I have been so excited to travel back to the Caribbean for this trip! As a kid, I lived a short while on the island of St Maarten (St Martin) and I’ve never been back to this part of the world since! Time to change that.
During my week on the island of Antigua, our group (all part of the Traverse Events community) will be staying at the family friendly all-inclusive Verandah Antigua Resort & Spa (>> see best prices on booking.com >>), which is part of the Elite Island Resorts group and features multiple beaches, swimming pools, restaurants, bars, a gym and even a mini-golf course.
I have never experienced an all-inclusive resort before, so let’s jump in and show you what that’s like!
ANTIGUA ALL INCLUSIVE RESORT EXPERIENCE
Make sure to check out the video I made of my stay, so you get a good feel of what the resort looks like:
ARRIVING IN ANTIGUA
From London, our flight with Virgin Atlantic was about 8,5 hours to Antigua and I must say that while the leg space in economy classic was a bit minimal, the complimentary food and drinks were really quite good, there was great in-flight entertainment and the staff was super friendly as well, so my flight experience was overall very pleasant.
On arrival in Antigua, we were welcomed by live music, how great is that?! We really couldn’t have asked for more!
Now, if you’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive resort, like me, you might have some questions and here are some quick answers to the most common ones:
What is a resort?
A resort as we’re talking about in this article, is a self-contained accommodation type that provides your food, drinks, lodging and activities on the premises. Don’t confuse it with the British ‘resort’, which is a town that people visit for their vacation that usually contains hotels (and is also often located on the seaside).
What is the difference between a hotel and a resort?
The main difference between a resort and a hotel is that the resort is there with the goal to offer you mainly relaxation and recreation in addition to lodging and meals, where the hotel is mainly there to provide for lodging and meals. That’s why a resort is often in a more scenic location and hotels can be found in more central, busy areas.
What does all inclusive mean?
All-inclusive means that your entire stay is covered in the booking price without any surprise costs, including lodging, unlimited meals and drinks, activities and other entertainment.
What does all inclusive include?
This depends on the resort you’re visiting, but at the Verandah Resort that we visited, you had unlimited access to food & drinks (3 meals a day and extra snacks and afternoon tea daily as well) and all of the activities, water sports (kayak, sailing, SUP, snorkel and more), land sports (tennis, mini golf, beach volleyball and more ), sports equipment and fitness (group lessons as well!) and entertainment (kids club, games, evening entertainment) on the resort itself. The only things you had to pay extra for were the à la carte restaurants (so the buffet restaurant was free), any beauty treatments at the spa and tours around Antigua that were off the premises.
On top of this, there was also a welcome drink on arrival, a complimentary golf cart shuttle service throughout the property, free Wi-Fi throughout most of the resort’s public areas and concierge guest services & assistance.
ROOMS AT THE RESORT
After our airport transfer, we arrived at the resort, signed in at reception and then got brought to our rooms with a golf cart. Let the spoiling begin, I say!
We each got our private room… well actually our own private cottage so to say! There are 174 (in groups of 2) on the entire resort and mine looked out over the ocean and had a massive balcony wrapping around the living room. With a beautiful white veranda around it, of course!
Below you can find a short impression of the rooms we were staying in. There was a large bed in the room, a closet with safe, living room with a couch, kitchenette and desk + chair. In the bathroom, I had a massive tub and two sinks, which is big enough for two people, but even more impressive when you get to use it all on your own.
In the fridge (each room features a small kitchenette), I found a stunning fruit platter, which of course I had to take a picture off (and then devour pretty much whole).
FOOD AT THE RESORT
We didn’t stay long in the rooms, because on the resort itself there is so much to see and do. First we hit the little ‘Rasta Beach’ shack close to reception, where you can order delicious burgers (with the local black pineapple on top) and of course a tasty cocktail.
Because the resort is all-inclusive, you can just order everything from the menu and enjoy!
For food, you’re never out of options at the resort either. Our day always started at the main restaurant for a massive buffet, and you can also go here for lunch and dinner if you want.
To upscale it a bit, you can pay to dine at the à la carte Buccaneers restaurant or fine dining restaurant Nicole’s. Most of the time though, we opted for a burger at the Rasta Beach Bar, or went to the Beach Bar & Grille that overlooked the main beach.
Of course, we tried pretty much every cocktail combination at the main Pool bar, because we could, haha! At this bar, there was often nightly entertainment from performers and local bands, fire eaters and dancers.
THINGS TO DO AT THE RESORT
Besides the bars and restaurants, you can also find two tennis courts, a games pavilion, 18-hole miniature golf course and large swimming pool on the resort. There is a fully equipped fitness center with daily classes and an adults-only pool featuring free wifi. Kids enjoy themselves at the Kidz Club that features a playground and splash pool.
Not enough to do? Go for a body & soul spa experience, or try some of the watersports such as kayaking, snorkelling, windsurfing, paddle boarding and hobie cat sailing. You can try new things as much or as little as you want at Verandah!
ENTERTAINMENT AT THE RESORT
Like I said, you won’t get bored staying here for a week and most of the nights there was some sort of local entertainment going on in the pool bar. One night this guy did a fire-eating performance, which looked quite impressive as you can see below!
On another night, we were invited over at the neighbouring Pineapple Beach Club Antigua Resort (>> see more photos at booking.com >>), which is also an all-inclusive resort featuring 180 rooms with various types of views, surrounded by lush gardens. They have three restaurants and a poolside snackbar, but I mostly loved their hilltop bar & grill, where we had an amazing barbecue one night. We listened to a live concert of Singer-songwriter Fleur East (who you might know from her hit song ‘Sax‘), which made it a wonderful night.
Before coming to Antigua, I had never experienced an all-inclusive resort before, but during the week I saw just how relaxing this type of accommodation can be. You are really on a holiday, don’t have to worry about a thing and get to eat, drink and do fun activities all day round. The Verandah Resort has everything you need, friendly staff and the quality is great. What I must say, is that it can be easy for you to just stay on the resort itself all week and don’t go anywhere else on the island, and I believe that by doing that you’re missing out on really getting to know Antigua.
We took a few trips out of the resort with some bloggers and I loved seeing the ‘real’ Antigua this way. The resort can help you plan trips like this, and I will be writing an entire blog about all the things we did off the resort soon, so definitely make sure to go and check that out, or you’re missing out on a fantastic island in the Caribbean!
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO ANTIGUA!
I hope this article showed you all the things you can see and do at this Antigua resort. Here is more information to help you plan your trip:
Time Zone in Antigua and Barbuda? Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4)
Currency in Antigua and Barbuda? Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). US currency is also accepted almost everywhere. Check the latest exchange rate here.
Electrical Plugs in Antigua and Barbuda? 230V / 60Hz. Plug types A (two flat parallel pins) and plug type B (two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin). We recommend getting [amazon_textlink asin=’B01KLMW9GY’ text=’a universal travel adapter’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thetraveltester-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1798619a-ecb8-11e8-8af7-5980e1425c5f’] to never worry about having the right plug on your travels!
Languages Spoken in Antigua and Barbuda? English is the official language of Antigua and Barbuda. As many of the residents are descendants of African slaves, their English has been influenced by African words and phrases. Linguists consider the dialect to be a type of Creole English, Leeward Caribbean Creole and Patwa.
Best time to visit Antigua and Barbuda? From May to November, the island’s off-season, although some shops and restaurants around the main cruise-ship terminal in Saint Johns might be closed if there are no ships coming in. You’ll encounter less rain between December and April, but it can be more expensive due to the crowds.
Insurance for Antigua and Barbuda? Make sure to get travel insurance! We recommend checking out worldnomads.com
How to get to Antigua and Barbuda? V.C. Bird Intl Airport (ANU) is the major airport in Antigua.
How to get around Antigua and Barbuda? For the local experience, take the bus (but know you might be waiting on it for a while as they are small-minivans that don’t always leave in time or have space). Other options are renting a car at the airport or getting a taxi, of which there are plenty. Fares between the airport, English Harbour, and many hotels and destinations are fixed and should be agreed upon before you leave.
Where to stay in Antigua and Barbuda?
Here are the resorts mentioned in this article:
- Verandah Resort and Spa All Inclusive >> See best prices on Booking.com >>
- Pineapple Beach Antigua Club – All Inclusive >> See best prices on Booking.com >>
- Hammock Cove Resort & Spa – All Inclusive – Adults Only >> See best prices on Booking.com >>
Click here for more information about the Elite Island Antigua resorts group.
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Disclaimer: I was kindly invited to Antigua on behalf of the Tourism board of Antigua and Barbuda on the #WhatCoolLooksLike campaign organised by Traverse Events and Brighter PR. All opinions and video is 100% my own.