Travelogue: Anguilla (part 1)

Our European summer vacation plans had to be changed last minute so instead we headed south to try our hand at being a lot more low-key and having a beach vacation.  This was new to us as we usually do multi-stop trips with a mix of action and culture and relaxation. A whole 5 days of just beach though? It was definitely going to be interesting.  I do have to say I did come back rested!
Ok, ok, ok.. we did fit in 2 days in Miami (a lil action and culture) beforehand but I called it a transition to ultimate "nothingness."  We flew from Ft. Lauderdale into St. Maarten (with a short layover in Puerto Rico).  As you get closer to landing, you immediately know what you're getting yourself into (ie tropical drinks, a book, and a lounge chair).  I believe that is anguilla in the distance btw and St. Maarten in the forefront.
Anguilla can only be reached by charter plane or boat. I don't do turbo props and such so we opted for a ferry.  I booked our transfer via email with Calypso Charters and the process was as easy as everyone in the travel forums had written about.  Our flight did get in early but after you pass customs in the St. Maarten airport, find the information desk and they'll point you to wherever you need to go. A representative from CC met us in the airport arrivals area. We got in a van and drove all but 5 minutes to the ferry "terminal" where you fill out paperwork, pay for your ferry fare (credit cards accepted), pass immigration and hop on a speedboat and head on your way.  Everyone was helpful and nice and it was EASY.  I think they have boats that leave just about every hour so it was also fairly quick.  The boat ride itself is fast and can be quite bumpy depending on the tide. Sit in the back of the boat for the smoothest ride. Mr. P commented that if you're prone to seasickness - this might not be that fun but then again it's only 15-20 minutes (and for me, it sure beats a prop plane!)

The Anguilla port is like a small "house." Passing through immigration and customs can be quick or slooowww depending if your boat arrives at the same time as the public ferry and then its a bit of waitfest.  Granted our arrival was the same day as August Monday - the island's carnival holiday (biggest event of the year) sooooo it was a bit challenging to deal with the island pace.  However, once we passed customs, we were met by a Viceroy Rep who shuttled us to a taxi that took us to the hotel:
 No question - the Viceroy is beautifully designed and the decor is just the perfect mix of island accents and modern touches. Our room: the Viceroy studio ocean view.  Brownie points for them reading our pre-arrival requests (they send you a whole slew of info via email before your arrival) and catching my request for extra pillows :)
The bathroom was huuuuuge! if you can see in the reflection, there's a huge shower and next to that is a deep soaking tub which I never used because... also have a private plunge pool overlooking beach. Enough said.

Complimentary treats and nibbles to celebrate our arrival
 Aleta Pool. Aleta restuarant is also here (i'm standing in front of it) where you can have breakfast.
The pool cabanas-which I can imagine are in high demand during peak season but definitely not worth it for our stay. They come fully stocked with tv, beds, food/drinks and butler (?) service. These sat empty (along with a majority of almost every common space at the hotel) during our entire stay.
The Viceroy is amazing but there were a few things that were not so great that I will comment upon in my next post.  When I was reading reviews about this hotel every commenter on the forums had expressed the same mixed feeling.  It's always: "its beautiful but..."  There's always a "but" which is sad because it would make this good hotel go to unbelieveably great should management pay attention to everyone's critiques.  It is the largest and newest hotel on the island though so if modern/cool is your style you really don't have an option unless you go the villa route (which is another post in itself - but I can definitely see why villas are probably the most popular (and valuable) option for vacationers)

Anyhow... after an early morning of travel on planes, boats, and cars - we unpacked, switched to our bathing suits and just relaxed for the remainder of the day. Will post Part 2 soon!