It’s rare to come across something that exceeds all exceptions and leaves an everlasting impression. Hermitage Bay is like nothing you’ll ever experience. It is a hidden gem just waiting to tug at your heartstrings.
Drive to the west coast of Antigua, you’ll reach the end of a rocky road and find yourself at a tall gate. The gates open, think the “Wizard of Oz” meets “Jungle Book”, and clears way to an unpaved road and tropical oasis. At the end of the road we were greeted to a friendly, inviting smile and before we knew it we were quickly ushered into the reception area of Hermitage Bay. Hermitage Bay is a boutique-style property set on a private beach with only 30 private villas.
Instantly, we were checked in and handed cool beverages and cold hand towels. What is most memorable, is the moment you step away from the reception desk you are smacked in the face by the most dramatic view. It’s hard to turn away from but when you do you’ll soon appreciate the intimate atmosphere, landscaped grounds and the charming staff. The staff, wearing long caftans, are so passionate about the property and wear permanent smiles. From that moment on, we would only be referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. Costa”. Being we arrived early, we decided to start our beach day immediately! Within minutes two chaises were prepared for us by our beach ambassador, an ice bucket filled with cold bottles of water and our umbrella popped open. Look around and you’ll appreciate the huge gaps between you and other guests. The privacy and intimacy turns your vacation-mode up a notch.
The hotel provides a shabby chic design constructed of private villas that are every bit cozy as they are high end. Solid wood shutters, handmade doors, old school lock and key, four-poster bed, Italian white linens, vaulted ceilings, contemporary bathrooms with soaking tubs, his and her flip flops and aromatherapy toiletries all make for an impressive first impression. In the evenings, turn down service is provided and an inspirational quote left on your pillow; ah! it’s the little things! The property has an abundance of staff. The staff to guests ratio was incredible. Hermitage is where a barefoot experience meets 5 star elegance. Make no mistake, the hotel is a luxury property, yet they mastered keeping the atmosphere relaxed and refined. Walk the whimsical grounds where vibrant florals are climbing the walls and poking through trees and bushes. You’ll find humming birds and butterflies dancing through flowers. It was a real life Disney movie. The beach is sandwiched between rolling hills and covered in white sand and charming seashells. The turquoise sea wraps around the property with sail boats anchored for the day. No matter where you look there is a photo op.
We toured the garden villas, the lead-in room category which are conveniently located steps from the beach with beautiful ocean views. These villas have expansive verandahs adorned with a daybed where you can’t avoid the sound of the ocean, not that you would want to! The next room category up are the hillside villas. If you can’t afford to splurge on the hillside villas for the full length of your trip, I recommend splitting your time up between the more affordable garden villas and the splurge-worthy hillside villas. Although, the garden villas do not disappoint as they are beachfront. The hillside villas provide the most jaw dropping expansive views of the Caribbean Sea. The highest hillside villas offer private infinity pools. I found such inner peace sitting on my terrace overlooking the lush hillside and sparkling caribbean ocean. The hotel just does something indescribable for mind, body and soul. I found myself staring at the glistering coastline for most of the day, lost in my thoughts and in a sense of relaxation that I had never felt before. And, I never knew what I was missing out on with an outdoor shower. It was an experience all on its own. Green vines create shade and privacy with the perfect sized window that peaks out at the ocean. It was dreamy! Every inch of the hotel is well laid out and deserves a paragraph of its own.
Much of the produce can be found on the hotel’s very own farm. Take a tour and you’ll see what will be on the restaurant’s menu. It’s a fun experience behind the scenes. It’s hard to believe the hotel is all-inclusive when they’re pouring Moët champagne daily and offer an ever changing, gourmet food menu. What makes a property exceptionally special is when you meet the people behind the scenes with their infectious energy and a passion for what they’re doing. It is what wins me over. It is clear that Hermitage Bay doesn’t wish to be part of the overcrowded tourism market. They want to offer something different, an experience rather than four walls for you to rent for a week.
My recommendations, ask the bartender for a Franny Freeze and request a boat tour from Devon. The scenic coastline, shouldn’t be missed. And, finally, do nothing. This place is for those who need to unwind, relax, reconnect and, yet, disconnect. G World Travel has been sending its clients to Hermitage Bay for years and our trip was a reminder of why we do! With our experience, insight and help from our friends at Hermitage Bay, we got your next relaxing escape covered!