Tucked on six pristine oceanfront acres fringed with palm trees and tropical vegetation + a striking infinity swimming pool, flanked with chaises longues angled towards the ocean and sophisticated decor, Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa redefines luxury island living for a new generation. Blending contemporary residential style with unique experiences that reflect the island’s rich history and the traditions of its people, this elegant newcomer on the shores of Shoal Bay East inspires all to enjoy life and nature.
Once a sleepy British West Indies isle, Anguilla is fast becoming the Caribbean’s most stylish island retreat. I visited this paradise one month ago and I am ready to tell you in detail how it went.
Anguilla had been on my radar for a while. I love the fact that the island is not an “obvious destination” in the Caribbean. Since I saw Zemi Beach House at beloved Preferred Hotels & Resorts website I fell in love and decided it was time for Anguilla and time for Zemi Beach – Book your dream trip here to get upgrades, early check-in and late check-out as well as exclusive member rates and points for free nights (upon availability) !!! 🙂
The island is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin. The area consists of the main island of Anguilla, approximately 16 miles (26 km) long by 3 miles (5 km) wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population. The island’s capital is The Valley, where most people live – a bit more than 14000 people call this paradisiac place their home.
There are not many hotels in Anguilla and Zemi Beach House is the new kid on the block which debuted at the island’s most stunning beach, Shoal Bay, in 2016.
Caribbean feeling at its best. Relaxed yet very elegant atmosphere and a very intimate environment (not at all one of those overcrowded resorts). Expect a white sand beach which is still blissfully unpopulated as Zemi is the first hotel on this side of the island, suites offering breath taking views of the ocean, a unique infinity pool, a state of the art Thai Spa, fantastic restaurants and the most attentive and gracious staff in Anguilla.
It is even a little bit funny because me and my husband don’t usually make real “friends” when we travel as we usually just enjoy the two of us. But this holiday was totally different. We made friends, many, which were guests like us, staff, the hotel architect… the whole atmosphere is so friendly and relaxed that these encounters just happen naturally.
As it is a quite recent and well planned hotel, one can imagine that everything is brand new and every detail is in its right place, from the plants and garden to the pottery and the decor, everything seems to enhance the natural beauty of the area.
Resort amenities & services include: 2 restaurants, 3 bars, complimentary daily full American buffet breakfast with a view, Zemi Thai House Spa, 24-hour Concierge, Beach Concierg, Beach Bag and flip flops, fruit skewers and drinks served in the pool, complimentary sunscreen, tennis court, water sports, kids club, Out of the Blue Boutique.
Nothing less than the best beach on the island! Shoal Bay is often listed as one of “Best Beaches” and “Most Beautiful beaches” all around and I wanted to see it with my own eyes. Staying there was WOW, much more than I expected. Have a look!
The warm water in Shoal Bay has a beautiful turquoise color which you can only find in the Caribbean and the sand is so white and soft… Shoal Bay is always relatively uncrowded and the more you walk the more you see different nuances of blue. There is a small structure around the hotel with a few (maybe two) small restaurants which can be reached by the beach. Nevertheless, to be honest, we did not visit them because we thought the ones at the hotel were so great that we should spend our time there. Why to leave when you have everything you need right at your feet?
The beach was a dream and we had it only for ourselves a couple of times. It was surreal and I could not believe the colours of that place. The sunsets are those of a lifetime and we enjoyed to see it from inside the water, in the ocean. So special.
Needless to say it is extremely clean and that plants and animals are abundant. I had never seen birds fishing so close to me before and there are a lot of types of fish in the waters. Overwhelming!
ROOMS AND SUITES
We stayed in the Superior Room with Ocean view on a high floor which was really comfy and spacious. More important than that, it offered an unbelievable sea view as well as a view of one of the swimming pools, the tranquility pool. We just loved it and enjoyed a glass of wine while allowing the view taking our breath away.
The room options are: superior room with hotel or beach view; premium room ocean view; luxury room ocean view and rooftop pool deck while the suite options are: beachfront villa with 3 bedrooms; penthouse suite with 2 bedrooms and penthouse suite with three bedrooms.
The suites are perfect for families and groups of friends and I would say it is impossible to go wrong with any of the options. Still, make sure you book a room or suite with a sea view or even better, with a private pool. I particularly like the pool suites which are located close to the sea, in the front line. I would choose those instead a penthouse. See a lovely video I recorded in one of the suites here. Breathtaking!!!
In room amenities include: WiFi, 24-hour room service, wireless bluetooth sound systems, motion-sensor climate control, personalized Caribbean minibar, frette Premium linens, Malin + Goetz bath amenities that are replaced twice a day (leave your shampoo at home! Haha!), phone calls to US and Canada free of charge.
Zemi has one of the most amazing infinity swimming-pools. It is constructed in a way that the blue of the water mixes with the never ending blue of the sea. At a certain point you could get confused about where one starts and the other ends. The infinity end is made by glass and I have to admit that my husband and I were behaving like two
idiots kids making videos and pictures of us diving there. Hahaha!
It was maybe the place where we spent more time. Either admiring the view (I cannot stop writing that the sea is outrageous!), or chatting with our new friends and sipping some Caribbean cocktails. Scented-water, sunscreen and towels are replaced non-stop.
The other swimming pool is called Tranquility Pool and kids are not allowed access. As the name suggests, it is a place to relax and enjoy the time with your significant other. It is actually not only one pool. I would say it consists of three pools in one – there is the part where you can lay down to get seriously tanned while inside the pool, the part for real swimming (sports) and another corner to relax. Outside of the pool you will find pool chairs and big lounge beds as well as towels, water and sunscreen just as in the main pool.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
I was expecting sea food to be good here and it was definitely excellent: freshly caught fish is the basis for the restaurants’s menus as sustainability is key in this property.
– 20 Knots
Casual beachfront dining (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in a perfect setting. Whether dining alfresco or in air-conditioned comfort overlooking beautiful Shoal Bay, guests enjoy menus showcasing the flavors of the Caribbean and Latin America. This was for sure my favourite place. I just couldn’t get enough of its views and the friendly service. Complimentary breakfast buffet is also served here and we would always chose the same table to start the day, feet in the sand, sound of the sea and yummy Caribbean tacos. Haha!
Many of the events and parties like the Caribbean night, the tapas night, live music and the DJ night would happen at 20 Knots. The cocktails from the bar were delicious and would add fuel to the fun nights. Check the lunch menu and the dinner menu clicking on the links.
I definitely recommend having your favourite dish served at one of the big lounge chairs surrounding the main pool. We did it a couple of times.
Seasonally inspired, the exceptional cuisine of Stone is anchored in Anguilla’s rich culinary traditions. In this climate-controlled, fine dining restaurant, we enjoyed an amazing selection of wine and cooked to perfection seafood, fish and sea-to-table entrees. It was really outstanding and the interior is stunning! Reserve for a special night. See the menu here.
– Rhum Room
The refined and elegant tasting room features more than 100 small-batch, single-estate rums that recall the Caribbean’s 18th century sugarcane plantations. We decided to join the rum tasting and it was one 0f the coolest and funniest nights we had in Anguilla. We started the tasting with another couple and at the end we were more than 10 couples getting to know and discussing the finest rum. So so nice!
It is a lovely place to taste some rum after dinner as well. The bartenders really appreciate and understand about the drink. Go for it!
– The Bar & Lounge
The coolest place for drinks before or after dinner with a great view of the main swimming pool. We enjoyed exciting live music in this area a couple of times. I recommend ordering your favourite glass of wine or champagne.
– Shoal Bay Bar
Exuding the casual chic style of Anguilla, Shoal Bay Bar serves inventive cocktails against the backdrop of crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering palm trees. This is the beach-pool bar! Try the BBC and the Margaritas!
SPA & WELLNESS
Amazing! The place to be for those who want to awaken the spirit in a setting completely in harmony with nature.
Housed within an authentic 300-year-old Thai house, this serene and luxurious retreat features the island’s only hammam, as well as five multifunctional treatment rooms with showers, relaxation areas with beautiful views of Shoal Bay, a fresh juice bar, a relaxing pool and a wellness boutique.
We loved to go there in the afternoons to enjoy the pool and enjoy some treatments. Great and very professional staff. I recommend the hammam and the five element aroma massage, which is heaven on earth.
I did not really get close to it but there is a well equipped fitness center and, upon arrival, we received a fitness plan with a variety of classes which can be joined by anyone. Personal trainers will support you on request.
Zemi Beach House is located right beside a natural reserve and at Anguilla’s most beautiful beach – giving you a pretty good idea of what to expect. Adding the vast experience and know-how of the staff guarantees a unique vacation.
Zemi’s guests enjoy a vast range of activities and adventures without ever leaving the hotel. From rum tastings to yoga, there’s something for everyone. A concierge will be available 24 hours to help organising any kind of adventure one can think of. Some examples:
– Private dinner at the beach
– Rum tasting
– Yoga classes at Zemi Thai house
– Stand-Up paddle
– Beach volleyball
– Diving (day and night)
– Deep ocean Fishing
– Picnic lunch
– Island tours
– Sunset cruises
– Glass bottom boat tour
– Swimming with dolphins
– Kite surfing
– Bike tours
– Horse riding
– Beach hopping
You guys know me. We had only a couple of days and therefore we did not engage in too many activities, as our goal was to relax and enjoy our time together before returning to everyday life. Also, the atmosphere at Zemi Beach House is so calm and inviting that we really didn’t feel like exploring the island. Conclusion – we spent most of our time in the hotel an at its paradisiac beach.
We did not need it as we don’t have kids but we met a couple which was very satisfied with the service. The Kids Club offers full day activities for young guests welcoming children aged 4 through 12 daily, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Movie Nights are scheduled once or twice a week, allowing parents to have a romantic “kids-free” dinner. Activities include mermaid experiences, coconut bowling, video gaming, etc.
We booked our flight only two days prior to flying to Anguilla. As it was the end of August (hurricane season), we wanted to be sure that the weather would be good. We went from Düsseldorf, in Germany, to Miami, where we spent a couple of days, and then travelled on to St Martin. A hotel ambassador received us upon arrival in the airport and a driver took us to Saint Martin`s port where we waited for our ferry to Anguilla in a funny Jamaican bar. Immigration is simple and done at the port It took us only two minutes. The rest was pure fun!
Zemi Beach organised a private shuttle so we had a whole boat only for ourselves. The crew served drinks and explained a little bit about the area and the islands. The region is so so beautiful.
Once we arrived in Anguilla, our passports were checked again and there we were – in paradise! A driver, also organised by Zemi, took us to the property. We were received with a refreshing cocktail by Paulo, the manager and by Adriano, the hotel architect – it was such a warm welcome. They answered all our questions about the hotel and told us everything we should not miss while there.
A sympathetic hostess took us to our room where the fun started. We were ready for some days of pure relaxation.
During our stay we enjoyed the Caribbean night, the DJ night, rum tasting, live music… nights were quite busy in the hotel and we really enjoyed our stay at the most.
I was amazed that on our first day the staff already knew our names and remembered our favourite table and wine. Terrific!
Adriano, the hotel architect, took me on a tour around the property, which was really interesting. It was amazing to see how modern and meticulously planned things are “behind the scenes”. I learned that Zemi was built to be hurricane proof and had special windows and other features which would protect it in case of such an event.
I am writing this because during our stay we heard about hurricane Irma and that it would hit the island. We didn’t panic as our flight back to Miami was scheduled four days prior to the hurricane’s landfall and also because the staff at the hotel was very professional providing all necessary and accurate information. We enjoyed our stay until the last second with perfect weather, not even one bad day, and left Anguilla with a broken heart. First because I would love to stay forever and second and most important because at that time it was clear that Irma would have significant impact. I knew that Zemi Beach House was going to hold strong because it is very new and constructed with great quality materials. Nevertheless, I felt very very sorry for the lovely Anguilla people.
Irma is gone and Zemi Beach has suffered minor damage, as expected. The staff is safe and the hotel will probably reopen by the end of October. Yay!!! Stay tuned!
WHEN TO GO
Zemi Beach House is open all year long. We stayed there at the end of August beginning of September and had only amazing, beautiful sunny days. I should clarify that at this time of the year we played it safe by booking our flights as well as the hotel last minute. Another option is to get appropriate insurance coverage. The upside about travelling at this time of the year is to have the beach and sometimes even the pool only for yourself. That sense of privacy is wonderful!
– From December to May – peak season, rare rain, great weather
– From April to May and from October to November – not so crowded, good deals
– From June to November – hurricane season
I am looking forward to hearing that Zemi Beach House is open again delighting its guests. It will be great to know that life is back to normality in beautiful Anguilla and that people are back to their jobs. This is for sure a place to return!