Carlisle Bay

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 March, 2004, 12:00am

Where? On a crescent of floury white sand on the island of Antigua in the West Indies.

Restful or raucous? The latest offering from Gordon Campbell Gray - the man behind London's coolly modern One Aldwych hotel - this spanking new establishment is as serene as it is stylish.

Tell us more ... It offers a less fashion-conscious alternative to hostelries on islands such as St Barts. Carlisle Bay is sure to poach some of its A-listers (Tom Cruise, Beyonce, Harrison Ford), who may be suffering from Gucci/Pucci overload.

Not for show-offs, then? While minimalist mavens will appreciate the lack of parrot print gaud so frequently featured in Caribbean crash pads, down-to-earth types will love the unsnotty service.

What are the rooms like? Each of the 88 suites (with one, two or three bedrooms) is themed around a different colour, such as lavender, sunset, aqua and grey-blue. The dark-wood furniture complements the Frette sheets, Jim Thompson curtains, and black and white photographs, while the sea-facing terraces sport socking great sunbeds.

Any groovy extras? Fibre-optic bedside lights, CD and DVD players, a Gaggia espresso machine and stripy Paul Smith-style cups and saucers.

Clearly, urban cool translates to the tropics ... Indeed. Slinky details aside, there's also a funky library with fluorescent Perspex shelves and flat-screen iMacs, a film-screening room with blue leather chairs and popcorn machine, and a spoiling 'well-being' centre.

Is the menu island spicy? Not remotely. At East, guests can tuck into Asian fusion fare from the comfort of peony pink chairs, while the distinctly un-Caribbean menu at Indigo on the Beach includes the likes of smoked salmon sandwiches, bruschetta and risotto.

Anything else we should know? Although Carlisle Bay is the epitome of chic, it is also child-friendly, with a beach that slopes gently into the sea, a safe pool and kiddy films screened daily.

What about adult pursuits? Watersports include windsurfing, sailing, diving, kite surfing and deep sea fishing. The hotel has nine tennis courts and a snazzy speedboat to whisk guests off to any of Antigua's 365 beaches.

Beach suite US$850; Ocean suite US$950; Carlisle suite US$2,100 per night. Old Road Village, Antigua, West Indies, tel: (1) 268 484 0000;