I received great service from Elite Island Resorts from the get-go. Nicole, my sales rep, was responsive and helpful. The price went slightly down from what we had paid. She immediately refunded my credit card the difference, ensuring we got the best deal. After extensive research, I found the best deal was through Elite Island Resorts' website. She also accepted my room request and we got our top choice room. I was very pleased even before arriving at the resort.
Upon arrival at ANU airport, there is a taxi stand outside of the airport. For 4 girls + luggage to Verandah was $28 USD. I did not convert any US money into EC. I also did not go shopping at all and stayed at the resort., so it may be different in St. John's. However, I found that most merchants are willing to accept to USD, so do not worry about changing your money.
The taxi ride to the resort was approx 30 minutes. It is very bumpy and hot. I honestly felt queasy at times, so definitely be prepared for a potentially headache-inducing ride.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted with some sort of rum punch. Checking in was very quick. I wish that the hotel would give more than 1 copy of the door key. In addition, the in-room safe is not the updated ones in which you punch in a code to open it. Instead, you get a huge lock and key that you use for your safe.
We were carted off to our waterfront room by the main pool. There was no way that we could walk to our room with all of our luggage. However, once we were situated in the room, there were only 2 other times we used the golf cart. Once was for 2 members of my party that wanted to take a shuttle to St Johns and had to go to the front desk. The other time was when we had to go back to the airport after our trip was over. So, once you are situated on the resort, depending on where your room is, there is no need to use the cart unless you are leaving the property.
I highly recommend getting a waterfront resort, if possible. Take a look at the map on Verandah and try to choose rooms by the main pool and the main beach, as everything will be within walking distance. The ability to sit on our balcony and look directly below at the ocean was priceless. That alone gives this resort a 5 star rating.
The room itself was spacious. Not luxurious by any means, but it is comfortable and clean. The bathroom has 2 sinks, a large vanity mirror, toilet and a large tub. Other reviewers had described that the the tub doesn't have a glass door or shower curtains, and instead just a small piece of glass that is enough to cover whomever is in the shower. We did have minor issues with water splashing out, but if you face the shower head towards the wall, problem solved. Our toilet was constantly running, so we had to keep the toilet handle up. The hotel provided toiletries: soap, shampoo, lotion, shower cap, and blow dryer. Ample towels were provided, even enough for my party of 4.
The king sized bed is comfortable. There is one closet with the in room safe. There are 2 drawers, a desk, swivel flat screen TV (no DVD player!), mini-kitchen with fridge, microwave, sink, coffeemaker and plates/utensils. The sofa is a pull out queen. However, it is not very comfortable and rather lumpy. We were only there for 4 nights, but this may be a difficult bed to sleep in for a week. I would suggest getting 2 rooms in that case, as there is a connecting door to the room next door through the balcony.
The TV channels were ample and seemed to get a lot of NYC channels, which was good for me. :-) There were also many premium channels, like HBO, Starz, Showtime. It was a good way to unwind after the beach, before dinner while we were getting ready.
The balcony had 4 chairs and a small table. It was the highlight of the room, by far.
The main pool is surrounded by the main bar, the restaurant building, the guest services (where there is a computer) and the fitness center. A short walk away is the beach bar and grill and the main beach. Our room was right by here, so everything was within a couple of minutes of a walk. The main pool area was also the only area that had free wi-fi.
The restaurants: Seabreeze, daily B/L/D buffet. Buccaneers has a la carte D and Nicole's also has a la carte D ($25pp additional). Buccaneers and Nicole's reservations had to be made up to 24 hours in advances at guest services, which was open until 11PM. Buccaneers and Nicole's were only open on select nights, so definitely check on that. The food at Seabreeze + Buccaneers were the same. Nicole's was definitely different and worth trying at least once. I enjoyed the food overall. I was pleased to see more Caribbean items on the menu (maybe management is reading the complaints on Tripadvisor?) and a ton of fish! I come to the islands to eat fish and I was so pleased.
Seabreeze: I enjoyed the breakfasts, as the omelette/egg station was great. The coffee is very good, too. The lunch and dinner buffets had a variety of meals, such as fish catch of the day, some sort of meat like jerk chicken, rice, salads, desserts. I found the desserts to be lacking here, but this seems to be a common issue at many Caribbean resorts I go to.
Buccaneers: I honestly thought it was the same food, but served a la carte. Still, I enjoyed the experience.
Nicole's: I enjoyed my meal here, they had great apps, entrees and desserts! The lobster was great and enjoyed the various salads and appetizers I sampled. Ice cream is a good bet for a dessert choice.
The bars served up your typical cocktails and they have a menu you can peruse. They didn't have top top shelf, but that is not to be expected at an all-inclusive. The white wine was crisp and good, I enjoyed it. I wish that the daquiris weren't poured straight out of a Island Mix carton, but that is probably the fastest way to make the millions of daquiris requested. The glasses were also rather small.
Entertainment was limited to a local band. There are people that gather around, but it is dead at around 10:30-11PM.
The beach and the pool: We did throw down towels every morning at the crack of dawn sometimes. I think putting it down by 8AM - 9AM would suffice. It is necessary if you want to have any shade under a palapa at either locations. The main beach is a shallow lagoon and yes, there are patches of seaweed. The employees will help you with any nonmotorized activities, which are a fun break. There are a couple of locals hawking items, but they are not relentless and will back off if you are not interested. As someone else mentioned, slather on that SPF! The sun is strong. I hid under shade the entire time, used SPF 70 religiously, had a sunhat and everything. I still managed to get tan and even burnt. I regret not bringing 2 bottles of SPF.
I recommend the catamaran ride + snorkeling trip that departs on Wed and Fri from the main beach for $90pp. Def eat lunch beforehand, but they have sandwiches, cookies, fruit and drinks on board. The snorkeling was nothing special, but the boat was gorgeous and the crew are great guys.
My last tip: sure, these resorts include tip, but I am not sure if the employees you deal with personally really see much of those tips. So, it doesn't hurt to bring some American singles and tip accordingly. The employees were so thankful and we got huge smiles wherever we went. Sure, money talks, but really... those few dollars you part with mean a world of difference in terms of service. I wish I could've tipped more, quite honestly.
Overall, we got a great deal and had a fabulous time. For the cost, this trip exceeded all my expectations and is a good choice for a quick getaway.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Verandah Resort & Spa is a world-class all-inclusive resort overlooking the crystal blue Caribbean waters of Antigua. Perfect for couples, friends, families, honeymoons, and weddings. Guests love the resort's friendly, romantic atmosphere, with lots of activities for adults, teens, and children--not to mention our Two White Sand Beaches!The Verandah's four restaurants, four bars, four swimming, including the largest freeform freshwater swimming pool in Antigua. Activities include hobie cat sailing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, pedal boats, supervised Kids Club, 18-hole miniature golf course, and much more.Indulge at our Spa Tranquility, featuring a wide array of massage and beauty treatments, or enjoy a workout in our air-conditioned fitness center.We look forward to having you as our guest, and thank for your choosing The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Verandah Resort And Spa
- Verandah Hotel Saint Philip
- Verandah Hotel St Johns
- Verandah Resort All Inclusive
- The Verandah Resort & Spa Antigua/Saint Philip