Paradise unfiltered: Glass visits Jumby Bay Island

GLASS was lucky enough to experience a jewel of the Caribbean when we visited Jumby Bay Island and enjoyed pure, uninterrupted bliss at the private island’s only resort. Jumby Bay Island is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets and it is easy to see why it is a firm favourite among the wealthy and famous. Upon landing in Antigua, it is a mere seven minute boat ride to this exquisite private island. From the minute you step onto the dock and revel in the flawless beaches and picture perfect palm trees, you know you’ve discovered true utopia.

The island is a three hundred acre private enclave and hosts a variety of wildlife including a protected nesting site for endangered sea turtles. The resort, part of the Oetker Collection, offers 40 luxury suites as well an impressive collection of privately owned villas and estate houses which include full access to the world-renowned resort’s facilities and services.

Aerial view of Jumby BayAerial view of Jumby Bay

Jumby Bay - Pool SuiteJumby Bay, Pool Suite

Life on Jumby Bay Island is rather magical with no cars on the island, guests and staff travel around by bicycle or golf buggy, offering a total sense of tranquility and escape from the stresses of reality. The décor, influenced by the Caribbean Sea draws inspiration from its idyllic surroundings with turquoise and aqua themes running throughout the resort, punctuated by vivid colours. The island is so secure and private, that rooms and suites operate on a keyless policy; something I found a little unnerving at first, but once I had totally immersed myself in the Jumby lifestyle, I soon adjusted to the openness and relaxed atmosphere.

 Jumby Bay Beach dinnerA beach dinner at Jumby Bay

Jumby Bay Island is a totally uninterrupted tropical hideaway, where you will never run out of things to see or experiences to soak in. After one the best night’s sleep of my life, I woke up at crack of dawn to take my bicycle around the circumference of the island before the temperature became too warm. This is a bike ride you can do in just over an hour, even with stop offs at beaches or to check out the beautiful villas that are dotted across the island.

Jumby Bay sunsetSunset at Jumby Bay

Guests can enjoy a private boat tour of the surrounding area on the resort’s yacht and experience some of the most stunning snorkelling, under the guidance of erudite instructors. You might even see a humpback whale if you’re lucky! The Spa at Jumby Bay is an absolute haven and the epitome of tranquillity. The open-air architecture of the spa buildings make you feel fully connected to the ocean as you can indulge in signature traditional remedies like the Amerindian Healing Ritual or the Shiro – Abyanga Massage.

Jumby Bay view (2) Jumby Bay view

The possibilities for dining are endless, with a delectable White Night beach barbecue every Sunday, moreish fish tacos from the Pool Grille, locally caught ceviche at the Beach Shack, or even a private beach dinner accompanied by an atmospheric steel drum band. During our final night, the chef prepared an incredible five-course meal, which included the most exquisitely cooked tuna steak. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a dish so fresh and punchy.

Sea Horse Villa - Living Room - Jumby BayA living room at Sea Horse Villa, Jumby Bay

A particular culinary standout had to be the Estate House, which is an 1830 plantation house, once the centrepiece of the island’s sugar plantation, reopened in November 2016 after a one-year restoration. Signature dishes include Monkfish and black trumpet casserole with crispy jasmine rice pancake followed by Rum Baba with berry compote and preserved citrus. The design of the Estate House is truly striking, representing the historical Colonial spirit of the island, as well as a stunningly curated art collection of local Antiguan painters and photographers on display.

Jumby Beach High 1Jumby Beach High

Lazy Lizard Villa - Jumby BayLazy Lizard Villa at Jumby Bay

The temperament and eagerness of the staff to help was a particular stand out as I listened in awe to Monty, Jumby Bay’s head gardener as he showed us the island’s lush herb garden, sourcing and growing the freshest and most flavoursome produce. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here, who are all incredibly helpful, happy and accommodating. While sunbathing on the beach you can be sure that there will be some mid-afternoon cocktails delivered to you or delicious ice cream sandwiches at 4pm – you’ll never be hungry. It is as if the staff here know what you’re thinking before you’ve even asked for it – a quality that is truly magical, but totally expected from a resort of this quality.

Pool Grille sunset - Jumby BayPool Grille sunset at Jumby Bay

It’s the little touches and details of this resort which make the stay totally unforgettable and it is plain to see why its guests never want to leave and come back year after year. Magnificent beaches, unbeatable cuisine and an overwhelming sense of Caribbean joy, this is without a doubt, one to tick off your bucket list.

by Heather Doughty

Rates at Jumby Bay Island start from $1175 per night in low season, based on double occupancy on an all-inclusive basis, excluding taxes and service. To book, please visit here. To book, please visit here

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Glass Magazine Online arts and culture writer

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