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TRAVEL | Recharging Ourselves at Wild Lotus Glamping, Antigua
TRAVEL | Recharging Ourselves at Wild Lotus Glamping, Antigua

TRAVEL | Recharging Ourselves at Wild Lotus Glamping, Antigua


Wild Lotus could easily be a contender for the most beautiful glamping site in the world, located directly on a beach on the Instagram-perfect island of Antigua in the Caribbean. But, it’s not all about the views. Wild Lotus Glamping seeks to support the wellbeing of travelers whilst offering them a glamping experience that’s truly unique.

Originally booked to travel to Wild Lotus Glamping on the Caribbean island of Antigua back in January, our plans were postponed due to lockdown and we opted instead for early July, by which time Antigua and Barbuda had thankfully moved onto the UK green travel list.

It takes just over 8 hours to fly to Antigua from the UK, and after a great flight, we landed and were greeted at the airport. 30 minutes later, we were pulling up at what was to be our home for the next 7 nights. We were met by one of the owners – Paul who was friendly, welcoming and took us to our bell tent.

There are 6 Lotus Belle tents in total, pitched on the beach – and I mean, literally, right on the beach. The Caribbean sea is just a few steps away and lush vegetation fringes the beach. It’s breathtaking.

All of the tents have similar interiors containing beautiful antique furniture – including a double bed, sofa, coffee table, and storage unit. There’s a safe inside each tent, and both the front and back door of the tent can be padlocked shut to help keep your belongings secure. Towels and toiletries are provided, and there’s a lovely little off-grid private shower garden area at the back of each tent.

After unpacking and changing, we immediately set off to explore the beach, hoping to cool down with a cocktail and a much-needed bite to eat from the nearby beach bar.

Although Antigua and Barbuda are reported to be bouncing back in terms of tourism, it was still relatively quiet whilst we were there. With none of the usual cruise ships to cater to – some bars, including the nearby Nest Beach bar were closed (but have since reopened), which forced a rethink in how we were going to eat and drink during our stay.

Wild Lotus glamping breakfast view
Breakfast on the Beach

A small cooler with ice, water, and a bottle of wine, were provided on our arrival.  However, we glugged a bottle of water between us without blinking, and realized that with the closest bar shut, we’d have to head off to stock up pronto.

Tired from traveling, but glad to have the opportunity to explore right away – we decided to head off on foot to find the local supermarket. In blistering heat, underneath umpteen layers of factor 50, we set off in the direction of Jolly Harbour where 25 sweaty minutes later, we found the well-stocked Epicurean supermarket as well as a couple of bars.

Back at the tent, and with our drink-laden backpacks unpacked, it was finally time to change into swimwear and get into the shimmering, Instagram-perfect turquoise sea, where we languished for the rest of the day and proceeded to spend most of the week!

We spent a lot of time cooling off in the sea

That evening, a welcome barbecue on the beach was prepared – giving us a chance to mingle with other guests and owners, Paul and Vennetta. With jerk chicken, coleslaw, and flatbreads on my plate, and a glass of wine in my hand – I finally felt like I could relax into holiday mode.

After our first night’s sleep, we awoke super early and watched the sun rise from the deserted beach. Later, we tucked into a tasty buffet breakfast of pastries, fresh fruit, granola, coffee, and fruit juice, and we quickly settled into a routine of having breakfast. Then, with blatant disregard for what we were told never to do as kids – immediately going for a dip in the sea.

I’m not sure I’ve ever spent quite so much time in the sea! We found it was often the only way to escape the relentless heat. Fortunately, it was bath-tub warm and extremely gentle. So much of our time was spent lazily floating in the shallows and doing sensory meditations, or else swimming up and down the shoreline – or snorkeling, on the constant lookout for marine life.

Whilst the location of Wild Lotus on Valley Church Beach is beautiful – the beach isn’t renowned for snorkeling, nevertheless, we spotted several starfish, crabs, numerous schools of small fish, stingrays, and even an adorable little baby shark.

We had made plans to see and do lots of different things, but we actually ended up doing very little. The heat sapped us with energy. We walked into Jolly Harbour a few times (a 30 minute walk to get to the harbor area), where we swam, meditated and read. The one thing we did do, however, visited the rain forest, which turned out to be a real highlight of our time in Antigua.

 

Rainforest CBD Massage

We were driven up to Wallings Nature Reserve rain forest by Wild Lotus owner, Vendetta, where we met with the masseuse, Imara. We then had a short hike into the rain forest which was a truly wonderful experience in itself.

The rain forest was much cooler than expected and the sounds were incredible. As we walked, we could both feel our senses tuning in to nature, and a blanket of absolute calm descended and enveloped us both.


Read about The Power Of Forest Bathing here.


Wild Lotus have their own blend of CBD oil, which was used as part of the massages we both had. I’m a CBD user myself, and have frequent massages at home – but, I’d never experienced CBD oil used in this way.

I can only describe the experience as intense. Far more relaxing than any massage I’ve had in the past – which was in part, down to the special forest setting along with the use of CBD oil, which left me feeling as close to blissed out as I’ve ever been.

The lovely deeply spaced-out feeling persisted for quite some time.

It took us both quite a while to come back around after our massages, and the lovely deeply spaced-out feeling persisted for quite some time.

Fire pits like these are available to rent
Fire pits like these are available to rent

The whole experience is something I’ll never forget, and can’t recommend it enough. But, the rain forest massage is just one of many wellness options available at Wild Lotus.

Even if you don’t go for their full Naturally Wild Wellness Retreat (full details at the end of the article), and you just want to spend a chilled couple of nights there with a massage and a yoga session – have a chat with one of the team members who will be happy to make it happen for you.

 

Crucial Travel Information

At the time of writing, Antigua and Barbuda are on the UK travel green watch list. This means that to travel, we had to obtain a pre-flight PCR test here in the UK and another pre-return-flight PCR test in Antigua. We also had to pre-book at Day 2 test. Wild Lotus will arrange your PCR test in Antigua for you, which can be conveniently taken on-site.

We would strongly recommend avoiding the testing packages offered by Well Pharmacies, which didn’t send us our departure PCR test in time for our flight. Instead, we had to obtain a second, very costly, same-day PCR test.

As well as tests, you’ll also need to fill in a Passenger Locator form, ahead of your outbound and inbound flights.

 

Getting the Most Out of Your Stay

 

Getting Around

Car hire isn’t essential, but it will make your life much easier – especially when it comes to mealtimes. Remember too, that you’ll want to stock up on plenty of water.

We used local busses (they look like regular minivans, but can be differentiated by their number plates, which start with BUS), which were cheap. However, pricing and timings seemed entirely random, and you will, of course, need to use the local currency (EC Dollars).

Comfort

It is worth making it absolutely clear, that Wild Lotus is an off-grid glamping site. So there is of course, no mains power, plumbing, etc. The Louts Belle tents are well furnished and comfortable. Do bear in mind though, you’ll be largely living out of your suitcase, so it pays to be organized!

We traveled at a particularly hot time of year, which made the tents exceptionally warm – sometimes unbearably so. Most days it was around 32°C, even in the early hours of the morning with the canvas doors and windows open, it was still very hot as the temperature rarely dropped below 28°C.

To enhance your comfort inside the tents, we’d recommend taking one or more rechargeable fans with you and depending on the length of your stay, a solar-powered charger or power bank is a must too.

A solar-powered charging hub for each tent would make a welcome addition to the setup at Wild Lotus, but at the moment, if you need to change something, you can ask to borrow a power bank.

Do be aware that although there are plans to add toilets in the future – as it stands, the glamping site shares toilet facilities with the nearby Nest Beach bar, which was closed whilst we were there. This meant that thankfully, Wild Lotus guests had the facilities to themselves.

Honestly, I did struggle with the toilet situation. I always take a portable camp loo when I camp at home, as I can’t be doing with traipsing across fields, (or beaches), several times a night.

It didn’t help matters that the walk to the toilet block provided no shade during the day. And at night, meant running the gauntlet of nasty bitey things, making trips to the toilet block a bit of an ordeal.

Of course, when you visit anywhere tropical, mozzies and other biting insects are a reality. Bug spray is helpfully provided in each tent, but if you have a tried and tested spray you favor, bring it with you along with antihistamines and bite relief cream, too.

I got bitten a lot despite covering myself head to toe with repellent, even while keeping the mesh closed on the tent doors and windows at all times. It might be luxurious inside the tent, but at the end of the day – remember that you’re still off-grid camping.

 

Food & Drink

Cool boxes can be borrowed (as with many things, just ask!) – and we’d recommend requesting daily ice if you don’t have transport, or making a daily run for ice to the nearby supermarket if you do have a car.

Obviously, when it’s above 30°C, ice melts fast, so you’ll easily get through a bag of ice every day. We took insulated Yeti Rambler cups with us, and we’d strongly recommend packing insulated water bottles and cups to take with you.

Upgrading and choosing the optional breakfast is also a great call. It was always fresh and tasty with something different every morning and served on the beach (under shade thankfully!) promptly at 8 a.m.

Had the Nest Beach bar been open during our stay, it would have made our lives so much easier. But, on at least 2 days, we were just too hot and knackered to contemplate making the walk to Jolly Harbour (a 30-minute walk each way) for food, so we ended up skipping lunch entirely.

An hour’s walk in the mid-day sun isn’t something you’ll want to be doing for lunch every day. For that reason, I’d recommend checking to see whether the Nest Beach bar is open, ensuring you hire a car (Wild Lotus can sort this out for you), or taking your chances with the erratic local public transport. Of course, if you’re out and about during the day and don’t turn into beach sloths as we did, this won’t be an issue.

 

We visited Jolly Harbour a few times and found ourselves at Sandra’s Beach Shop – which has the most amazing views and does cheap, decent food. The cocktails there were passable, but you might be better off sticking to beer or soft drinks.  However, the views and good service more than made up for the mediocre cocktails.

 

Wellness

Having such a stunning beach almost to ourselves, was incredible!  We ate dinner on the beach and watched the sunset together every night.  In terms of romance, Wild Lotus rates pretty highly. We found that choosing to do so little, meant we could unwind and truly relax – with plenty of time for daily meditations.

We both feel we got a lot from the trip. Certainly from a spiritual growth perspective, and found Antigua to be a truly stunning country, with a wonderfully laid-back vibe and ample natural beauty.

Although we had planned to do yoga, visit St. Johns, and snorkel at Cades Reef – we ended up doing very little. But, there are heaps of options for those who like to do more on holiday.

Not only are there things like zip-lining, snorkeling, lobster cruises, and steel pan party excursions available, but Wild Lotus can arrange it all for you. Just let them know what you fancy and when you want to do it – and like magic, they will sort it out for you.

Other guests were raving about doing yoga on the beach, but we were so hot and poorly acclimatized, we could barely bend down to put shoes on – let alone do a passable shoulder stand. Whatever you’re looking to do though, the genuinely warm and lovely Wild Lotus team can help make it happen.

 

Final Verdict

Relentless heat, closed beach bars, mozzies, and trekking to the communal toilets aside – Wild Lotus provides a unique glamping experience aimed at adventurous souls who take their well-being seriously.

It’s certainly the most novel glamping experience we’ve ever had, and we had an unforgettable stay there. The tents are comfortable, with a location that’s hard to beat. The service is very good, and all members of the team are friendly, approachable, and keen to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

For those seeking a rustic, yet comfortable off-grid experience, Wild Lotus provides the perfect opportunity to switch off, partially re-wild yourself, and reconnect with the natural world whilst nurturing your well-being.

Sitting in the shallows, while the sea gently laps around you with a glass of wine in your hand, while watching the sun go down – is simply wonderful! A few days at Wild Lotus will help you reconnect with what really matters.

 

Getting There

BA operates daily flights from Gatwick to Antigua and our BA flight left at 10:10 a.m., meaning driving down the day before and staying overnight was necessary.

From the north, the journey to and from Gatwick took some 5 hours. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Gatwick (a 5-minute drive from the airport) the night before, as well as the night following our return. The hotel was excellent, and as IHG members, we opted for a Club room which meant an upgraded room, free breakfast, and a free welcome drink.

Staying at Wild Lotus Glamping starts at $325 + 15% ABSV tax per night, per couple, sharing a deluxe tent with a 2-night minimum stay. Whilst 4-night beach yoga retreats start at $1885 per person.


DISCLOSURE | We were invited to stay at Wild Lotus Glamping, and our accommodation – including breakfast and dinner, as well as the rain forest massages, were gifted to us. Travel and all other costs were our own.

 

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Shell loves all things travel and outdoors and is a nature-loving, comfy-camping kinda girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident that left her with a broken back. Despite this, she used the outdoors and the healing power of nature to aid her recovery and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.

From open water swimming, snowboarding, and kayaking to hill walks and meditation, Shell shares her travels and micro adventures here on the blog and in various publications, she’s written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting wellbeing and the many benefits of nature therapy.

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