We have been driving along the Fig Tree Drive, which follows the South coast of Antigua & Barbuda, for a while now. The road is lined up with banana trees, lush vegetation and very simple houses inhabited by local Caribbean people leading their simple and materially unprosperous lives. Ambling along the road with potholes we suddenly come across with a gate to the Carlisle Bay hotel and we take a turn to a wide, long driveway towards the hotel’s reception.
We accept gratefully courteous staff’s offer to take our suitcases and sink into a white sofa to watch wide-eyed over the scenery which is opening in front of our eyes. Carlisle Bay’s huge, two-storey high reception room is big enough to fit at least 10 decent sized London studio flats. Its tranquil decor with soft sofas, orchids and a warm breeze blowing through the open windows is enough to make us realise that we have arrived to another world. Friendly and impeccable mannered hotel receptionist serves us a cocktail and a scented cold towel to freshen up. I think I could stay here forever.
We are taken to our suite, which is one of the Ocean Suites located on the calmer end of the bay, away from the families who tend to stay in the Beach villas. I quickly fall in love with the minimalist decor of the room, muted colours and a vast bathroom-dressing room area with separate his-and-hers wardrobes. I make quick mental notes of all the design elements that succeed flawlessly to create calmness, luxury and a holiday-flair without being one bit pretentious. Gordon Campbell Grey, who is the creator of Carlisle Bay, is a genius.
I immediately feel like home (or better than at home) in our new surroundings. Every detail has been thought through from the right espresso maker to bathrobes and daily fruit deliveries. It is so easy to lounge around in a room with a comfortable arm chair and a sofa or to chill on the balcony where a day-bed with soft cushions and a sea view are perfect company for reading a book or having a chat after a day on the beach. We liked how secluded the room felt like even though each building is split into 6 suites.
It is hard to make the most of the lovely suite when there is so much to do outside. We go for long swims in the beautiful pool, play tennis and spend time on the beach. There is also so much to discover in Antigua (see my previous post Exploring Antigua – A Paradise Found) and even how nice a resort is, it is crucial for me to see the real part of the country, too.
Every morning we wake up for wonderful breakfast served outside. The kitchen has guessed my favourite brunch ingredients: smoked salmon, scrabbled eggs, smoothies and fresh fruit. In the evenings we dine in one of the two restaurants in the resort or grab a simple pizza in the pool side bar, Ottimo!. East is an Asian restaurant where the Antiguan kitchen is mastering very authentic Asian flavours. Indigo on the Beach presents beautiful Caribbean cooking. The hotel serves for its guests complimentary afternoon tea which we enjoyed one late afternoon when a rain surprised us before the sunset.
The resort’s family-friendliness is clear and many of the guests are there with their small babies, children or teenage kids. It was not a problem for us to be one of the single couples though as there is enough space for everyone. Besides the kids were too busy enjoying themselves to cause tantrums. Of course, the gorgeous Pavillion Bar could have been more lively if all guests had been our age but one doesn’t travel to Antigua for the party scene anyway.
Overall Carlisle Bays scores 10 out of 10 to me. We really could not have asked for more.
Old Road St. John’s, Carlisle Bay, Antigua and Barbuda
Tel: +1 268-484-0000
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