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“Fantastic location, but poor service at times” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Admiral's Inn

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The Admiral's Inn
Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua   |  
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Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in English Harbour
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Fantastic location, but poor service at times”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

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.

Room Tip: I would recommend getting a room in the main hotel building, rather than the annex.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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88 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    45
    28
    5
    5
    5
See reviews for
7
50
8
7
Rating summary
  • Location
    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 (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Poil, France
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

We stayed at the admirals inn for two weeks (in the annex) and we loved the place, the friendly staff, the very clean room, value for money but most of all the setting. It is like a quaint english cottage/ house in a tropical setting!
We don't have a clue what the last two reviews with a very low rating are about. We didn't experience the restaurant and rooms as described in the two previous reviews.

We own and run a small luxury hotel in France so we did look with a critical eye at everything. We have also been to most of the resorts and hotels on the island for a scout and have found nothing we liked better.

Ok, we don't like the resorts that much (either too commercial, too big, and sometimes unnatural) and the admirals inn hasn't got a pool or are not on the beach.
But they are in a beautiful spot, in the middle of the action (lots of things happening in and around English harbour), walking distance to a wide and probably the best choice of restaurants on the island. Restaurants we liked: lunch at Hamiltons, overlooking the yachts, abacadabra (Italian food), rumbaba, the restaurant at nonsuch bay and Catherine's cafe.

Pricing of the hotel is good and cheaper than the resorts ( as there is no pool, beach). Some of the resorts offer more luxury as well.
Pigeon beach, which is a lovely beach with very clean sanitary facilities is within walking distance, and there is another great beach you can go to with the boat of the hotel (about 5 mins). There are a few nice walks around English harbour as well.

As for points of improvement: The restaurant was average, the owner a bit grumpy? As he wouldn't say hello to my wife on three occasions, and the double bed had a hard matrass.

Summary, if you like resorts with beach and pool, everything catered then don't go here. If you like a beautiful hotel with character, friendly staff, clean bedrooms, in the middle of one of the most beautiful harbors in the Caribbean then the admirals inn is fantastic.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2012

There is nothing good about this restaurant except the view. The service was horrible - the waitress was nearing the border of being rude - is there was anyway that we could have removed the "service charge" from our bill we would have done so. The food I won't even comment about - will be interesting to see who takes it over next year.

Room Tip: We stay at the hotel but if the restaurant is anything to go by I wouldn't bother
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guildford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2012

We decided to pay a little extra and have one night at a nicer hotel in Antigua before my fiance started back at work on a yacht again.

I regret ever having spent the money which is very sad, I walked into the hotel and it does have a nice setting but we were told that there were only superior rooms left. We had to pay upfront and then were taken out to what they call 'the annex' basically an add on to the main hotel. The rooms feel FAR from superior, dusty and there was a dead lizard on our window sill which had been there for a long time. There were also two single beds, when I asked for a double room and they were promptly pushed together, not ideal.

It said on the website the only upgrade to a superior room is air conditioning and a phone, we had no phone and we came back from a night out and the air conditioning after a long time trying just blew out hot air. There was no one around and no phone to ring to correct this. After an uncomfortable night on a lumpy hard bed, no hot water for my shower in the morning and a very slow and average breakfast (not included and very expensive) we approached the desk staff about the air con, she said no discount can be given as the manager was not in, but come back tomorrow - no apology. We came back the next day, the manager would not even come and speak to us and she offered a 10% discount.

If this was a fair and respectable hotel they would have given me a refund to a basic room price. They also said the remote to the air con was broken but this did not help us the next day!! We spoke to the lovely manager of the anchorage inn down the road and she said one of her employees used to work at the admirals inn and the air-con frequently didn't work and they were dishonest about it to customers.
My advice DO NOT stay here just go for a walk round and drink to enjoy the view, then leave, as you may end up paying a lot for very little, sadly the people running the inn are ruining what is a beautiful and historical place just to make a bit more money, and they have taken away all the charm!!
I really wish things had turned out differently and we could have enjoyed our stay, and even just an apology would go along way.

Room Tip: Make sure you ask if your room is in the main building because if it is not dont pay as you may not...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Washington, DC
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

Our stay at the Admiral's Inn was a great way to end our Antigua/ Barbuda vacation. We stayed for one night in superior room number #1 which looked right out upon Nelson's Harbor and the dockyard. The room was comfortable and we could not have asked for a better location. The staff also provided great service, especially when it came time for our departure. We had planned to have a preflight lunch at Cecilia's Cafe. The staff arranged for us to arrive at the airport at the earliest check in time and then suggested that we pay our departure tax before heading to lunch. It was a great idea because we had a delicious and relaxing lunch and didn't have to waste time sitting in the airport.

The inn also provides a complimentary boat shuttle which we used to go to Catherine's Cafe for lunch. This is an absolute must, but reservations are essential.

We also walked the 15 minute trip to the fort, toured the museum and took a taxi for the Shirley Heights view. All in all, a great way to end our trip.

Room Tip: Room 1 is a corner room in the old building with great views. It's can be a little noisey, but w...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Virginia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2012

My husband and I stayed here one night out of our 5 days in Antigua in mid January. We wanted to explore southern part of the island on day 1 of our trip for which we chose to stay here. I read some negative comments about the inn on Tripadvisor so was doubtful about how the experience is going to be. But we took a chance since this looked the most promising out of the choices near English Harbor. We had the day kind of planned out so wasnt worried much about the hotel for that day. But to my pleasant surprise Admiral's inn charmed us from the time we arrived to the checkout. We felt instantly at home when we arrived. After we checked in we cancelled some activities and stayed in instead. We got Room #1 ($220) which is situated above the reception outlooking the marina. The hotel is truly beautiful inside and out. The room was cozy, comfortable, airy(dont need AC), and transports you to the colonial era. The building is historic and the location is superb. Its a photographer's delight. Its 15 min drive to Shirley heights($8 entry fee) which is a must see place. The restaurants in the little market place outside Admiral's inn are worth a try. Good local flavors and are cheaper than the onsite restaurant menu.

My husband and I stayed the following 3 nights in the best available suite in Galley Bay resort ($900/night). Though Galley Bay had all the luxuries we could ask for, we'd prefer to stay at Admirals inn next time we are in Antigua. Its great value for money.

Note: If you rent a car and plan to drive from the airport, set aside atleast 1.5 hours to drive from airport to this hotel. Not Admiral's inn's fault. but there are no road signs. The traffic near airport was very bad at 3:30pm plus, we had to ask for directions every half kilometer, took a few wrong turns. No complaints though. The people on the streets are very helpful and warm. Loved driving and exploring along the way. If you are a cricket fan, you can catch a match at Viv Richards Stadium which is 3-4 kms from the airport.

  • Stayed January 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
London
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2012

This was the third time I had stayed at the Admiral's Inn after a sailing trip but the first since the refurbishment and. I think, new management. I had booked a Superior Room without realising this was not in the main building....this turned out to be a mistake. Within minutes of entering the room I had a number of mosquito bites on the lower legs and asked for the room to be sprayed which in fairness was done quite quickly.

In the light of the morning, I relised the room was very dusty and couldn't have been used for sometime...obviously encouraging insects. On checking out I mentioned this to the guy on Reception and to my amazement he said "It was clean when you occupied it yesterday".

Unbelievable but I still like Admirals Inn...it is very comfortable, previously the staff have been great and a long lunch outside overlooking the quiet end of the marina is a good experience.

Room Tip: Get the best room in the main building as the Superior rooms outside are definately not superior!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about The Admiral's Inn

Address: Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Paul Parish > English Harbour
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in English Harbour
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 22
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Admiral`s Hotel Nelson`s Dockyard National Park
The Admiral's Inn Antigua/English Harbour

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