Anguilla is an amazing gem, the best kept secret in the Caribbean. No nasty cruise ships full of fat demanding American junk shoppers, no St. Thomas-esc 3 MPH bumper to bumper traffic that consumes hours of your time traveling a few short miles. No bad attitudes, no shootings and crime, no American chain restaurants or hotels, just a pristine place lost in a time of simpler ways and simpler means chalked full of very pleasant and kind folks graced with indelible smiles. Ironically, their's more Northeast (New York & Boston) money on this island that you could imagine, but the place is without question a peaceful paradise only the lucky that have discovered it truly understand. The place really grows on you.
Know that Anguilla is not a place to come for night life, which is just fine by me, it is a couples and family haven, and I guess as I think about it, the only young people were the locals or the folks with school aged kids, the majority beyond that were 50+.
Disclaimer: I travel for a living and spend as many as a 100 nights a year on the road. I'm biased toward fancier accommodations and finer dinning, but I always eat at the bar over a table. It could be easy to read this review and think snob, but you need to know I truly enjoy the simplicity of a hammock on the beach and a cold beer as much as I like a pillow top mattress at the Ritz with a fine glass of wine. Try to keep that in mind as you read this review, I enjoy the aspects both extremes .
On to the hotel, Allamanda Beach Club in my opinon has no business being ranked 13 out of 28. I read most of the recent reviews and thought,"Oh, sounds good." ah, NOT.
Plan to starve unless you go shopping. The website tells of breakfast, but god only knows who serves it. The two non associated restaurants on and near the property are only open for one meal each, Gwen's for lunch on the beach and Zara's after 6PM for an very expensive dinner, not unlike most dinning establishments on Anguilla. Know also if you hang around the pool, you need to provide your own refreshments, there is no pool side bar or food. In fact, there is not food or beverage service from the hotel of any type. Breakfast and lunch and/or dinner if you don't want to drive are best had next door at Serenity.(Credit cards accepted.)
The Allamanda building itself is horribly worn and out dated, patched together repainted and shabbily repaired. The drapes barely hang on the rods, and don't even cover the patio door. The room to room noise durning the day with the doors open is really loud. One needs to whisper if the windows are open if you don't want to share your conversation with the rest of the guests! (Oblivious persons take note) I concur with other reviewers that the bedroom and the verandas are okay and the rooms are very quiet at night, but then again, so is the island as a whole. The beds are fairly comfortable and the bedroom furnishings are adequate and somewhat recent, including the plastic wrap that's still on the lamp shades, and as others have mentioned cable TV is 50 channels deep. (The free WiFi works well too!) I did sleep extremely well, almost like being in a tomb, but that's were it ends. The bathroom (tub/toilet room) is like the other reviewer mentioned, so small your leg hits the toilet roll or the wall. Honestly, the bath is just plan nasty, and the kitchen was so gross I felt I needed to wash rewash the glassware before I it was used. YUCK Don't get me wrong, I'm super Okay with simple, in fact in a place like Anguilla, I love simple, I just can't deal with grungy.
The very nice housekeeper advised me not to drink the tap water and advised me to drink the provided bottled water so as not to contract travelers ah hum yeah, that problem. The establishment provides all the bottled water you can drink.
Also know Allamanda is situated about 200 or more yards through the mangroves to the beach. There are a couple of sand paths that lead to the beach, but unless you're on the roof, you can NOT see the ocean from the property. Again, you can NOT see the beach from anywhere but the very upper floor or the roof.
The beach itself is behind a reef a half mile off shore. The calm water is less than 5 feet deep and absolutely crystal clear as glass and warm, a snorkelers wonderland. The sand is almost like powdered sugar and creamy white. On this side of the island, the trade winds provide a marvelously pleasant breeze both day and night. The temperature varied little from a max of 81° to a min of 72°. I never ran the air-conditioning at all, the gentle breeze off the water kept the place unbelievably perfect. (Ceiling fan in the bedroom)
Allamanda Beach Club and Serenity Cottages are east of Shoal Bay and are on the eastern end of the island. Why does this matter? The money, commotion and majority of people are on the far west end of the island and these properties are about as far east, secluded and private as you can be.
Bottom line, if you are used to camping in a tent or 2 x 4 stick framed camp cabin, you'd be in hog heaven at Allamanda, especially for the price, but if you're looking for the outback with some amenities and mild refinements, stay next store at Serenity Cottages. They have a 3 meal resturant and a bar on a very secluded beach, and you don't have to worry about sticking to anything in the room, like the floor or the toilet seat.
Note--Serenity Cottages don't queue up with the rest of the hotels on Anguilla on TripAdvisor--dig a bit to find them, it's worth the effort if you want the best quiet experience on Anguilla
Lastly, bring your cash card to Anguilla, you'll need it. Gwen's like many places here take only cash (both US and Eastern Caribbean dollars) The ATMs in The Valley provide both currencies without a transaction fee. Plan $100US+ per person per day for food without alcohol. Eggs Benedict is $31US with OJ and coffee for one. Dinner entries on average are $35 or more and $60US per person just for food is the norm. $250US for dinner with wine is not difficult at all.
A CAR IS A MUST!! Driving is easy and safe and you can't get lost.
Stay next door and Serenity. Bring flip flops for in the room.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.