Antigua Luxury Resorts: How to Choose the Experience you Deserve!
by Lorraine Headley-Raeburn, on Jun 20, 2022 3:36:41 AM
It’s been a rough time for everyone around the world. Along with all the ups and downs of living through a pandemic, one thing that became very apparent….never before did we realize how much we love, no, need to travel! As destinations slowly start to open their borders, and confidence grows in expectation of a safe sojourn without the surprises of quarantines or cancelled flights, that famished travel bug has started to bite again.
Throughout the global lockdown, we never stopped dreaming, exploring, and planning, so the oft stated insight of travel experts of an expectation of huge “pent up demand” is likely to be very real. And with travel off the cards for nearly two years, along with the emotional whiplash from months upon months of stress and anxiety and the harsh realization of the fragility of life, many of us are determined to make up for lost time.
So along comes another phrase we had never heard of before 2020…revenge travel! We no longer want to settle for that routine, three-day meaningless visit to the country next door, taking uninspired selfies that barely make it to our social media feed. We are embracing YOLO with both hands, with a newfound desire to live large, enjoy life to the fullest, spend quality time (and a lot more of it!) with our loved ones, and feel completely and goosebump-ly alive. In this post covid era of travel we are upgrading to first class, upgrading to larger suites with in-room pools, upgrading to private chefs at our villas, upgrading to hassle free all-inclusive accommodation and generally seeking longer, customized, and personalized private itineraries.
Travellers worldwide are looking for, and are willing to spend more for that exotic, secluded, surreal location; that once in a lifetime experience; and a chance to make meaningful and lasting memories. Which is exactly why Antigua is one of the top 5 Caribbean destinations according to Conde Nast Traveller in its Top Islands - Readers’ Choice Awards 2021 released this October. The growing interest in the island has set a destination record this year with the highest stay-over visitor arrivals in July and August, even more monthly visitors than pre-covid.
Jumby Bay Private Island
Antigua and Barbuda has been renowned for the last 50 years as that hidden exclusive luxury destination where the rich and famous have quietly landed their private jets to stay on private islands (think Jumby Bay situated on the 300 acre Long Island where Lionel Messi, Mariah Carey and many others frequent), upscale villas and private homes (think Georgio Armani, Eric Clapton and Oprah Winfrey), private superyachts (think Larry Ellison) and a range of Antigua luxury resorts recognized globally for decades for providing the utmost in traditional, old world luxury living (think Curtain Bluff, The Inn at English Harbour, Galley Bay and the more recent Hammock Cove).
Galley Bay Resort
However, many Antigua resorts are at the forefront of a growing trend in luxury travel, revealed strongly among high-net-worth millennials for many years and put on full blast post covid. The traditional view of the luxury experience – of gold faucets, marble finishes, suits at dinner, oblivious high spending, logo centric brands, and generally showing off your wealth and status – is now seen as intimidating, stuffy, unnecessary and tone deaf. In essence, conspicuous consumption is so passé.
I like the definition of luxury espoused by Merriam Webster as more encompassing of the current growing sentiment, that is .. “something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary” or “an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction or ease”. This wider view of luxury and luxury travel, especially post covid, places greater priority on space, cleanliness, privacy, seclusion, authenticity, cultural immersion, social purpose, environmental responsibility, and physical and mental wellness.
As much as the post covid traveller wants to indulge themself, recognizing life is too short to leave those Baccarat crystal glasses and Wedgwood china tea set on the sideboard only for use when company comes to visit, today’s luxury traveller wants a simple, authentic experience encompassing comfort and elegance in a relaxed setting. Along with this newly styled “luxury of effortless”, we want our luxury experience to contribute to the betterment of the world by supporting the environment, supporting communities, and supporting local small businesses.
A number of Antigua all-inclusive resorts have long been creating what the new luxury traveller is now seeking. Hermitage Bay, Cocobay, and COCOS, incidentally all designed and built by the veteran hotelier, Andrew Michelin, are the epitome of quiet, understated luxury.
Hermitage Bay Resort
The latest offering of this Jamaican born, Antiguan convert and veritable Caribbean citizen, Keyonna Beach, set on one of the best, most secluded beaches in Antigua, truly perfects this in vogue concept of vintage Caribbean simple barefoot luxury.
One of only a handful of Antigua all-inclusive resorts adults only, Keyonna Beach provides a taste of the Caribbean of old, and of love. Reminiscent of Michelin’s early days spent in the Caribbean, the resort was designed to reflect all that the Caribbean represents - the rich history, sunshine, seawater, beaches, lively music, bright art, tasty fresh exotic foods, peace, tranquility, simplicity, foliage, flowers, laughter, and trade winds, all in a stress free, indulgent cashless package.
Keyonna Beach Resort
Taking the wholesome, timeless approach to life, like the workings of a Louis Moinet handcrafted watch, almost everything offered at Keyonna Beach comes from local hands with time-honoured values. The dark stained wood furniture is handcrafted by local tradesmen on staff; the daily freshly caught fish from the fishermen of the nearby village of Urlings; the cocktails mixed with locally distilled rum; the organic local fruits and vegetables from the backyard gardens of the staff, while the property itself sits on leased land owned for generations by an indigenous family living at Johnsons Point – in fact Keyonna is the name of the granddaughter (now current owner) of the first free owner of the land.
Supporting local communities and the environment is the ethos of Keyonna Beach, exuding the very definition of slow travel – a connection to the real soul of the Caribbean, its local people, culture, food, music, and natural setting.
For most luxury connoisseurs, the core value of true luxury is rarity, again especially so post covid, where to be far from the madding crowd is no longer just the title of a 17th century novel. The new luxury traveller desires uniqueness yet familiarity, isolation yet emotional interactions and memorable connections which can only be found at the most inimitable of Antigua boutique resorts.
Hammock Cove Resort
Keyonna Beach offers the very best in an “isolation vacation”, with only 29 cottages across 4 acres of beachfront where you can experience a spiritual commune with nature through the sunshine, sand, wood, and foods directly from the earth.
You can spend all your time tucked away in your Beachfront Sanctuary Plunge Pool Cottage having lunch on your dedicated Bali bed and a private dinner on the beach. Or you can socialize with a select group of couples learning to play pan or tasting local herb teas with intimate historical conversations. Keyonna is where needs are pre-empted, expectations surpassed, relationships built, and memories etched forever in your spirit.
But ultimately, in this day and age, the best definition of luxury is spending precious time together and there is no better way than in the simple vintage Caribbean barefoot luxury you both deserve.
Life’s short. Choose well!