What & Where is Anguilla?
We can’t talk about Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa before talking about Anguilla. As many of you know, we live on St. Maarten and have had the opportunity to island hop quite a bit. Last week-end was no exception, as Anguilla being one of our favorite destinations for its proximity and epic pristine beaches and only a 20 minute ferry ride away. Anguilla is a British overseas territory, east of Puerto Rico, that was named by Christopher Columbus for its “eel” shape (Anguilla means eel in Spanish). The small island, only 16 miles long and 3 miles wide, has a population of roughly 15,000 people. Anguilla (AXA), which was once a celebrity hang out and millionaire playground, has quickly become a family friendly getaway, boasting incredible villas, luxurious resorts and airbnb’s. N.B. Anguilla is not cheap by any means We’ll get to that later). The island is also famous for its tax haven status, having no capital gains, estate, profit or other forms of direct taxation on either individuals or corporations. For everything Anguilla, visit Nori’s website Anguilla-Beaches.com to answer any questions you might have about this beautiful island.
A New Luxurious Resort to Experience
Having had the chance to try many resorts and villas on Anguilla in the past few years, we were excited to experience the latest form of luxury the island has to offer: Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa. We like to have our freedom once on Anguilla which is why we almost always rent a car but keep in mind that guests from Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa are greeted at the ferry terminal and quickly taxied to the resort for an immediate start of their vacation. Once you enter the grounds, you clearly see the attention to detail the groundskeepers have over every little piece of land here – the landscaping is pristine (and 9 months after hurricane Irma, you can only imagine the amount of work necessary to accomplish).
Once in the lobby, you are welcomed with a freshly made cocktail while the attentive staff checks you in. We were then greeted by Mark Peffer, Zemi Beach’s manager, who proceeded to give us a tour of the resort and its history while we finished our cocktail in the back seat of a comfortable golf cart. Our room was big and bright, with Caribbean chic accents and a wonderful ocean view towering over the villas in front.
The bed was comfortable and the A/C cranked up exactly the way we wanted it (we love a cold room when we sleep but have no fear, the central air is fully adjustable to your desired temperature). The resort, being on Shoal Bay – arguably one of the best beaches in the world – offers beautiful sunrises, all of which you can block with thick curtains for lazier mornings.
At night, the turn down service includes fresh baked cookies which you can devour right away or keep till morning 😉 . We also loved the oversized bathroom with tub and separate shower, the Malin + Goetz shampoo, conditioner and soap, the huge balcony with lounge chairs and table, the fully stocked mini bar, the Zemi robes and beach flip flops, the beach bag (keep it, it’s yours) and the tv on an automatic riser so you get to watch the view and not a turned off set. For a tour of the room, view our Zemi Beach Highlighted Stories on our Instagram.
You’ll also see in our stories all of the delicious complimentary snacks that were waiting for us as soon as we stepped in our room.
The Pool Areas
Unless you are staying in one of Zemi’s private villas which have their own pool, Zemi Beach House has two pools for their guests. The first one is open to all residents and is located right on the beach with a window to the ocean. Many instagram pictures are taken through that window.
This pool is flanked by the Shoal Bay Beach Club and the 20 Knots restaurant. To view the menus and prices follow the link here. The towel attendant there is ready to serve you complimentary lemon/watermelon ice water, sun protection lotion and after sun soothing lotion. Speaking of the staff; they were courteous, all smiles and always trying to make sure we were enjoying our stay to the fullest.
The infinity pool below is the “adults only” pool and is… quiet. Zen like music plays softly throughout the day and it never closes – If you wish to have a midnight dip, you can (at your own risk and with some clothes please). The big mats and lounge chairs are comfortable and many guests just fall asleep on those for hours at a time. If you cannot relax here, you won’t anywhere.
Zemi Thai House Spa
Winner of the 2016 World’s Best New Resort Spa Award, the Zemi Thai House Spa is like being transported directly to Thailand. The resort did not only name their spa a “Thai House” for marketing purposes, they actually shipped an authentic 300 year old Thai house from Thailand. There is something special about that and you can feel it as soon as you walk in. The spa offers a Hammam (the second one in the Caribbean after Puerto Rico’s), a vitality pool, a mud deck and an entire area for relaxation, yoga, reading and tea drinking.
So often, you look at a resort’s website and gush over their pictures and videos but with Zemi Beach House it felt different. Those pictures do not make this place justice (with all due respect to the photographers). This resort makes a point of enveloping you in this sense of complete vacation and disconnect from the world and it starts with this Thai House but it’s felt throughout the entire resort.
The breakfast brunch every morning was delicious and the setting couldn’t have been more on point.
With toes in the sand, till 11AM, you can sit, admire the view and eat all that you can. From pastries, American style breakfast items, fruits, cereal and yogurts, this breakfast has it all.
The 20 Knots restaurant and the Stone are the two main restaurants on the premises. Our first night there, we had the chicken and beef tacos and they were fresh, made to order and altogether delicious. After a few drinks, we also ordered a chicken bbq pizza by the bar and it hit the spot perfectly.
Unfortunately, we missed out on trying out Stone because we were meeting a friend for dinner in the West End at Trattoria Tramonto, a great little Italian restaurant on the beach with incredible drinks and tasty food. There’s always next time for Stone and there will be a next time for Zemi Beach House in our very near future. View the menus at Zemi Beach right here.
Luxury at a Price
This is not your run of the mill hotel. Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa is an exclusive high end boutique hotel that caters to very demanding tastes. All being relative, it is an expensive resort from the nightly rate to the food and drinks. For example: our room, an “ocean view king room”, goes for US$720 per night in August and US$1,050 for the same room in January. The bar tab for a few drinks can get upwards of $200 for two people. The lunch or dinner check is no different with $21 burgers, $23 tacos, $40 salmon plate and $19 rum punch. The real question here is:
Is it All Worth it?
Hell yeah! We understand how prices like those can seem ridiculous or extravagant but let’s put it in perspective and break it down. A room at Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa for a week is US$ 3,600. We’ll estimate the cost of food and drinks for the week (for a couple) at roughly another US$ 1,800. That’s a total of US$ 5,400. Seems steep? Sure is, but what if you think about what you spend on going out back home or what you spent during your last trip to… the mall. A once in a lifetime vacation (because this is exactly what it is) does not come cheap and a little over 5,000 dollars can get you that dreamy week. We’re not trying to sell you on it, we have no affiliation to Zemi Beach, but just like everything we experience and share with you on Instagram or this blog – from first class upgrades to incredible villas and resorts – we value our travels. We do not own 100 inch tv’s or expensive cars but we do invest in once in a lifetime experiences like Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa.