July 16, 2010

Looking For The Perfect Island For Your Destination Wedding?

Look no further, because I have found it for you.

The island is Anguilla, tucked away in the the British West Indies (Northern Caribbean)

The resort is Viceroy, known for its luxury hospitality.

 Two weeks ago, my husband and I embarked on our journey across the country to this mystical island of Anguilla. Hardly anyone that we've spoken to about our vacation had ever heard of Anguilla. On google map, it's a tiny little island that seems to be in the middle of nowhere. How did we decide on such a remote island for our vacation, people asked.

Back in March, when I produced the Academy for Planners + Designers, I had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world that traveled to attend our event. One of them was the charismatic Virgil Napier, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Viceroy resorts. He enticed me, amongst others, to check out his beautiful resort sitting atop a bluff in the middle of the Caribbean. All it took was one look at the Viceroy Anguilla website, and I knew it was worth the 19 hours of travel time to do a site inspection there.

My husband calls me a discriminating traveler. I have to agree with him. In my line of work, I get to experience the best of the hospitality world all the time, so my expectations are pretty high when I travel. When the head of the concierge at Viceroy Anguilla emailed me days before my arrival to ask for my itinerary and special needs, I knew that they would have no trouble surpassing my expectations....

There is no direct flight from San Francisco to Anguilla. We had to fly to Los Angeles, transfer to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then transfer again to Anguilla. Many choose to fly to St. Martin, a nearby island, and then take a ferry to Anguilla. Despite the extensive travel time, it's all worth it as soon as you catch a glimpse of the turquoise water surrounding the island glimmering in your eyes.

Anguilla is known for its magnificent beaches. 33 in total, each boasting something different and unique in its own special way. If you're looking for a touristy destination full of shopping and water activities, Anguilla is not for you. Shops are practically non-existent on the island. Motorized sports are not allowed in the water, to avoid water and noise pollution. That said, if your shopping bug starts itching while you are in Anguilla, you can take a day trip to nearby islands St. Barts or St. Martin! Anguilla truly is an island for those who want to experience paradise and luxury. When we were there, we laid on the white sand beaches for hours, reading and enjoying the serenity of the ocean before us, while pampered by attentive Viceroy staff who serviced us with clean towels, ice water, and cocktails throughout the day. My husband, being the adventurous man that he is, snorkeled a great deal while exploring in caves and jumping off cliffs into the glistening water. We even sailed on a catamaran to Sandy Island and Prickly Pear, where we enjoyed a full day of snorkeling.

Though the island is small, there is no shortage of exceptional dining, beginning right where we stayed at the Viceroy. Each morning, we enjoyed a full breakfast buffet next to the water. Lunch was usually by the gorgeous infinity pool--kobe sliders, sushi, and a few cocktails! We left the property a few times for dinner, but always found ourselves going back to Coba, the ocean front restaurant at Viceroy, which has an amazing menu inspired by local ingredients and Atlantic seafood, prepared with a multi-Asian approach.

The Viceroy Anguilla is the perfect place to for a destination wedding. In fact, I became so in love with the island and the property that I am seriously thinking of doing a vow renewal there with my husband when we reach our 10th year in 2012. It is such an extraordinary experience, and that's exactly what you want your guests to have when traveling to a destination wedding. I am certain that none of your guests will think 'been there, done that' when they receive an invitation to a Viceroy Anguilla wedding!

The Viceroy Anguilla has amazing ocean views all around the property, and there are a number of exquisite areas with dramatic views to host a wedding, depending on your guest count. The climate is warm year-round, with an average temperature of about 80 degrees. When we were there, we enjoyed a cool breeze throughout the day, and the temperature dropped by about 5 degrees in the evening. I've traveled to some pretty nice places in the past, including Bora Bora, Phuket, Jamaica, etc....but Anguilla now tops my list as the official 'paradise island'!

We stayed in a deluxe one-bedroom suite and were completely blown away by it. We had our own private plunge pool on our sundeck, marbled bathroom, and our 1800 sq ft suite was bigger than a lot of apartments in New York! The entire resort is designed by Kelly Wearstler, and is contemporary, sophisticated, and plays well into its natural environment. My favorite part was discovering all the different, interesting chairs that were found throughout the property.

I spent my last day there at the spa, revitalizing my 'sun-kissed skin', as they called it. It was heaven on earth. I am officially expanding my wedding planning services to Anguilla, so please call me if you need help planning a wedding there! Last, but not least, below is a picture of my wonderful, gracious host Virgil Napier of the Viceroy Anguilla.

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