Why we chose Antigua for our familymoon
We spent some time deliberating to travel long or short haul for our first family holiday with our 10 month old. The idea of popping over to somewhere in Europe seemed so easy, but as this was our honeymoon, anniversary and familymoon combined, we wanted something extra special. So we made an appointment with Turquoise to ask for some help. Our brief was somewhere baby friendly, but with luxury for our honeymoon, all inclusive and with a little indulgence for each of us, a spa and a golf course. Catherine at Turquoise came up with Antigua, which ticked all the boxes and had an 8hr flight time, which seemed doable!
Flying long haul with an infant
The days leading up to our holiday to Antigua filled me with worry – all I could think was have I packed enough milk, nappies, sun cream etc, would we get through the airport with our cooled boiled water and prescription formula, and how would we manage nap times on an 8hr flight? I really needn’t have worried so much – the airport was a breeze! We sailed through security and relaxed in the lounge. Upgrading our outbound flight to premium economy really helped – not just with extra room for crawling and playing around, but to feel less pressure of a huge audience when she did have a little cry!. The night flight home sat in economy was totally fine as by a miracle, our little one slept all the way home!
Where we stayed – Carlisle Bay
We were greeted at the airport by St James Travel, who were looking after our travel arrangements during our time in Antigua. My husband immediately made best mates with our driver, chatting sports all the way to Carlisle Bay. The friendly welcome continued when we arrived. Despite being tired, we all felt on a high arriving at the resort, so much so, I worried our baby would never sleep again, she was almost drunk on the buzz and fuss made of her on our arrival. And…relax! We soon fell into the Caribbean way of life – you didn’t have to be told to relax – you just did. We awoke to the most incredible view every morning from our beautiful suite. Breakfast was our favourite meal of the day, with front row seats of the turquoise ocean from the Indigo restaurant. The team at Carlisle Bay were so friendly with the most incredible smiles, our little one was shouting hello across the restaurant at them, she really grew in confidence with all the attention she was getting.
Our days were filled with playing in the sea, on the beach and in the pool, with a little time for us to relax, sunbathe and drink cocktails while our baby napped! Our suite had a lovely daybed on the patio where we could relax while she napped inside in the air-conditioning. We spent some time in the Kids Club to escape the heat – a lovely air conditioned room full of toys! The cinema screening room was another place we could go when we needed to cool off, with the choice of hundreds of DVDs and a private screening could be arranged when we liked. Meal times were extremely easy. I packed loads of Ellas pouches as back up baby food, but we really didn’t need them. We arranged for purees to be made and they were delivered to our room at our chosen time. Lunches were a casual affair, we had a choice of restaurants, and you could have afternoon tea delivered to a location of your choice. In the evenings, we visited the restaurants with our little one fast asleep in the buggy covered with a mozzie net, so we could relax and have our dinner with her next to us. We could have arranged baby-sitting if we wanted. On a couple of arrangements we couldn’t get her settled in the buggy and ended up with dinner delivered to our patio, which was no trouble at all.
The spa menu was ever so tempting – they even had the perfect treatment which must have been designed for mums like me – an eye treatment to relieve tired eyes – bliss. My husband enjoyed some time snorkelling and taking on a SUP board during his time off baby duty.
We contemplated the idea of going out on a daytrip, to see a bit more of the island, and a few more fish, we loved the idea of taking little one a glass bottom boat, but we didn’t risk it in the end– however, it does give us something (else) to go back for.
Where we stayed – Blue Waters
It was hard to tear ourselves away from the beautiful Carlisle Bay – we were all getting really used to being spoilt every day! But luckily it was not the end of our time in Antigua – we were travelling on to Blue Waters to end our holiday. It may seem a strange decision to spend time in two resorts when travelling with an infant, but this way we got to see more of the island, and my husband fancied a spot of golf in Antigua.
We arrived on the day of Prince Harrys wedding, the celebrations were in full swing with Champagne flowing, some of the staff had met Prince Harry only the previous year when he stayed at Blue Waters. Good enough for a Prince – Blue Waters was! An incredibly beautiful resort, where I couldn’t help but take pictures of such vivid coloured flowers – wow I really am turning into a Mum!
Blue Waters is set beautifully on a cliff side, perfect for sun worshippers, but a little more difficult seeking shade for a baby, so we spent a lot of time in the swimming pool(s) which were full of like-minded families and a vast array of inflatables. The pools had a fun vibe. We all loved the main pool and bar/restaurant – especially at waffle and ice cream time (bad parenting but we were on holiday!) Drinking cocktails in the pool was the way of life – they were even delivered to you in the pool!
We were lucky enough to stay in Pelican House, with a beautiful room, pool and sea view. We were one of 6 rooms in a private house designed for families and groups with its own pool, just steps outside our room. We loved the atmosphere of the busier pools around the resort, but it was so lovely to be able to have one final dip before getting ready for the evening at the end of the day and have it totally to ourselves.
Dining was a delight at Blue Waters, there were 3 restaurants to choose from which we recommend booking as soon as you arrive. We were able to take lunches away in take away containers and eat on our balcony, which really suited us. The food and cocktails were out of this world.
My husband enjoyed a round of golf at Cedar Valley Golf Course.. we thought he was crazy in the heat – but he made it back – in an ok state! He needed to hire a buggy due to the heat and hilly terrain, but it was a pleasant round, and reasonably priced when hiring clubs etc too.
We were very sad as our last day approached, ending our familymoon in Antigua. Our flight was not until the evening, but Blue Waters were very helpful in arranging us a late checkout, so we could enjoy the pools and beach all day, we even squeezed in one final afternoon tea on the terrace before we left!
We requested the same driver for all of our transfers, so we were able to say goodbye to our friend George from St James travel! (he even stopped to help us buy nappies – what a star!)
We enjoyed our time at Carlisle Bay and Blue Waters equally, but for different reasons. The staff at each resort were so welcoming, and there were so many personal touches, we were made to feel very special and welcome.
Family Holidays in Antigua
Antigua is the perfect destination for families with babies. Even if the flight time is daunting, it will never be as terrible as you imagine, and the welcome you will receive as soon as you arrive in Antigua will be so warm, you will forget all about it!