MAUNDAYS BAY, Anguilla -- Eustace "Guish" Guishard, general manager of the Cap Juluca resort here, is a man on the move, constantly reinventing the wheel.

The "wheel," in this case, is the property, which is always on the cutting edge of luxury, but which Guishard fine-tunes with new programs, services and facilities.

Cap Juluca doesn't rest on its reputation or laurels, which this year included, among other accolades, the coveted Conde Nast Traveler's No. 1 ranking in its reader survey of top Caribbean resorts.

The resort's bookings for the winter are more than 6% ahead of last year and 15% over 2001; November occupancies are in the 85% range, according to Guishard.

"You've got to come up with new things or you fall down," Guishard said. "It's tough out there. The competition can be fierce among the top Caribbean resorts.

"We know that our guests -- more than 50% come back year after year -- seek us out because they know what we offer, and they also look forward to what we've added each year."

And guests will find that a lot has been added for the winter season -- which began Oct. 25, a week earlier than normal -- with Cap Juluca's first four-night, Baron Philippe de Rothschild winemaker getaway program, priced from $3,010 per couple.

During the resort's annual two-month fall closure for maintenance, the staff underwent intensive training focused on aspects of housekeeping and personal service.

Members of the Ivor Spencer International School for Butlers in London arrive this month to train and certify 18 Cap Juluca staff "in the fine art of personal attention," Guishard said.

"Our VIP guests often request personalized services, and the London butlers will teach the staff to notice small details for our guests. The training will empower the staff to fulfill out-of-the-ordinary requests," he said.

Guishard said his goal is to be "one step ahead of the competition. I want to be better than the rest."

Cap Juluca has taken a "holistic approach" to that goal with a menu of activities aimed at rejuvenating and regenerating the mind, body and spirit.

The program took off in 2002, when Diana Bourel, a therapist, healer and certified yoga instructor, introduced a series of wellness treatments that included spiritual astrology, meditations, yoga, and intuitive healing therapies.

Other practitioners have since joined the program, including veteran astrologer Hubert Delamotte and Thierry Liot, who also runs healing workshops in the U.S. and France designed to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.

One-week wellness packages will run every month next year except when the resort is closed in the fall.

There's also a varied menu of spa programs offered in the guest's suite, on the beach under a gazebo or in spa treatment rooms.

Other improvements:
• Guests will sleep on Frette bed linens in guest rooms, bathe in upgraded bathrooms and cool off with new air conditioners.
• Two new, custom-designed motor launches will handle arrivals and departures in St. Maarten.
• Special-interest guests will find niche market programs, such as commitment ceremonies for couples who live together; vow renewals; writing workshops; and monthly dinners featuring wine specialties.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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