“Fun, funky and sociable north-coast resort with 49 rooms, a divinely inspired chef and a real holiday feel”
The 3-storey white-washed villas are split into a variety of rooms and suites, which jigsaw together. All are airy variations on the theme of creamy walls, cool floors and louvred shutters, and they have enough electronic gadgetry to satisfy the most demanding techno-freak (iPod docks, satellite TVs, WiFi).
On the ground floors, Garden Rooms are the cheapest offering, but still very comfortable with kingsize or twin beds, pretty balconies (with garden views) and hand-painted tiled bathrooms with showers, a double vanity unit and Acqua di Parma toiletries. Junior Suites are slightly bigger, with a daybed and larger balcony; some have outdoor showers, too.
Up above, the Villa Suites come in 3 sizes: huge, gargantuan and 'where did I last see my other half?'. All have big living/dining areas, kitchens, powder rooms and generous balconies with sea views. Our absolute favourites were the split-level Villa Suites with Jacuzzi. These have traditional West Indian four-poster beds, and gorgeous terraces with jacuzzis (Numbers 20 and 32 have rooftop terraces). Numbers 32 and 33 are built at the very edge of the resort so they’re the most private of all and echo magically with the sounds of the waves.
Up another notch, the Villa Suites with Pool each have their own pool in the garden or on a private riad-style roof terrace (none private enough for skinny dipping though). The hotel’s layout means that these enormous one-bedroomed suites can be linked, making them ideal for families or up to 3 couples travelling together. Their living accommodation includes a sitting room with a formal dining area, a full kitchen and (at least) 2 verandas. The ultimate suites (Villas Suites with Pool and Roof Terrace) have their own rooftop verandas which cry out for sociable sundowners, their own wet bars (so you don’t have to go downstairs for ice), plus double loungers and shady seating areas. Our pick of these would be Numbers 22, 28 48 and 50, which are the most private.
Some of the rooms and suites can connect to create 2 Bedroom Villa Suites, 2 Bedroom Villa Suites with Pool and 2 Bedroom Villa Suites with Pool and Roof terrace - the perfect family retreat. It is possible to book a group of 3 rooms, request on enquiry. Note that children under 12 are not allowed in the Villa Suites with Pool or the Villa Suites with Pool and Roof Terrace for safety reasons.
We loved the food at Cliff at Cap restaurant. Loved it. Especially ‘Caribbean night’, which might have been one of those embarrassing buffets demanding compulsory elastic waistbands but wasn’t. There were delicious salads (saltfish and green fig, organic leaves), plus pepperpot stew, jerk pork with perfectly crispy crackling, cheesy sweet potato pie, delicate mousses and jellies and fruit.
For the rest of the week, the stilted restaurant is more refined. Craig Jones may not be a celebrity chef yet, but someone will already have marked his card. Ingredients are top-notch and treated with respect: try the Kobe short rib with sweet potato rosti, or honeyed pumpkin risotto which is a proper, delicious main and not just a token nod to vegetarians. Finish with something decadent like the passion fruit soufflé or white chocolate ice cream. Diet later.
But certainly not at breakfast. As well as the usual West Indies buffet (mango slices, crispy streaky bacon with maple syrup and eggs), we discovered carrot and coconut muffins, fresh tamarind juice, and (nervously at first, but gaining confidence with each mouthful), smoked herring with cucumber salad and fried plantains.
For special occasions, ask for a table on Rock Maison, the wooden-deck extension of the restaurant that's set down in the sea. Drinks are 'zip-lined' down; pretty impressive for a flamboyant champagne moment.
You can get delicious tapas at the Cliff Bar (think yellow fin tuna sashimi, jumbo scallops with foie gras, or spider crab souffle). Down in Smuggler's Cover is The Naked Fisherman, open from 10am each day, they feature an extensive drinks menu, as well as lunch and dinner menus, featuring fresh seafood dishes such as lobster and mussels.
The suites are all kitted out for self-catering, with generous well-equipped kitchens and dining areas. Most guests just use these for lunches and snacks; the hotel offers a shopping service for groceries, or a range of fridge packages (the Indulgence, the Healthy etc).
If you fancy a change of scene, head into Rodney Bay, a 5-minute cab journey. We tried a few of the restaurants there and can highly recommend The Edge, Spinnaker's and The CoalPot.
Children are welcome. Under 12s stay/eat for free when sharing a room/meal with parents; extra beds and baby cots can be provided, and babysitting arranged.
Older children will love the swimming and (non-motorised) water sports at Cap and, if they’re into nature, there’s a wonderful range of birds to spot and they can head into the rainforest to go ziplining.
Although younger kids are welcome (and there's lots of baby and toddler equipment available), we don’t think Cap Maison’s the right place for toddlers. There are numerous opportunities for falling down steps and into unguarded pools, and there’s precious little shade at the beach so we think the over-3s will best enjoy themselves here. And unless they’re ultra-well-behaved, you might also be embarrassed by the amplification offered by the courtyard walls.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Various rooms and suites can connect creating the 2 Bedroom Villa Suites, 2 Bedroom Villa Suites with Pool and 2 Bedroom Villa Suites with Pool and Roof Terrace. It is possible to book a group of 3 connecting rooms; enquire when booking. All villas have a washer and dryer, which is useful for families
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Family Time Kids Club for 3-11 year olds operational 1 July - early-September every year
All villas have full kitchens, which is great for storing drinks and snacks. You can also pre-order fridge packages when booking. There's also a good kids menu in the restaurant, which has a wide variety of dishes to choose from such as mini-burgers, chicken curry, mini pizzas, pasta, and fish fillet, whereas desserts include banana split and tropical fruit
Children under 12 are not allowed in the Villa Suites with Pool or the Villa Suites with Pool and Roof Terrace for safety reasons