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“Antigua: An island we treasure” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Catamaran Hotel

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The Catamaran Hotel
3.0 of 5 Small Hotel   |   Falmouth Harbour, St. John's, Antigua   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 15 St. John's B&B and Inns
OOB
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Antigua: An island we treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

We’re comfortably perched on the veranda of the Catamaran Hotel at Falmouth Harbor in Antigua, watching bananaquits and bull finches compete for crumbs we set out on the railing. Waves lap the beach – one of 365 the island boasts – and coconut palm fronds rustle in the breeze. We’re the only guests about and it’s so quiet and relaxing that it’s meditative. Next door, the marina’s many yachts barely move.

The ideally situated and slightly weathered two-story 14-room hotel exudes an Old Caribbean/British West Indies charm, down to its white columns. Our modest beachfront room with the requisite kitchenette is just steps from the soft white sand and from a deck and swimming pool. A massive ceiling fan plus screened door and windows make air conditioning superfluous, even during this hot, dry season. An unobtrusive staff keeps the place shipshape and immaculately clean.

A short gravel lane leads to a neighborhood grocery store and Sweet T’s Ice Cream Parlour and Snackette, an island version of DQ that became our nightly haunt for a refreshing and delicious scoop of rum raisin, coconut or peanut.
A couple miles down the main drag, English Harbor draws yachties from around the globe and bustles with numerous bars and restaurants. Just beyond is the richly historic and impressive Nelson’s Dockyard, built in the 1700s as a hurricane hole for the British navy. High above, Shirley Heights affords spectacular views.

Each afternoon after a morning of sunbathing, we ventured farther afield in our trusty Nissan Almera, repeatedly getting lost on the narrow, rugged, unmarked roads and occasionally dodging errant goats and chickens. Large green directional signs sprout up sporadically, their words too faded to read. The exceptionally scenic Fig Tree Drive – named for the ubiquitous banana trees ¬– winds through quaint villages, hills and rain forest before descending to hug the west coast.

At Jolly Harbour, we embarked on the unforgettable daylong Eli’s Eco Tour aboard a 52-foot power cat, learning about Antigua’s turtle sanctuary, its dwindling deer and snake populations, its migrating pelicans and the importance of conserving mangroves and flats systems. We snorkeled above coral heads; explored the incredible rock formations, cave and natural bridge at Hell’s Gate, where the Atlantic and Caribbean mingle; and hiked to the top of Great Bird Island. Lunch brought plenty of tasty barbecued chicken, salads, fried plantains and banana cake, and the locally made passion-fruit and tamarind juices flowed liberally.

Other memorable meals during our weeklong vacation included West Indian chicken curry; mahi mahi, both grilled and beer-battered; tilapia in tacos and sandwiches; and wahoo in garlic sauce.

As usual, we made the obligatory pilgrimage to the typically chaotic capital city and cruise-ship port, in this case St. John’s, where we minced along crowded, broken sidewalks just long enough to procure a highly anticipated chicken roti from the acclaimed Roti King. We then bolted for more low-key and interesting locales: the well-preserved sugarmills at Betty’s Hope; the waves crashing dramatically at Devil’s Bridge, another natural formation; and Priscilla Looby’s colorful hilltop gallery, where we bought a vibrant oil painting she had completed that morning, our souvenir of another amazing tropical vacation.

Room Tip: Choose beachfront.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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72 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    35
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Daventry, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

Lovely spot with its own beach and pool. Small and fairly unique hotel with Feona and staff making it a wonderful holiday destination. Walkinggranny review says it all. Free kayaks and small dingies on the safe beach. Car is needed to see the island and get to local restaurants but you can get away with reliable local cab hire. Will definitely go back as good base to explore the Island and still a lot to see. Thanks again Feona and staff.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Greetham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
191 reviews 191 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 85 cities Reviews in 85 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We loved this little hotel right on the beach. If you are looking for a resort atmosphere with facilities, restaurants, activities and anonymous glossy bedrooms, go elsewhere.

However if you are looking for warm Caribbean hospitality, spacious, spotlessly clean, comfortable bedrooms with kitchens, a beach yards from your bedroom and a fabulous location, you will love the Catamaran Hotel. The only problem was the erratic hot water, which we usually managed to get eventually when we wanted a shower. However our plumbing issue was sorted quickly by the management, which improved matters.

Apart from that, this hotel was perfect and we would definitley go back! We loved eating breakfast on our private terrace, watching the birds beg bits of melon. We loved sitting on the tiny private beach, watching the gorgeous boats sail in and out of the marina. We loved searching out provisions in the local supermarket (it was not like Sainsburys!) to make our own breakfasts and snacks. We loved listening to the tree frogs while sipping home made rum punches on our own terrace. We loved Feona's helpful advice and constant presence in reception, a font of all knowledge, whatever we were planning to do.

This hotel epitomised all that is good about the Caribbean, friendly, small, comfortable, laid back and very local. You could not have been anywhere else!

  • Stayed February 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cortland, NY
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

Don't let the unassuming drive in fool you - this place is fantastic! Charming rooms (all of which have a fabulous view of Falmouth Harbor), the Catamaran is simply terrific. Scrupulously clean, it is a relaxing haven minutes away from classic English Harbor and its excellent restaurants. The staff is exceptionally friendly and Cambusa, the affiliated restaurant, is really great. We barbecued on the beach, enjoyed Shirley Heights, visited the island (def rent a car). This location is NOT for the resort/all-inclusive crowd. This IS for those who want beach-side comfort and leisure in a relaxing and welcoming setting.

Room Tip: Antigua is a small Caribbean country - its not Disney. Keep an open mind and you will enjoy!
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  • Stayed March 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, Yorks, UK
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

A wonderful warm welcome on arrival & exceptional hospitality throughout the whole of my stay. The owner, lovely Feona & Family, Eric, Robert & all the team went out of their way to ensure I had an enjoyable stay at the Catamaran. Nothing was too much trouble and everything came with a friendly smile! My room was spacious, very clean & tidy, having everything one needed including a fridge. The room was cleaned & the beach & gardens were tended to every day. The view from my room was stunning & I could step straight out from my verandah onto the beautiful beach with sun beds provided, it was paradise! The restaurant was closed during my stay but Sweet T's ice cream parlour & snack bar, 2 minutes up the road, served very tasty dishes with Bailey's supermarket next door to there selling everthing one needs. The Catamaran is also a good location for getting around the Island. Feona was wonderful & organised any transport needed from happily obliging Eric & taxis, but there is also a bus service which operates clean mini type buses at cheap prices & the bus stop is almost outside the hotel. English Harbour is a only short bus / taxi ride away & whilst there Trappas Bar & Restaurant is a great place to eat, although it's best to book. My second week on the island was at an expensive all inclusive hotel, where my Son was getting married & although very nice, the service & hospitality just didn't compare with the Catamaran. Feona Is an amazing lady & along with her team, it's their warmth & willingness to please that makes this hotel so very special.I will certainly choose the Catamaran again when returning to Antigua.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreux, Switzerland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

We identified this hotel as the place to spend some few nights after returning “on shore” from a yachting vacation, and we were happy with the choice in all respects.

“Old” classic style (which we like). Not newly renovated but clean and pleasant. Antigua is not cheap (no reason it should be), and in this context the rates at The Catamaran are fair indeed.
We had a beautiful view from the (superior) room.
Nice little beach with sun beds, kayaks and dinghies for the guests. The pool is small but a delight.
The hotel does not have any restaurant bar, but it is walking distance from a nice Italian restaurant, from a local taka-away, and from a well stocked supermarket [I would perhaps still recommend the management to keep some bottles of drinking water and other “necessities” for sales to its guests].
It is only a short/inexpensive taxi ride from English Harbor with its numerous restaurants, shops etc.
The most impressive with The Catamaran is the outstanding helpfulness and flexibility of the lady owners/managers. They are happy to answer ANY question (and if they don’t know the answer, they will phone around till they have one), and they will assist with ANYTHING you might require.
We had a late flight to Europe and requested to keep the room till 8PM (instead of noon). No problem at all (at zero charge).
As the electricity disappeared for some minutes during lunch (we didn’t even notice) the staff ran around with a wine cooler with a bottle of wine for every room.
Some 5 star hotels I have visited could learn something from these ladies.

Room Tip: PS I: For the personal service I recommend to book DIRECTLY via email (and pose any question, reques...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
hereford
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

We have just had a week's stay at this charming place. It is quiet, relaxed and the staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful. The rooms are cleaned and there is nothing nicer than to sit on the verandah with a glass of wine at sunset. This charming colonial-style property is literally on the beach and within a 2 minute walk of Cambusa, a very good Italian restaurant and the marina.This is NOT a five star, all inclusive hotel, but this is a place that allows you to feel instantly at home. There are little things that aren't perfect about the place but considering its excellent quiet location, quaint style and great staff, this place is extremely good value for money on many levels and we would happily return.

Room Tip: loved being in the beach front, but everyroom at this hotel has a great view and is steps from the b...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Feonab, Owner at The Catamaran Hotel, responded to this review, February 6, 2013
Thank you for positive remarks and kind words and for choosing The Catamaran Hotel and we are happy hear that you enjoyed your stay with us. It was our pleasure ensuring that you stay was filled with relaxation and comfort.

We do hope you visit again soon.

Do stay connected with us.

All the best!
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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 The Catamaran Hotel

Address: Falmouth Harbour, St. John's, Antigua
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Catamaran Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Catamaran Hotel Antigua/Saint John Parish

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