The British Couples Who Dreamed Up Anguilla’s Finest Resort

Malliouhana has established itself as a star-studded premier destination in the Caribbean known for its elegance, luxury, and the unparalleled beauty of its location. Photo courtesy Malliouhana


March 12, 2024

In 1978, when Robin and Sue Ricketts first set foot in Anguilla, the island had just two small hotels and one restaurant. It was a blank canvas for the British-born couple, who brought with them a wealth of experience from the hotel industry around the world. They secured the rights to a 20-acre beachfront site overlooking the pristine Meads Bay and Turtle Cove. They had the vision, and the rights; all they needed was the money.

A year later, Leon Roydon and his wife Annette were vacationing in St. Martin. A day trip to Anguilla sparked Leon’s entrepreneur mind, and the legend goes he promised to build Anette a villa there for her and her friends. Leon partnered with the Ricketts, and Malliouhana opened its doors in 1984. Its first villa guest (after Annette, of course) was their friend Giorgio Armani.

Malliouhana quickly established itself as a star-studded premier destination in the Caribbean, known for its elegance, luxury, and the unparalleled beauty of its location. Surrounding islands were known for spectacle while Malliouhana became the place to escape it all—in style. That designation remains, as the beaches surrounding the resort have recently hosted leisurely strolls from Madonna, Harry Styles, and Adele, all choosing the destination for its quiet charm.

As Malliouhana approaches its 40th anniversary, its founder’s vision and dedication can still be felt. Now operated by Storey Hotel Management Group, the resort has returned to its roots as an independent property, with a commitment to embrace its history while looking forward to the needs of the future.

The resort has 63 elegantly designed rooms and suites, offering guests a blend of contemporary comfort and traditional charm. The property’s amenities include the iconic two-tiered infinity pool, world-class dining experiences, a massive spa, an indoor and outdoor gym, basketball courts, tennis, and pickleball. Today’s design harkens back to Leon’s original vision of timeless ambience, as there are literally no clocks on the property. Even televisions are cleverly concealed behind mirrors, maintaining the room’s peaceful aesthetic while offering modern comforts on demand.

Exploring Anguilla

Anguilla is an enjoyable, and easy, island to navigate (as long as you remember they drive on the left.) The island has one main road that heads east-west, so getting lost is nearly impossible. Car rentals are available, but Malliouhana has a Moke rental onsite. The photogenic British cruiser is neither powerful nor technologically advanced, but it makes for a perfect partner for island exploring.

The famous West End Arch is only a few minutes down the road, and for the adventurous willing to do a bit off off-roading Blolly Ham Bay, the island’s westernmost tip, is just a few minutes farther. On the way back you can stop at Chef Lowell Hodge’s restaurant Sharky’s, perhaps the island’s best restaurant outside of a resort.

The beach at Mead’s Bay is consistently rated one of the best in the Caribbean. Photo courtesy Maliouhana / Leila Brewster

Beaches at Malliouhana

The hotel is perched above two white sand beaches—the more private Turtle Cove and the larger Mead’s Bay. Both offer crystal clear water and chair-side service. Mead’s Bay beach has Leon’s, one of three restaurants on property. It offers laid-back Caribbean dishes, a full bar, and a surprisingly large and well-designed children’s area for families. The beach at Mead’s Bay is consistently rated one of the best in the Caribbean. In addition to pristine sand and water and the island’s best views of sunset, there are plenty of options to walk to, including the locals’ (and celebrities) favorite beachside hangout, Blanchard’s Restaurant and Beach Shack.

An aerial view of Malliouhana. Photo by Samm Blake / courtesy Malliouhana

When to Visit and Getting to Malliouhana

American Airlines offers daily direct flights to Anguilla (AXA) from Miami International Airport (MIA). The resort offers a 20-minute shuttle to and from the airport. For those already in the Caribbean the island is a 7-minute flight from St. Maarten (SXM) or 25 minutes by boat. High season is November to April and is the best time to visit; the island never gets crowded, and even during peak times it’s common to be the only guests strolling on the beach.

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