The beach at Belmond Cap Juluca.
It’s hard to describe – or beat – the first impression that Cap Juluca makes. The almost blinding white Greco-Moorish style buildings arching lazily around the long crescent shaped beach of Maundys Bay is simply spectacular.
Cap Juluca is an icon, not only in Anguilla, but across the Caribbean. Its architecture and uncrowded layout have influenced many other luxury resorts in the region.
More than just about any place I have been, Cap Juluca is comfortable in its skin, and goes quietly and confidently about its business of providing a luxurious, yet unpretentious, vacation experience. It’s a charming, relaxing place where you can truly get away from it all. And now, under new ownership by the prestigious Belmond group, that skin has a shiny new lustre.
Belmond, which operates the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, among other luxury brands, immediately committed to a $120 million plus “top-to-toe renovation” that included the development of an additional 25 new beachfront villas and suites, bringing the resort’s total inventory to 121 rooms. Unavoidably held up by the visit of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the renovations are now, for the most part, completed.
As a previous, if not frequent, visitor to Cap Juluca, I admit I was holding my breath when we drove up to the white steps leading to the lobby. Like many, I felt that the resort had been resting on its laurels for a bit too long and needed rejuvenation. But experience has shown me that renovation – no matter how much it costs – does not necessarily translate to improvement.
I immediately relaxed a bit as soon we got out of the car, thanks to the genuinely friendly welcome from the staff, including many familiar faces.
Waking through to the spacious lobby, any remaining anxiety was immediately swept away. I can honestly and happily say that every change has been for the better, even to things I thought nearly impossible to improve.
Starting with the esthetics, the new look and colours throughout the resort are impressive, complementing rather than imitating the resort’s signature architecture. The look carries on through the public spaces to the upgraded rooms, suites and villas.
The redesigned Maundys Club leading down to the pool.
The rooms and villas spread across the resort’s secluded crescent-shaped cove all offer direct access to the dazzling white sandy bay and feature large private verandas. They have all been reappointed in natural tones. Linens are injected with a mix of soothing blues and greens and creative emphasis has been placed on the use of natural light.
Dining has been rejuvenated at the signature restaurant Pimms and the new, more casual, Cip’s by Cipriani, with dishes channeling the world-renowned CIP’s Club in Venice. They’ve put a lot of effort into maximizing the wonderful sea vistas in both places.
One of most spectacular revisions is the totally reworked and now unrecognizable space off the expansive lobby. Maundays Club is now a Peruvian tapas bar leading seamlessly to the Moroccan themed pool terrace and on to the sublime infinity pool.
The totally new Cap Shack adds the one thing I always secretly thought was missing from Cap Juluca, a good old-fashioned (yet crazily stylish) beach bar. Located at the far end of the beach, it’s the perfect place to get away from… oh, I don’t know, too much luxury?
Also new is the Arawak Spa which, sadly, we didn’t get a chance to try.
Is there anything that doesn’t work about the new Cap Juluca? Well, the resort does cover over 72 acres, so it’s not exactly ‘cozy’. And the prices are high. But this is Anguilla. And Cap Juluca has its position to maintain.
I recall writing a previous review when I had just heard about the sale to Belmond. I wrote that I hoped that Belmond would respect the iconic nature of the resort and play to its considerable strengths. That’s exactly what they have done… and more. Belmond Cap Juluca continues to shine as one of the brightest jewels on an island far from devoid of resort gems.
Suites have been reappointed in natural tones.
Belmond Cap Juluca
264 497 6666
Photos courtesy of Belmond Cap Juluca