Valerie Wilson Travel

Antigua with Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg

Antigua as a destination, while not fully open, is as beautiful as ever and warmly welcoming visitors. Venues such as Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua’s original British maritime hub, and popular hiking spots like Shirley Heights Lookout are open and great options for some time outside of your resort. 

We flew American Airlines to and from Antigua and both flights were comfortable and easy. COVID measures were followed and the crew was wonderful. AA still offers beverage and food service for each flight which is a huge advantage, and the level of service is as high as ever. Flying is 100% possible in 2021 – planes are currently even cleaner than your average grocery store with HEPA filters and other COVID measures in place. 

Jumby Bay Island Resort

Our first stop in Antigua was Jumby Bay Island Resort, which is now part of Oetker Collection. After making our way through customs, we met our transfer at the airport where our temperatures were checked. We spent a brief amount of time at the Jumby Bay lounge then boarded a private ferry and, in less than ten minutes, arrived at our 300-acre island home: the quintessential all-inclusive Caribbean resort that is Jumby Bay. On the island, you are truly in an oasis of relaxation. Everyone on the property has tested negative and staff is tested daily. It is absolutely refreshing to be able to roam the property at leisure and partake in snorkeling expeditions, kayak tours, cooking classes, rum tastings, and sunset cocktail cruises. Not to mention, the property boasts three pools, three tennis courts, a fitness center, a spacious spa – which is definitely worth visiting – and an outdoor yoga pavilion where you can hold private yoga sessions. 

Accommodation options on the island include suites, villas, and private residences. The newly renovated in late 2019 28 Caribbean suites are decorated with tropical touches, offering magnificent vaulted ceilings, a sitting area, as well as a beautifully appointed bedroom, with some suites offering a private pool and outdoor garden shower. For those looking for the ultimate in discreet luxury, the 14 Villas on the island may be a perfect option, while the 22 private residences are well appointed, treasured family homes – each with an individual spirit – that guests may call their own for the length of their stay. 

Jumby Bay offers guests a variety of options when it comes to dining – they have truly gotten creative, as once you are on the island, you are there for your entire stay. During our stay, we were able to dine at The Jumby Bay Verdana, which serves delicious small plates and cocktails near the beach, as well as The Estate House, one of the leading fine dining destinations in the Caribbean. The property also offers themed weekly events like a White Night Beach Barbecue Party, which I would absolutely suggest attending! Overall, the property was outstanding and comes with the high level of service that is associated with Oetker Collection. 

Curtain Bluff

After staying with friends in Antigua for a few nights, we were tested for COVID once again and upon a negative result, were able to make our way to Curtain Bluff. FYI, you must be tested before arriving at Curtain Bluff; however it was extremely convenient and efficient to get tested by the on-property doctor who actually came to the location we were staying at prior to Curtain Bluff to administer the tests. 

Arriving at the property truly felt like coming home. Tucked away on Antigua’s south side, Curtain Bluff coaxes guests from life’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace into a tranquil and enchanting island paradise. Flanked on both sides by the stunning Caribbean Sea, the property offers a low key, understated elegance paired with impeccable service and a true all-inclusive experience, perfect for families or couples. Not only was the team eager to please, but the COVID measures in place made us feel completely comfortable.

The 72 spacious suites and guest rooms offer views of the pristine, palm-shaded beach and rocky bluff that gives the resort its name. Suites were all redone in 2019 and boast light, Caribbean colors, spacious bathrooms, and patios or terraces. All accommodations are situated directly on the beach or just a few steps from it. With more than a dozen exciting activities fully included in each room rate, guests will never be bored. Hit the court for a set of tennis, discover the incredible sea life while scuba diving or snorkeling on the reef, skim across the bay on a Hobie Cat or take an invigorating class from our rotating lineup of wellness instructors. 

Dining options never disappoint at Curtain Bluff and have been praised by Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, Fodors, and Gourmet Magazine. The resort is known for delicious lunches at the Seagrape Restaurant which they pivoted from their known buffet style to ala carte. 

The Tamarind Restaurant is another wonderful option which features a rotating five-course menu including salads, locally caught fish, outstanding meats, and decadent desserts. During and after the meal, diners enjoy dancing to live music and stargazing under the moonlight on the terrace. 

Overall, both properties have fantastic value, and I would return to both in the future without a second thought. There is a consistent high level of service, and guest experience has not suffered at all. With our global partners operating at such a high level, this is the perfect time to start planning your next adventure!

March 2021 | by Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg