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LAKE NORMAN MAGAZINE – Fantasy Island

lake-norman-magazine

Antigua’s Curtain Bluff resort offers endless opportunities for boaters, sun-seekers and those looking for the ultimate island get-away.

With warmer temps still months ahead, the Caribbean isle of Antigua offers sun seekers an enchanting destination to take off the winter chill.

Crystalline warm water, pristine beaches and all manner of boating opportunities make this tiny isle a most proper antidote for cabin fever. Best of all, Antigua is only a four hour nonstop flight from Charlotte.

In Antigua, there is no finer choice to soak up the West Indies Island sun than Curtain Bluff.

Here golden breasted bananaquits serenade guests upon arrival and tiny tree frogs ensure restful slumber with evening lullabies. All set on 15 acres of lush tropical gardens bursting with fire-engine red hibiscus, lavender orchids and more than 70 species of palm trees gracing the immaculate grounds.

The venerable boutique resort is situated along the southwesterly coastline of the island. They boast two beaches, endless water sports, French accented Caribbean cuisine, a world class spa, tennis and more. Each of the 72 guest accommodations are lovingly appointed and mere steps from the ocean.

Repeat visits for a reason

At Curtain Bluff, guests don’t visit the property as much as they are hosted by staff whose average tenure is 28 years. Hospitality is the gold standard where touches like beach side chilled towels or champagne to toast the sunset from the spa verandah don’t need to be asked for – they are simply provided. Part of the many reasons more than 70 percent of their guests are repeat visitors; some coming back year after year for decades.

“We opened in 1962 where the vision of our founder, Howard Hulford, was creating a warm and welcoming environment,” said managing director, Rob Sherman, 59. “Over the years we’ve worked hard to build relationships and treat guests like family. Guests enjoy an intimate feel and tell us the resort is elegant yet not pretentious. ”

New York based comedian Jeff Kreisler, 40, enjoyed the resort over this past Thanksgiving with his wife Anne, 34, and young son Scott, 3. “I remember coming here as a kid in high school and enjoying the beach and all the fun water based activities,” said Kreisler, “I want to create the same kind of memories with my family.”

Open water

Options at Curtain Bluff to get onto the open water abound.

Guests can grab a Hobie Cat and take it for a sail around scenic Morris Bay. If kayaking or paddle boarding is more your style, one of the helpful staff will be glad to set you up. Divers and snorkel enthusiasts are less than ten minutes from one of the best reefs in the Caribbean. Here you’re likely to spot eagle rays, jet black spiny sea urchin, schools of turquoise striped parrot fish and a rainbow of other tropical fish darting along magnificent living coral. Water-skiers and tubers get the royal treatment behind Curtain Bluff’s power boat where fast rides on glassy smooth waters are there for the asking.

Beyond the calm bay and beaches at Curtain Bluff, deep sea fishing and sailing charters are available.

Landlubbers here are definitely not left in the cold as guests have four lighted tennis courts available, bocce ball, basketball, a squash court, putting green and plenty of quiet spots to curl up with a favorite beach novel. Curtain Bluff’s spa take a back seat to know with special treatments such as a “Couple’s Day Away,” where repair facials, tropical wraps, de-stressor massages along with champagne and tasty treats await.

Caribbean cuisine with French flair

Executive Chef Christophe Blatz, 46, has been tempting Curtain Bluff guests for more than 20 years with his classic French influences on Caribbean cuisine.

“I wait until the day’s catch comes in before completely finishing the day’s menu,” said Blatz, emphasizing the importance he places on his use of the island’s rich bounty.

Look for specials such as pan roasted grouper in spiced mango cream sauce served on crushed potatoes or slow roasted rosemary marinated local suckling pig with pumpkin-apple crumble.

Breakfasts are not to be missed at Curtain Bluff as Chef Blatz’s bread program features all homemade goodies where decisions between lighter-than-air croissants, pain au chocolate or his special banana bread are the most difficult choice you’ll face all day. Don’t miss the island local favorite of salt fish, Spanish sauce, avocado and egg – delicious.

When it’s time for snowbirds to head back north from Curtain Bluff, most leave with a knowing smile – they’ll be back.

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