dreamingOK! heads to idyllic island of Anguilla
for sun, sand and star spotting…
on Anguilla for six years and the first to be
situated on Shoal Bay East. The boutique
beach-front hotel, featuring 54 rooms, nine
two and three bed-suites (all have a balcony
or terrace) and six restaurants, has a distinctly
Asian feel, with stone-carved reliefs and
lanterns. The spa is pretty special too, being
housed within a 300-year-old ancient timber
teahouse, as well as a yoga deck and the
island’s only hammam.
After an al fresco breakfast on the
terrace, OK! liked to relax on one of the
turquoise-cushioned sun loungers – which
perfectly match the colour of the sea –
before cooling off in the infinity pool that
has an underwater window. We were also
a fan of the hotel’s Rhum Room, which
offers 100 different varieties of rum – OK!
only sampled a few, but that gives us the
perfect excuse for a return visit!
What can I do?
The best way to see the island is on a boat trip.
From the jetty at Sandy Ground, OK! set sail
he sunshine isle of Anguilla used to
be a well-kept secret among its fans.
A tiny slither of an island set adrift in
the eastern Caribbean, where goats
outnumber the 14,500 inhabitants, it’s now a firm
favourite with the American A-list. And, although
Brits may not be as familiar with Anguilla – an
island so small it’s home to just six sets of traffic
lights – it’s a British Overseas Territory and
English is the official language.
Surrounded by tiny islets and cays endearingly
named Prickly Pear, Sombrero and Seal, OK!’s
Zoë Hill packed her sunnies, swimwear and SPF
and discovered that Anguilla boasts some of the
world’s best beaches, fab bars and a laid-back
vibe which locals call ‘liming’ – otherwise known
as the art of relaxing and doing nothing at all…
Which stars might I see?
Small but perfectly formed, Anguilla has an army
of loyal celebrity fans, including Jennifer Aniston,
Courteney Cox, Liam Neeson – who has dined at
Trattoria Tramonto on Shoal Bay West – Beyoncé
and Jennifer Lopez. Justin Bieber saw
in the New Year in Anguilla, jamming
on stage with local reggae legend
Bankie Banx at his driftwood beach
bar, the Dune Preserve. He was also
photographed banana boating with
his family and hanging out with model
Hailey Baldwin. Also on the island over
New Year were Harry Styles and Kendall
Jenner, who were spotted having a cosy
dinner at Blanchards.
Where can I stay?
OK! stayed at two places during our
trip, checking in first to Ani Villas, two
white cube-shaped villas perched
in majestic isolation on a rugged
peninsula overlooking Little
Bay. The adjoining villas can be
rented together or separately
and come with their own staff
to cater for your every need.
The cliff-top terrace
in the garden
to spot sea turtles
swimming in the ocean
below and also to watch the
spectacular sunsets while
sipping a rum punch. The
balcony of our suite offered
more incredible views of the
infinity pool, lush gardens
and the sea beyond. There’s
a tennis court and mountain
bikes for active types, or you can
head down to the secluded Little
Bay beach at the base of the cliffs.
Our second stop was Zemi
Beach House Resort & Spa – the
only new-build hotel to open
Main: The beautiful white sandy shores and
clear turquoise sea of Shoal Bay. Below: Hit the
pool at the idyllic Zemi Beach House Resort &
Spa. Below centre: Anguilla fan Kendall Jenner
OK! stayed in the
lap of luxury at the
plush Ani Villas
aboard Tradition, at 50ft wooden sailing boat,
under the capable hands of Tradition Sailings’
owners Laurie and Deb, who are passionate
about the island and regaled us with plenty of
stories – as well as keeping our glass topped up!
On our journey we were fortunate to have several
sea turtles for company, before being dazzled by
stingrays and a host of colourful fish when we
stopped to snorkel at Little Bay.
Also on the water, we tried our hand at
paddleboarding, under the patient guidance of
one of Anguilla Watersports’ instructors, who
kindly encouraged our amateurish efforts. More
confident paddleboarders can enjoy a tour of
hidden lagoons along the coastline, but our aim
was just to remain (mostly) upright!
Elsewhere, learn about the history of the
island at the Heritage Museum in the East End, or
explore the great outdoors – there are around 20
wetland areas, home to pelicans and flamingos –
with Nature Explorers Anguilla.
If you’re looking to buy a souvenir from your
trip, head to Limin’ Boutique
in the West End Village – we
loved the pieces of jewellery
made with local sand, the
spicy jams and preserves
from local company
Anguilla’s Jammin’ and the
stylish bags made from
One of the most memorable
places OK! had lunch was
on Sandy Island, just a
short boat ride from Sandy
Ground. It’s a tiny island,
completely deserted apart from one bar serving
the most incredible seafood. Place your order (our
top tip – go for the lobster), then head for a swim
or chill out on a hammock until lunch is served.
For lunch with a view, head to Smokey’s At
The Cove, located on one of the island’s most
beautiful beaches, Cove Bay. Grab a table outside
and enjoy a Smokey’s burger with Creole sauce
and a refreshing ice-cold Ting – a grapefruit-
flavoured fizzy drink, a favourite in the Caribbean.
For fabulous food, don’t miss the charming
Straw Hat, with
location right on
Meads Bay. The
decor takes its
inspiration from the
with a central
with straw hats and
freshly baked bread
served in them too. We loved the blackened
shrimp and lobster tacos to start and the
grilled local crayfish with plantain, rounded off
with Caribbean lime cheesecake.
Sandy Ground is a lovely stretch of white
sand with a few low-key beach bars as well
as Veya, one of the island’s more stylish
from our five-course
dinner were the conch
fritters and the red
snapper with a citrus
garlic sauce, washed
down with several fruit
daiquiris. It’s famous
for its live music and
we were lucky enough
to enjoy a performance
from Bankie’s son Omari
Banks. We just had to buy
one of his CDs to keep the
holiday feeling going on
our return home!
How do I get there?
British Airways (www.britishairways.com) flies
from Gatwick to Antigua from £617 return. Liat
(www.liat.com) runs a daily connecting flight
from Antigua to Anguilla from £190 return.
Prices at Ani Villas (www.anivillas.com/
destinations/anguilla) start from £3,600 per
night for the four-bedroom villa, £4,500 per
night for the six-bedroom villa, and £6,000
to take over the two villas during low season.
Room rates at Zemi Beach House Resort &
Spa (www.zemibeach.com) start from £467
per night for a double room.
For more information, visit www.ivisitanguilla.com.
For more on Tradition Sailing, see www.tradition-
sailing.com; for Nature Explorers, see www.
natureexplorersanguilla.com; and for Anguilla
Watersports, visit www.anguillawatersports.com.
report by zoe hill edited by Annabel Mackie,
OK! travel editor five of the best and travellers’
tales by nancy brown photographs by alamy,
getty images, rex
Holiday Essentials5 of the best
1 Label Lab Tie Dye Split Back Blouse, £45, www.houseoffraser.co.uk.
Perfect post-dip when you’re dye-ing for a spot of lunch! Simply throw on
this stylish cover-up and hit the beach bar.
2 Marie Meili Ambrosia Bandeau Bikini, £25.98, www.surfdome.com.
This nautical and nice two-piece is ideal for some pool-side posing. Chic
and lightly padded, it’s the perfect addition to your holiday wardrobe.
3 Belkin Mixit Lightning-to-USB Leather Tassle, £24.99, www.
belkin.com. Say goodbye to tangles with this discreet charging cable. Simply
clip onto your handbag or keys and whip it out to plug in on the move.
4 HotSquash Thames Bow Dress, £85, www.hotsquash.com. Great
for high summer, this striped dress is made with CoolFresh temperature-
controlled fabric, so as the weather heats up, you stay super-cool.
5 Belkin Mobile Wireless Keyboard, £79.99, www.belkin.com. A
great little travel find, this keyboard pairs with your phone or tablet via
Bluetooth, and makes catching up on your correspondence while on the go
an absolute breeze.
Enjoy a boat
the sea turtles
Try your hand
The ‘strictly’ star on
dancing round the med
and holiday beauty…
You recently took part in
the Strictly Come Dancing
cruise around the Med –
how was it?
It was fun. I was dancing with
Giovanni Pernice, we do all
our shows together as we’re
from the same dance school
in Bologna – I lived there for
14 years when I was younger.
I’ve also done a Saga cruise
with Robin Windsor. It went
to Greece and Turkey –
we got off in Athens and I
was thinking it would be all
little white houses and views of
the sea, but it really wasn’t. The
Acropolis was way up on the top
of a hill so we went all the way
there and it was closed!
Have you ever had a
Yes. I was 15 and I went on
holiday with my first
boyfriend and his family
but, because I knew I
was moving to Italy, I felt
like I had to be honest and so I dumped him
on the plane on the way there! His parents
weren’t happy and he didn’t talk to me, so I
spent the ten days by the pool on my own!
Who’s your perfect holiday companion?
My two best friends, I’ve known them since
I was 11. We went to Paris last year and we
want to do that again. Or I’d bring someone
who could do my hair and make-up and
pamper me. I’ve just discovered a company
called Prettly – they’d be good on holiday.
What’s your idea of the perfect holiday?
I always say I want to relax, but I get bored
easily. I’d rather go somewhere like Disney
World in Florida to go on the rides. Disney
is the Clifton family’s favourite place, my
grandma has been 22 times in her lifetime!
Joanne uses Prettly, the on-demand mobile
beauty service. See www.prettly.com.