I'll be totally honest. I planned to write this blog post WHILST I was away in the Caribbean with Sandals last week, but I was just having too much of a bloomin' good time to even get my laptop out and get stuck in!
So, here you have it now, instead! Incase you haven't already heard, U&I Travel has just partnered up with the incredible Sandals Resorts, and we have been SO excited to let our members know that they can now receive £200 off the total cost of their Sandals holiday (ANY resort that they choose!), if they book through us. Dreamy! You can email us if you'd like more information or if you want to get your booking sorted.
I'd never been to any Sandals Resorts prior to this trip, so when I was asked by Paul (one of the management team and my new BFF) to go on this Business Development trip to check out their Resorts in Antigua and Barbados, I was absolutely thrilled! I've only ever been to St Lucia in the Caribbean, so this was all very exciting for me.
The trip was absolutely incredible, and I have no idea where to start, so I'm just going to talk you through it day by day, bit by bit, so you can really get a feel for what we got up to and get a better understanding of the luxurious and beautiful surroundings of both Resorts. I felt very, VERY lucky, and you'll soon find out why!
We all met at the airport bright and early on 28th June. After we checked in, we headed to the No.1 Lounge private room, where we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with plenty of champagne, all complimentary. It was 5pm somewhere.
Nobody who went on the trip had ever met before, and it's safe to say that we all hit it off straight away which was fantastic. We all work in similar industries, and I don't think I've ever met 12 strangers before and automatically felt like I knew them all already. I definitely made some wonderful new friendships and can't wait to catch up with the team at our partnership event in a few weeks.
Our first stop was Antigua, and after an 8 hour (ish) flight, we arrived at the first Resort. It was absolutely beautiful, and I definitely felt like I was in paradise!
My room was so spacious and comfortable, looking right out onto the Resort and the ocean.
We were also each welcomed with a kind note from the management of the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort, and were offered 25% off of their Spa services as part of the package. Unfortunately I didn't have time to use the Spa - I decided to soak up the sun on the beautiful beach, instead.
On our first night, we headed to one of the bar's which was right on the sea-front, and the views were ah-may-zang (insert heart eye emoji)...
...followed by dinner at Kimono's (if you've been to Benihana here in London, it's the same kind of vibe and the food was delicious!). The food was cooked right in front of us, and we had a mixture of seafood, chicken, beef, rice, vegetables, as well as some unique starters and desserts which I can't remember the name of (oops!) but they were fab.
After dinner, we headed to the "Drunken Duck" (what a name, love it!) for more drinks (you may find there's a theme here...). We were all feeling a little jet-lagged by this point, so most of us headed to bed at around 11-11.30pm, but some of the crew stayed out until the early hours... hardcore!
The second day in Antigua was pure paradise. We had a site inspection in the morning where we were shown around the entire resort by the chirpy and friendly Nadi. It was amazing to see all of the different rooms and surroundings that are available at the Resort, and the Sandals team really DO cater to all...
On the second evening, we partook in a fantastic dinner which was hosted by the Resort management team, and the food was simply divine!! I'll let you judge for yourself...
After dinner, we headed out for drinks and dancing, and we honestly had the best time! Everyone was certainly showing off their dance moves... none that are internet-proof unfortunately so you will have to use your imaginations!! I do, however, have some lovely group shots of us from the night...
Just as we were settling in, it was time to leave (boooo!), but we couldn't complain seeing as our next stop was BARBADOS!
The Sandals Barbados Resort actually connects to the brand new Sandals Royal Barbados Resort (the Royal Resort only opened in December last year, and wow... it was incredible!). We stayed in Sandals Barbados, but just like all of the guests, we were able to use ALL of the amenities in both Resorts which was brilliant.
Words can't describe the beauty of the Barbados resort. I'm going to let my pictures do the talking...
That evening, we went to the Indian restaurant in Sandals Barbados, called Bombay. We were served an absolute feast of all of the chef's favourites dishes, and I can certainly say that I left there feeling VERY full and VERY happy! Indian cuisine is definitely one of my faves, and that along with a few glasses of Sauvignon... I was in my element!
The next day was something else! We went on a boat excursion and it was honestly one of the best days that I've ever had in my almost 29 years of living. We swam with turtles (which I do have photos of but they're on my under-water camera which I am yet to get developed, so watch this space!), saw a couple of shipwrecks, snorkelled, jumped off the boat and swam in the gorgeous ocean, enjoyed a Caribbean-style feast, drank a LOT of Rum (it would have been rude not to), and generally loved life for the day. Here's a few snaps from the boat...
After the trip, we headed to the pool back at Sandals Royal Barbados. We enjoyed some more cocktails and enjoyed the sun before we got ready for our final evening in Barbs.
That night, we were treated to another exquisite hosted dinner by the management team of Sandals Barbados Resorts. We dined at Butch's Steak & Seafood Restaurant, and here I had some of the best Lobster and Steak that I've ever experienced (and I've had my fair share!).
The dinner was followed by live entertainment in the courtyard, where they had a phenomenal singer called "Betty" who sang some 80's classics, including some absolute tunes from Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. I again was in my element. We then headed to one of the Resort Bar's for Kareoke (lol), drinks and dancing. It was a fantastic way to finish the trip, and everyone had an amazing time. We ended up singing "Feed the world" by Band Aid 20 as a group song. I mean, who wouldn't choose to sing a Christmas classic in the middle of the Caribbean in July?! The DJ thought we were very peculiar. LOL.
On the final day, we had some free time in the morning before heading to the airport. We soaked up the sun and enjoyed some traditional Jerk Chicken from the Jerk Shack in the Resort.
As you can see, the trip was filled with a LOT of delicious food and cocktails. On behalf of U&I, I would like to personally say a HUGE thank you to Paul and Graeme from Sandals for hosting this trip for us all. I honestly had one of the best trips of my life with the most wonderful people, all whom I can now call new friends. We were shown the luxury elements of all of the Resorts and got to truly experience paradise.
I couldn't recommend Sandals more, and I am already looking forward to my return which I'm sure will be in the not so distant future!