It's difficult to write a review for this property because I have very mixed feelings about it. It was definitely not my cup of tea, and it was probably one of the most boring and depressing holidays I've had in a loooooong time. I'm not one of those who needs chaos and parties, in fact, quite the opposite. But this place was sooooooooo quiet I literally felt like I was going to go mad. There is not one note of music playing anywhere, not a hint of activity, it seemed like you almost had to speak in a whisper because it was so quiet!! Some people love that so, in that case, this is the place for you... but it's just nice to have a little bit of activity and life around you and in this place there is NONE!! Once a week there is a "barbecue" at the restaurant and this is pretty much all the life you'll get!
In terms of the hotel, it is nice - I wouldn't say stunning. The rooms are lovely. Sadly, the decor is very much adapted to the Western idea of "minimalist" so it's all dark and grey and.... gloomy! No flowers around, nothing pretty... even the swimming pool is tiled with grey tiles so it looks very uninviting. The paths are barely (if at all) lit at night - a few lanterns could really liven the place up. It just feels very sterile, flat and QUIET. I felt like I was in an insane asylum! I ended up not bothering getting dressed or made up for dinner and we actually ended up having room service most nights. There is nowhere to stroll around, no activities or life in the lobby (completely deserted), nobody sitting at the bar. Absolutely DEAD. In terms of day activities there's barely anything at the hotel so you'd have to leave the premises - so forget water sports or anything of the sort. My back and stomach actually started hurting after a few days because we didn't walk or do any movement at all - we went from our room to the restuarant to the beach and back to the room, so we were pretty much sitting or lying down the whole time. We ended up leaving 3 days early because I couldn't stay another day.
OK, for the good parts: the food is excellent. Only really disappointig thing is that there is no local flavour at all, minus a few local dishes. Breakfast is the worst I've ever experienced in a resort, especially of this quality: stale cereal, very bland eggs, toast, jams (terrible jams) and the fruit is the worst: forget mangoes, papayas, coconut, etc... you basically get exactly what you find at Tesco in the "ready to eat" section: kiwi, grapes, tasteless melon and watermelon (and I mean tasteless) and pineapple. That's it. If you're thinking of some good fresh smoothies, forget it as they're all from a bottle. This is completely unacceptable for such a resort and especially in such a place!
The staff was mostly very friendly and helpful (men more than the women) but the management is really superb - they are always present, they greet you on arrival and see you off on departure, they walk down the beach to talk to guests... they really do a good job at making the service personal. Well done!!
Will we return here? Definitely not for the reasons I mentioned but I do realize that many people love it because it is so quiet and "safe". You certainly couldn't say you've experienced anything Antiguan at this hotel, it's like a European hotel that's been placed on a beach and put on mute!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Carlisle Bay on Antigua is one of the leading luxury Caribbean resorts, its accommodation designed to allow for both families and couples to holiday in peace. Both kinds of traveler have a dedicated end of the resort, which allows for everyone the tranquility of the spectacular beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Carlisle Bay Antigua Hotel Saint Mary`s
- Carlisle Bay Hotel Antigua
- Carlisle Bay Resort Antigua
- Carlisle Bay Antigua Antigua And Barbuda