About a half-hour’s drive from the Antigua International Airport and the capital city of St. John’s, my first stop on this 10-day wellness tour of Antigua and Barbuda is St. James’s Club. Story and photos by Anne Dimon
The concierge welcomes us with cold towels and an offer of chilled pink lemonade, sparkling wine or a rum cocktail before showing us to our suite. Located on the southeast side of the island of Antigua, the private 100-acre, all-inclusive family resort might not be considered a first option for a wellness traveler looking for peace and quiet. But I am delighted to discover that the Royal Suites section of the resort is for “adults only” and comes not only with its own pool but its own private beach area.
Plus, even though the resort can accommodate up to 800 people, for the so-minded there are many little spaces available for quiet reflection, and much needed time away to simply relax, restore and hear oneself think.
Opened in 1965 under another name, the resort was christened St. James’s Club in 1984 and has undergone a number of renovations. Resident Manager Pierre Jackman tells me he thinks it has the “best gym on the island.” I volunteered to let him know my own thoughts on that at the end of my tour. There are five restaurants here plus a beach grill and I am anxious to see exactly what they offer under the umbrella of healthy food options. The availability of such “health food options” is the one thing that respondents of the 2018 Wellness Tourism Association’s Wellness Vacation Survey tell us is at the top of their Must Haves list.
Beyond the gym, the resort offers a variety of activities for their fitness-minded guests including a daily morning Power Walk, Early Morning Stretch, Aqua Aerobics and other scheduled sessions such as the Kayak Meet. The guided 45-minute Walk departs the hotel lobby at 7:15 a.m., and this morning I was the solo participant. The combo of overcast skies and with a light wind blowing makes the weather conditions very pleasant for the walk along the oceanfront hills, past a few vacation homes, back to the shoreline and along the beach. Depending on the group, the distance covered can be up to 2.5 miles. Along the way, I snapped this photo of the St James’s Club:
The 45-minute guided class involves a series of yoga and Pilates poses as you try to maintain balance and control of the bed as it rocks and rolls with the force or wind and waves. I own a stand-up paddle board and use it regularly over the course of our Canadian summers so I thought this would be a breeze. But the wind and the waves make it a bit more challenging than it looks. I’m told it’s the only Float Fit class on the island. More on St. James’s Club
You can also read about my visits to and with Wallings Nature Reserve, Colesome Farm to Table Experience, Sugar Ridge, Nicole’s Table Cooking Classes, Triflexcursions, Barbuda Belle and The Great House as we make our way around the twin-island country experiencing some of what is offered under the umbrella of Wellness.