways that matter, Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa celebrates the warmth of the sun, the touch of a sea breeze and the sound of the sea. Guided by these essential elements, Zemi exudes a subtle authenticity.”
Best food & drink
1. 20 Knots
20 Knots restaurant at Zemi Beach House is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serves Caribbean dining with a Latin American flair. The layout is split between an indoor dining area, outdoor dining area, which is partly on decking and partly right on the sand, and a few select tables openly on the beach.
Wherever you choose to sit the décor is elegant and chic, but it was the beach tables closest to the ocean we naturally navigated to and would recommend the most. Sipping coffee at breakfast as the sun pours over the surrealy turquoise waves just a few steps from where your feet are resting in the sand is pretty special. As is dining under the Anguillan stars, palm leaves silhouetted against the moonlight. The Caribbean curries were a particular highlight.
Stone restaurant is a fine dining option at Zemi Beach House. Offering a Caribbean and Oriental fusion the food here is outstanding. Fresh fish, wonderfully cooked lamb, and spiced citrus duck were some of our favourites.
The restaurant itself is as elevated and elegant as the dishes, making it a real treat to dine here during your stay. We again opted for the tables outside on the small balcony, which had the advantage of being perfectly located to see and hear the live music at Bohio Bar. But the interior of Stone is stunning too. It’s also very much worth adding the atmosphere was extremely welcoming and the service exceptional.
2. Rhum Room
Rhum Room is any rum lover’s paradise. The bar itself has a glamorous nautical feel, with blue leather sofas, dark wood panelling, and glowing bottles of renowned rums in circular displays behind the bar, resembling portholes on a ship. Featuring 140 types of small-batch, single-estate rums, and a selection of unique and highly instagrammable signature cocktails, a visit to the Zemi Beach House Rhum Room is a must during your stay.
We stayed in a King Ocean View room one floor from the top on the corner of the building. The view out of every window, and there were many, was nothing short of spectacular.
Large glass patio doors opened out onto the balcony, the main pool, and the stunning beachfront directly in front. Smaller windows with blinds revealed other, no less striking, viewpoints of the spellbinding Shoal Bay East shoreline, including one in the spacious walk-in shower so you could admire the ever-changing hues of the ocean while you enjoyed the complimentary Malin+Goetz rum body wash, peppermint shampoo, and cilantro hair conditioner.
Spacious, luxurious, stylish, and designed to make the beach and the ocean the star feature, Zemi Beach House guestrooms and suites are beautifully in keeping with the rest of the property.
Eating, drinking, and relaxing, and doing all of it in style, and in the most beautiful of settings, is what Zemi Beach House is all about. But there’s plenty to do, and see, on site and further afield.
At your fingertips Zemi Beach House offers watersports and tennis courts, but for us meandering along the beachfront was our favourite activity. There are a few bars and restaurants to the east, including Gwen’s Reggae Bar and Grill. But whichever way we went the beach was never crowded, and felt almost exclusively ours. From sunrise to sunset the changing light made simply staring out along the shore, in any direction, absolutely mesmerising.
As incredible as Shoal Bay East is, Anguilla is blessed with many more of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, and exploring the island is easy to do. We hired a Jeep Wrangler and headed out to discover more of Anguilla’s Atlantic Ocean coast as well as its Caribbean Sea facing shores. Meads Bay, and the well-regarded Blanchards Restaurant are highly recommended, as is Rendezvous Bay, which offers jaw-dropping views of St Martin across the waves.
The spa at Zemi Beach House is another element of the property that is a standalone attraction. From the newly blossomed bougainvillea bushes to the incense, essential oils, and therapeutic serums used by Zemi Beach House staff, Zemi Thai House Spa boasts a one-of-a-kind sensory experience.
The Thai House was originally built in Thailand around 300 years ago using traditional Thai building techniques, beautifully crafted with “Mai Sak” or Teak wood without nails. The building was deconstructed and each piece transported to Anguilla in the 1970s, where it was reassembled. It now offers five treatment suites for both couples and singles, a Hammam and a juice bar in the oldest part of the Thai House.
Massage, body treatments, and face rituals are some of the options available to help you find complete peace and harmony during your stay.
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It really says something that the design of The Lone Star Hotel & Restaurant is so impressive that your gaze is torn between its sleek white structure, and the mesmeric beach it’s nestled on.
Sitting on the powdery white sand of this particular stretch of Alleyne’s Bay beach looking out at the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea is like living a castaway fantasy, but with the comfort and luxury of one of the most beautiful hotels in Barbados seamlessly nestled into the sand right behind you so as not to break the illusion.
Even as our airport transfer weaved its way across the island towards Sandals Halcyon Beach, we could already see why St Lucia gets hyped as the most beautiful tropical paradise on the planet.
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