Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to stay at some pretty spectacular resorts around the Caribbean. From The Dunmore on Harbor Island to Playa Grande Beach Club in the Dominican Republic, Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Montego Bay and Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club in Bermuda, the islands never cease to amaze me. At Zapwater (my full-times job), I’ve also been able to get to know several other islands, including Aruba and Grenada. One of our most memorable Caribbean vacations? Malliouhana, Auberge Resort Collection in Anguilla. We took the trip back in 2015, and we still talk about the experiences and memories to this day. At the same time, no property is perfect, and I wanted to share candid feedback about our stay.
ABOUT MALLIOUHANA AUBERGE RESORT COLLECTION
Malliouhana opened 30 years ago and truly put Anguilla on the map among U.S. travelers. From what I’ve read, it heralded in a new era of glamour and luxury in a way the island had never seen. After learning about the history of this property, I was even more convinced it was the right location for our vacation.
Located on a bluff overlooking the ocean on 25 acres of land, the resort has stunning views to compliment the impeccable interior design. The property has a total of 44 rooms, giving an intimate feel to the place. From the lobby to the pool, Mallihouana is full of pops of color, interesting textures, wallpapers, and furniture. Plus, as a luxury property, we knew we’d get incredible service (and we did!).
Sadly, in 2017, the resort and island were both impacted by Hurricane Irma. The damage was extensive, and they had to close its doors to complete a renovation for more than a year before officially reopening in 2018. Bob and I originally visited the property in June of 2015, and I can’t fathom the heartache of needing to rebuild it from the ground up. From what I’ve seen, they’ve done an absolutely amazing job of restoring it to its full Caribbean glory!
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF ANGUILLA
After flying from Chicago to St Maarten, we met the resort representative who drove us to the ferry (it was a super quick drive). Then, it was a 25 minute ferry ride to Anguilla followed by a 10 minute drive to the resort itself. All in all, it was fairly effortless thanks to the efforts of Malliouhana. The driver, I recall, drove us on the back roads of Anguilla. I distinctly remember thinking the island felt different than the others we’d visited over the years. In parts, it felt like a bit like the Dominican Republic with a hint of Aruba. The infrastructure was discombobulated – some areas felt desolate, others were highly developed, and even some featured private mansions. In general, I couldn’t understand Anguilla’s essence at first. It felt like an island still deciding its identity. But I digress…
ARRIVING AT MALLIOUHANA
Upon arriving at the entrance of the resort, I knew we had made the right decision. I was in utterly in love with the aesthetic! The entrance featured turquoise and white striped awnings with black trim. Inside the lobby, pops of mustard yellow welcomed us – the happiest of hues – perfectly aligned with the smiles of the staff waiting to greet us.
OUR ROOM CATEGORY
We decided to book the Ocean View Premium Room. After all, this category features approximately 775-800+ square feet of space (nearly as large as our condo at the time!). After checking in, we were brought up to our room, which was located in the main building. Since I had seen photos of the resort before arriving (and noticing private villas scattered throughout the property), my first thought was, “Ugh. Yuck – I wish we had a villa with more privacy.”
In hindsight, it was an overreaction (haha)! Still, we were paying premium prices for a relatively standard room, and I had hoped (as always) for an upgrade – especially after realizing there were only ten other guests on property at the time. Oh well.
If you can splurge for one of the suites, do it! They looked much cooler (and their private patios are just steps to the beach). Granted, it’s a longer walk to those rooms from the main building. However, they’re much larger (plus, you just get your steps in!). The property isn’t enormous, so everything is within walking distance.
One of the most memorable experiences from the trip was spending time on both of their secluded beaches. During our stay, we never saw a single other guest on either of the beaches when we were there. Trust me – the sand is so soft and the beaches are stunning! We had total privacy and solitude. It was heavenly!
The property also has a two-tiered infinity edge pool with pops of yellow and striped cabanas. We set up shop in one of the cabanas during most of our stay. Relaxing doesn’t begin to describe the hours we spent by the pool and on the beach.
RESTAURANT & FOOD OPTIONS
Since breakfast was a part of our trip package, we ate at the hotel restaurant, Celeste, every single morning. The morning options were decent – light, but good. Funny enough, a celebrity was staying at the property during the same time, and we kept being seated next to him and his wife. As fans of the show he was on at the time (ABC’s “Scandal”), we did our best to leave him alone while also eavesdropping a bit (okay, a LOT). Haha! He did in fact talk about the show to his wife, which was fun to hear the gossip 🙂 All good things, of course.
We grabbed cocktails one afternoon at Bar Soleil, which is on the interior of the hotel. It was a nice and relaxing way to spend the afternoon – cocktail in hand – and enjoying the beautiful views.
The absolute STAR of the island? Blanchards Restaurant and its next door neighbor, the Beach Shack. Both were within walking distance (literally next door) to Malliouhana. From street tacos to burgers, vegan and vegetarian options, and of course – their delightful pina coladas, Bob and I came back to Blanchards and the Beach Shack for nearly every single meal.
While the restaurant inside the hotel serves great food, like most Caribbean island f&b outlets, the food is pricey. Blanchards offered a laid back, relaxing restaurant experience on the beach without breaking the bank. In fact, other luxury Caribbean islands should take note of their restaurant concept. It reminded me slightly a bit of the Queen Conch on Harbour Island, but even better! After a lot of overpriced meals, a burger and beer at Blanchards was just what the doctor ordered.
Since visiting, they’ve added new restaurant outpost, including Leon’s, which is said to be a “laid-back restaurant right on Meads Beach.” Based on the description, it sounds similar to Blanchard’s and an ideal alternative for more casual meals.
Would I book a reservation at Malliohana Auberge Resort Collection again? Absolutely! The things I would mainly change are our room type, and I’d likely split my time between two properties to mix things up. I’ve heard great things about Belmond Cap Juluca, which we’re hoping to experience in the years ahead.
To see other photo shoots and past posts from Malliouhana, visit the links below. Enjoy!
The perfect orange dress in the hotel lobby.
Mustard yellow happy hues with this adorable matching romper.
Morning wake-up and the most beautiful maxi dress.
A fabulous floral matching top and short set.
The striped pool umbrellas and cabanas of my dreams!
Blending into the sky with an affordable print dress.
A colorful bike ride around the Malliouhana property.
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