Hermitage Bay

The long, dusty road that leads to this secluded retreat must sow seeds of doubt in the minds of many a weary traveler. But one step into the reception area and things change – big time. No need to brace yourself for the standard hotel check-in nightmare (queues, frayed nerves, impatient staff): it’s all lovely smiles, tropical foliage, dark wood furniture and an ultra-serene vibe. A series of very cool original black-and-white photos of Bob Marley sets the tone.

Tucked into an exquisite bay, the resort is embraced by tropical greenery and lush, green hills. Décor is contemporary Caribbean with a Balinese/Asian twist. Sink into one of the sofas in the open-air lounge and you can gaze into the blue beyond for hours on end. The entire approach, according to owner Andy Thesen, is ‘gentle-handed’ – with a very skilful eye on detail (such as the beautifully designed salt and pepper shakers – white, of course).

The public areas at Hermitage are lovely, but the hands down stars of the show are the 25 knock-out beach and hillside cottages. Entwined in tropical splendor, the spacious hillside suites are about as close as you’ll get to outdoor living: louvered doors open out onto eye-popping views of tropical hills, the glistening sea and Montserrat and Nevis; the large, curtained verandahs have daybeds and plantation chairs; spacious private plunge pools add an extra splash of luxury; and outdoor showers give the effect of bathing in a tropical rainforest. The interiors combine tropical dark wood with simple, natural materials (plenty of crisp, white linen and cotton). Add luxurious bathrooms (with freestanding tubs), flat-screen TVs, iPod docks with great speakers, complete seclusion – if you’re not in love with your partner when you arrive, you will be by the time you leave.

The food- Again, no fuss and frills – simple, very tasty dishes, well prepared, where possible using local ingredients and organic produce from the resort’s own garden. There are some great wines, the local fruits and fresh juices are delicious and the coffee is excellent.

Hermitage Bay is one of the new kids in town, relatively speaking, but there’s already a string of prestigious awards safely under its belt. No surprises there. And what it may lack in history, it most certainly makes up for in style and sophistication. Limbo dancing and fluorescent wristbands are most definitely not on the agenda here. It’s all about low-key luxury and terrific service in an exceptional setting (and rates reflect this).

Chances are, if you’ve booked into this romantic hideaway the last thing on you mind is bright lights and disco balls. But if you really feel the need to remind yourself of the outside world, no doubt some kind soul at Hermitage will pop you in a taxi and point you in the right direction – back on that long, dirt road again!

  • Hermitage is a no kiddy zone (12 and up only) – a major contributing factor to the ultra-serene vibe.
  • Be sure to check out the seriously inspired selection of fab clothes, jewelry and accessories at the boutique (streets ahead of the usual resort boutique).
  • For mega self-indulgence try out some of the excellent treatments at the garden spa.
  • It’s welcome news that Hermitage is serious about its commitment to environmental protection: it has a ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ policy and, where possible, uses sustainable building materials, natural detergents and beauty products, solar energy technologies and locally grown organic fruits and vegetables.
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