Haven’t we all dreamed at some point in our lives of a place that would be our little secret? Not necessarily a secret that only we know; rather one that we keep dear to our hearts yet feel compelled to share.
Imagine if that secret were accessible only by boat. Sure, one might be able to take a plane to get close to the secret, but it would take a boat to fully immerse oneself in its immense beauty. Oh, but the stories we could tell about such a wondrous place.
Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort, is a fully inclusive resort that exists on a small but exquisite 300-acre private island in the West Indies. Specifically, it rests just two miles off the northeastern coast of Antigua and features two pristine white-sand beaches: Jumby Bay Beach and Pasture Bay Beach. And yes, this paradise is only accessible by boat.
Temperatures on the island vary from 73° F in the winter months to 87° F in the summer months of August and September. Coupled with its low humidity, the ever-present trade winds maintain the pleasantly cool climate throughout the year. Rainfall average is low yet fulfilling, registering an average of only 20 inches per year. For those who might choose to remain in Antigua, they will face approximately twice that much rainfall.
Of course, a Caribbean island secret would not be such without a distinguished history. The island itself was an ancient coral reef first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second journey to the Americas. The island was claimed by the British in 1632 as part of their worldwide expansion. The major part of its history revolves around its sugar trade, which actually holds the beginnings of the Jumby Bay tradition.
In 1983, Homer Williams decided to convert his family’s island retreat into an exclusive resort. He refurbished the 200-year-old sugar plantation Estate House and its original cottages to open a 12-room resort. By the mid-1990s, a number of private homes had been added; thus, the resort expanded to 39 rooms. A number of those homeowners then purchased the entire island to prevent overdevelopment. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts took over in 2001 and committed to giving the property an exclusive edge that exemplified the company’s portfolio. The rest, as in the beginning, is history.
Jumby Bay now offers 40 suites, 12 villas and seven private estate homes, all of which are situated on the beach. Guests are afforded the opportunity to enjoy days (and nights) on the beach, gourmet dining, complimentary non-motorized water sports, tennis, spa treatments and special family programs. Interestingly, the island has no indigenous population, which cements its presence as a truly secluded hideaway (i.e., secret).
Dreams, by their definition, are conditions that are longed for and are exceptionally gratifying. Imagine this: Each Jumby Bay suite is situated near Pond Bay, features private entry courtyards, generous living areas, spacious bathrooms with indoor soaking tubs, expansive terraces with teak furnishings, and private plunge pools. Colonial-style four-poster beds feature carvings of pineapples and banana leaf details and are adorned with Italian linens. Almost all have new al fresco garden bathrooms that are arranged for the ultimate privacy within four-walled courtyards and feature deep, pedestal-footed soaking tubs or blissful rain showers.
The two- and three-bedroom villas are designed to offer an indoor and outdoor experience, with a large kitchen as well as a living room that opens up to a terrace with a private plunge pool. A number of them are terraced along a dramatic cove overlooking Jumby Beach Bay. Add to that beauty the large patios, floor-to-ceiling doors, and the spacious bathrooms and you have the ingredients of an incredible secret.
Consider these amenities: plush terrycloth robes and his/hers slippers; old-fashioned Caloi bicycles; twice-daily housekeeping services; 24-hour room service; personal safe flashlights and umbrellas; generous selection of Lady Primrose toiletries; and a personally stocked mini-bar based on guests’ preferences determined prior to arrival or immediately following arrival.
And the dining — oh, the dining. Dinner is served at the historic Estate House, Jumby Bay’s signature restaurant. It is located in the 230-year-old colonial plantation manor first refurbished by Homer Williams. Executive Chef Frederic Wagnon’s signature menus and tasting options reflect modern Europen inspirations while maintaining the ability to surprise and reward the most discriminating and experienced of palates.
Conversely, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and casual dinners amidst ocean views only steps from the beach at The Verandah. This open-air restaurant was recently renovated. The open grill serves light and healthy dishes that are inspired by fresh local ingredients and the creative fusion of Caribbean and European cuisine. The warm glow of tiki torches illuminates the night and adds to the ambiance of the meal.
When it comes to recreation, the secret becomes almost too much to hold in. Chinese massage, reflexology and other spa treatments are available upon request, both in-room and at the Beach Pavilion. Watersports include snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, water-skiing, boat rentals, deep-sea fishing and diving. Tennis is ever-present, with three courts available, including two lit for night play. Hiking on the island’s three miles of trails, guided bike tours, croquet on the professional croquet lawn, a 25-meter lap pool, and a weekly beach barbecue and bonfire are just some of what Jumby Bay has to offer.
One of the most interesting aspects of Jumby Bay is the Hawksbill Turtle Program. The Pasture Bay Beach is a protected nesting area for the endangered Hawksbill seat turtle, which have been nesting on the island since the age of the dinosaurs. The University of Georgia has led the way in assisting island residents in the sponsorship of research projects on these beautiful turtles.
As you can see, Jumby Bay is one of the most exclusive yet welcoming places on the planet. There is no better time spent than that spent obtaining the intricacies of a secret that will be soon conveyed and forever treasured. Open your heart, open your mind and prepare to experience the indescribable. For more information on Jumby Bay, visit www.jumbybayresort.com.
By: J.Frank Hernandez