Update 2018: The Reef re-opens Apr. 1 2018. Re-opening specials here.
Re-defining Anguilla luxury, welcome to The Reef...
Set on Merrywing Bay (to the west of Rendezvous Bay), this stretch of coastline has long caught the eye of big name developers. Sweeping vistas, exclusive sandy shorelines and a particular curve of land that always catches a cooling sea breeze. It is not hard to see why Temenos and St. Regis pursued a project here in the mid-2000's.
The Reef by CuisinArt
Taken over by CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa in 2013, its sister property, The Reef delivers on the promise of this magnificent setting. In addition to all of the usual amenities you would expect, two unique features set it apart.
Let's dive in...
The Reef "wows" at "hello."
Approaching The Reef by CuisinArt
At five stories high, The Reef is the first hotel of its kind in Anguilla. It is large-scale luxury, immaculately glass-clad. The hotel evokes a "this is going to be special" feeling as you pull up.
Greeted by a grand entrance, you enter the magnificent lobby. Marble lies underfoot and palatial gold pillars surround you.
The Lobby Inside The Reef by CuisinArt
To the lobby's left is the bar. Elegant and sleek, it is on par with the finest hotel bars in the world's "fastest" cities. One can easily envision busy, bustling evenings at the bar in high season.
The Reef's Elegant Lobby Bar
Set back from the bar is the gym with state of the art equipment and the bank of elevators.
To the lobby's right is the hotel's boutique and another gathering point, a media room with large flatscreen TV. The media room will also be outfitted with iMacs.
It all crescendos to the CuisinArt-inspired "runway," the stretch of pool, followed by tiled path that leads to the sea and to...
St. Martin in the Distance
The panoramic views of St. Martin steal the show. This is "high definition" viewing brought to life. The fresh sea breeze wafts through the open-air space, heightening all senses.
A whimsical spiral staircase leads down to the pool. Before descending, however, Louise and I were enchanted by this centerpiece...
An inspired touch that gives a big nod to the resort's name.
Like a mirage emerging from a white-sand desert (island!), the pool invites you to dip in and swim its first length on a walk down the pathway to the sea.
The Pool at The Reef by CuisinArt
All at right angles, the words crisp and refreshing come to mind. Again, clearly inspired by CuisinArt, the gardens are still to grow in. It will be fun to watch the landscaping flourish under the determined care of CuisinArt's crack team of gardeners.
The pool is the site for the resort's spa and fitness classes. Yoga, meditation and aquacycle fitness classes and spa services are all offered pool-side.
For those of us who would rather give our bodies a hard-earned rest? There's plenty of space for that, too...
The pool has cleverly been designed with four separate areas. The main area (see photos above) is where fitness classes, such as the aquacycle classes take place. There is a second pool level for wading (see foreground of photo below) and two jacuzzis.
It all backs onto the hotel's main house and its fine-dining restaurant, the Yacht Club.
The Reef features two restaurants. The first opens up onto the resort's pool. Named the Yacht Club, its design exudes elegance, with textured white walls contrasted against sailing murals. The Yacht Club serves breakfast and dinner.
The second restaurant sits right on the beach. Its name? Breezes...
Breezes' Beachfront Deck
Aptly named, welcome tradewinds gently blow through all of The Reef. They keep this corner of Anguilla comfortably cooler than most beaches and hotels. The restaurant itself is has become an Anguilla "beach lounge' favorite. Situated right on the sands of Merrywing Bay, with up-close views of St. Martin and constant trades from the south east, it is hard not to see why this location has been a roaring success.
Breezes overlooks The Reef's exclusive hidden cove, Merrywing Bay. Known by few, Merrywing boasts intimate views of St. Martin and an untouched strip of white sand that curves to neighboring beach, Cove Bay. Turquoise shimmers between the area's active reefs, ripe for snorkeling.
The Reef has designed their water sports program with these very reefs in mind. They have teamed up with experts Anguilla Watersports who offer stand up paddleboarding (SUP), snorkeling and glass-bottom kayaking. It is all is included in your stay.
Kitesurfing and direct access to Anguilla's Aqua Park is also available at a separate price.
If watersports is your passion, The Reef has it all.
Lazing Away at Merryingway Bay
If it is lounging and beaching you prefer, The Reef straddles Cove Bay and Rendezvous Bay. Pop over to these Anguilla beaches or settle into your own cove, Merrywing Bay.
There are two beachfront buildings set right on the edge of the sand. Two stories each, you have a choice of opening your sliding doors onto the beach or onto this beachfront suite terrace...
Beachfront Suite Terrace
The second floor beachfront suites boast over 1,000 square feet in outdoor terrace space, with couches, dining tables, outdoor showers and even a jacuzzi tub. The jacuzzi tub is an especially nice touch, with the sparkling lights of St. Martin in the distance come night fall.
Inside, oversized walk-in closets and sumptuous bathrooms enhance the plush rooms. Not an inch of space has been spared.
Flanking the beachfront buildings and set further back from the beach are two three-floor buildings. These building house suites and junior suites. All can be adjoined.
TIP: Book the corner junior suite in these buildings. The bathroom is divine and you have a wider view!
Finally, the hotel's main building, at five stories and with fifty hotel rooms, is situated further behind the oceanfront buildings.
The Reef features 80 rooms total. Thirty lay out on the beach in the resort's four separate buildings (the 2 beachfront buildings and 2 set further back from the beachline).
Fifty are set inside the hotel's main building. Half look out to CuisinArt Golf Course and half gaze out to St. Martin with views of the sea and the beach. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide an intimate and intense view that beckons you to the beach - and beyond.
Inside all rooms and suites, modern-chic meets retro-cool...
Inside The Reef Anguilla
Wood floors, bamboo head boards and pops of color all bring Caribbean-warmth to the contemporary rooms. The most special touch of all? 3D photography of beautiful Anguilla.
Now that is a picture worth posting!
For a look at all rooms, please see the video above.
Opulent to the eye and modern laid-back-Anguilla in feel, The Reef is a good fit for the well-heeled adventure seeker looking for an authentic Caribbean experience and a down pillow on which to lay their head.