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“Rustic (but not really) Romance” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hermitage Bay

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Hermitage Bay
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   PO Box 60, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua   |  
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20% Off Christmas Week
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bolans
new york, new york
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Rustic (but not really) Romance”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

We chose Hermitage Bay because we like the worry-free aspect of all-inclusives, but hate the larger cheesy resorts that typically fit that bill. Hermitage is only 37 bungalows (2 to a room), so never feels crowded. You never have to fight for a chair at the beach or wait for a table at dinner and you always get the feeling that the staff if there to cater exclusively to you. In fact, beach service is exemplary. You've hardly plopped your bag down before your chair is made up and an ice bucket with water is brought to you.

The clientele is 90 pct late 20s & 30s couples (children under 15 are actually not allowed) with a few older couples. I expect this is mostly b/c of the layout of the hotel, which is built up the side of a hill and require a hike up and down to get to. A few huts sit beachside - these rooms are larger and more central, but less private and do not include a plunge pool. While golf carts will happily drive you up and down to the hillside suites, most of the time you feel silly waiting for one and just forego that service - though one or two late nights it was greatly appreciated. Despite some previous reviews, it's completely doable for people in minimal shape.
In fact the hillside setting of this hotel is not a drawback - it is really what makes it superior. It has that feeling of being in tahiti, and the balinese decor of the rooms and overall architectural style of the hotel certainly lends to that feeling. They are placed carefully to allow the maximum amt of privacy for each suite. As for the interior - I heard one couple say the room wasn't quite as luxurious as they expected. It's true - they are not "plush" in the style of an urban or upscale vegas hotel. The furniture and bathroom are wooden not granite and stone... there is no down top bedding ... and there is a mosquito net. But honestly, that's in the style of the hotel. I think it's supposed to feel rustic - like you've escaped to an untouched paradise- while simultaneously providing all the typical comforts at your fingertips. You can completely open the screened doors so that you are in an open air room. That is special. We ordered breakfast in our room. Well worth the $20 surcharge. We heard some people did that every day. In general the food was superb - and though I read a previous review say his wife's dieting was all in vain- I actually found the ingredients and portion-size to be unusually healthy. I am a pescatarian and there was more than enough choice for me to indulge and the chef was very adept at making small changes. Every morning, a different organic fresh-squeezed juice was offered (watermelon, 3 melon, soursop, coconut. Mmmm!) I will especially miss the almond-scented ice-cold towelettes provided before each meal, prepared with almonds crushed from the very tree facing the restaurant.

The boutique, while overpriced, has a really well-picked assortment of nice bathing suits and jewelry. The buyer/owner has excellent taste and I was very tempted. ;) Of course nothing is actually made on the island, not in the boutique or in the baskets of the women who occasionally walk the sand peddling (all the beaches in antigua are public so you can't avoid this, though thanks to the very secluded setting of this hotel that does not seem to be an issue at all), but nothing in the Caribbean ever is. Their main industry is tourism. For that reason we saw no need to go into "town" (St. Johns). From what we heard, it is the same as St Martin, St. Thomas, etc - a complete dichotomy of very high end stores and crappy souvenir shops. Except for a rainy afternoon activity, what's the point.

Our one complaint was that a nice bottle of wine we ordered from the separate a la carte wine menu was not stored properly, rather served warm, and you could tell it had been for quite some time. On saying something we were told "well, Caribbean room temperature is warmer than room temperature elsewhere." Considering the cost of the rooms and therefore what is probably a mostly upscale clientele who knows the difference, this is unacceptable. We did not complain but definitely knew not to order the more expensive bottle we had planned for another night.

There's not much going on at the hotel at night. Though there is entertainment every night from 8:30-10:30 and you can find one or two fun couples typically to socialize with at the hotel's bar, otherwise it's rather sleepy. However, since this is a particularly romantic hotel - that doesn't seem to be a problem with most couples - who will slip away after dinner to their private plunge pools. Though this was not our honeymoon, I'd imagine this to be an ideal honeymoon resort. It is not ideal for baby moons, cause the walkways have too much potential for a slip and fall.

Room Tip: hillside suites are more private and have plunge pools. The higher # the suite the higher and better...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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565 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (147)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lugano, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

Overall the best hotel i've been! There are places in the world that are even more beautiful, hotelrooms even better amenaged, hotelrestaurant even better, chice of beverage even richer, but not in the same place! We got a free upgrade to a seefront cottage: huge room, wonderful furnished, perfect floor( i often wake up during night and don't like to disturb my husband) coffee ( grinded, best quality with a percolator) a marvelous place outsid to sit, read or just look at the see). But the real plus are all people working there! We came without luggage, in the late evening: half an hour later a somptous dinner was ready in our room, the next morning, at brekfast we were greated by our names, and everybody was supportive, knowing that our luggage was still missing.

Room Tip: Some cottage are on a hill and a bit difficult to get in, if you have walkingproblems
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013 via mobile

It is hard to review this hotel without expressing the quality of the staff but I will try and give a good overview:

Transport from the airport wasn't quite as smart as suggested - I think being as we took a while to get through customs we were left with a big van car thing with plastic bags covering the chairs wasn't great. The road to the venue is a little bumpy but the scenery on route is great

Location - we were on our honeymoon so we wanted something with great views and scenery in a quiet spot - couldn't have got better - this isn't a venue to pop to town from - you are alone with the other guests and just how we wanted it. Being perched on a hill you get amazing views too! Nice beach not amazing sand but lovely place to sunbathe

Rooms - we had the top room - suite 39 so the view was out of this world however it meant quite a trek to the top - you should not go here if you have trouble getting about (unless you have beachfront room) we had our own little pool - was much bigger than expected great sunbathing area - massive bath and an outdoor shower - great telly for new husband to watch uefa cup final on - loads of channels for snuggly film nights - pretty great if you ask me

Service and all inclusive - I can probably say this is the best service we have received and have travelled to some amazing places around the US and Caribbean as well as most of Europe I think I've had a good lot to compare - all staff remember names drink orders they ask you about where you have been today if you mentioned about a tour you were doing they would remember the next day and ask how it went - the bar staff were great - one night we made friends with other couples and they opened after closing time (11pm) and made us special shots and cocktails dancing and laughing - the good is also amazing only one restaurant not much choice but all amazing and I am a fussy boring eater but I loved it and actually made me try new things!

It's pretty hard to criticise this place - I would say if you want super chilled break in a small resort with great service and amazing food you can't go wrong - this isn't the place for partying hard and staying up till 2am - everything is pretty closed from 11pm

Again amazing staff cannot say enough to compliment them - defo worth a visit!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

Nothing is too much trouble at The Hermitage Bay. The staff are friendly, attentive, and helpful. Having visited twice in 6 months I think that says it all. We have visited many 5 star hotels in cities and resorts and this is unique in offering exactly what it advertises in words and photographs. Difficult to single out team members tbut Vera is a legend, Levique has a style, laugh and smile that cheers any day. And Anthony,... what a star. if you want top class service with relaxed charm and a genuine desire to make your holiday special this is the place,. If you want sterile, impersonal and starchy this may not be the place for you. I love it and can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
andysinging, Owner at Hermitage Bay, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
Dear LMM25

Thank you very much for your review and we're all delighted that you decided to come back so quickly. All members of staff see all the reviews so thanks for mentioning a few of the team here.

We look forward to welcoming you back shortly.

With kind regards

Andy Thesen
Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

My husband and I have just returned from a 10 night stay at Hermitage Bay. It was first class.

When we arrived at the airport in Antigua we were whisked through customs by a Hermitage Bay representative and outside offered a cold flannel and cold drink and then driven to Hermitage Bay by the lovely Winston. He even phoned the hotel en route to say our arrival was imminent. We were checked in promptly and shown to our suite which was fabulous. We particularly liked the (very private) outside shower - it was back to nature with a twist of luxury.

Everything about this resort is top class. The staff (who cannot do enough for you), quality of food, drinks, location, beach and general maintenance of the hotel were superb. I would add it is probably the cleanest hotel I have stayed at.

I hope one day we will be luck enough to return, because for us Hermitage Bay is ...... simply the best.

Room Tip: Choose a beach front suite if you don't fancy a trek up the hill to a hillside suite - although...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I cannot recommend Hermitage Bay enough - other reviewers have described the views and environment, so I'd just mention that everything is absolutely as described and pictured on this and Hermitage Bay's own website - yes, it is THAT beautiful, and it completely fulfilled my expectations of a quiet break but with every luxury you could wish for. I loved starting the day with a dip in the plunge pool, maybe some yoga, then an outdoor shower (visited by a friendly hummingbird a couple of times), delicious breakfast, a dip in the calm waters of the bay, then sun-bathing in the privacy of the villa .... well, you get the picture.

For me, what made Hermitage Bay stand out from other locations is that they have got the balance right between taking care of you and leaving you to your own devices if that's what you are looking for. The atmosphere is laid back and relaxed, the staff - all the staff - are friendly, welcoming and genuinely interested in you, and can't do enough to help. I travel a lot, and this is surprisingly rare. They all seem passionate about what they do - I had a personal tour of the organic garden with John, and he was so enthusiastic about how much food they grow and how delicious it is.

It does make a difference that numbers are limited, and that villas have been cleverly spaced up the hillside. I never felt overlooked, and the views were amazing - I stayed in a hillside villa and would recommend them - the higher up the hill the better. I found it no problem to trot up the steps, but it's no problem to get a lift up by buggy.

The food is wonderful - I decided early on just to go down for breakfast and dinner to avoid piling on the pounds! Breakfast is leisurely and there are plenty of options, from those you would expect, to some local dishes (delicious Antiguan 'chop-up', made from all those organic garden ingredients!). The dinner menu changes nightly with a choice of at least four options for starter, main and dessert. The wine list is excellent, and the house wines included in the tariff were much better quality than I expected.

I travelled alone, looking for a chance to switch off from a busy lifestyle. Travelling solo can be tricky - will you stick out like a sore thumb? will you be treated like an oddity? will you be surrounded by honeymooners?. Be reassured if you are intending to go alone, that Hermitage Bay falls into none of those categories. I felt very relaxed and couldn't have felt more welcome. I enjoyed peacefully hanging out in my villa, but felt just as comfortable going down to the bar for a pre-dinner drink (try the Tea Punch!), and going into dinner on my own. Dinner for me, by the way, is the real test - I've stayed in lots of places where it's just too uncomfortable and I've ended up doing room service throughout - I picked Hermitage Bay because that was an option, but ended up going down to dinner each night.

A couple of reviews from around the same time as me (mid-April) mentioned the rain - a couple of days were a bit wet, but mostly this was just a five minute cloudburst, or during the night. I didn't think it was a big deal - and expected some showers from checking out weather sites before I booked. Yes, some rain came in under the door out to the outdoor shower and puddled on the bathroom floor, but I felt it was a small price to pay for the greenery surrounding every villa and feeling part of the natural environment.

In summary, I loved Hermitage Bay - and I'm a difficult audience. I travel a lot with work, and on holiday I actively seek out places that will feel nothing like the typical hotel environment - this fitted the bill completely.

Room Tip: Hillside suites enjoy more privacy and fantastic views - well worth the extra money.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013 via mobile

We are currently staying in a hillside pool suite ( number 32) and wanted to write about our amazing stay. I have been fortunate to stay in several luxury hotels due to my job in travel however I have never been somewhere so chilled, with attentive staff and such high quality food. The staff greet you by name, the choice of wine and champagne included is excellent and Nothing is ever too much trouble.


Don't hesitate just book this piece of paradise for your next trip and you will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
andysinging, Owner at Hermitage Bay, responded to this review, May 3, 2013
Dear Lauram1124

Thank you very much for your feedback and your wholehearted recommendation to others to book us. I am delighted that you are enjoying your stay. Keep taking those photos :)

With kind regards

Andy Thesen
Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hermitage Bay

Address: PO Box 60, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bolans
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hermitage Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The quiet, independently owned Hermitage Bay is comprised of just 27 luxury cottages so that "even at its busiest, the place seems remote and quaint." Whether visiting for the first time or returning as a friend, you'll enjoy a welcome familiarity and "sensation of belonging" from the moment you arrive. Tucked into a beautiful bay in one of the most secluded corners of Antigua, it is perfect for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Spanning 16 acres of lush tropical gardens, our eco-chic, luxury hotel provides all the comforts of a 5 star resort without compromising the natural habitat that thrives around it. Our open-air facilities, extensive beach and detached rooms allow you to unwind in isolated luxury. Each of the 7 Beachfront and 3 Garden Suites features a spacious split level lounge and patio, while the large wrap-around decks and private plunge pools of the 17 Hillside Pool Suites afford the added luxury of soaking up the Caribbean sun from the privacy of your own sun bathing deck. Whether enjoying lunch by the pool, dining in the beachfront restaurant, or having breakfast in bed, every meal feels privately catered. The menus change daily and feature freshly squeezed local juices, locally grown produce, and organic ingredients. At Hermitage Bay, all dishes are prepared to order, special requests are encouraged, and we are always happy to help with dietary requirements. Non-motorised water sports are included and a shuttle service to and from town and Shirley Heights is available for an additional charge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hermitage Bay Hotel St. John`s
Hermitage Bay St Johns
Hermitage Bay Antigua/Bolans

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