Island Hopping – Caribbean Style.
We all envy those holidays we read about in the Sunday Papers, those celebrities, those rockstars, those royals, jetting off to beautiful beaches again and again, how we envy them. But you know, it’s easier than you think to have a truly fabulous holiday on far less than a rock star budget. If you have something truly special to celebrate, or just really want to treat yourself or family to a little extended break, I urge you to consider the Caribbean, and consider trying island-hopping, because there’s always something else you might like to have done on that trip, well, fit in two or three islands, and no one is going home complaining, believe me.
After a period of absence from my beloved Caribbean, I felt the urge to really make this family holiday count, to make up for some difficult times and reward us for basically getting through it and still being here, united, to tell the tale.
We had all the basics to create our holiday around, for us, it started with booking the middle of our trip, which initially was the only part of our trip at St James’s club in Antigua. I was fortunate enough to spot an advert by an owner in a timeshare at the resort unable to use their time slot, so bid for it and won. This was the beginning, the holiday was months away, but at least we had something amazing to look forward to on the horizon. The accommodation was paid for immediately, so all we had to think about were flights.
As the time drew nearer, I played around online with flight prices and waited for the usual airline sales amongst all the major airlines. I noticed both British Airways and Virgin had a sale on at the same time, to be honest, prices were coming in similar with both brands, so I felt confident we could get a good price. Then, the idea came to me, why not fly out to one location and fly back fro another? My partner already pointed out he had a few weeks holiday leave owed, my daughter could fit it into her schedule to join us, the only problem being my son and school, I had to make the decision at 6 years old, I think he’s got time to catch up, learn amazing things about his cultural heritage in the meantime, have a great holiday and in all fairness, try to tie his current school work in with life out there. A phone call to Virgin Atlantic and we were booked, flying out to Barbados and back from St Lucia.
So a travel plan began, we had a few days of half term to play with prior to our stay in Antigua, so flew from London Gatwick to Barbados. We’d booked fantastic accommodation via VRBO.com for the 4 nights at St Lawrence Gap Beach Condominiums. More details in my Barbados specific blog, but to say it was fantastic, we couldn’t believe our luck as we entered the apartment and stepped out realising it was truly beach front! The apartment was huge, fully self contained, on two floors and everything about it was amazing and felt a little too lucky, expecting the trip couldn’t possibly continue in that vein and we’d peeked too early.
After 4 fantastic nights and much of our 5th day in Barbados, we caught a flight with local airline LIAT on to Antigua, St Johns. First of all, quite possibly the most amazingly efficient airport any of us have ever been to, amazing, and then jumped into a taxi to St James’s Club. As we were arriving in the evening, we didn’t see that much until we arrived at our resort, wow! I couldn’t believe it was better than the write up I’d read it was awesome. We’d booked a 2 bedroom villa. It was again huge, fully contained with everything you need, kitchen, living room, each bedroom had an ensuite, totally fantastic, only steps aways from the beach and pools. Again, full details on the St James’s Club resort in my Antigua specific blog post, but to say when I first paid I’d being worried it might be some kind of scam until the owner got the horn to copy me in on all emails, but never could we have imagined how great this place or trip would turn out.So we had 7 wonderful nights in Antigua, this truly was the relaxing part of the holiday, we had planned to shop and cook for ourselves, but the resort had a fantastic pre-pay deal on all-inclusive so we bit the bullet and went for it, truly well worth while, we arrived on Halloween, 31st October 2015, but there no tricks, all treats in store here I assure you.
Now when it’s been this good, you almost brace yourself for, “is this the point the trip goes wrong” when we had to leave and catch our next Liat airline flight to St Lucia. We had booked the Landings hotel online, I knew of it from past trips to St Lucia (ancestral home) but had never stayed there always being one usually to rent a house or villa. Always one for a bargain, and needing one to sell this trip as cost effective to my partner we’d actually booked The Landings again when many online sites were advertising a sale and reduced rates up to 45%, we looked at The Landings own website and realising they were part Preferred Group hotel, decided to book through that website, we were treating ourselves to a beach front room as St Lucia is very special to us and we wanted to spend every moment we could soaking it all in with our eyes and my senses due to the personal issues that had kept us away for so many years.
So, we jumped in a taxi at the airport, I’m holding my breath, really hoping all is well, nothing has changed as I’ve really sold this place to my Parter, this being his first time visiting the Caribbean and St Lucia on this trip. Wow, they did not disappoint, I could have kissed the ground when we arrived and got out of the taxi, entering the fantastic Lobby of The Landings, St Lucia. Again, I will elaborate on this trip in my St Lucia specific blog post, but what I must tell you, in terms of pinching ourselves, we really felt like we needed to more than ever!
Upon checking in, we sit down for our complimentary welcome drink, the beautiful receptionist (she really was) detailed our package which included complimentary massages for two adults, two free guided hikes, baby sitting service, kids club, wine, this was great, we’d read this online. Now, here’s the shocker, they upgraded us to Butler service…we had not one, but two butlers to attend to our every need during the trip. At first, we didn’t get it, a porter shoed us to our room put the cases in and told us our Butler would be along to meet us shortly, we had wine and fruits, cheeses all laid out on the table with a not from our personal Butlers, Antonicious and Peronilla for the trip. The next day we got it, upon being given a Butler phone to call them whenever we needed for every little thing. I mean everything, even when we didn’t call, they’d anticipate our every need and though not being overt and intrusive, they quickly attended to our every need, from having a bath ready and run when we’d get back from a day trip to ironing our clothes, to booking all of our excursions, restaurants, taxis, handling everything for us on the holiday including liaising with things outside of the hotel for us. I’d mentioned my son would be going attending kids club one afternoon to the Butler to find as I stood up from the beach to take him the Butler had arrived with the Buggy to drive him, which he lapped up feeling like little Prince for the duration. The staff are already great at The Landings, There is the concierge to arrange things, kids club, sports, the food, the drink, all amazing, and I do talk more of this in the blog post relating to it. But to summarise this trip, the Island-hopping experience, being treated so very well and living like a celebrity, we could not possibly have topped The Landings St Lucia and certainly saved the best until last.
So, we didn’t pinch ourselves, until we got home, back into good old Blighty, asking “did that all really happen” We still can’t believe just how good that trip was.