There's nothing I love more for a vacation destination than chillaxing on a tropical beach. Well, waterside relaxation and vacation interiors as you'll soon see ;)! My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in late spring and did something we rarely do....leave the kids at home for an adults only trip. After much debate, research, and the recommendation of a friend, we settled on Jumby Bay Island in Antigua. Let me tell you - this island is just magical! If you're looking for a quiet place to relax and unplug from the world, I highly recommend Jumby Bay!
Getting there was a little bit bumpy at the start. Our flights were changed multiple times leading up to our trip, each getting earlier and earlier which isn't a biggie because we are morning people. Still, we had to be there at zero dark thirty on the day of departure. We roll up at 4am and walk in to an absolute madhouse. We maneuvered the crowds and made our way to the top of the security line only to be turned back towards said madhouse to reprint vouchers because the app wouldn't work for my boarding pass. #insertwideeyedemojihere We thought we would miss the plane because the lines were so long...the hubs was nearly apoplectic and overall not a relaxing way to start but what are you gonna do? Tip: always print a copy of your boarding pass #lessonlearned After a brief layover in Miami, we were back in the air and headed for the Caribbean.
When we landed in Antigua, the airport was just as crowded, with lines that went on and on for customs. We followed the crowd and took our place in said long long line. Then all of a sudden, a lady appears with a sign that says "Jumby Bay" and points us to a different line in the customs area with groups going to different resorts. After the trip we had getting to the island, I said a little thank you in my head to our nerd selves for all the research we put into planning including going through a travel agent just in case there was an issue. We made our way through customs then followed our guide to the car they had waiting outside which took us to the private boat launch nearby to Jumby Bay Island.
After a quick seven minute trip we arrived at what felt like Fantasy Island. We were greeted by several Jumby Bay employees on the dock where one fabulous person took our bags straight to our room and another whisked us away to one of the bars at the resort and given the most delicious rum drinks. As we sipped rum and enjoyed the magical views, we were presented with our itinerary to review.
After our yummy drinks, we took a golf cart to our casita. Now you may not know this but no matter where travel, my family knows they are not to touch anything (#kiddingnotkidding) or unpack until I have taken ample photos of every space. My fellow designers will know what I'm talking about! My husband knows this very well, and let me go to town with my camera in the casita before we settled in!
I love a large bathroom especially on vacation! Ours had a choice of showers and a deep soaking tub.
The detail on that hanging vanity is just divine, and the outdoor shower was a great touch if we wanted to wash off from the pool really quickly. The view from our room...a pool right outside and then a short stroll down to the beach. A pair of bicycles awaits out the front should you want a quicker mode of transport around the island.
We never left the island, and every night we tried a different restaurant. All of them were divine, and featured local foods grown in their on-premises garden. We even did a picnic under the stars in the gardens one night - just beautiful. We were lucky enough to get a tour of the gardens from the head gardener, and he was a hoot! He even came by later with a fresh coconut cut from a tree and cut into it so both of us could try the juice!
There are more than a few restaurants to choose from and not one of them let us down...everything was delectable. We tried fried prawns the first day during lunch, and they were so delicious that we ended up getting those every day and maybe more than one helping. #allegedly We planned a huge itenerary before we left but once we got to the island, we felt like less was more and we canceled a few things. Things we would never have canceled: a rum tasting class one afternoon, English tea on another, and a circumnavigation boat tour. We also enjoyed a cooking class another day as well, and met some lovely couples from England and from the South like us. The younger couple was on their honeymoon, and I joked with them that the groom had aimed too high - you have to work up to Jumby Bay! Otherwise, you're in for some pricey vacations from now on :) He set the bar high from the get go!
What a view and what a pool (one of many) - we spent quite a few hours under an umbrella out here!
There are about 40 houses that line the perimeter of the resort, and we found out during a circumnavigation boat tour that the resort on Jumby Bay is actually owned by those homeowners. Since the resort is in their literal backyard, decisions are not made lightly. Small casitas versus huge, tall towers of hotel rooms preserve the beauty of the bay, and I completely agree with that choice! The infinity pool you see below took about six years to get final approval as they weighed design options and debated about its affects on the views and surroundings (scroll through to see a couple of the houses around the island)...
The beaches were so quiet during the week - we maybe saw one other couple on any given day until a huge wedding party flew in on Thursday. Of course I manage to get sunburned the first day at the beach after 20 minutes frolicking in the ocean #specialskin, but my goodness was it gorgeous! Just look at that water - I've never seen clearer water in my life (or real live starfish)!
We have never taken advantage of a resort spa on a vacation, but I figured we should try it after 20 years together! We ended up trying three different treatments, and I found my new favorite product line after the staff used this on my very sensitive skin.
There was no bad view anywhere. The resort was immaculate. The people there were so lovely and welcoming! The food was incredible. Bottom line: Jumby Bay is perfection, in every way, and worth every penny in my humble opinion.
We've haven't left the country since the kids were born, well, once on a super special trip on a superyacht with friends...did I ever blog about that?...if not, let's add it to the list.
Seriously if you know us IRL, you know we rarely leave our kids so it was really nice to get away. My husband even put his phone in the safe and didn't take a call for seven days, which N E V E R happens, and that in itself was worth the money for the trip!
We told each other repeatedly - let's not wait another 20 years to go back and do a trip like that. Although it was very expensive, we don't do a lot of extravagant things like that in our life... everything we do really and truly is for our kids. We've always put them first but I do however remind my husband that our kids are going to leave soon and it's just gonna be me and you, sunshine - forget saving for college, let's travel more, ha. I tell him all the time.
I didn't feel right talking about vacation right after we returned, as both my parents' health declined at a rapid pace mid May, and we lost my mom shortly thereafter. Now I realize that carving out time to spend with your loved ones, and experiencing new places are things to be celebrated, and taken advantage of when you do have those people around.
Take that vacation. Don't wait if you can do it!