Enjoying the Tropical Tranquility of The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua


Imagine sitting on your private verandah enjoying the sight of a beautiful blue bay and the ocean beyond, while listening to waves gently lap the shore with bananquits cheerfully chirping. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? Oh, it was.

This was just a part of what we experienced at The Verandah Resort & Spa during our recent visit to Antigua.

The Verandah Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive resort located on 30 lush acres on the eastern coast of Antigua. Comprised of private cottages and villas nestled in verdant landscaping, the surroundings create the feel of escaping to an oasis of tropical tranquility. Not pretentious at all, the resort has a Caribbean casual feel – with class.

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyFront entrance

From the moment we arrived, we felt welcomed. We were presented with a glass of cold rum punch and a lavender scented towel for refreshment and after checking in, we were whisked away to our waterfront cottage to begin our stay.

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyLobby

We loved the look and the relaxed vibe of the resort. There are walking trails interspersed between the lovely cottages and villas – all with their own private verandah and many overlooking the bay and ocean beyond.

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyThe cottages are set apart from each other for privacy

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyBeautiful walking paths

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyOne of the cottages

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum Therapy
Our suite overlooked a beautiful blue bay and we absolutely loved sipping a cup of coffee every morning while enjoying this view…

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyThe view from our “verandah”

There are two beaches on property – one that offers a variety of watersport equipment such as kayaks, SUP boards and Hobie Cats.

Verandah-9(b)-(600)-OWatersports on the main beach

The other, referenced as “the quiet beach” by other guests we met, offers lounges interspersed in the palm trees, a sand volleyball court and a beach bar & grill called the Rasta Bar.

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyThe “quiet beach”

In addition to the two beaches on property, there is another beautiful Antiguan beach within walking distance outside of the resort called Long Bay.

Long-Bay, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyLong Bay

We appreciated the additional beach option and enjoyed looking through the small kiosks with local vendors behind the beach.

Not that you ever need to leave the resort. The all-inclusive package includes your meals and drinks,

The Verandah Resort & Spa - copyright Rum Therapy

non-motorized watersports, beach lounge chairs and umbrellas, pools and fitness room, tennis, mini-golf, shuffleboard, ping-pong and more.

Verandah-15-(600)-O18 hole miniature golf course

We especially enjoyed the evening entertainment at the main bar where guests would congregate to enjoy live music, drinks, and the company of other guests in the warm tropical breeze.

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyEnjoying the evening entertainment

And speaking of pools. Although we usually can’t be torn away from the beach, the Verandah had some lovely pools – a total of three, I believe, and the main one is huge and a beautiful focal point in the center of the resort.

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyMain pool

The Verandah Resort & Spa copyright Rum TherapyAdult only pool

 The adult only pool was a nice touch we thought, for those not vacationing with children.

The highlights of the resort for us:

1. The suites. We loved the look and feel of the spacious individual cottages, each with a private verandah.
2. The resort doesn’t feel crowded. Although it was high season and the staff told us they were quite full, none of the amenities ever felt crowded. There were always available chairs on the beach and at the pool and the dining areas were fairly quiet – even though there were a good number of families with small children vacationing while we were there.
3. The walking paths. We love to explore and take in the surroundings and at The Verandah there are plenty of beautiful paths to walk. And, if you end up getting tired while walking or are in a particular hurry to get somewhere, wait at one of the golf cart stops and someone will be by to pick you up.

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4. The grounds. The tropical grounds are beautifully landscaped.

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5. The staff. Overall, The Verandah has assembled a top-notch staff that seems to truly care about their guests – and we truly appreciated their efforts.


A few tips if you decide to book a vacation at The Verandah Resort & Spa:

1. Consider booking a waterfront suite. We found it very relaxing to look at the water from our balcony everyday.

2. If you are traveling with a family or a small group, be sure to look into the 2 bedroom villa options.

3. Include a transfer to and from the airport in your travel arrangements if this is your first stay on Antigua. There are very few road signs on Antigua and if you have not visited before, it can be a challenge to find the resort – especially at night. The Verandah does, however, offer daily car rentals if you want to explore the island for a day.

4. Get dinner reservations for the Buccaneer and Nicole’s (extra surcharge) as soon as you can so you don’t miss out. We were only at The Verandah for 3 days and unfortunately missed out on experiencing The Buccaneer and Nicole’s because we didn’t plan ahead.

4. Consult the Tour & Excursion desk to find out what they offer. Although we’d rented a car for the week, we went through the Tour & Excursion desk to book a shuttle to Shirley Heights on Sunday afternoon for the BBQ and sunset party. It was a great way to experience Shirley Heights. We were able to enjoy the party, a few rum drinks and the company of other Verandah guests but didn’t have to worry about getting ourselves back to the resort.

5. Check out the other attractions nearby. Take the short hike to Devil’s Bridge, interact with stingrays on an excursion to Stingray City and explore Betty’s Hope Sugar Plantation to learn about sugar production and it’s role in Antiguan history.

 We had such a good time at The Verandah Resort & Spa that we were almost reluctant to leave and head to the next resort, but were we glad we did! Stay tuned to find out about our visit to St. James’s Club, another wonderful Elite Island Resort, located on the southern tip of the island!

To find out more about The Verandah Resort & Spa:

Visit their website: The Verandah Resort & Spa
Find them on Facebook
Check out their tweets on Twitter
And see more photos on Instagram

 

Find The Verandah Resort on our Antigua Map

To see more posts on Antigua and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Best of USVI Survey Results

 Thanks to all who took our survey on the “Best-Of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix”. We hope the results of our Readers Choice survey will give people planning to visit one of these beautiful islands in the near future some ideas of what to do during that well deserved vacation. The results below are simply a compilation of the answers given by our readers based on what they’ve enjoyed while vacationing in the USVI and we do not endorse, nor discount any of the properties, restaurants, shops or attractions listed or not listed. We encourage you to continue to do your own research prior to your trip.

Some of the answers were eye-opening to us and after reading this, we’ve added a few things to our list to see and do during our next visit! Enjoy!

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St. Thomas

Best Beach on St. Thomas:
1. Magens Bay
2. Sapphire Beach
3. Coki Point
4. Bolongo Bay

Best Beach Bar/Island Bar on St. John:
1. Duffy’s Love Shack
2. Iggies
3. Big Kahuna Rum Shack
4. Island Time Pub

Best Rum Drink on St. Thomas:
1. Painkiller
2. Bushwacker
3. Banana Daiquiri
4. VooDoo Juice

Best Restaurant on St. Thomas:
1. Sunset Grille
2. Fish Tails
3. Banana Tree Grille
4. Mafolie

Best Hotel/Resort on St. Thomas:
1. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
2. Marriot’s Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Beach Resort
3. The Ritz-Carlton
4. Dreams Sugar Bay
Write ins with multiple votes: Mafolie Hotel, Bluebeards Castle

Best Villa/Condo Rental in St. Thomas:
1. Slice of Heaven, Magens Bay
2. Sapphire Beach Condos – write ins
3. Point Pleasant – write ins
4. Brigadoon – Red Hook

Best Shop or Boutique on St. Thomas:
1. Pirates in Paradise
2. Bones Rum
3. Native Arts & Crafts Cooperative
Write ins with multiple votes: Fish Face, Caribbean Surf Co.

Best Souvenir to bring home from St. Thomas:
1. Bones Rum
2. Larimar Jewelry
Write ins with multiple votes: Hook Bracelet, Cruzan Rum

Best attraction to experience in St. Thomas:
1. Coral World Ocean Park & Undersea Observatory
2. Skyride to Paradise Point
3. Mountain Top
4. Tree Limin’ Extreme
Write ins with multiple votes: Great House Botanical Gardens, Drake’s Seat, Magens Bay


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St. John

Best Beach on St. John:
1. Trunk Bay
2. Cinnamon Bay
3. Maho Bay
4. Salomon and Honeymoon
Write in with multiple votes: Gibney

Best Beach  Bar/Island Bar on St. John:
1. The Beach Bar
2. Skinny Legs
3. Woody’s
4. Joe’s Rum Hut

Best Rum Drink  on St. John:
1. Painkiller
2. Bushwhacker
3. Rum Punch
Write ins with multiple votes: Mojito and Island Girl from Joe’s Rum Hut, Lime in de Coconut

Best Restaurant on St. John:
1. The Lime Inn
2. Cruz Bay Landing
3. The Banana Deck
4. The Terrace Restaurant
Write in with multiple votes: The Fish Trap

Best Place to Stay on St. John:
1. Private Villa: There were more write ins on this one than votes on the entries posted. Most of the write ins were for private villas with no specific name mentioned with the exception of Villa Mar de Amores and Villa St. John.
2. Westin St. John Resort & Villas
3. Caneel Bay Resort
4. Gallow’s Point Resort

Best Shop or Boutique on St. John:
1. St. John Spice
2. Bougainvillea
3. Coconut Coast Studios
Write ins with multiple votes: Sloop Jones, Caravan, Freebird, Bamboo Studio

Best Souvenir to bring home from St. John:
1. St. John Hook Bracelet
2. Cruz Bay Grill Rub from St. John Spice
3. A Hand Painted Shirt from Sloop Jones
Write ins with multiple votes: T-shirt from The Beach Bar, Larimar Jewelry, rum, a good suntan

Best Attraction to Experience on St. John:
1. Snorkeling the trail at Trunk Bay
2. Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay
3. Hiking anywhere in the VI National Park
Write ins with  multiple votes: Drunk Bay, Exploring the town of Cruz Bay

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St Croix

Best Beach on St. Croix:
1. Sandy Point Beach
2. Rainbow Beach
3. Cane Bay Beach
4. Sandcastle Beach
Write ins with multiple votes: Buck Island Beach

Best Beach Bar/Island Bar on St. Croix:
1. Rhythms at Rainbow Beach
2. Rum Runners
3. eat @ cane bay
4. Off the Wall
Write ins with multiple votes: Beachside Café

Best Rum Drink  on St. Croix
1. Painkiller
2. Cruzan Confusion
3. Green Flash
Write ins with multiple votes: Lime in de Coconut

Best restaurant on St Croix:
1. Polly’s On the Pier
2. Rowdy Joes
3. The Waves at Cane Bay
4. Galangal
Write ins with multiple votes: Duggans Reef, Rum Runners, LeReine Chicken Shack, eat @ cane bay

Best place to stay on St. Croix:
1. TIE: Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa and Sand Castle on the Beach
2. The Buccaneer
3. Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort
Write ins with multiple votes: Cottages by the Sea, Condo Rental

Best shop or boutique on St. Croix:
1. Sonya Ltd
2. Purple Papaya
3. ib designs
4. From the Gecko Boutique
Write ins with multiple votes: Franklins on the Waterfront

Best Souvenir to bring home from St. Croix:
1. St. Croix Hook Bracelet
2. Cruzan Rum
3. Chaney Jewelry

Best attraction to experience on St. Croix:
1. Catamaran Sail to Buck Island
2. Kayaking at night in a bioluminescent bay
3. Point Udall
4. Beer drinking pigs at Montpellier Domino Club
5. Cruzan Rum Factory Tour
Write ins with multiple votes: dive the wall, dive or snorkel the pier, Jump Up Festival, St. George Village Botanical Gardens

To read more about these and other islands, be sure to check our Blog Directory by Island

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Embrace Resort, Staniel Cay

Imagine a small, intimate eco-friendly resort with 7 well appointed themed villas, a spa, pool, cabana and upscale restaurant all on a beautiful, quaint little island in an exquisite chain of small islands in the Bahamas called the Exuma Cays. The island is Staniel Cay and this resort, Embrace Resort, is the dream of owner Nicole Ferguson and daughter Natajia, who are well on their way to realizing their vision.

Embrace is an acronym for the names of the 7 villas that will soon grace the resort: Exuma, Mayaguana, Bimini, Ragged Island, Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera – all named after Bahamian Islands.  4 of the villas are already complete and range in size from 1 bedroom (including a honeymoon villa with indoor spa tub) to 3 bedrooms.

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Andros – 3 bedroom villa with  complete kitchen

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Bimini – 2 bedroom villa

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Ragged Island – 1 bedroom Honeymoon Villa

Once completed, the resort will host the only spa, fitness center and meeting space on the island and will also include a pool and restaurant. Nicole and Natajia also run a business called 3 N’s Vacation Services which offers destination wedding planning, boat rentals, tours & excursions and golf cart rentals. Guests of Embrace Resort will certainly benefit from their expertise, knowledge of the island and services available.

Nicole
Owner Nicole Ferguson

We were invited to visit and learn about Embrace Resort and stayed in Mayaguana, an intimate 1 bedroom accommodation with a refrigerator, microwave, large en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, wireless in the room, and flat screen TV with dish network.

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Although the resort is not directly on the beach, it is close to several of the islands fine beaches and they are easily reached by walking or by golf cart. It is also just minutes away from the islands restaurants and grocery stores and the popular bar and nightspot at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.  Staniel Cay is easily reached by air via Nassau or Ft. Lauderdale on either Flamingo Air or Watermakers Air.

Every effort is being made to make Embrace Resort sustainable and eco-conscious in the choice of building materials and systems used in the construction of the resort, which is important anywhere, but especially on a small island where every action leaves a mark on the delicate ecosystem.

Staniel Cay and the entire Exuma chain is an area that is getting more and more attention lately due to the diversity of activities available in the area, from fishing to boating to experiences you won’t find anywhere else. From our base at Embrace Resort, we were able to visit Big Major Cay and its swimming pigs,

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Swim with the nurse sharks on Compass Cay,

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Snorkel through Thunderball Grotto – used in the filming of the 1965 James Bond movie “Thunderball”,

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and spend lazy afternoons floating in some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen…

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 Embrace Resort is scheduled for a Grand Opening in 2016 once the entire resort is finished, and although the restaurant, swimming pool and spa are not yet complete, the 4 villas that are already constructed are available to rent and can be booked through their website: Embrace Resort.

To find out more about Embrace Resort, be sure to follow them on their Facebook page and Twitter.

A big thanks to Nicole and Natajia for hosting our stay at Embrace Resort and we look forward to visiting again next year to see all that Embrace will have to offer!

Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Elbow Cay

While exploring the pretty little town of Hope Town on Elbow Cay during our recent sail through the Abacos, we passed a lovely place called the Hope Town Harbour Lodge. Feeling a bit parched, we noticed a sign out front for the Reef Bar & Grill and thought we’d check to see if we could sit down and enjoy a delicious rum drink, or even an ice cold Sands.

copyright Rum Therapy
Not only did we enjoy a refreshing and tasty rum punch at the Reef Bar & Grill overlooking the beautiful beach out back, but we enjoyed the chill ambiance of Hope Town Harbour Lodge. The grounds were manicured, the pool inviting, the beautiful beach even more inviting, the pretty cottages painted in bright Bahamian colors, and the people – so friendly and welcoming.

copyright Rum Therapy
copyright Rum Therapy
copyright Rum Therapy
If we are lucky enough to return to Elbow Cay someday, the Hope Town Harbour Lodge is certainly the type of place we’d love to stay.

Have you been to Hope Town Harbour Lodge? Tell us about it!


Find Hope Town Harbour Lodge on our Bahamas Map

To see more island posts, check out our Island Blog Directory

copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC