An island escape near the rainforest
Just 30 minutes from V.C. Bird International Airport, across Antigua’s volcanic topography on twisting roads lined with lush rainforests and banana trees growing wild, you’ll be greeted with a watermelon punch and ocean breezes at Carlisle Bay.
The Location and Layout
Carlisle Bay is an intimate, comfortable and contemporary resort tucked between a tranquil bay and a cascading rainforest, both of which provide ample opportunity for exploration and adventure. But if you’d rather not spend time exploring the area, just pick a spot and enjoy the sun’s warm rays.
The 82 comfortable, contemporary suites, range from Beach Suites (king-size bed and sitting area plus separate study or second bedroom) to Ocean Suites (king-size bed in an open-plan bedroom/sitting room) to Carlisle Suites (three en suite double bedrooms).
All of the suites at Carlisle Bay come with ocean views, while some offer rainforest vistas. Suite amenities include fresh fruit (apples, oranges and local black pineapple) delivered daily, DVD and CD players, satellite TV, 24-hour room service, complimentary Wi-Fi, bottled water, a Gaggia espresso machine and more.
The resort’s management team does a solid job of keeping the guest experience in mind thanks to Carlisle Bay being divided in half – one for families, and one for adults traveling without children. And no matter which category you fall into, everyone has full access to all of Carlisle Bay’s grounds and beaches.
There’s little reason to leave Carlisle Bay. With activities such as sunset yoga, Pilates, tennis, snorkeling and guided hikes through the rainforest, there’s plenty to choose from. Or, relax on the beach with a book found in the resort’s onsite library.
If you want to unwind a little bit more, head to one of Blue Spa’s six treatment rooms. And for a real treat, try the diamond ice lift facial, which uses shiatsu-inspired massage techniques to firm up the face. While there, keep an eye out for A-listers — the spa has welcomed celebrity guests like Oprah (who owns a home on the island) for a manicure and pedicure. Back in your room, the pampering continues with bathroom products from REN Clean Skincare.
If the kids are tagging along, be sure and take advantage of the Cool Kids Club (6 months to 6 years old) or Crew Blue (7 to 12 years old). These groups provide supervised age-appropriate activities such as treasure hunts and raft building to tennis and beach exploring. Carlisle Bay offers babysitting services, too, for a nominal fee.
Nearby, plenty of activities are available, from deep-sea fishing to scuba diving to sailing and zip-lining. For a historic perspective, visit Betty’s Hope sugar plantation, founded in 1674; English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard, developed in the 18th century; and the island’s museums.
When it comes to dining at Carlisle Bay, three restaurants and their bars tempt the taste buds, each with its own flavors and inspirations. Open-air Indigo on the Beach offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features healthy dishes, seafood, salads and barbecues, all in a toes-in-the-sand setting. Poolside, Ottimo! offers classic Italian dishes, including pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven, and East is known island-wide for its pan-Asian cuisine, from sushi to curries to Murgh Makhani, an Indian butter chicken masala with mango chutney poppadom. And while you’re at East, be sure to try the molten chocolate cake as it is well worth the calories.
Should you be celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a different dining experience, make arrangements to dine at sunset on the jetty. But if you simply can’t pull yourself away from the beach, order a Caribbean bento box or savor afternoon tea on the sand.