Five Islands Village, Antigua

Photo: The Blue Diamond Resorts Collection

By now, these quick trips are a piece of cake. You go online, find a flight-and-hotel package (bonus points if transfers are included), and start packing your bags. A few days later, you’re surrounded by sand, sun, and all the fruity cocktails you can drink. Montego Bay, Punta Cana, and the Riviera Maya are your go-tos. Now you can add Antigua to your list.

Antigua is in the midst of a tourism boom. It started five years ago when a modern second terminal was added to its small, aging airport. More airlines and larger airplanes could start flying to the little Caribbean island. Resorts followed suit. They took over old properties, in desperate need of renovation, or bought land to build completely new facilities. As the number of available rooms increased, prices began to decrease. There are deals to be found.

One of Antigua’s newest resorts sits eight miles—that’s only about a 30-minute drive—from the airport. Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa opened last spring on Five Islands Peninsula. The promontory was named for the five rock islands it overlooks. The remains of Fort Barrington, which used to monitor foreign battleships, sit here. Twelve of the island’s 365 beaches flank it. While the view of the Caribbean Sea, particularly at sunset, can’t be beaten.

Photo: The Blue Diamond Resorts Collection

Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa is perfectly positioned on Deep Bay. You can see the crescent-shaped beach and its calm, turquoise water from the resort’s open-air lobby. Its sand-and-water color palette mimics the view outside. You’re tempted to plop yourself on a wicker stool at Martini Mix—the cocktail bar has a panoramic view—to start working your way through the rum list. This is an all-inclusive resort, after all. You should see the rest of the resort first, though.

The rest of the resort doesn’t disappoint. Most of the rooms—all stocked with DreamBed mattresses, USB chargers, and Bluetooth stations—are in a nine-story, high-rise building. The ones on the ground-floor open to a swim-out pool. In the distance, you can also see five overwater bungalows, the first in Antigua. They’re for adults only, have glass-fronted infinity pools and hammocks that hang over the ocean, and are quite expensive. Maybe next time.

This time, your focus is exploring the new resort. There are seven restaurants, including a steakhouse with an impressive wine cellar, a trattoria with gorgeous views, and a chef’s table where music accompanies each of the seven courses. A cafe, serving ice cream and coffee, and plenty of bars, about which you’ve already started taking note, will satisfy your liquid cravings. The gym, a place you usually ignore, is no joke. Its classes—beach abs, beach boot camp, spinning, sunrise yoga—will make you feel more comfortable in your bikini. Plus that white-sand beach, really the most important element, is just a few steps away. See, a piece of cake.


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