Anguilla’s Malliouhana Is the East Coast’s White Lotus

Channel your inner Tanya McQuoid at the Caribbean’s best kept secret

May 11, 2024 6:32 am
Meet Malliouhana
Meet Malliouhana
Malliouhana

As I cross the threshold into Malliouhana’s open-air lobby for the first time, I can almost hear the chanting of that one White Lotus song — the one that plays every time the camera pans to the Testa di Moro statues (if you know, you know). Upon arrival, my bags are immediately whisked away and, in their place, I’m handed a welcome cocktail and a lemon-scented bracelet meant to spur relaxation. Wee-fucking-hee. (Though, if I’m being honest, I’ve been relaxed since my Tradewind’s flight touched down 45 minutes ago.)

Except I’m not in Sicily. Or in Maui or Thailand either, for that matter. Rather I’m in Anguilla — the most northerly island in the Eastern Caribbean — checking into the island’s very first luxury resort, a mere four hour flight from New York. Despite the fact that travelers have been visiting for decades, Anguilla, with its turquoise waters and white sand beaches, is still a bit of a secret. Or, at least, it certainly feels that way. That’s largely to do with how few direct flight options there are (many visitors still ferry from Sint Maarten). Yet, Malliouhana has been operating atop its bluff, which gives way to nothing but stunning — and seemingly endless — views of the Caribbean, for 40 years now.

A three-bedroom suite awash in white linens and bold patterns
A three-bedroom suite
Malliouhana

Opened in 1984, Malliouhana, now part of Storey Hotel Management Group, launched with 44 units. Fast forward to 2024, and that number has grown to 63 with six room categories, the smallest of which starts at 775 square feet. Still, much of Malliouhana’s design is original. It gives the feeling of being in a privately-owned, luxury beach house with decor meeting somewhere between Elisabeth Taylor and Tom Ford. There are lots of bold, mixed prints, a welcome juxtaposition to the serenity of Anguilla and the various shades of white we’ve come to associate with luxury properties. Give me jewel tones and animal prints or give me death!

But Malliouhana is more than just a pretty face. Chesney Hughes, who now functions as a cultural ambassador for Malliouhana, has been with the hotel since its inception. “I liked it in 1984,” Hughes jokes. “I like it even better now. It’s like wine.” 

Scenes from the pool deck
Scenes from the pool deck
Lindsay Rogers
New Yorkers, You’ll Want to Escape the Cold on a Private Charter to Anguilla
The picturesque Caribbean island isn’t the easiest place to get to, but this new direct flight makes it a breeze

He’s not an anomaly, either. Many of Malliouhana’s employees — its original sommelier, Albert Lake, and pastry chef, Tim Franklin, chief among them — have seen it through to its current iteration, in spite of it changing ownership back in 2012. There are even guests who’ve been visiting religiously since ‘84, blocking out their favorite room every year, staying weeks at a time. Is there a greater testament to a hotel’s staying power?

Of course, after having taken stock of the property’s offerings, I can confirm that the niceties play no small part in its overall appeal. For instance, I had arguably the best massage of my life at the Spa at Malliouhana, which was named one of the “World’s Best Hotel Spas” by Harper’s Bazaar in 2021. The very next day, I went to one of the more challenging full-body workout classes I’ve taken in my life. (I did not, unfortunately, have the foresight to get the massage after the workout class.) And I’d be remiss not to mention the F&B program.

The resort entrance
The resort entrance
Malliouhana

Home to the island’s first fine-dining venue, Malliouhana boasts three “epicurean destinations” — Celeste being the crown jewel, flanked by Leon’s at Meads Bay and Bar Soleil. Celeste is located just steps from the main guesthouse and features a mix of Caribbean and Mediterranean fare, relying heavily on local, seasonal ingredients, freshly-caught seafood chief among them. Both the local pumpkin and coconut soup and the pan-seared red snapper filet in Creole sauce are requisite gourmandizing. For a more laid back, beach vibe with things like BBQ and rum punch, Leon’s is the move.

All of that said, the one thing I love most in a hotel is attention to detail. Malliouhana does this in spades. Case in point: the turndown service. Without giving too much away, guests can expect a different *little treat* waiting for them in their room every night of their stay. For me, one night it was house-made sleepy-time tea. The next, and crucially after a full day out on a boat, homemade after sun. After that, the most exquisite chocolates. It’s just one example of a million little ways in which Malliouhana succeeds in making guests feel special.

The view from Leon's
The view from Leon’s
Malliouhana

You can’t throw a stone without hitting a luxury hotel these days, so it truly is these sorts of things that make an experience singular — that make you feel, if you’ll allow me, like a member of the White Lotus’s Petal and Blossom Circles. To quote Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge), “So few brands have meaning anymore. But whenever I stay at any of the White Lotus properties, it’s always a memorable experience. Always.”

That, for me, is Malliouhana.

MEET US AT YOUR INBOX. FIRST ROUND'S ON US.

Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.