TORONTO — It’s not every day you’re personally greeted by the owner of a resort while sipping your wine at dinner. But this is exactly the kind of treatment one would expect while staying at Curtain Bluff, a family-owned and operated, all-inclusive resort in Antigua.
Opened 58 years ago on the island’s southwest shore, the iconic 72-room resort has long been known for its exceptional service, led by the example of original owner Howard Hulford who, up until his 80s, insisted on meeting guests each night at dinner. Today, the tradition continues with Hulford’s wife, Chelle, who still lives on the property and can be seen mingling with guests at sunset cocktail receptions.
This sense of tradition and personal service have been the driving force behind Curtain Bluff’s success over the years. And now, as it prepares to reopen on Oct. 26 following a seasonal closure during which 12 Bluff Suites were completely renovated, the resort is hoping to appeal directly to Canadians to book a stay.
“We used to get a lot of Canadians back in the day when the Canadian dollar was high. But those numbers have dropped in the last few years,” says Wendy Eardley, Curtain Bluff’s Resident Manager during an exclusive interview with Travelweek. “The good news is numbers have been going back up in the last two years so now we’re back with a renewed focus on this market.”
Eardley, who was in Toronto last week with Curtain Bluff’s Financial Controller, Norma Holder, also noted that the resort’s presence in the Canadian market has declined after parting ways with luxury representation company Resort To The Best. But as she tells Travelweek, there’s a good possibility that Curtain Bluff will secure new representation in Canada in the near future.
For now, it’s doing its best to remain visible by meeting with media and attending road shows, such as Air Canada Vacations’ 2019/2020 ACVDreamMakers Sun Collection Launch in Toronto last week. Eardley also says the resort is eager to work with travel agents, who she refers to as “partners”, by offering them reduced rates that will allow them to see for themselves the many updates the resort has made over the years.
These include the 12 newly renovated Bluff Suites, set to debut on Oct. 26 as part of a three-phase renovation of the property. Suites now boast refreshed interiors, new tiling, bathrooms and updated furnishings. In two years, the third and final phase of the renovation will be complete with the debut of 40 updated Junior Suites, marking the first time these suites have been renovated in 20 years.
Another selling point for the property is the fact that it’s now a fully-certified PADI Dive Resort. Based out of the Watersports Center on the Bay Beach, the resort’s Dive Masters, Jensen and Junior, offer Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) and Refresher courses, as well as Open-water Certification, all available at an additional charge.
Moreover, Curtain Bluff has added two Optimist sailboats to its fleet of watercraft, allowing guests the opportunity to learn the sailing basics. These boats are available to all guests (included in the room rate), with sailing lessons provided by a team of qualified sailing instructors for an additional fee.
To celebrate its reopening next month, Curtain Bluff has announced an Early Fall Booking Offer of 20% off on a five-night stay, inclusive of all gourmet meals and drinks, all on-property watersports, and complimentary VIP airport transfers. This offer is valid for travel from Oct. 26-Dec. 17, with blackout dates from Nov. 17-30.
For more information go to curtainbluff.com.