4.5-Star Colonial-Style Resort on Historic Coast of Antigua
Giant British battleships used to frequent the marinas of English Harbour, Antigua; today, you can learn about the island’s naval heritage at Nelson's Dockyard, a cultural site and marina that dates to the 18th century. The base, which Frommer’s called "one of the eastern Caribbean's biggest attractions,” once served as the home of the distinguished Admiral Nelson, whose name is now synonymous with cheap rum. Today you’ll find preserved Georgian buildings, hilltop forts, nature trails, and The Inn at English Harbour. Spread out over 19 acres of hillside gardens, this boutique luxury resort offers its own private beach and romantic alfresco dining.
At the inn’s powdery-sand beach, guests have access to a private jetty, as well as complimentary kayaks and snorkeling gear. The open-air Terrace restaurant serves gourmet candlelight meals, and as part of this Groupon, you’ll enjoy a complimentary three-course dinner here every night. The hotel’s onsite spa uses organic essential oils for treatments such as hot-stone massages and body wraps, and there’s an adjoining lounge where you can grab tea before or after sessions.
The Inn at English Harbour’s decor fits in with the colonial-style architecture of the area. Mahogany wood abounds in the floors of the main inn as well as the shuttered windows and canopied beds in the guest rooms. Junior suites balance old-fashioned furnishings—hand-painted armoires and candelabra sconces—with modern amenities such as tiled walk-in showers and flat-screen TVs. Each is adjoined by a private, furnished terrace, and some lead directly into the resort's gardens.
Antigua: Colonial History Blended with Laid-Back Island Charm
On Antigua, the largest of the British Leeward Islands, you can visit a different beach every day of the year. The island has 365 of them, some of which were named by Frommer's as the Caribbean's best. Celebrities such as Oprah, Eric Clapton, and Giorgio Armani have been drawn to the powder-soft sands here, building sprawling estates amid the thatch-roofed bungalows. In the northwest, Dickenson Bay is a popular destination with something for every type of beachgoer: umbrellas and loungers, glass-bottom boat tours, and fast-paced watersports. There's an equally lovely landscape beneath the waves—just offshore, Cades Reef, a 32-foot-deep barrier reef, shelters barracuda, eels, eagle rays, and nurse sharks.
Like other isles of the British West Indies, Antigua retains a lot of English culture from its days as a colony, including a pervasive love of cricket and traditional afternoon teatime. You can see a lot of the island's colonial roots in its capital city, St. John's, where Fort Barrington served as an important military defense post for the British Royal Navy as far back as 1652. Today, the stronghold still boasts a powder magazine and gun platform alongside some of the most panoramic views in the Caribbean.
The island's distinct culture also shines through in its cuisine, which includes conch fritters and cornmeal fungi, a dish similar to polenta. You can sample local flavors at St. John's Saturday-morning market, which bustles with vendors selling pineapple, breadfruit, and tamarind. Next door, a smaller market showcases crafts, jewelry, and parrots selling the season's hottest feather extensions.
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