England men are due to tour the Caribbean in spring 2022 and the prospect of travelling fans being welcomed back into stadiums is becoming increasingly realistic. For thousands of supporters, overseas tours are almost back to the way they should be.
And where better to fall back in love with touring than the Caribbean? Fans will have fond memories of all the islands, Antigua in particular, but the island still keeps her secrets and there is one gem hidden right under the nose of the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
The Great House in Antigua is a 350-year-old stone house – the last of its kind on the island, that has been reborn as a boutique hotel. It sits within a 26-acre estate where the thick and vibrant trees protect guests from the loud hustle and bustle of the island.
The hotel is run by the Howell family, originally from Cardiff, but with historic ties to the island. “It’s a very intimate setting,” Isabella Howell, creative director of The Great House, tells The Cricketer.
England return to the Caribbean in early 2022
“We only have eight suites so a maximum of 16 guests. Four suites are in the house and the other four are in our brand-new garden suite cottages. They opened in January 2020 so Covid has ensured they are still brand new!”
Guests have full board throughout their stay in the on-site restaurant while they are also immersed in the history of the building and the island.
“The history of the island and the house, along with the previous famous visitors are showcased throughout the hotel. Guests can explore and learn about the history and culture from Antigua.”
The hotel is run by Isabella, alongside her sister Gabriella and mother Janey. Their father Andrew supplies PPE in the UK, meaning the hotel is one of the most well-stocked with protective equipment in the Caribbean. All staff have been vaccinated while a negative test is required to enter the island.
“We run the hotel as a family and it definitely has character and charm. It’s so unique,” Isabella explains.
“My favourite aspect of The Great House Antigua is that the only noise comes from song birds and the breeze rippling through the trees. You are met by incredible scenery, all your stresses melt away as you are welcomed to paradise.”
Cricket fans will note The Great House’s close proximity to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, a likely venue during the tour. Shuttle buses will run between the ground and hotel on match days while guests will be provided with a picnic basket lunch on request.
The Great House serves fresh fish daily and is the perfect spot to relax after a day at the cricket
The hotel is the ideal spot for those who may not consider the cricket as the only element of their holiday. They want a relaxing place to come back to and enjoy with more privacy, superb food and stunning scenery.
However, proximity to the stadium is not the only connection The Great House has with the equally great Sir Viv. “Sir Viv was very close with my grandma,” Isabella explains. “Guests may bump into him while roaming around the 26-acre hotel.”
The restaurant serves fresh cuisine daily including; Mahi-Mahi, Red Snapper and Lobster Thermidor, presenting an extensive bar featuring island rum and world class wine. Isabella notes the atmosphere at The Great House Antigua with the gramophone swooning the blues and Antiguan rum on the rocks, there is no better way to unwind after a brilliant day at the cricket.
Antigua has long been a favourite destination for travelling supporters. The cricket is always competitive and when enjoyed from the stadium’s grassy banks there is no place better to follow England abroad. Add to that the tranquil experience of The Great House you’re left with the holiday of a lifetime.
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