After a week at St James's Club and Villas in Antigua, Zoe Cripps shares why she'd recommend ditching your other half in favour of a blissful holiday with your mum...
When I told everyone I was jetting off to an exotic week-long stay to the glorious island of Antigua, I was either met with: 'OH, so jealous', or 'who are you going with?' The answer to the latter question is my mum, of course. Well, clearly not of course, because on an island famed as an idyllic honeymoon destination, it sounded silly that I was bringing my mother over my partner. But I had a reason for this – we get on well, and she appreciates a good buffet as much as I do. Here's why I'd recommend you ditch your other half and take your mum on your next exotic stay...
For starters, we travelled with British Airways, and when the flight turned out to be a DAY delayed, I had someone to sip endless lattes with (the sight of a takeaway cup still makes me feel a little nauseous). And when we finally arrived at V.C Bird International – the main airport on the island – we were both looking forward to a massage and an early night.
Thankfully, St James's Club has a spa menu as long as the restaurant's wine list, so we were never short of relaxing treatments. That's another reason why mum was a great holiday buddy – a mani/pedi, anti-ageing facial and two massages in – and she was loving it. If I'd brought my other half, I can guarantee I wouldn't have been able to drag him from the tennis courts.
Top treatment recommendations from two different generations:
I say: The aromatherapy massage. It was just dreamy, and you can choose from three different oils.
My mum says: The caviar and pearl facial. My skin has never looked so glowing!
Don't miss out on
I say: The reflexology treatment. I tried this before getting on the plane home, and I felt so much more relaxed than I normally would
My mum says: The deluxe pedi. It was lovely going home with freshly-polished feet!
Our top tip
I say: Get your treatments booked in as soon as you get there because slots fill up fast!
My mum says: Don't miss out on the outdoor experience. Ask your therapist if you can have your massage overlooking the beach views – it was lovely feeling the breeze.
"St James's Club and Villas has a spa menu as long as the restaurant's wine list so we were never short of relaxing treatments."
When we did venture out of the stunning spa area, we explored some of the other activities the resort had to offer. The tennis courts were impressive, and the gym was more stocked with equipment than my fancy one back here in London – and when a few tropical showers kicked in, I signed myself up to a pilates or yoga class. My mum favoured the daily stretch class that took place in a little hut on the beach – and we quickly got into a routine. We'd wake up at 7am, head down to the main restaurant for a coffee and a slice of the ginger cake (delicious at ANY time of the day), then she would head off down the beach, flip-flops in her hand, to her class, while I jogged down to the gym.
The breakfasts were something to look forward to every morning – with buffets to cater for even the fussiest of eaters (the omelette station was a favourite of mine). In fact, the food in general was amazing. There are four restaurants on-site, three of them are included in your all-inclusive stay, while the Piccolo Mondo restaurant comes at an added cost. We visited it on one of our last nights, and it turned out to be one of our favourites. My mum always orders better than me, and she opted for the delicious calamari, while I went for the pasta choice. We couldn't fault the food or the wine. The other nights we went to the beach-front restaurant, The Docksider, for freshly cooked seafood, live music and, yes, even more wine.
"The breakfasts were something to look forward to every morning – with buffets to cater for even the fussiest of eaters. In fact, the food in general was amazing."
We were lucky enough to stay in one of the club's Royal Suites, which has beautiful sea views, a giant bath tub and the biggest bed you'll ever see. I had no problem sharing with my mum, and actually, it was nice to have a gossip at night. But if you need a little bit of distance from your loved one, there are a lot of other room options available.