Antigua | luxury all-inclusive beach resorts

I had the sheer pleasure to spend three nights on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua. Several hours from Miami, it's an easy place to reach, and as I had seats in the forward cabin and carry-on luggage, I was out of customs before some passengers had left the plane. Rare in the Caribbean, Antigua has three all-inclusive beach resorts.

I was a guest at Jumby Bay, an all-inclusive Rosewood property. After a complimentary five minute shuttle from the airport to Jumby Bay's private dock, your vacation really begins the moment you step onto their speedboat for a seven minute trip to a Jumby Bay, an exclusive, 300 acre private island. Our group stayed in one of the resort's private estate homes, where our own chef and housekeeping staff prepared and served our daily breakfasts on a beautiful patio overlooking the sea. For most guests, I recommend one of the new Beachside Courtyard Suites - beautiful, spacious suites decorated in a contemporary Caribbean style. These definitely a cut above the lead-in Rondavel Rooms and Suites - but the Rondavels are an option for those with more limited budgets.

Although the sun wasn't shining when I took the picture below, it gives you a sense of the long, private beach that Jumby Bay guests enjoy. And when the sun is shining, the sparkling ocean water rewards guests with amazing shades of blue and green.

the beach at Jumby Bay

Hermitage Bay is a different kind of all-inclusive resort that will appeal to a different set of guests. While Jumby Bay is elegant Caribbean contemporary, Hermitage Bay is elegant Caribbean traditional, and its rooms make extensive use of mahogany and other dark tropical hardwoods. Guests have the choice of Hillside Pool Suites (set on the steep hillside above the sea with stunning views of the water), five Beachfront Cottage Suites, or three Beach Cottage Suites. From the Cottage Suites, guests step out right onto the sand, just steps away from the water.

Curtain Bluff is a third all-inclusive option on Antigua. This resort is ideal for active vacationers who either (1) enjoy deep sea fishing, (2) enjoy SCUBA diving, or (3) both. Why? Because your all-inclusive room rate includes both deep sea fishing and SCUBA, normally a very expensive recreational activity.

Carlyle Bay is a good choice for families who need a flexible kids program that will accept very young children. Carlyle Bay's kid's program accepts children as young as 6 months old, and this is more than babysitting. Supervised activities and snacks are provided throughout the day. Access for kids aged 6 months to 2 years is $15 per hour, and there is no charge for kids over 2. Summer rates are an especially good value with 15% off the regular rates and all meals included (summer only).

All members of Virtuoso, these luxury beach resorts offer added-value amenities to guests who book through their Virtuoso travel consultant.

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copyright (c) 2013 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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