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          My thrilling trip to Antigua ...

          Posted in Food and Drink, Caribbean, Antigua by Karen Platt on 20th Jul 2017

          On arrival in Antigua’s new airport we were whisked through immigration by the VIP arrival service, collected our luggage and escorted to our waiting vehicle where we were met by the lovely smiley John who was our driver for the next week.  John made us all feel very welcome and offered us a cold bottle of water and a guided 40 minute tour to our first stop in the South of the island Carlisle Bay.

          Carlisle Bay was everything I remembered it to be on my last visit.  A very warm welcome from staff who offered me a lovely cooling cocktail and then escorted me to my Ocean Suite – just in time for afternoon tea with a cheeky glass of Prosecco!  Spacious suites ideal for couples, and all facing the ocean.  The Beach Suites with the additional bedroom for kids are great for families and the 3 bedroom Carlisle Suites with their lovely wrap around balconies are perfect for bigger family and friends sharing.  The crescent shape beach is child friendly with its gentle slope into the water and plenty to do by way of sailing, kayaking, paddle boards and snorkeling.  Dinner at ‘East’ was just fab (it helps when my favourite food is Asian Style!).  I enjoyed the most amazing coconut spiced King Prawns to start – they were that good we cancelled the spring rolls and just ordered more of these!  Then the Beef Masaman Curry – we just couldn’t get enough! I eventually got to bed feeling very spoiled.  Early morning we enjoyed breakfast at Indigo – I loved the A La Carte breakfast rather than buffet and the very healthy vegetable smoothie of the day! 

          This set me up for our visit to Hermitage Bay. John, our driver was waiting to drive us west of the island to the adult only hotel Hermitage Bay.  The most idyllic place for a romantic get-away or honeymoon.  Leave all your troubles behind you and just relax in the pool, on the decking or even in the bath in one of their Hillside Suites taking in the view – WOW!  After a lovely lunch here of fresh fish and salad we headed back to Carlisle Bay for a 30 minute Spa treatment followed by afternoon tea AGAIN!!

          Dinner was at one of the local restaurants east of the island called Copper and Lumber which host a Seafood Feast every Friday night – it was not to be missed.  There was a great atmosphere mixing with the locals and enjoying their vibe!

          The next morning was the Tropical Adventure Jeep Safari learning about the history of beautiful Antigua and taking in the most stunning scenery from the South west coast, the rain-forest and South eastern side of the island.  We drove through the hustle and bustle of the capital St. Johns Market streets and stopped off at the Road House Café for a local lunch where we discovered the saying ‘Island Style’ (BIGGER PORTION)!!   To cool us all down we were taken to Half Moon Bay for a swim.  Now here's a tip for you.... when the locals tell you to go to the far right-hand side to swim, DO IT!  We didn’t and subsequently, I lost my sunglasses to the ocean having been knocked about by the waves.

          I returned to the hotel later that day to get ready for dinner at Anna’s Restaurant on the Beach which was situated on the West coast. 

          The following day, we checked out of Carlisle Bay and checked in at The Inn at English Harbour.  From the moment I arrived I felt I had come home. The Hanis Bar provided an extremely good Caesar Salad which I thoroughly enjoyed and I was introduced to Minuty – which has now become my new favourite Rose Wine!

          After being whisked away from relaxing by the beautiful pool by Captain Potter, we headed over on the boat over to English Harbour and Shirley Heights to enjoy the Lookout Sunset Party (which is another must!). I returned to the most gorgeous setting for an al fresco dinner beneath the stars on the Terrace – delicious!  The Junior Suite I stayed in was just lovely and I only wished for more time to enjoy the hammock by the fabulous pool! 

          The next morning it was time to check-in to Blue Waters Resort & Spa – the clue is definitely in the name!

          On arrival we were met by the inviting aroma of the BBQ ready for lunch at The Palm. A table was waiting and we were offered a selection of wraps and salad as a taster from the lunch menu – it was so delicious I didn’t have room for the BBQ. We then took a very informative hotel tour which I found immensely helpful and both the hotel and the grounds are beautiful.  I could see myself getting married at the Gazebo out on the point (one day!)

          Bartley’s restaurant was closed but this didn’t stop us sampling the illuminated dinner menu and the service provided by the fine dining restaurant – it was a fabulous evening followed by a little dancing!   

          Our last day with the Living Well Team was great fun followed by lunch at Carolyn’s.  A little too hot that day but I thoroughly enjoyed the chick pea flat bread and salad – it was all very colourful and super healthy.  

          For the next 3 nights I felt like a celebrity – we were lucky enough to stay in Rock Cottage at Blue Waters which is the most amazing villa, I didn't want to leave it. 

          The following evening we were collected from Blue Waters and driven to the Jumby Bay Jetty eagerly awaiting our ferry which took only 10 minutes  to get to this stunning private island where we were met by yet another warm Antiguan welcome.  The island itself is very flat with lots of space!!  It was a shame that we didn’t get to see all of the room categories as the hotel was very busy, however the villas we were shown did not disappoint!  Driving around on our golf buggies we stopped off at one of their newest private villas – just amazing!  All on one level with 4 cottages in the grounds all with fantastic ocean views and the pool has to be one of the biggest I had seen in the Caribbean.  What a great venue for a celebration!  Dinner was served in the private dining room in the newly refurbished Estate House. It was an elegantly dressed dining table with the walls decorated by a local artist.  Although the hotel was busy at no point did it feel over crowded in and around the resort.  The place to come for the utmost privacy!

          The next day we were off to Galley Bay. If you are looking to stay in a hotel with the real Caribbean feel then Galley Bay is highly recommended. My only advise is BOOK EARLY as this hotel has so many repeat guests and for the right reason too!  The new Gauguin Cottages are a delight with their white wash walls and lovely private sitting areas both inside and out.  Or alternatively the beachfront suites may suit if you prefer to walk straight from your terrace onto this fabulous stretch of beach. This hotel really does cater for adults only with many activities to choose from.  Do pay a visit to the Rum tasting shack which is next to the Diamond International shop - make sure you visit them in the right order or else you will be in trouble!

          Before I left the island I also visited Hodges Bay which is now in its late stages of opening and I believe will be a great asset to the Island! We will let you know when it's opened.