Tuesday, 7 June 2016

St James's Club, Antigua.


I've been back from Antigua less than a week and I'm already longing to be back on those golden sandy beaches and swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean. I went with my friend Claire, who you've seen on this blog a fair amount over the years, and we had such a wonderful girls trip! After I had such a great time on Palm Island last year, Elite Island Resorts kindly asked me to check out a couple of their hotels in Antigua, so naturally I said yes! We spent five nights at St James's Club, and beside the glorious ocean views from our room, it was the perfect hotel for two friends wanting a few days of cocktails and relaxation.


We left London early Saturday morning, and arrived in Antigua mid-afternoon to bright blue skies and a little confusion over our transfers. We couldn't find the person with our name, so accidentally got into a taxi with a few other people going to the same hotel as us. It was one of the funniest taxi journeys ever! Reggae music blared and the driver stopped off at his house and introduced us to his son (who was one of the cutest kids I've ever seen), and after saying hello we continued on to the resort.

First impressions were how big it was, I knew it would be very different from Palm, but it was a bit of a shock seeing just how huge the resort was. However, it was gorgeous and so lush with hundreds of palm trees everywhere. We arrived and after being offered a drink, we checked in and a golf buggy took us to our room. 


Over our few days at St James's we experienced most of the things the resort had to offer. We loved the breakfasts; not only did they do a huge buffet spread but they also had an A La Carte menu and a brilliant fresh egg/omelette station. There was also an A La Carte option at lunchtime, and then dinner was a buffet. Also they did some of the best banana bread I have ever tasted.

Our favourite restaurant for dinner was The Docksider, it was nestled in the bay right on the waterfront, with a stunning sunset view. The food was also very good, and it felt more special and luxurious than Rainbow Garden where breakfast and lunch were served. The photo below doesn't do the restaurant justice, at night time the tables have table-cloths and candles, and it's a really beautiful set-up. 



Coco's is a fab relaxed lunch option with views over the Atlantic ocean, and I had a very tasty fish and chips there with a light-as-air batter. There's also a lounge area where you can relax and use the free wifi.



However, you could also book in for Piccolo Mondo, the resort's Italian fine dining restaurant, which is a $35 surcharge per person. Claire and I tried this one night as we won a meal for two in the weekly manager's drinks (other guests won various excursions and dining experiences), and it was really very good. We had a truly sensational meal there and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the resort and wanting something a little quieter than the other larger restaurants.

The beaches weren't your typical Caribbean ones as the resort is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island, but they were still absolutely gorgeous and pretty idyllic. Cocos beach was right outside our room, but we only went there the morning we left as the ocean was always quite rough. We tended to stick to the bay side, which had soft golden sand and the water was always flat-as-a-pancake and really lovely and warm to swim in. They also have funny floaty things you can sit in or lay in!



The resort had loads going on every day, from yoga sessions to hobie cat lessons and on Saturday nights there's a great barbecue on the beach with a wide range of good quality food! We really enjoyed it and had a fun evening.

 

We used the swimming pools quite a lot, the one near Coco's was a bit rubbish, our favourites were the main one by the bar and restaurant, and the tiered one near the 'villas' part of the resort. 



On the downsides we found the room quite basic and dated, especially the bathroom, and I didn't find the staff as friendly as Palm Island and Galley Bay, but I guess it's due to the fact St James's Club is far larger with a much higher number of guests and staff members. The friendliest members of staff were the guys on the resort's catamaran, but I'll tell you all about that soon!

Also the excursions the guest services team try to sell at St James's Club are all the most expensive ones, when we got to Galley Bay we were sad to see they had far more options at more reasonable prices (and more suitable to us and closer to what we wanted), but by then it was too late as some were only available on specific days.

If you're a family or group of friends looking for a typical all-inclusive large Caribbean resort with a great atmosphere, St James's Club is the place. We loved the fact there were lots of groups of friends so we didn't feel out of place as we would have had it been more of a 'couples' resort. If you want a resort with decent food at the buffet, as well as an A La Carte choice, and excellent (and very strong) cocktails, this is the place. However if you're looking for a truly luxurious and personal resort to relax and have some peace and quiet without any children running around, this is not it. But I'll tell you all about a great adults-only alternative in Antigua that fits that description very soon ;)

Also a big shout out to Ebony at St James's for being absolutely awesome!



My trip to Antigua was in partnership with Elite Island Resorts and Hayes and Jarvis, with my accommodation and flights complimentary. This does not effect my opinion in any way and as always I am 100% honest in my reviews. You can book a holiday to St James Club in Antigua via Hayes and Jarvis.

Special Offer:

Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762 456) is currently offering a seven night holiday to Antigua staying at the four star St James Club on an all-inclusive basis from £1,199 per person. The offer includes return international flights from London Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic and a week in a club room! Based on departures on 6 September 2016.
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12 comments

  1. Looks like the perfect idyllic retreat. I agree the rooms look a little dated but seems like even more reason to spend your time on the beach!

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  2. Oh myyyy do I want to be on a beach right now! Agreed with Angie - more time to spend on the beach!!

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  3. That water looks amazing! So glad you had a good time x

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  4. What a great and honest review, its sometimes to spend most of your time on the beach and doing activities vs just wanting to stay in the room. That cab ride on day 1 sounds terrific :)

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  5. Dated or not, I find the 'family resort' style quite charming! Maybe it's me being nostalgic and fondly remembering trips with the family - usually involving my brother pulling my hair at breakfast, me kicking him under the table, and my dad cannonballing into the pool like a big kid while my mum rolls her eyes. Family resorts are a great way to meet people, I always find myself being a recluse at couple's resorts. Looking forward to reading about the adults-only alternative! *wiggles*

    Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  6. Totally agree, it was very nostalgic and reminded me of the first time I visited Antigua when I was 7! I'll be talking a bit more about the quietness of couple's resorts when I review Galley Bay, because after a few days at Galley Bay I did find myself missing the atmosphere and liveliness of St James's Club!

    C x

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  7. Thanks! Yep definitely :) haha it was a lot of fun!

    C x

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  8. Totally, we were barely in the room so it was fine! Spent all our time out and about :)

    C x

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  9. I loved all the palms too!!

    C x

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  10. Yep, we definitely spent most of our time on the beach haha! After all, you don't go to another country just to sit in the room!

    C x

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