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A Relaxing Honeymoon Destination for the Bride Who Wants to Be Pampered

Even the most stressed of brides will exhale upon arrival.

A Relaxing Honeymoon Destination for the Bride Who Wants to Be Pampered

When planning our honeymoon, my husband and I cycled through a number of different destinations before landing on one that felt just right. We knew that we wanted to head off on our honeymoon right after our wedding, which led us to narrow things down based on ease of travel and a desire for post-nuptial relaxation (we're looking for a resort not a 10-day backpacking trip). We finally landed on the Caribbean as the region with everything that we were looking for, and my research revealed one of Antigua’s newest five-star all-inclusive resorts to be the destination that ticked all our boxes: fabulous food and drinks, incredible service, and prime relaxation. After going on what I would describe as my dream honeymoon, I am happy to report that paradise was indeed found, and cannot recommend the experience enough.

Where To Stay

Hammock Cove Antigua: I don’t think we’ve gone one day without talking about Hammock Cove since we returned. This was the most luxe resort that either of us had ever stayed at–every detail of the hospitality was perfection from the moment of arrival to departure.. Upon check-in, all guests at Hammock Cove are given a cell phone to contact their own personal “Ambassador,” who is on-call 24/7 for anything that you could possibly need. From a tube of toothpaste to an espresso martini delivered to your private plunge pool to a 3 a.m. margherita pizza, your ambassador is there to help out with any and everything that you could possibly imagine. After spending a full year in a state of borderline fight or flight panic due to the stress of planning a wedding, the value of entering a resort where absolutely everything is taken care of for youcannot be overstated.

Every guest at Hammock Cove is a VIP as the property consists of 42 private villas, each adorned with its own infinity plunge pool, a fully stocked bar, and an ocean view. The experience of this resort will lead you to throw out any assumptions that you may have previously made about all-inclusive. There is nothing reminiscent of your infamous college spring break trip when you’re enjoying caviar, freshly grilled lobster, oysters, and champagne on the beach. The constantly rotating menus of the property’s two restaurants are the work of Hammock Cove’s three-time Michelin Star-awarded culinary expert, Chef Marco Festini Cromer, who cultivates each dish with techniques native to his Italian homeland and fresh ingredients from the Caribbean Sea. “This is the best (insert: lobster/gnocchi/risotto/espresso martini/literally anything) I’ve ever had” was one of our most-used phrases of the trip, only second to, “How soon do you think we can book our next trip to come back here?” Other highlights include the on-site pickleball court, three-tiered infinity pool, full food and drink service on the beach, separate bar exclusively serving Antiguan rum, and all-around fabulous staff.

What To Do

Tranquility Spa: Located between the property of Hammock Cove and the neighboring Verandah Resort is the Tranquility Spa. Having both made the rookie mistake of acquiring quite the nasty sunburn early in the trip, the wonderful staff recommended the Aromatherapy Massage for my husband and me, and I can personally say that I was transported to a dimension of complete relaxation. We overheard other guests on the property also declaring it the best massage they’ve ever had, and I would recommend doing this at the beginning of your stay to set the tone for your vacation.

Snorkeling Excursion: We set sail for three different snorkeling destinations on day two of our trip. Once aboard the Calypso Cat catamaran that leaves directly from the beach at Hammock Cove, you will find a lively deck crew, an open bar, and all-around immaculate vibes. We first stopped at a coral reef that was home to a seemingly endless civilization of beautifully colorful fish, followed by a cove with a seagrass floor that was perfect for spotting sea turtles, and finally, an island known for its giant starfish. My sunburn had already set in by the time that we reached the third destination, and these starfish were so massive and colorful that I could clearly see them sitting on the ocean floor from the comfort and shade of the boat.

Cooking Demonstration with Chef Marco Festini Cromer: Another highlight of our trip was the cooking demonstration with Hammock Cove’s Michelin-starred chef, which was pre-booked for us by our trusty Ambassador, Leon. It was here that I learned that I much prefer a cooking demonstration over a hands-on cooking class, as we got to watch the Chef in action and learn about the quality of his ingredients and aesthetic plating while sitting back and sipping Chardonnay. Chef Marco explained that, like all of the fresh pasta served on the property, the recipe for the gnocchi that evening originally came from his grandmother in Italy. It came as no surprise that the three dishes that we had the pleasure of tasting following the demonstration were beyond delicious.

Visit English Harbour Town: English Harbour Town is home to several of Antigua’s main landmarks, including cultural heritage site Nelson's Dockyard and famed overlook Shirley Heights. A natural deep harbor, the area is a hub for boaters and tourists and home to a number of bars, restaurants, and shops. Pro-tip: the English Harbour Town is most lively during the peak season of December through April, and is not recommended as a must-see during the summer months as many local businesses will be closed.

Where To Eat & Drink

Lighthouse Restaurant: Offering a mix of specialty dishes and themed nights, such as Caribbean lobster night or seven-course tasting menu night, you could likely eat at the Lighthouse every night without ordering the same thing twice. As Hammock Cove’s fine dining restaurant everything from the wine pairings selected by the in-house sommelier to the freshmade desserts will exceed your expectations. Warning: This restaurant has a very strict dress code.

Colibri: While the Hammock Cove experience admittedly gives guests little to no reason to leave, French Creole bistro Colibri is the perfect place to stop during your trip to English Harbour Town. A self-proclaimed hidden oasis with a tropical garden, this spot is definitely on our list for our next visit to the island during peak season. Similarly to other businesses in the area, be advised that Colibri is currently closed and set to reopen for the season in November.

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