Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Antigua's on the Up; the Holiday Island Is Being Refashioned with a Clutch of Euro-Style Design Hotels

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Antigua's on the Up; the Holiday Island Is Being Refashioned with a Clutch of Euro-Style Design Hotels

Article excerpt

Byline: KATE PATRICK

WHAT EVER qualities Antigua may have - sun, beaches and great cricketers - being chic central is not one of them. St Bart's, or even tiny Anguilla, are so much more the places to see and be seen, darlings; I'm afraid Antigua has all inclusives. Even Admiral Nelson, in 1787, called it an infernal hole.

So it might seem an odd choice for the hotel chic 'bermeister Gordon Campbell Gray - he of the One Aldwych phenomenon - to set up shop here. His new project, the 88-suite Carlisle Bay resort, will have a spa, nine tennis courts, a sailing centre, an extensive library, even its own screening room.

Yes, we'll be able to travel 4,000 miles to see a film in a Caribbean resort. Or use it as a refuge when the sun gets too hot or the other clientele a bit too cool.

Campbell Gray is too wise to lay claim to being the purveyor of urban style to the Caribbean, even though the Mary Fox Linton interiors are unlikely to feature many bamboo fronds. On a recent visit to Antigua, I found it full of Italian hoteliers who could cause a few jet-setters to rethink their Caribbean itineraries.

The Inn at English Harbour, set up and run for 40 years by an Englishman, was sold in 1999 to a wealthy Italian family, the Addaris, who last December put it in the hands of an Italian management company, Mobygest, which looks after properties in Sardinia and other Italian holiday hot spots.

The Addaris took down most of the beachside cottages, opened access to the beach and built 24 rooms with polished wood floors, Thai hardwood four-poster beds, cream linen cushions, teak balcony furniture and, in place of the bathroom, a basin room, loo room and green slate shower room (but no baths).

There is hanging space, cable TV, soft white towels and perfect sheets.

Smooth maitre d' Roberto has been lured from the K Club in Barbuda to perfect his sun-dried tomato technique with a consultant from Sardinia. …

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