ANGUILLA - BELMOND CAP JULUCA

Welcome to Cap Juluca in Anguilla. This luxury beachfront retreat in the British West Indies is known as the best beach in the Caribbean. Cap Juluca was designed and developed by Linda and Charles Hickox almost thirty years ago and has recently sold to Belmond Ltd., a hotel, and leisure company that operates luxury hotels, train services and river cruises around the world. Renovations are underway and by the end of 2018, get ready, because Cap Juluca's pristine stretch of sand is about to transform into a tropical show-stopper.

The resort's crescent-shaped Maundays Beach is the main attraction, along with the clear, turquoise water and soft white sand.  Water sports are a must... enjoy sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling, or just float in luxury.

Cap Juluca was originally named for the rainbow spirit of the Arawak whose energy can still be felt amongst the sway of the palms and the tropical rain that comes and goes. The Arawaks were farmers and fishermen, and much of what is known about them today comes from the petroglyphs and archeological remains discovered in two ceremonial cave sites on the island.

Several years ago we visited Cap Juluca for the day, and we always said, "this is a place we must return to"  So happy to have returned for more than one day, let the vacation begin. Next time I stroll down this hallway there will be a brand new Cap Juluca,.

Happy hideaway in paradise.  Expect 80°F monthly mean temperature, with water temperatures generally ranging between 70°F and 80°F. If you choose to travel by private boat charter or shared sea shuttle, you can take the ferry from St. Maarten Depending on immigration and selected transportation, the boat trip from St. Maarten takes approximately 25 – 40 minutes, arriving at Anguilla’s Blowing Point. Shuttle to the hotel is approximately fifteen minutes. Commercial airlines fly direct to St.Maarten with a short boat ride to Anguilla or by air via Seaborne Airlines or Tradewind Aviation. 

Anguilla's main gateways are:

  • St. Maarten/St. Martin (SXM), 7 minutes
  • Puerto Rico (SJU), 45 minutes
  • Antigua (ANU), 45 minutes
  • St. Thomas (STT), 45 minutes

Looks good, feels good...it's all good.

Cap Juluca takes pride in their fresh meals with a garden-to-table approach, along with resort-grown herbs, and spices. There are some exciting new dining concepts on the way!

Sweat Betty Top - Hermés Scarf 

Sweat Betty Top - Hermés Scarf 

My favorite activity was riding horses with the popular Zambezi  Enjoy a little history of the island while touring surrounding beaches and one of my favorite moments, taking a cool plunge in the Caribbean. Don't miss out on this tourist attraction! You can book through their facebook page or guest services at the front desk. Maybe you've never settled up... no worries these horses know the program, you do tnothng but sit back, take in the view and enjoy the experience.

And you'll need plenty of this!  ColorScience Sun Protection. You'll find yourself logging in a little more beach time here at Cap Juluca.  Shop the post below.

Why not begin your day at CapJuluca with a morning jog, a walk on the beach, or a swim in the Caribbean Sea. It's almost a mile long and from sun rise to sun set, this velvety beach never gets old.

Here's a peek at the rooms for not too much longer, every villa has an ocean view. Enjoy your open shower after your fun in the sun. New renovations are on the way.

 No filter needed at Cap Juluca. The evening is as stunning as the daytime. Follow Cap Juluca on Facebook to stay updated on renovations, and for the reopen.

From your room right to the beach.  Nudz Beachwear  designs the perfect vacation cover up for all occasions. Be sure to use my discount code GratefulGardenia30 for your perfect cover up.

From your room right to the beach. Nudz Beachwear designs the perfect vacation cover up for all occasions. Be sure to use my discount code GratefulGardenia30 for your perfect cover up.

Anguilla style is laid-back chic, barefoot elegance, and a place to rejuvenate the soul. There are no cruise ships, casinos, or traffic,  just breathtaking beaches, and that Caribbean vibe. 

Next time you're ready to plan your vacation be sure to look out for the grand opening of Cap Juluca. You can follow them on Instagram @belmondcapjuluca. Cap Juluca is one of those special places, along with the people who work there. Belmond Hotels create the most amazing escapes, and after this extensive renovation, you'll be ready to book your next hideaway.  Thank you, Cap Juluca for a beautiful experience to add to our family memories, and we look forward to a brand new you... with that same old welcoming spirit.

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“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

WELCOME TO HOTEL LE TOINY - ST. BARTH'S

Planning our family vacations are one of our favorite topics. We look forward to pulling out a big calendar, the kind you buy at Office Depot, a map, and the conversation begins. It usually starts with discussing our bucket list, along with places we'd love to return to. Several years ago we visited St. Barth's only for the day and the conversation always came back to, "we've got to get back to St. Barth's" Excited to return to this charming Caribbean island, we booked our flights, our ferries, The Hotel Le Toiny  and little did we know we would fall so in love with this laissez- fare Caribbean paradise.  Make one trip, and you’ll find yourself immediately hooked. Hotel Le Toiny has now been ranked among the best hotels in the world for 2017 by Condé Nast Traveler (the 2017 Hot List) and Travel + Leisure. 

Hôtel Le Toiny is committed to luxury. They first opened their doors on November 1, 1992, with 14 villas and In 2015, the hotel was acquired by current owners, Charlie and Mandie Vere Nicoll, who initiated a multi-million dollar renovation. 

Welcome to your tropical home away from home. Hôtel Le Toiny. Get ready to be wowed the minute you walk through the door.  It's always refreshing when you find those magical places that go the extra mile.  Le Toiny is a "must visit spot" and once you visit...you'll know why.  It's about a 20-25 minute drive (off season) from the alluring town Gustavia and navigating St. Barth’s can be a tad intimidating if you’ve never been. We chose to take the ferry from St. Maarten to St. Barth's which was quick and efficient, and soon as your boat hits the dock you're met by a driver from The Le Toiny, they offer complimentary airport and ferry transfers. We decided to rent a car and once again effortlessly our mini cooper arrived at Le Toiny shortly after we did. I highly recommend renting a convertible, it's a super fun island to explore.

Walking into Le Toiny will take your breath away. Sitting on the cliff it overlooks the sea, seems like you're floating on a cloud overlooking the Caribbean. The salon awaits your arrival, you're so charmed with the decor, there's no need to rush to your villa. December. 15th, 2017 just in time for the high season, eight new villas will open. The debut of the new villas coincides with the hotel’s 25th anniversary.

Lady Bee Osborn  captures that St. Barth's vibe with effortless elegance.

Lady Bee Osborn captures that St. Barth's vibe with effortless elegance.

Privacy and elegance define Hotel Le Toiny, situated in an area of the island referred to as the “Côte Sauvage.”  The villa suites are tucked away on a gentle slope overlooking the Bay and the beautiful sea. The hotel’s neutral color palette and understated decor feesl like you’re living in the pages of an interior design magazine. 

Every seating area is open-air for that outdoor living experience...a bit like a tree house. It's private, It's perfect, it's intoxicating. 

Knock-Knock you're home. The hotel completed a full redesign in 2015 by London-based Lady Bee Osborn, not only is it visually stunning, there is this aura of the ultimate escape on the entire property. You might become a bit weepy when it's time to check out.

Each one-bedroom villa includes a spacious master bedroom, separate sitting area, kitchenette and large terrace with a private infinity pool. One thing for sure... you'll wake up happy!  But first coffee.

A large bathroom featuring a soaking tub, shower overlooking the sea, vanity for two, along with a large walk-in closet. Plenty of space for the goodies you'll find from The Toiny Beach Club's boutique! If you find something you want to try on but feeling a bit sandy., no problem. It will be delivered to your room to try on at your convenience.

Wake up, dive in, start your day. Your personal paradise is right out your villa, along with this stunning view of  “Côte Sauvage"  

Cheers! Here's to gratitude and delicious coffee with the Le Toiny family, enjoying their gracious staff along with a fabulous breakfast.

Completely let go amongst the coconut trees

Completely let go amongst the coconut trees

Get ready to unplug - The road to the beach club is still the natural terrain. Instead of modifying the road for its vehicles, Le Toiny adapted its vehicles to the road with two safari style customized Land Rover Defenders used as a shuttle to transfer guests to and from the hotel and the beach.

Who needs shoes...

The Le Toiny Beach Club is delish! Simple, elegant Meditteranean inspired cuisine. Enjoy a full beach service with loungers under the shade of Coconut palms. The Beach Club is full service, the menu arrives on a chalkboard and updated on a regular basis, and if it's not on the menu...no problem.  Bon Appétit!

Enjoy your extended meals under the palms with The Beach Club crew and your loved ones. 

Don't miss this charming boutique, perfectly curated by the owner.  A pair of historic 18th-century cottages sits amongst the coconut grove, tamarind field, garden, orchard and pineapple trees. Enjoy a glass of rosé while you shop. 

I'm always in search for little treasures I can't find back home... special pieces that keep my vibe of St. Bath's going until my return. Poupette is a favorite brand of mine, and you'll find plenty of Poupette here, along with fabulous bathing suits, hats and island jewels. It's truly a treasure chest!

Take a journey to Shell Beach

Have lunch at  Shellona

Have lunch at Shellona

Seashells galore,  Make sure to visit Shell Beach for an incredible sunset, along with the sound of the shells washing onto the shore.

Another local favorite is Colombier, an isolated haven accessible only by boat or a exhilirating 30-minute hike. The downhill trail to get there is deceivingly easy. The way back . . . not so much. I suggest going in the early morning to avoid the afternoon heat. If you enjoy a good hike, don't miss out on this trail.

We loved our daily discovery in our Mini Cooper, but don't be gone too long, You'll find yourself wanting to return to your Le Toiny family.

Serenity Spa Cottage

Surrounded by lush vegetation with beautiful views of the ocean, the Serenity Spa Cottage features a wide range of Spa treatments. Technicians use Elemis an exclusive cosmetic line. Your skin, body and mind will thank you.

 There’s a treatment room that accommodates a single or couple’s treatments. The fitness center is a perfect size, Le Toiny’s new gym features all the equipment you need for a complete workout.

Unwind, relax, and rejuvenate your soul

Come rain or shine Hotel Le Toiny's got you covered 

Doorway to Heavan - If you forget your beach tote, no worries...your villa comes with one you won't want to leave behind.

Hotel Le Toiny creates magic, It's moment's like these that keep you and you and your loved ones returning to that special place time after time.

Pack your bags...We're going to St. Barth's... music to my ears. Thank you Le Toiny, We walked away with wonderful family memories, a few new friends, and a love for your Caribbean charm... Merci!

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Please see Instagram for all clothing and accessories worn in St. Barth's.

 

Getting There
There are no direct flights to St. Barth’s . . . unless you charter your own plane. If a PJ isn’t a possibility, the next best option is flying to Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, where, upon landing, you’ll have to choose your own adventure for the final leg: a 15-minute plane ride or a roughly 45-minute ferry crossing. Flying will get you to paradise quickly, but the flight itself—a 12 seat puddle-jumper—is not for the faint of heart. (The runway in St. Barth's also happened to be one of the shortest in commercial aviation, you can watch a few youtube videos to see the exciting landings! Book your flights in advance on either Winair or St Barth Commuter, the only commercial airlines that provide shuttle flights to and from the island. We chose the ferry: an incredibly efficient option for an effortless arrival. Buy your tickets in advance on either Great Bay Express or the Voyager to secure your seat.

The Beaches
St Barth's offers diverse beaches. There are sixteen of them in total, each with its own special touch. Saline Beach you can get lost in the white sand that feels like velvet. Saline, like most other beaches on St. Barth’s, is simple—no bars, no shops, no restaurants. If you prefer a more vibrant scene, St. Jean is where Eden Rock and Nikki Beach are located. Surfers like Le Toiny or Lorient and the snorkelers at Gouverneur or Petite Anse. Cheval Blanc is another beautiful beach area.

Restaurants

Our favorite spot for dinner in town was Bonita. Latin-French food along with the ambiance was just perfect. Diverse menu, a D.J. with that groovy beat, When the sun goes down St. Barth's comes alive in whatever way that fits your style. 

Isola -  For Italian food lovers L’Isola is renowned for its sophisticated Italian recipes, prepared using only the very finest ingredients imported directly from Italy. An elegant restaurant, a true culinary experience.  

La Gloriette  - Delicious pizza and seafood, a place where you can feel like a local. We loved this place. So casual but so French. The food Is fantastic. The staff is lovely and there's no shortage of flowing Rosé. No shoes needed here, toes in the sand, pizza & wine in hand... I'm in!

JULY 4TH FIRECRACKER FAVORITES

It's that time again, barbecues, sunshine, swimming and celebrating the USA. Here are just a few of my favorite things to add a little fireworks for The Fouth of July holiday.

Most 4th of July's our family heads to Newport Beach, it's a sure thing there will be plenty of festivities both on and off land to kick off the holiday. One of my favorite go-to boutiques is Bohemia, you can always find plenty of fun T-shirts, shorts, and dresses for your personal fireworks style.  Hat by Artesano -  

Nudz Beachwear's coverups are so easy to travel with, whether you're beach bound or poolside...just slip into one of their coverups and you'll look and feel beach chic.

Eddy Daniele Sandals are perfect! Take any simple outfit, slide your tootsies into a little sparkle!

I'm a big JADEtribe fan, Kimberly Hartman really gets that tropical vibe with her brand. A little bit beachy, a little bit bohemian jet set, and 100 percent natural and ethical, JADEtribe is the true embodiment of fashion with a conscience.  Bracelets by; Love Around the Neck.

Two must-haves when traveling, a hat along with a great backpack. I prefer ones that are super durable and water resistant. This Sweaty Betty is loaded with pockets and adjustable straps on the bottom for your towel, blanket, wrap or a yoga mat... I love the black with gold zipper details. Artesano has the most amazing hats for any occasion. Find your perfect Panama hat for any season. 

Sweaty Betty understands active wear. This one piece is practical and sexy.

Cami & Jax  - Super stylish high-waisted bottoms paired with my Eres top. Ray Ban Sunglasses - exclusive at Neiman Marcus -   Shop the post below.

Cami & Jax - Super stylish high-waisted bottoms paired with my Eres top. Ray Ban Sunglasses - exclusive at Neiman Marcus - Shop the post below.

Carmen Sol Sandals - I gave these sandals a workout, and they still look great!  Afterall...Italians do know shoes.

Purlisse's BB cream is my favorite. You'll be protected along with a flawless complexion. Don't forget your lips, Pucker up with Purlisse, mango & shea butter lip balm. I cover my lips with this when I fly.

How about this towel from The Beach People.  Perfect for a 4th of July picnic in the park or on the beach, and it's reversible. Hat by Borsalino (another favorite)

JADEtribe 

JADEtribe 

Fun twist for a cosmetic bag, load up your sun protection.

Colore Science has got your covered. This foundation goes on so smooth. I like that it has SPF built in. It's very natural looking and evens out any discoloration. You're left with a flawless finish & protection.

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Bust out a little fun on your vacation. This traveling backgammon set rolls up and has a handy zipper compartment to keep everything in place. Create a little entertainment with your family, and unplug. 

Have a festive 4th of July,  You are a firecracker! 

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