After taking a double dose of ferries from St Barth to St Martin and on to Anguilla, it was a delight to step into Harmony, one of the three luxury villas at Sheriva, and find the staff waiting with a light lunch and fruit punch—with or without rum—to welcome my husband and me to our two-day getaway. Harmony is flanked by Infinity, an identical villa, and Mystique, which offers a different layout.
The three-villa, 10-acre gated complex was designed and built by native Anguillian Sheridan Smith, who had spent 30 years in the construction business in St Thomas. “He is a very hands-on owner; you might find him watering the plants early in the morning and chatting with the guests,” says General Manager Jeannine Connor-Gittens, who was born in St Croix and lived in Miami before moving to Anguilla and working in hotel management.
Harmony’s sheer size sets it off from typical villa rentals: its 14,000 square feet are divided into three levels, with seven bedrooms (a master suite, three king suites, two queen suites, and a twin-bed guest room), eight-and-a-half-baths, living room, dining room, game room, office, media room, two swimming pools, and assorted decks and terraces. Perhaps the most charming of the suites is the loft suite, located on its own on the upper level, for extra privacy. This is often used for a honeymoon couple’s cocoon, while family and friends stay downstairs during what Connor-Gittens calls a “family-moon,” or extended stay by guests at a destination wedding.
Equipped for large families or groups of friends, the kitchen at Harmony has just about anything you can think of, and lots of it: plates and glassware to serve a banquet and all the pots, pans, and utensils to cook one up. And it was all very logical—just about anything I looked for was exactly where it needed to be, from tissue boxes to a basket of pool towels near the door to the terrace, where teak chaises await those who worship the sun.
The interior designer for Sheriva is Norma Chase Jobert, a Canadian based in St Martin. I was particularly taken by her use of colour, with pastels, including a buttery yellow and a perky pink, juxtaposed next to earth tones, such as russet, cinnamon, and mustard, so that nothing is too bright or jarring. Cool champagne-colour Italian marble floors mix with warm woods used for all the doors, windows, and ceilings. The wood tones range from deep honey to dark cocoa, adding warmth to the overall design. The termite-resistant tropical hardwoods come from Guyana and include greenheart and andiroba, which were harvested from eco-friendly FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) areas.
We stayed in the master suite at Harmony, which pretty much defines the term, “the lap of luxury.” The bedroom features a king-size bed with doors that open to the terrace and delightful breezes coming off the ocean. A small office area, a large bathroom with jacuzzi tub and a welcoming day bed as well as double sinks with granite countertops, and an adjoining dressing room complete the suite’s layout. Throughout the villa, the furnishings are a comfortable mix of classic Asian and Caribbean styles with contemporary accents, as well as colourful artwork, ranging from abstract splashes of colour to Afro-Caribbean women dancing.
The villas at Sheriva come with all of the amenities of a hotel, including every conceivable toiletry, yet they also offer a degree of privacy that surpasses most hotels. “We did have to overcome the fact that we are not located on the beach,” admits Connor-Gittens, as Sheriva is set above the beach and a lagoon. So while just about every room and terrace at Harmony and the other Sheriva villas has ocean views, the retreat does not have that feet-in-the-sand proximity. To combat this, Harmony comes with its own road-worthy golf cart, and guests are welcome to use it to drive down to Cap Juluca, one of Anguilla’s top luxury hotels, which is at the end of the road where Sheriva is located. Guests also have signing privileges at Cap Juluca’s restaurants.
The first night at Harmony we took advantage of the friendly staff, and had dinner on the terrace under the light of a beautiful full moon. Santiago, our private chef, whipped up some steak and mashed potatoes, which was served by the daily concierge. It was a perfect night to linger outside for a dessert of lightly chocolate-covered bananas with vanilla ice cream, and another glass of red wine. Santiago was back from breakfast with a platter of scalloped and hand-cut fresh fruit, toast, and eggs made to order.
“Our guests are primarily American,” says Connor-Gittens, who indicated that they are beginning to have more guests from Europe, Russia, South America, and now Canada. “Harmony is a great villa for large families with teenagers, with the lower level with the large-screen TV in the media room, its own kitchen, the gym, and pool. There is privacy for everyone.” In addition to Harmony and Infinity, Sheriva’s third villa, Mystique, offers five similar master-suites, so that five couples can enjoy equal accommodations.
Harmony and the villas at Sheriva offer the ideal home away from home. A private villa with the amenities of a hotel, a hotel with the privacy of a private home—what a great way to enjoy the best of both worlds. M
Writer Ellen Lampert Greaux
Photographer Rosemond Greaux and courtesy Sheriva