The beautiful island of Antigua can be found in the West Indies on the Eastern side of the Carribean and is roughly 108 square miles, making travelling from one side to the other a relatively short venture. A hilly landscape, with Boggy Peak, being the highest point on the island, lush rainforests, surrounding coral reefs and 365 beaches (the locals boast they have one for every day of the year!) make this an exotic destination worth visiting. What we loved most about Antigua how warm and inviting the locals were and that the culture and environment were still intact. Sounds like a place you’d love to visit? Here are three resorts to consider:
1. Carlisle Bay
Tucked away in a cozy bay on the south coast of the island, just 30 minutes from the airport is the award-winning 82-suite resort. The property features two restaurants including the contemporary Asian restaurant East, three bars (one being on the Jetty) and serves a complimentary afternoon tea daily (not high tea, more like a bite-size snack). If you’re too tired to leave the room, that’s OK because they offer 24-hour room service. Other highlights include the nine tennis courts, four which are lit for night play, a full-service indoor gym, a modern library with complimentary Wi-fi, and a 45-seat screening room (the first ever in the Caribbean). Need to take your relaxation to the next level? Book a treatment at Blue Spa, a 17,000 square foot haven with six luxurious treatment rooms, including a couples room, separate women’s and men’s sauna and plunge pools and juice bar. We loved the beach, complete with beach butlers to hand out towels and bring by fresh water, and our ultra-friendly guides who took us out on the ocean.
2. Hermitage Bay
If ultra-seculsion and privacy tops your list, then this 25-suite resort is perfect for you. Set in a private bay on the west coast of the island, each suite is your own cottage, complete with a large verandah with day bed, spacious bathroom with outdoor garden shower, LCD flat screen TV, and iPod docking station. Eight suites are set back from the bay and offering panoramic views of the beach, while the Hillside suites have complete privacy with a plunge pool and sunbathing deck. Dining-wise you’ll find fresh and healthy Carribean and European fare at the one on-site restaurant. There is an on-site spa, but is not full-service at the moment — so no gym, sauna or fancy lounge area — although definitely there if you need a massage!
All-inclusive comes with a bad wrap for some travellers, while others prefer it almost exclusively. We’ve done both and can appreciate the value you can get from an all-inclusive vacation. At the 98-room Galley Bay, you’ll love the three-quarter of a mile beach, the open-air restaurants, live entertainment, and proximity of the accomodations to the beach. Other highlights include the centrally-located Indulge spa, which was just renovated in 2008 and features unique open-air treatment pods with views of the nearby lagoon and bird sanctuary. Unless you visit during their 2-week kids-allowed window, it’s a 16-plus policy — often a necessary part of the whole relaxation process.