One of the most famous and beloved Anguilla resorts, Cap Juluca, has been in the news recently. Cap Juluca closed during the summer and autumn of 2012 to renovate and resolve legal issues.
Cap Juluca has been named the best resort in the Caribbean time and time again by several travel magazines. It's Anguilla's jewel, its "grande dame." While the resort remained closed through the summer and fall of 2012, worry about the quality of the resort was expressed in some travel forums.
The staff has worked tirelessly to refresh the property and made the opening date that many doubted! Cap Juluca started its "soft opening" on November 15th, 2012. They will be fully opened in mid-December.
We dropped by to give you an accurate "boots-on-the-ground" assessment (except it's more like "flip-flops" on the beach)...
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We parked at the eastern end of Maunday's Bay, by the Anguilla resort's two flagship restaurants, Pimms and what was formerly known as Spice.
Spice is under going changes and is currently closed. When the resort fully opens in December this restaurant will be known as Chattertons. We entered Pimms...
Entrance to Pimms
Pimms is Cap Juluca's only restaurant that is currently open. It is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Pimms normally only serves dinner and will return to that format upon the full opening of the resort.)
Justin Hughes is back again this year as one of the restaurant's top chefs. He won GOLD in the Chef of the Year category at the Taste of the Caribbean competition in Miami in 2012. Anguilla won SILVER overall. Quite a feat for such a tiny island!
So no worries... your taste buds are in good hands at Pimms!
We chatted with the staff. Friendly and accommodating, they're excited, ready and waiting (pardon the pun)! The linens are crisp and the view spectacular as always. Pimms is ready for the new season.
The menu is as expensive and extensive as ever, no major changes. Menu items range from lamb and chicken to pastas to fresh seafood.
Aside from Pimms and Chattertons, Cap Juluca has two other dining locations...
Blue, currently closed, was one of the most popular restaurants at Cap Juluca last year. Located under a large, white tent on the beach, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's a winning concept.
More of a casual spot, it will be open in December under a new name, Barkleys, but with the same menu and hours. Chattertons, Pimms and Barkleys... it is all sounding quite British!
Maundays Club is the resort's fourth area that serves drinks and food. Located in Cap Juluca's main building this lounge/bar is one that my parents enjoy visiting for a late afternoon drink on the terrace, especially in the quieter off-season.
It offers light morning fair, an Afternoon Tea, live music on select days and serves drinks through the afternoon and into the night. All of this will be available when the resort fully opens. Currently, they are offering the Afternoon Tea and bar service. Expect to see my parents!
Having completed the tour of the restaurants, we headed to the hotel's main buildng. On our way, we stopped to take in the picture-perfect beach...
Chaises, Hobies and kayaks were out. Staff was busily preparing boats and helping guests.
There are still some final touchups to complete, such as removing the seaweed on the beach. Aside from that, it all feels like the same Cap Juluca that we've loved for years.
We approached the main building...
It, too, was exactly how we remembered it when we were last on property in 2009 when the main building and larger villa units under-went extensive renovations.
You can read about that visit to Cap Juluca here.
Under the dome, several guests were lounging in Maunday's Club, enjoying the Afternoon Tea of cookies and snacks.
We arrived just as a couple was being checked in. They were greeted with complimentary rum punches. The service was genuinely warm yet professional, and the guests were beaming. The service seems to still be five-star.
Rum Punches at Cap Juluca
Also in the main area, the two libraries and two shops are open.
We met one of the resort's kind and accommodating managers, Carol. She arranged for us to see a suite. While she was setting that up, we took in another "suite"... the sweet, sweet sunset.
Sunset Over Maunday's Bay
Maunday's Beach at sunset, with a rum punch in hand while Afternoon Tea is being served, is a special spot indeed...
With Carol's right hand man Paul as our guide, we set off to a Junior Suite. This room is one of 69, ranging from "Oceanfront Superior Rooms" all the way up to your own "Oceanfront Private Pool Villa."
On our way, my Mom pointed out how well the grounds have been well maintained. They're lush and healthy.
Through the familiar Moorish arches, we entered the Junior Suite...
Bed on tiled platform (with television),
and sitting area on the lower tier
This suite was similar to the ones that we saw back in 2009. The main difference? The room felt much fresher.
The linens are new, as is the decor, pillows, and cushions in the seating areas. The bathrooms appear to have been touched up, too.
Large bathtub and outdoor shower
Outdoor lounge area
View from inside the suite
The worries about Cap Juluca during the legal period seem to be unwarranted. Everything is pretty much the same. "The Gem of the Caribbean" is still a gem.
The service is quick and friendly, the location is one of the best in the Caribbean, and the rooms feel quite luxurious, although perhaps not all the way up to that of a brand new, five-star luxury level.
Once all of the restaurants and bars fully open, it will be the same Cap Juluca that so many have made their Anguillian home away from home.
For those who started to find Cap Juluca falling a little behind, this 2012-2013 version may or may not change their minds. For those who loved it last year, they will love it this year.
Cap Juluca has been going strong since its re-opening in 2012!
Many long-term guests of Cap Juluca have been returning and first-timers are falling in love with this gem of a property, too. The dreamy location facing St. Martin, the Moorish rooms, the dining, the always accommodating staff. It's safe to say that Cap Juluca is back on top.
And with that, I leave you with this request...
If you stay at Cap J during this coming season, share your thoughts in the Facebook comment box below or click here to write fuller review on Cap Juluca resort. The more first-hand experiences, the better!