n another era, the stunning beaches of Antigua welcomed Jacqueline Kennedy, providing her and her loved ones with an escape from the world in what was then a virtually undiscovered oasis. In that same spirit, Jacqui O’s on Love Beach has followed in the former First Lady’s glamorous footsteps, creating an exquisite hideaway that beckons not only the rich and famous, but anyone with a Champagne taste whatever the budget.
One sunny Saturday afternoon I visited this beach bar where a well-known English actress lounges by the water, perhaps waiting for her close-up… but I dare not intrude. Instead I’m met by Jacqui O’s owner, Lance Leonhardt, whose enthusiasm and passion shines through. He and his staff make me feel at home, and insist that I come right back into the kitchen to see where the magic happens. I meet the Chef and view a kitchen that many New York City restaurants would envy – it’s hard to believe that such quality could be found right here out on the sand! The kitchen has everything from a massive freezer/fridge storing the locally grown hydroponic produce to a Josper oven – the only one in the Caribbean: A 400-degree charcoal treasure that allows them to cook for 100 people just like Europe’s Michelin-rated chefs.
“…THE PHILOSOPHY – unlike other beach bars – is that one shouldn’t have to sacrifice culinary quality for a tropical view.”
After a full tour, the charismatic bartender, Zuki hands me a glass of the house rosé and I stroll around the establishment. Barefoot elegance is the perfect description; with Mykonos-inspired white decor, chandeliers fashioned from seashells and flowers contributing color aplenty, the patio restaurant matches every amenity of a top-notch restaurant with a priceless view. Out from under the shade of the patio lies a stunning beach with plenty of lounge chairs imported from Dubai. Brightly colored picnic tables and white hammocks underneath the gently swaying palm trees set the scene of what one would expect from “Love Beach.”