All Inclusive Holidays in Antigua

Solo Traveller Holidays

As a solo traveller, in my opinion, all inclusive holidays are great.  They can be excellent to head to if you are travelling alone and exploring somewhere new for the first time.

The resorts offer everything you need without having to leave, if this is your preference.  Going on holiday on your own, in itself, is a big step but without a doubt will boost your self-esteem.  So if on arriving at your destination you don’t have the confidence to go off resort yet, then don’t.  Don’t rush it, wait until you are ready.  It may be a couple of days after settling in or it may be your next holiday.

The first time I went away as a solo traveller I stayed at my all inclusive resort in Antigua the whole time.  I was so proud of myself for going away alone and enjoying myself, even though I did pick a hotel suitable for honeymooners!!!  I was still able to get a feel for the country and the culture by speaking to staff and through the entertainment, music and the local cuisine.

But the next time I came away I had knowledge, experience and more confidence to venture out…

All inclusive holidays, solo holidays, starfish jolly beach resort, antigua, antigua holidays, solo travel reviews, solo travel reviews antigua
Starfish Jolly Beach Resort – All Inclusive Holidays

All Inclusive Resorts – Benefits for solo travellers

  • Most of the resorts are located on a beachfront position.
  • If you are looking to relax, unwind and do very little then all inclusive holidays are perfect.
  • Food and drink is included, sometimes with the exception of premium brand alcohol, fine wines or certain dishes in some restaurants.
  • There is usually more than one restaurant on the resort offering you varied dining choices.
  • Entertainment is varied both daytime and night time at no extra cost.
  • Waiting staff are usually very friendly and keen to talk to you if you are alone.
  • All inclusive holidays help you to budget as most costs are included.  Additional money is only needed for tours, spa treatments, fine wine etc.
  • You have the security of booking recommended tours and excursions through the hotel.
  • If you want to head out for a day to explore somewhere new, tell reception the day before.  They will often provide a packed lunch for you.
  • Do you like to exercise while you’re away?  Most resorts have a gym, at least one swimming pool and non-motorised watersports included in the all inclusive plan.
  • Some resorts have a ‘sister hotel’ where you can use their facilities or dine at their restaurants for a change.

In my experience hotels that are not exclusive for ‘over 18s’ only, have a mixture of families, couples and solo travellers for business and leisure.  On the occasions I have been to ‘over 18s’ only, resorts., I haven’t seen many solo travellers.

I hope the above information has helped if you are a solo traveller looking to head to Antigua or any other all inclusive holiday destination.

Suggested Further Reading

Antigua Hotels Hotels I have stayed at by myself

Things to do – Recommended activities for solo travellers

Restaurants – Restaurants I enjoyed dining solo at

Where is Antigua? And Other FAQ

When people know I am visiting Antigua, they very often ask me the same questions.  Here are the answers to a few FAQ…

Where is Antigua?

Antigua is one of the Leeward islands in the West Indies, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.  It is the largest island that forms part of the country, Antigua & Barbuda.

Antigua Map

Antigua Map

The island is made up of 6 Parishes, the capital being St John’s.  The majority of the hotel resorts are located in the St John’s, St Mary and St Paul’s parishes.

Weather

Reported to be the sunniest of the islands in the Caribbean, the temperatures remain consistently warm.  Average daytime temperatures are between 24-30° all year round and they don’t dip below 20° at night.  The most rainfall is generally in the months of October-December and the least amount is between January and April.  However, there is a certain amount of rainfall every month.  Very often these are short, sharp, tropical showers and then the sun comes out in all its glory soon after.  Sometimes it rains at night, so do not be put off by seeing monthly rainfall statistics.

Hurricanes

The hurricane season in is between June and November.  The risk is highest between mid August-mid October.  There is a slim chance of a hurricane hitting Antigua.  6 direct hits have been recorded in the last 50 years.  Storms are monitored in the Caribbean by a hurricane network, stormcarib.com.

Currency

The local currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (ECD).  However, US$s are also widely accepted.  Whenever I have purchased anything in Antigua using US$s, I have always received my change in ECDs, I think this is pretty standard.

Is it safe to Travel Solo in Antigua?

Having travelled solo to Antigua on several occasions and additionally visited with family too, in my opinion it is a safe country to come to.  It has a low crime rate and therefore I exercise the same amount of caution that I would travelling anywhere alone.

I hope the blog post has been of help and if you want to read my solo travel reviews of my Antigua holiday, please click on the links below …

Solo Travel – Was it worth it?

Solo Travel – Antigua and Australia

Solo travel to Antigua and Australia,  was it worth it?  These are the two countries I have visited so far as a solo traveller and my answer is yes.

Here are my top 4 reasons why…

  1. I have learnt more about myself.  When I have travelled with  someone, there has to be a lot of compromise.  The compromise could be with things you do, places you visit and where you eat etc.  When I travelled to Antigua alone in July, some days I did nothing but lay on a sun lounger and read a book uninterrupted.  Lazy right?  But I never realised how enjoyable it was and how therapeutic it was to become ‘lost’ in a book.  Reading, to me, became a great way to de-stress.  Now I make sure I factor time in my home life to read regularly.  I wouldn’t have done that if I had been going away with other people.  I would have felt unsociable.
  2. Reduces Irritation.  Imagine you go away with a partner or a friend to Australia and there’s this cool fish restaurant you want to try out.  You mention that you would love to go there and they say “I don’t like fish”.  You accept it  but deep down you’re a bit miffed because you would really like to go there.  Travelling solo… bingo!  Off you go!!
  3.  A perfect chance to problem solve. When life gets busy, there is little chance to problem solve effectively.  A hectic lifestyle of work, social occasions, children and chores meant I never had the time or energy to think some things through properly, like where my career was going.  So I plodded on, thinking I would get round to it at some point.  Around Christmas time 2017 I went on a solo travel trip and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I really liked my job and I loved the people I worked with but somehow it wasn’t enough.  I was no longer passionate about it.  Travelling solo gave me to block time to think things through properly.  I wasn’t able to do that at home as I felt a bit like I was always chasing my tail, with other things cluttering my headspace.  I realised I wanted to travel more and I needed a career based around travel.  It was shortly after this holiday, that I decided to quit my job and take the plunge to do something new.  I haven’t looked back.
  4. I am more responsible.  If I ever travelled with someone, I was very guilty of letting them take control.  They would organise the online check-in, hire the car, book the airport lounge or even lead the way to the hotel.  If I didn’t have to think for myself then I wouldn’t.  I was hopeless with directions so followed along like a sheep, leaving someone else to think about where we were going.  But travelling solo I had to start thinking for myself.  I would have to pay attention to directions so I didn’t get lost.  I now book flights and whizz through airport procedures without giving it a second thought.  Solo travel has allowed me to take on this responsibility, eased my anxiety about it and allowed me to grow in confidence.

Read my reviews of my solo travel experiences in Antigua and Australia for more information.

Solo travel allows you to grow in confidence, boost self-esteem, become more responsible and learn about yourself at the same time.  I have so far travelled to Antigua and Australia solo, but you could go anywhere.  If you are inspired and are planning on travelling solo to Antigua or Australia or anywhere else for that matter, I would love to hear from you.  I would be keen to hear  how the experience was for you. Travel Grow Do It Solo!

Breakfast in Manly

Jetlag waking me up at 1:30am left me plenty of time to build up an appetite and think about where to go for my breakfast in Manly.  I passed some time watching the sunrise and then explored.

Breakfast in Manly after watching the sunrise, Manly, Sydney, Australia
Sunrise in Manly, Sydney, Australia

Breakfast in Manly along the Beachfront

Along the beachfront there were many places offering breakfast. I stayed at The Sebel Manly Beach.  Breakfast at adjoining Manly Wine was available and could be charged to my room.  It looked good and popular, as did Bluewater, Sugar Lounge and Hemingways which overlooked the beach.   To be honest, all of them would have been suitable for a solo traveller.

Many people in Manly exercise along the beachfront early morning while it is cool.  Other’s are surfing as soon as the sun starts to rise.  Therefore, I guess it makes sense that there are so many places to choose from for a good sized, healthy breakfast afterwards.

Breakfast in Manly in a Non-beachfront Location

I went a little further afield.   I walked along the beachfront, turned into the corso, the hub of Manly and off every side street are more cafes.  You really are spoilt for choice here in terms of places to eat and grab a coffee.

The corso, a pedestrian area, is filled with market stalls on Saturdays and Sundays and is a great place for a wander before or after breakfast.

Breakfast in Manly, followed by a wander around Manly Market, Manly, Sydney, Australia
Manly Market, Manly, Sydney, Australia

I found a couple of favourite places I enjoyed going to for breakfast as a solo traveller, Ora and Market Lane Cafe.  Click on the links to read a more detailed review about these places.  Both of these restaurants were in a non-beachfront location.

Breakfast at Market Lane Cafe, Manly, Sydney, Australia
Breakfast at Market Lane Cafe, Manly, Sydney, Australia
Bircher Muesli at Ora, Organic Cafe, Manly, Sydney, Australia
Bircher Muesli at Ora, Organic Cafe, Manly, Sydney, Australia

Ora had a charm about it.  The food was delicious, organic and unprocessed.  The menu was enticing with food I hadn’t tried before, certainly not made in the same way anyway.   Similarly with Market Lane Cafe, the food was excellent with some unusual choices on the menu. Both places leave you wanting to come back again to try something new.

Summary

In Summary, Manly in Sydney is a great place to go for breakfast as a solo traveller.  Generally people are having coffee or eating with friends, kids, partners or solo.  I never felt out of place being on my own.  Many of the cafes/restaurants have indoor and outdoor areas. There is plenty to do before or after breakfast in the local area too.

The exchange rate is quite good at the moment so prices seemed quite comparable to the UK in many cases.   I would definitely return to Ora and Market Lane Cafe but next time I am in Manly, I will be trying some of the other places too.  They all looked pretty good!  More reviews to follow…

Suggested Further Reading:

Things to do in Sydney – solo activities I have enjoyed

Recommended Hotels in Sydney – places I recommend as a solo traveller

Restaurants in Sydney – places I have enjoyed dining solo

The Sebel Manly Beach – Hotel & Apartments

The Sebel Manly Beach

The Sebel Manly Beach, one of the Manly Hotels with a perfect beachfront location.  It has been open for 55 years and  apparently guests here have included Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Elton John.

The Sebel Manly Beach hotel, Manly, Sydney, Australia, manly hotels

hotel reception area
Hotel Reception Area

The Buildings

There are 2 buildings, the main one, the North Tower, is attached to a wine bar, Manly Wine and a Greek Restaurant, Terracotta Ouzeria.  I stayed in the other building, South Towers, in a single studio on the fourth floor.  The studio had a balcony with table and chairs and partial sea views.  My air conditioned room was spacious with a large, comfy bed.  The living area had a sofa, coffee table, desk and fridge, tea and coffee making facilities.  There was a large shower in the bathroom A safe was available free of charge and free wifi was also available.

Bathroom in studio room,
Bathroom in studio room
the kitchen areaThe Sebel Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia, kitchen area, Manly Hotels
Small kitchen area
Bedroom Area
Bedroom area
Living Area, The Sebel Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia, Manly Hotels
Living area
Views from Balcony at The Sebel Manly Beach, Manly Beach, Manly Hotels, Sydney, Australia
Partial beach views from balcony, The Sebel Manly Beach
The Balcony, Single Studio, The Sebel Manly Beach, Manly Hotels, Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia
The balcony

Facilities

The Sebel is a 2 minute walk to Manly beach, less than 5 mins walk to some great shops, restaurants, pubs and bars and Coles supermarket, the equivalent to UK’s Tesco or Sainsburys.

Manly Beach, a short walk from The Sebel Manly Beach, Manly Hotels
Sunrise at Manly Beach
The Corso, Manly, short walk from The Sebel Manly Beach, Manly Hotels
The Corso, Saturday morning market and shops

Each tower has a a swimming pool.  There is a heated one in the North Tower and an unheated one in the South Tower.  Also in the South Tower is a laundry with complementary washing powder.  The washing machine and tumble dryer is available free of charge.

Manly Wine’s espresso bar offers a la carte breakfast in the morning if required, but there are many places serving breakfast nearby.

Summary

Considering the facilities and location of The Sebel Manly Beach in this popular beach suburb of Manly, I felt my studio offered excellent value for money at £85 per night.  As a solo traveller, I liked the security of the hotel reception being manned 24/7 if there was a problem.  But I also had the benefit of the feeling of home living at the same time by staying in an apartment.

In my opinion The Sebel Manly Beach is a great place to stay and I will definitely return.

Suggested Further Reading:

Sebel Manly Beach – the full review

Things to do in Sydney – Suitable solo activities

Restaurants in Sydney – Recommended for solo dining

Malaysia Airlines – London to Sydney via Kuala Lumpur

Prices

Malaysia Airlines were offering very competitive business class flights to Sydney, Australia, at the time of booking and I was very impressed.  Note, I booked 5 months in advance.  Had I left the booking until a couple of months before I travelled, the price would have been almost double what I paid!

Service, food and drink

Staff were very friendly on board and I was offered a glass of champagne once I was seated.  The food was excellent with plenty of choice.  The meals tasted like the quality you would have in a good restaurant which was a pleasant surprise.  It was a bonus to have proper cutlery, glasses and china plates too!

Malaysia Airlines - menu on outbound flight to Sydney, Australia from London via Kuala Lumpur
Menu on Malaysia Airline flight

Seating and added extras

The seats were extremely comfortable.  There were buttons for back massage and lumbar support.  The headphones were great with additional noise reduction.  I was grateful for this as the man near me was snoring so loudly!  We were given a vanity bag, complete with the usual toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash, hairbrush, eye mask, socks.  Additionally, a spray was provided to cool you down.  This was a nice touch as it became quite stuffy from time to time!

Wifi

Unfortunately there wasn’t a socket to charge my phone and laptop on the first leg of my journey to Kuala Lumpur.  However, wifi was available for a small charge.  The second flight from Kuala Lumpur had charging sockets but no wifi.

Flight Durations

The first flight was quite long at almost 13 hours.  There was only a 2 hour break between both flights so not much time to hang around and get bored.  It was great to be able to have time to have a proper walk around and a stretch though.  The second flight was much easier at 7 and a half hours.

Malaysia Airlines flight was extremely comfortable, with friendly staff and great food.  It is a great way to fly as a solo traveller and much more affordable if booked early.

Suggested Further Reading

Sydney – links to suggested hotels for solo travel, solo activities and restaurants I recommend for solo dining

Malaysia Airlines website for more information and prices

Solo Female Travel – Is it Lonely?

Solo Female Travel

Solo female travel, solo travel, travelling solo, Antigua holidays, Antigua holidays reviews, solo travel reviews
Dining solo in Antigua

 

Latest statistics indicate that solo female travel is on the rise and not just amongst those who are single.  People in relationships are also enjoying spending time alone.  Solo female travel is not lonely and boring, it is actually liberating and very enjoyable.  However there are are a few ways of dealing with lonely moments that may arise…

Continue reading “Solo Female Travel – Is it Lonely?”

Solo Travel Reviews … and the winners are…

Antigua Hotels – Solo Travel Reviews

I have 2 favourite Antigua hotels following this trip and I can’t wait to return to both of them.  Read my solo travel reviews to see why I preferred them …

Starfish Jolly Beach Resort

The all inclusive option, was appealing because it was less expensive to stay here.  Free wifi was fully available in the courtyard area.  The food was good quality and varied. The evening entertainment was enjoyable, something different every evening.  The area it was in, together with the large bar, made it very comfortable being there alone.  My room was large and comfortable and had a safe which was free of charge.  The staff are amongst the most friendly I have met, particularly the lady who sang to us at breakfast and Alwyn the barman who always had a smile or a joke.

The stunning beach and being able to watch the sunset from my room, completed my stay… a gem of a hotel!

For further information or to book a stay, please click on Starfish Resorts website.

Solo travel reviews, Antigua hotels, Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, Antigua, Caribbean, Jolly Beach
Jolly Beach

Admiral’s Inn

Secondly, I loved my ‘room only’ option.  This was the first time I had stayed somewhere in the Caribbean that was not all inclusive.  This resort offered flexibility with dining, on or off the resort.  Local shops are within walking distance and close proximity to Shirley Heights for the weekly party.  It is a boutique hotel which oozes history and charm.  The views are stunning and has the benefit of the use of a spectacular infinity pool.  My room was very comfortable and cool, with a safe which was free of charge.  Free wifi was fully available in the bar, restaurant and pool area, as well as in my room.

Although it is more expensive to stay here, I cannot wait to return.  Admiral’s Inn is a very enjoyable, friendly place to stay as a solo traveller – amazing!!  I stayed here during the off-peak season and apparently it is much, much busier during ‘yachting season’.  I would love to come back during this time to compare and write more reviews of places to visit in the local vicinity!

For further information about stayingAdmiral’s Inn, click here to go to Admiral’s Inn’s website

Solo Travel Reviews, Boutique Hotel, Antigua Hotels, Admiral's Inn, English Harbour, Antigua, Caribbean, boutique hotel, nelson's dockyard
Admiral’s Inn, English Harbour

Halcyon Cove by Rex – Last few days

Halcyon Cove by Rex

In the last few days here at the hotel Halcyon Cove by Rex, I stayed around the resort.

The seating areas with umbrellas on the beach were taken fast and I wanted some shade therefore, the pool area was my preference.  Plenty of sunbeds can be found here but mosquitos were a real problem around 4pm, I was bitten a lot even with repellant!!  The pool isn’t huge but it’s pleasant.  In July it wasn’t too busy as it is off-peak season.  I imagine it can become quite crowded during peak season though.

Warri Pier

Watching the sunset was stunning from the beach area and if you are dining at the Warri Pier restaurant it is the perfect view from the table.

Halcyon Cove by Rex, Discovery Bay, Sunset, Antigua, Caribbean
Sunset from Dickenson Bay, Rex Halcyon Cove

I was able to eat at Warri Pier on a couple of occasions as part of my all inclusive plan. It is not open every night and there are additional costs on some food items such as steak or lobster.  There are a few other choices on the menu though.

I opted for the seafood soup followed by pan fried seabass with mash and vegetables.  The food here was good quality in my option.  The staff were friendly, and attentive. Waiter service was welcomed since the other dining options are all self-service.

Guests can also watch the sunset here.  After dark, it was lovely to see the water lit up from the lights around the restaurant and view the fish. I really enjoyed dining here as a solo traveller.

Warri Pier, Halcyon Cove by Rex, Dickenson Bay, Antigua, Caribbean
Warri Pier
Sunset from Warri Pier, Halcyon Cove by Rex, Dickenson Bay, Antigua, Caribbean
Sunset from Warri Pier

The Arawak Terrace is the only option for breakfast.  I also dined there on a couple of the evenings.  I didn’t like it.

The restaurant is on the first floor of a building. There wasn’t wheelchair access or a lift and it felt incredibly hot and felt airless.  On the occasions I went there, I couldn’t eat my food fast enough so I could leave.   I found the cooked food to be very greasy and off putting at breakfast and there was limited fruit on offer.  Fish was being served one morning but after half an hour of waiting, it still wasn’t ready, so I gave up and left!

Evening entertainment created a nice atmosphere while eating outside or having a drink at the bar.  I found it an easy place to come as a solo traveller.  I was totally comfortable eating outside or being at the bar on my own in this resort as it is a mix of families, couples and other solo travellers.

Band at Halcyon Cove by Rex, Dickenson Bay, Antigua, Caribbean
Band at Rex Halcyon Cove

If you would like to check availability or book a stay here, contact Halcyon Cove by Rex direct via their website.

Starfish Halcyon Cove – Solo Travel

All Inclusive Resort

I had a feeling solo travel to Starfish Halcyon Cove would be a pleasurable experience.  I had stayed at this hotel 11 years ago with family and it was such a fun place to be.  It hasn’t changed much really although the hotel is now in great need of a refurbishment.  It was tired before!  I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading reviews on Trip Advisor, but I did have a really good time here nonetheless.

My single pool view room was on the ground floor and although it was tired and dated, everything worked! There was a room safe, free wifi and a comfortable bed.  I was able to open the double doors onto a patio area with chairs and a table.

The location of Starfish Halcyon Cove is superb.  It is set on a long stretch of white sandy beach with clear turquoise water.  Snorkelling is recommended at the end of the beach and equipment is available for hire free of charge.

Antigua beaches, Halcyon Cove by Rex,solo travel to Halcyon Cove by Rex, hotel, all inclusive, Dickenson Bay, Antigua, Caribbean
The Beach at Rex Halcyon Cove

On the whole, the staff were friendly and some were exceptional, Fenton, Margarite and Roxanne in particular.  Fenton is the life and soul of the resort, everyone loves him.  I don’t think the hotel would be the same without him!

Fenton was the DJ on my first night.  He played a great choice of music to suit all ages but sadly nobody danced.  I really wanted to but didn’t want to dance if nobody else was.  Then, unfortunately someone requested country and western songs and it sort of killed it for me!  BBQ food was served outside this evening and I really enjoyed it.  The barman made a very good rum punch!  It was a nice relaxed seating area outside too, so I didn’t feel awkward being on my own.

Suggested Further Reading:

Full solo travel review of Starfish Halcyon Cove

Have a look at Starfish Halcyon Cove‘s website for further information and prices