Home #WHERETONEXT Caribbean How One Caribbean Resort is Reshaping the All-inclusive Culinary Experience

How One Caribbean Resort is Reshaping the All-inclusive Culinary Experience

Hammock Cove Antigua is raising the bar on the all-inclusive dining experience with its new, revamped and innovative culinary program. Executive Chef Marco Festini brings Michelin-starred experience highlighting seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients taking guests on an elevated gustatory journey inspired by his roots in Italian cooking. He is also dedicated to maintaining that 60% of fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood consumed on property are sourced locally with 20% of the herbs and vegetables being grown in the hotel’s own garden—strong percentages for an island not deeply rooted in agriculture.

In addition to two restaurants – the casual all-day Irina’s Bistro and the fine dining Lighthouse Restaurant –four bars and 24-hour in-room dining, Marco has embarked on a range of culinary initiatives to surprise and enchant guests taking full advantage of the kitchen’s creativity. Marco also now brings the Italian aperitivo ritual three times a week for guests to savor sublime pre-dinner drinks and light bites to awaken the appetite. It starts with Wednesday’s cooking demonstration while Marco shows how to make a sampling of plates like mahi-mahi carpaccio, fennel and orange salad, then each Thursday with oysters and bubbles by the beach and on Saturday with blinis and Sevruga caviar. Sunday aperitivo features Spritz Veneziano and the popular Pirlo.

Special themed gastronomic offerings highlight an array of international and local flavors engaging the senses on any given night of the week. On Monday, a sushi menu is included for lunch while Tuesday offers seafood grill on the beach and Friday offers meat and poultry on the grill at the beach BBQ. On Wednesday, the cooking demonstrations takes place at the Lighthouse Restaurant, with a seven-course dinner with an optional wine pairing at an additional charge. On select evenings at the Lighthouse, guests can enjoy lobster on the menu and a salt-crusted branzino special for dinner.

Private themed dinner packages at the hotel’s famed Pink Gazebo on the beach is also offered at an additional cost ranging from $100 to $150 per person. Highlighting the kitchen’s fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, the Pink Gazebo private dinner offers three menus to choose from: Growers and Farmers, Valley and Ocean, or Deep Sea and the Riff that comes with a bottle from the wine list. These unique menus focus on meat and vegetables, meat and seafood, and seafood only, respectively, and gourmands can expect such haute dishes as Black Angus Fillet Mignon with Creamy Bleue d’Auvergne, or Slow Roasted Jumbo Shrimp with Truffle Fingerling Potatoes and Wilted Greens.

For vinophiles, new wine tastings mine gems from terroirs around the world served with fine charcuterie and cheese, available with a reservation and at an additional charge. 

Born and raised in Italy, Chef Marco began his career in his home country, before working in a number of marquee hotels and restaurants across Europe, among them the three-Michelin star Les Pres d’Eugenie in southwestern France, Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in Florence, and Chez Moi restaurant in London. He has worked in the Caribbean for almost two decades, first in Barbados from 2003 before a stint in St. Lucia and now at Hammock Cove.

Marco has also updated the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily at Irina’s Bistro offering meals and light snacks around the clock in a chic setting overlooking the cove. The Lighthouse Restaurant serves daily changing dinner menus in an elegant and romantic atmosphere reminiscent of a traditional colonial home. Guests also have four bars from which to choose dotted around the property, from the beach and poolside On the Rocks to Irina’s Bar located adjacent to the Lobby and the Lighthouse Bar perfect for aperitivo or after dinner drinks. Nobody Knows Bar offers guests a chance to try a library of local rums and array of rum cocktails by the resort’s expert mixologists. The Chairman’s Lounge and game room is located upstairs in the Great House and offers a self-serve bar to relax and pour a favorite rum while overlooking the resort and beach. 

Hammock Cove features 41 spacious ocean-facing villas with contemporary Caribbean interiors in a whitewashed palette with local hardwood furnishings, open-air living and dining areas, a plunge pool flanked by sun beds and hanging basket chairs, tropical landscaping, and spa-style bathrooms with dual vanities and oversized showers. Unique to Hammock Cove, personal Guest Ambassadors offer concierge services for guests in their villa and around the property.The three-tiered infinity pool cascades down to a private, white-sand beach and the Tranquility Spa offers five treatment rooms, and a sea-facing yoga Shala. Art lovers will appreciate the Tunnel Gallery, a space dedicated to showcasing the works of established and emerging Caribbean artists. Light local entertainment is offered throughout the week.