Katie escapes to a private island hideaway

Katie May gives us an insight into her two night retreat at Jumby Bay, a private island hideaway only accessible by boat. Antigua is located in the Leeward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean and is surrounded by numerous smaller islands, one of which is Long Island and home to Jumby Bay.

27 November 2013


After a busy five days exploring every corner of Antigua, I was rewarded with a two night stay at Jumby.
I was greeted with a refreshing cold towel and delicious home-made lemonade, and after a bite to eat for lunch, was whisked away for a circumnavigation cruise of the island, from where I could view the 40 room resort, and many of the private homes and villas that are scattered around the rest of the island’s coastline. The trip is offered as part of the all-inclusive weekly programme, and one that I would definitely recommend. From the sea you can get a real appreciation of the contrasting calm Caribbean and the more rugged Atlantic sides of the Island, see some magnificent homes, as well as some great wildlife; we saw several blue pelican’s fishing for their lunch, as well as a whole host of flying fish.


Jumby Bay from the pristine sea

After the round-island trip my room was ready, so I settled in before heading to the beach to enjoy the sunset. My room was one of the Courtyard Suites, located conveniently close by the Pool Grill restaurant. The standard of the rooms at Jumby is exceptional. The Courtyard Suites have an open plan bedroom and living space, offering a bright and airy feel to the room which is further enhanced by the vaulted ceiling. Off the bedroom, I found my spacious bathroom, featuring a large shower, and then beyond that, a door leading to my outdoor bathtub and an additional shower. Off the main room was a roomy terrace with a wonderful view of Jumby Beach and Antigua, and an ideal spot from which to enjoy the sunset. I waited patiently for the sunset and wasn’t disappointed, the uncharacteristically cloudy afternoons gave way to some stunning sunsets.


Sunset from the Courtyard Suite

The following morning was my opportunity to view the island up close. First off was the chance to take a peek behind the doors of the most exclusive properties on the island, the private homes. Each of the homes is privately owned and unique in its own right, and I was lucky enough to see five of them. There really is a home to suit everybody, from smaller properties with just one or two bedrooms in the main house, right up to vast mansions, so whether you are a honeymooning couple looking for an exclusive hideaway, or a large family wanting to celebrate a special occasion, the homes, complete with their butlers and chefs, provide the ideal venue. Of them all, my favourite was the modest, but family-friendly Frangipani Point.


The most recent addition to the estate homes – the impressive Lazy Lizard

After a thorough nose around the island, today’s lunch was at the Pool Grill where the fish tacos had been recommended. The fish changes each day depending on the day’s catch, and I had marlin. Out of all of the amazing food I enjoyed whist in Antigua, this humble street-style food was my pick for the week – absolutely delicious.
That afternoon was spent relaxing in one of the Pool Suites with a colleague. These are just the same as my Courtyard Suite, except the lounge is separate from the bedroom, and as the name suggests, there is a pool on the terrace. I was initially baffled by the peculiar crocodile head floating around in all of the swimming pools, until I found out that they are to deter the many sparrow-like birds that are common-place.
Early evening came, and it was time for a cookery class hosted by Chef Christopher. On the menu was salmon tartar which although very simple to make, was an impressive dish and delicious. It is firmly at the top of my list for a future dinner party menu.

Chef Christopher


Salmon tartar

Dinner was at the Verandah, where on the beach was the weekly “white party” with guests dressed all in white and enjoying the steel band, fire breathing and limbo dancing.
The following morning, was my favourite activity of the week. I rose early, determined to make the most of my last day on the island before returning home. I took my bike, and went off to explore the island. I was early enough to see the island come to life. I ventured over to the secluded Pasture Beach, which I had entirely to myself except for several starfish, a hermit crab, hundreds of lizards, and a turtle nest!


Stunning starfish

There is an annual turtle project on the island where areas are set aside for the turtles to come ashore and nest. Each turtle that hatches and ventures out to sea is tagged, and recently, they have had the exciting news that one of the original turtles has returned to the beach to nest. Guests who are keen to find out more can sign up to Turtle Watch, and staff will call you any time of night to see the turtles hatching.

I ventured onwards, taking in the grounds of the resort and enjoying the scent of the freshly cut grass as the grounds keepers went about their mowing.

Exploring the island


Turtle nest

After a leisurely breakfast, I headed over to the water sports centre for my last activity before lunch and the boat trip back to the airport; paddle boarding. My husband has two boards, and I have always refused to have a go in the chilly Solent. Being in the Caribbean, I had run out of excuses! Off I went having gone for one of the larger boards on the premise that it would be easier – I picked the wrong day! There was a strong breeze that day, and despite paddling as hard as I could, I made little progress! After what felt like an eternity, I made it to a sand bar, where I walked the board into the shore and called for help! Elvis arrived in a buggy and returned me back to the water sports centre! I’ve decided that paddle boarding isn’t for me, but at least I tried, although you’ll have to take my word for it as I don’t have any photographic evidence!
On the way back to the water sports centre, Elvis asked me if I liked the Island. “What’s not to like?” was my reply, to which he uttered the wise words…….. “True ‘dat!”

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