One thing I really wanted to do this summer was a staycation but I simply couldn’t figure out when or where to go. I was scheduled to travel during the last week of August but due to the passage of Hurricane Dorian my flight got cancelled. Alas,due to the sudden free time in my schedule, I thought that this would be the best time to go. My sister’s birthday was approaching and she also didn’t have any plans so that’s when I mentioned that we should go to a hotel. By the following day, we were booking rooms at the St. James Club & Villas.
Initially, we were discussing doing a day pass, but given the differences in prices it resulted in a nights stay. As you may or may not know, around this time is off-season for hotels so they were extremely accommodating. Thus, we were able to book our rooms with no hassle. This staycation was definitely needed to relax after the many back-to-back activities that happened this summer. Therefore, it was decided that this weekend was perfect so that we could celebrate my parent’s anniversary as well as my dad’s and sister’s birthdays.
St. James Club is as secluded as it gets in Antigua. Located on the southeastern coast of the island, the hotel is roughly 40 minutes from the airport and St. John’s (city centre). However, it is relatively close to English Harbour, which boasts a wide array of cultural exhibits, restaurants and activities.
Not necessarily a tour seeing as I didn’t take many pictures. However, we were given a beachfront room (according to their website these are the most spacious guest rooms). Along with a terrace providing beach access, the room featured a king size bed, flat screen TV, shower and tub, double sink, a desk and complimentary items (mini bottles of local rum, hot sauce and jam). The bed was really comfortable, but I believe their bathrooms could do with an upgrade.
First off, the hotel landscaping is on point. It’s open with lots of coconut trees and picturesque spots. The guest rooms are located on one end, then another area for suites and villas. Luckily there are guest shuttles to get you around the hotel. To be honest we didn’t do much while we were here. If you ask my boyfriend, he’d probably say that I spent most of my time taking pictures of myself.
We checked in around 2 p.m. on Saturday. It was a smooth process where we were greeted nicely and given directions on where everything was located. Unfortunately, our rooms weren’t ready yet so we took the opportunity to get lunch before the restaurant closed. We went to Rainbow Garden which is their main restaurant located in the heart of the resort.
After having lunch, we went to the room where we decided to check out Coco Beach, the one directly outside of our room. It wasn’t particularly my favourite experience as seaweed lined most of the shoreline and the water was murky with rocks in the sand. Needless to say, I didn’t spend much time there. We got something to eat at Eleven/11 then spent the remainder of the afternoon nestled in the room escaping the heat.
Initially the plan was to have dinner at The Docksider restaurant but nothing on the menu appealed to us. Therefore we ventured to Eleven/11 which is more of a casual atmosphere. It’s located by Coco Beach Bar & Restaurant (which was closed) and features casual dining options – burgers, pastas, salads and the likes. They also had a few specials for the evening. I settled on a shrimp cesar salad to start and shrimp Alfredo pasta for the main. The salad was good but the pasta didn’t sit well with me. My family also had similar complaints about their meals.
On Sunday, we decided to have breakfast a bit early around 8am at the Rainbow Garden. Breakfast was buffet style with lots of options including a live egg station. After eating, we took a walk around the hotel to see what it was like. I think we only made it around ¾ of the area. There are quite a few picturesque spots around the hotel (something I liked). However, for the most part it appeared quite empty. We saw a bit of refurbishing taking place and most of the rooms/villas didn’t seem to be occupied.
We mainly used Coco’s pool nearby to Eleven/11. It was pretty empty when we went Sunday morning which is always a plus, but it needed some shade. The sun was super hot and even though we were in the pool it would have been nice. Another addition I think they need is a sound system near to the pool. A little background music would be nice while lounging.
I’d say the hotel is definitely one for if you’re looking to get away and relax. There are several spots around that you could escape the crowd if needed. There were lots of seating options available where you could look out at the ocean and also lots of gazebos. It was really quiet and tranquil but again that could be because it was the off-season.
Another thing to note is, St. James Club & Villas is an All-Inclusive resort. Thus they had a wide array of complimentary services and facilities available. So besides the various dining options and room offered, there were sports, gym access, entertainment and free wifi in public areas (just to name a few).
Additional activities/amenities we wanted to try but didn’t get a chance to include:
- Non-motorized water sports – after being in the pool for most of the day we weren’t up for it. Instead we checked out Mamora Bay Grill and got some burgers.
- Mamora Bay Cafe – totally slipped my mind to check out
- Tiered Pool – there are six pools located around the resort, I saw a picture of this one on Instagram but couldn’t figure out where it was (I didn’t even check the map). It’s also an adults only pool.
- Taking a walk on the dock (a.k.a taking photos)
- Jacaranda Lounge which turns into a club until 1a.m. on select nights
Antigua Hotels Association had a summer special on various hotels during the season. I’m not sure if that’s over yet. However, for more information on rates you can always call the hotel or visit their website.