Wellness. Not only is it an increasingly popular buzzword in the lexicon of daily life but also in vacation-planning since getting away to someplace warm and sunny with activities designed to relax and strengthen the body, declutter the mind, and inspire healthy living is a great way to begin a wellness journey.
Anyone who loves the mellow vibe and soothing blue panoramas of the Caribbean should consider Carlisle Bay, an 87-suite resort on Antigua offering all kinds of enjoyable ways to kick your wellness resolutions into gear. Ideal for couples, families, or a group of friends, the property boasts the kind of understated luxury that fosters instant relaxation, along with an amazing culinary program and exceptionally warm and friendly service. It’s a terrific place to reset priorities, reinvigorate lazy muscles, and renew your spirit.
Plus, Antigua has designated January 2023 as Wellness Month and is offering a guide to wellness experiences all around the island. Carlisle Bay, which features a 900-sq. ft. Fitness Center with Techno-Gym equipment and offers stellar views of soothing sunsets across its horseshoe-shaped bay, makes it easy to start your journey.
Here are some of the ways you can embrace a healthier you as you enjoy a wellness getaway at this welcoming resort.
Start or strengthen your yoga practice
The Garden Yoga Pavilion at Carlisle Bay is a serene, open-air oasis where complimentary yoga classes are offered multiple times a week, either in the morning or late afternoon (Pilates and Soca Zumba are scheduled, too). You can also book a personalized health retreat or private yoga or Pilates sessions to enjoy daily consultations and instruction.
As the island’s gentle breezes lift sheer fabric panels into the air all around you, an instructor will guide you through a series of stretching and strengthening poses, offering insights into the varying types of yoga and the benefits of a developing a personal practice.
This is a deeply inspiring and bonding activity for couples, mothers and daughters, or groups of friends to enjoy together, followed by a revitalizing green juice and a freshly prepared breakfast at waterfront Indigo on the Beach restaurant.
If yoga is a passion—or part of a resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle—Carlisle Bay also offers a series of three-night all-inclusive Wellness Retreats featuring specially curated yoga classes led by mindfulness coach, holistic health practitioner and yoga instructor Tara O’Rourke. I experienced this retreat in December and the next two are scheduled for Feb. 24-27, 2023 and May 19-22, 2023. O’Rourke, who lives and teaches in Dublin, Ireland, offers calming and insightful instruction for all ability levels and introduces participants to the ways yoga can help strengthen alignment and stability as well as work on core engagement and help achieve personal goals. With her gentle guidance you’ll feel your body beginning a transformation that you’ll want to continue at home.
A session on mindful meditation, a cooking demonstration, hiking and snorkeling excursions, and the Simply All-Inclusive food and beverage offer also included in the package, priced at $2,850 per room (double occupancy—so about $475 per person per night) in May 2023 and $4,395 per room (double occupancy—so about $732 per person per night) in February 2023 (which is high season in the Caribbean). Single occupancy rates for the three-night package are $3,318 per room in February and $1,884 per room in May.
Surround yourself with nature on a scenic hike
While Carlisle Bay itself is set amid well-tended gardens and backed by a series of scenic green hills and ridges, the true lushness of Antigua’s rainforest is best appreciated on a hike—and surrounding oneself with the elements of nature is also known to have beneficial effects on physical and mental well-being. Several of the resort’s friendly and knowledgeable landscapers lead complimentary Nature Walks around the property’s gardens as well as longer small-group off-property hikes.
One option is Signal Hill, where you’ll trek upwards through a dense rainforest for an elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet on the moderately challenging 3.1-mile trail. The payoff? Sweeping panoramic views of Carlisle Bay, Rendezvous Bay, and the neighboring island of Montserrat. You’ll want to strike a pose at the summit and have someone capture the moment to remind yourself how strong and invigorated you felt getting there.
The second option is a moderately challenging 4.1 mile hike up Mount Obama, the highest peak on the island, which rises to a height of 1,318 feet and also offers stunning views. Pack sturdy sneakers, a hat, water bottle, and bug spray to conquer Antigua’s top hikes.
Hit the tennis courts for an energetic workout
Along with the gentle, rhythmic rush of waves tumbling onto the beach, the sound of bouncing tennis balls provides a hypnotic background beat at Carlisle Bay, which is home to nine tennis courts, four of which are floodlit for cooler post-sunset play. The resort offers complimentary court time as well as weekly complimentary clinics and tournaments—plus group clinics and private sessions with the on-site tennis pro at extra cost. The resort also has a pickleball court.
Relax your mind and body at the CARA Organic Beauty Spa
The resort’s CARA Organic Beauty Spa offers a full range of massage, facial, and body treatments—and after several yoga sessions, a challenging hike or an intense tennis match there’s nothing like a 60-minute Hot Stone Massage ($120) to ease overworked muscles. Other well-priced spa offerings designed to relax and rejuvenate include the 90-minute ESPA Mindful Massage ($150) and the 60-minute ESPA Body Wrap ($100).
View Antigua’s scenic coastline on a picnic lunch boat tour
There’s something about being out on the water, especially in the placid blue Caribbean, that instantly relinquishes any level of stress. At Carlisle Bay, you can book a Half-Day Beach Picnic that cruises along Antigua’s scenic coastline (the island has 365 beaches) as you enjoy lunch and a stop for snorkeling. The cost is $1,200 for up to six guests.
Learn to windsurf or paddleboard with onsite complimentary watersports
It’s tough to enjoy most watersports if you live in a major city or the suburbs, but as part of your Caribbean wellness journey at Carlisle Bay you can enjoy unlimited and complimentary non-motorized watersports such as windsurfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and sailing. The equipment is all on site and the friendly watersports staff will offer helpful hints and basic instruction to get you closer to mastering the activity of your choice.
Eat fresh, healthfully prepared meals at four restaurants
Vacation is typically a time of overindulgence, but the four dining outlets at Carlisle Bay—Indigo on the Beach, East, Ottimo, and The Jetty Grill—offer plenty of healthy options (and yes, some not-so-healthy ones, too) that are freshly prepared, locally sourced and incredibly delicious. The property’s on-site garden provides much of the greens and herbs as well as tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables to the kitchens.
At open-air Indigo on the Beach, breakfast options include the Healthy Bowl (quinoa, avocado, cherry tomatoes, poached egg, and other ingredients), while wellness-focused lunch and dinner starters include Roasted Beet Salad, Tuna Tartare, and Herb-Crusted Scallops and entrees such as Pan-Seared Tofu and Snapper served with squid pasta and leeks.
Ottimo, located poolside and serving Mediterranean classics, is the spot to enjoy Sautéed Mussels or Fish Carpaccio as a starter and then the Catch of the Day with eggplant caponata for your main (the pizza is also delicious if carbs work into your wellness plan). For an immersive pan-Asian dining experience, there’s East, where you can enjoy sushi, sashimi, and poke along with miso soup and edamame, followed by flavor-rich Thai Curry or Miso Fish grilled with yo choy and sesame-honey sauce.
For a more intimate lunch or dinner with a sea view, head to adults-only The Jetty Grill for healthy menu options that include starters like Callaloo Soup and Conch Salad followed by Fresh Catch of the Day or Island-Style Curry with chicken or shrimp. Every bite is a treat to be savored.
The culinary staff at Carlisle Bay knows what they’re doing and produces consistent, high quality, and flavorful options for guests to enjoy.
Take a break courtesy of Carlisle Bay’s Kids Club
What’s better than a place called The Caribbean Cool Kids Club? How about the places—the beach, the spa, the tennis courts, the sailboats—that mom and dad can enjoy while their kids are at the club engaged in fun organized activities (watersports, movie screenings, arts-and-crafts classes) led by qualified childcare professionals.
Since part of wellness is selfcare, leaving the business of entertaining your kids and teens to the resort’s pros frees up time for you to relax, revitalize, and reconnect. The complimentary Caribbean Cool Kids Club is open seven days a week from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and 1:15 pm to 4:15 pm, leaving you with eight hours to do everything—or nothing at all.
Relax in airy and spacious suites sleeping two to six guests
Carlisle Bay offers several categories of suites, all of them spacious and decorated in soothing neutrals with blue and green accents that reflect the natural beauty of Antigua. Garden and Ocean Suites, at 770 sq. ft., accommodate up to three guests; Bay Suites are adults-only and accommodate two guests; two-bedroom Beach Balcony and Beach Terrace Suites are 730 sq. ft. and can accommodate two adults and two kids (up to age 15); and three-bedroom Carlisle Suites can sleep up to six guests.
Rates at Carlisle Bay start at $470 per night (from late April to early August and late October to mid-December), while high-season rates (January to mid-April) start at $784 per night. The Simply All-Inclusive plan packages your suite, three meals a day plus afternoon tea and beverages (including cocktails, spirits, beers, soft drinks, and an excellent selection of wines by the glass) at rates of $990 per night (double occupancy) through mid-April and $792 per night (double occupancy) from late April to early August). Kids 12 and under always stay and eat for free (limit one child per adult). See all special offers here.