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haute Winter 2012

Caribbean

VILLA ROCKSTAR Eden after the fall?

SIZE is important We size up some famous Caribbean beaches

How ‘haute’ are you?


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Laluna GRENADA


The Sandpiper

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contents 5

A warm welcome to HAUTE and www.haute-hotels.com.

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What’s going on? The latest Caribbean happenings.

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Size is important We walk some of the Caribbean’s finest hotel beaches.

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Haute Tables Highlighting two exciting Caribbean restaurants.

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How ‘Haute’ are you? What we’re looking for in a HAUTE HOTEL.

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The Sandpiper, Barbados It’s all about the people.

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Carlisle Bay, Antigua The most stylish hotel in Antigua.

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It’s all in the detail We love the ‘little things’!

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Laluna, Grenada A great choice for a Bali-style spa break.

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Jalousie Plantation, St. Lucia No longer overshadowed by the Pitons.

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Canouan Resort, Grenadines World-class golf course.

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Hermitage Bay, Antigua A luxury all-inclusive!

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Curtain Bluff, Antigua Very good value. Believe us!

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Antigua Messing about in boats!

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The Inn at English Harbour Just a boat ride from Nelson’s Dockyard.

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Eden Rock, St. Barths Run away to the Garbo Suite.

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Cap Maison, St. Lucia Up on the roof!

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Coral Reef, Barbados A classic beach resort with a very sexy spa.

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East & South Coast Highlighting Little Arches and The Atlantis Hotels.

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Hotel St-Barth Isle de France, St. Barths Style and Substance.

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Blue Waters, Antigua Escape to Rock Cottage.

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Ottley’s Plantation Inn, St. Kitts Monkey Business!

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Montpelier Plantation, Nevis The ultimate house party hotel.

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Guanahani, St. Barths After some time en famille?

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Spice Island Beach Resort It’s a family affair.

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Cobblers Cove The Colleton Suite.

Curtain Bluff

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Cap Maison

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Montpelier Plantation

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All the text written for this e-magainze is the copyright of HAUTE HOTELS. Nothing may be reproduced without the company’s written consent. All the information is given in good faith and HAUTE HOTELS accept no responsibility for any change in standards, personnel or facilities at the hotels. Details correct January 2012.

Spice Island Beach Resort

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Carlisle Bay ANTIGUA


introducing

haute It’s with the greatest of pleasure that we welcome you to HAUTE, the companion magazine to haute-hotels.com Just like our new website, it’s a celebration of all that’s great about Caribbean hotels, but from a refreshingly down-to-earth perspective ... We firmly believe that plain speaking is the way to go nowadays and thankfully our featured hotels are on the same wave length. (None of them have anything to worry about anyway, as all of them are quite gorgeous in their own individual ways.) And isn’t it true that for every man who’d hate to be stranded on an island the size of London’s Hyde Park, there are three who couldn’t think of anything better? The magazine also gets to go where our website doesn’t. We delve a little deeper into the finer points of our featured hotels, shining the spotlight on things like their spas, their golf courses and even their culinary philosophy. We also highlight the ways in which they go that extra mile to treat their guests and have come up with everything from home-made Extra Virgin olive oil to Twinings tea in the wet bar. And just so you know what makes a HAUTE HOTEL, we’ve also come up with a decidedly tongue-in-cheek list of some of the things we’re looking for. We stopped ourselves when we reached twenty and no doubt you can think of plenty more - or at least some interesting alternatives! Finally we draw your attention to some worthwhile opportunities on the islands themselves. There’s an exciting new shopping ‘experience’ in Barbados, for example, as well as a waterside restaurant in Antigua where you get to choose your next super-yacht. And we’ve even walked some of the Caribbean’s most famous beaches, just so you don’t have to!

Hotels have become more than just places to stay. They are as much a statement about who we are as what we wear or drive. HAUTE HOTELS prefers to focus upon those that have still got plenty of substance behind the style ...

Enjoy! Jackie Loxham Editor

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What’s going on?

The Rainforest Spa at Jalousie Plantation is just one more reason to put St. Lucia at the top of your bucket list ... When Englishman Roger Myers decided to add a spa to his five-star beach resort in St. Lucia he knew he didn’t want anywhere minimalist or cutting-edge. Neither did he want something that had borrowed its ‘look’ from Bali, Thailand or classical Rome. After all, Roger’s spa already had its own inspirational setting - the spectacular cleavage between the Gros and Petit Pitons, a mystical spot which the Amerindians had used as a place of worship centuries earlier. So with the help of his favourite architect Lane Pettigrew (not to mention US$2 million and a posse of local craftsman) he created an organic ‘treehouse’ spa that not only pays homage to the island’s indigenous people, but also to its exotic location between a Caribbean jungle and ocean. Access to the central pavilion is via a long and winding tunnel softly lit by candles. Then raised walkways lead through the canopy of trees to the seven treatment gazebos, raw woods, hand-woven walls and roughhewn stones establishing a vibe that’s both sensual and back-to-nature. The relaxation pavilion has a waterfall, natural pond and running stream as its soothing backdrop, even the local tree frogs getting in on the act at dusk by contributing the kind of background ‘music’ you usually only get on a CD. And naturally all the product lines here are wholly organic. The body and skincare products come from Environ, Green Papaya and Academie France, CACI hailed as an effective and lasting alternative to cosmetic surgery. Signature treatments include Bamboo Massages, Sulphur & Lime Wraps and Chocolate Body Scrubs, the wet room, beauty suite and Temascal (steam dome) also occupying you for an indecently long time.

WINTER INDULGENCE Jalousie Plantation, St. Lucia Valid 4 January to 30 April, 2012 Enjoy one of Jalousie’s luxury villas at a rate of just US$759 per room per night including breakfast. This is a saving of more than US$140 per night on the standard rate and if you stay for 6 nights you also get an extra night free. (Please note the rate is subject to 8% tax and 10% service charge.) www.jalousieplantation.com


limegrove lifestyle centre holetown, barbados

Anyone who was under the impression that a laidback beach vacation in Barbados was the perfect excuse not to go shopping can think again ... The Limegrove Lifestyle Centre is now open for business on island’s aptly-named Platinum Coast. World-famous retailers such as AIX Armani Exchange, Vilebrequin, Bvlgari and Ralph Lauren have already bagged themselves stores here, other leading names including Chanel, M.A.C. cosmetics, Agent Provocateur and Theo Fennell (just in case London’s Fulham Road is too far to go for his beautifully crafted jewellery). Boutiques include Pure Source for luxury skincare products and Un Dimanche à Paris for girly but gorgeous fashions. And even the long-awaited Louis Vuitton ‘anchor store’ on the corner finally swung its doors open in December - you never know, they may even have some of those ‘designer condoms’ hidden away behind all those iconic handbags. ‘Happenings’ at the lifestyle centre include wine tastings, cultural displays and art shows. Future plans include a cinema, art gallery, fitness centre, 56 private residences and even a cosmetic clinic for those in need of a little ‘attention’. The Lime Bar and Zoola Café are perfect when you want to take a breather - just don’t allow yourself to sink into buyer’s remorse. The Limegrove Lifestyle Centre promises to be ‘the most stylish place to shop, dine, lime and live in the Caribbean’ and who are we to say different?

Photo:[Yuri Arcurs]/Shutterstock.com

See www.limegrove.com for up-to-the-minute information.

BRANDS • Agent Provocateur • Armani Exchange • Breitling • Bobbi Brown • Dior • Cartier • Gucci • Louis Vuitton • Mont Blanc • Ralph Lauren • Ren • Salvatore Ferragamo • Tag Heuer • Vilebrequin


Blue Waters, Antigua

BLUE WATERS Antigua CANOUAN RESORT The Grenadines

The Caribbean hotel world is still buzzing with the news that US$100 million is being invested into the Canouan Estate over the next 3 years ... The chairman of Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, Dermot Desmond, has joined forces with the original developer Antonio Saladino and the dynamic duo’s exciting plans include the construction of a yacht marina, more private villas and an ultra-luxury boutique hotel. Work has just begun on redeveloping the swimming pool area. And even though guests will only have the use of an ‘interim’ pool until August, don’t necessarily let this stop you visiting the island right now. At 1,200-acres the Canouan Estate is large enough to handle all the development - after all, you don’t let those new condos going up along the west coast of Barbados put you off Sandy Lane do you? The construction of the new hotel above Godahl Beach is already well under way and the only time you’re even aware of anything going on is if you walk or take a speed-boat ride across to the spa. Even then you don’t hear much (we didn’t hear anything at all) as most of the heavy work has already been completed.

Further details available shortly, but see page 32 to find out why you should stay at this luxury resort right now. Nightly rates from US$950 winter $700 summer including breakfast. www.canouanresort.com

Blue Waters might be a couple of years younger than Madonna (the hotel arrived in the 60s, the pop star in the 50s), but this Antiguan institution is doing all it can to keep itself in equally good shape. A brand new waterfront spa and dining venue have just opened in The Cove Suites section - you’re already spoilt over there with hush-hush infinity edge swimming pools to laze beside. But should you prefer to stay in the main part of the resort, then take note that the 2 and 3-bedroom villas of Pelican House have just been gussied up too. Their ‘beach chic’ decor was beautifully conceived by Gary Randall (the owner’s son) whilst their amenities and layout are veritably residential - think open-plan kitchen, living and dining areas, as well as a couple of bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. You also get access to a plunge pool, sundeck and gazebo, their oceanfront location yielding blissful views, as well as easy access to a small cove. 2 bed villas from $1,394 per night. 3 beds from $1,751 per night. Breakfast included. www.bluewaters.net

Canouan Resort, The Grenadines


Eden Villa Rockstar at Eden Rock in St. Barths is the kind of jaw-dropping place you expect to find in the Hollywod Hills rather than on the edge of a Caribbean beach. Step inside and you half expect Rod Stewart to be chatting up a blonde on the sundeck or Keith Richards to be throwing a TV in the swimming pool ...

after the fall

But actually this 16,000 sq.ft. glass-and-stone enclave is where you get to make like a rock star for a few days, the 10 ft. walls keeping your fans away, the technogym maintaining your washboard abs and the recording studio (yes, there’s a real one here!) guaranteeing your next number one album. And there’s even space for that monosyllabic bodyguard you don’t go anywhere without. The villa itself is set over three floors, the entry ‘leisure level’ boasting a central courtyard that will put you in mind of a soccer pitch (the grass isn’t real though), as well so much contemporary white space that you’ll need to wear your Aviator shades at all times. Sixteen members of your entourage can join you on the horseshoe-shaped settee, the Schiffini kitchen is only matched by the Xavier Lust dining table, whilst just outside there’s a circular swimming pool, as well as an 8-person spa pool. A private gate opens onto the ultra-fashionable St. Jean beach, all the culinary delights of Eden Rock hotel and St. Jean itself just a few minutes’ walk away.

Rates available on request from info@edenrockhotel.com. From €7,000 to €20,000 per night, including breakfast. 4-bedroom Villa Rockstar and 2-bedroom Villa Nina can be rented together to make a 6-bedroom enclave.

Yet there’s more. The four bedrooms are accessed via a glass stairway and appropriately named after Freddie Mercury, Bob Marley, John Lennon and Bob Dillon. All of them boast ocean views and Freddie’s even has its own circular white gold bathroom. Other little luxuries include a screening room and an indoor games area, the transportation options including bicycles, scooters and two cars. A 24-hour butler keeps it all together. www.edenrockhotel.com

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Canouan Resort, THE GRENADINES

SIZE is important


• spice island resort Grenada It takes 25 minutes to get to the end of spellbinding Grand Anse Beach. Our longest beach so far! • Laluna Grenada A beautiful beach that’s very quiet and secluded - walks take 5 minutes and there’s a nice little restaurant at the far end.

The length of a beach is important. Especially in the Caribbean when days start with power walks and end with romantic strolls. So we walked some famous hotel beaches on your behalf, and whilst we know nature is unpredictable, we do hope you find the results interesting!

• Coral Reef CLUB Barbados Your walk along this popular beach towards Holetown will take about 10 minutes, tide permitting. • THE SANDPIPER Barbados The beach in front of the hotel is just 2 minutes long, but step over some rocks and you can walk for at least another 10 minutes. • LITTLE ARCHES Barbados Enterprise Beach (aka Miami Beach) is wide, white and 3 minutes long. Popular with the locals at weekends, for good reason! • Cobblers Cove Barbados As quiet as it gets on the west coast - 4 minutes to get from one end to the other. • Little Good Harbour Barbados Tourist-free and 5 minutes long - please note that it does disappear in the summer though. • Galley Bay Antigua A beautiful arc of soft white sand that takes 9 minutes to walk along. • Curtain Bluff Antigua Two beaches here - 5 minutes to walk the surf beach and 10 minutes the bay beach. • THE INN AT ENGLISH HARBOUR Antigua It takes 6 minutes to walk along this popular beach. Lots of yachting action too during the winter months. • CARLISLE BAY Antigua 7 minutes to get from one end of the bay to the other, if you don’t stop to celeb-spot! • JUMBY BAY Antigua The hotel’s main beach takes just 5 minutes to walk along. There are other beaches too, of course, one popular with nesting turtles. • HERMITAGE BAY Antigua This beach takes 5 minutes to walk along. It’s so secluded it might as well be private. • JALOUSIE PLANTATION, SUGAR BEACH St. Lucia It takes just 2½ minutes to walk along this famous stretch of sand right between the Pitons. • CAP MAISON St. Lucia A sequestered beach that is accessed via a wooden stairway and takes just 1 minute to walk along. • HOTEL ST BARTH isle de france St. Barths At 10 minutes this is the longest beach on the island of St. Barths and can be wild or serene according to the weather conditions. • EDEN ROCK St. Barths Popular St. Jean Bay takes 9 minutes to walk along, the island’s tiny airstrip right at the far end. • GUANAHANI St. Barths Grand Cul de Sac is just 2 minutes long, but there is another! • Canouan Resort The Grenadines The main beach is delightfully wide and 4 minutes long. There are other longer and wilder beaches too, of course!


Haute Tables

Dining in the Caribbean is as much about the ambience as the food. Café Luna in Barbados and Cloggy’s in Antigua both prove the point . . . Is there anywhere as romantic in Barbados as Café Luna? Mark ‘Moo’ De Gruchy’s rooftop eatery is all Morrocan tented ceilings and Mediterranean two-tone colourwash, its rustic mosaic tables bathed in the soft glow of fairy lights, flickering lamps and star-shaped lanterns. God help you if there’s also a full moon shining down upon your companion’s face as you’ll be down on one knee before dessert. Best strategy here is simply to concentrate on the food. After all, this is also the kind of award-winning restaurant that gets people schlepping all the way over from the west coast. “Who knew that Oistins had more to offer than cheap fish suppers?” is the cry as fashionable patrons spill out of their taxis and tap-tap all the way up the narrow stairway of the Little Arches Hotel to the rooftop. And it does. ‘Moo’s’ Pan-Tropical cuisine is an exciting fusion of Caribbean, Asian and Mediterranean fare set off by sexy world music and the kind of waiters who move fast and won’t be seen wearing anything other than black. À la carte main courses include Big Shrimp Kabobs from Thailand and Lamb Shank Wellington from New Zealand, the Luna Bouillabaisse showcasing seafood and shellfish caught right there in a nearby bay.

Regular features include ‘Pasta’ and ‘Back to Bajan’ set menus too, the Grilled Fresh Swordfish drizzled in Lemon Butter Sauce and the Bow Tie Pasta served with Chicken Breast, Almonds and Leeks in Stilton Cream. But if you’re a Sushi junkie book your table on a Thursday or Friday night. And make sure you do book as people can’t get enough of Moo’s Sashimi or Maki Rolls, not to mention fragrant little delicacies like Tempura Shrimp with Japanese Piquant Sauce or Smoked Octopus and Mixed Fresh Sashimi with Sesame Dressing. And just to make it really authentic there’s also Tiger Beer from Singapore, as well as a white Oroya wine specially created for Sushi by Yoko Sato. À la carte dishes from BDS$55 to $80. 2-course ‘Back to Bajan’ Menu BDS$79. 2-course Pasta Menu BDS$65. Little Arches, Enterprise Beach, Oistins, Barbados Tel: (246) 428-6172


Restaurants open and close in Antigua like dodgy plays on Broadway. So if a culinary venture has to find itself larger premises the chances are the experience will be a rewarding one. And Cloggy’s doesn’t disappoint ... Café Luna, BARBADOS

A laid-back Mediterranean-inspired eatery run by the Dutch husband-and-wife team Vannessa and Ton Smit, Cloggy’s outgrew its quaint ‘Abracadabra’ annexe a couple of years ago and is now spread out over the ground floor of the Antigua Yacht Club in Falmouth Harbour. Its popular flame-grilled lobsters, home-made tapenades and ‘naughty desserts’ now come with glamorous views of the multi-million dollar yachts sailing into Falmouth Harbour, the nautical vibe enhanced by the crews on neighbouring tables swopping their seafaring stories. Yet Cloggy’s fan base extends beyond T-shirt wearing yachties. This place is also popular with local movers and shakers happy to drive their gas-guzzling 4x4s right across the island for one of Cloggy’s generous platters - think delightful little Euro delicacies like brie, paté and prosciutto complemented by crunchy salads, calamata olives, sweet-scented oils and warm breads fresh out of the oven. And if you’re after ‘something for the weekend’, anything from Eggs Benedict to English-style fry-ups are on the menu for Sunday Brunch - DJ Woody’s dance mix kicks in later if you want to get an idea of how Antigua parties. Lunch: 11am to 4pm (closed Monday) Sunday Brunch: 10:30am to 4pm Dinner: 6pm to 9:30pm (Thursday to Saturday) Bar snacks available from 4pm. Tel: (268) 460 6910 www.antiguanice.com

Cloggy’s Restaurant overlooks Falmouth Harbour, ANTIGUA

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Haute List

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Hotel St-Barths Isle de France, ST BARTHS

Things we look for in our hotels ... 1.

No high-rises - nothing that beats a palm tree anyway.

11.

The fewer the guest rooms the better actually - unless we’re talking Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton, of course!

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2. 3.

Flourishing gardens that look like they’ve been there forever - mongooses, bananaquits and green monkeys all help.

4.

Public spaces that feel like private residences - mismatched sofas, unusual ‘finds’, random books and flower arrangements all work for us.

5.

A decent cup of tea in the morning - at the very least brewed in a pot, but preferably accompanied by hot water. Afternoon tea on the terrace - especially if there are scones and sandwiches too!

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Hors d’oeuvres served with evening cocktails - by then it’s been at least 2 hours since afternoon tea wrapped up!

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Comfortable beach life - after all, the beach is why you’re here in the first place. Padded sun loungers, plenty of shade and a roving drinks service are all welcome.

Guest rooms that also feel like home - it makes life so much easier if there are hairdryers, irons, tea-making facilities and something to listen to your music on.

15.

6.

16.

And if the rooms open out to tropical gardens that’s all the better - we love it when the turtle doves come to visit!

7. Crisp and stylish fabrics, with texture as important as colour. Orange and green floral bedspreads are no longer acceptable, with the exception of plantation houses, of course!

8.

Mixing things up a little - maybe offering some Nora Jones tunes in the bar instead of Bob Marley’s. Brave decisions - like being a non-smoking resort. Moving with the times and changing the dress code. Or the bravest decision of them all and banning children under 12!

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But if under 12s are welcome, children’s facilities are welcome too - and that doesn’t just mean a PlayStation, but ‘playmakers’ with plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

Attention-to-detail - things like fresh milk in the fridge and spa-style amenities in the bathroom. Pots of bath salts next to the deep-soaking tub are good too!

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9.

Nice things everywhere, of course, but not necessarily designer labels - there are companies other than Frette who do decent sheets, we believe!

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10. Flattering lighting after dark - except in the bathrooms

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when illuminated make-up mirrors are far more important!

A spa that doesn’t have to be sizeable but always has to be sexy. Concierges happy to introduce you to everything the island has to offer - no one wants to leave a HAUTE HOTEL feeling like they’ve missed out on the local beauty spots. A breathtaking sea view compensates for most things!


Eden Rock, ST BARTHS

It’s not easy being a HAUTE HOTEL in the Caribbean. This ‘Top 20’ gives you an idea of what we’re looking for in our hunt for ‘substance over style’. Nowhere has it all, of course, but some places do come pretty close ...

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The Sandpiper

It’s all about the people ... Think the unwavering popularity of The Sandpiper in Barbados is down to its swanky suites and swishy vibe? They certainly help, of course. But the real reason guests keep coming back to this intimate beachfront escape is the people who work there ...

And none of these people has a greater fan base than the affable barman Harold Shepard. But whilst Harold’s been mixing cocktails on The Sandpiper’s beach for more years than anyone cares to remember, it’s not just his aptitude with a blender that makes him such a crowd-pleaser. His easy-going Bajan charm is just as much of a hit with the world-weary guests as his quintessential rum punch cocktails. Harold fills newbies in on what’s going on in Barbados. He commiserates over the latest cricket results - he’s sports mad. And although he knows the hotel’s comprehensive cocktail menu like the back of his hand, he’s such an experienced mixologist that he’ll happily make up special ‘mocktails’ for the visiting kids. Indeed, it was actually an impressed Brit who named the thatch-andbamboo bar after Harold - he had the little wooden plaque made in the UK and brought it over the next time he came on vacation. No one was surprised when Harold won the Caribbean Hotel Association’s ‘Employee of the Year’ back in 2002. Christophe Poupardin might be behind the scenes at the hotel and he might only have ten years under his belt, but this French/Aussie chef has become an equally important part of The Sandpiper experience. Before coming out to Barbados Christophe worked for 10 years at The Lanesborough on London’s Hyde Park, learning his trade beneath Paul Gayler who is highly acclaimed for his ‘Global Contemporary’ cuisine. Christophe has been inspired by Paul, as well as the current trend for less fussy dishes. His menus feature lots of fresh salads and grilled fare, and he uses as much local produce as possible - whilst bemoaning the fact that you can’t get limes in Barbados, of all things! Christophe also has to maintain a balance between satisfying guests who like this simpler approach and those who are taken aback when he’s tweaked his lobster salad! Doubles in winter from US$805 per night, including breakfast. Summer rates from US$440, including breakfast. Tel: 1 (246) 422-2372 www.sandpiperbarbados.com


Harold Shepard, Barman at The Sandpiper

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CARLISLE BAY The most stylish hotel in Antigua ...


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Indigo on the Beach, CARLISLE BAY


Carlisle Bay, Antigua Stylish simplicity ... Carlisle Bay is all about stylish simplicity. There’s not a flounce nor a frill anywhere to be seen in this five-star beach resort. If you’re looking for a profusion of wicker or a print of Nelson you won’t find them here. And after chatting with lots of their guests (well, a specialist consumer researcher chatted with lots of their guests) Carlisle Bay decided that this ‘less is more’ approach was also the way to go when it came to their food ...

Not that the cooking here has ever been fussy, of course. The meals at this gorgeous Antiguan getaway have always been as stylishly presented as everything else, with a definite nod towards Asia and the Mediterranean. Yet Pieter Fitz-Dreyer is now concentrating on fare that’s truly as simple and fresh as its surroundings. The English Executive Chef might have worked in Michelin-star kitchens (he was also Head Chef at the Indigo restaurant in London’s One Aldwych) but he has learnt that it’s the quality of the ingredients and not the smoothness of the sauce that gets people excited nowadays. He sources as much as he can locally, of course, but flies in special items like Dover sole and Aberdeen Angus fillet steak, as well as strawberries, blueberries and even truffles. He is helped in his endeavours by a team of forty, including a pastry chef from England who’s rather good with chocolate, as well as a ‘spice master’ from Bali who’s a whizz with anything Thai, Chinese, Indian or Balinese. And now there’s another restaurant for them all to show off in. The new Ottimo! overlooking the swimming pool specialises in Neapolitan pizzas, artisan-cured meats and cheeses, as well as home-made gelatos. Otherwise there’s Indigo on the Beach which serves informal European cuisine with plenty of freshfrom-the-reef seafood - you can expect anything from clams to snapper served alongside vegetables sourced from the hotel’s own kitchen gardens. But if you’re after something a bit spicier then East awaits, its Asian menus including things like locallycaught mahi mahi sushi or lamb rack cooked in a clay tandoor oven. The new cooking ethos might espouse contemporary simplicity but sophistication never goes out of fashion! Chill out rate from US$926 per night including breakfast, dinner & daily beverage credit of $50 per room. Applicable 4 January - 24 April, restrictions apply. Call: 1 (268) 484 0002 www.campbellgrayhotels.com

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It’s all in the detail Whether that’s extra virgin olive oil or simply embracing a hotel’s interesting history ...


LALUNA

GRENADA

There can’t be too many Caribbean hotel owners who make their own extra virgin olive oil, yet Bernardo Bertucci has always carved his own path. After he finally tired of the glamorous New York fashion industry, he created his 16-roomed hotel out of nothing but 10acres of beachfront land in south-west Grenada. Its bohemian Italy-meets-Bali vibe is quite unique in the region. And whilst the emphasis at Laluna is very much on escape, it’s also on the finest Italian food. Bernardo imports all the ingredients directly from his native country and you can look forward to anything from sun-dried tomatoes, Parmiggiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and, of course, Bernardo’s own olive oil. But just so you don’t miss out on Grenada’s own fresh produce, chef Daniele Gaetano also works wonders with the local fish and seafood.

7 night ‘Taste of Laluna’ package from US$5,395 per double room this winter, including half-board and various cooking sessions with chef. See www.laluna.com

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THE ATLANTIS HOTEL BARBADOS

The Atlantis is a hotel with a past - and that’s one of its unique selling features. This 10-room bolthole on the east coast of Barbados dates back to 1884 and current owners Andrew and Patricia Warden make the point without labouring it. The reception features a painting of 19th century Bajans arriving at The Atlantis courtesy of the light railway service from Bridgetown - the train stopped running back in 1937 when it was shipped back to England to help with the war effort. Black-and-white photos of island life in the 1940s mingle with a whole host of interesting nautical images, a huge picture of a yacht dominating the original mahogany staircase. The guest rooms evoke a distinctly vintage vibe too and it’s all these unique little touches that make The Atlantis well worth considering if you’re after a Bajan holiday with a difference …

Year-round US$255 per night for a double room. See www.atlantishotelbarbados.com

It’s all in CURTAIN BLUFF ANTIGUA

Curtain Bluff is one of those hotels you really have to stay in to fully appreciate - especially after dark when you get to experience the brand of service that’s the most difficult to pull off ie: flawless but friendly. Almost all the restaurant and bar staff here grew up in the nearby village of Old Road and most of them have been honing their telepathic skills for many years. In fact, there’s one character who’s been standing behind that clubby, mahogany-topped bar for over three decades now, so he knows when you’re gasping for your next vodka martini before you do. And whilst we’ll be taken to task for even noticing, the fact that all the waiting staff are men does somehow contribute towards that slick and professional evening vibe … aaagh, kill us now! Doubles from US$1,095 per night in winter and from $715 per night in summer fully-inclusive. See www.curtainbluff.com


Coral Reef, BARBADOS

COBBLERS COVE BARBADOS

No one does attention-to-detail better than this Relais & Châteaux hidey-hole. Indeed, there are more amenities in a Cobblers Cove guest room than there are in the average private home. Pretty orchids and classic reads in the living rooms. Umbrellas, irons and trouser presses in the wardrobes. Penhaligan toiletries, thick white towels and illuminated make-up mirrors in the bathrooms. There are also full-size fridges jam-packed with things like Banks, Heineken, Evian and San Pellegrino, as well as fresh milk for your morning tea and champagne for your special events. And despite the gourmet cuisine you’ll be enjoying in the beachfront restaurant, it’s amazing what damage you can still do to the M&Ms, Twix and Snickers bars. Doubles from US$870 per night in the winter and from $530 per night in the summer, including breakfast See www.cobblerscove.com

the detail CORAL REEF BARBADOS

Coral Reef is another classic Caribbean getaway that knows how to pull out all the stops when the sun goes down. The stage is set when the flaming torches are lit, the pianist takes his seat behind the baby grand, and the home-made canapés are set out on the highly-polished bar top. Teams of well-trained waiters in smart cream, green or red waistcoats mill around the elegant beachside restaurant waiting to do their stuff. And you mustn’t forget your reading glasses if you want to do justice to the New York-style liquor menu, the comprehensive international drinks list also including quite a few ‘spa cocktails’ that probably feature a bit more local rum than they should. This is the Caribbean, after all … From US$805 per night double room in the winter and from US$440 in the summer, breakfast included. See www.coralreefbarbados.com

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Chill-out in Grenada


LALUNA Grenada

Looking for a laid-back yoga retreat, but shrinking from that long flight to the Far East? This Grenada getaway may well fit the bill … This 16-cottage hideaway tumbles down a hillside towards a ‘secret’ cove in Grenada. Yet at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve actually pitched up in Bali. The open-sided beach pavilion is all low tables and creamy daybeds, there’s shaggy elephant grass on the beachfront bohios, whilst that wooden statue looking out towards the Caribbean Sea looks like it belongs somewhere offering lots of deep spiritual guidance. Yet let’s not get too carried away here. Laluna does have a sexy side too - after all, it was conceived by an Italian who was big in the New York fashion industry! So you can also expect sensual guest rooms distinguished by colour-washed walls, outdoor-style bathrooms and oversized four-poster beds. And there’s no retreatstyle fasting here either, just lots of tasty Italian food with most of the ingredients either flown in, grown in the organic gardens or caught in the surrounding waters. But whatever the cultural influences floating about, fact is Laluna is so laid-back that you’ll literally have to be poured into your taxi when it comes time to leave. Especially if you factor in the massages and meditation sessions of the Balinese-style spa. This is a gorgeous timber-and-thatch affair with hand-woven walls and hand-crafted timber doors, its courtyard opening out to backto-nature gardens full of lilies and lizards. The anti-aging facials and trendy ‘comfort zone’ products reflect the owner’s glamorous Mediterranean origins, the foot rituals and Tatami massages (where the therapist walks on your back) more about his love affair with the Far East. Add in the beachfront yoga pavilion offering morning classes (either Kundalini, Vinyasa or Yin) and you’ll board that flight back home with your inner battery fully re-charged. CHILL OUT PACKAGE from $725 per double per night in winter and from $525 in summer including three meals, yoga classes and 2 Balinese massages. Tel: 473-439-0001 See www.laluna.com for further details.

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The Jalousie Plantation, Sugar Beach The height of luxury in St. Lucia ...


The Jalousie Plantation is going through a transformation that will take it out from the shadow of the Pitons and right into the spotlight ...

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A PEAK AT

Jalousie Plantation, Sugar Beach Anyone who still thinks ‘Hilton’ when it comes to The Jalousie Plantation in St. Lucia should think again. This glittering gem tucked down the cleavage between the Pitons waved the corporation behind in 2008, a few years after Englishman Roger Myers purchased it. The Viceroy Hotel Group is a much better fit, a dynamic yet discerning management company keenly aware of the current trends in luxury hospitality ...

Yet when it comes to re-conceptualising, The Viceroy Hotel Group (just like Mr Myers himself) always takes into account a hotel’s history, as well as its surroudings. And in the case of The Jalousie Plantation there was plenty to go on. Not only did the resort used to be a 19th century sugar plantation, but it is perched upon 100-acres of mountainous rainforest that tumbles right down to the Caribbean Sea. And, of course, there are those famous twin peaks dominating every waking moment.

WINTER INDULGENCE Valid 4 January to 30 April, 2012 Enjoy one of Jalousie’s luxury villas at a rate of just US$759 per room per night including breakfast (plus tax & service.) This is a saving of more than US$140 per night on the standard rate and if you stay for 6 nights you also get an extra night free.

So the old world charm of the historical Great House has been carefully maintained, but beautifully enhanced with chic yet classic furnishings and modern art on every available wall. A couple of oversized public rooms have been transformed into ultra-sophisticated nightspots, the kind of places you can snack on beef satay, down vintage rums and put the world to rights whilst looking at a star-filled sky. The 78 butler-serviced rooms and villas are now a modern take on plantation styling. Think timber floors, claw-foot tubs, 4-poster beds and private plunge pools, their white-on-white colour scheme spot on when there’s a lush green rainforest just outside the door. And eight fancy new bungalows have just opened right on the beach. Most activities here - whether that’s lazing round the swimming pool, on the white sand beach or in the spa - are accompanied by stunning vistas of either the ancient rainforest or the towering Pitons. And after dark it’s just as awe-inspiring. Jalousie Plantation will be renamed The Tides, Sugar Beach at the end of 2012. www.jalousieplantation.com


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“Golf in the Grenadines?” There is only one golf course in the Grenadines, but at least it’s a really good one! Jim Fazio has designed award-winning courses all over the US and Europe, but The Grenadines Estate Golf Club on Canouan is right up there with the best ...

Canouan Resort, THE GRENADINES


“Certainly, sir!”

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THE GRENADINES ESTATE GOLF CLUB, CANOUAN


VIEW FROM AN ESTATE VILLA, CANOUAN RESORT

THE GRENADINES ESTATE GOLF CLUB Canouan Resort, Grenadines CANOUAN’S 18-hole championship course offers a 480-feet change in elevation, with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea from every hole. And whilst the front 9 are friendly to most levels of golfer (they’re not quite as long and more protected from the north-east trade winds) the back 9 are much more of a challenge and any stray shots will have you wishing you were back in the club house with a stiff drink. This course has got the ideal design as holes 1 and 10 start from the clubhouse with holes 9 and 18 returning. And, of course, it’s also extremely pretty to look at, with no shortage of desalinated water for irrigation and all of its tees and greens hand-mown daily. The 15th hole is particularly remarkable, its championship tees cut into rock and making quite an impression as you drive out - anything less than 310 yards and you’ll be punished. And at 304 yards the 16th is reputed to be the longest Par 3 in the world with a drop of some 240 feet. Thankfully the beverage service buggies are never far away. It goes without saying that the Canouan Resort itself more than lives up to these world-class standards - the golf widows amongst you can take advantage of anything from stunning beaches to a spectacular spa, whilst the restaurants are so good you’ll hardly notice your partner has gone awol!

Green fees US$220 for resort residents (From $300 to $400 for non-residents.) Golf Specials including unlimited use of the practise range: 3 Rounds $500, 4 Rounds $650, 5 Rounds $800, 6 Rounds $950, 7 Rounds $1,100

A world-class getaway with world-class standards. Yet despite its money-no-object approach to, well, pretty much everything, the Canouan Resort understands that its flawless surroundings are always going to be its biggest draw. So that’s why it’s built up a flotilla of vessels capable of exploring the Grenadines archipelago right on its doorstep. You can choose to go fast or slow, north or south. There’s a 40 ft. catamaran called ‘Splendid Adventure’ which will sail you through the islands of the southern Grenadines. Or maybe you’d prefer the 44 ft. offshore racing boat ‘Living the Dream’ which will whisk you off to the Tobago Cays and Mayreau. A 58 ft. Italian-designed Pershing 54 ‘Athena’ is also waiting for you to charter it for the day, private boat trips to Bequia or Mustique also on the nautical agenda. Doubles from US$950 per night in winter and from US$700 per night in summer. Boat trips from US$120 per person. Tel: 784-458-8000 www.canouan.com

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hermitage bay There was a time when you never saw words like ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘luxury’ appear in the same sentence. But things have changed and now Hermitage Bay is the latest hotel in Antigua throwing everything in. And everything is absolutely fabulous …

Indeed, when it comes to luxury hotels like Hermitage Bay, the all-inclusive policy only adds to the exclusive and escapist vibe. And sometimes you have to be practical, of course. After all, guests here can hardly pop down the road for a roti and a rum punch, can they? Not unless they have ready access to a 4x4 and don’t mind bumpety-bumping along a pot-holed track for at least 10-minutes to reach any kind of ‘civilisation’.

Hole up at this 25-suite boutique hotel on the west coast of Antigua and you might as well be on a private island. The kind of private island that has nothing on the beach but the odd piece of driftwood and nothing on the horizon but the setting sun. Yet let’s not get carried away here. Hermitage Bay might encourage its guests to get away from it all, but that does not extend to the finer things in life, no sireee. Most of the guest suites here come with panoramic views and their own private plunge pools. Each day begins with either a stress-busting meditation, pilates or yoga class. And in the bar the champagne flows as freely as the frothy coffees. Yet it’s in Hermitage Bay’s restaurant that one really gets the impression the normal all-inclusive ‘rules’ don’t apply.


Enjoy frothy coffees or champagne round the Hermitage Bay pool.

Dezi Banham

Forget all about bland international fare here. The cuisine reflects the personality and creativity of award-winning chef Dezi Banham. Dezi hails from Jamaica and trained with Ritz-Carlton, his à la carte menus featuring plenty of local seafood and fish, as well as vegetables grown in the hotel’s organic garden - think okra, papaya, calalloo and dasheen. Even breakfast has a local flavour and if you fancy a change from your usual scrambled eggs, things like soursop juice, Caribbean porridge and locally-made jams from Sister Glo make regular appearances on the menus. Yet delicacies are regularly imported too, of course, and at dinner you can expect tender kobe beef burgers and grilled ribeye steaks, as well as duck salads flavoured with Asian spices and desserts that could well have emerged from a French kitchen. If you want to see how it’s all done, take a tour of the organic gardens or join in Dezi’s weekly cooking class round the pool. You might even learn what bok choy actually is ... Doubles this winter from US$1,200 and this summer from US$920, fully-inclusive. Tel: (268) 562 8080 www. hermitagebay.com

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a valueable


getaway CURTAIN BLUFF ANTIGUA

Curtain Bluff is reputedly one of the most expensive hotels in the Caribbean. But factor in the unlimited leisure facilities and money-no-object menus and you’ll see that this beachfront bolthole is actually rather good value ... And it certainly doesn’t take long to get the message. Just one day at Curtain Bluff and you’ll appreciate how much you can get up to (and get down you!) without ever having to putting your hand in your pocket. That warm and fuzzy feeling you always seem to have when you’re wandering around this beach-flanked bluff isn’t just down to Manager Wendy Eardley’s friendly greeting, you know! On the culinary front there are three ambrosial meals a day, the menus still devised by longtime Executive Chef Christophe Blatz. à la carte breakfasts and dinners are served with aplomb to linen-clad tables in the Spanish style Estate House, whilst the ultra-generous lunches are more helpyourselves affairs down by the Caribbean Sea. Add in the drinks from the bar, as well as all those afternoon teas on the terrace and it’s little wonder that you’re always struggling with the hors d’oeuvres at cocktail time. Never mind those delicious desserts from Mark Andrew Smith. And when it comes to things-to-do here, there are all the usual pursuits like water sports, tennis and working out, the latter made slightly less of a chore due to the gym’s waterside setting and floor-to-ceiling glass walls. But Curtain Bluff also offers regular classes in aerobics, yoga and Pilates, and there’s an international-quality squash court on hand for when you’re up for some friendly competition. There are boats readily available for fishing charters and snorkelling adventures to nearby Cades Reef, the on-site scuba-diving operation ensuring certified divers can dive without coughing up anything more than the Caribbean Sea. Doubles this winter from $1,095 to $2,250 per night fully-inclusive. In the summer from $715 to $1,450 per night. Tel: 268-462-8400 curtainbluff@curtainbluff.com www.curtainbluff.com.

Terrace Room, Curtain Bluff

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Messing about near boats ...

English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour in the south-east of Antigua are a bit like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia and the new panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Basically they are a ‘must-do’ and in Antigua’s case far more rewarding than counting the island’s 365 beaches …

Photo: Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office


Falmouth Harbour ANTIGUA

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english harbour Come to either English or Falmouth Harbour in Antigua during the peak winter months and you’ll find the whole area buzzing with history hounds and nautical nut jobs. After all Nelson’s Dockyard is the only working Georgian dockyard in the world. And nowadays the marinas don’t just serve as idyllic year-round homes for salty seadogs, but also temporary havens for the world’s biggest super yachts ...

As for the ex-pats who live here all the time, if they’re not somehow involved with boats (sailing them, repairing them, building them or just stroking them), then they’re usually creative types who like to think they know a good thing when they see it. There’s something about all those 18th century bricks, blue-green waters and cassiscovered hillsides that gets everyone reaching for their cameras or paint brushes. And then, of course, there’s also Pigeon Beach which is surely one of the island’s favourite suntanning spots, as well as splendid (if exhausting) walks up to Shirley Heights when everyone’s finally had enough of all that lazing around. Yet today the general area that everyone calls ‘English Harbour’ seems to include neighbouring Falmouth Harbour too - here the big berths and deep drafts pull in only the swankiest of mega-yachts. But whether you’re in English or Falmouth Harbour you’ll be given the chance to party like you’ve just been given shore leave. You can shake your thing in a trendy outdoor nightclub and down tots of local rum in a different watering hole every night. But if you drive up to historical Shirley Heights on a Sunday afternoon you don’t just get local rum, but also sunsets, reggae music and some of the best views in the world … Please note that when Antigua Sailing Week ends in May, English Harbour becomes less of a playground and slightly more of a backwater! Most of the yachts leave for the Med taking their party-loving crews with them. This year Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is April 19 to 24 and Antigua Sailing Week is April 29 to May 4.

Photo: Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office


Photo: Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office

CAFES & BARS Mad Mongoose A favourite with partying yachties. Loud tunes and plenty of decent dishes. Life on the Corner Drop in and hang with the locals for a while. Food is tasty too! Skullduggery Café Perfect for breakfasts or beers overlooking all those super-yachts.

RESTAURANTS Cloggy’s at the Antigua Yacht Club Mediterranean cuisine and friendly vibe. Abracadabra Restaurant & Disco Bar Italian food and late-night dancing. Catherine’s Café Perfect for lunch overlooking the water. Definite French ambience. Admiral’s Inn Take a seat on the new terrace, order a drink and people watch. Hamilton’s Wine Bar & Bistro Enjoy a glass of wine surrounded by history. Trappas Restaurant & Bar Always popular - good food and good prices! Photo: Antigua & Barbuda Tourist Office Photo: C.Kurt Holter/Shutterstock.com

GALLEY BOUTIQUE Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua

For when you want to pose around on deck rather than swab it down! Yes, Barbados might have Ralph Lauren, but Antigua has the Galley Boutique! And this tiny local emporium is well worth seeking out, its handy location behind a popular drinking establishment in Nelson’s Dockyard meaning one of you can prop up the bar whilst the other one shops ‘til they drop. This place is a treasure trove of shoes, sundresses and stylish accessories tailor-made for island life. Sourced throughout Europe, USA and Brazil, there’s designer swimwear from Manuel Canovas, La Perla and Melissa Odabash, as well as the kind of stylish strappy sandals you looked everywhere for back home but simply couldn’t track down. Rings cleverly fashioned out of seashells are just some of the unique gifts for the woman-who-has-everything, whilst for style-conscious men there are fine linen shirts from Italy, as well as quality shorts from Vilebrequin and Reef. Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour Tel: 268-460-1525

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Room at The Inn? Don’t want to give up a decent beach, but like the idea of being close to the yachting action of historical (occasionally hysterical) Nelson’s Dockyard? Then stay at The Inn at English Harbour which sits right on the sands yet is just a boat ride away from all the nautical highjinks …

The Inn at English Harbour, ANTIGUA


Yet you don’t even need to leave your sun lounger to feel the seafaring vibe at The Inn at English Harbour. Freeman’s Bay is a favourite anchor for serious yachtsmen and you can watch them coming over all Dame Ellen MacArthur as you casually order another rum punch from the roving bar tender. When you’re finally shamed into standing upright you can skip jauntily onto the little ferry and be in Nelson’s Dockyard in less time than it takes you to re-tie the laces on your Docksiders. (And hopefully you’ll also be wearing your bright red cap with ‘Mount Gay Sailing Week 2008’ on the front, as everyone else will be.) Of course, it is quite possible to stay at The Inn and steer clear of the boats completely. Maybe you prefer to embrace the whole historical vibe that’s going on here? The original main house high on the hill dates back to the 19th century and nowhere is this more evident than in the bar with its thick stone walls, antique prints and pewter mugs - if it wasn’t for the astounding views over the entire English Harbour National Park you’d think you were somewhere in deepest Cornwall. Yet we might be wrong and it’s simply The Inn’s heady sense of style that floats your boat? The bedrooms might be colonial yet they’re decidedly chic, their colour palette all chocolate and cream and their modern day ‘stuff’ appropriately hidden away in their chunky mahogany armoires. And, of course, meal times are equally civilised here, rum-heavy cocktails poured at the top of the hill and candlelit dinners served on a panoramic terrace overlooking the lights of English Harbour. Eat your heart out, yachties! Double rooms from US$700 to $1,120 half-board in the winter. From $525 to $840 half-board in the summer. Tel: (268) 460 1014 www.theinn.ag

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Garbo Suite EDEN ROCK - ST. BARTHS

Apparently Greta Garbo ran away to the Eden Rock hotel in St. Barths whenever she wanted ‘to be alone’. And there’s lots of movie star magic about the suite named after her. So why not escape to the Garbo Suite at Eden Rock when you want to shun publicity? Just make sure you bring along a suitably gorgeous leading lady or man …


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Garbo Suite, Eden Rock, ST BARTHS


Waterside dining at ON THE ROCKS

T

The Garbo Suite is secreted away behind a roped-off section of the hotel’s iconic rock, umblemished views of a crystal clear Caribbean Sea guaranteed from its sequestered L-shaped terrace. From this vantage point you can keep tabs on everything that’s going on in fashionable St. Jean Bay, but no one gets to see what you’re up to. Except those passing pelicans, of course, and truth be told, they’re more interested in fish stocks than fishnets. Yes, this is one of those suites that you really shouldn’t stay in without some glamorous underwear. Something lacy and black at the very least - and the ladies should bring something suitably naughty too! The bespoke Art Deco-style bed is definitely more for playing than for sleeping. It’s a circular affair with a shiny silk cover and built-in TV, the white leather headboard so tall that it serves as the divider between the bedroom and the bathroom. By day you can just lie back and think how impossibly blue the sea is, but when the curtains are drawn at night, you get to act out your movie star fantasy against a circle of shimmering pale green silk. And there’s plenty of 30s style Hollywood touches to help you get into the mood - Garbo pictures on the wall and Garbo books in the library, as well as a mirror with enough lights to ensure you’re more than ready for your close-up. But if you’re still feeling a little tense, then why not ask for a Swedish massage on your private terrace. At Eden Rock the spa comes to you in true movie star fashion …

Garbo Suite at Eden Rock from €1195 to €1675 per night, including breakfast. Tel: (590) 590 297 994 www.edenrockhotel.com

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Up on the roof at

CAP MAISON Cap Maison is the best hotel in the north of St. Lucia. Book yourselves a suite with its own roof terrace and pool and you won’t even mind that the island’s most famous beauty spots are miles away in the other direction … For who needs the Pitons when you’ve got bird’s eye views like these? Pigeon Island lying to the west, the Caribbean Sea stretching far out in front and the island of Martinique just visible on the horizon. In fact, stay in one of Cap Maison’s 3,000 sq.ft. suites with access to its own roof terrace and you won’t need to bother with anything else at all. You don’t even have to acknowledge anyone else if you don’t want to. After all, why should you sit around a busy hotel pool when you’ve got a perfectly lovely swimming pool on your roof? Why bother to schlepp down to the beach when you can work on your tan in private without having to fret about sand or strapmark? And why glam up for sundowners at the bar when you can simply tick a few boxes on the ‘Sunset Drinkies & Nibbles’ menu, take a seat beneath your rooftop gazebo and wait for someone with a smile and a tray to deliver a decent bottle of Sauvignon Blanc? And let’s not forget such thoughtful little treats as Smoked Salmon on Toast or Poached Caribbean Shrimp with Fruit Salsa.

Of course, you could also eschew Cap Maison’s restaurant completely - although that could possibly be classed as a crime. The views from The Cliff are equally as good as yours and the vibe possibly even more romantic. And chances are that Craig Jones’s French West Indian fare will beat anything you can conjure up in your fancy kitchen despite your copper sink and your hand-painted tiles. It’s good to get down off the roof sometimes!

2-bedroom suite with pool and terrace US$1,900 per night in winter and $1,425 in summer, including breakfast Tel: 1-758-457-8679 www.capmaison.com


Cap Maison suite with roof terrace

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We’ve fallen in love with The Spa at


Coral Reef on Barbados’s west coast

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Coral Reef BARBADOS

Coral Reef in Barbados has many fine qualities, not least its designer spa. We visited this coral-stone sanctuary last summer and were quite knocked off our freshly-pedicured tootsies … Until quite recently Coral Reef was all classic Caribbean charm with nary a hint of massage oil or naked skin. But that was before highly sought-after spa consultant Neil Howard (he did The Dorchester’s spa in London) got his mitts on a two-storey colonial-style building in the gardens and threw in a generous helping of sex appeal. The Spa at Coral Reef is a revelation. A sophisticated marble and coral clad sanctuary that still blends in with its traditional West Indian setting. And whilst all the usual spa essentials like pools, courtyards and waterfalls are here, there are also creamy linens, chocolatey woods, woven grasscloths and fine sheers. The result is a stylish haven where a 4-hour ‘Perfect Spa Day’ costing US$600 seems like a bit of a bargain. In addition to an outdoor hydro-pool and open-sided relaxation room, there’s a Thermal Suite with Crystal Steam Room, as well as four multi-purpose treatment rooms with their own private patios - where better to surrender to a self-indulgent ‘foot ritual’ involving plenty of exfoliation and lots of aromatherapy oils? Otherwise there’s a whole range of ‘Collections’ targeted towards health, beauty, relaxation or rejuvenation, Natura Bissé and Ortigia the fragrant Spanish and Scicilian products used to transport you to heaven … Double rooms from US$805 in the winter and from US$440 in the summer including breakfast. Tel: 246-422-2372 reservations@coralreefbarbados.com www.coralreefbarbados.com

‘C’ ing is believing Ritual 80 minutes BDS$390

A Vitamin C body wrap and scrub. Lavish amounts of Vitamin C, Green Tea and Rosehip Oil are used in this ritual to give a potent protective treatment that renews skin firmness and provides pronounced healing and regenerative benefits. Perfect for bodies suffering from a loss of elasticity and dehydration due to sun and environmental damage. A sensual treatment for skin vitality.

Coral Reef Perfect Spa Day 4 hours BDS$1,190

A perfect spa day...drench yourself in luxury with a Citrus Appeal Facial, Caribbean Organic Body Scrub and an 80 minute Aroma Fusion Massage. After a light spa lunch complete the experience with an invigorating Spa Manicure and Pedicure. An all day affair.

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South Coast


East Coast

Who said you have to stay on the west coast of Barbados? What with Little Arches in the south and The Atlantis Hotel in the east there are good reasons to head in other directions ...

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little arches

Stay at Little Arches near Oistins on the south coast of Barbados and you’re sure to feel part of island life. This charming Mediterranean-style boutique hotel stands amidst a row of post-war seaside homes (it actually used to be one of them) lining the road to surely one of the best beaches on Barbados. The stretch of sand here is far whiter and wider than you get anywhere on the west coast and if you head off there during the week you can have it pretty much to yourselves. (The weekends are a bit different though what with all that sea bathing and barbecue-ing!) Stroll a little further down the road and you’ll soon find yourselves in the fishing town of Oistins. This is the place the entire island comes to every Friday night so how lucky are you! You can buy yourself a cheap fish supper for a couple of dollars, down a few shots of local rum whilst watching the youngsters break-dancing, and be back between your high thread count cotton sheets before anyone else can say “Call me a cab!”

LITTLE ARCHES from US$295 in the winter and from US$205 in the summer. And if you book by the 15th February for a 6 night stay between 16 April and 31 October you get the 7th night free. Also stay 7 nights and you get breakfast daily and sunset wine and cheese once. Stay 10 nights and choose between a free catamaran cruise, a round of golf, car rental for a day or oneSwedish massage and champagne breakfast in bed.

In fact, that’s the beauty of Little Arches. You can stay here and stay put, only venturing as far as the panoramic pool deck to get that tan you wanted - the rolling Caribbean Sea is just on the doorstep and the views are as good as any you could hope for. And you don’t have to go far to get the kind of food you wanted either. Mark ‘Moo’ De Gruchy’s Café Luna is just up on the rooftop, but make sure you book a table as plenty of other people are happy to travel a bit further. Tel: 1 (246) 420-4689 paradise@littlearches.com www.littlearches.com


THE ATLANTIS

Tent Bay, East Coast Escape to The Atlantis Hotel in Barbados and you get east coast wildness rather than west coast razzle-dazzle. At this historical hideaway you can forget all about the serene beauty of the Caribbean Sea and focus instead upon a thrilling and untamed Atlantic Ocean. Over here the spume-topped waves crash rather than flow onto the beach and constant tradewinds help everyone get a tan in record time. But whilst the sea is certainly blue enough to make your eyes hurt, you’re still best looking at it from the hotel’s pool terrace rather than actually swimming in it - the east coast has strong riptides, but no strong lifeguards, although it’s no problem soaking in one of those inshore pools that are just a few feet deep. Of course, the local surfers don’t let such things spoil their fun, nor the fishermen who’ve been hauling their catch into Tent Bay for over a century. The Atlantis Hotel has sat there for over a century too. Stay in one of the 10 bedrooms here and you get to look out at exactly what people did back in 1884. This was the year the hotel was built and whilst it’s been sensitively restored by Andrew Warden and his wife, there’s still more than enough hand-cut stone, timber panelling and mahogany antiques to satisfy those who like their hotels to come with a bit of a past. Not something you often get in Barbados nowadays. And you don’t often get exotic botanical gardens on your doorstep either. In fact forget all about designer shoes here and bring your hiking boots instead The Andromeda Botanical Gardens are a 10-minute walk up a hill, although the quaint village of Bathsheba is more easily accessed along a coastal pathway. It’s an unmissable opportunity to see how the Bajans themselves vacation. Year-round double rate $255, including breakfast. Tel: 246-433-9445 www.atlantishotelbarbados.com

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Style &

substance Photo: Nazarino/Shutterstock.com

Stay at Hotel St-Barth Isle de France and the laid-back glamour of the French West Indies is guaranteed to rub off on you. All the more surprising when you learn that this beachfront bolthole is actually owned by, run by and designed by Brits! Here the stylish females float around in diaphanous kaftans or natural free-flowing cottons, each outfit accessorised with flat jewelled sandals or water pearls on leather strings. And if you need some help to get the look just right (who doesn’t?) then simply pop into the hotel boutique and pay careful attention at the weekly fashion show ‌


HOTEL ST-BARTH ISLE DE FRANCE

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The HOTEL ST-BARTH ISLE DE FRANCE fashion show has guests vying for front row seats. And believe us, there’s no better place to be in the Caribbean at 6:30pm on a Tuesday evening than the softly-lit timber deck that skirts the hotel’s swimming pool. The models sashay and strut to evocative mood music beneath a starlit sky, the men showing how to wear a pair of those brilliantly-coloured swimming shorts from Gerry St. Tropez and the ladies how to team a Delfina binkini with a Helen Kaminski hat.

BEACH ROOM HOTEL ST-BARTH ISLE DE FRANCE

Yet before you think you’ve stumbled into a tropical version of Paris Fashion Week, the models are mostly hotel employees and the clothing and accessories are all for sale in the hotel boutique. This enticing emporium might be as small as a Brazilian bikini, but it’s stuffed with designer fashions, pareos, cover-ups and bathing suits. Most of them are sourced at the international shows by hotel owner Mandie Vere Nichols. And of course this love of tropical gorgeous-ness permeates the entire hotel. The guest rooms are to die for whether conveying the simple elegance of the main house or the vintage beach chic of the newer wing slightly further down the sands as an added bonus the beach that fronts the hotel is the longest one in St. Barths. La Case de L’Isle restaurant is also as pretty as a picture, the spa’s recent tie-in with Spanish skincare company Natura Bissé suiting the whole luxe but laid-back vibe perfectly. Double rooms in the winter from €695 to €2,675 per night including breakfast. Summer rates from €470 to €1,500 per night. Tel: 590-590-27-56-66 hotel@isle-de-france.com www.isle-de-france.com

LA CASE DE L’ISLE RESTAURANT HOTEL ST-BARTH ISLE DE FRANCE


St. Barths SHOPPING The historic island capital of Gustavia curls around the harbour, ladies-wholunch chatting in sidewalk cafés and pampered pooches peeking out of their shopping baskets. Many of the red-roof buildings house chic local boutiques, as well as the kind of high-end label stores you expect to find on the Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. It’s a pleasure to explore on foot but, thanks to the oneway streets, a bit of a chore to drive around - we suggest you get the taxi to drop you off at the Cour Vendôme. As good a place as any to begin your orgy of retail therapy, the Cour Vendôme is an upscale ‘mall’ overlooking the waterfront. In addition to Louis Vuitton and Bvlgari, it offers men’s swimwear from Vilebrequin, as well as stylish linens from 100% Capri. Other stand-out boutiques include You & Me for shoes, Renato Nucci for glamorous island wear and Le Civette for prêt-a-porter cottons in delicious muted shades. Just minutes away you’ll come across a whole stable of world-famous brands including Cartier, Longchamp, Hermès, Ralph Lauren and Roberto Cavalli. And don’t miss the fascinating Clic Bookstore & Gallery with its weighty limited edition coffee table books on fashion, travel, movie stars and photography. The tiny little Christian Liaigre boutique on the harbour front sells gorgeous home accessories fashioned out of tropical woods, his unique style best showcased in Le Sereno hotel. But what if all you’re really after is that effortlessly chic St. Barths look? Then make a beeline for Lolita Jaca and Calypso, their pretty frocks, vibrant kaftans and gorgeous cover-ups all perfect for the laid-back island lifestyle. For an extra touch of the exotic, head for Les Bijoux de la Mer and its beautiful Tahitian jewellery made from pearls, stones, shells and sea glass. And, of course, you simply can’t get on the plane without something that is uniquely St. Barths. Buy yourselves some gorgeous botanical skin care products from Ligne St. Barths. Everyone else back home will be delighted with a funky island T-shirt from Pati de St. Barth ...

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Rock Cottage BLUE WATERS HOTEL, ANTIGUA

Are you looking for somewhere extra special for a forthcoming anniversary, wedding or family vacation? Rock Cottage in Antigua will tick all the boxes - even though it’s not like any ‘cottage’ we’ve ever seen!


Yes, all things considered ‘Rock Cottage’ is a bit of a misnomer. Well the ‘rock’ bit is accurate. The buildings hug a gnarled finger of limestone that juts right out into the Caribbean Sea. On one side lies the Blue Waters Hotel with all its restaurants, pools and leisure activities, including a swanky new spa. On the other side lies a strand of white sand beach that few Antiguan residents (but one Antiguan turtle and plenty of Antiguan pelicans) even know is there. And terraced into the rock itself are four sundecks, a plunge pool with a Jacuzzi and a set of 32 steps leading down to a private timber jetty, everything opening out to the kind of wrap-around sea views that make you wonder what you did to get so lucky. You can even see St. Kitts and Nevis on a good day. So the ‘rock’ part is perfectly sensible, but it’s the ‘cottage’ part we have to take issue with. For what is cottagy about an ultra-private butler-serviced estate that comprises three buildings with five bedrooms? The main house features an airy living room, a ground floor bedroom, a kitchenette and an alfresco dining terrace. The master bedroom is actually housed in its own separate little building with a dual-aspect sleeping area upstairs and a bathroom also with vistas to die for - you can even see the pelicans roosting in the rocks. Another three bedrooms await in the separate building behind, one downstairs and two upstairs - two are roomy but one of them is smaller and best suited to a couple of children or an easy-going nanny. A chef will come in to cook you breakfast each day and is also available to make lunch and dinner if you want to pay a little bit extra. But there are three dining venues at Blue Waters, of course, Le Bistro and Cecilia’s restaurants quite nearby too. And you can also hire a skippered 24ft power boat to whisk you around the indented Antiguan coastline - of course, you won’t want to be gone for long. www.bluewaters.net

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Is there any room for a little one, please?

Photo: Gerrit_de_Vries/Shutterstock.com

BABY VERVET MONKEY IN ST. KITTS


Monkey Business

at Ottley’s Plantation Inn Ottley’s is a former sugar estate where you get to experience the Caribbean of yesteryear - think croquet on the lawns, games of whist in the Great House and long snoozes on the lawns beneath sweeping flamboyant trees ... Although it’s not all “please” and “thank you” and “how many sugar lumps would you like in your afternoon tea, Miss Jones?” Ottley’s Plantation Inn has rather a wild side too, best displayed when you go for an early morning or evening walk in its rainforest. Yes, there’s a ‘private’ mini-rainforest on this rambling 35-acre estate, primordial ficus and mahogany trees tucked away down a deep ravine, vines carpeting the ground and sunlight finding it quite difficult to make its way through the thick canopy of trees. And if you stay very quiet you’ll first hear and then see vervet green monkeys swinging through the branches. They’re not endemic to St. Kitts of course. They came here in the 18th century on the slave ships from West Africa, most of them brought as pets for the plantation owners’ wives. It only took one or two of these furry immigrants to decide that they didn’t much like their new role and a few centuries later you’ve got about 40,000 monkeys roaming through the hills, swinging through the trees and basically annoying all the local farmers. Yes, there are now more monkeys than people in St. Kitts and they like nothing better than filching the fresh vegetables and ripe fruits.

Yet at Ottley’s the monkeys are much-loved residents and indeed the whole estate is dream come true for nature lovers. Other interesting wildlife here includes ducks and herons in the lotus pond, as well as the ubiquitous Grey Kingbirds who flit about the lawns as though doublechecking everyone’s got everything they need. And the gardens themselves are a delight, the palms and pines overshadowed for novelty value by the ficus trees and elephant ears. And making sense of it all is Marty, a horticultural expert who can even tell you their names in Latin. Winter rates from $244 to $619 per night, no meals. Summer rates from $179 to $484. Tel: 1-869-465-7234 www.ottleys.com

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MONTPELIER PLANTATION NEVIS The Ultimate House Party Hotel


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Timothy Hoffman is the consummate Caribbean hotelier. This tall and engaging American purchased Montpelier Plantation in Nevis back in 2002 and made everyone (including Relais & Châteaux) fall madly in love with it all over again ... Timothy bravely chucked out all the chintz and skippered a re-styling programme that embraced the classic rather than the traditional. And more recently he somehow found time to upgrade the facilities on the hotel’s private beach, guests not just having its golden sands all to themselves, but pretty much everything else they need too - a shuttle whisks them down each day after they’ve enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the stone courtyard. But despite all these refinements Tim didn’t feel the need to mess with Montpelier’s famous house party ambience. And that’s not just because the hotel’s legions of repeaters would have mutineed. No, Tim actually enjoys meeting the people who’ve chosen to stay 750-feet up a Nevisian hillside at his ritzy rural retreat. So he hosts the nightly cocktail party in the Great House whenever he can, greeting new arrivals, catching up with past guests and generally making sure that no one’s missing out on the rum punches or roasted plantain chips. And talking of food, Tim has also introduced 4-course Tasting Menus at Montpelier every night. It’s an innovation that only adds to the feeling you’re a guest in a private home. But don’t worry if you don’t fancy the Stone Crab Croquettes or the Coriander Crusted Pork Loin. Chef Poudoulec makes his gourmet menus available in advance and you only have to screw up your nose and a suitable alternative will be offered. Montpelier Plantation does have a long history of hospitality, after all. It was here in the 1740s that Lord Nelson first met his wife Fanny Nisbet, whilst about 250-years later Princess Diana famously came here with her sons. Timothy Hoffman knows that its his hotel’s inherent charm and tranquillity that brought such people here and he has no intention of messing with that. Doubles from US$545 to $805 per night in the winter and from US$345 to $705 per night in the summer. Tel: 1-869-469-3462 info@montpeliernevis.com www.montpeliernevis.com

Bar on the private stretch of Pinney’s Beach


Montpelier Plantation Great House Terrace

Garden Suite

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After some time en famille?

Photo: [Jupiterimages]/[Cornstock]/Getty Images

Then consider Guanahani in St. Barths. It’s got kids’ clubs, kids’ menus and kid-friendly rooms. And it’s not bad for the grown-ups either!


GUANAHANI Guanahani in St. Barths could be classed as a playground for all age groups. Assuming you ever step outside your super-private suite of course ... Because all those sequestered sun decks, panoramic dining terraces and private swimming pools mean couples could easily spend their entire two weeks holed up in one of these roomy retreats talking to no one but themselves, their room service waiter and their highly accommodating butler. Guanahani’s Prestige Suites all boast Jeeves-style staffers who’ll do anything from book you on an excursion to Pinel Island to reserve you a table in one of the island’s 70 different restaurants. (How everyone stays so slim here in St. Barths is completely beyond us!) But Guanahani is actually the kind of buzzy bolthole where there’s plenty to do on the doorstep if you’ve been guilttripped into bringing the kids along. There are all the usual leisure facilities here, as well as a beach with a clubby vibe and a lively swimming pool with a fashionable yet friendly restaurant. Indigo makes anything from Salades César for super models to pommes frites for snotty 4 year-olds.

So whilst you’re having a Nuad Bo Rarn Thai Massage in the tranquil Clarins Spa, your offspring will be merrily singing, playing beach volleyball, building sandcastles or looking for seashells. And even if it’s wet outside there’s a PlayStation, as well as games like Uno and Pictionary Junior. So don’t worry you’ll still have time for that relaxing exfoliation treatment from Tuscany. 1-bedroom suites from €786 to €1,200 per night. 2-bedroom suites from €1440 to €3,806 and 3-bedroom suites from €2,096 to €4,360. Tel: 590-590-276-660 hotel@leguahani.com www.leguanahani.com

Indeed, this place is as family-friendly as it gets and the children’s clubs certainly underline the policy. Kids are offered a taste of French culture and language through a variety of different activities and games, The Kindergarten looking after 2 to 6-year-olds, the Junior’s Club more for 6 to 12-year-olds.

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It’s a family affair

Spice Island Beach Resort


Spice Island Beach Resort has been called ‘the closest Grenada has to a Ritz-Carlton or a Four Seasons.’ After all, it is fronted by one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and has spent millions of US dollars making sure that everything else matches up ... Yet despite the luxury suites, the dedicated spa and the amenities sans pareil, it’s always going to be the island-style welcome that sticks in your memory here. Certainly this is true if the management team has anything to do with it anyway. Over the years owner Sir Royston Hopkin K.C.M.G. (pictured) has established a decidedly uncorporate-like ‘guest as family’ philosophy at his famous Grand Anse getaway. Indeed, the Grenadian go-getter is always highly visible himself whenever he’s on the island and regularly invites guests to his own home for evening cocktails in his garden - the seaside setting is as delightful as the host so try not to turn him down! It helps, of course, that Sir Royston has his entire family behind him. His daughter Nerissa is Spice’s Deputy General Manager, whilst other children Ryan and Janelle are Assistant Managers dealing with Operations, as well as Food and Beverage. Yet everyone else at the hotel appears to be on board too, not least General Manager Brian Hardy whose long experience in the hospitality industry is perfectly complemented by his innate Caribbean charm! Winter doubles from $1,042 to $2,433 per night on an all-inclusive basis. Half-board also available. Tel: 473-444-4258 reservations@spicebeachresort.com www.spicebeachresort.com

SIR ROYSTON HOPKIN K.C.M.G. OWNER, SPICE ISLAND BEACH RESORT, GRENADA

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Cobblers Cove BARBADOS

At first glance Cobblers Cove looks like an English country house. Yet delve a little deeper and you’ll discover a slightly racier side to this Barbados bolthole ... Whether you’ve just had a facelift, been splashed all over the front pages or finally managed to snaffle that person you’ve had your eyes on for months, we know exactly where you should go to recuperate, run away or reve up your romance. The Colleton Suite at Cobblers Cove is one of the sexiest and most secluded suites in Barbados, (maybe even the entire Caribbean?) the fact that it’s been so tastefully ‘dressed’ by UK designer Prue Lane Fox only adding to its pulling power. This luxurious 1,780 sq.ft. hideout is secreted away inside the west turret of Cobblers Cove’s pink-tinged main house - but it’s so self-contained that there’s no need to come out and meet your public if you’re not up to it. Especially as its horseshoe-shaped living space opens out onto an expansive sun terrace with its own plunge pool, dining area and well-stocked cocktail bar. The unblemished views of the Caribbean Sea will certainly have you springing out of your Empress-size bed each morning. That and the smokey grey marble bathroom with its Jacuzzi tub and suggestive his-and-hers shower. Other design treats include antique chairs, an elegant chaise longue and hand-painted writing desks, the fresh white and green colour scheme a restful contrast to all those passionate tropical colours outside. Cobblers Cove is a member of Relais & Châteaux. Colleton Suite $2,910 per night in winter and from $1,290 to $1,505 in the summer, no meals included. Other rooms at Cobblers Cove from $870 per night in the winter and from $530 in the summer, no meals. Tel: (246) 422 2291 reservations@cobblerscove.com www.cobblerscove.com


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Photo: Nazarino/Shutterstock.com

HAUTE HOTELS From a refreshingly down-to-earth perspective

www.haute-hotels.com


HAUTE Caribbean