Antigua Is a True Jewel
I must admit when I first booked a trip to write on Antigua resorts I did not know much about Antigua and Barbuda it’s tiny sister island paradise. I had heard there was some very high end resorts and “365 beaches one for every day of the year” not a bad catch phrase I was intrigued and set out to the small island group located in the Leeward Islands.
History of Antigua.
Originally populated by the Cuba Ciboney people that named the island Waladli meaning “our own” they were followed by the Arawak from the main land and other islands of the Caribbean and finally the Carib Indians in which the Caribbean is now named. In 1493 the first Europeans visited the the Island captained by the one and only Christopher Columbus who named it Antigua in 1493. Sugar became Antigua’s main crop, with Betty’s Hope estate being Antigua’s first sugar plantation in 1674. With the explosion of plantations throughout the island, slaves were imported from Africa to grow the sugarcane that Europeans craved. In the 18th century the United States went to war with Britain for independence and disrupted the sugar trade in the Caribbean. In 1807 Great Britain did away with slavery and all slaves where eventually emancipated by 1834.In 1968 Antigua and Barbuda became a commonwealth of Great Britain but eventually became completely independent in 1981.
Where is Antigua?
The island has 54.1 miles of coastline and is 108 Sq miles in total with its highest peak being Mount Obama named after the American president at 1,319 ft. Its population was 80,161 (at the 2011 Census). The largest city and capital is St. John with a population of 32,000 the next largest city is All Saints 3,412 followed by Liberta . By far tourism now leads the economy of this small island nation followed by agriculture.
Modern Day Antigua Has Been Molded By Tourism
By far the most profound change to the island both economically and socially was the boom in tourism led by the introduction of small boutique resorts and later the all inclusive and ultra exclusive resorts with some being located on the small private islands surrounding Antigua. Below are some great examples of each:
A Brief Look at Antigua All Inclusive Resorts
Sandals Grande Antigua
The six star all suite, all inclusive resorts is chic sophistication with a European flavor. With hillside villas and a stunning Mediterranean village the resort sits sea side on one of Antigua’s most famous beaches Dickenson Bay. Guests can relax and play in the fine white sand and explore a charming seaside garden called Caribbean Grove and its meandering walk ways. Enjoy the perfectly manicured palms or listen to the sweet sound of the cool trade winds.
Sandals Antigua boasts’ eleven world class restaurants, and master chefs from around the globe that will surely satisfy. Try the spicy island cuisine at Eleanor’s or a stir fry at Emperor’s Feast, want some Italian the way Mama made it then go straight to Mario’s where they don’t mind making it special for you. Whether you like white glove service or in the sand beach food this resort has about every taste one can imagine from a all inclusive Caribbean resort.
Antigua Boutique Resorts
Located in a hidden cove on the south west coast of the island surrounded by lush hillsides and stunning views of the cobalt blue Caribbean water. Hermitage Bay is what you would imagine paradise to be this is the place you go to decompress and escape from the life you left behind at the airport.
Mangroves surround the property and enhance the beauty of the bay with its delicate eco system and many plant species
From the 27 individual suits located on the beach or hillside you can look out into the distance and see the silhouettes of Nevis and Montserrat.
The dining experience led by executive chef Desror Spence serves up 5 star meals with a modern European flavor as well as Caribbean and American classics made from the freshest and best quality ingredients the island has to offer.. The menu changes daily and it is there goal to use locally grown produce to support the local economy they also have a large garden where they grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Galley Bay Antigua
Galley Bay Antigua, a boutique, unassuming, yet sophisticated hideaway where you can feel truly relaxed knowing everything is taken care of with it’s all inclusive package. The natural garden setting creates the perfect environment to get out of the fast lane and into Caribbean fantasy. I must say that the three quarter mile beach is the highlight of this resort perfect for a refreshing swim or just lazing with yours toe in the fine whit sand. Feeling really active take advantage of the many complimentary water and land sports and if you need some pointers talk to one of the knowledgeable instructors. There’s also nice swimming pool to lounge or get your laps in.
The 98 guest rooms scattered around the lush property make you feel as if you have your very own piece of paradise. Most accommodations are smartly located along the beach and if you are feeling like you want a bit more privacy with your own plunge pool try the Gaugan cottages with a beautiful lagoon view. It’s no wonder Galley bay was voted top 10 most romantic resorts in the Caribbean and Top 100 resorts in the world by Trip Adviser.com
The three romantic open air restaurants serve extremely delicious meals like Caribbean BBQ three times a day so you will never want to leave the resort. Stop by one of the lounges for evening hors d’oeuvres and by the glass wine later go to the cocktail party and live entertainment.
Antigua Ultra Exclusive Private Islands
Jumby Bay Antigua
With over four miles of arguably the best shoreline in Antigua and a spectacular half-mile stretch of beach lined with thatched bohios where you can lay back in cushioned chaises or grab a hammock strung between some palms, you can imagine how Columbus felt when he set foot here in 1493.
Jumby meaning “Playful Spirit” sets the mood for this luxuries resort located just a six-minute boat ride away from the coast of Antigua yet you feel world apart from the crowds on your own private island retreat.
With six restaurants to serve you can enjoy formal to laid back to burgers with prices varying. My favorite The Estate House the beautifully restored ivy-clad colonial home built in 1830 surrounded by beautiful gardens, palms and wild orchid’s offers up fine Italian food.
Antigua is fairly expensive, it is considered a high-end playground catering to the rich and famous with very little room for the budget traveler the accommodations food and excursions are all top shelf well worth saving for so you can say you have enjoyed the best of the Caribbean.
So come join the local residents such as Oprah Winfrey, Giorgio Armani and Eric Clapton; they are saving a beach chair for you.