A celebrity trainer brings her workout program to a classic Caribbean retreat


By Lexy Schmertz

This past January, Antigua’s oldest luxury resort, Curtain Bluff, decided to try something new. Guests were invited to kick off the New Year with Fit & Fun Under the Sun, a week of health and hard bodies, led by the celebrity trainer, Simone De La Rue, who’s famous for sculpting A-listers like Anne Hathaway, Emmy Rossum and Rosie Huntington-Whitely,

q-682x1024Curtain Bluff modeled the fitness week after their renowned tennis programs, in which world champions lead tennis clinics and participate in matches. These programs have been going on for years and attract some serious tennis talent. With the Fit & Fun program, Curtain Bluff offered a different experience: an opportunity to detox, reboot and ramp up your workout, all with the support and guidance of a fitness guru.

The all-inclusive program included morning meditation, followed by yoga or a power walk into the local village, known as the Old Road. After breakfast, Simone, a former professional dancer, led cardio and toning classes based on her upbeat but intensive technique, Body by Simone. “Exercise should be joyous,” said Simone. “I’d rather eat a file cabinet than run on a treadmill.”

Her classes included intervals of heart-racing aerobic dance, followed by upper and lower body strengthening, all intended to improve fitness, build confidence and most of all, be fun. Guests then ate lunch, played tennis, went for a sail or simply enjoyed the beach, before burning more calories in the afternoon movement and aqua-aerobics classes. And finally, it was time to relax and rejuvenate with blissful treatments in the 5,000 square foot waterfront spa. The evening culminated with dinner in one of the resort’s two restaurants. All of the meals included healthy, low calories options, as well as opportunities to indulge your cravings.

Curtain Bluff’s willingness to develop new programs, like fitness week, shows how it continually looks for ways to enhance an already exceptional experience. Curtain Bluff’s laid-back, old-money vibe and strong sense of community stand in stark contrast to the lavish experiences — private butlers, celebrity-designed villas and even recording studios — available at other resorts and has attracted a deeply loyal following. Approximately 70% of guests return for another visit, and many families have been coming for years, and even decades.

The continuity of the both the guests and the staff, who come from the local village, has created a community that is deeply invested in the overall experience. It all started in 1974, when Curtain Bluff’s founders, Sir Howard Hulford and his wife, Lady Michelle Hulford, launched the Old Road Fund, to give back to the local village, which had given them so much. Over time, guests began to contribute to the Fund, and the resort matches their donations. The overall impact on the village has been significant, with support for education, medical treatments and construction projects.

According to Wendy Eardley, the Resident Manager, Curtain Bluff’s community is the magic behind the resort. “There will always be more beautiful and more modern resorts. But our staff and guests have developed real relationships. This is a family.”

Curtain Bluff will offer another fitness week in May — a chance to pump it up before summer — but don’t wait until the last minute to book one of the 72 waterfront rooms because they go quickly!