Arrival: This was our first trip to Antigua, and Westjet Vacations had a great deal for this resort when we booked it in September. The resort is located 30 minutes from the airport.
Rooms: On arrival there was a little confusion about our room, apparently the travel agency did not pass on our room requests, so they had to change our room. We had asked for a room where we could get internet access, not all the rooms have it due to the resort being so spread out. But it all got sorted and we were taken to our room. Rooms are in single storey semi-detached bungalows. The room is very large, 700 square feet. Absolutely loved the room. Nice large tub, king-sized bed, sofabed, small kitchenette with fridge, sink, and microwave, and a gorgeous large covered verandah overlooking the water. The mattress is very hard, but we did get used to it and slept very well. You can ask for a mattress topper, apparently that makes it a little softer. We had a waterview room and were very happy with the view and glad we hadn’t upgraded to waterfront. All the rooms are the same whether they are hillside, waterview or waterfront, it’s just the view that’s different. We did pay extra to have internet access in our room ($50 for the week), but they do have free access in the pool/bar area.
Restaurants and Bars: Breakfast is buffet style at the main restaurant. For lunch you can go to the buffet at the main restaurant or the beach restaurant. We tried both and preferred the main buffet. Food was excellent. For dinner you can eat at the main buffet (no reservations required), or make a reservation at either the Beach restaurant or Buccaneer’s Restaurant. Make your reservation early in the day at Guest Services as the good times fill up quickly. We tried both the beach restaurant and Buccaneer’s Restaurant for dinner, both were good food, service in Buccaneer’s wasn’t too good – they seemed somewhat overwhelmed and we waited forever for our desert and tea, and finally just got up and left. Service in the other restaurants was very good. There is also a 4th restaurant, Nicole’s, that you have to pay a supplement to eat at. It is $30 US each. We ate there one night and the food was excellent. I had the beef tenderloin, lobster was also available. There is a dress code for the restaurants in the evening (except the buffet), men must wear a collared shirt, long pants, and proper shoes.
There are several bars – the main bar by the pool, the beach bar near the main beach, and the Rasta bar on Rasta Beach. They do not have drink menus, which would have been nice. Said they are working on one.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The resort is very spread out and very hilly. Maybe not a good choice for someone with mobility issues, although they do have golf carts that go around regularly to take you where you want to go. You can even phone from your room and request one. Beautiful vegetation and flowers everywhere. You will also see a lot of mongooses around (apparently they were brought to Antigua to get rid of the snakes, which they did, but now there is a large population of mongoose). Also a lot of different birds, that come and sit on the railing of your balcony and hummingbirds everywhere . Over the water you can see the pelicans diving for fish. At night you hear the tree frogs, reminded me of Bermuda. There are two small beaches on the property, or you can go to Long Bay Beach, a couple minutes’ walk from the front entrance of the hotel. You have to go down 40 steps to the resort’s main beach (that’s the easy part). The beach bar is at the top of the stairs, so not too convenient. Would have been nice if they had bar service on the beach. There is a large main pool, as well as several smaller ones throughout the property. The main pool is located by the bar and main building housing all the restaurants, guest services, spa, etc.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: They do have entertainment in the evening – singers, DJ’s, band, that kind of thing. All entertainment is over at 11 p.m. Definitely not a party place. Most of the clientele was from England, along with Canadians and Americans. There were lots of families with young children there. There are some daily activities, you can read the daily activities at Guest Services. One thing we loved was that there was no loud music playing around the pool as is often the case. Very relaxing. The spa was very nice. It was a little pricey, but I had a couple of massages and they were the best I’ve ever had! Water at the resort is good to drink. Our tour company rep did say we should use bottled water in the room, as the tap water there was not as purified as in the rest of the resort. We did buy a large bottle, which we could get refilled at the bar. They do not have bottled water at the bars or restaurants. We did use the tap water in the room to make tea and coffee, as we were boiling it. Weather was good. A little bit of rain a couple of days, but not enough to interfere with anything.
Devil’s Bridge is one of the island attractions and is actually adjacent to the hotel property. A staff member walks over with a group a couple times a week. There are also other tours you can book – swimming with stingrays, catamaran tour, etc. Shirley Heights is supposed to be a good trip, we didn’t go but another couple we talked to went and said they were ready to come back after 10 minutes. Depends what you like.
Overall we thought the resort was great. However, we did get it for a good price, and had we paid full price, might have balked at having to pay extra for internet in our room and to eat at Nicole’s Restaurant. Also feel they should have bar service on the beach. The resort was built in 2007, but seems much older because of the style. It reminded me more of a resort in Northern Ontario than a Caribbean resort. The resort is actually on the Atlantic side of the island.