At first glance
“Can I offer you a rum cocktail?” asks the friendly receptionist as we’re welcomed to Galley Bay, a luxurious, all-inclusive resort spilling onto the white sand beaches of Antigua’s Caribbean coast. We’re quickly initiated into the Galley way of life as we take in luxurious suites, thatched Polynesian-style holiday huts, the waterfall-sided pool, open air restaurants and bars strewn along this private stretch of Caribbean sand.
Room for romance
Our beachfront suite over delivers in the views department. The scene from the first floor balcony takes in Galley’s pristine beach dotted with fruit-laden palm trees and beyond that, calm wave-upon-wave of sun-warmed sea. We’ve already spotted the welcome champagne on ice beside the bed and decide to pop the cork outside on the balcony to make the most of the West Indian sun.
Inside the suite, complete with an impressive vaulted ceiling, our bed is as wide as an ocean and unbelievably comfortable, while the bathroom comes with a sizeable newlywed-ready corner bath for a romantic evening soak as well as separate his and hers showers.
We’re also informed about the Gauguin Cottages with lagoon-side views (although still less than a five minute walk to the beach). These novel, traditionally thatched homesteads each feature a private plunge pool; super cute and the perfect alternative away-from-it-all honeymoon hideaways.
Food here is delicious, in plentiful supply and with three restaurants to choose from you’ll never have to have the same thing twice. We feasted on fresh tuna steak at The Sea Grape’s Caribbean barbeque (held once a week) and the sweetest plantain and pan-fried fillet of butterfish in an intimate cabana for two at Gauguin. There’s a supplementary charge to dine at Ismay’s, but it’s well worth it. Here, the mood’s more formal although by no means stuffy; over the clinking of wine glasses and murmur of diners you can still hear the waves rolling gently onto the beach nearby.
Indulge spa is pretty special, with rustic treatment pods perched on stilts overlooking the resort’s lagoon. While away an hour or two with the new hubby and opt for a couple’s treatment. The Indulge Coconut Cocoon uses grated coconut to exfoliate, a relaxing coconut wrap to moisturise and heady coconut oils to rejuvenate.
The satisfying rum cocktails available from the beach-side bar. The friendly staff here will whip up whatever your palette desires, although we’d recommend you partner that with a generous splash of the local rum – English Harbour and Cavalier are the names to know. We also loved: feeling smart at bedtime owing to the quirky Bed Notes – full of island facts – left in our suite at turn down; exploring the shops and old world charm of Nelson’s Dockyard, the island’s restored British navel base; and honing our sailing and scuba diving skills with Galley Bay’s resident activities shack instructor, Shiloh down on the beach.
Kuoni (01306 747008 or kuoni.co.uk) offers seven nights on all inclusive basis at the 4.5-star Galley Bay, Antigua in a superior beachfront room, including flights with British Airways from Gatwick. Prices for September 2013 are from £1919 per person, based on two sharing. To book please quote KU9091. Honeymoon couples also receive a bottle of champagne on arrival.