We had already planned our winter getaway for 2009, but one snowy day my husband and I were working from our home in Maine and checking out last minute possibilities on our timeshare’s (RCI) website. We stumbled onto an amazing deal for 7 nights at Chenay bay for at a 75% point reduction. We jumped on it, put the reservation on hold and found decent airfare out of Boston.
First, I don't understand why Chenay Bay is listed as a B & B here on TA, because that’s not accurate. This is a small resort, but definitely not a B&B. Anyway, we arrived at the resort on Saturday Jan 17th at 8:45pm. Even given the late hour check in was smooth and friendly. We were pretty hungry so we went to the onsite restaurant. They normally close at 9, but stayed open late for us which was very nice of them. I had a Caesar salad w/chicken and hubby had appetizer Mahi Mahi strips and crab cakes. We both ordered painkillers (tasty rum drinks – make sure you try one). The restaurant was a bit overpriced – as I recall our order ran around $65 plus a decent tip. The food was good (not great), but the service was excellent. After dinner we checked out our unit. #47 is an ocean front unit (it was dark so we couldn’t see the view yet). The one large room was equipped with a queen bed and sleeper sofa, small table with 2 chairs, decent sized TV, 2-burner stovetop, half-size refrigerator with freezer shelf, microwave, sink, coffee pot, dishes, etc. There was also a nice sound system with speakers built into the walls in the main room and the bathroom. The air conditioner worked well, and ceiling fan helped keep the room cool. The only complaint we had about the room was the bed which was extremely hard. The pillows were old/stained, but we doubled up the pillowcases and that made us feel a bit better. After 2 mornings of waking up tired and with back aches we got a bright idea to take the “mattress” off the sofa bed and place it on top of the bed. This helped tremendously and made sleep a bit more possible for us. We were told by Burke, who runs most things at the resort, that all of the units are in the process of being upgraded with pillow-top beds (so keep this in mind when making a reservation). We understand that new owners bought this resort just 2 years ago and many improvements are in the works.
When we woke up Sunday morning, and stepped out onto our porch (equipped with 2 rocking chairs) we saw the view and were awestruck. The waves were gently lapping the sandy beach and we were looking out over the bay towards Green Cay. The sun was shining and the 15 below temps home in Maine were a distant memory thousands of miles away.
All in all we enjoyed our stay at Chenay Bay (except for the bed). The new infinity pool was lovely. The hot-tub was only okay as the water got a bit sketchy by the end of the week, but that wasn’t a necessity for us. Burke also told us that renovations are planned for the pool area which will include a new hot tub on the pool deck and new outside shower was being constructed during our stay. The beach was overall soft sand, but had areas of small rocks. The swimming was very nice. Complimentary kayaks and sailboats are available.
Monday night was a welcome reception and we were given complimentary Cruzan Confusions (tasty Rum Punch) along with chips, veggies and onion rings. We were invited to a complimentary breakfast on Tuesday with Burke in order to participate in a “guest survey” - a few survey questions were asked but the primary purpose of the breakfast was to present us with the timeshare sales pitch which is pretty much what we figured. Since we wouldn’t be checking out until Saturday a true guest survey would have been better scheduled for later in the week. Anyway the breakfast was yummy (although service was slow that morning) and Burke was a very nice man with lots of information to share. We were not tempted by the timeshare sales attempt; we thought it was overpriced and the trading options were extremely limited.
The restaurant had a number of specials. Wednesday night was $5 burger night (8 oz burger w/ fries – a very good deal), Thursday night was 50-cent wing night (the Caribbean ones were pretty good), and Friday night was $15 all you can eat fish fry night. However, once we found out the fish was Cod (readily available here in New England) we decided to skip that. A couple of nights we just ate something small in our room to save $. We also thought the drinks at the on-site restaurant were very pricey. Drinks seemed to average $1-$2 more than elsewhere on the island. We bought some rum at the store and make our own drinks in the room!
Every day we packed a lunch and drinks (take lots of water on your excursions) in a soft-sided cooler that we picked up a few years ago at LL Bean. The bar tender at Chenay happily filled us up with ice each day. Tip: seek out Lori’s deli on the east end and get some of her tasty egg salad, makes a great sandwich!
Most days we were off on fantastic adventures around the island, Sandy Point, Jack & Isaac Bays, Buck Island, Cruzan Rum Tour, the rain forest, etc. Read my husband’s trip report in TripAdvisor’s forum section for more about all of that. We decided that one day we should hang about at Chenay Bay. We took a kayak (provided free by the resort) out to Green Cay across the bay from the resort. That was a fun time, very calm and peaceful. We enjoyed the pool and the napped on those wonderful beach beds (more comfortable than the real beds! :-) ).
All in all we thought Chenay Bay was a lovely resort and will continue to improve as the renovations are completed. We would definitely consider a return trip. Very important - don’t forget to bring bug spray AND use it! We brought it, but I was negligent and forgot to spray myself the 1st couple of nights and I am still itchy. Bring some Benadryl or Calamine lotion too, because you will surely get some bites from those nasty no-seeums. But it’s the tropics and there is much vegetation around which the little buggers seems to thrive in. A small price to pay for staying in paradise.
When you book, be sure to ask for a renovated unit and ask when it was renovated. Ours was considered renovated because it was renovated 2-3 years ago, but it not the new-new renovation that is going on now. The garden view units are fine – the grounds are beautifully landscaped (and more is ongoing). However, if you can get an oceanview/oceanfront unit definitely do so.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.