The Best Spa Hotels to Book in Antigua

A spa getaway to Antigua offers pure relaxation along with stunning scenery
A spa getaway to Antigua offers pure relaxation along with stunning scenery | Courtesy of Blue Waters Resort and Spa / Expedia
Ashley Pope

Among the big-five Caribbean islands – also including Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago – Antigua holds singular appeal. That’s partly down to its geography – the super-crinkly coastline is home to 365 superb caster-sugar-sandy beaches, which equals one for every day of the year, if you can stay that long. The pleasure of the place is the laid-back pace of things – Antigua isn’t barnacled with must-see tourist sights necessitating hot days travelling on tour buses. Hotels and resorts here make it their mission to keep guests super-cool and calm, from laid-back dining spots to lounger-trimmed sands. And, of course, elegant spas for full-on indolence. Here are the best spa hotels in Antigua – bookable with Culture Trip.

1. The Verandah Resort & Spa, for full-on seclusion


The Verandah Resort and Spa
Courtesy of The Verandah Resort and Spa / Expedia

“All-inclusive” is the siren call for guests who return repeatedly for a switch-off spell at this 30-acre (12ha) hideaway with a centrepiece pool, overlooking a blue cove in eastern Antigua. The deal is: breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and snacks, as well as alcohol and soft drinks by the glass. Accommodations are another draw: distinctly Caribbean in feel, with bamboo and rattan touches, they’re cabin-style, immersed in thickets of palms, some with waterfront settings. But the clincher is the smooth-as-silk spa, with its shudderingly good facials for men and women, and its meticulously performed massages.

2. Villa chic at Hammock Cove


Villa deck with infinity plunge pool, hanging egg chair and cushioned lounge chairs overlooking azure sea at Hammock Cove
Courtesy of Hammock Cove /

The USP at this discreet resort, tucked away on an eastern peninsula? Clue’s in the name – it’s all about sheer, unadulterated indolence, interspersed with a little Caribbean-Sea wallowing. The 40-odd clean white villas offer little incentive to step out, with their drowsy ceiling fans, monsoon showers, cool louvres and sink-into Egyptian-cotton bed linens. But do try the two restaurants and four bars; and make a date with Tranquility Spa Body and Soul. Here, along with yoga and fitness classes, are island-themed treatments: Antigua and the Sea features a sea-salt scrub as well as papaya and pineapple extracts.

3. Hodges Bay, for urban-cool interiors

Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel

Hodges Bay
Courtesy of Hodges Bay / Expedia

Curiously – but refreshingly – for a traditional Caribbean island, Hodges Bay oozes urban-bohemian sex appeal. See the cool, pared-down furnishings in the suites, penthouses, luxury residences and villas – we’re talking light woods and boxy lampshades. If you weren’t feeling horizontal from your accommodation alone, Spa La Boheme – the Bohemia Spa – will see to it that you soon are, with its torpor-inducing Moroccan, Polynesian and Thai treatments. Or try the Coconut Shell Cream Body Scrub and inhale Antigua, which may put you in the mood for food at Hodges Bay’s three dining spots.

4. Romantic times at Cocobay Resort

Resort, Cottages

Cocobay Resort
Courtesy of Cocobay Resort / Expedia

Snug on its western promontory, all-inclusive Cocobay calls itself Antigua’s most romantic resort. It’s certainly geared towards intimacy, with its cute Caribbean-clapboard cottages of gauze-swathed beds under high rafters – book a deluxe pool option and the two of you need never leave the premises. Mind you, the dining’s worth stepping out for: at sunset, try spicy seafood and coconut curry at Sheer Rocks, after punchy cocktails at Rafters. And the Cocobay Wellness Deck and Spa majors in treatments for lovers, performed in airy seafront gazebos: the West Indian Back, Head and Neck massage is superb.

5. Galley Bay Resort and Spa, for power-facials


Galley Bay Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Galley Bay Resort and Spa / Expedia

No question about it, the spa is the star at this much-loved all-inclusive, just southwest of the island capital, St John’s. It is a tranquil oasis of gentle breezes, beside the lagoon that laps the resort gardens. Guys and girls alike check in for rehydrating facials – remember your skin powers through moisture in the Caribbean heat – as well as cooling body wraps and tailor-made massage treatments. If you’ve been bronzing by the hotel’s lagoon-form freshwater swimming pool, with its serene waterfall, ask the therapist for the water lily after-sun soothing wrap, then return to your airy beachfront suite.

6. Asian influences at Carlisle Bay

Luxury, Boutique Hotel

Carlisle Bay
Courtesy of Carlisle Bay / Expedia

Curled around a southern cove, Carlisle Bay is perhaps the original-and-best boutique hotel on Antigua: the 87 suites have Asian-elegant furnishings – white beds on trim dark-wood frames, pale and urban-cubic sofas and chairs. East – one of two restaurants – is a paradise of carved Indonesian doors where you might eat sushi and Thai beef salad. Switch off at least once at CARA Organic Beauty Spa: the West Indian massage is a trip to heaven, while the ESPA facials include an excellent intense regenerating version to tackle wrinkles – just the ticket after a hot and salty swim at the island’s Stingray City.

7. Blue Waters, for class and pedigree

Luxury, Resort, Spa Hotel

Blue Waters Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Blue Waters Resort and Spa / Expedia

Opened in 1960 and overseen by the Randall family for almost 40 years, Blue Waters has pedigree and history – it’s one of the island’s oldest resorts. But don’t think that means it’s worn out, as on the contrary its rooms – from deluxe beachfront suites to expansive villas – are stylish pale domains of nautical blue-and-white. For real luxury – and your own pool – book Pelican, Turtle or Rock Cottage. After a late dinner – perhaps jerk pork loin – at the Palm Restaurant, followed by rum punches at the Pelican Bar, revive next day at the Spa at Blue Waters: the Energising and Detoxifying Renewal Scrub will have you zingingly upbeat again.

8. Private-island privileges at Jumby Bay


Lush seafront infinity pool area with yellow lounge chairs and couches at Jumby Bay Island - Oetker Collection - All Inclusive
Courtesy of Jumby Bay Island – Oetker Collection – All Inclusive / Expedia
That this super-secluded resort is on an islet of its own tells you all you need to know about luxury levels at Jumby Bay, just off Antigua’s northeast coast. The spa is crucial to that, with massages performed al fresco by the burbling shallows if you wish. We’re obsessed with the Island Journeys – locally inspired treatments including the West Indian Symphony featuring marine algae and herbal compresses. Life here is worry-free – all-inclusive means Caribbean and international dining at three cool and airy restaurants, and rum sessions at four bars. You’ll sleep deeply in suites, villas and residences in shades of soft grey.

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