Just three hours flight time from Miami lies the former British colony: the island of Antigua. Its azure waters and balmy climate are just a few of the alluring aspects but the thing that stands out at the forefront of my mind after even a short time here, is the friendliness of its people. A short 8 minute launch takes you from the mainland to Antigua’s most exclusive address: the 300 acre island, Jumby Bay, which was to be home for the next two nights.
Stepping off the boat, with my silk scarf fluttering in the wind, we were met by the charming, Melinda, Guest Services Director, holding a tray of rum punches, and led to the open-air lobby — this all seemed very promising! We walked past hobie-cat sail boats, paddle boards, kayaks and other water toys parked on the horse shoe shaped bay dotted with lounge chairs and umbrellas.
A golf cart took us off to the Courtyard Suites. I am ensconced in No. 42 which has a large grassy lawn overlooking the sea. The room itself is light and airy with vaulted cathedral ceilings, a four poster bed, the biggest flat screen TV (that controls everything from temperature to lighting, to music, and to the TV itself!). It also has a great bathroom with outdoor shower and tub. French doors open onto a patio and it feels very private. Each suite is complete with two bicycles (not my favorite means of conveyance…) and there is always the option to call for a golf cart.
In addition to the handful of rooms and suites, Jumby Bay has 56 villas and spectacular estate homes dotted around the island, many of which are in the “rental pool” which means that you too, can enjoy these sumptuous properties when their well-heeled owners are not in residence. I toured several of these and my favorite was the 4-bedroom Oleander (also with a 2-bedroom guest house) which had that colonial, open air, casual elegance… I could truly picture my family recharging their batteries here with loads of space for everyone.
Jumby Bay is capably managed by Rosewood Hotels and as such, one of their flagship properties. I love the all-inclusive concept — literally all meals, beverages and non-motorized water activities are included in the price so no “nickel + diming” that you so often feel at Caribbean resorts. Dinner the first night was at the Verandah Restaurant right on the beach — I had freshly-caught grilled grouper. The second night, General Manager, Andrew Hedley who heralds from Kenya, but has been in the Caribbean the past 22 years, hosted us for dinner in the lovely Estate Restaurant, the resort’s more formal venue. I started with a catalan of asparagus followed by fresh mahi mahi. Great ambiance, beautifully prepared and delicious cuisine, a caring staff and lots to do have made our stay here truly memorable.