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“Design your own excursion!!”

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Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Ranked #10 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Design your own excursion!!”
Reviewed January 3, 2014

We went back to Hawksbill for our 7th Christmas / New year break this year - so we knew what to expect, we have come home again totally chilled & ready for work.
We felt like exploring a couple of times over the 10 days; after the obligatory trip to St Johns, we had a chat to Duncan, one of the taxi drivers - to help design a trip that suited us. As the 4 beaches at Hawkesbill are absolutely glorious & lunch is always served at the beach bar - we didn't feel like taking the standard trip that ends in a swim & beach BBQ - we wanted to find out more of the life of the island. Duncan didn't disappoint - he managed to combine some of the more interesting stops of the normal packages - with a non stop commentary about island life. He has plenty more ideas in store for next year!!

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank busylady1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014

I stayed here last week with my girlfriend for 3 nights. We didn't expect a 5 star hotel as for the price we paid compared to others on the island and going by the reviews on here.

The Room:
We stayed in one of the garden bungalows, which was metres from the beach and the room was basic as we expected. The safe in the room did not have a lock and it did now look like it had for a long time, which annoyed us as they insisted on us signing a separate form stating that the hotel was not responsible for anything stolen, that wasn't put in the safe. I told the receptionist and she said someone would fix it....no one ever came.

The shower head broke one day, again I told reception and nothing was done. So I just took it apart and fixed it myself.

Then we had an ant problem in the bathroom. As for the hotels poor response to the 2 previous problems I decided to sort this out myself by using the ridiculously hot tap in the sink and clearing away the trail of ants marching there way in and out of the room.

Location:
Yes it has a fantastic location, and with the amount of beach space we had our own spot on the beach the entire time with the nearest other guest being about 20 metres away. This was the best bit and really what we came hear for with our quest for some winter sun and a relaxing recharge.

Food:
The food for breakfast and evening was fine, nothing to write home about but it did the job. The beach BBQ was not good. Food quality was poor, and the pieces of goat where just the offcuts of bone from the meat factory with a bit of meat surrounding it.

The Staff:
Most of the staff were very friendly, the cleaner got us some more milk when we asked for some the next day and everyone always smiles and says hello when passing.

BUT, this is what ruined it for me. The beach BBQ chef was a state, she was rude and did not look like she wanted to be there and we saw her eat the odd chip whilst serving. I mean come on! The story was the same with one of the bartenders on the beach. She did not look like she wanted to be there the entire time, she was inattentive, never smiled. But coming from England I am used to miserable people so I didn't let it bother me too much. But she tried serving me a beer in a dirty glass someone had just brought back, and told my girlfriend off for not bringing back her glass. I was disgusted, no one should feel uncomfortable or unwelcome on holiday.

Sort out the customer service here please! I wont be coming back again, which is a real shame as the location is beautiful!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank miko_clarko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunfermline, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2014

reception staff were charming and helpfull.
meals were good thought dinner could had better choices apart from that breakfast was brill.
bar staff were brill kept me topped up and of course the star millie theres the water sports staff and sean who was very helpfull.
cleaning staff were great and jaqualine who sang happy birthday to me
all in hotel was great
ian and debs from scotland
ps will be back if john gives me a big discount

Room Tip: get a room with air /con back from the beach
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ianson3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VA
Level 5 Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2014

I can't recommend Hawksbill enough. Hawksbill has the charming atmosphere of an old-fashioned Caribbean resort, and that is what we love about it, and why we have been repeat customers for 27 years. We have made many trips here, both as a couple and with family. We came this time in late November with our extended family. Hawksbill is very quiet and peaceful. The resort is rustic and simple; the grounds and beaches are very beautiful. The beaches are spacious and uncrowded. The Hawksbill is perfect for a relaxing and laid back vacation.

If you are looking for a party atmosphere and constant entertainment, this is not for you. Nor will you find high-rise buildings and expanses of concrete. If you are looking for rest, beautiful views and comfortable accommodations, then this is just the place. You will wake up refreshed each morning to the chirping birds and the sounds of the ocean. Here you can relax the Caribbean way, on the beach, with a drink at the beach bar, watching the sunset, or striking up a conversation with friendly and interesting new friends from all over Europe, the UK, and America.

This trip we came with a large group of family members, and we all had a wonderful time. If you are planning a group event, Hawksbill is a great choice. This is the ideal location for a family reunion or a tropical destination wedding, not only because of the romantic and picturesque locale, but also because the room rates are a bargain for a large group.

Beaches

The Hawksbill estate is the nicest property on the island. Four beautiful beaches, fantastic sunset view, and gorgeous landscaping. The rooms are simple and practical, and stretched out parallel to the ocean, all within a few steps from a beach. Ratio of beach per guest is very high. There are four beaches on the property, stretching out over about a mile of ocean (1.5 km), and only about 100 rooms to share them.

The beaches are never crowded; even when the Hawksbill was at full capacity we have had no trouble finding a secluded section of beach for some peace and quiet. If you use first beach (Royal Palm), third beach (Honeymoon Cove), or the end part of fourth beach (Eden), you will likely have it all to yourself. You will never be interrupted on the beach by hawkers.

The center of activity is the Second beach (Sea Grapes), which is located near the beach bar and the open air restaurant where lunch and tea are served. Second beach is also the easiest beach for swimming and access, especially nice if you are a senior or have small children.

Second beach also has the water sports shack (no extra charge). We have snorkeled around the hawkbill rock and the coral reefs. We have also used the sailboats (sunfish and Hobbi cat) and kayaks when we weren’t feeling lazy (which was most of the time). Second beach also has a concierge service that can book catamaran excursions and other day trips (extra cost). These offer better snorkeling spots and lunch tours to remote beaches. Over the years my family has tried the sunset horseback rides, catamaran tours, snorkel trips, and island taxi tour.

The other beaches include Honeymoon cove (third beach), a small protected beach which is aptly named because you will likely have it all to yourselves. It is a short 2 minute walk to the beach bar for refills. First beach (Royal Palm) is a long stretch of sand and lawn in front of the beach club rooms (a slightly longer walk to the bar). We always carry a liter of bottled water (available at the bar for $3 US), or fill a small bottle from the water cooler.

Eden beach is the clothing optional beach; the only one on Antigua. It is the most secluded of the four Hawksbill beaches and is also the longest. Eden is uncrowded and there is plenty of room to spread out. If you always wanted to try a nude beach but were afraid to, then this is the beach for you. For a private skinny dipping experience you can easily find a stretch of sand where you can be by yourself. This beach is discretely separated from the other three beaches (the entrance is a short walk from the main resort area, through a gate and around a small bend) – so if you don’t go looking for it, then you will never even be aware that it is there. We have made several trips to Hawksbill with extended family and children and no one has ever been offended by the presence of the nude beach.

Food

We like the food at Hawksbill. As long as you are not expecting gourmet cuisine you will be fine. Breakfast is a buffet, but with a station that makes cooked to order eggs, pancakes, etc. - we usually go with that option. Lunch has a grill (hamburgers, chicken, fish) but you can order off of a menu as well including club sandwiches, BLT, pasta, etc. (included in all inclusive). Dinner was mostly buffets and table service from a menu on Saturday night. Buffet nights include a carving station either of roast beef, roast pork, or ham. This is always good. And there is always an assortment of side dishes of potato, salads, veggies, rolls. If you are adventuresome, they will have some local specialties such as jerk fish, curried chicken, local vegetables such as plantain and provisions, etc. There is a Caribbean barbeque on Wednesdays - this will be BBQ ribs, steak, chicken, fish- this is a favorite night of ours (steel band as well). The menu always includes meat, poultry, fish, and vegetarian selections. Don't skip the soup, there is usually something good at both lunch and dinner.

The house wine served with dinner is enjoyable (we drank a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina), and the bar staff won’t let your glass dry out unless you insist. The bars also have good cocktails with premium drinks, all included in the all-inclusive price (both alcohol and virgin versions). You only pay extra if you want something special such as a lobster or vintage wine.

Breakfast and dinner are served in the main open-air dining room on the hill overlooking the 1st and 2nd beaches. Lunch and tea are served at the beach side restaurant (and bar) on 2nd beach.

There is lite entertainment some nights at dinner. The entertainment is low-key – a small band on Saturday that sings old favorites, the steel band on Wednesday night. There are casinos in town, a short taxi ride away, if you need more action.

Hawksbill Staff

The staff is the Hawksbill’s greatest asset. Everyone is very friendly and capable. They have treated us like family and we are very appreciative. They have always worked very hard to make sure that we were happy – from our very first visit to our many return visits. If you have any issues, please talk to the duty manager at reception or any of the restaurant or bar supervisors and they will bend over backwards to fix it.

Financial Matters

The all-inclusive pricing cannot be beat. Once we arrive we spend very little extra money except for a few tee-shirts, sun dresses, or shell jewelry, which we buy from Aloma and Sharon, who set up shop outside breakfast. Their prices are as good as or better than you will get in town. There's also a small shop in the ruins of the old sugar mill, which has nice merchandise. Everyone on the island takes both US dollars and EC (Eastern Caribbean) currency.

Tipping the staff is optional. With the all-inclusive pricing it is not expected, and you will never be solicited for a tip. However, it is our preference to give small tips to the servers and maid as we go, and we think this is well worth it, especially since you will likely be the exception.

Condition of the Property

The Hawksbill estate is a former sugar plantation. When the patriarch died in the early 1900’s, the property was forever bequeathed to his 3 daughters and their heirs. The property was subsequently leased to the Hawksbill resort on a 50 year lease. This lease expired in 2010. Rex Resorts has exercised its renewal rights for another 50 years; however, the Antiguan family that owns the property has grown into a large and disorganized state, and the negotiations over the lease terms continue to drag out.

What does this mean for Hawksbill’s guests? For one, it has discouraged development on the property. This is one reason the Hawksbill resort’s old fashioned Caribbean charm has been preserved. Most importantly, it has kept the prices low.

The Hawksbill resort has the most beautiful beaches and landscaping, but your money is not financing new development. The rooms are basic, but they are comfortable and clean. Any major new remodeling and development is on hold while the price of the lease is being negotiated. When the lease issue is finally resolved, you can expect both REX investment and prices to rise. For now, the value for your money cannot be beat.

In recent years, Hawksbill occupancy has been way below peak. On our recent trip (end of November 2013) it was just starting to get busy again. We were very pleased to see this. There were a few issues due to the sudden influx of people, such as the shortage of beach towels mentioned by other reviewers. This was quickly remedied while we were there, as management arrived with a fresh shipment of brand new beach towels. We also saw quite a bit of maintenance and the beginnings of some renovations going on: painting, general room maintenance, and grounds keeping crews.

Rooms

We stayed in a beach club room. Over the years we have stayed in all of the room types. This trip we had family members in every room category. Everyone was happy with their rooms.

The beach club rooms (Royal Palm Beach or Honeymoon Cove) all have A/C, the rest have ceiling fans. The Royal Palm beach rooms are spread out along the very quiet and beautiful Royal Palm (1st) beach. Honeymoon Cove is on a rock outcropping between Sea Grapes (2nd) and Honeymoon Cove (3rd) beaches. Honeymoon cove has the most privacy and closest proximity to Eden (clothing optional) beach (also known as 4th beach).

The other rooms are near Sea Grapes (2nd) beach and are centrally located if you want to be near the beach bar, small pool, lunch, and water sports. These include a long two-story building (superior sea view) with about three dozen rooms (largest of the room options with louvers front and back for a good cross breeze) and the rest are cottages (superior sea view bungalows and garden bungalows). The sea view bungalows are directly on 2nd beach, just steps from the water. The garden bungalows are one row back, but still very close to the beach. There is also a great house (three bedrooms, wrap around porch) situated on the rock outcropping between 1st and 2nd beaches if you want to accommodate a large group, or just want the extra luxury.

Additional Information

Guest ages range from young honeymooners to old married couples. The average guest age leans towards an older crowd because many are long-time repeat customers. Although mostly couples, there are always some solo travelers and families as well. Children are welcome here, but are not abundant. Our children have grown up here, and have always had a great time. There is a small pool that is perfect for the kids right next to the beach bar and lunch area.

There is one TV on the property with satellite feed - – but I’ve rarely seen anybody using it. There is also wireless internet for the laptops and iphones (take my advice and leave them home).

We have not been bothered by mosquitoes and sandflies, as others have reported. We have learned to stay off of the grass or sand at sunset, which is when they are active. We usually leave the beach right before sunset and catch the sunset from the beach bar or from our porch. After dark they disappear until morning, so you can enjoy a quiet evening on the porch. Some people seem to be more sensitive, so to be safe, pack some repellant for your legs. The bugs also seem to vary depending on how wet the weather has been prior to your arrival. They do fog the grass several times per week. We also take vitamin B1 starting about a week before departure, which is purported to make you taste nasty to bugs.

Feel free to Email me via the trip advisor link if you have questions. I have an aerial view photo that the management once gave me, which shows the layout of the grounds. I can’t post it because it is a commercial photo. But if you are interested I can email it to you. For that I will need your direct email address.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank e-bob2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 25, 2013

We visited the resort a couple of days. The reception and restaurant were built on the top of the hill and had a breath-taking view of the turquoise sea. Freshly cooked BBQ was served at the beach bar for lunch and a la carte menu for dinner in the restaurant. The food was delicious but the service was very slow and it took 40 minutes between each course for the dinner. We made a mistake to have a table on the terrace as wooden chairs there didn't have a cushion and it was very painful to sit on for such a long time. Other than that, the place was lovely and tranquil. All staff were very friendly without exception.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TaniMiya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockbridge, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

We stayed here last month post cruise before our flight home -just for 3 nights, We wanted a chill all inclusive resort with beaches and easy transportation. After a very long delayed and 3 stop flight with Liat we arrived in the dark. Check in was slow despite getting off the taxi bus first we were last to be allocated a room. Too much paperwork to fill in with lots of regulars on first name terms who get preference, We were greeted with the largest swarm of mozzies and they were biting us by the second. Reception quickly sold us bug spray at 15 usd a go.! This can proved invaluable as in all my years of travel and bites i have never seen folk with such horrendous bites and scarring.I used the full can in 3 days, Apparently there is a small lake behind the hotel and a great breeding ground for them so be warned.
The room a beachfront superior was booked on Bookingcom and may I give you a BIG word of warning here. They are not superior at all. They are not the modern ones you see on the advert either. The room was small with old fashioned cane furniture and no door only a archway to your bathroom. The ceiling fan was ok and we knew we didnt have aircon but did expect a modern room as shown. We spoke with the manager who told us that you have to book a clubroom to get the modern style facility which is at the other end of the complex, There was a long walk with cases and despite one boy helping- post cruise we had a lot of kit. They forgot to come to get the cases at the end of the stay and this caused friction as time was tight, We only got towels on the first day and they left notes on the bed to say there were laundry issues we never got clean ones until about an hour before checkout as I went to reception explaining we needed to shower before going on the flight. Food was mediocre and we had buffer 2 of the nights and the first night served but major staff problems and poor service and food. Lunch was better in our opinion and fresher we thought. The breakfast was very samey and things were not replenished often enough- best thing is the egg station for an omelette. The birds can be very annoying as they steal you food and drink both outside and inside.
People were lovely and it was a shock for my husband to have to dress for dinner ie long trousers and collared shirt.Ladies seem to fashion parade and have their best dresses on, felt a bit like the cruise or that we were a guest at Abigails party. All quite bizarre, Staff were lovely and helpful and an asset to Rex resorts they do a hard job and the old saying of pigs ears and silk purses spring to mind. The gardens and the flowers were lovingly tended and well kept. The pool is deep 6 feet all the way and no shallow end for children or not great swimmers like me. Beaches were lovely but the water was choppy and stirred up so no snorkelling to be had. Lots of people were complaining it was not what they had booked on their package tour but some people we met went to look at alternatives and decided to stay put. So I suppose that says something in its favour. Come on Rex get your hands in those deep pockets and invest in your jewels.

Room Tip: Take mozzie spray by the gallon and your own towels.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JerryH-N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2013

This is an hotel to experience the caribbean . It is laid back and friendly . Don't expect 5 star facilities but then you're not paying 5 star prices . The rooms are adequate ,clean and reasonably comfortable .Frankly , on a holiday in Antigua I don't expect to spend a major amount of time in my room . The food is not Michelin starred but you will not go hungry as there's enough choice to cater for most needs .
The situation is spectacular and the beaches great . You really feel you're in your own private part of paradise . There is a small section of beach at the edge of the property used by a few locals , but this adds interest rather than detracts from the experience of staying at the hotel . There is no problem with beach hawkers .
If you're after an active night life ,this is not the place for you . Entertainment in the form of dancing would not be expected more than three or four times a week and in my experience would normally finish about 10.00pm . Bar service is excellent .Beach facilities include ,use of Hobie Cats and kayaks . The Wellness Centre ,run by the superb Tania ,is highly recommended and a massage either inside or on the beach has to be experienced as part of your stay.
This is not a theme park hotel . It has short comings ,but, as an overall package it is difficult to beat at the price. As a solo traveller I've no hesitation in recommending a stay here .

Room Tip: Club rooms only ones with air con but garden bungalows perfectly adequate most of the year.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
6 Thank Farwest25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gm_hbaanu, General Manager at Hawksbill by Rex Resorts, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
The Hawksbill Team would like to thank you for sharing your comments with us. We value customer feedback for this assists us in making the necessary improvements which make the vacation experience even more memorable.

We truly appreciate your positive comments in regards to the Resorts atmosphere; the staff service and the four beautiful beaches we offer due to our unique location on the island.

In regards to your recommendation for investment, we will share your comments with the owners of Rex Resorts.

Unfortunately, the mentioned flies and mosquitoes are common in the Caribbean and more present in the rainy months. As a method of control, we fog several times a week; each room is furnished with an electronic 'bug mat' device and we have the various insect repellants available for use.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your comments and hope you may reconsider a return visit to Hawksbill by rex resorts in the future, therefore allowing us another chance of making your vacation experience memorable.


Sincerely,

Hawksbill Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hawksbill by Rex Resorts

Property: Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Address: Five Islands, St. John's, Antigua
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#8 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hawksbill by Rex Resorts 3*
Number of rooms: 107
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hawksbill By Rex Hotel St. John`s
Hawksbill Antigua
Hawksbill By Rex Antigua
Hawksbill Hotel Antigua
Hawksbill Beach Resort
Hawksbill Resort Antigua
Hawksbill By Rex Resorts Antigua/Saint John Parish

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