One of the largest, and most laid-back, of Antigua’s resorts, St. James Club & Villas, on Mamora Bay, about five minutes from English Harbour, has long been a favorite of couples and families. As at many all-inclusives, the dining can occasionally bring back memories of school lunch programs, but the free Kidz Club and four wedding gazebos let everyone know it is their kind of place. On one of the two beaches, Mamora Bay, the waves gently lap; on the other, Coco Beach, the surf crashes. Among the six pools, two are adults-only, and one is just for kids.
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On the southeast coast of Antigua, half an hour from the airport ($35 by taxi), the St. James Club & Villas is one of the closest resorts to English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. Visit it for the history, checked off painlessly enough by having lunch at the Admiral’s Inn, and to admire the yachts that gather there, especially during Antigua Sailing Week in late April and early May and, just preceding it, the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. To venture farther afield, arrange a day trip via catamaran to Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, where the landscape is flat but the beaches are outstanding, including one once frequented by Princess Diana.
Need to Know
Rooms: 218 rooms, including 44 suites and 17 villas. From $650 low season, $760 high season. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The Piccolo Mondo, with hillside views and Italian cuisine, is the hotel’s fine-dining alternative (try the catch of the day on saffron risotto), but it requires a $40 supplement per person. Other choices include the Docksider Grill, which specializes in Caribbean-inspired dishes; the Rainbow Garden, serving breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea; and Coco’s Restaurant & Bar, for light fare in a casual setting beside the sea. Spa and gym details: The Tranquility Body & Soul Spa’s seven Tahitian-inspired treatment rooms overlook Mamora Bay, as does the St. James Hair Salon. The seaside gym is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Who’s it for: Travelers, including families, who want to relax in comfort but don’t need to stay at the most expensive address on the island. Our favorite rooms: Couples like the 568-square-foot Royal Suites because they are adults-only, as is one of the two pools they share. The suites are not on the beach, but their private balconies overlook Mamora Bay, and their oversize bathrooms have his and hers showers and romance-friendly soaking tubs. Share a ride: There’s no need to rent a car, or even hire taxis. For a small fee the resort runs daily shuttles to St. John’s, about 30 minutes away. On Sundays, shuttles also run to Shirley Heights, near English Harbour, where at sundown the drinks flow and the music cranks.