Eloise, 33, and Oliver Barnes, 34, from Kent, took Ruby, 6, and Josh, 4, on a luxury, two-centre, all-inclusive holiday to the Caribbean island of Antigua.
“With two young children and a hectic workload we needed a bit of a treat, so we thought about Antigua. We wanted to mix relaxation with plenty of kids’ activities and decided to do a two-centre stay to get as much from the island as possible.
A beachside paradise
Just 30 minutes from the airport, our first resort, St James’s Club and Villas, was set on a secluded, 100-acre peninsula, on the south-eastern coast, between two white sandy beaches with amazing views – Coco Beach and Mamora Bay. Our room was on the ground floor, so it was just a few steps onto Coco Beach from our own patio area.
The large air-conditioned room comfortably accommodated the four of us, including all the toys we’d brought. We spent most of our time on Mamora Bay as the sea was calmer and the children could happily play in the shallows. The resort offered a range of complimentary non-motorised water sports, so Oliver took advantage of the windsurfing option, while I chilled out with the children on the beach. We had some quiet time when Ruby and Josh went to Kidz Club, which caters for potty-trained children, aged 4-11, and offers a range of activities – from treasure hunts to limbo dancing!
Spas and stingrays
Halfway through the week, a 45-minute transfer took us across the island to the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa. This was a really lively place, with fab evening entertainment (the kids loved the steel band) and a large family room with sea views. The children spent a lot of time in the Jolly Kidz Club, while Oliver and I visited the resort’s wellness centre. We loved the Palms Indulgence treatment, consisting of a full body scrub, massage and facial. On our last day we took a boat ride to Stingray City, where, after a safety talk, we were allowed in the water to pet and feed stingrays. I held Ruby as the water wasn’t shallow enough for her but she still loved it and it was an amazing experience to round off our holiday.
Seven nights in a superior room at Jolly Beach Resort costs £3,796 for two adults and two children, with return BA flights in May from Gatwick to Antigua. Book through Hayes & Jarvis (0871 200 2211). Seven nights all-inclusive in a standard room at the 4V St James Club, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick, with transfers, starts from £1,452 per adult, and £842 per child. See www.virginholidays.co.uk.