Room Key: Curtain Bluff
Reservations: (888) 289-9898
Sample rates: Through July 24, from $550 per deluxe beach room, per night, double, to $1,700 per two-bedroom Grace Bay/Morris Bay suites, double.
No. of rooms: 72 guest rooms and suites.
Location: About 30 minutes from the airport.
Facilities: Two beaches; a pool; tennis and fitness centers; squash court; business center; Kids Camp seasonally.
Noteworthy: A sail on the 50-foot Sentio sailboat is well worth the $75 charge. Warm coconut chips served at bar.
Not worthy: Dim lighting in bathroom; dim walkways.
OLD ROAD VILLAGE,
Antigua -- Ive checked into four Caribbean resorts in the past few
weeks, from high-end to not-so-high-end, from all-inclusive to
room-only. All were beachfront properties, stocked with in-room
amenities and with a variety of restaurants.
Then I returned
to Curtain Bluff, having not seen it in two years.
general manager, was there to greet me as he does every guest. He
offered me afternoon tea on the terrace while I checked in. My room
was ready and off I went. It was a smooth and seamless
Here is what
struck me: Returning to Curtain Bluff is a lot like arriving home
after a business trip, exhausted but happy to be back in familiar
surroundings, free of work, airport or travel hassles for a
Curtain Bluff has
been described as a classic Caribbean resort, a well-oiled machine
that caters to a specific clientele. Thats an apt description.
Ive also heard it
labeled a resort with a country-club feel, reeking of
That, too, is
accurate, and probably one reason the Caribbean successfully
supports a mix of resorts targeted at different markets.
repeat guests who fill Curtain Bluffs beds, dine in its two
restaurants and sip cocktails on its terrace also would agree. Its
why most of them return, season after season, and why their kids
and grandchildren spend more holidays at Curtain Bluff than at ski
lodges or other tropical venues.
What keeps them coming
back is the tweaking, as Rob Sherman, managing director, called it,
vations and additions that have kept it new and fresh over its 50
guests want what theyve come to know and love about the property,
but theyre also eager to see something new and different each time
they arrive, said Sherman.
This year it was
our new customized kitchen, our new deep-sea fishing boat and Hobie
Cats, and the teak furniture at the Beach restaurant.
Last season we
added new fitness equipment, upgraded the furniture in the bluff
suites and added new amenities from Aveda. In the past three years,
we totally gutted and refurbished our Morris Bay and Grace Bay
suites and redid the bluff suites, he added.
Sherman said this
winter was the best since pre-9/11, the yardstick by which seasons
are now measured in the Caribbean. This was not a one-hit wonder,
Sherman said. We had a good year last year, as well, and bettered
it this winter season by 30%.
current season runs through July 24 and resumes Oct. 29.
Its difficult to
position Curtain Bluff, Sherman said. Were unpretentious, we offer
value, were elegant but not over the top.
conditioning in the rooms, Curtain Bluff is a hard sell in the
summer for new guests, Sherman said, although our repeat guests
know the trade winds still blow and its not
multigenerational families make up the bulk of Curtain Bluffs
repeat business, especially during the Christmas and Easter
periods, Sherman reported a consistent increase in new
couples, newlyweds and young families from the U.S. and the U.K.
Perceived value is important to our guests, new and
all-inclusive rates include meals in its main restaurant, which
serves breakfast and dinner, and the Beach Club, which offers a
daily buffet lunch.
sports, tennis, squash, use of the fitness center and a small
business center with free Internet service also are
connections are $25 a day, and laptops can be rented.
WiFi is an area
that guests seem to want, and were exploring that, Sherman
under consideration is a stand-alone restaurant.
reservations from other resorts guests, and it can get crowded at
times, Sherman said. Our guests may want a third restaurant here,
especially during the peak season.
entertainment is often a live sax trio, playing pre-60s dance
music. Couples sit on the terrace of the Sugar Mill Bar with
after-dinner cognacs and conversation. The place shuts down by 11
Curtain Bluff may
not be for everyone, but it certainly is my kind of
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
details on this article, see Chef is up to task at Curtain Bluff.