Cap Juluca entices guests with its romantic charms

Associate editor Laura Dennis stayed at Cap Juluca resort in Anguilla. Her report follows:

MAUNDAY'S BAY, Anguilla -- Cap Juluca is a haven for couples, especially honeymooners. By day, they stroll hand in hand on the beach and snuggle together on lounge chairs under umbrellas. By night, they dine by candlelight and take moonlit walks.

The villas at Cap Juluca. The atmosphere at Cap Juluca is conducive to this type of behavior, according to Eustace "Guish" Guishard, the resort's general manager. "Cap Juluca's allure is all about romance and rejuvenation," Guishard said.

The resort is well-known for its Moorish architecture, alabaster beach, fine cuisine and luxury accommodations. Upon arrival at the Main House, guests are taken into the library, where cold drinks await. The veranda offers them their first glimpse of the resort's milelong beach and villa accommodations. The gift shop, media room and fitness center are located in the Main House.

After a speedy check-in, guests are transported to their villas via golf carts. Lush vegetation surrounds the stark-white villas, whose rooms range in size from 750 to 2,200 square feet. Drama unfolds when entering a Cap Juluca guest room.

The usual resort amenities are there -- air conditioning, a ceiling fan, a telephone, a minirefrigerator, a king-size bed -- but this resort takes it a notch higher. The minirefrigerator is stocked with bottled water, soft drinks, beer and a bottle of rum. The first round is on the house; after that, there is a restocking charge.

Controls are conveniently located at the head of the bed for the lights, air conditioning and the fan. Publications, including Food and Wine, Travel and Leisure, Cigar Aficionado and Anguillan Life are strategically placed for browsing.

Terry-cloth bathrobes, slippers and a safe are in the double-sided closet. Interior designs differ from room to room, but all have Moorish-Caribbean motifs and Italian tile floors.

The marble bathroom, with its abundance of natural light, offers a separate shower, a bath, a bidet, a vanity area and a double sink. In several of the villas, the glass-enclosed shower opens onto a solarium, complete with a lounge chair for sunbathing.

The bathroom also has a hair dryer, a plentiful supply of thick towels, bath salts and bath amenities that last longer than one shampoo and rinse.

The arrival drama peaks when a staff member opens the Brazilian walnut louvered doors to reveal a private terrace offering sweeping views of the ocean and neighboring St. Martin. The terrace, complete with a table, two chairs and lounges, is surrounded by trees and greenery, and a path leads directly to the beach.

Continental breakfast, which is served on the terrace, comes complete with table linens, fresh flowers, a New York Times news fax and a list of daily activities. At Cap Juluca, there is no better way to start the day than with freshly squeezed fruit juice, warm croissants, birds chirping and panoramic views from the comfort of one's terrace.

Guests also can have a candlelit dinner served on their terrace. The villa offers luxury at every turn without a hint of stuffiness. Rooms are inviting, comfortable, private -- and safe. So safe, in fact, that no room keys are issued, and the doors can be locked only from the inside.

According to Guishard, this is not a problem for guests. He said the island is relatively crime-free, and "everybody knows everybody on Anguilla."

So I placed my valuables in the safe, left the louvered doors open during the day and locked the front door before I went to bed.

Cap Juluca has 58 rooms and junior suites, seven suites and six pool villas. Most of the units are located in 12 two-story villas. The pool villas feature a private or shared swimming pool, a sun deck and golf carts for transport. All guests can contact the Main House for transportation around the resort.

Guests can easily walk to the facilities within the resort but can request cart service, particularly nice when the heat and sun are at their strongest. Some rooms boast two-person tubs with headrests, and several of the upper-floor units have turrets and private terraces for sunbathing.

Wandering around Cap Juluca is also a head-spinning experience. The brilliance of the sky and sea enhances the cool white buildings, creating an impressive landscape. The beach is the center of daytime activities, most of which are provided by the resort staff.

Guests can swim, sun and stroll while beach attendants (on duty from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) offer towels and bottled water. After 3 p.m., sorbets are served to beach-goers. Guests also can pick herbs from the resort's garden, which the villa housekeeper will brew into tea.

A swimming pool, tennis and croquet facilities, water sports, day trips, weekly horticultural tours and afternoon tea round out the offerings. At night, the atmosphere is low key.

Movies are shown in the media room, and the restaurants feature live music. Pimms restaurant specializes in Eurasian-Caribe dishes, while George's features Mediterranean cuisine. Twice per week the resort has a beach barbecue and a West Indian buffet.

Cap Juluca management says it has a 50% repeat rate among its guests and also attracts those interested in a once-in-a-lifetime getaway. The resort suits both types of travelers.

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