Jumby Bay, Antigua

The officials at Antigua’s tiny airport are clearly on Caribbean time, and after a long flight from the UK, their lack of urgency just about tips me over the edge … It is exactly this laid back attitude that, after a few short days at Jumby Bay, I find myself relishing, though.

Situated two miles off the coast of Antigua, and accessible only by boat, Jumby’s 300 acres make for a seductively exclusive hideaway. I’m not surprised to discover that past guests have included high profile celebrities and even royalty, though the resort is far too discreet to reveal names.

As well as the hotel’s 40 rooms and suites, the island is home to a collection of 56 privately owned villas, beach homes and estates. The ‘home owners’ own equal shares in the island, and the hotel. You could call it a millionaire’s co-op. A few are on the market, and I talk sales manager Andrew Robson into giving me a sneaky peek. These multi-million pound properties, all uniquely designed to their owners’ specifications by a select group of ‘approved’ architects, are truly out of this world. Many feature their own private beach, some boast tennis courts and mini golf courses, and all have their own inviting swimming pool. A number of owners live on the island year-round; others visit for holidays and rent their homes out (complete with full staff) when they are not around. A more luxurious selection of holiday rentals you couldn’t hope to find.

I take away the particulars of a couple of properties – a girl can dream – but for now I am more than happy in my Beachside Courtyard Suite. A matter of steps from the be-hammocked white sand at the secluded end of Jumby Bay Beach, and decked out in beiges and creams, with Colonial-style furnishings, the accommodation is huge. I drink in the view from the shady private terrace, and relish my long soaks in the claw-footed outdoor bathtub.

Take time to relax before your treatment in the tranquil spa garden.

Everything on Jumby is included, so when the mood takes, I can pop to the Pool Grille next door for lunches of freshly caught ceviche, or visit the beach bar for an aptly named Antiguan Smile. In fact, you could pretty much eat and drink from sun up to sun down here. From delicious breakfasts at the casual Verandah to intimate dinners at the fine dining Estate House, and romantic candle-lit dinners on the beach, there’s no chance of getting bored. A highlight of the trip is a sunset cookery lesson on the beach, with catch of the day delivered directly from dock to demo table in front of my eyes.

With all of this gourmet action, it is a relief that there are plenty of ways to work up an appetite: all guests have free access to a bike for exploring the island, and for the energetic there are Hoby Cats, sea canoes, paddleboards and organised snorkeling trips. I spend a happy morning on the water, and even spot a turtle, but sadly forget to apply water resistant SPF, and return to my suite a little pinker than planned. A hydrating body masque followed by a massage at the peaceful spa (I fall asleep to the sound of the waves lapping the shore close-by) is the perfect antidote. I could get used to this…

Rates for Beachside Courtyard Suites start from £835 per night, all inclusive (www.jumbybayresort.com). For information about the private homes currently on the market,  please contact Andrew Robson on +1 268 764 5808 or email Andrew@jumbybayisland.com