REVIEW: Blue Waters, Antigua’s best boutique hotel

There are some hotels you can’t wait to leave – and others that you only wish you’d checked into for longer. Blue Waters Resort, on the northeast corner of Caribbean island of Antigua, was one of those that really bowled me over and that I felt genuinely sad to leave after such a short stay.

I’d been in St. Lucia for a week and flown in on a connecting flight to Antigua’s VC Bird Airport, choosing Blue Waters for its close proximity to the airport (it was just a 20 minute taxi ride away) – a quick flop-and-drop few days before a long, eight-hour flight back to London.


One of the beaches at Blue Waters

A LITTLE PIECE OF PARADISE

I was greeted, on arrival, by the lovely Gina Papadopoulos (Blue Waters’ Assistant Manager) who already knew me by name, and handed me a chilled rum punch while I relaxed on the comfy sofas in reception. It was a cavernous space with a high, heavily-beamed ceiling, where I enjoyed the cooling breeze coming straight off the ocean. So far, so great.

As I was shown to my room, what struck me was the hotel’s intimate feel, with the restaurants, beaches, spa and guest rooms arranged close together – all in five acres of lush tropical gardens. My room was a just five-minute walk away, though the staff will happily ferry you around in golf buggies if you’re feeling lazy.

The walk, through lush gardens, to my room

Despite this intimate feel, the resort never felt crowded – no doubt helped by the fact that Blue Waters boasts nine swimming pools. You’ll never have to rise at the crack of dawn to lay your towels out here, that’s for sure.

I wandered through the gardens, gazing over the two crescent-shaped white-sand bays and beyond to the hobby cat sailing boats bobbing on the water (the watersports here are all non-motorised, to preserve the peace and quiet that Blue Waters prides itself on). I hadn’t even hit the beach, and already I was feeling blissfully relaxed.

One of the many private pool areas

The two small but perfectly formed beaches at Blue Waters

SUITE DREAMS

Blue Waters has 104 rooms dotted along the coast and you’re greeted with stunning sea views wherever you wander. The Cove Suites, where I was staying, are the utmost in luxury. There are 28 in total (with four three-bedroom penthouses for families) and I gawped at the size of the huge open-plan bedroom and living room. There was a large solid-wood bed and the décor was fresh and clean, a palette of pale neutrals, with plush fabrics. There was also a marble en suite with a freestanding bath and waterfall shower, and stacks of gorgeous ELEMIS miniatures. From the terrace, it was just a few steps to the swimming pool (for the exclusive use of our Cove Suite block).

If money is no object, the stunning Rock Cottage – a villa perched on the end of its own rocky promontory, with sea on three sides – offers unrivalled privacy. It’s a great venue for weddings, too (just think of the photos!).

One of the Cove Suite blocks

A stylish Cove Suite

Check into Rock Cottage, out on the bluff, for the ultimate in privacy. 

A CLIFF-TOP SANCTUARY

Conveniently, my room was just a short stroll to the cliff-top Elemis Spa, where you can book in for a range of treatments – from Swedish and deep-tissue massages to therapeutic body treatments, such as an Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow. There’s even a hair salon, if you want to feel even more fabulous during your stay. The spa has a beautiful outdoor pool facing onto the ocean, too – perfect for a post-treatment dip.

The chic lounge at the Spa

Take a post-treatment dip…

REFUELLING

There are three restaurants at Blue Waters, which range from the Palm, offering a relaxed, al fresco dining experience to Bartleys, an adults-only venue with a more intimate feel. I loved The Cove the most, though, which was set up high, offering spectacular views and tasty Caribbean and French cuisine. For an after-dinner tipple, I headed to the Pelican Bar, named after the birds that frequent the bay.


Palm Restaurant (above)


Cove Restaurant (above)


Bartley’s restaurant (above)

OUT AND ABOUT

Though it is only four miles long and 11 miles wide, the Caribbean island of Antigua is famous for having an incredible 365 beaches – one for every day of the year! So make sure you hire a car to drive around and experience at least a few of them.

The beautiful coastline is not the only thing that Antigua has going for it, though. Provided you can tear yourself away from your sun bed (admittedly, that can be a struggle), the island has an interesting past and lots of beautiful cultural sights to explore, too. I caught a taxi to St John’s the next day, just 10 minutes away, to wander through the pretty candy-hued colonial cottages and shop for souvenirs at the bustling markets.

I then headed to Nelson’s Dockyard, the largest of Antigua’s National Parks, in English Harbour. It was formerly the home base of famed British seaman Horatio Nelson from 1784 to 1787, who was sent to Antigua to enforce British laws in the colonies; today, there is a Dockyard Museum, located in the former Admiral’s House, as well as gift shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants.

For a uniquely Antiguan experience, round off your sight-seeing at Shirley Heights lookout point. As well as the spectacular views, there’s a barbecue and drinks party up there every Sunday from 4pm until 10pm, with local bands playing a mixture of Caribbean music and international hits from across the decades. It’s the best way to get a real flavour of the Caribbean and I had a wonderful time dancing to steel band (see below video).

The beautiful views from Shirley Heights

Wonderful music from the steel band at Shirley Heights

ANYTHING MISSING?

If you’re looking for a wide, expansive beach that stretches for miles, Blue Waters may not be for you. Both beaches, though beautiful, are on the small side. That said, they never seemed crowded while I was there – and by hiring a car, I could always go elsewhere if I wanted to. Plus, with so many secluded pool areas, all overlooking the sea, I didn’t feel the need to be on the beach all the time anyway.

THE VERDICT:

Small and perfectly formed, Blue Waters is an intimate retreat with friendly staff and a fabulous location. You’ll have a hard time finding a better hotel on this idyllic Caribbean island.

TAKE ME THERE…

Travelbag.co.uk has a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Blue Waters Resort & Spa from £1,759 in October 2017. 

CONTACT:

Address: St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
Telephone: +1 866-599-6674
Website: bluewaters.net

 

With thanks to Blue Waters for a selection of official hotel images.
 

Author: Kirsty Nutkins

Kirsty is an experienced journalist and travel writer, currently working on a national newspaper supplement as Features and Travel Editor. She is the founder of TravelLuxe.co.uk.

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