An idyllic Caribbean holiday should tick certain boxes: foliage must be verdant, sand must be white and waters must verge on day-glo blue. Luxury cabins, private plunge pools and gourmet dining are less common, and it’s exactly these not-so-trivial extras that rank Hermitage Bay as one of the most desirable destinations in Antigua.
Thirty minutes’ drive from St John’s and the airport, this 30-cottage property is all about peace, privacy and seclusion. Fronting a long stretch of ridiculously pristine beach, cottages dot the hillside down to the shoreline, connected by paved walkways and, for those who take their relaxation very seriously, motorized buggies. In fact, ensuring extreme relaxation is actually the Hermitage Bay’s specialty — guests need exert only the bare minimum of effort, with a personal housekeeper, beach-side wait service and a spa close at hand to ease any conceivable tension.
Design here is contemporary and elegant, with more than a whiff of the island’s colonial past; plantation shutters and timber verandas complementing luxe white linens and dark wooden furniture. Oversized bathtubs and alfresco showers turn bathing into an occasion, and private loungers on the deck afford guests their postcard views sans human interference, most passsersby being of the tropical avian variety.
The beach is obviously a major attraction, and should lying supine by the sea every day somehow become old hat, guests can explore nearby caves and coves by kayak. For alone time with a significant other, the Hermitage provides private boat trips to secluded beaches, complete with picnic hampers of fresh local produce and the libation of guests’ choosing.
While the shops and restaurants of Jolly Harbour are but a ten-minute drive away, for the most part, Hermitage Bay is for the escapists. For convenience, cottages are fitted with the requisite modern trappings — DVD, flatscreen TV, wifi and the works. Yet this property’s most attractive attribute is its distance — both physical and metaphorical – from the outside world. The most daunting task here, as with any island getaway worth its salt, is having to leave.