Resort Review: Caribbean culture believes that the shedding of the frangipani leaf is the ultimate symbol of the passage of time. For vacationers at the Frangipani Resort on Meads Bay in Anguilla, the setting is so beautiful that one can only hope that time stands still.
For Jan and Alex Klingen, life amidst this pastel existence is a mixture of work and pleasure. In August of 2009, the Houston couple put their version of the American dream on hold to take on the challenge of running a resort on one of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean.
When asked how their new hotel endeavor is perceived back in Houston, Jan Klingen smiled and arched her eyebrows skyward. "Family and friends back home are all envious of what we are doing, but running a hotel, no matter where it is located, sounds a lot more glamorous than it is," Klingen said.
Klingen is quick to credit Frangipani's heady success to her cohorts. "Our staff is incredible. When we read the reviews from our guests, they always mention a particular staff member who has gone the extra mile," Klingen said.
The Frangipani is favored with a location that is second to none for sheer beauty. Frangipani's ideal positioning on Meads Bay beach stretches to the left with miles of white sand. On the right there is a rocky cove that provides a gorgeous photo opportunity.
Frangipani's breathtaking beachfront setting is an asset that Jan Klingen sees as a way to market the property further. "We are currently developing a marketing strategy to make Frangipani the perfect choice for a destination wedding. With our 19 suites, it's possible for a family to basically take over the property.
Frangipani is definitely a value-added property. "We have two boats for private excursions. We've received tremendous feedback from guests who've taken advantage of our sunset cruises or just a private outing on our beautiful turquoise water," Klingen said.
Anguilla is also a great site for couples looking to tie the knot. "We're excited about presenting Frangipani as an awesome wedding on the beach experience. Our goal is to make the Frangipani the destination of choice for vacationers who love coming to the Caribbean again and again," Klingen said.
Repetition is a good thing in the hotel business. "About 35 to 40 percent of our guests are repeat customers. A repeat customer makes life easy for us. They know exactly what they want before they get here. In a lot of cases, they know which of our 19 oceanfront rooms they desire, and which of the islands' restaurants we should book when they arrive," Klingen said.
No one exemplifies Frangipani satisfaction more than Karen and Jeffrey Wien of New York City. "We've been coming to Frangipani since it first opened in 1992. We love Meads Bay Beach and we love the Frangipani. My wife and I always look forward to our time in Anguilla," Jeffrey Wien said.
Frangipani's reputation is growing by the day. The hotel registry reveals a significant number of guests from Canada, Britain, and the east coast of the United States. They also recently received guests from Italy and Scotland. With each new visitor, the Klingens' team garners feedback on what has worked and what hasn't. Like most hotel managers, the Klingens wish there was more time in the day to accomplish all the tasks necessary to make a Frangipani stay an extraordinary one.
"It's hard to believe we've been here in Anguilla for seven months already. Where did the time go?" Klingen asked out loud. In Anguilla, not even the Frangipani hotel manager can make time stand still. The good news is that the frangipani leaf sheds a bit more slowly when on island time.