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Zemi Beach House, Resort & Spa 4.5

Shoal Bay Village, Anguilla

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Beautiful sandy beach with loungers, umbrellas, and great snorkeling nearby
  • Bright rooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies
  • Villas with private plunge pools and gourmet kitchens
  • Adjacent beach is breeding ground for sea turtles
  • Some rooms have spectacular ocean views
  • Two infinity pools, including one for adults with a lap lane
  • Restaurants serving Caribbean, international, and Latin cuisines
  • Multiple bars including a rum bar with a huge selection of rare rums
  • Tasty and free buffet breakfasts included with all stays 
  • Beautiful Asian-themed spa includes a Turkish steam bath 
  • Children under 12 stay for free  
  • Special rates available for solo travelers
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort

Cons

  • Adult-only infinity pool doesn’t have ocean views 
  • Resort layout means a long, hilly walk from guest rooms to beachfront
  • Quiet and semi-isolated location means expensive taxis to get around

Bottom Line

Zemi Beach House Resort and Spa is a four-and-a-half-pearl resort on Anguilla’s gorgeous Shoal Bay. The 65 bright rooms and villas feature king or queen beds, flat-screen TVs, kitchenettes (or kitchens), gorgeous natural details, and private balconies (some with ocean views and plunge pools). Zemi’s two sleek infinity pools include an adult-only option with a 60-foot lap lane and an oceanfront family pool. The sandy beach is lined with loungers and free water sports, and sea turtles use it as a breeding ground at certain times of year. Other amenities include a gym, two restaurants, a beautiful spa, and free breakfast buffets. All in all, this is one of the nicest luxury options on the island, but those wanting an even more intimate hotel might consider Frangipani Beach Resort in Mead's Bay instead.

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Scene

Posh boutique resort with fresh, contemporary style and stunning beach views draws couples and families

Zemi Beach House opened in February 2016 and the oceanfront property’s guest rooms are privately owned, but managed by the resort. The style throughout is fresh and modern, with a tropical vibe that has just the right touch of Caribbean details. Expect to see accents like gorgeous carved doorways, whitewashed barnacle lamps, and huge chandeliers made of bleached driftwood. On arrival, the cool towel and free fruit punch guests receive are a nice welcome, and set the tone for the overall laid-back vibe here. While the resort is built into a steep hill -- making post-beach walks a bit of a chore -- the grounds are gorgeous. Cement pathways with brick accents wind through the property, and are framed by palm trees, blossoming flowers, and thick groves of head-high tropical plants. It feels lush and wild, in contrast to the beach area. There you'll find a sleek design scheme that includes trellises and fountains. It’s worth noting that Zemi Beach House has its own desalinization facility, solar panels, and all tap water is drinkable. Most guests are from the United States and Europe, although Russians and Brazilians make their way here as well. The property also offers special rates for solo travelers, and during the holidays it's a popular getaway for families. Otherwise, expect couples looking for a quiet boutique property with plenty of romantic charm.

Location

On the beach in a quiet part of Anguilla, amid casual seaside dining and great snorkeling

Zemi Beach House is located in Shoal Bay East, right next to a lush national park. That makes this beachfront property one of the quieter and more secluded options to be found on Anguilla. Some of the island’s best snorkeling reefs are just offshore, and sea turtles take over the mile-plus long sandy beach during egg-laying and hatching season. A handful of restaurants serving Caribbean food -- from simple beach shacks to fine dining -- line the beach and are anywhere from a three- to 10-minute stroll from the property. The nearest ATM is an eight-minute drive from the property and a pharmacy and supermarket are both 15-minute drives from the resort. The Valley, Anguilla’s commercial capital, is around 15 minutes away by car, while it's a 25-minute drive to the Greg Norman-designed golf course across the island. Anguilla is surrounded by small islands with beach shacks, including Scilly Cay (a seven-minute drive and two-minute boat ride), Prickly Pear Island (two tasty restaurants and a combined 30-minute drive and boat ride), and Sandy Island (30-minute taxi and boat ride to reach). Blowing Point, where you'll find the jetty for ferries to St. Maarten, is 20 minutes away by car. Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport is a 15-minute drive from the hotel.

Rooms

Bright rooms with gorgeous hardwood details and private balconies, most with either sunset or sunrise views

Zemi Beach’s bright, modernrooms are a mix of privately owned guest rooms and villas. The latter are more like sprawling multi-room apartments, with huge balconies and perks like infinity plunge pools. In any case, across all categories, the look is beachy, though some are more attractive than others. Expect varying details like gray tile floors, wicker or hardwood accents, and framed prints of flowers, beach scenes, or ocean sunsets. 

All rooms have kitchenettes (or full kitchens) with stainless-steel microwaves and minibars stocked with soda, beer, liquor, and snacks (for purchase). The Illy coffee makers with free pods are a nice touch. Beds are a mix of kings or two queens, and all rooms include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The property’s pricier rooms feature amenities like full chef’s kitchens, washing machines, dryers, huge living rooms with flat-screen TVs, and plush couches. All units have private balconies and many also feature phenomenal sunrise or sunset views. Cribs are available for free. Irons and ironing boards can be borrowed from the front desk.

Zemi's bathrooms are a stand out, with travertine tile floors and petrified wood sinks with vintage nickel hardware. They also feature soaking tubs, rainfall showers, illuminated magnifying mirrors, and hairdryers. The toiletry list is impressively long and includes Malin + Goetz products plus bath salts. Other standards include natural bug repellant, cotton balls, and cotton swabs. While closets aren't always worthy of attention in a hotel, the cedar-lined closets here are lovely and hold safes, robes, and canvas bags (free to take home). 

Features

Gorgeous beach, free water sports, two pools, multiple restaurants, free breakfasts, and beautiful spa

While technically a boutique property, Zemi Beach House offers a number of nice features. First and foremost, the property features a gorgeous sandy beach lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Thriving reefs with some of the island's best snorkeling and diving are a short swim offshore. The hotel offers free snorkeling equipment, stand-up paddle boards, and kayaks. Back on land, two pools include a three-level adult-only infinity pool with a 60-foot lap area. Unfortunately, it has obstructed views and overlooks hotel buildings. Travelers wanting ocean views along with their swim should head to the family pool instead. Both pools offer free sunscreen, water stations, and fresh fruit skewers. 

Dining and drinking here is a fairly diverse affair, which is surprising given the resort's size. Restaurants are all located near the beach. For fine-dining, Stone offers Asian-inspired menus alongside ocean views. For something more casual, 20 Knots serves Caribbean and Latin American cuisine. It’s also where the tasty free breakfast buffet is served -- a huge perk on otherwise pricey Anguilla. Room service is available until late. Rhum Room is a rum-and-cigar bar that has a number of rare rums that can be sampled. The Bar and Lounge is the resort's open-air bar, serving cocktails and snacks. 

The property’s sprawling Asian-themed spa -- Zemi Thai House -- is something spectacular. It's set within a 300-year-old Thai house and includes a Turkish hammam, outdoor soaking pool, and relaxation areas. Standard spa services like massages, facials, and body treatments are available. The resort’s gym is stocked with Precor treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent and stationary bicycles, weight machines, dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls. It's open around the clock and trainers can be arranged for a fee. The property also has an astroturf tennis court, plus free rackets and balls. 

A kids' club is open during the day for children aged 4 and 12. It features activities including video game systems and foosball tables. Next to the kids' club is a small boutique selling sundries, jewelry, and clothing. The resort can arrange car rentals, taxis, dinner reservations, babysitters, airport or ferry transfers, and boat charters. Laundry service is available as is a printed daily New York Times digest. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout Zemi Beach House Resort and Spa.  

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Address

Shoal Bay Village, Caribbean

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