Case Study

Belmond Cap Juluca Beauty and Resilience Packaged Into a 5-Star Oasis

Anguilla, British West Indies

The Challenge

The client, Belmond, asked HKS to reimagine a high-end beachfront resort in the small Caribbean island of Anguilla. The firm was tasked with preserving the resort’s understated beauty and intimate scale while maximizing its potential to welcome discerning luxury travelers from around the world. The assignment was made more complicated by the island’s remoteness and the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

The Design Solution

Originally designed by famous California architect Oscar Farmer, Cap Juluca resort first opened its doors to guests in 1988, its white Greco-Moorish villas lining the crescent-shaped Maundays Bay in Anguilla. That sheltered location on a cove between saltwater ponds and the ocean gives the resort the feel of a hideaway within a hideaway, its pristine beaches, gentle breezes and graceful architecture drawing a loyal following for 30 years. HKS’ approach was to treat the repositioning with a light touch, adding 24 keys by designing new buildings in the same architectural style and upgrading the existing villas.

While HKS was intent on respecting Belmond Cap Juluca’s serene landscape and unobtrusive architecture, it also designed the resort to make it more resilient against the Eastern Caribbean’s natural conditions, from storms to drought — a course of action made that much more urgent by the hurricanes that blew through Anguilla in 2017 as the renovation was getting underway. The hurricane damage prompted the client to embrace HKS’ recommendation to go beyond reactive design strategies to envision a new baseline of both active and passive design strategies, such as raising building elevations to protect against storm surge. In addition to properly positioning and angling the new resort structures, HKS used high wind-resistant glazing, doors and permeable façades that conform  with the stringent requirements of the Miami-Dade County building code that is the industry standard in designing for hurricane resilience. These design decisions will make it easier for Belmond Cap Juluca to weather and rebound from future storms without sacrificing the guest experience: ocean views, sea breezes and the hotel’s glamorous, laid-back aesthetic.

The new guestrooms — adorned with tropical woods, limestone and custom floor tiles — position the beds facing stunning beachfront vistas. The redesigned bathrooms lead to private patios for fresh air and soaking in the sun. The low-key architecture flows into the resort’s main house, where rounded arches frame show-stopping views of Maundays Bay, inviting arrivals to cast off their worries and dip into paradise.

The Design Impact

The transformation of Belmond Cap Juluca has drawn laudatory reviews and awards from prestigious publications such as Condé Nast Traveler and GQ Magazine. Travel + Leisure, one of the most distinguished travel magazines across the globe, listed Belmond Cap Juluca among the best new hotels in the world in 2019. In its review, Condé Nast Traveler praised the resort for its “bright and breezy” vibe: “Retreating to one’s room in the middle of the day feels like a cop-out at many places, but here the indoor-outdoor flow transforms a late-afternoon nap into a pleasure without the guilt. Each residence is just steps away from the beach, so close that putting on shoes would be foolish.”

Project Features

  • 66 rooms
  • 42 suites
  • Main house
  • Four restaurants, cocktail lounge and bar
  • Infinity pool
  • Spa
  • Water sports, tennis, golf


  • 2019 AHEAD Americas Best Resort
  • 2019 Travel + Leisure Best New Hotels in the World