Some of the world’s finest yachts filled English Harbour in Antigua, once home to Admiral Nelson, to mark the 50th anniversary this month of Antigua Sailing Week and 30 years of the Caribbean island’s Classic Yacht Regatta.
Antigua’s property market is looking more promising after recent storms, thanks largely to the Citizenship for Investment Programme — the “CIP” — introduced in 2013 by the island’s government to encourage inward investment. Anyone spending a minimum of £310,000 on property at approved resorts could get residency and access to visa-free travel.
The launch of a new terminal last year made the international airport the Caribbean’s most modern — the main access point to the eastern Caribbean for Europeans and North Americans.
South Coast — for chic bars
Near the marinas and restaurants of English Harbour, Tamarind Hills is a modern development beside two soft sand beaches. This location is close to some of Antigua’s most chic beach bars including Sheer Rocks and Jackie O’s.
One-bedroom flats to five-bedroom villas, many with private pools and all with sea views, are priced from £330,000. Developer Rufus Gobat manages a rental pool for owners and says buyers at all price points have purchased through the CIP.
Families love the East Coast
The Atlantic east coast is the less developed side, 45 minutes from the airport and the capital, St John’s. On a large, well-sheltered bay with steady winds, Nonsuch Bay, an all-inclusive sailing resort that’s also popular with families, is selling one- to five-bedroom flats, townhouses and detached villas from £310,000, also through the CIP.
Prime Sunset West Coast
Jolly Harbour, the largest residential marina in the Caribbean, is being upgraded by Dutch developer Orange. Compact two-bedroom waterfront townhouses start at £213,000, and a well-renovated three-bedroom property with private dock is £772,000, both through Luxury Locations.
At nearby Pearns Point, a 141-acre peninsula with eight beaches, Savills has 67 plots priced from £2,328,000.
The elite North Coast
Antigua’s most prestigious resort is Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort on a 300-acre private island 10 minutes from the airport. Wealthy owners of the 56 private homes include Lord Sainsbury and author Ken Follett.
Sales director Andrew Robson says: “Around five properties change hands each year and homes are constantly updated and even rebuilt.” Among the most striking private properties in the Caribbean, these are nevertheless very accessible homes and are well managed by Rosewood. Beachfront prices range from £6.2 million for a three-bedroom home to £22 million for a sprawling eight-suite property with floodlit tennis court and croquet pitch.
- Tamarind Hills: tamarind-hills.com
- Nonsuch Bay: nonsuchbayresort.com
- Savills: savills.com
- Jumby Bay: jumbybayisland.com
Laid-back Antigua vibes
The waterfront restaurant Sheer Rocks is the project of British couple Alex Grimley and Kate Taylor.
"Island life just gets better and better"
They met and married in Antigua and have used Alex’s experience as a chef trained under Jean-Christophe Novelli and Gordon Ramsay, and Kate’s expertise in the music industry, to set up the delightfully laid-back restaurant and day club.
“I love Antigua, it has everything I need and nothing I don’t need,” says Alex, 35. “I always wanted to have my own restaurant by the time I hit 30 and Kate pushed me to do it. We seat 50 for lunch and dinner, aiming to offer fresh food with Mediterranean style and a Caribbean soul.”
The couple live on the north coast with their daughter Ohara, five, returning to Britain once a year to catch up with family and friends. “I have always been excited by different cultures and I love travelling,” says Alex.
“From here it is easy to go to Miami or Puerto Rico to get an injection of shopping. But Antigua has been my home for nine years and the experience just gets better and better.”
- Sheer Rocks: sheer-rocks.com