Back in May last year we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit the beautiful Caribbean Island of Antigua staying at the amazing St James’ Club Resort thanks to the wonderful people at Debenhams and Virgin Holidays.
It really was one of those ‘trips of a lifetime’ type holidays. I can’t help but feel a little twinge of sadness when I look at the photos. Aside from the most picture perfect surroundings, it’s so rare we get an entire week to ourselves. It passed so quickly and was so perfect – definitely planning on visiting again!
We flew with Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick airport. It was a dream, even with a not quite three year old in tow. They accommodated children so well and that, along with a Trunki full of pre-wrapped presents, the seven and a half hour flight was a breeze! Check Nora out, pro traveler.
The Antiguan people are some of the most accommodating and welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We were greeted at the airport by a Reggae Band and a lovely Virgin Holiday representative who supplied us with water for our forty minute journey to St James’ Club Resort.
The resort was beautiful and totally ideal for families – we were welcomed with amazing rum cocktails and pink lemonade for Nora! The resort itself boasts two of the most beautiful beaches; the calm, palm tree lined Mamora Bay with an abundance of water sports which are available for all hotel guests to use and Coco Beach, the ultimate sunbathing beach. The gentle Atlantic breezes provide a little respite from the Caribbean sun making it an ideal spot to lay and catch some rays!
St James’ also has a whole host of swimming pools available to guests. If you ask Nora about her holiday to ‘Anteeka’ she says she spent the entire holiday in the children’s pool, and she’s not wrong. It was the perfect size for our little fish and she showed off her swimming skills excellently the entire holiday.
We stayed in Bougainville in a Club Room. The room itself had two double beds, air con (total lifesaver), a very spacious bathroom and a beautiful ground floor view over the Atlantic. The joys of jet lag meant we were up to watch the sunrise over the sea for the first few mornings, it was truly breathtaking.
Now for the food, my favourite topic of conversation. We were staying at St James’ on an all-inclusive basis meaning all of our food and drinks were included in our package. The hotel has four different restaurants in which you can consume your own body weight for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A buffet style breakfast was served in the Rainbow Garden restaurant every day and I must admit, it was definitely my favourite meal of the day. There was an abundance of buffet style breakfast food including your usual cooked breakfast items, cereals, fruits, pastries but my personal favourite was the amazing Parisian chef who freshly prepared omelettes to your own preference each morning finished with a rum flambé (everything in Antigua is accompanied by rum!). We ate lunch at the Coco Beach restaurant most days which was a more casual dining experience and served salads, burgers, pastas etc. They also did mean fresh fish fingers and chips for Nora, every two year old’s favourite meal, surely? Unless you want to eat a buffet style meal for dinner at the Docksider Grill (which was lovely) you are encouraged to reserve a table at the Rainbow Restaurant for dinner, this is an A La Carte dining experience and we had some awesome meals here.
The majority of our days went something like this; early breakfast (thanks jet lag) followed by a few hours in the children’s pool, then a nice nap for Nora Noodle which meant midday cocktails for Mammy & Daddy (seriously, those Pina Colada’s were to die for), lunch at Coco’s Bar, a few hours on the beach, shower/bath, dinner then chilling in the Antiguan breeze on an evening with a few more cocktails. It was the ultimate chilled holiday.
I almost forgot to mention, this is the spot Ste proposed to me whilst on our holiday which just made the trip that extra bit special. I said yes of course, check out that rock!
I really would recommend St James Club Resort to anyone, especially families who are looking for somewhere relaxed to spend some time in the sunshine. We couldn’t fault the service provided by Virgin Atlantic and both flights were smooth, stress free and very child friendly. We sadly only visited two of Antigua’s impressive 365 beaches so we most certainly need to visit this beautiful Caribbean Island again.
One little bit of advice I would give to anyone thinking of visiting Antigua or St James’ Club Resort would be to arrange your own airport transfer. Our transfer was arranged through Virgin Holidays and I must admit, I was slightly horrified by the vehicle we were transported in and its lack of any safety regulations. Obviously, all countries have varying degrees of road safety but as a firm believer in extended rear facing in children, to put Nora in a rickety mini bus with no seatbelts, never mind car seats made me very uncomfortable to say the least! If we were to visit again I would ensure the car seats were provided and perhaps consider hiring a car, they drive on the same side of the road as us UK folk and there are 365 beaches to visit after all.