If money’s not important but and style and privacy are, look no further than the uncompromisingly cool Carlisle Bay. This is the resort that breathed new life into the Caribbean hotel scene when it opened in 2003. And it remains a breath of fresh air. Brainchild of luxury hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray, and sister hotel to his iconic One Aldwych in London, it’s one of the most compelling options for luxury accommodation in Antigua. Nestled in the tropical rainforest on a magnificent white-sand beach, with a backdrop of lush, rolling hills, it oozes calm and tranquility.
With it’s clean lines and sleek, contemporary design, Carlisle Bay is a class act. Simple, understated and to the point – there’s no fuss and frills here. A neutral palette (whites, creams, pickled greys, beiges) and natural materials (wood, glass, cotton, linen, silk) allow the exquisite setting to speak for itself.
That said, there are some spectacular touches: a dramatic entrance over a lily pond adorned with flaming torches; a massive double-height lobby with large colonial plantation shutters and orchids everywhere; and a glass-fronted library with fiber-optic lighting that changes color at night (hailed by The Tatler as ‘the funkiest library on earth’). And if that doesn’t clinch it, not every luxury hotel can boast an air-conditioned private cinema with 45 Italian-designed leather seats. Get the picture’
Accommodation is everything you’d expect: tasteful, spacious, knockout views. There are two main options for dining: Indigo on the Beach, with an accent on grills, fresh seafood and salad; and the stunningly designed East restaurant (with fab fuchsia pink chairs set against a vast, unadorned grey wall), which serves Asian food in distinctly Zen surroundings.
- High on the Carlisle Bay wow list is the Jetty Dinner, the ultimate in romance: dinner at the end of their spectacular jetty, with complete privacy and nothing to distract you but the gentle lapping of the ocean.
- An equally enchanting option: select a coconut tree on the beach and Carlisle Bay will supply everything to ensure a romantic dinner beneath it: personal chef, orchids, maybe even a full moon if you ask nicely. Advance booking essential.
- Enjoy the stunning Caribbean sunset on the water, with a glass of champagne, on Carlisle Bay’s terrific Champagne Sunset Cruise.