Even during antigua-and-barbuda">Antigua Sailing Week, when English Harbour is chock-a-block with yachts from all over the world, the 28-room Inn at English Harbour remains serenely detached from the chaos. The inn is five minutes by water taxi from the center of things at historic Nelson’s Dockyard, but its tucked-away location on a white-sand beach backed by 19 leafy acres (and a no-kids-under-10 policy) ensures tranquility. Four snug rooms, with marble floors and queen beds, occupy two beachside cabanas, while 25 more generously proportioned suites, all with dark mahogany floors, four-poster king-size canopy beds, and verandas or balconies, are in three wooden buildings sitting farther back among the tropical greenery. Although the Terrace Restaurant and Stone Bar are in the property’s original stone house, the rooms, despite their colonial look, are relatively modern, which means there is a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, and Internet access.
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About 12 miles from the airport, the Inn at English Harbour is minutes from Nelson’s Dockyard, the historic heart of Antigua and the focal point of much of its sailing activity. In addition to Antigua Sailing Week, which brings together racing sailors from around the Caribbean every April and May, the Classic Yacht Regatta, held just before Sailing Week, is a floating museum of some of the world’s most beautiful wooden boats—all easily seen close-up at the dockyard. While at the Dockyard, stop for lunch at the Admiral’s Inn, which sits on the water. Throughout the year, Shirley Heights, five minutes away, is the place to be between 4 and 10 p.m. on Sundays, when the music plays, and the show begins with a sunset.
Need to Know
Rooms: 28 rooms, including 24 suites. From $494 low season, $906 high season. Rate is half board, which means lunch and drinks by the glass (not counting premium brands) are $90 extra per person, per day. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The Terrace Restaurant, in the inn’s original house, serves an alfresco dinner as well as afternoon tea. The more casual Reef Restaurant, down by the beach, is open for breakfast and lunch. Spa and gym details: The tiny Inn Spa is a fusion of Asian style and Caribbean products, and offers a full range of treatments as well as a full-service salon and adjoining gym. Get the blood circulating, too, on one of the two tennis courts or by diving from the floating dock just off the beach.
Who’s it for: Couples looking for a quiet stay away from the cruise-ship frenzy of St. John’s. Our favorite rooms: Although the beachside location of the cabana rooms makes them popular, the upper-floor Deluxe Suites offer more privacy, space, and views of the sea. If the kids are coming: Although it caters primarily to couples, the Inn does offer a summer family package, with kids 10 and over getting 50 percent off the adult rate for a connecting suite, as well as other perks, such as five free sailing lessons from the Antigua Yacht Club.