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Our Cap Juluca AdventureJanuary 14, 2009 By: Joe Pike
So, I’m on a speedboat Thursday from St. Maarten to Anguilla, hopping waves with pretty female reporters dressed in their summer clothes, a cooler full of local Carib beers, and a pair of wisecracking guides— the bandana-wearing Elvis and his always-smiling partner Eddie, who were taking us to one of the finest resorts in all of the Caribbean, Cap Juluca.
Now, every travel writer knows you can bank on at least five surreal moments for every press trip. This was my first such moment during the first press trip Cap Juluca has hosted since it reopened following a $25 million renovation.
But it sure wasn’t my last.
Two beers and about a hundred beautiful views later, we arrived at the property where we were greeted in the lobby by Charles L. Black, director of sales and marketing; General Manager Gary Thulander and, the most quiet of the three, a stiff, yet delicious glass of rum punch. Now this was a first impression if I ever saw one.
All guests mingled, exchanged business cards and cheesy “getting to know you” jokes about sports and whatever cities we were from, and made our way to our rooms to freshen up before cocktails and dinner at the property’s Spice restaurant.
I was in villa 9-3, a luxury room with a king-size bed and a terrace with ocean views. Like Cap Juluca has always been, the villas cannot be locked from the outside so no key was needed. This wouldn’t fly in my native New Jersey but it was safe here.
The bathroom has glass walls, so you felt like you were outside while taking a shower. At first, I thought this was going to be the first time I was bladder shy outside of a public bathroom, but the rooms were built so that none of your neighbors could see in. The walls and trees surround the outside near the restrooms, shielding you from any peeping toms. Speaking of Toms, we were told former "Friends" actor David Schwimmer checked in while we were there, only under the name Tom Hodges. But I don’t think he fooled anyone.
Dinner at Spice was more than relaxing. The tables were set on a deck over looking Maundays Beach. It was a bit too dark to see anything but the sound of the waves crashing while I was eating my shrimp pad thai and sipping on white wine was definitely surreal moment number two.
Now, I’m not going to tell every detail of the trip just yet since I’d like to milk this experience for a few more stories, so I’ll jump to surreal moments three to five.
The next day we took a boat ride to the hip, local beach bar, the Prickly Pear. The bar was empty but had potential, and the food was delicious. But the beach it is located on is what makes the 20-minute tract worth it. Be forewarned: If you are going to snorkel near the gorgeous reefs here, don’t be dumb like me— wear your flippers. I know they look and feel goofy and you’re not going to win Coolest Guy on the Island award for wearing them. But without them you’ll be gasping for air about 10 feet into your swim like I was.
That night, we mingled with the locals at the Dunes Preserve bar where local music legend Bankie Banx jammed while we sipped on the bar’s specialty drink, the “Duneshine.” I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in it except for some assorted fruit and a mess of alcohol.
On the morning of my flight back to Newark on Continental Airlines, and still feeling those Duneshines, I snuck in one last water sports activity, water skiing. I had never done it before, so I was a bit nervous. True, I fell a good 15 times or so and may have shouted out a few words that would have gotten me soap in the mouth when I was younger. But for the eight seconds (and I’m being generous to myself) that I was able to do it, it was well worth it. Of course the sense of accomplishment evaporated when the four other people who followed me looked like Olympic water skiers, but I got over it in a hurry.
It was around April of last year when I was first supposed to see this property, but the trip was postponed when Cap Juluca was sold to an investor syndicate led by Adam Aron, the former chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts and former president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.
It was well worth the wait.
Keep Reading For More About Cap Juluca
I didn’t even come close to covering the amazing experience I had at Cap Juluca, nor did I share all tips agents need when selling this property. But we hope we've wet your appetite. For the rest of my tale, pick up a copy of the February 2 issue and keep your eyes open for a future property profile in our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor.