Thursday, December 20, 2012

Antigua: The Island of 365 Beaches

The beautiful blue waters of Antigua
In November, I returned from my first experience of the island of Antigua.  All I can say is that this is a beach lovers paradise!  There are so many beaches on the island (365), that you are bound to find yourself on a secluded white sand beach that goes on for miles without anyone in sight. (Sounds like paradise, doesn't it?) But it gets better, most of the beaches, especially on the Caribbean side have the most vibrant blue waters I have ever seen. And the friendly locals serve up the best rum-punch I have ever had! If you are looking for a getaway that's different than your typical all-inclusive in Cuba, Dominican or Mexico, then Antigua may be the next on your list of winter getaways.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Best Rum Punch I've Ever Had: Circumnavigation Tour of Antigua

While on my trip to Antigua in November, 2012 our group of travel agents went on a fantastic excursion for a day. The company we toured with is called Excellence. They offer several boat tours of the island. I highly recommend the tour that I did, the `Circumnavigation Tour of Antigua`.

The catamaran parked on the beach serving lunch.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Blue Waters, Antigua (4.5 Star)

15 mins from airport
20 mins from St. John’s
North East side of island (Atlantic side)
3 Pools
3 Restaurants
4 Bars
93 Rooms (in small 1-2 storey buildings)
All Inclusive

This is a beautiful luxury cliff-side resort that is laid back, and ideal for couples or even families and almost has the vibe of a coastal European village. What stands out the most is the tropical gardens, and cascading villas along the cliffs.

Review: Sandals Grande Antigua (4 Star)

15 mins from airport
10 mins from St. John’s
West side of island (Caribbean side)
 6 pools
4 a la cartes, 7 others (buffets, cafes, pizzerias, sushi bar etc.)
7 bars
373 Rooms in 25 Categories (some in 5 storey Mediterranean Village, 3 stories, some in small private garden rondovals)
All Inclusive

Overall impression is that like most Sandals, this is perfect for couples. The restaurants, rooms, pools, music, and everything is catered for romance. There`s lots of music, entertainment, so it’s always lively, even during the day.

Review: Grande Royal Antigua (3 Star)

20 mins from airport
5 mins from St. John’s
West side of island (Caribbean side)
1 Pool
3 Restaurants (1 buffet) *Most were not open when we went there
3 Bars *Most were not open when we went there
282 Rooms (in high rise building)
All Inclusive

Overall this resort is VERY quiet; It seems like there are not enough guests for them to open all the restaurants or have entertainment. And therefore don’t have many staff on to maintain the place. I don’t recommend going to this resort at this point until we know that it has improved with new management. (even though the tourist board is really trying to push it).

Review: St. Jame's Club, Antigua (4 Star)

30 mins from airport
25 mins from St. John’s
South-east side of island (Atlantic side)
6 pools (1 adults only)
4 Restaurants (2 buffet)
4 Bars
238 Rooms (in mostly 2-3 storey buildings)
All Inclusive

My initial thoughts are that this is ideal for 50+ adults, who want a beautiful quiet property, with high service standards, but don’t quite want to do a romantic couples resort like Sandals.

Review: Grand Pineapple Beach Resort, Antigua (3.5 Star)

30 mins from airport
30 mins from St. John’s
North-east side of island (Atlantic side)
2 Pools (1 Kid Pool)
3 Restaurants (1 buffet)
1 snack bar
Poolside bar, Beachside bar
180 Rooms in mostly 2-3 storey buildings
All Inclusive

This is a medium sized property that is a solid 3.5 star. It is one of the more affordable options in Antigua, and although the beach isn’t AS nice as Jolly Beach, the rooms are a lot nicer, much cleaner.