|Family-friendly Antigua is home to three Elite Island Resort properties|
On a recent tour of Antigua, Travel Agent made three elite stopovers that included a luxurious resort for couples; a fun, family-friendly resort perfect for multigenerational travel; and a low-key yet vibrant resort that could host both families and couples. Together, they showcased Elite Island Resort’s diverse offerings.
Galley Bay Resort & Spa
After a recent expansion, Galley Bay Resort has added 32 premium suites, all with flat-screen TVs. This 40-acre couples’ haven, built next to Giorgio Armani’s mansion, also sports a larger pool area.
I stayed in room #18, one of the new Premium Beachfront Suites—the resort’s highest category. The room comes with a king-size bed facing the ocean, a separate living room with a flat-screen TV, and furnished balcony overlooking the water.
Besides the swimming pool, the resort has a tennis court, small fitness center with only a treadmill and exercise bike (although there are plans to make the gym bigger), a cricket lawn, pool table, free Internet room with two computers, two bars and three restaurants—Gauguin, Sea Grape and Ismay’s Restaurant & Bar.
I dined at Gauguin on the first night with General Manager James Lane Jr. and was very impressed with the privacy—the tables are about 10 feet from each other and come with a cabana-like feel. The scenic views and delicious food top off the experience. Sea Grape is a bit more casual, while Ismay’s is the resort’s special-occasion restaurant and the newest.
The resort’s Indulgence Spa has two outdoor and indoor treatment rooms. I recommend the 60-minute deep tissue massage. The property also comes with its own lagoon, bird and turtle sanctuaries, a jogging trail and bicycles for guests.
Galley Bay Resort is for couples seeking tranquil surroundings. Since guests need to be at least 16 years old, it is not an option for most families. As Lane put it, “This is a place where you can really be as social or as anti-social as you please.”
The Verandah Resort & Spa
Having opened in 2007, the 174-room, all-inclusive Verandah Resort & Spa is the newest among Elite’s Antigua properties. This resort focuses on families—it has a Kidz Club, a children’s swimming pool and menu items for children in the buffet restaurant.
|The Waterfront View rooms are the most requested at The Verandah Resort & Spa|
However, despite the emphasis on families, the resort has dedicated areas for couples, such as an adults-only swimming pool.
Nicole’s Restaurant is not part of the all-inclusive plan, and has menu items such as steak and lobster. And the Kidz Club is open until 10 p.m., which is unusual for a children’s club but essentially, that allows parents to spend an evening on their own.
All of the resort’s rooms are the same size and layout and belong to one category. However, the rooms differ in terms of views, with the most requested being the Waterfront View rooms. There are about 80 of these and, like the other rooms, they come with a flat-screen TV, king-sized bed and a balcony.
The onsite conference room can fit about 80 people. There are two 24-hour tennis courts where professional training is offered on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for free, and guests can access Wi-Fi at the resort’s main swimming pool for no extra charge. Note: There is no Internet in the rooms.
The 24-hour fitness gym is larger than Galley Bay’s, with five treadmills and three times the space. The spa consists of four treatment rooms, including one for couples.
Most of the guests here—40 percent—come from the UK and 35 percent from the U.S. We recommend the resort for both couples and families.
Work is in progress on six double-bed rooms with hillside views, which could only add to the influx of families.
St. James’s Club
At the 299-room, all-inclusive St. James’s Club, I stayed in one of the 48 new Royal Suites, a top category here. The suite’s layout was similar to the one in Galley Bay’s. It has a king-sized bed that faced the ocean, a furnished balcony, a flat-screen TV that could be rotated to either serve the living room or the bed, and a spacious bathroom with a shower and bathtub.
The resort also has 140 standard Premium Rooms, about 70 villas—around 15 of which are owned and not in the rental pool—and about 70 Beachfront Rooms with full views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The resort boasts four tennis courts and six pools, five being adults-only and one for children. Among the four restaurants on property, Piccolo Mondo, the fine-dining restaurant, does not figure in the all-inclusive plan. Also available are a spa and fitness center. The spa has two treatment rooms—one for singles and the other for couples. The tennis court offers instructions from a professional for $60 an hour. Lessons need to be booked 24 hours in advance; same goes for spa reservations. All restaurants also require reservations about a day in advance.
At St. James’s Club, 90 percent of the guests hail from the UK while the U.S. makes up between 5 and 10 percent of visitorsmost of whom are families or young couples. Both segments are are sure to have a memorable time here.
For more information on Elite Island Resorts’ Antigua properties, agents should contact Reservations Manager Joanne Shand (011-954-481-8787, ext. 167, [email protected]).