By Alexander Britell
The all-inclusive Caribbean resort has been the secret to the growth of some of the most popular destinations in the region, from Punta Cana to Montego Bay. But as the definition of all-inclusive has changed, travelers are increasingly seeking out new destinations that offer authentic experiences with all-inclusive convenience.
That’s where a new destination has emerged, with perhaps the region’s most impressive concentration of all-inclusive Caribbean properties: Antigua.
The Eastern Caribbean island has cultivated an enviable collection of all-inclusive resorts that focus on real experiences, sophisticated design and a departure from the megaresort all-inclusives of yesteryear.
They’re smaller places, with lower-scale development, with West Indian charm and a focus on actually enjoying the beauty of the island.
Whether you’re staying at the romantic Galley Bay, the eco-chic Hermitage Bay or lounging in one of the terraced pools at Cocobay (an all-inclusive that happens to house one of the Caribbean’s hottest restaurants), you’ll feel like you’re a universe away from high-rises and endless buffet lines.
That’s without mentioning Jumby Bay, the resort that’s perhaps the region’s toniest all-inclusive, or the clubby, recently transformed Curtain Bluff.
And those are just a few — you can find all kinds of terrific all-inclusives around the island, from boutique stays like Keyonna to the beachy Sugar Ridge and, of course, several Sandals resorts.
Plainly, you won’t find a more interesting or more diverse range of all-inclusive stays anywhere else in the Caribbean.
And the pipeline continues to grow.
Elite Island Resorts, the island’s all-inclusive leader, is adding a new luxury five-star adults-only retreat set on the island’s eastern coast.
It’s called Hammock Cove, and the property will be a collection of 40 one-bedroom villas.
Each villa will have its own private plunge pool, along with a full bar, hanging hammocks and state-of-the-art amenities and technology, another boutique-style all-inclusive that is become the island’s signature.
The adults-only property, whose details were revealed during an Antigua and Barbuda destination briefing at this week’s State of the Industry Conference in Nassau, is slated for a mid-2019 opening.
And another major all-inclusive is coming to the island in February, when Canadian brand Royalton opens the new Royalton Antigua, a family-friendly all-inclusive.
It’s all part of an island that has been very quietly — but very quickly — become the new all-inclusive capital of the Caribbean.