“To be for one day entirely at leisure is to be for one day an immortal” H.H.Hart 1937
Sometimes you just need to switch off from everything and have a well earned break. So where better suited than the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Having done a lot of research into various All Inclusive resorts on the island, we opted for the adults-only Galley Bay Resort & Spa. Located on the northwest coast of the island, about 10 minutes drive from the capital St. John’s, Galley Bay markets itself as a luxury boutique hideaway. How could you resist eh?
We opted for a Premium Beachfront Suite. These rooms are in two storey buildings – the ground floor rooms having a patio that opens up directly onto the beach (with your own sunbeds directly outside). We were given a first floor suite, which provided a little more privacy and equally amazing views from the room and balcony.
You are very unlikely to spend much time in your room however. The main selling point for this resort is the location. And the beach. This beach is the most beautiful I have seen. Golden sands, turquoise waters with reef directly off the shore (snorkels are provided in the rooms). Not being the most confident of swimmers, even I could snorkel out to see some interesting and colourful tropical fish, on the days that the water wasn’t too choppy.
Some days this would feel like your very own private beach. With the resort having less than a hundred rooms spread along a 3/4 mile beach, there were moments where you could stroll along without seeing any other people.
We were told that the resort was at 86% capacity during our stay, but for the most part it felt quiet. With a choice of three à la carte restaurants, a beach side grill for lunchtime snacks and a couple of bars and a rum shack (a big thumbs up for this!), not one place ever seemed crowded.
Food in all restaurants was great, with one being an additional fee, fine dining experience. We ate there one evening and it was definitely worthwhile.
The resort is beautifully laid out across 40 acres of tropical gardens. There were always people tending to the gardens, keeping them looking fantastic. We took a tour one morning with the head gardener, Curt, who enthusiastically gave us as much information as possible about the trees, plants and wildlife. Fun and educational, with plenty of opportunities for great photos.
While I’m on the subject of wildlife, did I tell you that the resort is backed onto a lagoon which doubles up as a bird sanctuary? There are walking / cycling / running trails which take you on a journey around the lagoon, offering up some great opportunities to spot some wildlife – herons, egrets, hummingbirds, West Indian whistling ducks, tree and ground lizards to name but a few. I stumbled (not literally) across a tiny hummingbird nest in a small palm tree, where she was incubating her eggs. It was lovely.
The highlight of the wildlife for me were the brown pelicans. Most days they would fly over from the lagoon to the sea, where they would circle and dive for fish. It was impressive to watch. Slightly unnerving when you were in near vicinity, and in the water at the same time mind you, but still a great spectacle.
We stayed at Galley Bay for a week. We decided not to explore Antigua as we were looking for a truly restful holiday experience. There were plenty of options for excursions at reasonable prices though, which a lot of guests recommended. Next time, perhaps.
Speaking of next time, this is one resort I would choose to return to in the future. We were told by a staff member at the welcome meeting that on the first visit we are classed as friends, when we return we become family. And I can truly believe it. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, and you wouldn’t walk past anyone without some kind of communication – be it a ‘hello’, a smile or a conversation.
Charming people, charming place.