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“Christmas in Antigua”

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Tranquility Bay Antigua
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Reviewed January 4, 2013

My family and I traded in white Canadian snow for white Antiguan sands this Christmas and it was an amazing vacation!

The staff at Tranquility Bay and their "sister resort," Jolly Beach, were so kind, friendly, and helpful! They were very informative about optional day trips and local activities, giving us sound advice so that we would get the most "bang for our buck," so to speak. On Christmas Eve, the staff hosted a reception for all guests, where they served us complimentary drinks (wine and rum punch) and yummy Caribbean food (chicken, fish, and cake) while wearing reindeer antlers and Santa hats...no strings attached (as opposed to the typical gimmicky receptions where you are stuck listening to time-share sales pitches for 3 hours).

Our 2-bedroom suite was spacious and clean, the beds were comfortable, the kitchen was fully stocked (with a full fridge, stove, microwave, dishes, pots, and cutlery), the patio was large and peaceful, and the laundry room (with washer and dryer) was a bonus! The family room furniture wasn't super comfy but we spent most of our time on the beach so that was a moot point.

Speaking of the beach, we were only a 2 minute walk from the amazing Jolly Beach and a 5 minute walk from Jolly Harbour, where there is the marina, a supermarket, and local off-site restaurants/pubs, including the awesome Crow's Nest Pub. Jolly Beach has beautiful clear turquoise water, white sands that you can walk or jog along, and lots of amenities (water sports, etc). There were sales people walking along the beach, promoting tours and handmade items, but they were not too pushy; in fact, they were very friendly and respectful. You can easily access the Jolly Beach Resort from the beach, with one of the pools being right on the beach!

After speaking with some of the guests who had an all-inclusive package, we were VERY thrilled with our choice to stay at Tranquility Bay suites. Our accommodations were more comfortable, the food off the resort was delicious (more variety, cheaper prices, delicious seafood), and we still had access to all of the resort amenities...all for a better deal than the all-inclusive package.

Whether you are travelling with your family (with kids of any ages), as a couple, or with friends, I highly recommend Tranquility Bay as your resort destination!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Kristen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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265 - 271 of 406 reviews

Reviewed December 23, 2012

This beautiful romantic resort is well maintained. The all suite hotel was equipped with a full size refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishes. The location is ideal (next to Jolly Harbour) where there are many shops and restaurants. The hotel is right on the beach. Some units are closer than others, you can request a room that is closer to the beach. You will be able to walk there in less than 5 minutes wherever you are in the hotel. The staff was professional and polite and went out of their way to ensure that my stay was a pleasant and relaxing one. The resort was quiet and is a good place for couples and families. The air conditioner in the room worked perfectly and I was able to keep my room cool in the evenings. I highly recommend this hotel. Also, I left my business phone while at the hotel and the staff went out of their way to ensure I received it, even calling the airline. There is security on the premises and I felt safe during the duration of my trip.

Room Tip: Ask for a room near the beach...
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank esther7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2012

We just came back from our first vacation in Antigua and loved every minute of it. We previously had done extensive travelling in Mexico. Mostly in all inclusives. This time we decided to skip the all inclusive and go with the facilities of Tranquility Bay. We enjoyed it so much that we'll never do an all inclusive again. Shopping was easy at the Epicurean, although as mentioned in other reviews a little on the pricey side.The reason being that everthing is imported, except most fruits and vegetables. Next time we'd consider bringing certain staples down with us. Coffee being one of them. The price of coffee per pound at the Epicurean is insane. The kitchen utensils were adequate. Although we wouldn't have used an oven, there isn't one. Instead there was a microwave and toaster oven. Paper towel, dish detergent and a drying cloth were provided. Bring your own scrubbie to wash pots etc. Mosquitioes can be a problem. We came back with a number of bites but it didn't spoil our holiday. The local buses were easy to travel on and the locals were always looking out for you to make sure you didn't get lost. We took the bus to Darkwood and Turner's beach. Turner's was preferred over Darkwood. We had an excellent lunch at Turner's restaurant although if you're going to this beach you could try O.J.'s at the other end of the beach. We shopped for fruits and vegetables at the market in St. John one day. Prices aren't posted here and I think we may have overpaid but the variety and quality was better than at the Epicurean. If you're going into St. John and are looking for a place to eat I would highly recommend Hemingways. We had the best meal of the vacation there. Shirley Heights was okay. You can arrange with the front desk to have a taxi pick you up. It's $22US return per person and $8 per person to get in. Wadadli Cats for the circumnavigation trip was great. The lunch was excellent and the crew were great. Unfortunately the day we went out the waters were too rough to make it all the way so we ended up snorkelling at Bird Island. The crew suprised everyone by returning some of our money at the end of the day because we hadn't made it all the way. No need to book your Wadadli trip through your tour rep. The guys on the beach will handle it for you. You have to give them a deposit to hold your spot. We dealt with Lyndon. Things were extremely quiet at Jolly Beach Resort. Any time I popped over I couldn't count more than 30 people staying there. If you're looking for action at night, this isn't the place to be. Next time we'll be back for more than 10 days. Feel free to contact me if you want more info.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank RichK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2012

Just returned from a 7 night stay at Tranquility Bay, a timeshare getaway trip in a two bedroom condo style hotel complex, adjacent to the Jolly Beach Resort, Jolly Harbor Antigua. The location in Jolly Harbor is terrific, from restaurants, beach bars, excursions, grocery store, the area is safe and secure. However, the complex of Tranquility Bay needs a lot of money put into its facility. Our unit had a lovely balcony 8x30, decent size, two bedroom, two bath. It was in need of repair, from the noisy ac units, to the weird smell coming from below the stove, to the flood across the hallway floor, to the phone that didn't work for three days. Our neighbors had a knock down dragout, and we had to go by car to get help, security walked at such a slow pace, someone could have been seriously hurt. Asked for all to be fixed, and here's what we got. A rug over the hallway, phone did get fixed, our neighbors left. Asked for a two hour extension on leaving at eleven am, and was told they were full up, it would be $120. There could not have been 12 units rented out. The beach is lovely, surf easy, walk to all shops and restaurants, but that's it. Too bad, this could be such a gem.

Room Tip: We asked for a corner unit, and was told ours was "fabulous" by Felomina, the only nice o...
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank snorkelgirlMass_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2012

We traveled to Antigua in early November. The weather was very warm and the beaches were not crowded because it was the shoulder season. You can see the Islands of Monserrat & Nevis in the distance. The Island is lush and very mountainous. It has not been exploited with big box hotels, there is more small scale Villas set amongst beautiful flat sand beaches.

We stayed in a two-bedroom suite on the ground floor. Lucky us! The suite was absolutely huge! 2000 s.f?! The Master bedroom had a king bed plus a living room & ensuite, and the second bedroom had two double beds & an ensuite with a large shower. There was a separate laundry room with a drying rack for wet clothes. The kitchen had stainless steel appliances & granite countertops. The living room was large & had a flat screen TV. The balcony ran the full length of the suite. It was virtually a small apartment that could comfortably sleep 4-6 people with no problem. Amazing value for the rate we paid. Clean & comfortable.

Proximity to the Beach was a 5 minute walk, as was the Marina & Grocery Store.
The Beach was perfect - my 4 year old felt comfortable in the water as the wave action was not too rough. The water was warm, refreshing & clean. No seaweed & the sand was soft.
The Jolly Beach Resort Pool was an ideal depth for my son as well - he learned how to swim this past week. We always found a sun lounger, and the pool was clean.
I'm happy that we stayed at Tranquility Bay as opposed to staying in the Jolly Beach Resort. We had full use of the facilities at the resort, but our room was 10 times bigger & better.

We took and excursion with Treasure Island Tours and the pick up was at the Marina - a short 5 minute walk away. The Marina had numerous small restaurants grilling up fresh fish and jerk chicken. The food was very good quality but not cheap. The prices would be similar to home.
The Grocery Store had a huge selection of goods - similar to what you would find in Toronto. We met a few locals while shopping, and everyone we met were very friendly. We bought steaks and cooked them up at the hotel BBQ with charcoal and hickory chips.
It was a leisurely 30 minute ride from the Airport to the hotel. Much better than the hour to 90 minute bus ride dropping off at numerous resorts like our experiences in Mexico and Cuba.

Overall our stay was in my mind one of our best yet. Being with Air Canada, we vacation a lot and we usually go all-inclusive. It was great to get 'out of the box' and experience the Antiguan culture first hand as if we lived there. We got a real flavour of the Island and it was safe enough to do so there.

Having a kitchen gave us the opportunity to have meals when we wanted, and we didn't have to put our little one through sitting in a restaurant 3 times a day. We maximized our time, brought food for day picnics and didn't have to rush out to try and make the breakfast buffet on time everyday! (The only additions I would recommend to the resort would be a dishwasher and Egyptian cotton sheets! - these would be an absolute treat!)

I would definitely recommend Tranquility Bay. The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating and the resort although not a 5-star, was all we needed - plus.
We felt safe there, and that's important.

The only downside of our week away was the mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-um's and sand fleas - we are covered in bites! We wore B-12 patches, brought bug spray for the room & for our skin and burnt citronella candles, but they still got us! This of course has nothing to do with our the hotel, but would pass along the word to you as a precaution to others when travelling to Antigua. It's a very lush & tropical island and the flys just come with the territory. Wear long sleeved shirts & pants at sundown and it will help. Spray your room and don't leave open the doors. Wear bug repellent as much as possible.

Kudos to Tranquility Bay, they have a nice slice of Paradise in Antigua and great staff!

Room Tip: Our Ground Floor Room was easily accessible. An Ocean View was not important to us. The two bedroom...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Penny G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

While it is true that the LR furniture leaves something to be desired, it is not a deal breaker and we worked with it (extra pillows), though we highly recommend they upgrade in the LRs. The beds were terrific and the 2B/2Bath unit we were in was comfortable, large, and the kitchen well supplied. The staff was all very helpful and even gave us leeway in our checkout time as it was pouring rain and we needed to wait for our cab. The website indicates the grocery store is about a mile away but it was only about a 5 min. walk, as were a variety of restaurants.

The beach, just a short walk away around Jolly Beach resort, is lovely and we made good use of the hobie cats and such; not a real good place to snorkel, though - take an excursion out to Cades Reef or catch a bus (an interesting island experience in itself) to some of the other good beaches; again, the front desk staff was helpful in figuring that out, and it was a fun part of our stay. If the weather is clear, the view of Montserrat is terrific and you can catch a wonderful sunset from the beach.

The grounds are fairly nice though some maintenance is needed on the roads. We did have an issue in our unit with both the fridge (too low to the floor, banging our feet) and the a/c (draining water across the end of the hallway and into the kitchen) and reported those issues. When walking around, keep an eye out for the many birds and the local mongooses darting around on the grounds.

We ate all our meals in, having brought in what we could in a cooler and getting fresh items from the nearby grocery store, a system which worked very well and saved us a lot of time as well as money. If someone is around to drive you in the golf cart, they will, but we went in the off season so that wasn't an option most of the time, though we did manage to catch a ride back from the grocery store when it was raining out.

Room Tip: We choose a room on the 3rd floor (no elevator) so we'd be sure to not have anyone above us. It...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Laura54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2012

We chose Tranquility Bay due to the availability of the two bedroom suite, as we were traveling with our 10 year old son. The hotel was part of the Jolly Beach Resort, which appeared to me as a nice, but fairly low end all inclusive. The only thing shared with Jolly Beach was the beach and the swiming pools. The rest of Tranquility Bay was off by itself. The only annoying part of being within Jolly Beach was that the bars and food concessions at the pool were all part of the all inclusive. Wrist bands were available for purchase, but we didnt get them. Otherwise, being part of Jolly Beach was not any issue at all.

The main pool was fabulous! It was big and clean, and it was very beautiful. The pool is right on the beach. The beach area was great. It was very large and quiet. There were very few waves. There were local vendors along the beach selling souveniers, t-shirts, and other items. they were very nice, and once they asked you once, they left you alone. The locals were all very friendly. The resort had free sail boats, kayaks, and paddle boats. The equipment was very modern and in great shape. There were even free sailing lessons every day, which we enjoyed very much.

The buildings and rooms at the Tranquility bay side were very nice. The rooms were big enough for a comfortable stay. They appeared to be older properties, but kept up very well. The inside of the two bedroom suite was very large. The bedrooms were nice for mid-range Carribean resort. The furnishings were in good condition, but very basic. As mentioned in other reviews, the beds and the living room couch were fairly uncomfortable, but liveable. The balcony was fabulous. We enjoyed many hour sitting out there and watching the hummingbirds working in the trees.

The staff at the hotel were fabulous. Friendly and very helpful.

There was a great resturaunt right on the beach, with excellent food. The harbor was a short walk away, and there were many great resturaunts there too! The food was excellent almost everywhere we went. The hotel is in a great spot. We will definately return to the Tranquility Bay Resort.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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8  Thank BradWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tranquility Bay Antigua

Address: Jolly Harbour, Bolans, Saint Mary's, Antigua
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Price Range: $163 - $343 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Tranquility Bay Antigua 3*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tranquility Bay, is Antigua’s only all-suite resort. Located on a breathtaking, mile-long stretch of white sand beach on Antigua’s southwest coast, Tranquility Bay boasts spectacular sunsets, majestic views of Montserrat, Redonda and St. Kitts/Nevis. Spacious suites, large balconies and calm blue waters make Tranquility Bay a haven for those craving peaceful moments away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Create a vacation as relaxing or active as you wish. You’re just steps away from water sports, golfing, tennis, spa, fishing, dining, entertainment, kids club and more. And, we’re just 30 minutes away from the airport and capital of St. Johns. Experience Tranquility Bay and you will never vacation in an ordinary hotel room again. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tranquility Bay Antigua Hotel Bolans
Tranquility Bay Antigua Bolans

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