Glamping, Caribbean Style
Vennetta and Paul Johnston, along with their daughter Chloe run one of the smallest and most unique accommodations in the Caribbean. Wild Lotus Camp on a quiet stretch of Antigua beach in the heart of the Caribbean has no equal in the whole region. It’s probably the best glamping in the Caribbean. Their six Lotus Belle tents resemble small yurts but with peaks and stylish outer skins that extend to the ground in arms giving them the look of a line of octopi on the upper sand. Inside, old fashioned double beds, wooden furniture and carefully placed twinkly lights make for a cozy stay. Out the back door, each has a shower, sink and mirror enclosed by wooden screens and plants such as banana tree. Outside, there’s lots of beach furniture, a bar, a restaurant, seating areas and a long stretch of sand facing the sunset and a few nearby islands.
I stayed there in April just at the end of their winter season and have to say, it was one of the most pleasant accommodations I’ve ever enjoyed. The Johnston’s believe their’s may be the only true glamping experience in the Caribbean. The lotus tents are as far from an all-inclusive generic resort as you can get. Paul is a retired chef, so he enjoys catering small wedding parties here. Breakfast served outside my lotus tent included passion fruit gathered from the vine right on the beach, black Antiguan pineapple that are extra flavourful, oranges, croissants and of course British tea because the Johnston’s hail from the UK. A bold little finch landed on my tiny table hoping for a crumb or two, which I offered. A sea turtle had laid eggs on one patch of beach in front of the tents. They’ll hatch in a few weeks.
I’ve never slept better. The rhythm of the lapping waves drowned out the little traffic on the distant road and complemented the light rain that fell through the night, making it seem all the more cozy inside. Vennetta is retired from psychiatric nursing and social services, and she ran international youth exchanges, so she knows well the benefits of getting away to such quiet, natural places in cultural settings different than our own. Chloe studied ecology and conservation. Equally, she values wilderness experiences. While Wile Lotus Camp isn’t wilderness camping–I walked to a small resort nearby for dinner–it feels wild, and therefore the luxuries feel extra luxurious. There’s wifi, a cooler of ice, fluffy towels, a safe for valuables, shampoos for the shower and several options for dining out.
Wild Lotus Camp opens again in July and will run until the start of hurricane season, then re-open for the winter season in November. To encourage visitors to check them out, WLC is offering all sorts of discounts such as the Explorer Package that includes a Jeep to explore the island. Wedding, reception and personal wellness packages that include a rainforest massage are other options. Prices vary according to the size of the tent, but all include the option of an additional 15% off when booking and combining with a weekend getaway available Thursdays through Sundays by using the discount code WKND15.