My wife and I visited Antigua finally, after waiting for a number of years. We have travelled to many islands in the Caribbean and were looking forward to this trip. We had too many low points and I decided to write this review. There were some high points as well, so read on.
Arrival was as normal as any other island, received baggage and got through customs in a reasonable time. Vans were organized out front for the different resorts. Get on the right one and off you go.
Ours was a garden view. We should have upgraded, but we’re not the type to worry too much about the room, as we spend little time there anyway. It’s about the country itself, the beach, the food. So not so much emphasis on the room. This being said, the room was very dated, definitely nothing special in anyway, and actually made me not want to spend any time there. So, there you go. It actually worked in our favour.
Restaurants and Bars: Here comes the first major complaint. The bars were understaffed. Many times I walked up to the bar near the beach, only to find no one there. It was open, but not manned. So being Canadian, I patiently waited for someone to show up to their job and make me a drink at this all inclusive resort. After 20 min’s, (like I said I’m patient)I finally had enough and walked behind the bar to pour myself a drink. I’m only there for a week and I’m not about to spend it waiting for anything. While I’m there doing my Tom Cruise imitation from the movie "Cocktail" more resort guests showed up for drinks and asked it I worked there. I said, "I do now, what would you like" and made them the best drinks they’ve ever had. Finally the bar tender showed up and was quickly trying to take over the show (probably scared to death of getting in trouble). Other bars weren’t too bad as long as there was no one else waiting for drinks, other wise the understaffing ticks the clock away. Food is very important on these trips, and the food here was ok at best, and I mean that. (Best food to date…Grand Lido Braco in Jamaica..hands down)
Mary’s BBQ up on the hill was awesome. Great chicken and Ribs and cold beer, finger lickin good, and real messy, yummmmm. The view is great and well worth the hike. Mary is a sweet heart, make sure to give her a hug for me. The rest of the staff down below could take some hospitality lessons from her.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: I’m not a pool guy and my wife doesn’t even swim. But alot of you probably are so here you go. The pool is nice as far as pools go, (has a waterfall on one side) but was full of kids all the time and noisy, again kids. The snack bar was always busy beside the pool, again kids. So if you’ve got kids, then great otherwise if your like me (leave em at home) I didn’t want to see kids (which explains why we go to alot of adults only resorts). Don’t get me wrong, kids are great and I love mine. But I see them 24/7 so our vacation is about relaxing by ourselves. The beach was ok as far as beaches go. Long enough to walk on but attached to a public beach. Nothing to look at if your a snorkler. Some gift shops to barter at. Water sport staff would rather have seen me drop off the face of the planet then ask to take out a sailboat. There was a strong on shore breeze making it difficult to get the boat going. Instead of helping me out, the staff kicked me off the boat and pulled it back on to the beach. Sorry guys for taking so much of your time, chillin out at work.
The grounds are ok, but nothing special.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: I think I remember some volleyball being played with about 50 people. I’m not exaggerating. Other than that not much going on. I saw some kids chasing one of the activity guys around on the beach, and a couple kids flying some kites, one of which hit me while I was relaxing in my chair. No big, just take them somewhere else. Off the resort, the island is beautiful. It is safe and theres plenty to see. We strongly suggest hiring a cab driver to take you for the day. Its around $30.00 per person and worth every cent. We got off the beatin path a few times and saw some beautiful sights. Nelsons Dockyard is a must, and half moon bay. IF you want a magnificent snorkel tour and beach lobster or chicken lunch. Then forget everyone else they offer at the resort and call Creole cruises. These guys were amazing and cheaper than anyone else on the island by a landslide.($125 per person vs $200) The lobster and salads were incredible and so was the homemade rum punch. Plus the best hospitality I experienced on the entire island. I can honestly say it was the best excursion I’ve ever been on anywhere. and I’ve been almost everwhere. (military life)Check out their website, jot down the number, and take it with you on your vacation. Then call from one of the phones at the resort, you won’t regret it. Mary’s heights is a big drunk fest and the food is expensive. Not a place for kids. But the view at sunset and at night is great. Cabs are rediculusly expensive to get anywhere on the island. Stay away from the crooks on the beach, my buddy and I got absolutely raped on a half day fishing trip $500.00 which didn’t go to where they said we were going, and we caught nothing. Complete waste of time and money. Always confirm that your return taxi is included in where ever you go, ALWAYS… or you to will get ripped off.
Other Comments: Hotel Staff: I thought that other people on this site were being to picky about the attitudes of hotel staff. Well…their not. I found myself continually trying to be overly nice with the staff to get what I wanted. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? At least the hotel manager did come up to us and asked what we thought. Well, we’er honest people so we told him exactly what we thought and he was very appreciative. In fact he was the nicest person we met on the whole resort. So: Would I stay here again. NO Would I recommend this resort. NO Would I recommend Antigua to anybody. Sure,just stay at Jolly beach or Sandals.
Would I go back to Antigua. NO The "tour guides" on the beach, hotel staff, and the overpriced taxis ruined it for us. If I win the lottery though, I will go back just to go on another Creole Cruise! Definitley worth every cent.