“The government has done a very good job when it comes to Covid-19. They reacted very quickly with closing the island down, and it was a huge decision because tourism is all we’ve got,” explains Keith Martel, general manager at Tamarind Hills in Antigua and Barbuda.
Martel is showing me around the property and gives me a sneak peek of the construction site where soon two restaurants, a spa, pool, and gym will come to life. “Even if we were in lockdown, Tamarind Hills never effectively closed because we always had people occupying villas for about a couple of months to give the whole ‘work from paradise’ thing a try,” he adds.
We view a number of villas, some with their very own barbecue grills, infinity pools, and entertainment rooms. Beautiful paintings adorn the walls and exquisite pieces of art catch my eye from every corner. It’s clear that guests are made to feel as if they are in the privacy of their own homes whilst enjoying the contemporary luxury feel that Tamarind Hills does so well.
Tamarind Hills has a privileged spot in between Darkwood and Ffryes beaches. Guests can easily waltz over to either or choose to catch some rays on the resort’s own private beach. The property is home to a collection of villas that are either beachfront or oceanfront and new suites have ocean views. The villas and suites are arranged in a terraced design with cement paths snaking through them like a maze.
I meet Ron and Poonam, the duo behind the development, and they tell me about the ambitious vision they plan to execute over the next few years. A holistic resort experience was always on the cards and they are receiving lots of interest from international individuals who are eager to purchase villas as investment opportunities. The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program has also helped to sweeten the deal as it provides investors with not only a gorgeous piece of property at an exclusive address, but they also get access to visa-free travel to over 150 countries.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by guest relations manager Bancroft, who showed us to our villa. A welcome pack detailed the concierge services offered by the hotel, including VIP airport assistance, private boat charters, in-villa spa treatments, in-house Covid-19 testing, and excursion bookings.
Our one-bedroom ocean view studio was decorated in calm, earth tones and had an open and breezy feel. The four-poster bed took centre stage, surrounded by a work desk, lounge, kitchen and dining area. The bathroom was sizeable, and featured his and hers sinks, a bath tub, and shower.
Décor and interior design are some of the areas the Tamarind Hills team are most proud of, and they provide carefully-selected furniture and design options to all their property investors. Our suite made use of mostly wooden and jute elements, which gave off a rustic yet sleek feel. The sliding doors opened up to a panoramic view of the beach, the horizon, and our very own terrace and Jacuzzi.
Tamarind Hills’ new restaurants will include a main dining destination that will be open mainly in the evenings and a daytime restaurant serving informal breakfasts and casual lunches with a patio for al fresco meals.
The restaurants are planned to open by the end of the year, but in the meantime, guests are spoilt for choice in the surrounding area: Dennis Cocktail Bar and Restaurant sits right on Ffryes Beach and serves delicious piña coladas and Caribbean fare like curried goat and their special Ffryes Bay shrimp. For a special occasion, the award-winning Sheer Rocks is a short drive away from the resort. Enjoy plunge pools, cliff-top views, and an elevated food and drinks menu.
One of the biggest advantages of staying at Tamarind Hills is its location. Antiguans are proud to say that the island has one beach for every day of the year, and out of those we visited, Ffryes stood out. We easily spent hours on Ffryes Beach, relaxing on a sun lounger (rented from the team at Dennis – they let you order drinks to sip on the beach as well), going for a swim in the gorgeous turquoise waters, and walking up and down the powder-like sand.
For a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, drive down to Spring Hill Riding Club in Falmouth. Yard managers Susie and Kent have a full stable of excellent horses to cater for all abilities. Go for a leisurely walk through the valley and prepare yourself for the main event – a bareback swim in the sea.
In a nutshell
Whilst Tamarind Hills is already considered to be one of the most esteemed luxury stays on the island, the plans they have aim to cater to guests’ needs without them ever having to leave the resort grounds. With an exclusive location, villas that offer the utmost intimacy, and a sunset view that’s hard to beat, Tamarind Hills should be on your radar, either as an investor or a couple or family looking for an idyllic setting for a luxury stay in the Caribbean.
Address: Dark Wood Beach, St Mary, Antigua and Barbuda
Phone: +1 268-562-7380
Spring Hill Riding Club – antiguaequestrian.com
Car rentals from Titi Rent a Car (available for airport pick-ups) – villaordnance.com