The tiny island of Aurora Anguilla is an ideal getaway, with perfect weather, a simple lifestyle, and a complete absence of bustling crowds and intrusive noise. And the resort? Salamander CEO Sheila Johnson says, “I remember what it was before, and we have redefined what it could be. It will become the destination on the island because it’s going to have everything.”
The luxury resort in the British West Indies, previously known as CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, took a major turn for the better when Dick Schulze, founder of Best Buy, bought the 380-acre property in 2020 and hired Salamander Hotels & Resorts to manage it last year. Schulze and his team completely renovated the Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course, added an enticing 9-hole short course, upgraded the accommodations on both campuses, and created some of the most exciting dining experiences in the Caribbean.
Aurora Anguilla is wonderfully easy to get to, especially from Westchester. Private air charter service direct to Anguilla from Westchester County Airport is available exclusively for resort guests on Thursdays and Sundays. The comfort and service of private jet travel are the perfect bookends to a stay at the luxurious resort.
The golf is easy to appreciate, too, although the courses are not pushovers. The 18-hole Aurora International Golf Course is a Greg Norman signature design that plays 7,165 yards from the tips, although there are four other sets of tees. The very first thing Schulze did when he bought the property was bring Norman back for a complete course renovation. The 18-month project was completed in 2022 and included wall-to-wall regrassing with Latitude 36 Bermuda on the fairways and TifEagle Bermuda on the fairways, making for perfect playing conditions. According to director of golf Scott DeLong, “It’s very playable for players of all levels. Generous fairways are framed with beach sand that doesn’t play like a hazard but can prevent wayward shots from disappearing into the native vegetation and thatch palms.”
The new Avalon Links short course, also a Norman design, has elevation changes, a few bunkers, small greens, and wind (always the wind), which makes you consider whether you really should hit a high towering pitch when a bump-and-run would be safer. You’re always between clubs, too, which makes the 1,315-yard course interesting for good golfers as well as beginners.
“It’s very playable for players of all levels. Generous fairways are framed with beach sand that doesn’t play like a hazard but can prevent wayward shots from disappearing into the native vegetation and thatch palms.”
—Scott Delong, director of golf, Aurora International Golf Club
The food-and-beverage experience at Aurora Anguilla is incredibly easy to enjoy as well. Every one of the six dining venues is unique — even the two beachside eateries have different creative menus. D. Richard’s Steakhouse has an international flair to go with the superb selection of steaks and an excellent lineup of seafood. Tokyo Bay features approachable, modern Japanese cuisine built on a diverse set of dishes from Sashimi to Makimono. The cuisine is further elevated by house-made soy sauce, vegetables grown on-property, the finest seafood sourced from all over the world, as well as the largest selection of on-island sake. Regardless of whatever else you choose, the lobster roll must be on your plate. Quite simply, it’s orgasmic.
Culinary director Michele Greggio says he’s introduced dishes for sharing at every venue, along with fun touches, like an olive oil sommelier at the lively Italian eatery, Marella. Other unique features at Aurora are the gardens and hydroponic farm on-property that grow much of the produce for the six restaurants. It’s worth every foodie’s time to stroll the walking paths and visit the hydroponic installations, where an endless array of tropical fruits, herbs, leafy vegetables, and vine crops are grown.
Accommodations range from spacious, hotel-style rooms to beachfront suites to private estate homes that include a dedicated butler and private pool. Among the other amenities are a 27,000-square-foot spa, a variety of excellent pools for both adults and kids, and a spectacular beach along Rendezvous Bay. Under construction now are a tennis center, pickleball courts, climbing wall, beach volleyball, clay bocce and basketball courts, and a 9-hole mini golf course. A stunning, family-friendly pool complex, featuring a waterpark, splash pad, zero-entry pool, lazy river, slide tower, and private and family cabanas, will debut in spring 2023.
For more information, visit auroraanguilla.com.
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