Hot hotels for getting active
Mix a spot of sport with some serious relaxation at these beautiful boltholes around the Caribbean, says Joe Shooman
1 Curtain Bluff, Antigua
Best for… Tennis
Where: Carlisle Bay, St John’s, Old Road
Room rates: FROM US$840
Info: +1 268 462 8400; www.curtainbluff.com
Never mind working out: Curtain Bluff’s awesome location is enough to take your breath away. The resort has 72 rooms, all with sea views, perched on a peninsula between two gorgeous beaches. On one side there are calm, gentle waters where you can kayak, scuba, windsurf, paddleboard and more thanks to the fully equipped sports centre; the other side of the bluff offers wilder surf, with plenty of drama. That would be more than enough for most, but the resort has more: squash courts, a fitness centre, a golf putting green, a half-court for basketball, bocci courts, great kids’ clubs and a multitude of hammocks for lazing in after all your exertions. However, the stand-out facility is the championship tennis centre, complete with four beachside hard courts and three resident professionals who were trained in the US and who can teach anyone, from beginners up to pros. Book in for November’s Tennis Challenge Week, when former Davis Cup player Dick Stockton will lead a programme of games, lessons, tips and tactics – but with plenty of time for relaxation and partying, too.
2 BodyHoliday, St Lucia
Best for… An overhaul
Where: Cariblue Beach, Castries
Room rates: From US$790
Info: +1 758 457 7800; www.thebodyholiday.com
Completely refurbished in September 2018, this all-inclusive retreat, hotel, spa and sports centre is aptly named: if you don’t come away from The BodyHoliday feeling like you’ve given both your physique and your psyche a bit of an overhaul, you’re probably doing something wrong. The Body Aware programme comprises personal nutrition and fitness testing, so you leave with a plan to follow after your holiday. As well as the science-y bit, the resort runs lots of all-inclusive activities: yoga classes and meditation; sailing and scuba classes; fencing, beach sports and biking; golf, archery, tennis and more. Look out for themed months featuring instructors at the top of their field, or take on the Walk on the Wild Side challenge, a programme of guided rainforest walks and mountain hikes. And after all that activity, relax in the Ayurvedic Temple organic garden and spa.
3 Guana Island, BVI
Best for… Hiking
Where: Guana Island
Room rates: From US$795
Info: +1 284 494 2354; www.guana.com
Privately owned Guana Island, just a short boat ride from Beef Island airport, is the archetype of a paradisiacal Caribbean retreat. It’s also a beacon of conservation: established in 1980, the Guana Island Science Program has shepherded the restoration of many endangered plant and animal species here, and for six weeks each year the island hosts scientists and students for research in botany, entomology, marine biology, ornithology, herpetology and more. This wildness makes it a joy for hiking (or, increasingly, trail-running); there are 12 miles of trails and 850 acres to explore in total, and if you’re lucky your trek will bring you into contact with the rare Anegada iguana, roseate flamingos and turtles. The trail up 245m-high Sugarloaf Mountain will give you a good workout, as well as providing wonderful views of surrounding islands. The resort also offers yoga, paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling, plus two top-notch tennis courts: one is Omni Astroturf, the other is the BVI’s only Hydro court, which plays like clay.
4 Bwa Chik Hôtel & Golf, Guadeloupe
Best for… Golf
Where: Avenue de L’Europe, St-François
Room rates: From US$150
Info: +590 59 088 6060; www.bwachik.com
The Bwa Chik Hôtel is mad about golf – and it shows. Many of its 43 rooms look out onto the St-François course, designed by acclaimed golf architect Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1978 and completely renovated in 2010. The par-71 course has a testing second nine , but beginners, intermediate and experts are all welcome, and expert lessons are available. After you’ve finished your round, you can retire to the Birdy bar to celebrate/commiserate your scorecard with a cocktail or two. The hotel makes a good base for exploring Guadeloupe as well – you can arrange watersports including kitesurfing, wakeboarding, surfing and paddleboarding, or head out sea fishing and whalewatching. The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant but is located near a traditional fishing village and plenty of eating options, clubs and casinos, so you won’t go hungry or bored.
5 Colony Club, Barbados
Best for… Water fun
Where: Porters BB24017, Porters Road
Room rates: From US$509
Info: +1 246 422 2335; www.eleganthotels.com/colony-club
Deluxe and relaxing, with plenty of activities for all the family: that sums up the Colony Club. There are floodlit tennis courts, a fitness centre, complimentary Pilates, yoga, Zumba and aqua aerobics classes, plus four freshwater swimming lagoons; some of the hotel’s 96 rooms and suites even have private lagoon pool access. Watersports, both motorised and non-motorised, are also included, with an Aqua School offering free instruction – try tube rides, sailing, waterskiing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or even a turtle swim tour. Or perhaps you fancy yourself as the next Tiger Woods? Every year, all the Elegant Hotels on Barbados get together for a golf tournament at Apes Hill Club, where you can play for a range of prizes; the next event is in January 2019. If you can’t wait until then, there are two courses a short drive away.