Antigua “All Inclusive”
Jackie built The Villas at Sunset Lane on the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda as a way to change direction from her career as an accountant. Great professional jump, given the number crunching required. Oh, and she’s a chef. This traditional breakfast is all her own doing. Bakes (a type of soft, fragrant fried bread), chopup (spinach and okra with herbs and spices), avocado slices, salt fish with garlic, onion and tomato, and a side of green banana boiled in salted water. Breakfast starts with the freshest fruit she can find.
Her dinner menu are equally tempting. The jerk chicken with beans and rice is loaded with those fresh spicy flavours and just the right amount of heat. My dessert of bread pudding was light, moist and delicately spiced. Jackie’s rum punch made with Antiguan rum and fresh fruit juices is a story all on its own.
Pre-covid, Jackie offered cooking lessons in her gorgeous kitchen. These lessons extended into the community to a local family’s kitchen to learn how to cook the traditional Caribbean way using a “coal pot.” Other packages from The Villas at Sunset Lane included guided hikes into the hills, spa treatments in the forest and tours of Antigua. I’m sure it won’t be long, and such extras will again become available.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the pool for a dip, the sweeping views over trees down to the ocean, short walks to pubs, and the cheery, neat, pink atmosphere Jackie has created with the help of lush vegetation and visiting wildlife. Hummingbirds and other avian residents are constantly flitting about and chirping. Several species of small lizard appear from the surrounding vegetation from time to time. Frogs sing in the night.
The Deal? This is my kind of inclusive, an inexpensive boutique hotel with loads of personality, well off a quiet road but within walking distance of everything I want in a vacation, including a personable and, I have to say, talented host who knows this business inside out and how to make guests feel welcomed, relaxed and cared for.