Guana Island and St Kitts & Nevis and Antigua
Spend a few day’s exploring the colonial history and volcanic rainforest of charming Nevis before heading on to discover Antigua’s sailing heritage and sparkling coastline. Finally fly to the beautiful British Virgin Islands to relax on pristine beaches and turquoise waters.
4 nights Nevis including breakfast; 3 nights Antigua including breakfast; 5 nights Guana Island full board. Includes flights and transfers.
13 days from £4,995pp
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On the beach - 8 days
Luxurious but extremely understated, this private island resort feels like the highly enviable retreat of a wealthy friend with impeccable taste. It's the kind of place you can unwind in exceptional privacy yet have every comfort on hand.
You'll never see more than a handful of people on any of the seven pristine white-sand beaches on Guana Island, a small and exclusive hideaway in the British Virgin Islands where no one is ever in a hurry and nothing is too much trouble. It's a place with a profound sense of tranquillity and a strong sustainability policy. Mangoes, papayas, coconuts and bananas grow along the 19 kilometres of pathways that criss-cross the island, the menus rely heavily on seasonal, local produce and guests often eat communally as if part of a large extended family. You can laze on the powder-soft sands, hike along the walking trails, picnic on a deserted beach or choose from a huge range of water sports including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing and sailing. Brightly coloured fish teem in the turquoise waters making it a great place to snorkel or dive too. Whatever way you look at it, it's simply idyllic.
Chic, cosy and very homely, the 14 individually styled rooms and four villas are simple and elegant in the most refined way. Rooms have no keys, phones or televisions but each has a private terrace with sea views and the villas have private pools.
Before the beach - 4 days
Nevis and Antigua
See more of the Caribbean’s diversity and discover the individuality of its islands with an island-hopping trip before you head to the beach. Start on the friendly, laid-back and largely undeveloped island of Nevis. The volcanic peak of Mount Nevis is the dramatic centrepoint of the island with lush rainforest lining its slopes. In contrast to Nevis’ silver sand, volcanic beaches, nearby Antigua is renowned for its golden sand beaches, one for every day of the year. Sailing is an important part of life here with many international races and gleaming yachts moored at a harbour that used to be home to the navy in the 18th century. Explore the island’s beautiful coastline, historic sugar mills and the Georgian dockyard at Nelson’s Dockyard.
18 rooms, 1 restaurant, 1 pool
Guana Island Resort lies on one of the few remaining private islands in the British Virgin Islands. Once home to a Quaker colony who ran a sugar plantation on the island in the 18th century, it’s now owned by the Jarecki family who bought the island with the intention of creating a luxury resort, whilst preserving the island’s untouched beauty. There’s a small museum in the resort documenting the island’s history.
Set on a hilltop overlooking both the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean, the resort has a typically Caribbean, laid-back ambience. There’s plenty of possibilities for exploration and activity but equally it’s also the ideal spot to relax and do nothing.
The feel of Guana Island is more one of a beautiful family holiday home than a resort, with many guests dining communally and a very sociable atmosphere especially at the evening canapes. The private cottages and villas are dotted along a hillside looking towards the ocean and are decorated with a rustic, yet stylish finish.
A protected wildlife sanctuary, four giant tortoises live on the island as well as flamingos, iguanas and lizards. Many species once indigenous to the island have now been re-introduced and a research team stays in the resort once a year to conduct extensive research on the island’s unique and flourishing ecosystem.
Although mostly favoured by couples, Guana Island does welcome families at certain times of the year – outside of this time, children are welcome, but numbers are kept to a minimum. There is a designated family beach area with showers and babysitters are available.
Guana Island is a 10 minute speedboat ride north from Tortola. A secluded private island, the resort is centred in the northwest of the island on a hillside overlooking Muskmelon Bay to the west and a salt pond to the east – some points of the resort offer views of both the Caribbean Sea on one side of the island and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
The rest of the 850 acre island is a protected wildlife sanctuary, blanketed in a lush covering of rainforest. Sugarloaf Mountain, the island’s highest peak, rises from the centre of the island and the ragged coastline shelters seven pristine beaches and numerous hidden coves. White Bay beach, the largest, is a half mile stretch of white sand.
This is an understated, yet luxurious private resort, providing a secluded refuge in which to relax and a stunningly beautiful, natural setting. There’s more than ample space for more active couples to roam, whilst the airy rooms and terraces are designed for simply relaxing.
Please note that the hill from the beach up to the resort is steep although the hotel does provide a buggy transfer. However, the paths to many of the cottages involve steps and uneven paths so it may not be suitable for those who are less mobile.
The whitewashed rooms are nestled into a private garden of vibrant bougainvillea with views of the aquamarine ocean below. Each room is built in local stone with a private entrance and outdoor terrace with loungers. Stylishly decorated with locally influenced textiles and rustic furniture. The hotel has Wi-Fi throughout but no phone or TV.
Sea View Cottage
The Sea View cottages are scattered across the hillside above the main resort area, linked by winding paths through the beautiful gardens and grouped together in twos and threes. Each room is different but they all offer excellent sea views from their vantage point along a scenic ridge.
The rooms have a welcoming, cosy yet stylish décor. They have an airy bedroom with wooden shutters and a terrace. Most of the cottages have air conditioning although in a few, ceilings fans and gentle breeze keep the rooms cool.
Pictures of the rooms
Activities, diving & excursions
At White Bay Beach there is a range of complimentary non-motorised water sports including sail boat, paddle boards and kayaks as well as snorkelling and fishing equipment.
On land, 12 miles of well-marked walking trails are a great way to explore the island’s natural beauty and trail maps are available in each room. There are also tennis, volleyball and badminton courts, ping pong and tours of the organic orchard are given by the gardeners. Private or group yoga classes are also available.
There is no dive centre at Guana Island Resort, however, the hotel is happy to arrange dive trips for you with local dive operators to the nearby spots.
With three distinct reef areas, there are some excellent dive spots around the island. North Bay on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island hosts some flourishing deep reefs and shipwrecks.
Food & drink
The restaurant, built into an 18th century ruin, is set on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding rainforest and ocean. The delicious food is a fusion of local Caribbean flavours and international influences, cooked with fresh local ingredients.
Breakfast and lunch are buffet, whilst dinner is three courses a la carte. Wine is included during lunch and dinner. Snacks are served at the main restaurant or White Bay beach bar through the day.
In keeping with the feeling of staying in a friend’s private holiday home rather than a resort, many of the guests choose to dine on small, communal tables for lunch and dinner although you can elect to sit at a private table and there are a few particularly intimate tables with great views over the ocean. Lunch and dinner are served at set times so all guests eat together and between meals guests are free to help themselves to drinks at the honesty bar on White Bay beach on the main house. Canapes are served in the main house before dinner and this is a very social time as guests gather together.
Arrange for a picnic lunch and you will be dropped off on a secluded beach with a freshly made lunch and plenty of chilled wine.
An in-house therapist provides treatments in a specially built cabana overlooking White Bay Beach where you can hear the waves lapping the shore. Alternatively, you can enjoy a treatment on your private terrace or in the organic orchard.
Nevis and Antigua
Location: Saint Kitts and Antigua
Saint Kitts is the larger island of the two-island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Made up of three converging volcanic peaks. The highest peak, Mount Liamuigia lies in the centre with lush jungle leading down to the beaches below. A single road circumnavigates the island, with the turbulent Atlantic ocean to the north and the calmer Caribbean sea to the south.
The capital, Basseterre, in the southeast of the island, was originally the capital of the entire French West Indies colony, before the British took control in 1660. In this compact city, you’ll be able to appreciate the variety of cultures that have influenced the island, from Georgian-era architecture, Chinese street stalls, a Jewish cemetery and locals speaking African-influenced Creole.
The beaches around Frigate Bay are long swathes of silver sand, trimmed with chic beach bars and local beach bars very popular with cruise ship passengers visiting for the day. Snorkeling trips are possible here into the islands clear tropical waters where you might spot barracuda, rare sea snails, tiny sea horses and the island’s favourite dish: the spiny lobster. Turtles also nest on some of the secluded areas of the beach.
The rest of the island is relatively sedate with sleepy villages and rural smallholdings dotted along the rest of the coast. Secluded coves are scattered round the island’s coast, some with exotic black volcanic sand. The southwest of the island is dominated by the imposing Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Inland, the island is littered with remnants of the sugar industry. One of the largest producers in the Caribbean, Saint Kitts was once home to thriving sugar cane plantations and factories. Some of the plantations still exist, having been carefully converted into boutique hotels or restaurants. The Saint Kitts railway, built to transport sugar cane across the island, has been restored and is an unusual way to explore the island.
As Saint Kitts no longer produces sugar cane, many of the fields are gradually being reclaimed by the rainforest and Saint Kitts bears the rare accolade of having one of the only increasing areas of rainforest in the world. An extensive network of hiking routes meander through the rainforest, leading into the untouched forests of the interior. The paths can be tricky to navigate so it’s worth taking a guide, especially if you want to summit Mount Liamuiga. On reaching the top, you’re rewarded with views into the extinct volcano’s crater which has grown its own lush microclimate inside and has been nicknamed by the locals as the ‘giant’s salad bowl’.
Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, but the island also boasts an impressive historical pedigree. No less a sailor than Admiral Nelson based his fleet here, and the easygoing Caribbean ambience of the island is complemented by a tangible British influence. The historic Nelson’s Dockyard is testament to this colonial history, though the luxury yachts bobbing in the water hint at a more glamorous side to modern day Antigua.
The people are incredibly friendly, and the island comes together to party every Sunday night as the sun sets at Shirley Heights, an old naval garrison overlooking the majestic English Harbour. The brightly coloured buildings and duty free shopping of the capital, St John’s, make for an interesting half day excursion, while the south west of the island is home to a picturesque landscape of rainforest, ruined forts and old sugar mills.
The beaches range from bustling stretches lined with lively bars to little visited bays and secluded coves. Escape the crowds by taking a trip over to sister island Barbuda, blessed with miles of unspoilt pink sands, or tread the road less travelled and explore Antigua’s rugged east coast, where conditions are ideal for a whole host of watersports. The more tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea, meanwhile, offer ample opportunities for diving and snorkelling.
Montpelier Plantation & South Point
Accommodation: Montpelier Plantation & South Point
The charming, boutique resort of Montpelier Plantation & Beach, set in the shadow of Nevis peak, is an important part of the island’s history and the 19 rooms are individually designed with stone walls and wooden shutters. In contrast, South Point offers contemporary accommodation in the heart of Antigua’s English Harbour with enviable views across the marina. The 23 condo-style apartments are smart and spacious with fully-equipped, modern kitchens.
Day by day
On arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred by private vehicle to a shared water taxi for the short 10 minute hop across to Nevis. Here another representative will meet you and rive you to your hotel.
Built around the remains of an 18th century sugar plantation, Montpelier Plantation sits in the shadow of Nevis Peak.
Today is your first day at leisure. You may wish to visit the island's the tiny capital, Charlestown to explore the busy public market and discover 18th century colonial architecture.
Today you might like to visit the Nevis Botanical Gardens or tackle one of the hikes around Nevis Peak. Alternatively head to Pinney Beach and relax at one of the local beach bars.
Relax in the beautiful grounds of Montpelier Plantation or head out to explore more of the island. It's easy to hire a car and take the Nevis Heritage Trail road round the island or you could hop on a ferry to the nearby island of St Kitts.
Today you will be transferred by road and water taxi back to St Kitts airport. Board a short flight to Antigua where our representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel in English Harbour.
Today is at leisure and it's well worth visiting historic Nelson's Dockyard, just a short walk from your hotel. The only Georgian naval dockyard in the world, it's a fascinating historic monument with many of the original buildings and pillars still standing.
If you're there on a Sunday, head up to nearby Shirley Heights where locals and visitors get together to enjoy panoramic views and beautiful sunsets accompanied by music, food and rum punches.
Relax at the hotel enjoying views of the yachts in the marina or head out to explore the island. Why not hire a car or a car and driver and head down Fig Tree Drive, a scenic drive through the central plain of the island? Visit Betty's Hope historic sugar mill and the dramatic rock formation of Devil's Bridge.
This morning transfer back to the airport for your flight to the British Virgin Islands. On arrival, the hotel will meet you and take you on their boat for the short 15 minute journey to Guana Island.
This beautiful private island offers a picturesque and tranquil setting between the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans, framed by seven pristine beaches.
Today is your first day at leisure and the stunning white sands of the island's many beaches beckon. You might like to head over to Monkey Point for excellent snorkelling or take one of the kayaks out from White Beach.
Although this is the perfect spot to relax and do nothing, it would be a pity not to explore such a scenic and undeveloped island. Why not take a trail map and radio and hike one of the well marked paths.
Another day at leisure. The British Virgin Islands are popular with sailors and a boat trip is the best way to explore the many islands and deserted beaches.
A final day at leisure to relax and enjoy the comfortable, homely surroundings of this lovely resort.
The hotel will transfer you back to the airport for your flight back to Antigua and from here, home.
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