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Curtain Bluff's Howard Hulford Passes AwayMarch 11, 2009 By: Ruthanne Terrero
Howard and Chelle Hulford in their home in Curtain Bluff in January
I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Howard Hulford; he’s the owner and founder of Curtain Bluff on Antigua. I just had the pleasure of meeting Howard and his wife, Chelle, when I visited the resort in January.
Anyone who knew Howard, who passed away on Monday, March 9, at the age of 86, knew he was an exciting guy. He wore beautiful, colorful shirts that made him look quite dashing and, as it turns out, he was a fighter pilot in World War II. He discovered the site for Curtain Bluff while flying over it in 1959. This was after he’d become an executive pilot for Texaco. He ended up building a villa on the site, his friends came to visit him and his beloved wife and, finally, a full-fledged resort opened in 1962.
When I was at Curtain Bluff, I met Howard several times, since one of his favorite habits was to sit near the entrance of the lobby and personally welcome guests. He was as humble as they come, listening to guests praise the resort with a simple nod and a thank you. If you were lucky enough be at Curtain Bluff on the correct day of the week, you’d receive a personal invitation to visit Howard and Chelle’s amazing home on the top of the bluff. I say amazing because of its open-air living room and gorgeous balconies that overlook the Caribbean. Howard and Chelle have used these evenings over the years to honor guests who have hit certain milestones with Curtain Bluff. It’s not unusual for a couple to be lauded for their 10th return to Curtain Bluff or their 20th. When I was there, I met a couple who had come nearly every year since the property had opened. Even though they’d moved all over the globe since they were newlyweds, they always seemed to find their way back to Curtain Bluff, they told me.
When I met Howard and Chelle at their home, I felt they were the most hospitable couple. Curtain Bluff was very much their home and many people have been very fortunate to have been a part of their family over the years.
Howard also had a tremendous influence over the island of Antigua; his “Old Road Fund” over the years has contributed more than $1 million on medical needs and education of the village that borders Curtain Bluff. Indeed, 95 percent of Curtain Bluff's employees come from the village, including the general manager, comptroller and sommeliers.
It all contributes to that amazingly warm, hospitable ambiance at Curtain Bluff. I am glad I got to meet Howard Hulford, what a true hotelier and a true humanitarian.
As was Howard's wish, Curtain Bluff will go forward in perpetuity with the same management and staff that he has nurtured all these years. In lieu of sending flowers, it is requested that friends and colleagues make donations to the Old Road Fund in Howard Hulford's name (details are on the Curtain Bluff website, www.curtainbluff.com).