#5. The Sandals Resort
The moment the driver pulls into the long sumptuous drive way, you feel as if you’ve stepped into paradise. Lush vegetation welcomes you in and the canopy of trees transports you to a place of splendor. The staff is constantly pleasant and help you check in and get you situated. Take the short trek to your room and get unpacked or start adventuring and getting familiar with your surrounding. I recommend you start at the open foyer, which overlooked a pool and busy hummingbirds sampling the island’s flowers. You’ll meet Samson & Delilah, the Macaw Mascots. Their antics, kisses and jibber jabber, remind you you’re far from home. Visit the excursions desk and pick up some pamphlets to read later. At the bar, ask for an island specialty. These mix-masters NEVER fail! Take a stroll, the view on the beach is breathtaking.
Whether you arrive mid morning or late afternoon, you’ll be pleased with the almost postcard view. Follow the trail to the human sized chess board and test your skills on your new life-partner. I find “teasing” came in handy to help put my opponent at a disadvantage. Visit the main pool area. Which has a swim up bar and stop at the romantic gazebo and steal a kiss or two. The main pool offers fun games for couples and is right next to Mario’s. Which I believe was the best place to eat at any hour. Breakfast is a smorgasbord of yummy goodness.
#4. The Food and Drinks
Mario’s, Mario’s, Mario’s! You have to visit Mario’s for breakfast, it’s absolutely delicious! They offer sweet fresh island fruit, every pastry you can think of, and savory items that will make your mouth water. Be sure you sample some of Susie’s Hot Sauce. I loved it so much I had to buy a few bottles to bring back, which almost didn’t make it home. Thank you TSA, I know the sauce was hot, but not nuclear hot. After my honeymoon stash ran out, my husband ordered three more bottles for me through Amazon.com.
Ladies, pack light for your trip to Sandals. All you really need is a few bathing suites and plenty of sarongs. Make sure the gentlemen pack at least one “dressy” outfit. Why? because you HAVE to visit Eleanor’s at least once on your trip. The cuisine is decadent and it is the only restaurant with a dress code. Unfortunately my new hubby didn’t pack anything appropriate for Eleanor’s but the wait staff came up with a romantic alternative for us. Just outside the restaurant, they set up a cozy small table and offered to serve us alfresco. They were the most friendly and hospitable staff I’ve ever come across. We felt overjoyed with this kindness. You have to try the grilled lobster!
Probably the best part of the “food” experience has to be the little French Bakery! Tucked away in a cozy corner, with charming seats and a selections of confections to surely put your waistline in jeopardy. Ask for your sweets to-go and nibble on them on your private porch. Make sure to bring a few extras for sharing, because the hummingbirds LOVE them. At one point we had 5 chilling on our patio!
#3. The Excursions and Activities
The resort offers so many FREE water activities that you’ll have plenty to do on your honeymoon. But hands down my favorite was the snorkeling. A nice boat ride out to sea followed by some awesome underwater exploring. It was a once in a lifetime experience. The Catamaran Land and Water Excursion is a MUST! First an open air SUV takes you to the highest point on the island, although it gets pretty bumpy on the way up. Your tour guide will show off his island and point out cool facts about its people, the history, commerce and little tidbits that was fun and educational. The view is stunning once you reach the top. Make sure to bring your camera, you’ll need it!
Then you travel back down the winding countryside, taking in more of nature’s splendor, through pineapple plantations, and local villages and shops. Finally you are safely delivered to the “Sea” portion of your excursion. The Catamaran! Hopefully your Captain is Mr. James. He is full of life and a smile that will make your day. Did I mention he’s an amazing cook. While the staff prepare a yummy on-board lunch of BBQ with all the fixings. The boat takes you out to another part of the island for some R & R. The snorkeling is spectacular. Although at first I was scared of the jellyfishes, I puckered my bottom and swam around them. Ask your tour guide about the local marine life and be prepare to be amazed. Try to rest up after the excursions, because back at the resort the night is filled with dancing and entertainment. And did I mention that this resort does not allow children? No children running around or angry parents trying to discipline their kids while the brats are trying to pull out the petals of the tropical flowers.
#2. The Pampering
Make sure to deposit money into your room account. While you are in the resort, money will be useless. However, your room card works as your credit/debit card. I ended up loading mine 3 times. Yep, I went a bit nuts at the gift shop, the excursion desk and most of all at the SPA! Take a break after you check in and grab a snack, then take a stroll over to the Red Line Spa. My recommendation, the Couples Massage! Romantic and soothing after many hours of travel. After a few days of salt water, chlorine in your hair, and a bit of sun on your cheeks, visit Red Line again for a quick blow out and jazz up your evening with a facial makeover. You’ll look stunning when you visit Eleanor’s for dinner.
#1. The Outstanding Service and Attention
Again, I reiterate that the people who work at the Sandals Resort in Antigua are among the friendliest I’ve ever come across. Always a smile, always a friendly wave and always a desire to please. Our housekeeper always made our room feel like we were stepping into our own piece of wonderland. Fresh flowers and beautiful towel art adored our marital bed daily. Our fridge was always fully stocked with the items she knew we gravitated towards. And since everything was all inclusive all the food, drinks, and especially alcohol can be accessed 24 hours. Feel like having a sandwich at 2 am? Send your new husband to an all nightclub to obtain one. Just make sure to give him a map, because my hubby got lost in the dark several times. I can’t explain in eloquent words how everyone made us feel. Only to say they’ve ruined us for other resorts. Now that we are back in humid Texas, We count the days for our next visit. To have the cool island rain touch our skin and the Antigua breeze run through our hair.