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First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

Boston...
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First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Antigua in early 2013 with my wife. We are in our early 30s and like to rent a car and get out and explore, so we have no interest in staying in an AI resort. We are looking for a nice hotel (no mega resorts) around $150-$200 per night on a beautiful, low-key stretch of beach (no venders, crowds, etc). With so many hotels, should I focus my search on a particular part of the island (English Harbour, St. Johns, etc) to narrow down the choices? Ideally, we’d be within walking distance of a few nice restaurants, as well as some more local type restaurants and beach bars. We are not club or casino people, but instead enjoy drinks with the sunset, having a nice dinner (upscale or casual on a beach), and then maybe catching some live music. Are the restaurants clustered in any particular area or are things more spread out? We prefer to take in our sites during the day as driving at night can be tricky on islands. Our last two trips were to Turks & Caicos and Anguilla and we loved both places and where hoping Antigua would be a similar experience. Thanks in advance!

UK/Antigua
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for St. John's, Antigua
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1. Re: First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

There are three areas that would probably suit you.

English Harbour/Falmouth - very much the place to be during the winter season with a couple of very nice beaches and lots of excellent places to eat and drink to suit every budget. Perhaps the Catamaran Hotel might suit, or one of the cottages at Galleon Beach.

Jolly Harbour area - probably the best chain of beaches (running south from Jolly Beach and including Valley Church, Ffryes, Darkwood, Turners, Morris Bay, Carlisle Bay). You won't find a resort on the beach in your budget, but Sugar Ridge might be an option - they shuttle to a choice of beaches and it's a cool little resort. Again, plenty of food choices, but with the large Jolly Harbour Marina and villas, perhaps a little resort-y for what you're after. Another option might be Keyonna - very small and intimate little hotel on a gorgeous stretch of beach at Turners.

Dickenson Bay - the main beach is the busiest on the island, but Buccaneer Bay (at the southern end of Dickenson) is much quieter and prettier. Look here at Siboney, or if you're happy with a condo (which can be a great option on Antigua) you might consider Buccaneer Beach Club.

Of the three, English Harbour/Falmouth would probably be my first choice between November and May, but it's the least accessible for visiting other parts of the island - though with a car, it's not a big deal as nothing is really that far away!

All beaches on Antigua are public, so any which have a resort on them may have vendors - though they tend to be most prevalent on the busier beaches, especially on cruise ship days. However, our vendors are (almost without exception) lovely people - quite happy to leave you alone after a polite "no thank you" and well worth taking the time to chat to. Very different to some of the very aggressive salespeople found on some other islands.

Hope that's some help as a starting point!

Boston...
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2. Re: First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

Mizgeorge - thank you very much for your prompt response.

English Harbour/Falmouth seems very appealing. I love the look of the Inn at English Harbour, but think the hotel will be outside our budget. Can you please tell me more about the Cottages at Galleon Beach – are these private properties or a smaller hotel?

I’m disappointed to hear that most of the resorts in the Jolly Harbour area are out of my price range – is this because most are AI and the rates are higher? I’ll check out Sugar Ridge and Keyonna.

Island-wide – what would be your top choices for hotels in the $150-$200/night range?

Thanks again!

Columbus, Ohio
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3. Re: First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

It's not on a beach but it's in an ideal location on the west coast lower down than Jolly Harbour with great views. South Coast Ocean View Apartments. Beaches 5 minutes away in both directions.

http://scova-antigua.com/about.html

www.antiguaforums.com/viewtopic.php…

Regards

Mark

UK/Antigua
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for St. John's, Antigua
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4. Re: First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

Galleon Beach cottages - lovely little spot

http://www.galleonbeach.com/cottages.html

Some of the cottages are a little tired, but the location is gorgeous.

Overall, I probably wouldn't choose a hotel - you get so much more for your money if you self-cater, and there's a fantastic choice of places to eat out, as well as excellent supermarkets for grocery shopping.

And yes, too many of the resorts around JH are now AI, which makes them a lot more expensive. However, there are some great villas in the area, and these are worth considering.

5. Re: First Trip - Non-AI Resort Recommendations?

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