In June of this year (2017) i embarked on, what could very well be described by most as, a holiday of a lifetime: The Caribbean. A 2 week vacation, spread over 2 islands, with well over 2 spectacular talking points.
So from the beginning:
This is an all-inclusive family hotel that boasts HUGE rooms with a choice of garden or sea views.
‘With amazing views of our lush gardens and a partial view of the sea, the Waterview Suites offer a perspective unlike anything else. Experience uniquely distinct scenery as the cool blues of the water and lush greens of our spectacular gardens set the scene for an incredible vacation.’
If you really didn’t want to you would have no need to leave the hotel premises (although i would highly recommend you take a bit of time out of relaxing to explore this beautiful island).
- choice of 2 beaches on site
- water-sports (no motorised)
- complimentary sunbeds and towels
- fitness centre
- well-being centre
- restaurant – buffet and 2x bookable options
- adults only pool
- main pool
- family suites pool
- numerous drinks and food bars scattered
- crazy golf
- games area (table tennis etc.)
- kids club
- on-site shop
I was given a challenge upon arrival of consuming each and every cocktail on the menu; unfortunately i failed this challenge due to the vast amount available. I was even drinking them for breakfast (classy i know) and still didn’t manage to work my way through the whole list. Note: they don’t do half measures so if you’re not a big drinker stick to the daiquiri’s, which are to die for when the heat gets a bit much.
The buffet restaurant (Seabreeze) operates for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was a different theme each night based upon a country and always plenty of choice. For those seriously fussy eaters there is a beach bar that serves yummy pizzas, burgers, chips etc. There are also 2 reservation only restaurants that incur an extra charge – Buccaneers and Nicole’s – but offer a slightly more up market experience for those special occasions.
We discovered that, if you request from the guest services, you can have a freshly lopped coconut delivered to your room; we actually witnessed ours being chopped from the tree in front of our door by a guy free climbing. You can then take these to the bar and they will add any alcohol of your choosing – bonus.
There was a daily board on display highlighting the day and evening activities available. One of these days turned out to be a Caribbean dance lesson and all 6 of us got persuaded into this; i’ll let you watch the video..
As far as evening entertainment goes, i hate to say it but it was slightly lax. Now we did go in June which is technically there off-season so this could be the explanation, but they did need a bit more oomph. Credit to the entertainment team who did their best to get people up and enjoying themselves, and with the help of Jam succeeded on more than one occasion.
One evening they did excel themselves; the beach party. This was an all round fantastic evening, with plenty of live entertainment, an enormous amount of food and a constant flow of beverages. Of course Jam took it upon himself to have another boogie with the entertainment (i wont subject you to another video though) and mastered jumping in and out of moving wooden sticks.
The complex is very large and does boast several hills but fear not they have a regular mini shuttle that transports you where you need to go – this is at no extra charge but we tipped for their time.
Excursions and the island itself:
There are tonnes available and the resort ‘guest services’ have leaflets and can talk you through the different options.
One of our most memorable excursions was a day trip on a speed boat – Xtreme Adventure, Antigua including Stingray City; this consisted of riding a giant speedboat (was around 20 of us on-board) round the entirety of the Island, stopping off at numerous places, to enjoy the surroundings and give the local rum a go, including Stingray City for a swim with the stingrays themselves – quite scary btw but great fun! They also take pictures of you holding the rays which you can purchase for around $15 (US).
To name a few more:
- Devils Bridge
- Long Bay
- Green Island
- St Johns
- English Harbour
- Shirley Heights
When you see pictures of crystal clear waters and white beaches they really aren’t exaggerating, the resort beaches are situated within a bay so there is practically no waves and plenty of marine life to see. They also have mini trampoline typed loungers situated in the water so you can catch a tan whilst staying cool (don’t know why all sunshine destinations don’t supply these). Just round the corner from the resort there is Long Bay, this is a public beach and is breathtaking. The rocks around the edge are the perfect place for snorkeling and again they have the loungers in the sea to relax in (see picture at the end of this post). As this beach isn’t within a bay you do get the full effects of the ocean waves. Do take your own beverages though as there wasn’t any refreshments readily available – there were shacks but these were all closed, possibly because of the time of year, also another hotel occupies one end of the beach but i’m not sure if you can access this if you aren’t staying there?
The best time to visit this island is considered to be December-March when it is supposedly the driest. Us being us we did go in late June so did experience some down pours and when it rains it really does rain. Luckily it generally lasts about 10 minutes and the breeze quickly blows the clouds over to reveal the sunshine once again (remember to pack your SPF). However the weather doesn’t fluctuate as much as some of the other Caribbean islands. The temperatures we experienced ranged from 28º most days and dropped to around 24º in the evenings, but it does remain fairly humid throughout.
Must have items
A few items that I’d strongly recommend you pack in your suitcase:
- Mosquito spray (with deet)
- Flip-flops – the floor gets very hot
- Snorkel – although these are provided on the excursions
To summarise Antigua really is an extremely beautiful island and if you are into white sands, clear waters, plenty of food and drink and a warm break then this could well be the place for you.