Than you Antigua!
As a mother to a toddler and step-mom to a tween I find planning vacations to be a challenge, to say the least. We want a place where both kids will have things to do, the tween can have a modicum of independence and we might find ways to hang out and have fun all together. Tall order, but Nonsuch Bay Resort in Antigua managed to deliver.
A Family Stay at Nonsuch Bay: Review
A quick 30 minutes from the airport, this secluded Nonsuch Bay was big enough to have a beach and three pools, but small enough to easily find our way around. Its accommodations all have one or more bedrooms with separate living space and kitchens. The more up-market suites have their own small swimming pools, which could be incredibly convenient with older kids, or yet another thing to worry about with busy toddlers.
We opted for a two-bedroom apartment with a crib, ocean views and outdoor space. The toddler shared a room with us and my stepdaughter happily got a room of her own. A “pre-arrival concierge” offered to help us out with car rentals, airport transfers and provisioning our room for us, but we didn’t bother with this.
We found a taxi at the Antigua airport and asked the driver stop at a big grocery store so we could stock up on groceries. As with most islands, anything that had to be imported (most packaged goods) were expensive, but they carried familiar brand names and it was still less money (and stress) than it would have been to dine out three times a day with a toddler.
We took a break from cooking and ate dinner in the very good resort restaurant a few times. The mix of Caribbean favorites and standards like pasta and steak made everyone happy. We used an onsite sitter to watch the toddler in the room one evening so the tween could have us to herself.
Nonsuch is definitely a low-key resort but it’s still family friendly. It’s ideal for parents who want a beach getaway but find the sprawling all-inclusives too anonymous and overwhelming.
Our kids were too young and too old, respectively, for the kids club, which takes kid ages 4 to 7. During school holidays the resort offers kite boarding and sailing programs for tweens and teens, but we were there on an off-week.
Luckily, our older one quickly met other girls her age at the pool and the beach, and my husband and I connected with their parents. We retreated to the great outdoor space off our living room while our toddler napped. Our tween used those hours to chill out in our hammock with a book or her iPad.
We managed to coordinate a few day trips with other families where we could take our toddler along. The easiest was a snorkeling daytrip to a deserted island. The boat left from the resort’s beach and the fee included snorkel gear. Snorkeling and swimming off a deserted island in the middle of the ocean was an amazing experience—no complaints of boredom from either kid! And the youngest actually took a nap under a tree.
I can see how this Antigua resort might be a little too low-key for some families. For us, not having much to do was perfect. It provided was a nice and rare opportunity to slow down and relax with each other. We actually came home rested and ready to face the winter.
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Leslie Winston is a Brooklyn Mom and sometimes writer.