Taking the Kids: To Antigua, spared from recent hurricanes
"I think that family feel is what has made us come back," said Megan Broyles, who honeymooned here five years ago and now is back with her husband David, leaving their 3-year-old at home in Dallas with the grandparents. They've been to other resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, the couple said, at the wine tasting, but nothing has compared to Curtain Bluff.
That's why so many families return, including couples who first came here and returned with their kids and now are bringing grandchildren. This isn't an inexpensive holiday, however. Winter all-inclusive rates start at $1,350 per couple. (From April 3 through August 18, rates start at $700 per night for two people in a deluxe room, all-inclusive with all meals, drinks, watersports and tennis and land activities. There are discounts for kids sharing a room with parents and an early booking deal with a 20 percent discount.)
Katherine Woodhouse, 10, has lived on Antigua her entire life -- her mom works at Curtain Bluff and she has some thoughts about kids visiting. "Don't be scared of the little lizards that run around," she advises. "They won't do anything." And take the opportunity to try watersports, especially snorkeling and sailing. "Look for rainbow fish! Boat tours are fun because you get to go snorkeling and then you stay for the rest of the day and swim around the boat."
Kids should also take advantage of the chance to try new foods like conch fritters, West Indian curry and jerk pork. "Most of the kids on the island eat spicy food because we're used to it," Katherine explained. (Read more of her tips here.)
We took Katherine's advice and snorkeled, ate West Indian dishes and her favorite Curtain Bluff dessert, chocolate lava cake.
We marveled at how much this resort has stayed true to its mission and also changed to keep up with the times since we sat on the beach with a bottle of champagne from our wedding and talked about the kids we would have. Today, kids are welcomed all year, not just at certain times, and jackets and ties are not required for dinner. There is a pool -- and plans to build a second just for adults -- and a terrific spa.
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At the cocktail party the week we visited, Chelle Hulford presented a silver tray to John and Gwen Larter, a British couple, in honor of their 20th visit. They haven't wanted to bring their kids and grandkids, explained Gwen Larder. "This is our special place."
Ours too. I hope you have a special place in your life.