Barbados, Antigua other nice islands for a holiday villa style - basically i need loads of advice

(25 Posts)
shinybaubles Tue 28-Jan-14 19:43:46

So we're planning a summer holiday, we want to go for 3 weeks somewhere hot with a beach, but I would really like a calm sea rather that surfer waves. I just need some help choosing an island, tempted by Barbados, Antigua - but what are the other options. Needs to be easy to get to preferably direct flight from UK. Would go to the Indian ocean but suspect flight is too long for the kids.

Creamycoolerwithcream Wed 29-Jan-14 13:01:00

St Lucia is lovely, the north of the island has calmer sea than the south. Are you planning to go July/very early August to avoid the hurricane season?

shinybaubles Wed 29-Jan-14 14:59:07

Very early July, I used to live in the region and am ok with the risk of rain, hurricanes etc. Have been to St. Lucia thanks for the tip, but was hoping to try somewhere new, looks like it will be Antigua.

Creamycoolerwithcream Wed 29-Jan-14 15:14:46

How about Tobago?

evertonmint Wed 29-Jan-14 16:09:45

We just had a lovely winter villa holiday in Antigua. Lovely island - our favourite of the 5 we've visited. We stayed in the south west. 10 mins walk from nearest beach, big supermarket, 2 restaurants across the road and lots more close by.

evertonmint Wed 29-Jan-14 16:10:26

And beautiful calm turquoise sea grin

shinybaubles Wed 29-Jan-14 18:18:17

evertonmint - we are looking at renting something in nonsuch bay, what do you think where abouts were you? Any other tips would be welcome.

evertonmint Wed 29-Jan-14 18:42:17

We went to Harmony Hall for lunch which is very close by Nonsuch (excellent Italian food on a gorgeous terrace overlooking the sea - definitely worth a visit!) I don't know the resort but did see it from the sea - it is in a good setting for sailing and other watersports but if you want idyllic turquoise seas then you might be better on the south or west of the island. It was pretty windy when we were there - I didn't enjoy snorkelling as it was choppy, although the kite surfers nearby were having a whale of a time! Also Nonsuch is at the end of a pretty long unsealed road so getting out and about is quite tricky, although if you just want to arrive and stay somewhere peaceful then it is perfect for that.

We stayed around Jolly Harbour (google Jolly Villas for where we stayed). That bit of the island has more of a mountainous, rainforesty feel (although nothing like St Lucia) whereas the Nonsuch Bay area is more open and rolling.

Shirley Heights is fantastic for a stunning view of English Harbour/Falmouth Harbour and you can also visit Nelson's Dockyard which is worth a wander. Good restaurants round there.

Apart from there and Harmony Hall we stayed very local to us - several beautiful beaches and lovely beach bars. It was an idyllic, relaxing holiday.

Muddiboots Wed 29-Jan-14 20:50:30

Another vote for Tobago, we had a lovely villa with a pool. Felt very safe, people lovely and beaches fab.
Have done st Lucia, Grenada,Jamaica,Barbados and would pick Tobago to go back to first.

dontcallmemam Thu 30-Jan-14 17:11:52

Tobago is lovely, I've always fancied Grenada. The BVIs are stunning but the Grenadines win for me. Bequia is the perfect caribbean island. Might be worth a look?

Hulababy Thu 30-Jan-14 17:20:25

shinybaubles - We stayed at NonSuch Bay last summer for a week. It was beautiful.

We had actually had a week in the US before and went there from the US and then home from Antigua. We stayed in a 3 bed, two storey house there - belongs to someone DH knows. The townhouses were at start of resort and it is a hill to the main reception/bar/restarant - could walk but a quick phonecall to recpeton and a lovely man comes and picks you up in his car, and will take you back later smile

The resort has a rally good restaurant - though it isn't cheap. Although the houses have cooking facilities - ours had a proper fully fitted kitchen. Great bar - the resident barman is fab!

DD and Dh used the infinity pools all the time. They were often virtually empty. I particularly liked the look of the one next to the bar - dd liked to go in that one in late afternoon whilst I sat nearby with a cocktail and a book :D

We did go on the small beach - plenty of sunbeds available. Again, as August is technically out of season it wasn't busy. But the weather was beautofully hot and virtually no rain - had a bit overnight once. CDD and Dh went int he sea paddling; DH also went snorkling - the boathouse had masks to borrow, etc. We didn't try the sailing but will do if we go back as DD fancies it.

You do have to drive everywhere to visit other places. We got a car. It is a rough and bumpy track to the resort rather than a road - but we discovered a few places were like that, outside the very big all inclusive type places. We tended to have a drive out to the various beaches, museum, devil's bridge etc dring the dy and then head back and spend later afternoon and evening at the resort.

Let me know if there is anything more I can tell you about - and I have tons of photos from there too.

Hulababy Thu 30-Jan-14 17:21:10

Nearyby Harmony Hall closes over the some btw.

Hulababy Thu 30-Jan-14 17:32:59

Have to say when we were there in the summer it wasn't windy at all. The sailing had to go further round the bay corner to pick up the wind more.

ou can also catch a boat from NSB to the little island off the shore - they take you, with a picnic, drop you off, and then collet you later on in the day. or a bit of quiet and seclusion - and for most it really was - they could be the only one there for the full day! We didn't head over but heard others who said it was lovely - and the man we had the house from likes it over there.

We found driving pretty easy going - but didn't bother paying out for the extra damage insurance they tried to get us to buy - the car was a battered old thing anyway so doubt they'd have noticed!

Muddiboots Thu 30-Jan-14 17:39:42

if anyone fancys a lush holiday without offspring (think they do take kids but wouldnt be my choice of family hotel), this place
http://www.calabashhotel.com/
is just fabulous
suitesof rooms with private pool and patio, breakfast served on your terrace each morning and the most amazing gary rhodes restaurant every night.
Cannot say how lovely it is!

Muddiboots Thu 30-Jan-14 17:40:20

sorry that was for the poster who fancied Grenada!

Hulababy Thu 30-Jan-14 17:44:05

Some Antigua pics, inc lots on NonSuch Bay.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/16034418@N07/sets/72157640323772715/

They have a FB page here too: https://www.facebook.com/nonsuchbayresort?fref=ts

dontcallmemam Thu 30-Jan-14 17:49:08

Muddi, I've looked at it longingly several times. Sadly DC will be with us for the time being..but I've noticed they have private villas on the hotel site too. It looks heavenly.

Muddiboots Thu 30-Jan-14 21:13:01

Dontcallmemam, it is everything it says it is. Dh never ever ever wants to go anywhere twice but even he is desperate to go back. Go for it, you know you want to grin

God I love Antigua! My favourite Caribbean island. Feels very safe too unlike some of them.

MillyMollyMama Fri 31-Jan-14 00:42:04

Dontcallmemam. Totally agree about the BVIs. Virgin Gorda is the best place to stay and some great villa rentals too. We stayed at Mayo Bay. We also hired a yacht one year. That was the best holiday as we were at different islands and anchorages every day. Low season so slightly more affordable too. We went to St Vincent and the Grenadines many years ago and Bequia is fabulous. These islands are less touristy in some respects and travelling between islands is fun on the local ferries.

shinybaubles Fri 31-Jan-14 11:57:51

Hi Hulababy,
Thanks for the pics and all the info. Sorry I didn't reply sooner got engrossed in looking at villas and flights.
Can I ask a few more questions about the beach, were the sun loungers, is there drinks service on the beach, and is the water ok for kids to splash about in. I read other reviews that said it was full of seaweed?
Did you cook a lot or eat at the on site restaurant?
So nice to find someone who has been there.

shinybaubles Fri 31-Jan-14 12:00:03

Hi everyone,
I do plan on trying all the islands well that's my plan anyway. So all info is useful. I have been to St Lucia and that was ok, also Barbados - this was sometime ago and I have heard it has gone a bit downhill, not sure if this is true or not.

Hulababy Fri 31-Jan-14 13:06:11

Plenty of sun loungers on the beach.
There was some seaweed but dd and dh still went in a bit so can't have been too bad I guess. There were a couple of other children in there. Dd prefers pools so spent most of time in them tbh. We did visit other beaches too.

Didn't notice bar service on beach. Maybe in season there may be. I just sent dh up to the bar. Or again - by the pools. Infinity pool by the bar obviously was best for this!

Hulababy Fri 31-Jan-14 13:07:34

We ate out mostly. 3 or 4 times in the resort restaurant for dinner, a couple at lunch. Other times are bigger meal out and about. Then had things like bread and salad at home or toast. Had breakfasts in house too.

4forkssake Sat 01-Feb-14 16:39:41

I'd recommend Barbados any day. Easy to get around (much more so than St. Lucia) & I find the people much more friendly than in Antigua (might've just been our experience). I've just posted on another thread about a resort in Barbados called Glitter Bay. It's an old hotel which is now apartments & is lovely. Definitely worth a look.

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