The beach at Carlisle Bay.
The beach at Carlisle Bay

Recently, I had the chance to stay at Carlisle Bay, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World consortium nestled between the rainforest and Caribbean Sea on Antigua’s southern coast. While there were many reasons to love my stay at the resort, here are my top four:

1. Casual luxury
Driving through the gates to Carlisle Bay’s front door, I knew we were in for something special. The open-air lobby, awash in dark woods and crisp, white fabrics, was instantly welcoming, as was the watermelon juice offered upon check-in. The personalized service provided by the Carlisle Bay team is unparalleled—from a guided tour of the intimate property en route to my suite, to the beaming smiles and “hellos” from everyone I met during my stay. And then there are the accommodations. My oceanfront suite was luxurious and contemporary, yet cozy and inviting. The lanai was the perfect place to take in each night’s sunset, with its oranges and pinks and purples, dipping into the sea.

2. Let’s eat!
When the mood strikes, there’s little reason to leave the resort to find incredible dining—from a quick wood-fired pizza snack poolside at Ottimo, to East with its pan-Asian cuisine (and noted to be one of the island’s best restaurants), to Indigo on the Beach, perfect for beach-side sunset (or sunrise) dining!

3. Slice of paradise
Speaking of the beach, Carlisle Bay has its own slice of paradise alongside a quiet bay, complete with loungers and umbrellas. The gentle waters are perfect for wading, swimming, or snorkeling, or even taking one of the resort’s Sunfish sailboats out for a spin.

Adding to an already idyllic setting, a separate beach on the other end of the resort is perfect for families, and service is provided throughout. Cocktail? What will you have? Lunch? What tempts you? English tea is also served right there under the beach umbrellas, if you choose.

4. Relax, rejuvenate and restore
One of my favorite experiences at Carlisle Bay was the sunset yoga class we had with Karen, which was held on the resort’s jetty overlooking the bay and mountains beyond. During the session, we downward dogged, planked, triangled and let our muscles melt, just as the sun did into the sea, right before our eyes.

In addition to yoga, the team at Carlisle Bay also offers Pilates, tennis clinics, a full gym, guided hikes in the rainforest, snorkeling excursions, and many more ways to stay active during your stay. If you’d like.

When it’s time to relax, look no further than The Blue Spa, recently named in Condé Nast Traveller’s “World’s Best Spas 2013.” A variety of treatments are on the menu, but you can never go wrong with a simple Swedish massage.

Just writing this up brings back such fond memories of my stay at Carlisle Bay—I can’t wait until I have another chance to visit. Hopefully it’s soon!

Ocean suite at Carlisle Bay
Ocean suite at Carlisle Bay
Sunset dining at Indigo on the beach
Sunset dining at Indigo on the beach
The beach at Carlisle Bay
The beach at Carlisle Bay
Sunset yoga
Sunset yoga

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