Update 2016: This side of Shoal Bay East has changed a lot over the years. The Stern's Thai House and The Fountain Beach Hotel are now part of the five-star luxury hotel, Zemi Beach House. This side of Shoal Bay East is far more visited now than it was before. Still, it is a beautiful stretch of sand!
Many world-class tourist authorities, including magazines such as Conde Naste, have named Shoal Bay East "the most beautiful of all Caribbean beaches." Some even claim it's the best in the world.
Every inch of it is spectacular, and parts of it can actually be crowded (more than 10 people at a time, which is a lot for Anguilla!).
But even here, on the nicest of all Caribbean beaches, if you want quiet solitude, you can have it at the Western end (as you can see by the picture on the left), ...
People generally arrive at Shoal Bay East pretty much at the "hub" of where most of the activity is... people eating, swimming, snorkeling, not to mention boat tours and, of course, Uncle Ernie's!...
A walk to the far Eastern end is very pretty, and there is some scenic Anguilla real estate still available out there, says my dad...
But the real magic is at the opposite end.
The Western side is almost unknown. We could have missed it, too. We only discovered it after taking the first right turn (West) out of Shoal Bay instead of just continuing straight up and out.
What a find! You'll have the whole beach to yourself. But don't get too lazy because you'll miss some "hidden gems" within this "hidden gem"...
Shoal Bay's western side is home to not one, but two exotic Thai houses. The one in the photo above is made up of three buildings and is owned by Jerry Stern.
We spotted the second Thai House, owned by the late Nik Douglas, on our way down a sideroad leading to the beach, truly amazing. Out of place, yet it fits right in!...
It caught our eye. We just had to stop and take a picture! After all, it's not every day that you see a Thai House on Caribbean beaches!
Click for more on the Thai Houses in Anguilla.
And it's lucky we did stop, too. Park opposite the entrance to the home (shown on the left). Follow the path from the parking lot into the bush.
After a minute or so, take the path that goes to the right. You will reach another unique site...
How peculiar... a tree... in a cage... why? Because just behind the tree, is a big, dark, black hole -- the entrance to the cave...
There is no easy way to climb down (unless you are part monkey, of course).
So be careful. You do not want to fall down that hole!
You may never get back up, even if you survive the fall.
(My dad says he would have tried, but he forgot his flashlight... Sure!)
Welcome to the prettiest hotel on Shoal Bay East! It may be named after the Fountain Cave, but we call it our "Pink Flamingo" hotel. It's gorgeous.
My Dad struck up a conversation with a man doing some yard/beach work around the hotel. When my Dad found out he was the owner, he was surprised. He was even more shocked to learn that Mr. Carmen Amatangel was 87 years old.
My dad laughed and said that he should only look and act so young when he reaches that age. Here is Mr. Amatangel!
The two of them continued chatting. Soon Carmen started showing my Dad around the hotel, great pride in his face.
The hotel is not only beautiful, with clean, comfortable rooms/suites and sensational marble bathrooms...
it also has one of the very best locations, which means it has one of the very best spots of any hotel of all Caribbean beaches! It is right on the beach!
Don't believe me? Take a look out these windows...
The hotel has a lush, exotic garden with a cooling pool placed in its midst (I was dying to ask him for a swim, but was too shy).
The pool is so perfect, with a little bridge and everything!...
Here are two pictures of the pool, one with the bridge in the background (above) and one with us on the bridge...
Bridge Over Water
View From The Hotel
As you can see from the above view from the second floor of the Fountain Hotel, the unknown side of Shoal Bay East is one of the best kept secrets of all Caribbean beaches. The beach itself is every bit as beautiful as the rest of Shoal Bay East. The water is just as clear turquoise. The snorkeling is excellent and the exploring is fun.
Update 2015: Today, Shoal Bay East has a different face. The Eastern side has given way to erosion that comes and goes. For the most part, it is un-walkable due to the rising tide and decrease in sand.
The Western side has grown in popularity with The Fountain Residences opening and Zemi Beach (hotel and condos) underway. The Fountain Beach Hotel is no more and the Stern's Thai House will be part of Zemi's new spa.
No longer "undiscovered," this half of Shoal Bay East remains a beautiful spot :-)