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The Short Version: Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa, on the east side of Anguilla, is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean for a romantic getaway. The hotel combines a respect for tradition with modern amenities and features four swimming pools, a Thai-style spa, and both casual and fine-dining options. Zemi Beach House is in an ideal location on the moderately-sized island with easy access to nearby beaches, coves, and forests. For its dedication to providing couples with romantic experiences, Zemi Beach House has earned our Editor’s Choice Award.
In 2016, a new hotel opened on Anguilla, an island in the Eastern Caribbean. Zemi Beach House set out to combine tradition and luxury and provide its guests with the best of both worlds.
The hotel sits on six acres of oceanfront property on Anguilla’s Shoal Bay, and its traditional amenities include a 300-year-old Thai house that’s been carefully restored and turned into a modern spa retreat. The spa is home to the only hammam — a Turkish-style soaking bath — on the island. Couples can also unwind at one of its most popular specialty bars, called the Rhum Room, where they can enjoy small-batch rums from around the region.
Each of the hotel’s 65 rooms are designed to feel like a modern beachfront home with luxurious touches that include soaking tubs and furnished patios with ocean views. These features make it easy for couples to enjoy their stay — whether it’s an extended vacation or just a romantic weekend getaway — on the property.
Thanks to all of its amenities, Zemi Beach House started getting attention from the international travel industry almost immediately. Condé Nast Traveler readers voted it among the top 50 hotels in the world two years in a row. The publication noted that “If you’re craving a tropical escape, this is the place.”
Travel+Leisure also listed Zemi Beach House as one of the finest in the Caribbean in its World’s Best Awards three years in a row. The magazine noted Zemi Beach House’s elegant and thoughtful touches as one of the reasons it ranked so highly. Writer Kathy Roberson said “every-need-anticipated amenities include free sunscreen, beach bags and flip flops for the beach, poolside sorbets and fruit juices, and indestructible polycarbonate glasses for your Earl Grey martini that are safe to drop on the pool patio.”
Frank Pierce, Zemi Beach House’s Director of Sales and Marketing, suggests another reason why the property has garnered such an impressive reputation in just a few short years. He said it’s because of how committed owners and staff are. Zemi Beach House was the brainchild of the Goldstein family, who enjoyed the island and have developed and own the property.
“It was started for the Goldsteins’ love of the serenity of Anguilla. That is why they built it on the eastern end of the island, a less touristy area than the west end. We’re the only luxury hotel on the eastern end of the island,” Frank told us.
Couples visiting Zemi Beach House have plenty of unique lodging choices. Single rooms include a balcony facing the ocean while the hotel’s suites come with two or three bedrooms and large oceanside terraces. Both lodging options come with high-quality linen, bathrobes, espresso machines, minibars, and room service.
Today, the hotel has 65 guest rooms and suites, but another 12 two- to three-bedroom suites will be added in December 2019.
“We still want to keep the feeling that you’re in your own beachfront home,” said Frank.
On the property’s grounds is the Zemi Thai House, one of the hotel’s most unique features. When the developers started construction on the property, they decided to keep the 300-year-old Thai House intact.
“The architect and designer said it would make a fabulous spa. The owners went to Thailand and purchased what was needed to restore the originality of the 300-year-old structure,” said Frank.
At the spa, visitors can enjoy services from therapists, including facials, salt scrubs, and massages. Additionally, they can detoxify with cleansing muds, visit the vitality pool where jets can release their tight muscles, and relax in rainfall showers.
And, after a day of rejuvenation, visitors don’t have to search far for their evening meal. In addition to the Rhum Room, guests can also enjoy cocktails on the outdoor patio lounge, Shoal Bay Zemi Beach Club. The Bohio Bar & Lounge also offers drinks and champagne, along with live music, in a modern designed space with Caribbean details.
And dinner options abound, no matter what your taste. The hotel’s casual dining option, 20 Knots, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a Latin and Caribbean flair. On Wednesday nights, 20 Knots offers its Caribbean Beach BBQ, with grilled meats and local seafood served on the shore.
And Stone, the hotel’s fine-dining establishment, serves seasonal meals for date nights that feel like special occasions.
Tourists often come to Anguilla to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. The island isn’t overdeveloped like some nearby destinations, so relaxing with your partner can be your primary goal.
“The island is all about vegging out. There’s no commercialism, and there aren’t even any McDonald’s,” said Frank.
Zemi Beach House also offers plenty of relaxing activities for couples. The property includes four pools — two of which are for adults only. One of these is the serenity pool, an infinity and lap pool that is surrounded by cabanas so couples can relax in the shade.
And many guests use the hotel’s equipment to go snorkeling, diving, and windsurfing. Shoal Beach is famous for its white sands and turquoise waters that adventure seekers enjoy exploring. The island has 32 other beaches, as well, and offers plenty of coves to explore, too.
Zemi Beach House offers other ways to get out on the water. Guests can arrange through the concierge a Sunset Cruise, setting sail from Zemi Beach House.
Adventurers of all types can also get help from Zemi Beach House’s concierge to plan their dream vacation. Some ideas include riding horses on the beach and kite-surfing at one of the island’s remote beaches. Other travelers prefer sailing or snorkeling outings.
Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa was created to share the beauty of the island with tourists, and the international management and operations team brings a wealth of experience to the hotel and its guests.
“Our GM is from Portugal. Our food and beverage director is French. A lot of our management team speaks multiple languages, which is convenient, especially with the international clientele we serve,” Frank said.
Perhaps it’s the merging of all this history and expertise that has already made Zemi Beach House popular with international tourists. They get to experience the beauty of the island with the help of guides who know how to help them make the most of their journeys.
Further, guests stay at a modern hotel that accounts for all of their needs, while also honoring island traditions.
This careful planning has garnered Zemi Beach House the type of devoted fans that other hotels need decades to earn.
“People love it. The service is excellent, and I’m so proud that we’ve achieved what we have in just three years,” Frank told us.