My future wife and I began looking for a honeymoon destination in early 2012, our wedding was booked for November 2012. My wife is a seasoned traveller while I had never even flown before! As Cheryl had been to quite a few places, even in the Caribbean I was on the look out for somewhere very special but would at the same time feel ‘safe’ for me. One day searching on line we came across the Verandah Spar resort in St Phillips Antigua, it looked stunning!
Trip advisor had many glowing reports so we made further enquiries. The Verandah staff were really helpful, answering all our questions and really putting themselves out to make sure our special trip was just that. The flight from London Gatwick with BA was a very long one on the 777 aircraft, not a great deal to see but sea LOL, that was the worst part on the way out really. Arriving over Antigua I and many other passengers eagerly looked out to catch our first glimpse of the promised paradise island! What we saw was a lush green island with very character filled bays surrounded by a most beautiful blue sea! Here is my video of our flight and arrival!
Once we landed on the runway and stepped off, the warmth hit us all, and the informality of being disembarked onto the runway was very novel after the military precision of Gatwick! However, not realising it and eager to catch holiday snaps I took a photo of our 777 aircraft and was politely told not to do so by a security guard, so watch out for that! Customs and immigration was no worse than Gatwick, in fact its air-conditioned and did not take too long at all! The staff were efficient but welcoming and we were soon outside waiting for our taxi. Now, the roads might be a little bit of a surprise to EU guests LOL lets just say they are fast and cheerful, just hold on, ha-ha but in reality we never came to nay harm. Arrival at the Verandah was wonderful, we were met by very friendly reception staff and handed our first rum punch! OH wow! Soon we were on a golf cart heading for our little cottage style accommodation and taking in the sights and sounds as we went. We had arrived around 17:00 local time so the sun was already getting low in the sky as we checked out our room and then made our way onto the balcony overlooking the little bay directly towards the setting sun. Here is a compilation of what we saw:
The warmth and sounds was nothing like I have ever encountered, so relaxing so very beautiful! The sounds of the tree frogs and cicadas and the gentle lapping of the sea together with a stunning sun set made our honeymoon perfect and this was only our first night! Once we had gotten over the amazement of it all we headed off to meet the ‘management night’ and to get our first taste of Antiguan hospitality, now dark the charming clean pathways were lit with subtle lamps, but I had a little torch with me all the same. We were stunned to hear the sounds of a steel band wafting on the breeze as we neared the main pool and location of the Sea Breeze restaurant! How amazing to arrive in the Caribbean to a real steel band, just perfect and a memory never to be forgotten. The next few days saw us exploring our little slice of paradise and saw me setting about capturing on video as much of the local wildlife as I could. Here is my video:
We loved to natural history of this place, helped of course by the fact that the Verandah is located on a nature reserve! Diverse, amazing and colourful, we were treated to small lizards, humming birds and the tiny, tiny tree frogs that have a very loud voice at night 🙂 Of course, the sea and water sports are very much a part of a holiday in Antigua and what really made it for us was the complementary water sports equipment offered by the Verandah! As a non swimmer, I never felt pushed or unsafe and they really took care of me.
To my amazement this holiday would see me not only paddling off in my own Kayak, but also sailing a Hobby cat and even snorkelling! All under the watchful eye and guiding hand of my very proficient swimmer wife 🙂 We also headed over to Long Bay beach which is just down a little road from the resort, not as sheltered as our two bays but very beautiful all the same.
We took a trip to St Johns and then joined the Eco Boat tour! Another amazing experience as we were spirited along the azure blue sea to Hells gate, Bird Island and many other interesting locations! Lunch on the boat accompanied by more rum punch!
Here is my video featuring my snorkelling first time experiences including some views of Hells Gate!
Back at the Verandah we spent our days being looked after and gently exploring more of the resort, even taking a trip to the close by Devils Bridge to see a very precarious stone causeway that is pounded by the sea, a blow hole and much more. Highly recommended this location. All too soon it was time to think about heading home and so we spent our last day at this friendly resort being very spoiled until it was time to make our way to the airport! It was raining quite hard! But we were quite safe in the airport, passport control was very easy going and we eventually boarded a rather delayed BA 777 flight for home, that had come from another island! This was the only real down point of the honeymoon for us! We had specifically booked a night flight in the hope of catching up on some sleep.
This was not to happen due to a truly dreadful screaming baby for 75% of the trip! Very late on the BA staff ushered it and its highly stressed out mother to
the back of the plane and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Not being a seasoned traveller the sense of taking what had to be only a few weeks old baby on such a trip with just one parent seemed madness to me but I guess you can’t plan for such things. Well, we loved it so much that we are heading back in 2013 for an early 2nd honeymoon 🙂 we really can’t wait and plan to visit a few more recommended locations this time. I’ll be putting up my experiences on my YouTube channel so please feel free to browse in and see how we got on this time.
We are flying with Virgin this time and taking two of our dear friends with us! The Verandah has a facebook page if you want to have a look at the resort
Hope this encourages others to give Antigua a chance, you really won’t regret it.
All the best from Mike of Mike’s Movies.