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The Verandah Resort & Spa - All Inclusive
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Reviewed March 18, 2013

I should preface this review with the fact that the only reason my husband and I went to Antigua was because of our interest in sailing and from what we learned of the island at the Toronto Boat Show. Our favourite destination has always been (and continues to be) Costa Rica. Caribbean culture has its own charactieristics, but our preference is for the friendly and the sometimes chaotic and wild nature of Latin America. Sure it is beautiful and a beautiful island, but in terms of culture, Antigua falls a little short for us in comparison.
The Verandah Restort is an excellent location for middle aged conservative people or for families with young children or young teens. It is definitely not the place to go if you're single, to party, or to have easy access to the heart of the island. It is also not a luxury resort, and I am dubious of the 4 star rating it claims to have. I say this because of the experiences I have had at Palace resorts which generally claim to be 4* and offer a lot more in terms of service, cuisine selection and beverage options. One particular drawback at the Verandah is the empty bar fridge in the room. It only contains a jug of their processed water (safe to drink), and anything ordered to the room is extra. Bringing a drink to your room from the bar is not a big deal if you are close to it, but there are many rooms that are easily a 10-15 minute walk away. It seems a bit of a waste to have a bar fridge in an all-inclusive that doesn't even have a wee sip of OJ in it for the morning! The rooms are spacious, clean and exceptionally well-maintained by a group of very hardworking chambermaids. The biggest drawback with the room was the comfort of the bed, and particularly the pillows. It seems a big odd to mention such a mundane item, but the pillows were so cheap, my neck killed me all week. My husband, however, was fine. The cuisine in this hotel is not the best I have ever experienced. It is typical buffet fare for all-inclusive resorts that have to please the masses. It was OK, but lacked creativity. I prefer to watch my food being cooked, so the omelettes in the morning were good. The menu for the extra cost at Nicole's was absolutely 80's in my opinion, so we didn't bother with the extra $60 for 2. I think someone has to send the chef off island to let him experience what else is out there. He was a very conscientious and interested chef who often consulted with the guests and took a genuine interest in the restaurant. I would say give him an opportunity to compete. The fish selections on the menus left a lot to be desired, and the Beach Bar and Grill was mediocre at best - far too North American. The service was embarassingly slow for food on 3/4 occasions. It took an hour for the deep fried fish and chips to arrive! Guest Services were especially helpful, and all the service staff were professional, courteous and often a hell of a lot of fun! It may be possible to mistake their laid back nature as aloofness, but really, Antigans are a generous and caring bunch. They have a lot to contend with when it comes to tourists expecting the best. Our taxi drivers were especially amazing and we found them to be a wealth of information. The best excursion we had was to see Shirley Heights and Nelson's Dockyard. WOW! Don't miss that, and if you can, stay around the Dockyard for a party or two, or three...you may end up on a huge sailboat somewhere headed to Monserrat - well dream of it anyway!

Room Tip: Difficult to say where to stay but 220-240 is close to the main amenities and looks over the water.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Raven1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

We stayed here in November 2012 and had a great time. The "fully inclusive" package is excellent value for money - none of the old trick of only including "local" spirits etc. Lovely rooms with a gorgeous view. The crazy gold was great fun and we spent most of our time here! Food was ok, the best food was breakfast and having lunch down at the bar by the main beach. Wouldn't recommend paying the extra charge to eat in the smart restaurant as the food was rather disappointing. But this was the only low in a great holiday. Would definitely go back.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank SarahMD_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

We just came back from March Break at the Verandah. We travelled with our 2 kids (3.5 years & 2 years old) and had a fantastic time. I was told the hotel was pretty full, but never felt crowded at any time, which was great. Not a party place which was perfect for our family. Night entertainment never disturbed our sleep because it was far enough away... but my daughter loved staying up "late" to listen to the local musicians.

CHECK-IN - We were 2nd in line, so no complaints. Not sure how long it took others to check-in, but we only had to wait 10 mins or so (as we sipped on rum punch that they brought for us). My family is from the islands, so I realize that administrative stuff can be S-L-O-W... you have to go in with a good sense of humour sometimes. You're on vacation... relax!

PROPERTY - While doing my initial research, the size of the property worried me. Everything looked far apart & I worried I'd have to carry the kids everywhere. But the resort map makes things look further than they are. We were in room #150 and it was a great location. Kids could walk to pool, kids club, & beach easily (or we'd only have to carry them for a bit). For further rooms/front lobby/Quiet Beach there is a golf cart shuttle every 10 min... which my kids LOVED to ride on. Very lush property, gardens & villas are so picturesque. Lots of little birds and mongoose running around. Saw a few fish & a small stingray out in the water, but nothing plentiful.

ROOMS - We had a Waterfront villa... stunning view. Rooms are pretty standard, but no complaints. Kitchenettes have micro, fridge, sink, plates/cutlery (altho no room service so no real need for the plates and stuff). Bathroom had nice big tub, but made it a little hard to bath the kids without getting in the tub myself. Again, not a real complaint. Maid service always cleaned our room before lunch, so never interfered with nap time. Closet gives a small partition between bed and sitting area w/ pullout couch -- helped give us a bit of separation from kids at bedtime.

FOOD - Food was pretty good. I've been to Cuba where food is bland, but Seabreeze buffet had a good selection & they had international themes each night. I only wish they served Caribbean fare more frequently. We didn't try the a la carte restaurants because the buffet selection changed every day and we could eat & run with the kids. I did hear someone complain about the food, but I guess it depends on how picky you are. It is a buffet, so some things might be more well done than you like, but that didn't bother me.

ACTIVITIES - Kids loved the pool. They could play on the stairs (or there were ledges throughout the pool), but basically the pool is above the waist so floaties are needed for little ones. Plenty of chairs. Beach had plenty of shade options, can walk out pretty far into water, the bay protects beach from big waves, lots of water activities... no need to bring sand toys, they have lots on hand. Long set of stairs to get down to beach, so if you require a stroller, bring a light one. A 10 min walk away is Devil's Bridge... no shade, so better to go early morning when sun is not as strong & bring water. Lovely to see waves crashing on the rocks. Kids Club was a great place to let kids run free. Our youngest is not potty trained, so we had to stay with him. Climbing frame was fantastic, the kiddie pool was nice for wading in, and lots of toys & games inside. Usually pretty quiet in Kids Club, but sometimes saw a few older kids in there and they looked like they were having a good time.

WEATHER - March weather was perfect. Hot in the day, cool (light sweater) in the evenings with a nice breeze at all times. Ocean & pool water were chilly (some people called it refreshing) but fine once you were in it... mind you, I'm the kind of person who likes 85+ degree water.

STAFF - Beach bar was slow for food, but you're in the islands... you're supposed to be slow. The view helps keep you occupied though, very lovely. Beach staff was pretty good to hubby & I, but SUPER nice to the kids. Same with the restaurant staff... so good with our kids & always remembered their names. Didn't seem AS friendly to adults, but they were still nice.

CHECKOUT - Super fast & efficient. Golf cart met us at our room & drove us to lobby, but the push to get on the mini-buses for the airport was a hassle... we were the vulnerable ones with 2 little kids, and basically kept getting squeezed out by other guests in a hurry to get to airport. So we had to wait for the last bus. But that's a comment on the guests, not the hotel.

AIRPORT - lines ups were looong. Line to get boarding passes, line to get into emigration, line for security. Thankfully, karma was on our side and we got to bypass the huge checkin line because we had two small kids (so we passed most of the people that squeezed us off the buses... bwahaha). That probably shaved at LEAST 45 minutes off our wait time.

Loved, loved, loved our trip. Exhausted from playing with our kids so much & running around, but bring home some great memories. 1st time to Antigua, and hope to go back again one day!!

Room Tip: Rooms #170-186 might be a little louder because closer to pool & beach, but entertainment ends at 11pm anyways.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank BECAddo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2013

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Review collected in partnership with Easytobook.com
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

We traveled with three couples and loved it. The view from our room was exactly.like the photos. The food was fine, but for a well worth treat, we ate at the upscale restaurant and had a wonderful meal. It was worth the up charge. I would have liked a minibar in the room, because the distance from the room to the bar was lengthy. It was very hilly, so be prepared to walk.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Amy F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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