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.
- 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