Antigua Adventure at
Verandah Resort and Spa
The Verandah Hotel and Spa is a well-thought out hybrid of hotel and villa, providing a luxury getaway without the crazy price tag. I stayed in this beautiful resort in Antigua with my friend Sophia for the first three nights of our holiday.
If you’ve read my previous post about Antigua you know what to expect from resorts there. Blindingly white sand beaches, yes. The most twinkly turquoise water you’ve ever seen, obviously. Tropical vibes and a little too much rum – yassss, guilty as charged!
The Verandah Resort
At the Verandah you get all that but you also get smart restaurants, fun and non-cheesy activities for kids, great night time entertainment that’s actually worth watching, a fabulous spa and rather surprisingly (to me anyway), quite a lot of Brits too! I was expecting most people to be American but it was quite comforting hearing Steve from Essex having some ‘top bants’ at the pool bar.
The Verandah, like Pineapple Beach Club, is another all inclusive resort owned by Elite Island Resorts and has that welcome-to-the-club feel that keeps people dreaming about coming back, we met a family that had been twice before and they were loving their third stay.
If you fancy flopping on a sun lounger there’s Rasta Beach or the Main Beach to relax on or you can take a dip in one of the freshwater pools. The adult pool even has it’s own waterfall! If you fancy getting in some exercise there is a well equipped fitness centre or you can try your hand at volleyball, tennis or mini golf!
Will I Fit In?
I feel that the Caribbean is in the majority of people’s mind somewhere you honeymoon or for a couples only holiday experience. And while it is fabulous for those reasons, especially this resort in particular, where you can even get married, it’s definitely not only that kind of resort.
Verandah Resort and Spa caters well for children of all ages and adults of all ages. From babies to grandparents, for the person who wants to relax and enjoy free time, to people who want to do all sorts of watersports, have fun on boat parties and go to fetes and bars.
If you’ve got small people to entertain then there’s a multitude of options alongside specific family rooms you can stay in. There’s table football, pool, table tennis, a kids club with a specific kids pool and a huge playground.
Golf Carts – Not Just For Golf!
The resort is huge but getting around is a breeze as you get to whizz around on golf carts if you don’t want to walk, there are even mini bus stops that look like tiny bungalows. We took full advantage of rolling with the staff homies to jump on a golf cart wherever possible; you can order one to whizz you to dinner so you arrive in style, and not quite as sweaty.
Oh There’s More
In the centre of the resort is the main pool which is conveniently situated in front of the main bar so you can watch the sun set as you dip under the water and still be within shouting distance to yell to your friend to grab you another Pina Colada. The main bar is also the setting for the evening entertainment which ranges from singers and steel drum bands to all sorts of games and dancing.
Close by are offices for guest services (shout out to Arlene and Bryan holding it down there) and across the way is the office where you book your trips. Now you don’t have to day trip. But you do really! The trips were awesome and I cannot believe I held a giant stingray in the middle of the ocean. It was wild.
From the main pool it’s also just a short skip down the manicured lawn to not only the fitness centre and spa but all of the restaurants. Ah the restaurants. Man I love food.
Food Glorious Food
Firstly the restaurant staff – all fabulous and friendly. And then there’s Chad. Everybody loves a bit of Chad. Waiter, photographer, provider of a half grilled lobster half lobster thermidor combo dinner for Sophia’s Birthday dinner that wasn’t even on the menu. Chad is the man at Verandah.
Back to the food! The Seabreeze is the main restaurant which serves all meals buffet-style. The breakfast and lunch options are very similar to Pineapple Beach Club so check that review (less a review more a tale of food porn) by clicking here so I don’t repeat myself.
I will say however that if I were to choose between the two hotels and Pineapple Beach Club’s breakfast got a very high mark, I believe 483/10, then Verandah would just pip it with a 484 because the Verandah had some sort of brioche pecan cake thing. Which is TOTALLY legitimate to eat for breakfast. I went to the gym twice ok, no mean feat in million-degree weather sporting an accidental leg sunburn.
Buccaneers is an a la carte in a more casual setting. I went for scallops, as always, and then for main I had delicious prawns and rice and even some veg, check me out eating veg on holiday. They also serve delicious pasta and just-this-second caught fish and seafood. Perfect.
Nicole’s is also a la carte for dinner service and this was our best meal of the holiday. In fact it was probably a top contender for best meal I’ve had in my life!
We started with a cold soup palette cleanser and gorged ourselves on the fancy bread and butter. I had the most amazing grilled scallops for starter. I was so entranced by them I clearly didn’t even ask or care what Sophia was eating. Sorry babe!
This then moved to the what kind of lobster do we choose debate with Chad who swiftly fixed this dilemma by arranging with the chef for us to have half and half (grilled and thermidor) since it was the lovely Sophia’s Birthday. We may also have shared another main of pasta, actually it’s in the picture I can’t deny it. Damnit! It was so good though. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much food in one go and that was before dessert!
I had a molten chocolate cake and they brought Sophia a birthday cake and sang her Happy Birthday, it was such a lovely night and they made it so special. Thanks Chad! After we rolled ourself away from the restaurant we had to then sink into a rocking chair on the terrace at dusk, the stars twinkling above and the birds chirping. Do you hate me yet?
The Beach Bar & Grill is just up the steps from the main beach and offers casual a la carte service for lunch & dinner, beers and burgers got the thumbs up, as did the nachos. Things you can grab for lunch or an afternoon snack if you cannot leave the beach due to prime relaxation opportunities.
The hotel comprises a mixture of Villas with more rooms for families and Suites. There are Waterfront, Waterview and Hillside suites, Some have balconies overlooking the twinkling ocean; others across bushes bursting with chirping birds and many butterflies. We stayed in a Waterfront Suite with a full panoramic verandah that overlooked the glittering turquoise sea. The rooms are big and beautiful, the beds super comfy, the air-con strong and the marble bathrooms come equipped with hers and hers sinks and a bath and shower area large enough for a cocktail party.
The decor is a soothing mix of chic white linen and polished dark wood and rattan furniture combined with up to the minute amenities. There’s a fully equipped kitchen which makes for flexible dining arrangements and is possibly helpful if you have kids. But if the idea of self-catering brings you out in a cold sweat, you can absolutely take refuge in one of the many top restaurants at the resort as it is of course, all inclusive.
Guests looking for some R’n’R can head over to the Tranquillity Body & Soul Spa and choose from a variety of massages and beauty treatments. Within these peaceful surroundings my masseuse had magic hands and the soothing strokes of my massage nearly sent me to the land of nod so I would definitely recommend in indulging if you’re going to the Verandah to de-stress.
The only negative for me was in a blogging capacity of the Wi-Fi not being lightening speed. But for someone who wants to do nowt, have a fab holiday and not divest every shred of information of their hour on Instagram then if the mobile doesn’t work all the time and the computer you took ages to find is slightly temperamental, who cares? Just bring it on.
I’d absolutely come back here in a non-blogging capacity, stuff my face, wear a muumuu (not prance about in a bikini) and leave my phone for the sole purpose of playing dancehall tunes as I got ready for dinner accompanied by some vigorous and probably quite dubious dancing.
This is also perfect if your boss always sends you 40 emails while you’re away, tries to insist you join the project conference call at 4am local time and has a meltdown when they can’t work out how to turn on their printer without you. Yeah… sorry I didn’t reply, I didn’t care…. ahem I mean there was no reception. The perfect excuse to finally have a digital detox!
When You Leave the Resort
There are snorkel excursions, stingray island trips, jeep safaris and there are boats to be sailed. There are games to play and hey, you can even jog along the beach or learn to paddle board. Speak to Hosea (pictured above in the boat pic) if you want to hang out on the Calypso Cat boat trip or you can do what was indeed my favourite thing of all. Frolic in the sun in a giant moored floatie and live your best life ever. For more details of the best things to do on the island watch out for my upcoming blog post.