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Antigua

You have doubtless heard of Antigua, but the country's official title includes its little brother Barbuda, and if you put the two together you have a contrasting and magical holiday destination.

Getting there is easy as Antigua's sparkly new airport terminal, which opened in 2015, is one of the Caribbean's main staging posts with regular flights from Gatwick. The island's excellent road network will take you to its remotest parts, so if you want to get boutique and exclusive, it's easy as there is a ready list of properties that will provide the requisite peace, quiet and luxury.

There are just 2,000 hotel rooms on Antigua (nearly a quarter of them belong to one three-star complex), but its undergoing something of a construction boom, and that's a good thing, because most of what is appearing is in the four and five-star bracket. Next year, a new style of Miami chic arrives in the whitewashed and angular shape of Elegant Hotels' Hodges Bay. The opening is the first Elegant Hotel outside Barbados, with the brand having made its name running iconic properties there including The Colony Club and The House plus celebrity favourite Daphne's restaurant. Proof indeed that Antigua's time has come.

Like all good Caribbean islands, Antigua also has a handful of top-notch boutique hotels where you can just chill in smug contentment, among them the ultra-luxury 25-suite Hermitage Bay, but if you really want to get away from it all, then the ferry or 15-minute flight to Barbuda is a must for any Caribbean devotee who wants to take a step back in time.

At just 52 square miles, with a population of 1,800 and no supermarket, Barbuda is as undeveloped as it gets. From the air, much of it appears to be scrub and nature rules here, as a boat ride through the mangrove-fringed lagoon close to Codrington, the main town, proves.

Here, you are among the largest population of red-breasted frigate birds outside The Galapagos. The birds pretty much have the place to themselves, and the sense of remoteness continues as you turn the boat into the sea. There is nothing but miles of white sand, stretches of which are tinged with crushed pink shells. If you're searching for the ultimate Caribbean beach, this could be it.

After some time, a small collection of buildings appears on the horizon - the cluster of villas that make up Barbuda Belle, an ultra-exclusive getaway opened in mid-2015. It's yours to share with sunshine, the birds and the stingrays that cruise the shallows and little else.

Whether you're in search of privacy, crave luxury or just want your Caribbean authentic; Antigua & Barbuda has it all.