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Review: Verandah Resort & Spa

Accommodation - Resort/holiday village

Saint Philip, Antigua & Barbuda

Hummingbirds and hibiscus

  • By SilverTraveller lionpops

    8 reviews

  • Dec 2014
  • Husband
  • Personal / family celebration

13 people found this review helpful

My heart stopped when an invitation to a family wedding arrived. Normally I look forward to such events but this event ticked two no no boxes for me. The wedding was to take place in Antigua at an all inclusive beach resort not a holiday I enjoy and of course would involve an eight hour flight. I was advised that they had obtained a group rate so the cost would be £1500 per person for a week. So £3000 for hubby and me. We decided to upgrade to premium economy for an extra £500 each so this holiday would come to £4K for seven days of sun sea and sand. I never enquired what the full price was! We departed Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic on the eight hour flight and were very happy with our decision to upgrade. The seats very comfortable and the cabin stewards attentive. I am 5'8" so plenty of leg room. I did notice on the return journey that taller people still struggled with leg room when the seat in front was reclined. On arrival in Antigua we were transferred via mini bus on the 30 minute journey to the resort. At the Verandah Beach Resort we were met with cold towels and a rum/fruit punch. A golf trolley sped us to our suite which turned out to be more a small bungalow elevated on stilts to maximise the view. The gargantuan bed was laid out with bath robes and hibiscus. The bed was hard and the pre requested mattress topper(a foam sliver) did little to alleviate this. A kitchenette contained a broken coffee percolator, microwave and a fridge the latter contained a bowl of tropical fruit courtesy of Kuoni the travel agents. A basket of tea coffee sachets was a welcome addition and I requested a kettle during my stay but other guests used the coffee percolator/microwave to heat water. Sliding doors led to a balcony where the tropical birds flew in every morning for nibbles of tropical fruit. The higlight of this trip was watching the tiny ethereal humming birds flit from flower to flower on the tree next to our balcony. I felt I was watching a David Attenborough documentary. Our initial booking was for a hillside suite but we were upgraded to a sea view and enjoyed the view from our balcony each morning drinking coffee and feeding the birds. The ensuite was a capacious with a large bath /shower with a wide edge. Anyone with mobility issues would struggle to get in. Think more hot tub without the benefits.In fact I do not have mobility issues and I struggled to get in the bath to access the shower. I did try and use it as a bath but the hot water runs out very quickly. A good example of style over practicality. There are twin hand basins and baskets of toiletries excluding shower gel but plenty of soap. An efficient hair dryer is in place and lots of white towels. The Verandah Resort has three main restaurants and my favourite was The Sea Breeze a buffet restaurant. I could always find something to eat here and a fresh joint of neat was carved daily by the chef. The meat is imported from the US and the quality is outstanding. I lived on freshly carved meat, salads, cheese and fresh fruit. I avoided the hot food section as it never looked very appealing to me, also food regulations mean that they can reserve food from the previous day. There is a specialty restaurant where for $30 you can partake of lobster. We went there for the wedding meal and I was underwhelmed, tough lobster, uncooked vegetables and sludgy grey mashed potato. I was advised by other guests that the steaks are amazing. I did say that this was an all inclusive resort so you could drink yourself into a stupor on your favourite tipple(including single malt). I saw little evidence of abuse during our stay. Now what to do, well there are two beaches and you can snorkel/sail/Kayak/swim, both beaches gave access to bars and restaurants so you can stay all day tanning yourself to a lovely shade of brown. This appears to be the favourite past time and why not, warming yourself in the 27degrees of the Caribbean sun away from the frosts of the UK. One english guest spends eight months a year here. If you want to leave the resort then you need deep pockets lined with US dollars. A return taxi to St Johns would cost $52, $72 to the Fort. You can walk to the Devils Bridge and Long beach but that's about it. We are walkers but it is to hot/far/unsafe to venture further. The guests were a mix of nationalities/ages and in general a nice friendly bunch. Staff at the start where a bit taciturn but warned up as the week progressed and I have no complaint with the service levels offered. That sums up my week in the Caribbean, oh I nearly forgot the wedding! It was amazing, our first beach wedding and the staff looked after our granddaughter, could not be faulted and most of all she was happy. If you like sun/sea and don't mind being 'trapped' in a resort or you want to get married then this resort ticks the box. In the mean time I am off to a cottage in Norfolk.

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