Jonathan Norman checks into the St James Club in Antigua


Tucked away on the southeastern coast of Antigua, St James Club is on the opposite side of the island from the more common tourist hotspots, but just 10 minutes from the idyllic and historic Nelson's Dockyard.

The building: It's on a sprawling 100 acres that hugs the coast, and you can take your pick from the many family-sized apartments that sit atop the hillside, boasting vast panoramic views of Mamora Bay. If you don't fancy walking up and down a steep hill to the beach you can opt for one of the many beachside blocks.


Check-in experience: Relaxed and prompt. Make sure you pick up a map of the resort because you will need one for navigation particularly finding where all the restaurants are.

Room: Ocean view Junior Suite. Large, clean and spacious bedroom.

Price: $800 a night.

What's so good about this place: It caters for the active or inactive, the adventurous or sedate, and can be a home away from home or an idyllic once-in-a-lifetime treat, for families, the elderly or for a couple who want to get away from it all.
And the bad? It's on the opposite side of the island from the capital St John's, so if you need to get into town it'll take you 35 minutes. Taxis are expensive in this part of the world.

Decor: Tile floors with a tropical and oceanic theme throughout.

Wi-Fi: Free, but with a password that needed re-entering.

Bed: Crisp, clean sheets changed daily, good size and positioned so the first thing you see when you wake up is the ocean.

Bathroom: Bath was a little tired looking but a good size. Toiletries restocked every 24 hours.


Food and beverage: Antigua is famous for having one beach for every day of the year. St James Club seems to have about the same number of restaurants. The Venetian-themed night was my favourite at the Dockside. Go for the fresh pasta with extra chilli. Service at busy times can be a little slow. Steak night was also a big hit. Breakfast is nothing out of the ordinary with an over-worked omelette station and a standard range of cereals and fruits with American-influenced waffle stations.

Entertainment: Live music at the Dockside restaurant was a standout. On one night the local band were noisily and enthusiastically cheered on by UK pop star Fleur East, who was holidaying for a few days.

Exercise facilities: There's a 24-hour gym situated halfway up the hill. One bugbear was the frequency with which the running machines would suddenly stop working and grind to a halt. Could be electricity short-circuiting, overuse or maybe my idiosyncratic style of running.

Staff: Apart from during really busy times, staff seemed to genuinely enjoy working there.

Perfect for: Getting away from it all. There really isn't any need to leave the resort
but if you want to, Nelson's Dockyard is very close by with a bit of old-world charm,
top restaurants and sunsets to die for.

In a nutshell: You get what you pay for and you won't leave feeling short changed.