When I was in my 20s and backpacking around the world, I never thought I would return to destinations – some maybe – but I was more interested in seeing the next place and the next place and the next place. These days I love to return to familiar destinations and revisit countries again and again and again. I discover something different each time but there’s also a familiar ‘at home’ feeling that you get when you return to somewhere you love. For me recently, that’s been a holiday to Antigua. The Caribbean is something special for sure and Antigua is definitely a place that will capture your heart. I recently returned for a second time to Antigua and also stayed for the second time at Elite Island’s Verandah Resort & Spa * – a beautiful resort located near Devil’s Bridge (about a ten-minute walk to be exact).
This time was special because I was returning with my baby who I dare say is much more well-traveled than I was at her age, a one-year old on her 5th country. I loved discovering and appreciating different things this time around with a baby on my travels. There are many things that make travelling with babies hard but there are many things that make travelling with babies magical. For one they live in the moment – they aren’t thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. Living in the moment is what makes travel so special and there’s a lot I can learn from my one-year old in this regard. And trust me, for a holiday in Antigua you are going to want to live in the moment. It’s here and now, take in the magic kind of place.
Where you stay also can make or break you with little ones and The Verandah Resort and Spa is a delight to stay at – for both adults and those travelling with little ones. If you are an adult without kids, I promise you will hardly notice any kids because there is so much space at this resort that you barely notice other people. And if you are travelling with kids, there is so much space for them to thrive – 30 acres to be exact. It never feels crowded.
Although I could spend weeks and weeks at The Verandah Resort & Spa, I always love to get out and explore more of Antigua through excursions. Two of them I really recommend are the Calypso Cat Excursion and the Pink Panther Excursion. The Calypso Cat takes you out on the seas for the day and my goodness there is no better feeling than being on the water. I also love that this is a half-day tour meaning you start at 9 and are back for lunch by 1, yet you feel like you really seized the day. I saw sea turtles and sting rays on this excursion and I highly recommend going.
The same with the Pink Panther tour – this is a female and local-run excursion that takes you around the island to some outstanding points including Devil’s Bridge, Shirley Heights, local beaches (I have visited both Turner Beach and Pidgeon’s Point on this tour previously) and the historic Nelson’s Dockyard and English Harbour. All well worth a visit and the guide will tell you all about the history around each point as well as more about the island while you are en-route.
Another reason we loved staying at The Verandah Resort & Spa is the food – OMG. This is an all-inclusive resort and they have it all from mudslides to lobster. There’s even a Starbucks-like café where you can grab your iced latte or mocha every day. You seriously do not have a lack of choice when it comes to food at this resort and we tried every spot! There’s Nicole’s for fine-dining (think Antiguan lobster and scallops, wine lists and multi-course meals). There’s also a beach grill/shack (Rasta Bar and Lazy Pelican Bar) on the actual beach (there’s two on the resort) that serves a simple menu like sandwiches etc. We ate lunch on the beach for one of the days and it was divine!
There’s also the Seabreeze restaurant which is a buffet restaurant and there’s a different theme each day. Let me tell you the French toast is insanely good. And there’s an omelette station where you can get a made-to-order omelette each day (can you tell I like breakfast…). There’s also a Caribbean night each week as well so you can experience incredible Caribbean cuisine such as jerk chicken, jerk pork, dumplings, fish stew, saltfish and ackee, red rice and beans and goat curry all to the tune of a local Caribbean steel drum band.
There’s also Buccaneer’s – which is a restaurant that opens for dinner only (you do need to reserve a table) and on the night we went there was live music. Honestly so much fun!
Our favourite place was the Beach Bar & Grill – we ate lunch there almost every day. The views of the sea are amazing and the food (the jerk pork and the catch of the day) is fabulous. Honestly there are so many choices when it comes to food at The Verandah Resort & Spa and for a holiday in Antigua.
And last but not least I have to mention the Spa. I mean the best part of a holiday is getting to relax right? And after a long-haul flight you are going to want to book in for a massage. I had a muscle-melting deep tissue massage and oh my goodness it was so good. They also offer facials and other body treatments like wraps and hot stone massages which looked amazing.
The thing about staying at The Verandah Resort & Spa is you can tailor your holiday in Antigua to exactly how you want it. Want to lie around and drink cocktails all day? No problem. Want to kayak, paddleboard, go on excursions and eat local food? No problem. Want to relax, get a spa treatment, eat healthy? Also, no problem.
Also, to note everyone is so happy – the other guests are all super friendly and the staff are absolutely lovely. The whole vibe of the place makes you never want to leave! We stayed a week but could have stayed forever, to be honest!
How to get there: Virgin Airlines flies twice a week to Antigua from London Heathrow and it’s a direct flight – around 9 hours on the way there and around 7 hours on the way back.
*[PR INVITE] – all views, words and opinions are my own