Luxury, gastronomy, paradise views and incredible service. This is what it’s really like to stay at Hammock Cove, the finest 5-star all-inclusive resort in Antigua.
I’ve been to several Caribbean islands now, but Antigua is still one of my firm favourites. It has all the paradise elements you’d expect including 365 beaches, rows of fluttering palm trees, endless sunshine and stunning crystal blue waters. But there’s a charm too. The people are full of joy and warmth, and wherever you go, the service is exceptional. The island has missed tourists over the last few years, so when I arrived for this trip, the welcome was warmer than ever!
After my first trip to the island a few years ago, I was so excited to return for an out and out luxury stay at Hammock Cove Resort. One of the hottest new openings on the island, it’s part of Elite Island Resorts, and offers the 5-star experience from the moment you step off the plane.
Macca and I finally tied the knot this summer, so we were ready for the full honeymoon experience. The sort you see in movies, with beach strolls hand in hand, massages for two and candlelit dinners. We, like many, have had a few years of being cooped up at home, postponing travels and missing out on memorable experiences with friends and family. After our belated wedding ceremony in August, we counted the days until our luxurious Antigua trip.
I know the island is already a popular honeymoon destination, but I think that Hammock Cove offers one of the finest 5* all-inclusive resort experiences in Antigua. In this post I’ll share all the details of our stay, lots of photos and a few tips to make the most of your special holiday or honeymoon in Antigua.
Hammock Cove Review – The finest 5-star all-inclusive resort in Antigua?
From what the villas are really like, to food choices and which activities to book during your stay, here’s the lowdown on our honeymoon at Hammock Cove.
Private Villas at Hammock Cove
Are you ready to hear about our beautiful secluded villa at Hammock Cove? Oh, how I miss waking up to these views! I’ve stayed at several high-end resorts around the world, but none had private plunge pools with uninterrupted views like these.
One of my favourite things was waking up each morning and opening the curtains to let the morning sunshine stream through, then getting back under the covers to gaze out at the waves.
Each of the 41 villas at the resort is 1080 square feet and while modern, they have a nod to traditional Caribbean interiors, with their dark wooden vaulted ceilings. You’ll see these throughout the resort in the dining and social areas too.
While many luxury resorts offer chic bedrooms or suites, having an entire private villa gives you a lot more privacy to relax and unwind. Also, if you’re not planning to leave your villa much (say no more honeymooners!) you’ll find everything you need right here. The super-king bed has soft and luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets, there’s a coffee machine, some snacks, a large TV, great Wi-Fi and a large walk in closet.
The bathroom is one of the largest I’ve ever encountered on my travels. As well as two sinks, there’s a separate make up area where I got ready every day. But wait, the main event here is the shower! The double shower is absolutely spectacular, with relaxing rain shower experiences – ideal for couples too!
The only downside we found was that the toilet wasn’t in a separate cubicle as it’s nice to have the extra privacy.
My favourite area of our luxurious villa at Hammock Cove was the outside terrace. It’s almost as large as the interior! There are two sun loungers, a cocoon-style hanging chair (which I spent many hours curled up reading a book inside!) and a dining area. This is also where you’ll find that dreamy plunge pool too.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was shown our outdoor bar. Not only was there a fridge full of fine wines and soft drinks, there were full bottles of spirits too! I know you expect to be able to eat and drink to your heart’s content at all-inclusive resorts, but to have access to such top-quality spirits and wines is something that sets Hammock Cove apart from a lot of others on the island. We didn’t make use of our bar as much as we could have, as we preferred to visit the bars around the resort, but it was lovely to have the option to enjoy a mid-afternoon gin and tonic in the privacy of our villa.
One useful thing to know before booking your villa is that they are laid out across two levels. The front row has uninterrupted ocean views, but if you’re on the upper level you’ll look out over the villa in front.
It’s also worth noting that the majority are positioned overlooking the beach, but those at the far end look out towards Devil’s Bridge. We were in one of these on the lower level, and there was something very special about the uninterrupted sea views. These villas also feel a lot more secluded as people don’t walk past unless they’re staying in this area. The small downside is that they aren’t in direct sun for as much of the day, so you might find your plunge pool experience a little more on the refreshing side!
The private beach and infinity pools at Hammock Cove
After breakfast each day we tended to go down to Hammock Cove’s private beach and relax on sun loungers or take a dip in the water. The beach service here adds to why I think this is one of the best five-star all-inclusive resorts in Antigua. As soon as we reached the beach, the staff laid down towels, adjusted parasols and brought us water. There’s a full bar service down here too, and at lunchtime, you can even order food from Irina’s to be served to you at your lounger!
Have you ever had a waiter bring you a cocktail in the ocean while you lounge around on a floating ring? Well, that’s what you can expect at Hammock Cove! The beach staff are used to wading in with trays of cocktails, so you don’t even have to leave the warm turquoise waters to enjoy a frozen daiquiri or two.
Towards one end of the beach you’ll find kayaks, paddleboards, floats and sailing boats that you can use during your stay. As Hammock Cove is within a reef area, the water tends to be lovely and calm. Getting out on the water to take in the views and spot some exotic fish was one of my favourite things to do at Hammock Cove.
There’s also a triple-decker cascading infinity pool in the main section of the resort, with mesmerising views over the beach on each level. I should add that none of these areas ever felt particularly crowded. This isn’t a vast resort with several pools, activities or entertainment. It’s small with an intimate vibe throughout.
The Ambassador service at Hammock Cove
When you check in at Hammock Cove you’ll be given a phone with a direct line to your ‘Ambassador’ for your stay. Many luxury hotels offer a butler service, but this was a little different.
If there’s anything you need during your stay, you just call your ambassador, whether that’s ice for your room, a late-night pizza, a dinner reservation, a taxi or something a little more random. This service runs 24/7 and was not only a very efficient way to organise all the small details, but also made it personal.
We used this service to organise our spa treatments, book a session at the gym, order snacks and drinks, and even a full breakfast in our villa one morning. It was lovely getting to know our ambassador Leon throughout the week too. He was so charming and helpful.
Dining at Hammock Cove
How many all-inclusive resorts have you stayed at that don’t have at least one meal served as a buffet? Well, at Hammock Cove every single meal is made to order. Gastronomy is a huge part of the resort experience, and that means you’ll be able to choose what you want to eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There are two main dining venues at Hammock Cove: Irina’s and The Lighthouse. Irina’s is more casual and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while The Lighthouse is the resort’s chic dinner venue.
The menus are varied, covering a number of cuisines, and if you’re following a special diet, you’ll always be taken care of.
At breakfast I tended to go for the healthy option of the berry and yoghurt parfait, which was always delicious! The menu featured all the classic brunch dishes, including eggs Benedict, omelettes, waffles and French toast. You could even order steak at breakfast!
One of my favourite moments was when the waiter presented me with this cappuccino. Isn’t it adorable?
At lunchtime, the range of options included snacks like nachos and chicken wings, salads (which were always lovely and fresh), grilled fish, pizzas and burgers.
My favourite lunch dishes were the grilled fish dishes, the sushi and the tuna tataki.
Dinner at The Lighthouse is a swanky affair, which isn’t surprising as executive chef Marco is very talented. Most guests choose to dine here in the evening and there is a bookings policy (just to make sure dining service is spread out). There’s a three-course menu every single night and this is where you’ll get the full gastronomic experience at Hammock Cove.
My favourite dishes included risotto, scallops, lobster, steak, rack of lamb and delicious fresh fish. Dishes were always beautifully presented too. I couldn’t help but take photos!
I really enjoyed how much of a spectacle dinner was each night. It was a chance to get dressed up, enjoy a gourmet meal and great company, as well as an opportunity to interact with some of the other guests at the resort.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a special lunch cooked by Chef Marco as part of our honeymoon at Hammock Cove, and wow were the dishes stunning. Two dishes arrived in ice sculptures, scallops were perfectly caramelised and the tiramisu was the lightest and most delicious I’ve tasted outside of Italy. It really added to our romantic stay.
Drinking at Hammock Cove
It’s impossible to write a review of Hammock Cove without mentioning the cocktails in pretty much every paragraph! You’ll never go thirsty, that’s for sure.
There are four areas for drinks at Hammock Cove: the bar in the Great House next to Irina’s, On The Rocks (beach service), the bar inside The Lighthouse and Nobody Knows rum bar which is tucked underneath The Lighthouse. The vibe is different at each one, making them good for different times of day.
I loved how the bar tenders would concoct drinks for each guest, taking advice on what spirits or flavours they liked first. Some of my favourite tipples from the week included a passionfruit, mint and rum slushie, a classic mojito and fruity frozen daiquiris.
Nobody Knows was my favourite spot for a pre-dinner drink. This bar specialises in rum, which happens to be my favourite spirit! As well as some standard cocktails, it was great to taste a variety of neat rums, learning more about what makes each one special. They even had my favourite from my travels – Ron Zacapa. Barman Gabriel was full of knowledge, and always had a smile on his face too, creating a great atmosphere no matter how many people were seated at the bar.
There’s a relaxed and intimate vibe at this bar too. Often we’d find ourselves chatting to other couples staying at the resort. This was something that I really loved about our stay in general. The resort is small enough that you really do get to know other people. By the end of our week we were swapping email addresses to keep in touch!
Who is Hammock Cove Resort for?
Since I returned, a few people have asked me who would enjoy a stay at Hammock Cove. So, here are my thoughts:
Adults – Yes, this is an adults-only resort. I think you’ve probably guessed that already though!
Couples – Oh yes, this resort is ideal for couples, but to be honest that doesn’t just mean romantic couples! We met siblings, friends and even a mum and daughter on their annual vacation from the US.
Honeymooners – We weren’t the only honeymooners staying at the resort. In fact, there were three other sets of newlyweds! It is the ideal hotel for a romantic getaway in the sunshine.
Foodies – How many all-inclusive resorts offer fine dining of this quality? If you’re a foodie you’ll love it!
Special celebrations – During our stay we met quite a few couples celebrating wedding anniversaries (from one year to 30 years). We also heard there was a wedding, two proposals and also someone celebrating beating cancer. If you’ve got something to celebrate, this resort is a great option.
Anyone in need of pure relaxation – Everyone has had a pretty stressful few years, whether that be through isolation, separation or something else. At this resort, the biggest stress each day will be deciding what to eat and drink.
What is there to do at Hammock Cove Resort?
I’ll admit that when we booked our trip to Antigua, I wondered whether I’d get bored being in one place for a whole week. I’m usually that person who packs a week-long trip full of activities and adventures, but I also knew it’d do me a lot of good to switch off and relax (I’m sure anyone who’s planned a wedding will agree!) Thankfully, there were a lot of activities on site at Hammock Cove, so I could have the best of both worlds. Some of these carry an extra charge, but the majority are included for all guests. Here are a few of my favourites to look out for:
Enjoy some ‘you time’ at the spa – There’s a small but very lovely spa at Hammock Cove, offering a range of treatments from manicures and massages, to body wraps and scrubs. We both had relaxing back massages there, which was the perfect way to unwind as the sun started to set.
Work out at the fitness centre – When you’re eating and drinking your way through the all-inclusive menu, you might feel the need to exercise a little to counteract all of the indulgence! There’s a very well-equipped fitness centre in the same building as the spa. I’ll admit that running on the treadmill while looking out at the spectacular beach view certainly gave me motivation that I’ve never had staring at the wall of a gym in London!
Learn from a top chef at the weekly cooking demonstration – Every Wednesday, Chef Marco and his team do a cooking demonstration for guests. It was great to venture into the kitchen of The Lighthouse and learn how to make a few of the restaurant’s signature dishes. We were even given the recipe to recreate the dishes at home.
Relas with bubbles on the beach – Every Thursday, the team at Hammock Cove serve glasses of bubbly and fresh oysters or ceviche down by the beach.
Enjoy a BBQ Grill right on the beach – Every Friday, there’s a great BBQ experience also by the beach. The scent of grilled fish and steak was too much to resist! What could be better than an authentic Caribbean BBQ by the ocean, accompanied by a steel drum band?
Challenge your partner to a game of Pickleball – You might not have heard of this racquet sport before, but it’s one of the fastest-growing in the world. Across between badminton, ping pong and tennis, it’s a really fun game to try. There are two pickleball courts at Hammock Cove, and you can collect the equipment from reception. If you want to get technical, you’ll find the rules by the court, but it was great fun just knocking the ball back and forth. As it gets so warm during the day, I’d recommend playing after 4.30pm when the temperatures are more comfortable.
Play some games in the Chairman’s Lounge – Inside the Great House is a games room which is packed full of things to do including a pool table, Scrabble, Poker and Chess. Top tip – this is also one of the best places to go when the heat gets too much as the AC is always lovely and cold. Oh, and there’s a TV here with all the sports channels too, so it’s a popular spot when big matches are on.
Visit the gift shop – If you need anything during your stay, there’s a small gift shop on site. It sells a range of souvenirs, items of clothing and essentials such as medicine and sun cream.
Learn about wine – We really enjoyed our wine tasting session with Hammock Cove’s expert sommelier Silvia. We learned lots, drank a fair bit, and enjoyed stunning views from the top of The Lighthouse too.
Celebrate under the pink gazebo – If you’re celebrating a special occasion such as a honeymoon, you can book a special meal out by the pretty pink gazebo. During our stay we also heard about a proposal and a wedding at this spot! It’s very picturesque so I can see why couples love it!
If you do fancy exploring more of the island, you can speak to the excursion desk about other activities including diving, the Pink Panther Safari, catamaran trips, helicopter tours and more. I’d also recommend reading my Antigua travel guide which has lots of great recommendations of tours, activities and places to eat on the island.
So, is Hammock Cove the finest 5* all-inclusive resort in Antigua?
There are plenty of luxury resorts in Antigua, but this is the first I’ve stayed at which has a boutique feel. The intimate style made the our experience a lot more personal. We never felt like there were lots of people around, or that it was noisy or crowded. Everything felt very sophisticated and civilised.
The staff struck just the right balance of being super attentive, but allowing us to have our own privacy too. I thought the personal level of service elevated the luxury experience to new heights.
Then there are the drinking and dining options, which I think are some of the best I’ve come across in the Caribbean.
Whether you’re thinking of visiting for a special holiday, a wedding anniversary or you’re booking your honeymoon at Hammock Cove, I hope this review helps you plan your trip. I’m excited to finally spread the word, while already planning a return visit!
A big thanks to Elite Island Resorts for hosting me at Hammock Cove Resort. As always, all opinions are my own.