On first impression, the new CuisinArt Resort & Spa on Anguilla seems both strikingly beautiful and very, very odd. Its mile-long crescent of beach resembles frothed cream, and the water is that brilliant, mesmerizing Caribbean blue. But above the sand hover whitewashed villas capped by cerulean blue domes. Why does this place look as if it were stolen in the dead of night from the island of Santorini? Why Aegean architecture on a Caribbean island, where the prevailing style is pastel-painted wood cottages?
Well, once you find out that Anguilla's two other high-end resorts adhere to a Moorish style, the answer is, Why not? Anyway, if the CuisinArt stuck purely to indigenous offerings, guests would be left without any tomatoes, lettuce or eggplant. Instead, the Mediterranean-Caribbean cuisine, like the aromatic Arabian jasmine planted around the hotel and the fountain outside my room, sets out to improve on nature, creating a sense of gorgeous artificiality.
Nature, for instance, never intended for tomato vines to grow 20 feet tall. Dr. Howard Resh, a stoop-shouldered, bespectacled man, talks with zeal about the hydroponic garden in the resort's 18,000-square-foot greenhouse. Resh says things like "automatic irrigation with solenoid valves." I have no idea what he's talking about, only that these vegetables are grown not in soil but in water enriched with nutrients. Upon tasting a ripe cherry tomato plucked from a vine, I'm staggered by its sweetness. And like a typical convert, I now believe that every island resort should have its own hydroponic garden.