The Sliding Doors Of Anguilla And My Birthday Fairy-Tale
Do you remember a movie quite a few years ago called ‘Sliding Doors‘ starring Gwyneth Paltrow? It’s two stories told in one of what happens to a girl (Gwyneth Paltrow) when she entered a subway system. In one story she caught the subway just in time before the sliding doors of the train closed behind her. That first story showed how the events of her life transpired as a result of her catching that train. The second story showed a brief encounter that stalled her for a moment and thus prohibited her from making that same subway train. It showed how vastly different her life would become from missing the train before the sliding doors closed.
I had a similar experience in Anguilla. As I do every year, I plan a birthday escape to a destination that I have never been. This year’s choice was St. Barths, but in the days leading to my birthday, I realized I planned things too close to the day I was to leave. All of the hotel rooms were sold out. Just a day before my birthday, I made an abrupt and last-minute decision to go to Anguilla. My friends in St. Maarten had arranged a cute little cottage for me to stay and a rent a car for me to use. I was beyond appreciative for the kind gesture. I was also directed to see the general manager of Hotel Cap Juluca, one of the finest resorts on the island. I was assured I would be taken care of. Another friend had directed me to see the owner of a beach bar in Sandy Ground. She assured me that her friend there would take care of me as well.
I arrived, checked into the cottage and headed straight to the beach bar. By the time I had found the location, it had started pouring down rain. A dark rain cloud was following me in what seemed to be every direction. I pulled into the beach bar to find it was closed and the owner was not even on the island. I clamored through puddles of water and rain to proceed to Cap Juluca and to meet the acquaintance of the general manager. When I arrived at the gate, still with the dark rain cloud hovering directly over me, I was told that the general manager was not on the property. I would later find out that he doesn’t even work there anymore.
Frustrated and feeling a bit down on my birthday, questioning my decision to come here alone, I followed the rain cloud to the main road and passed big beautiful gates that had a resort name elegantly displayed, ‘The Viceroy’. I passed the gates as I took note of the brand I was familiar with from many years of living in LA. By this time, I was hungry for lunch. I continued up ahead for a short distance and succumbed to my hunger. I made a quick u-turn and said, “What the hell! It’s my birthday. I’m treating myself to lunch at The Viceroy.”
Little did I know that entering the gates at that exact time would begin my own sliding doors experience. I drove down the long well-groomed luxurious entrance as the metaphor of sliding doors closed behind me.
There was a moment when I thought to turn off and head into the self parking but missed the turn. I proceeded to head to the valet where I suspected I could turn around and head back to self parking, but that chance never came.
As I pulled up to the valet, a tall, dark, well dressed and handsome man greeted my car with a beaming smile. He introduced himself and welcomed me to the resort. I inquired about where to park the car as he gave me my options. Soon after the dialogue, he insisted I let him valet it for me not before asking me where I would be joining my friends in the resort.
I informed him that it would just be me today. I let him know I was treating myself to lunch today since it was my birthday.
He didn’t hesitate for a beat and insisted he treat me to lunch and give me a tour of the resort. He ordered the valet to take my car as we walked into the astonishing entryway and into the vast and magnificently landscaped grounds. The beauty before me was breathtaking as we positioned ourselves near the open-air bar situated on a cliff overlooking the horizon. A horizon that seemed to start at the infinity pool only steps ahead of us. I looked up into the sky and noticed the stark color of blue. There wasn’t a single rain cloud as far as my eyes could see. I thought for a second I stepped into a dream. Where did that dark rain cloud go?
He asked which restaurant I preferred, the Italian, the Sushi or the Middle Eastern? Of course it would have to be Middle Eastern since it was my favorite cuisine and a fitting choice to indulge in on my birthday.
He guided me to a golf cart that would bring us through the property and down to the restaurant situated on a sweet beach cove. On the way down, he insisted on introducing me to each one of the guests that we passed while notifying each of them that it was my birthday. During that ride he offered me an invitation to a sunset party he would be hosting that night at the Sunset Bar. I pleasingly accepted and decided to pretend it would be my own secret birthday party.
After I accepted, he then offered to provide me with a day-room that I could use to freshen up in before the evening party. I couldn’t believe my luck. What a wonderful gift and at a 5-star resort!
As we entered the restaurant, he ordered the wait staff to take care of me and informed them that he would be picking up the bill. He continued to insist on telling everyone we came across that it was my birthday.
What transpired from here continued to be something out of a fairy-tale lasting for two days. I promised this generous man I would not write about all of the details, but what I can say is that from the moment I pulled up to The Viceroy, I was treated at times like a princess, a celebrity with the red carpet rolled out or a millionaire that demands the best in attention and detail. Over-run with hospitality, luxurious settings, 5-star service and my own space and privacy to enjoy it all for the time I was in Anguilla.
The man whom I met that was responsible for it all informed me later that his schedule is run extremely tight. The fact that he had the few minutes to spare that day when we met was not common. He insisted it must be fate and my good luck.
Needless to say, I did not have use for the cottage, nor the rental car, nor the general manager at Cap Juluca, nor the beach bar owner in Sandy Ground. I found my own fairy-tale birthday designed by fate and sliding doors at The Viceroy-Anguilla.
It reminds me, like the movie did, that a single moment in time, a single chance meeting could simply change the direction of your life.
Correction: It has been brought to my attention that I previously captioned one of the photos wrong. I have corrected the caption in the view from the infinity pool to reflect this mistake.