One of the most memorable family vacations for my high-end clients is in Antigua, at the Curtain Bluff Resort. This country club-style resort has been in operation for more than 50 years and has its traditional ways, but it actually seems to get better with age.
The general manager greets every arriving guest and immediately makes them feel welcome. The service is consistenly excellent and the resort’s staff is superb with children. In summer, children go deep-sea fishing with Captain James on the resort’s Deep Six fishing boat, and learn how to water-ski with the help of Curtain Bluff’s friendly water-sports staff. Their Sentio sailboat is very nice for local cruises.
During school breaks in the spring and winter, the resort offers an organized Kids’ Camp (for younger kids), although older children can participate in the many other activities the resort offers, like swimming with the dolphins, year-round. When they need a break from the sun, children can play video games or watch DVDs in the kids’ playroom.
During the days most of the families I book there will snorkel, play tennis, sail on small sunfish, or lounge on the two nice sand beaches. Because the resort offers an early dinner for children and can arrange babysitting, adults are able to have relaxed dinners alone when they want. The bar is also popular in the evenings because there is often live music and a place to dance. More than half the guests are return visitors who come back with their children and grandchildren so there is a lot of socializing.
Curtain Bluff is “all-inclusive” in the sense that three meals per day are included in rates, along with drinks, watersports, use of the fitness and small business center (for Internet access.) However, it is very casual and low-key, you won’t see swimsuits contests or wild shows like at some resorts. The chef prepares European dishes in the open-air dining room for both breakfast and dinner (lunch is casual and served at the Beach Club, which has just been refurbished). The menu is rather limited but it does change daily, so guests who stay a week are very happy with the cuisine, and even children have their own menu.
It’s a small place which is part of its charm, with only 72 rooms. Most families prefer the junior suites overlooking the Caribbean, because having a separate room from the children is a nice break in the evenings, not to mention that Curtain Bluff offers a 50% discount on junior suites when families book them for June or July. When grandparents are traveling, I usually recommend the Beach Suites which are at sea level, rather than the Bluff Suites, which have divine views, because some uphill walking is necessary to reach them. Even though the resort has no air-conditioning, I have found that it’s never needed because of the steady trade winds, particularly strong in the corner suites with side windows.
For those who are concerned about the heat, Curtain Bluff closes annually from the end of July until the end of October. Contact: Curtain Bluff, 888/289-9898/ www.curtainbluff.com
Rina Anoussis is a travel counselor with The Travel Business, New York. First published by FTF in 2005
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