We arrived at the Pineapple Beach Club when the orange flowering Flamboyan tree created a tropical canopy under the swaying palms. Pink and magenta bougainvillea frames the building doorways while the delightfully mischievous yellow-breasted Bananaquit’s added the sweet sound of the songbird to greet us. The journey from New York to Antigua had been seamless. After the perils of the previous year, the passing sea breeze was so soothing. Our surrendering continued as we enjoyed a welcoming rum punch at check-in. During the ride to our guestroom, the beautiful white sand crescent beach came into full view. Our journey to the northwest corner of Antigua was complete. This traditional Caribbean upscale all-inclusive resort will be our relaxing retreat, and our home base, for our island adventures and discovery in the days to come.
While we came for the stunning crescent-shaped Long Bay Beach at the Pineapple Beach Club – just one of the 365, or is it 366?, beaches on Antigua, the relaxed charm and laid-back vibe of the resort proved to be equally captivating. The 30-acre complex of low-rise plantation-style buildings built on the oceanfront, beachfront, amid mature and lush gardens, or on the tropical cliffside is charming. Each of the 180 rooms features a balcony. Nothing is overdone at Pineapple Beach Club. Sand on the floor of your guestroom? Not to worry, sand will not scratch the tile floors, and of course, it will be gone after the daily room service. Need a drink? Feel free to visit one of the bars yourself and chat with fellow vacationers about the sights to see on the Island. The friendly staff will also suggest activities to enjoy and share lore and history about Antigua to the curious.
Dining at Pineapple Beach Club is equally easy. A breakfast buffet is presented daily in the open-air dining room, and you can count on three things every morning. A bountiful selection of entrees, stunning views, and the yellow-breasted Bananaquits visiting any table left unmanned. Lunch can be waterside burgers, fish tacos, and such from the snack bar. We found the most authentic Caribbean fare, like meat and vegetable stews with rice and peas, was served at the lunch buffet in the main dining room. Just up the hill, past the special-event gazebo is the funky Outhouse BBQ & Bar. Intimate in its isolation, yet completely fun and lively, the atmosphere and the BBQ and picnic fare are unforgettable. The views are incredible, the drinks are cold, and the second helpings are encouraged.
Pool (3 to choose from) or beach? Dinner reservations needed? (required at two of the resort’s fine-dining venues.) Can I fit in a Spa visit? A beach walk or garden stroll? Afternoon volleyball? Evening dancing? Yoga? Tennis? Another cocktail? Such are the daily pressures at Pineapple Beach Club. We wanted to visit the nearby Devil’s Bridge, a natural limestone arch and Antiguan landmark. We spent a stunning sunset on Devil’s Bridge, and we were curious to see more of the natural beauty and historical sites in Antigua.
We became part of the Pink Panther Pack on a tour that included a visit to Shirley Heights, the historic Nelson Dock Yard, and a drive through the rainforest. Our Pink Panther Safari ended with a visit to a stunning white sand cove beach, overlooking a distant Montserrat and a swim in the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Safari guides, an all-female crew, were amazingly generous with their knowledge about the sites, history, and towns that we visited or passed. Their engagement was an equal match of history and humor and their rum punch and cold beer – perfection.
The next day music played as we set sail on The Calypso Cat, an exclusive Elite Island Resort excursion. We passed many mangrove-lined barrier islands while the captain and crew shared history and geographical facts on our way to snorkel sites and Great Bird Island. We passed luxury resorts and the villas of the famous and great expanses of natural beauty.
We climbed the step to the top of bird island and went snorkeling in the surrounding waters. The captain and crew loved to sail, entertain and engage – and dance! – with all the tourists. We had great fun on both tours. At Elite Island Resorts, Pineapple Beach Club the island’s welcoming hospitality could not have been more authentic. We met guests that have returned to Pineapple many times for relaxing, comfortable, and easy vacations and the opportunity to discover more of Antigua.
Photography: David Lewis Taylor.
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