17 APR 2019: I get asked a lot what my favourite resort is, and my favourite destination. I’ll bet you do, too.I have lots, but one of my very favourites is Pineapple Beach Club Antigua. It is a very special resort of 180 rooms tucked away just 30 minutes from the airport on the north east coast. It is roomy on 30 acres, but the way it is built it feels intimate with the buildings clustered together. And you won’t have the urge to call a cab to get to the beach, because it is right there.

The lobby reminds me of beautiful living room of a beach house…. With comfy chairs grouped together here and there.

A long time ago, the Antigua tourist board had a lunch in Toronto to talk about the island, and introduce travel writers to various hoteliers. I met Robert Barrett, the owner and it left a lasting memory. “I have the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean, and would you believe it, people want a pool. So, I’ll be putting one in.” He talked to me at length about the resort, and with such affection I wanted to see it. He developed it and owned it till 1998.

It was years later when I finally saw Pineapple Beach, and indeed there were two pools and Sandals owned it. Mr. Barrett was absolutely right, the ¼ mile beach is one of the most beautiful white sand beaches I’ve ever seen, and I longed to immediately climb onto one of the many loungers on the beach, put the umbrella up and chill…

The 30 acre property is well deserving of its reputation as the most laid back all-inclusive resort in Antigua. If asked to describe it, I’d say, “casual, relaxed, and perfect for people who just want to unwind in this adults only property.” And now there are three pools to choose from…

Since 2016, the resort has been added to Elite Island Resort’s portfolio of nine hotels in the Caribbean and Panama. Robert Barrett is the chairman of this group. I haven’t seen or stayed in all of them, but the ones I’ve stayed in, I’ve been most impressed. And they’re not all the same, there is one to suit most tastes.

Back to the Pineapple Beach

There are five eateries, the main one is Topaz, which serves local and international food including a buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and a la carte and themed buffet dinners. Some menu items and bottled wine carry a surcharge. The Pelican Snack Grill has light lunches, and late night snacks. There is no room service. Guests need reservations at two of the restaurants, and there are complaints about that.

The best part of the dining is having lunch at the Outhouse. In my travels I’ve never seen anything else like it. It is at the top of the property with wonderful ocean views. But it has something else very special. Everyone who eats lunch there gets to sign a plank of wood which is then nailed to the interior. It took me ages to read the messages. The food offers a real taste of the Caribbean and the ribs are fabulous.

“I don’t care about the beach - I just love the Outhouse, I come every day and have lunch and a drink or three. It reminds me of the treehouse I had when I was a kid. But here I don’t have to steal a drink” said a very happy guest. “When I broke my leg and couldn’t climb the hill, staff drove me up.”

There are five different categories of the rooms, which are in 1, 2,and 3 story plantation style buildings. All the rooms have porches or balconies, and some are ocean rooms. Me, I love the ones that let you step out of your room, right onto the sand. They all have air, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, coffeemakers and safes. Wi-Fi in your room is an extra charge, but there are free areas around the resort.

The Pineapple Beach Club is immediately beside The Verandah Resort & Spa also under the Elite Island Resort.

A bonus is the resort is close to Devil’s Bridge National Park.

The guests are unpretentious too, and your clients are unlikely to need their formal gear.

There is small spa, and fitness centre. Yes, there are tennis courts. Spa treatments are extra. There is yoga, and water fitness.

There are non-motorized water sports to enjoy and Guests love the “relaxation stations” with hammocks and a turtle sanctuary.

Pineapple Beach Club promotes itself as “the most laid-back all-inclusive in Antigua” and that just might be right. One guest in her review said “The vibe is undeniably fun and relaxed, and it's clear that guests come for a chilled-out, grown-up getaway. It draws a mix of couples and friend groups - singles won’t feel out of place here. While there are plenty of nice restaurants and amenities on hand, the overall atmosphere of Pineapple Beach Club is that it’s unpretentious. There’s none of the staging or faux-elegance that can make some resorts feel generic or contrived. Guests seem content to do their own thing and just simply relax (sometimes that means clustering with their mobile devices in the free Wi-Fi zones).”

For guests whose primary vacation goal is to kick back and unwind, Pineapple Beach Club might be the perfect answer.

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Sam Ion

The expert on All Inclusives, Sam delivers up-to-date info on alternate Wednesdays in her column Not Just All Inclusives.

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