I wanted a nice hotel that didn't cost the earth or wasn't pretentious. I went onto trip advisor and was seriously put off by many if not almost all of the reviews of the hotels on Dickinsons Bay, in St Johns, Antigua. As this was going to be a special Birthday present for my wife I wanted something that was like a boutique hotel without the sky high prices and the ultimate aim was to relax but with something to do too. After finding the tradewinds hotel on google I went to all known travel agents to see if they operated there - to my surprise they did not. This can be a good sign. Hey ho I threw caution and booked 2 weeks there for approx £1700 Virgin flights for both of us return were £1,000 so £2,700 all in. We had the hotel with breakfast only - guys dont bother with all inclusive as its nice to get out there and find other hotels restaurants. Try the blue waters restaurant, try the Coconut Grove restaurant in St Johns, the tradewinds restaurant is called the Bay Tree and believe me if we did go all inclusive then we would have been very pleased. The menu is extensive they can chop and change anything for the customer to suit. The tradewinds hotel has approx 40 rooms and most of these are let out to British Airways crew which is also a good sign as BA won't just chuck their staff anywhere, we ate at our own hotel restaurant some nights. The view fom the hotel which is perched slightly upwards from the beach which means you have a reasonably steep 10 minute walk down to the beach which isn't so bad as the hotel operates a shuttle service for free and can bring you back up the steep hill again. Dont be put off by the hill to climb as the views are second to none overlooking at breakfast the carribean light blue waters almost teasing you from afar. Because this hotel isn't right on the beach simply means you will have peace and quiet. The hotel manager Nicos (Who I think is Dutch) is a very polite and a hands on manager - anything you want to do excursion wise just let him know and he will sort it. Ask Rodney at the Bar to mix you a Long Island ice tea like you have never tasted better before. he's an Arsenal Fan, but dont let that put you off. The BA crew stop off at this hotel in the evenings but they all but disappear to the local club later on and you dont here a peep until the next morning as you ear wig their tales of fun and frolicks. I probably make the hotel sound as though it has no atmoshere - but when you consider nearly all the customers are professional working airline crew and go out by 10pm the bar is still full but never crowded with relaxed chatter about the days sightseeing from other tourists that stay elsewhere but go to the Tradewinds for Dinner and drinks as its so lovely. I have read that some one has said that they were woken up a few times by the air crew leaving to go on outward journeys home but then this is no different in my opinion to tourists walking past leaving the hotel with suitcases and all to go back home themselves.
I have read somewhere that this hotel is a 3 star but that doesn't seem to do it justice. Maybe its only a 3 star due to the fact it isn't right on the beach - yet its close enough by day and far enough away by night for quiet relaxation with excellent food and drink.
Myself and my wife are very fussy about our accommodation and we can honestly say we would rate this a 4 star to 5 star hotel but with 3 star prices. We paid approx £70-80 for both us for a 3 course meal with a nice bottle of red wine with brandies/coffee liquers. If we had gone all inclusive then we would have been more than happy to have done so at tradewinds.
The pool is a small freshwater affair that overlooks the carribbean sea. We both make a point of not going back to the same place twice as the world is big enough to miss certain places anyway - but on this showing we are planning our return there next year. Taxis are cheap and there is no haggling involved as taxis are licensed and governed by laws that mean they have to carry tariff guides in the vehicle at all times which means if your unsure about how much you should be paying then ask to see the cab drivers tariffs - in other words you dont get ripped off - after all they want your business while you stay there and they offer themselves to you as guides for no extra charge.
The weather was perfect for us March 5th to the 19th and it never fell below 25 C peak was probably about 32 C which is very pleasant indeed. The tradewinds has a breeze running throughout the hotel and so it never felt stuffy or humid not sure what other times of the year are like. Very little rain when it did it was fast and over with in 60 seconds and that was late at night or early hours of morning. Our balcony was a dream to sit out on and our room was almost as good as the Hiltons at Gatwick airport we stayed in the night before we flew out to Antigua.
You gotta do the Zip line trip through the Rainforest we only did 4 lines and that was scary enough or exhilarating - depends on your point of view. We did a boat trip called the Excellence boat jourmey and it took us to a wicked lil beach called Green Island - incidentally we passed Oprah Winfrey and Eric Claptons hideaways according to the running commentary from the captain.
If you like Naval history - then Nelsons Dockyard is the place for you - please take the optional tour which only last 20 mins but is very interesting and you pay for it anyway in your entrance fee at Nelsons Dockyard. Nelsons dockyard also has a lovely couple of bars and a reasonable restaurant as well as a boutique hotel called the Lumber and Copperstore (I think) which looks stunning.
On a Sunday night please go to Shirley Heights - please do. You pay about $10 for two (this is just the entrance fee) and then you're in and then the drinks are reasonably priced and so is the food. The food is lovely even the fussiest of eaters would be satisfied here. About 6.30 pm the sun gently fell behind the English Harbour hills below and as the English Harbour full of boats and restaurants illuminated the sound of the steel bands playing gently wafted in with a sense of emotion and fun. Then when it went completely dark the live bands on Shirley Heights kicked in to life and I must say I found myself dancing along (possibly the rum punch) and taking in the cool clear night air overlooking the English Harbour that just oozes history - you can't help but wonder what Nelson and his Crew must have made of the place and if he was alive today what he would have made of of all. Its not too touristy despite the crowds there is always enough room and plenty of vantage points to view the views below.
Jerk Chicken is to be sampled as is their local rum. Oh by the way we found out too late into our holiday that the Excellence Boat trip I mentioned earlier also takes you to Antigua's sister island called Barbuda - we intend to do this next year when we go back as it takes in the isle of barbuda which is about an hours boat trip away and you apparently get Dolphins coming up to your boat and shaddow the boat then your taken off to Volcanic island of Monserrat which its beaches has pink sand due to the coral, so we're told.
To sum up where we stayed Tradewinds (Room 30 by the way - ask for Room 30) its a little bit of luxury overlooking stunning beauty and the blue carribbean sea. The hotel staff are very polite and professional and nothing is too much trouble. Food is pretty much round the clock. Nico the hotel manager is very knowledgable and just wants you to have a good time.
Must mention Kim at reception, Michelle and Leona serving waitresses at the hotels restaurant (Bay Tree). Excellent service from all staff but these in particular as we dealt with these the most.
Not many rooms at Tradewinds and most of which are reserved for BA crew. I am almost loathed to talk anymore about the place as I may find that next year the place is fully booked. This is my first review ever on a place and I wouln't normally bother other for the fact that we had such trouble trying to find a little bit of paradise in 4 star plus surroundings without the prices. If you want to know anything else by all means email.
Also the tipping saga. Well there is no uncomfortable "will we- wont we" tip as there is a 10% service charge added to your bill.
The pics of the beach: You will get hawkers but they are friendly and will listen to you when you decline any interest in their wares - they fon't try and mimic your accent to make you feel you have an affinity with them. They won't creep to you - they will simply sell you what your looking for on a beach.
All in all I found the little restaurant called the Beach at the far right of this beach a nice place for lunch and snacks and also opposite end of Beach is a snack bar called Tony's - this too is very nice offering local cuisine.
Btw: This is our experience I can't guarantee yours ha ha ha but I hope it serves as a good guide.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Trade Winds Hotel is located in the St. John's Antigua neighborhood, close to Dickenson Bay Beach, Fort James and Runaway Bay Beach. Nearby points of interest also include Cedar Valley Golf Club, and we are 15 minutes from V.C. Bird International Airport. Resort Features. Trade Winds Hotel's Restaurant; the Bay House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room Service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 4.0-star property has a business center and offers small meeting rooms audio-visual equipment, and business services. Complimentary Hi Speed WiFi Internet access is available throughout the property. This St. John's property has event spaces consisting of banquet facilities and conference/meeting rooms. Wedding services,Cocktail Receptions, concierge services and tour assistance are available. Guest parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include laundry facilities. Guest Rooms. 50 air conditioned guestrooms at Trade Winds Hotel feature CD Players and Coffee/Tea making facilities. All accommodations have balconies. Bathroom feature shower/tub combinations, complimentary toiletries, hair dryers. Rooms also include safes, mini fridge, Iron and Board and ceiling fans. Housekeeping is offered daily and guests may request wake-up calls. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Trade Winds St Johns
- Hotel Trade Winds
- Trade Winds Hotel Antigua/Saint John Parish