Earlier this summer I was lucky enough to enjoy what will probably be my last luxury two-week summer holiday with my parents for a long time – Carlisle Bay.
With my final year at university ending, and real life looming I was happy to wave goodbye to the library and torrential rain that we’d had in Durham over the past few days of June, in exchange for some downtime in paradise. So, after graduating just days before, G and I joined my parents on the eight/nine hour flight to Antigua…
Welcomed by smiling faces, cold flannels and a local cocktail, I can safely say I was blown away the minute we arrived. The resort was perfectly located within a secluded bay, set against a unique backdrop of a towering green rainforest and home to white sand, palm trees and turquoise water.
We were swiftly guided through the winding paths and tropical gardens that led to our Ocean Suite: an open-plan bedroom-sitting room with a modern, minimalist feel, overlooking the gorgeous, long-stretching beach. The bed was one of the comfiest I’ve ever slept in, the bathrobes were the fluffiest I’ve ever worn and the bathtub was the deepest and most perfectly shaped I’ve ever bathed in. I knew I was in for a treat.
With the friendly hotel staff constantly ensuring that our holiday was more than perfect, we spent our two weeks lounging on sunbeds, scoffing down the complimentary afternoon tea brought to you on the beach, snorkeling, completing our daily swim, drinking cocktails, doing sunset yoga and even catching up on Love Island using the Wi-Fi that went right to the sea! It really was the ultimate retreat and had something for everybody.
The facilities were also fantastic. There was a gym with more than enough equipment to never leave you bored, a modern and well-stocked library, multiple tennis courts and complimentary kit, a spa and beauty centre with candles and flowing material that made you feel as though you were in a dream, a cinema for the overcast days and a pool that was set in the centre of the resort with sun loungers sitting in inches of water, in-water seating with jets and surrounded by plants giving it a tropical feel.
One of our days we decided we should stretch our legs a little further than the few metres that led to the sea or beach bar, and so went for a day out on the resort’s ‘Fjord’. It was a stunning boat, and despite the waves we journeyed to English Harbour, loving every second. This harbour is best known for Nelson’s Dockyard, a former Navy base and we spent the morning wandering around the historical settlement, visiting the local museum and various tourist shops.
However it was the sea, rather than the facilities and equipment of Carlisle Bay, that was one of the resort’s main accolades. Being contained within a bay, the water was calm 24/7, pleasantly warm yet refreshing and crystal clear, making those instagrams come out perfectly. There was even chance to see fish and rays if you hired snorkeling equipment and swam out from the beach.
I really am saving the best until last, when I talk about the food…
Words cannot describe the culinary masterpieces that were continually placed in front of me for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The breakfast menu included everything from daily baked pastries (the banana bread was my favourite!), to thick cut cinnamon French toast with toasted almonds and summer berry compote, right down to a traditional Antigun breakfast (their version of a full English) with plantain and fish!
Lunch was offered at 3 restaurants – the Indigo, Ottimo! and the Jetty Grill, offering a range of delicious salads, Italian make-your-own pizzas, grilled vegetable pitas, lobster lasagna and a freshly cooked BBQ’ed Cajun chicken and mahi mahi. With far too much choice, we never went hungry.
The chef’s real culinary abilities came at dinnertime, where we had the option of all four restaurants in the resort, including East, serving Asian cuisine. Well…you simply have to go yourself to see and taste the incredible flavours that were created in those kitchens. Pan seared snapper. Handcrafted sushi rolls. Perfectly cooked fillet steak. Local salads with feta, watermelon or quinoa. Grilled lobster. And the most incredible white chocolate cream mousse that you will have ever tasted. The list really does go on…
What’s more, their unique and extensive cocktail menu means that you really do make the most of the time you have on the island, staying up until closing time enjoying everything from frozen peach daiquiris to the traditional rum punches!
I could not believe how quickly two weeks flew by and it was not long before we said our reluctant goodbyes to what was a perfect retreat in paradise. Every minute detail of this holiday was catered for and I would go back in a flash.
To find out more about Carlisle Bay visit their website here and please feel free to ask any questions by posting below.