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luxury life in antiqua
What is it that attracts rockstars to the island of Antingua? Whether you’re a guitar god, an ex-Beatle, or even the founder of the Virgin Group, chances are you’ve spent a considerable amount on Antigua and its neighbouring islands. Certainly, the 365 pristine beaches and consistent sunshine will have something to do with this, but white sands and azure oceans are two-a-penny to the mega rich. No, in all likelihood it has more to do with the exclusivity of the area.
Until recently getting to the islands of Antigua and Barbuda has been prohibitively expensive, the likes of Keith Richards and Elton John were guaranteed a modicum of privacy and an assured escape from the prying lenses of the paparazzo. However, with the recent announcement of low-cost flights from Manchester, courtesy of Fly Thomas Cook, their cover is well and truly blown.
Anyone who fancies a hint of the luxury life can get there for less than £250, meaning your chances of lounging out in the English Harbour alongside a Rolling Stone just increased considerably. Indeed, if you’re saving so much on the flights, you’ll be a step closer to renting a rockstar mansion – Eric Claptons little chalet on Antigua’s yeah south coast goes for a modest $50,000 per week.
The Antiguan Carnival
Antigua’s biggest attraction is the countries laidback and welcoming disposition. With English considered the official language, it’s easy to get involved in the local culture, should you choose to peel yourself from that beach towel. The local carnival is a must-see – 10 days in July and August of music, dancing and body painting during which the island moves to a Calypso beat and the sound of the steel drum. The festival’s colourful history dates back to 1834, the year that saw the abolishment of slavery on Antigua, the spirit of emancipation is palpable.
Beaches and Marine Life
Antigua is said to have 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. The waters around the island are littered with the shipwrecks of a rich maritime history, not to mention pirate’s treasure, this history combined with a rich variety of sea life is what makes Antigua such a popular scuba destination. If snorkelling is more your thing then head east to Long Bay or Spanish Point where you’ll find the best snorkelling on the island.
Hawksbill Bay, on the northwest coast of the island, boasts a series of stunning crescent beaches fit for a king, or even an island princess. For sun worshippers looking for a luxury spot to satisfy those Vitamin D cravings then look no further than Jolly Beach. With shallow, crystal-clear waters and a white sandy beach that belongs in a Bond movie there could be no better location to soak up some serious rays. Last and definitely not least is the party beach! Dickenson Bay, a lively stretch of sand full of bars and live music, we’d say it’s time to play ‘spot the rockstar’.
No luxury destination is complete without a little retail detour, so make sure you pay a visit to Radcliffe Bay and Heritage Key. An abundance of cute, privately owned boutiques, some great duty-free shopping on high-end watches, shoes and sports equipment. Of course, if you’re looking to splash out on something a little more extravagant it’s worth considering purchasing a villa on the island. Property hot spots tend to correlate in the more amenity rich parts of the island with a thriving investment market in St. John’s, English Harbour and Jolly Harbour which is the largest residential resort in Antigua.
Ultimately, however, the rockstars return for a little something special; neither pharmaceutical nor herbal. They are on a quest for spirituality! As Clapton put it when he opened the Crossroads Centre for drug rehabilitation in 1998, there is a “spiritual serenity that many have found unique to Antigua”. From 2013, Brits on a budget will have the chance to soak up this calm and live the life of an ageing rockstar.
Now, where did I bury that $50,000…
Flights from Manchester to Antigua launch in December 2013 with Fly Thomas Cook, starting from £233.49 ($351.75 ).