Sunseeker: Antigua

Ah, the sound of leather on willow - on a secluded Caribbean beach


Why go now?

Why go now?

To soak up the glorious January sunshine and enjoy Antigua's weather at its best, when the trade winds blow. Expect daytime temperatures to hover around 27C with little rain. Antigua enjoys fabulous weather all year round with the mercury generally climbing to between 27C and 31C. From May to November, the weather is wetter and the air much more humid.

Any other reason?

The big news is that the long-awaited Carlisle Bay hotel will have just opened its swanky doors to paying guests and will be the place to see and be seen.

Cricket in Antigua is an obsession. The season runs from 1 January to 31 July at the Antigua Recreation Ground with the West Indies vs England Fourth Test taking place from 10 to 14 April.

Later in the month, Antigua hosts one of the world's biggest sailing regattas, the Antigua Sailing Week. The other news is that British Airways will introduce its Club World flatbeds and World Traveller Plus on flights there next year.

Where should I stay?

Carlisle Bay (001 268 484 0000; www.carlisle-bay.com) is the top place to stay. For more information, see Globetrotter on page six.

Curtain Bluff (001 268 462 8400; www.curtainbluff.com) has set the standard for excellence throughout the Caribbean for more than 40 years. This special island retreat offers 72 spacious rooms and suites, all of which feature an ocean view balcony or garden patio. Unwind on the palm-fringed private beaches and dine in the Garden Pavilion surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Rooms from £495 per person per night, fully inclusive.

Jumby Bay (001 268 462 6000; www.jumbybayresort.com) is set on a private island just two miles off the coast. A naturalist's paradise, the island has three sensational beaches, one of which is home to endangered turtles and rare birds. With 39 recently refurbished suites and 11 gorgeous villas spread out over a third of the island, the resort offers guests complete seclusion. Fine dining is found at The Verandah Restaurant and the Estate House. Luxury ocean-view rooms from £361 per person per night, fully inclusive.

What shouldn't I miss?

Visit the Sunday night "jump up" on Shirley Heights where you can watch the beautiful sunset and have a barbecue feast while listening to steel bands. Stop off at Stingray City where you could swim with southern stingrays around the pristine coral reef on the north side of the island. Don't miss Nelson's Dockyard and English Harbour, where Admiral Nelson had his base in the 18th century.

Who should I call?

Caribtours (020-7751 0660; www.caribtours.co.uk) offers a seven-night stay at Carlisle Bay from £2,951 per person, including return flights, transfers and b&b accommodation.

What if I can't afford that?

Harlequin (01708 850300; www.harlequinholidays.com) offers seven nights at The Inn at English Harbour from £1,072 per person, including return flights, transfers and b&b accommodation.

Where can I find out more?

Contact the Antigua Tourist Board (020-7486 7073; www.antigua-barbuda.org) for more information.

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