Carimar Beach Club
by Wendy Leslie & Alan Zawacki
(Glen Mills, PA, USA)
Carimar On Meads
A Feeling of Coming Home, Even on the First Visit
Arriving at the pristine stretch of beach on Meads Bay, we somehow felt as though we'd visited Carimar before. The welcome was warm; our luggage was graciously whisked away and we were immediately taken to our room, or more accurately, "rooms."
Since there were only two of us, we had the master suite with adjoining bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and balcony, a balcony fringed with brilliant Bougainvillea that defined the shape of the arches surrounding the balcony. So...picture deep pink blooms outlining multiple white arches, all framing a spotless beach with water so clear that each wave looked like blue jello!
There was an additional bedroom and bathroom but we didn't need them. Carimar will custom-provision your kitchen for you upon request. One can also shop at several local convenience stores that are about a mile walk away or larger grocery stores a little farther away, and requiring a car or taxi.
We especially enjoyed Mrs. Fleming's Market, where there was always laughter and some sort of amusing conversation. Mrs. Fleming's is right across from the barbeque we attended the first night and that operates only on Friday and Saturday evenings. Chicken, ribs or whole snapper, rice and peas, coleslaw with raisins, salad, johnnycakes - and again, delightful conversation. One barbeque attendee was a ferry-captain to St Martin so we learned about sea conditions and weather and why he loves barbeque so much!
The restaurants within walking distance of Carimar are so fabulous that we had to go out for meals as well. We usually enjoyed breakfast on our balcony and navigated lunch and dinner based upon that day's specific activities. Morning arrived with a gentle, warm breeze rustling the palm fronds. Soft waves were breaking on the beach and a variety of birdsong played tag across the meticulously manicured courtyard.
There was some special sense or theme that we especially enjoyed at Carimar. The feeling was really one of our owning the condo. We were left to our privacy and were treated as though we were the "owners" of our dwelling. At the same time, if we needed anything - really, anything at all - someone was immediately there to lend a hand with arrangements, information, assistance, suggestions, stories, laughter and kindness. A sense of nurturing permeated our entire experience.
Carimar apparently celebrates 25 years in November 2010. We learned that many staff members have worked there for a long time, 2 of them for the full time. Mr. Alfred Thompson, the thoughtful and gentle-voiced General Manager, has been with Carimar for all but 7 of those years - everyone is so completely welcoming. One just has that "get away" feeling of a true vacation.
We thought we must be in a recently updated unit but we learned that improvement projects are scheduled for completion each year and that every unit enjoys the same upgrades. So no unit is ever left in lesser shape. Every condo has a beach view and several units are beach front. We felt they could have positioned us anywhere on the property and we would have still had a terrific view of the beach, water, sunrise and/or sunset, as well as being able to experience the beautiful courtyard array of colorful flowers against green foliage.
Carimar seems to have an arrangement with the car rental company and had several cars right there at all times for guests who requested a rental car. This made it so easy - we really liked the convenience of being able to stop at the office, pick up the keys and have our rental for the week, all taken care of, again, with such courtesy. And we checked - the price was the same as it would have been if we'd gone directly to the rental car company.
I think Alan and I must have been the only people on the island who were in Anguilla for the first time. At Carimar, we met people who have come back to Carimar again and again - for one couple, this was their 30th visit to Carimar - clearly, they visited more than once a year! The repeat visitors seem to represent a high percentage of the clientele.
The local fruits and vegetables, as well as the fish, were amazing. From whole snapper to Island Whelk Soup to fresh ginger, pineapple, avocado, tangerines, mangoes, we found that the freshness imbued every bite with flavor.
I like fresh coconut at the stage when the white part is hard - I prefer this to soft coconut though I know many people prefer the meat soft. Emerging from our condo with my nice ripe coconut, one of Carimar's gardeners, Miguel, noticed my lame attempt at opening the thing and appeared with a machete to do the honors. I tried to share the bounty - either the coconut water or the meat but he was just happy to see me smile, and seemed pleased that he could help me.
Would we return again to Carimar Beach Club? Yes!
Why? Whether it "technically" is ours or not, Carimar just feels like home!