When you see the image of a stereotypically lush Caribbean resort on TV or a postcard, you are probably looking at a picture of an Antigua resort. As the years pass, more and more have found their way to the island – crowding around the healthy amount of villas and hotels in Antigua that have been there for years. But with so many beaches on the island, it"s not like you"ll be hard pressed to find the bright sand, regardless of where you choose to stay. Even so, there are a handful of ultra-exclusive Antigua resorts sequestered so far away that they can exist only as all-inclusive choices for the package tour traveler.
In fact, Antigua's nature is to market to a mainstream crowd – thus the all-inclusive resorts in the heavily populated areas are some of the most popular in all of the Caribbean. Thus, many are chain resorts (such as Sandals) offering deluxe grounds that ensure that you see as little of the island as possible. Ideal for honeymoons, family vacations or when traveling with large groups, these people often head to the southern coast, where they effortlessly intermix with the yachting crowd that calls the area home.
For most, however, the western coast of the island is where to stay. The main city of St. John has everything that the Caribbean is famous for – you can play on the beach all day and in the clubs all night. From surfing to clubhopping, the west coast has it all. The most popular resorts and hotels in Antigua curl out from St. John, reaching Dickenson Bay, Runaway Beach and Five Islands Harbor. You can hardly go wrong in this area, but Coco Bay, the Siboney Beach Club and Sunsail Club Colonna have been getting the job done for years. Many choose to stay at Antigua villas, and St. John doesn't disappoint there either. The Dickenson Bay cottages are one of the most affordable, but you have to be prepared to share your lodgings with many neighboring children. For whatever reason, families seem to stake out these Antigua villas.
Jolly Harbor, south of St. John and Hawksbill's beaches, is the other popular place to stay. The Harbor, along with Darkwood Beach and Johnson"s Point have attempted to wrest the title of island party capital from St. John. They have failed, but their attempts are laudable anyway, and make the area an entertaining section to stay in. As far as Antigua villas, the finest are found here, just off the harbor. Here you will also find the largest Antigua resort, the Jolly Beach Resort. What it lacks in personality it more than makes up for with a location on a stunning beach. You will find a wide range of travelers here too, those who have been put off by the pretentiousness of so many of the other resorts and hotels in Antigua.
Every beach, every cove and every harbor tend to have lodging options aplenty - from quaint beachside inns to large-scale luxury resorts, mid-size hotels to hilltop villas overlooking the vast Antigua beaches. The hardest part is choosing which one fits you best.