My husband and I stayed here for 2 nights in early March. The hotel is perfectly situated right in Nelson’s Dockyard, which was fantastic. We had just spent the past 2 weeks in rural areas of Dominica and Antigua, so the more “developed” feeling of this area was a fun way to end our trip. There are several excellent bars and restaurants in the dockyard (2-3 minute walk) that cater to the luxury boats docked there. Also, nothing beats an evening stroll around the dockyard to look at the stunning yatchs and sailboats.
The food at the Admiral’s Inn was great, but the service was hit or miss. In fact, service overall at the hotel was inconsistent. When we arrived, we were shown to our room and we immediately asked for a different room. The room they first gave us was in the annex (Room E, I believe) and should be taken out of rotation. It was small and the walls (which are beautiful, historic, exposed stone) were moist. The entire room smelled very strongly of must and mildew. The bed was comically firm. It literally felt like a plywood box with a thin pad on top. The bathroom was also not up to par and the room did not have a safe.
The second room they showed us, Room C, also in the annex, was much better. The bed was softer, but still not super comfortable, but it was fine. The bathroom was much better, but not that remarkable (think 1980s roadside Super 8 quality in the U.S.). The room key has “Admiral’s Inn, Room C” written on it, which, from a security standpoint made me a little uneasy. If we were to lose our key, anyone could walk directly to our room, unlock it and take our belongings. It’s usually standard to not print a room number on a key.
Speaking of security, this room did have a safe, but they required a daily fee to use it! It was only like US$3, but I’ve never had to pay a fee for that at a hotel, ever. It should be an amenity, not an extra. We also had to pay a US$20 deposit on the key that fit the safe (it needed a physical key, not a digital lock). They would not add this to our bill. It had to be cash. The woman at the front desk who was helping us get the safe key sorted out was generally not helpful and also said something that indicated all the safe keys were the same, as in the key they gave us would open all the other room safes. What?!? We got the key anyway because we felt that was better than nothing and better than leaving our valuables at the front desk (which was offered as a solution to the first room not having a safe).
Regarding inconsistent service, the first night we were there, I stopped by the bar to purchase a bottle of water. The bartender was very friendly and told me the water was EC$10. I paid it and went on my way. The next morning, after breakfast, I figured we’d need more water to bring to the beach with us, so I stood at the bar to buy another. Our server from breakfast came over to ask if I needed anything stating that the bar wasn’t open yet. I asked for a bottle of water and she got me one and then handed me a check for EC$22. I told her the price last night was EC$10 and she said that because I was buying it through the restaurant (which, by the way, all feels like the same space more or less), it was more. However, if I bought it from her after the bar opened at 10am the charge would be EC$18 (even though I was charged EC$10 last night). I asked her what time is was right now and she looked at her watch and said 9:50am. Since it was clear that she was not willing to be helpful, I told her I didn’t want the water and she rolled here eyes and kind of huffed off like it was the biggest pain the neck to void the check. I understand if there are different charges between the bar and restaurant, but she was rude to me the entire conversation. This may seem like a simple misunderstanding, but it exemplified the frequent awkward encounters with their staff who seemed generally aloof and apathetic.
The hotel staff in general was not helpful and frankly, didn’t seem to care if our stay was nice or not. As we checked out of the hotel, in fact, the guy at the front desk didn’t ask us how our stay was or if everything was to our liking, and didn’t thank us for our business, nothing. He just handed us our bill and wanted us to settle up.
I have to call out one exceptional employee at the hotel, however. He was their on-site maintenance worker/grounds keeper. He smiled at us when we arrived and welcomed us. He always had a smile for us when passing on the grounds. It seemed he was outside working day and night, literally. If I had to guess, he was putting in 13-14 hour days, but always seemed to possess a super positive attitude. He deserves recognition for all he does there.
Overall, we felt it was a shame that such a beautiful hotel in such a prime location was mismanaged. Sure, there were a couple of helpful employees and sure, the food was good, but it was perplexing how inconsistent the service was. The employees who didn’t seem to care about their jobs and clearly didn’t care about the hotel guests really spoiled things for us in all honesty.
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- Also Known As:
- The Admiral`s Hotel Nelson`s Dockyard National Park
- The Admiral's Inn Antigua/English Harbour