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Feeling the Love In Antigua

by Karim Orange

Antigua is a beautiful island in the Eastern Caribbean. Along the drive from the airport, you will notice the forestry of the island is mostly made up of succulents, and the smell of wild grown lemongrass fills the air.

My accommodations for the next few sun-filled days would be at The Blue Waters Resorts and Spa. The connections I made there made my heart smile! The water is bright blue and the accommodations have been hailed as one of the premier go-to spots in the region.

Nestled on 17 acres of tropical gardens on the coast of Antigua, Blue Waters Resorts and Spa offers two inclusive options such as bed and breakfast (includes daily breakfast), and the best all-inclusive that I've ever seen. The all-inclusive includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and alcohol. The property hosts three restaurants and three bars. Two of the bars are named after beloved employees, Carolyn and Jaclyn. The decor is accented by the work of local artisans, most rooms feature views of the breathtaking blue waters. The hotel also has an array of non-motorized water sports, several private beaches, pools and a beautiful spa.

One of the main attractions on the property is a very interesting bent tree on the beach named Hugo, after the devastating Atlantic hurricane. Many homes and properties were destroyed by the hurricane, but this tree sustained the storm, and it is the pride and joy of Blue Waters.

Photo credit: Karim Orange

What really stood out about Blue Waters Resort and Spa was the love from the people that you meet there and how at home they made you feel during your stay. From food to drinks, and every detail in between, my heart made a heart-connection during this trip to Antigua.

The Love of Food

The cuisine prepared by Chef Ed Boncich was authentic Caribbean cuisine. From the traditional classic local Island dish, Fungi and Salt Fish, to an array of curries, Chef Ed's love for the food and the islands can be tasted in every bite.

Photo credit: Karim Orange

Ed is a native New Yorker who has been island-hopping as a chef for over 10 years. He has fallen in love with Caribbean cuisine and the people from different islands who have shown him the many secrets and spices of traditional island flavor and culture. I traveled with Ed to the local market while he purchased the ingredients for the evening menu back at the hotel, and everyone knew him and loved him there.

The Love of Libation

The Wellness Cocktails (non-alcoholic and alcoholic) were prepared by Carolyn, whose heart is as big as the ocean! Carolyn has a bar by the pool, and a style all of her own. Blue Waters realizes how special she is and named the bar after her.

Photo credit: Karim Orange

She mixes fruits and vegetables together to create what I like to call Wellness Cocktails. She also shared her secret to make coconut oil at home (yes, at home)! Carolyn has been at the property for over 17 years, and guests come back to visit her year after year. I have seen her make something special for a guest who is feeling under the weather, and bring it to them. She always has a smile on her face that is as bright as the Antiguan Sun. My favorite cocktail was a blend of papaya, cucumber and champagne called Papaya Blast.

Another point of attraction was Papa Zouk's, a fish and rum shop located in St. John, which hosts one of the greatest rum collections in the Caribbean. The owner, German-native Bert Kerchner, loves to tell the story of his restaurant’s namesake, inspired by a man that Bert met in Dominica. Bert admired the spirit of this man, who would come to life and dance every time he heard Zouk music (a French Caribbean fusion music from Martinique and Guadeloupe). This tradition earned him the name Papa Zouk.

Photo credit: Karim Orange

The food is a fusion of Caribbean and Creole, and it is as flavorful and fun as Bert and his beautiful Antiguan wife, Faye. They both spent a great deal of time explaining the 250 kinds of rum you will see on the shelf. The patrons that regularly visit Papa Zouk (including Robert De Niro), bring rum for Bert to try from all over the world, adding to his collection and knowledge base.

Also worth visiting is the historic Nelson’s Dockyard. This is the only remaining naval dockyard in the world designed to maintain wooden sailing warships. The local market in St. John where you can purchase fresh produce is another great place to stop and absorb a bit of Antiguan culture.

With Jet Blue Airlines (strongly committed to supporting the at-risk ecosystems in the Caribbean) now flying non-stop to Antigua, it’s the perfect time to open your heart and take a trip.

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