November 21st, 2013
We’re very happy to share information about a new daily, non-stop flight to our beautiful Antigua. American Airlines non-stop service from New York’s JFK begins today and will have you relaxing on our best beach by a mile at lunchtime. Flight number AA978 departs JFK at 7:15 am and arrives here at V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) at 12:30 pm. The return flight, still AA978, departs ANU at 1:30 pm and arrives at JFK at 5:25 pm. This daily non-stop will continue until March 31, 2014, so plan your Winter Escape now and you’ll be sipping our Wadadli Cuddle on the beach before you know it.
November 5th, 2013
For whatever reason, so many of us don’t take all of our yearly vacation days. If you’re in this column, why not plan a Caribbean getaway right now, and get the best rates of the year while you’re at it. Make a direct booking with us by November 15, 2013 and you’ll save 60% on travel now through December 20, 2013 with all-inclusive rates starting at US$88 per person, per night, double occupancy. If you prefer a winter escape in the New Year, you’ll save 60% on high-season rates if you travel January 6-February 14, 2014 or March 10-April 15, 2014, US$97.50 per person, per night, double occupancy. The clock is ticking; count up your vacation days and have some fun on Antigua’s best beach by a mile.
October 22nd, 2013
Aaliyah (left) with her mom and younger sister Eden.
Summer is at an end, but thank goodness, memories of “summer with my family” stay with us forever. Eight-year-old Aaliyah Cannon shares her poignant memories of a vacation on the beach and the fun she had with her family, the last they would have together, in her prize-winning essay. As the winner of our Jolly Kidz Essay Contest, Aaliyah and her family will enjoy an all-inclusive stay here at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa. Thanks to all the children who took the time to submit entries, each and every one reminded us how wonderful it is to have precious time with our loved ones, new experiences, and being able to share them with family and friends.
My summer with my Family
By Aaliyah Cannon – Age 8
I had a lovely time when I was 3. It was the last summer I spent with my daddy and my mummy, my brother and my new baby sister. We spent it at Jolly Beach. I had my 3rd birthday there and it was brilliant because I could go to the Kidz Club where Sandra looked after me and we played every day. We spent lovely times on the beautiful beach and my new baby sister went into the sea with mummy and daddy. It turned out to be the best summer ever because it was the last time I went on holiday with my whole family as we lost my daddy and brother the next year. I will always remember that summer as it was my last and my sister’s only one with our daddy. But I am happy that we spent it at Jolly Beach because it was wonderful and my baby sister was named Eden because we were also there when my mum was pregnant and mummy said it was paradise.
August 30th, 2013
Photographer Abena Barnes believes the popularity of photos from phones and other devices we use to document from moment to moment has created more of an awareness and appreciation of beautiful images. She has even had clients ask for photos specifically to post on their Facebook profile.
It can be challenging working so closely with new people every day, but Abena is very much a people person a trait that puts her clients at ease no matter what kind of wedding day or other butterflies may be on the scene.
One of her most challenging photo shoots was a wedding. After the ceremony the couple wanted to pose at water’s edge, a pretty popular setting for destination weddings pictures. But this time out an uncharacteristically large wave came in, soaking the newlyweds. Of course Abena got the shot and luckily the couple took it in stride and enjoyed the moment. According to Abena this was before “trash the dress” became popular and she says now you can’t keep couples from diving in!
What is it about weddings parties and water? Another couple – and their whole wedding party – made an unplanned jump into the resort pool. Again Abena got the shot remind us you have to keep an open mind as well as open eyes, anything can happen so you have to be in the moment and ready to get the shot.
With Antigua being such a popular beach vacation destination, Abena loves getting to work with people from all around the world. She has a fondness for Scottsmen, after one particular wedding. Scotts, kilts, full moons. You get the picture. She did!
For couples planning their destination wedding, Abena has three tips to make sure they get their perfect wedding album.
- For a warm weather, beach destination wedding Abena advises the wedding party to be very careful of exposure to the sun prior to the ceremony so there are no nasty sunburns or tell-tale bathing suit marks (even for a graphic artist like Abena, there is only so much help you can give a photo).
- Abena says couples need to relax and leave everything to the photographer. Let your photographer worry about the when, where and how of getting the shots. The best pictures are of everyone just enjoying the moment.
- The wedding album should tell a story and should say we had a wonderful time at our wedding. And while Abena says she tries to mix it up she recommends that couples tell their photographer what kind of pictures they like. Whether it’s more traditional posed portraits, or more spontaneous and natural, even fashion inclusive. No matter what, tell the photographer to ensure your album will be one you’ll treasure.
August 29th, 2013
The pressure of a pretty picture: Such high expectations are placed on professional photographers. And rightly so: It’s your wedding day. It’s your proposal. It’s your family portrait. It’s your memories and there’s only one chance to get it right. That’s why the photographer we recommend to our guests here at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa is Abena Barnes.
Always artistically inclined, Barnes fell in love with the art of photography in high school working on her School Based Assessment project studying the architecture of Antigua’s famous St. John’s Cathedral. She followed her passion and began her hands on experience and enrolled in the Antigua International Institute of Technology where she studied photography and computer graphics. In 2005 Barnes began her career as a photographer working with local professionals and honing her craft taking pictures every day.
Today, Barnes enjoys what she says is a challenging profession and at the same time the best job in the world. She has been there to get the once-in-a-lifetime shot of a nervous groom-to-be popping the question; and there to take a portrait of four family generations together for a wedding. The sky’s the limit and every day is different.
When you are based in the Caribbean’s “Romance Island,” there are a lot of memorable wedding stories to tell, but Abena says that a growing trend for vacationers is to hire professional photographers like her to capture a family vacation memory. This may seem counter intuitive with everyone taking pictures on-the-go with their phones, but she says as fun as those images are for sharing in the moment, they’re not the professional quality that her clients now want as a keepsake or album of their vacation getaway together. And with a professional photographer, everyone in the family gets in the picture! She has done family shoots on the beach as well as memorable sites including Shirley Heights Lookout and Devils Bridge.
For families hiring a photographer on vacation, Abena says to remember three things.
- Spontaneous outdoor shoots work best both for the kids and adults.
- Let kids be themselves, relax and let them show their personalities, otherwise no one will be happy and that shows in the photo.
- Think about dressing up a little for your family vacation photo shoot, those cut-offs may be comfy but might not be very photogenic.
May 6th, 2013
Kids have a lot to say and we’re going to make writing some of it down fun with our Jolly Kidz Contest. We’re inviting all Primary School children in Antigua, grades 4 through 6, to tell us in an essay what makes their family special. We’re really looking forward to hearing from lots of children, and we know that we’re going to learn a lot from them. The student who writes our favorite essay will receive an all-inclusive two-night stay at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa for a family of four. Entries will be accepted until May 15th and must include the student’s first-name only along with their parent’s full contact details and a family photo. Send via email to email@example.com or by mail to Jolly Beach Resort & Spa, P O Box W2009, Bolans Village, St. Mary’s Parish, ANTIGUA, with the subject line Jolly Kidz Contest. In addition to celebrating families this contest will also spotlight the educators who play such an important role shaping their students’ minds. The teacher whose student claims the top prize will receive a Day Pass for two, and the winning student’s school principal will enjoy a complimentary dinner for two.
April 9th, 2013
A signature Jolly Beach Resort & Spa Mark Brown tropical wedding all ready for your ceremony on the beach.
Our award winning wedding planner, Beverly King, has had plenty of practice. She says she “stopped counting” when she hit a thousand ceremonies and is a source to be trusted when it comes to wedding advice and we’ve got her top ten tips for couples planning a destination wedding.
- Be the Early-Bird. Make sure you book early as everything is subject to availability, and your preferred date may be taken by someone else.
- Learn from the scouts; be prepared. Find out what documentation is required for the specified country and the length of time you as a couple need to be there before they can wed. Legal requirements vary worldwide. In Antigua it is extremely easy. We have a no residency policy e.g. you can go to the Legal Office at 9am and be married by 4:30pm the same day. On arrival to the resort you have an appointment to meet with the Wedding Co-coordinator where all final plans are made for your special occasion and the legal forms are filled out for the Registrar and Legal Office.
- Dress to chill – your wedding attire should be cool and light coloured, nobody wants to see the bride and groom sweating down the aisle.
- Don’t burn – a strapless wedding dress does not look good with a sunburnt back, and a suit doesn’t go particularly well with a lobster red face.
- Don’t forget – who’s got the rings? Tie them to something immovable, like the best man.
- Bless ‘em – blessings are available at Jolly Beach.
- Think twice – always request a copy of the marriage certificate before leaving the resort.
- Believe – trust your wedding co-ordinator; she is there to do the thinking for you.
- Family ties – Jolly Beach has family and friend deals available.
- Smile! – you’re saving upwards of $20,000* over a traditional wedding, so you can splurge on extras like flight upgrades and champagne.
* TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com’s annual Real Weddings Study revealed that the average wedding budget not counting the honeymoon was $28,427 in 2012.
Hertia and John dance together on the beach after renewing their wedding vows on the beach at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa.
- Paul and Pollyanna only have eyes for each other as they say their wedding vows in front of family and friends at Jolly Beach Resort & Spa.
March 5th, 2013
This weekend I marked a personal best. I participated in a 14km walk/run to the top of the highest point in Antigua, Mount Obama. This turned out to be the most challenging thing that I’ve ever done since my quest for fitness began 4 months ago.
It was dark arriving at Ffreys Beach for the start of the hike at 5:00am, but the mood was anything but with 59 people ready to spend the next 2 ½ hours together, supporting each other to reach a common goal. There were clusters of people who stuck together and motivated each other throughout the walk. It was great team spirit.
The instructors were terrific, making us push ourselves but not so much that we couldn’t keep up. There were moments when I wanted to slow down or just stop but being part of a group and having the instructors confidence in us kept my feet moving. I tried to pace myself knowing that to reach my goal I’d have to go uphill for the last 15 minutes. Then came the hill, I knew that this was the biggest test, but what accomplishment to overcome it.
My muscles felt the exertion on Sunday, my hike didn’t include a massage like the Insane Beach Body Boot Camp Package but that’s OK, I’d do it again in a minute.
Congratulations all around at the top of Mt. Obama and the finish of a challenging, 2 1/2 hour, 14 km hike.
Patrice climbing the last hurdle up Mt. Obama.
Sisters supporting each other on the trek up Mt. Obama, Megan and Derede.
Capt. Browne, Mark, Sam, John and Kwasi flash a victory sign as they take the top of Mt. Obama after the 14 km hike.
Lots of company helped get the adrenaline pumping at 5:00 a.m. leaving Ffreyes Beach on a 14km walk/run to Mt. Obama.
Oslyn and Patrice half way to the top and ready to conquer Mt. Obama.
A breathtaking sunrise about 40 minutes into the hike to Mt. Obama is worth the effort.
The sun is up and boot campers are treated to a veiw of the Caribbean as they hike up Mt. Obama.
February 27th, 2013
We’re counting down to our first Insane Beach Body Boot Camp, April 25-29, 2013. And while we know that as fabulous as this intensive five-day program is — Socarobics on the beach, 10-mile walk/runs, fitness challenges — fitness and exercise needs to be a regular part of our lives. Participating in our Boot Camp is a great way to get inspired. Still need convincing? Take a look at some of the determined people who have embraced the insanity.
February 22nd, 2013
According to the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service, Antigua’s normal daily high for March and April averages 85F/29C. So plan to celebrate spring break, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, April Fool’s Day, Passover — any day in March and April on our Best Beach by a Mile here in Antigua. Temperatures are going to rise with all-inclusive rates starting at just $US99.00 per person, per night during our Spring Fever 72-hour offer from 12:00 noon EST today, Friday February 22 to 12:00 noon EST Monday February 25, 2013. And you can travel anytime March 1-April 30, 2013.