JC Stays: Curtain Bluff, Antigua

New suites and seafront yoga pavilion at this family-run luxury Caribbean resort


Nothing banishes the winter blues quite like a break in Antigua — a paradise island where 365 beautiful beaches are just the beginning of the temptations.

Arrive there via one of the shortest direct flights from the UK to the Caribbean and you’ll find a less developed, less glitzy island than its neighbours: ideal for camera-shy celebs who go there to holiday unseen.

It’s this peaceful, low-key atmosphere that also draws repeat visitors to Curtain Bluff, an unpretentious yet elegant resort that’s consistently ranked one of the island’s best.

Its founder, the late fighter pilot Sir Howard Hulford, was looking for a place to set up home in Antigua when he flew over a beautiful bluff with a beach on either side.

He fell in love with it and built a villa called Bluff House at the end of the rocky promontory, before opening Curtain Bluff nearby in 1962. Starting as a small 22-room hotel, it has developed into a world-class resort, which today has a championship tennis centre, water sports and tranquil spa.

And this year, all 12 suites have been completely gutted and redone, providing the perfect excuse to book in and experience a bit of Bluff magic for yourself.

Interiors are light and airy with natural wood, seagrass furniture and soft furnishings in delicate shades of turquoise, marble sinks and teardrop tiles in the bathrooms.

The stellar oceanfront views are the focal point, with an indoor-outdoor feel in the living room leading to a patio with private pool, and a bed positioned so that you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake to sea views.

The communal areas of the resort have been given a refresh too, including the Tamarind restaurant, housed in a colonial-style building, and the brand new seafront yoga pavilion. The resulting refresh is chic, modern but still feels authentically Caribbean.

With the exception of a few above-and-beyond luxuries, everything is included in the room rate — mini bar, all drinks and unlimited watersports, making Curtain Bluff great value too.

If you can tear yourself away from the resort’s two beaches and those watersports, you could also have a private tennis lesson, sample wines in the hotel’s cellar, indulge in a full-body massage in the spa, take part in a Caribbean cooking class or have a barefoot lunch or romantic dinner at Sea Grape, a few feet from the water’s edge.

But the real beauty of Curtain Bluff lies in its intimacy and charm. Howard’s wife Chelle still lives in Bluff House, greeting guests like old friends and hosting the resort’s weekly cocktail party.

Many employees come from the local village, Old Road, and have worked there for decades — the Old Road Fund, founded by the Hulfords in 1974 to assist the local community, helps with anything from medical needs and education to providing young adults with university scholarship assistance.

For those who prefer this family atmosphere over the flashiness of larger resorts, Curtain Bluff is hard to top. It may well become your new favourite home from home.


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