By Karen Loftus
Coined the gateway to the Caribbean by the Brits back in the day, Antigua maintains it’s sexy island allure to this day. The capital city of Saint Johns sees its share of ships, mainly cruise ships today, while English Harbor plays host to jetsetters that prefer to pop in on private yachts or sailing vessels. Regardless of how you arrive, you won’t ever want to leave Antigua.
If looking to stay on land at this West Indies enclave, the Hermitage Bay will certainly up the opulence ante. Rest assured, the spoiled scenario quickly kicks in upon arrival as Hermitage Bay’s attentive staff whisks you away from the airport in their luxury 4x4. We seamlessly settled into our suite in less than an hour. The luxurious ride to the airport was an easy breezy 35 minutes away.
Conveniently located in a hidden cove, Hermitage Bay feels miles away from civilization. As we lazily soaked in the island ambiance on our private deck, we could see the silhouettes of Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts in the distance. If we were to miss the modern madness or we needed a break from the serene silence, the hub of Jolly Harbor was but a quick ten minutes. It’s abuzz with its shops and local restaurants.
The Suite Life
It certainly is a sweet suite life at Hermitage Bay with 25 individual suites. Whether you stay in one of the 8 individual beachfront suites or one of the 17 suites that dot the lush hillside, your island oasis looks and feels more like a private villa than a suite. All suites have an uninterrupted view of the Caribbean Sea, while others provide panoramic views of the sea, harbor and mangroves.
If looking for bigger bragging rights, the Hillside Pool Suite will certainly sort you out. Our expansive wrap around deck, infinity plunge pool and outdoor rain shower was but the beginning of our exclusive sexy island suite. Be sure to secure in advance, as they are highly coveted.
Fine & Dining
With an all-inclusive offering, many imagine a bastion of bad buffets. That couldn’t be further from the truth at Hermitage Bay. Chef Dezi Banhan and his cheerful, highly esteemed team not only subscribe to farm to table, they pull the produce from their organic farm on site.
The 5 star menu is a mad mix of Modern European along with the local Caribbean cuisine and fresh classic American dishes. It is far from a seasonal menu, as their menu changes daily.
All dining outposts are but a few steps away from the sand. The Patriot’s almond trees provide a shady and relaxed dining experience; while the Lounge is all about the poolside ambiance, light bites and Caribbean cocktails. The Restaurant is a truly evocative spot to dine, especially during candlelit evenings when steel drums and calypso and jazz groups roll in. It makes for a very sexy and soulful evening.
Room service, poolside private dining in your individual suite, and picnics can be arranged at an additional cost. They are well worth the extra dosh.
Health & Wellness
Aside from the silence and the bounty of natural beauty that surround Hermitage Bay, their fitness center and yoga & Pilates classes were a well-needed bonus. If you’re looking to dip deeper into decadence and wellness, simply slip into their Garden Spa.
Their treatments are designed with health and wellness in mind, touching on all from colored light to aromatherapy and chakra balancing. You don’t have to believe in it, just bask in it as the treatments are far from your typical cookie cutter spa menu.
You can’t help but leave Hermitage Bay physically, emotionally and spiritually recharged and changed.
As idyllic as the resort is, it’s important to get off site to soak up the local scene, cuisine and culture. For the outdoor sect, there’s an endless string of adventure activities available. If looking to get out on the water, full and half day charters are available on catamarans. If you stay at Hermitage Bay for a year, you can hit a different beach each day, as there are 365 beaches on the island.
In the water you pick your passion. There are many options: snorkel, paddleboard, kayak, or sunfish. Scuba diving can also be arranged.
On the foodie front, explore the farm (literally) by hitting their organic farm on site. For the table, there are cooking classes to take. For a more aquatic angle, deep-sea fishing is a big fan favorite.
For cultural kicks, historical tours are available of old town or you can opt to take in all the beauty from above in a Helicopter tour. That may be the best feast available, both for the eyes and the soul.
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