Have I told you lately how much I love my job? Seriously! I was just blessed to have experienced Sandals Grande Antigua for a long weekend and now I'm taking home more than just great memories and photos of my trip!
If you've never been to a Sandals, let me first explain that your vacation with them is all-luxuries included. That means all the land and sea activities are included in your stay, at no extra cost, and the same goes for all the food and beverages. With that said, when I first arrived in Antigua I tried to use the "Everything In Moderation" rule so I could maintain my weight while here. An hour later I decided that following the rule wasn't practical after I'd tasted the appetizer course at our welcome dinner. HOLY MOLY! I was sitting next to Karen, who is in charge of Island Routes, (they arrange super cool excursions for you like the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Adventure, or Deep Sea Sport Fishing) and I had her laughing out loud because of all my moaning and groaning over their take on Chicken and Dumplings. The welcome meal involved 5 courses and the highlight for me was the local lobster that was grilled and came with a delicious butter sauce. OMG! From that point on I just let my Antigua freak flag fly- in the eating and drinking department- and don't feel a bit guilty about the extra pudge I'm sporting around my middle right now!
However, being of the "Play You Gotta Pay" mentality, I did try to earn my extra calories by staying incredibly active while at the resort. I enjoyed the Sandals Grande Antigua fitness facility (which was pimped out with all the training equipment you could hope for), I swam in two of their numerous pools (I think they have 10 but I started to lose count after a while!), and since we were on Dickinson Bay (voted one of the best beaches on Earth) swimming in the ocean was a must and it was fabulous! Speaking of, if you haven't seen the video of me doing the Sip and SUP- Sipping an adult beverage while doing the stand up paddleboard, it's on the Link site keyword SANDALS! Needless to say, when you're vacationing (or Work-ationing) at Sandals Grande Antigua it's tough not to be active while eating, drinking, and being merry.
The beauty of this particular Sandals resort and spa is almost impossible to describe but I will try. The grounds are incredibly lush and vibrant in color, and the beaches are beautiful white sand while the water is the kind of blue you might think were color enhanced if you ever saw it in a photo. Considering Antigua doesn't get a lot of rain I was totally amazed by how green everything was. How does that happen? One evening we took a van ride to an area known as Shirley Heights, which was at the top of a mountain. The ride alone was fun and exciting because we got to see the entire area and how the locals live, shop, work, and play. Speaking of, did you know Cricket is a big sport in Antigua and that they love to eat Asian food? I learned that during the van ride! Then, when we got to Shirley Heights, what a surprise to find a street fair like atmosphere with local vendors selling handmade jewelry and children's toys while a steel drum band played. The place was packed with tourists and locals alike and it was a really fun way to see a beautiful sunset. By the way, if you want to see the view from Shirley Heights all of the photos are on the Link site.
The folks at Sandals Grande Antigua really rolled out the red carpet for us. From the welcome dinner, to the night out to see the sunset from the top of a mountain, to Chantal from public relations who made sure we had anything and everything we could possibly want while broadcasting live poolside....I can't even begin to express how fabulous my Antigua "Work-ation" was! I have fun memories, great photos and videos, and a few extra pounds to bring back to Charlotte with me along with new friends to stay connected with via Facebook and email. I told Ezra and Jeremy from Sandals that I would be visiting again- and I absolutely meant it!