Recently, Jason and I just celebrated eight years of marriage, and still I remember, vividly, the day we met in our Hampton share house, 12 years ago. When I think about it, I realize that we have accomplished so much since getting married- three beautiful children, two little pups, living in a pretty great place, and we still share a love, like no other. In all our time together, we’ve traveled to many places, but we had not been away alone, since our babymoon before Ryder was born, 7 years ago. Between our hectic schedules, Jason’s constant work on the road, and my recent work travel, a grown-ups only trip was long over due.
We knew we couldn’t be away from the kids for an extended period of time, so we thought a long weekend would be just perfect. When picking a destination we knew we wanted a Caribbean Island, that required no lay-overs, around 3 hours away, and so we chose Antigua. After our amazing stay with the kids at Beaches Resort last year, we looked into their sister property, Sandals Grande Antigua an all inclusive, couples only resort.
As soon as we arrived, we were impressed with the plush scenery, turquoise blue ocean and white sands. The Sandals Grande Antigua is located on the island’s best and most famous beach, Dickenson Bay. The resort is split into two sides, each with unique characteristics. The Caribbean Grove featured plush vibrant garden landscape pathways, while the Mediterranean side featured a sophisticated European feel of mountainous landscape and town squares. We were partial to the Caribbean Grove, because it felt more like a resort, than a hotel.
The first thing on the agenda for Jason and I was some relaxation on the beach, so for hours, we lounged under a hut, enjoying uninterrupted conversation, reading, and swimming. We even took a nap, something neither one of us has experienced in the 7 years as parents. I have to be honest, I was enjoying every minute of it, but the kids were on my mind the entire time.
Sandals Grande Antigua offers eleven world-class restaurants and eateries, with a global team of master chefs, who cater to your culinary cravings. With cuisine including island dishes, Italian, French, Mexican and Asian themes, there were plenty of options, some beach casual, and some white gloved chic. Our first night, we dined at Bayside, their French inspired restaurant, set right on the beach, with a surprisingly diverse wine selection. After dinner, we walked along the grounds, and had a drink by one of the many bonfire pits that lit up the resort.
We spent the following morning at the beach, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking. It was a no brainer, because all of the non-motorized water sports are complimentary for guests. Once we had our fill of the crystal clear waters, we headed over to the one of the 10 pools. Some larger pools offer swim up bars, some smaller pools accompany a private setting, and some hotel cottages even have their own plunge pools.
That evening, we headed over for some relaxation and rejuvenation at Red Lane Spa. We booked a couples massage in a garden setting just off the beach. Their signature Night Blooming Jasmine Massage uses the delicate aromas of Chinese Jasmine, and the therapist applies the oils with a paint brush. With the waves crashing in the background and sun setting overhead, it was the perfect way to end our day. For dinner, we had reservations at Eleanors, which represents the best in the flavorful fare, synonymous with Caribbean cuisine. This was one of the two restaurants where you need to have a reservation for, the other is their Teppanyaki-style cuisine.
With only three nights on the island, I wanted to make our last night there special. While discussing options with hotel staff, the one thing that everyone suggested was a trip to Shirley Heights. Lucky for us, Sunday night is the best night, as the locals and guests from all over the island gather there, to listen to live music, shop local stands, and grab local grub from a barbecue. Once Sandals knew we were interested, and they arranged the entire tour for us. We met in the lobby, along with other guests, and jumped in van en route to our destination 35 minutes away, on the top of a mountain on the other side of the island.
The views in Shirley Heights were absolutely breathtaking. We witnessed the most perfect sunset, listened to a steel drum band, and shopped for little souvenirs to bring home to our babies. It was a lovely way to end our anniversary moon, and I would definitely recommend putting this spot on your list, if you are vacationing in Antigua.
Our last morning there, we had time for one last dip in the picturesque ocean before heading home. Sure we missed our kiddies, but this time spent together was long overdue. Its easy to get caught up in our jobs and lose focus on our relationship, so we both promised not to let so much time pass without going away alone together. In fact, it felt like we gave our marriage some rejuvination on this trip. I hope our Caribbean high won’t fade too quickly, and I’ve already started fantasizing about the next trip.
Hotel and Accommodations were provided by Sandals Grande Antigua. All opinions are as always, my own.