Checking in to Anguilla’s Newest Resort: The Reef by CuisinArt

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - December 10, 2016

Checking into the new Reef resort

By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

Anguilla’s newest resort, The Reef by Cuisinart, is now officially open. Billed as a boutique property for a younger, hipper clientele than its sister 16-year-old CuisinArt Resort & Spa, it’s aiming to make its mark on Merrywing Bay this season. We were one of the first guests to check in, so here’s your first look at (and our first impressions of) the West End newcomer.

LOCATION You couldn’t ask for a better location than The Reef’s. On the powdery, palm-fringed sands of Merrywing Bay, the west coast resort has a direct view of neighboring St. Maarten, a 30-minute ferry ride away. It’s flanked by Cove Bay on one side and Rendezvous Bay (home to CuisinArt) on the other, but a rocky outcrop makes it impossible to walk between the two. The Reef’s West End positioning makes it convenient for restaurants such as The Dune Preserve, Garvey’s Sunshine Shack, Blanchards and Straw Hat, and for beaches including the sweep at Meads Bay.


ROOMS There are 80 suites, 50 of them in the seven-story main building, the remainder in four beachfront three-story blocks.

Rooms in the main building are decorated in contemporary style with impressively large walk-in closets and panoramic windows that offer views of either the pool and beach or of the resort’s golf course. All feature a mini bar; espresso maker, flat-screen TV, and Bluetooth audio set-up. Bathrooms are spacious, with separate showers and sleek freestanding tubs. Rusk toiletries; a Conair blow-dryer and a Conair paddle brush are included amenities (the brands share the same owner as the resort). Whether golf course- or beach view, these are superb entry-level rooms. The only thing missing is balconies. Curiously, none of the rooms in the main building have them. The omission will no doubt disappoint some guests, but management tells us the decision to forgo was partly because of the “uncomfortable” wind speeds at such height (the building is 80 feet-tall).

So if balconies are a deal breaker, book a (larger) suite in the beachfront buildings, all of which have light-filled living rooms that open onto either an oceanfront patio or balcony. The top category, the deluxe beachfront junior suite, has a wraparound balcony that’s a whopping 830 square-feet and comes complete with its own hot tub.


DINING There are two restaurants, The Yacht Club and Breezes. On the ground floor of the main building, The Yacht Club offers open-air, all-day dining. Dinner was superb, with flavorful fare from executive Jasper Schneider, whose ceviche and pan-seared grouper were culinary high notes. Guests also enjoy full access, signing privileges and complimentary shuttles to CuisinArt, where four restaurants, including the popular Tokyo Bay, will please most palates. (Do yourself a favor and order the foie gras tasting at Bistro Santorini; it’s heaven on a plate.)

The lobby bar (with grand piano), is a cool spot for cocktails accompanied by a constant breeze and ocean views.

ACTIVITIES Golfers will enjoy the adjacent 18-hole course at CuisinArt Golf Club; there’s a pool with twin whirlpools; a pair of tennis courts; a bocce court, and a small ocean-view fitness center with Technoym equipment (but, curiously, no mirrors). There’s complimentary yoga, and AquaCycle classes are scheduled to start in the coming weeks. We were impressed with (and tempted by!) the trendy merchandise in the small boutique, and also by the air-conditioned library and computer room adjacent to the open-air lobby. Guests can hop the complimentary shuttle over to CuisinArt to enjoy their amenities, which include the superb Venus Spa (ask for Nicholson) and the stunning sands of Rendezvous Bay.

IN A NUTSHELL Modern and intimate, The Reef has all the bells and whistles and the potential (given its relationship to the esteemed CuisinArt) to be an excellent addition to Anguilla’s hotel inventory.

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