This review is going to be long, as I really want to cover everything about this resort in detail. So I'm splitting the review in to subject headings. Hope you like it!
Airport to hotel:
Easy. We had a private car – only a £20 extra – and arrived at the hotel within 15 mins from leaving the airport.
A lovely check in and reception area greets you, along with Andy, the GM, who is very friendly. You’re offered a drink, cold towel and a seat so you check-in in comfort. All in all this aspect was well thought out.
Perhaps like many other travellers we arrived mid afternoon off the Virgin flight. And we were hungry having eaten only a paltry late meal on the flight. No worries because the hotel does a great afternoon tea which consists of light sandwiches, biscuits, cake and drinks. Excellent.
Very nice room we had – a suite – overlooking the main pool and Caribbean. The view was gorgeous. One of the best we’ve ever had on holiday. The suite itself was sumptuous and comfortable, with a large lounge, large bedroom and bathroom with a whirlpool bath. The balcony was also very large and we had a great time whiling away many hours on the balcony staring at the lovely views. The only negatives here were the uncomfortable bed. It was too lumpy and soft and needs replacing. Also, I have never bathed in the Caribbean, so the whirlpool bath was completely wasted on us.
The TV was also large and flat screen and had mostly US channels, which was fine if you like to watch TV on holiday. We find we watch a bit whilst getting ready for dinner, so it was a useful distraction.
Blooming lovely – quite literally. The gardens were the star attraction. Now I know you don’t come to Antigua to look at gardens but it’s nice when they’re nice, and these were NICE. I think you get me!
All round excellent, although not full marks. The gym was a bit poor. Quite a good multigym was present but the CV equipment lacked both quality and numbers. There were a few treadmills, and cross trainer, stepper and one bike, which was out of order. The lack of choice was never a problem, as the gym and hotel were fairly quiet, but this is inadequate during busy periods. If I was to advise the hotel I would say stick more bikes in there (easy and cost effective) and modernise the equipment – it was all rather old and outdated.
The rest of the facilities were excellent. The pools in the main area were great, and the little adult pool which was slightly out of the way was always quiet and few ventured here. So if you want to get away from kids this is a nice way to do it.
If you are going to the Cove Suites they have there own pools away from the main areas which looked lovely and always very quiet.
Also, the spa area allows hotel guests to use its loungers and its little pool which was really beautiful. Because no one ventured out that far (it was at one end of the property) we came across no-one else in the day we spent there – another little hidden gem you need to seek out. The service here was very good also, and they even offered to bring us a room service lunch if required. Brilliant! Bear in mind however, when we spent the day there the spa had few if any bookings. If the spa is busy then it stands to reason that this area would then become busy also. So choose your day here carefully.
This is the hotel’s main restaurant, where breakfast and lunch is served for all guests and dinner is available. It was a lovely place, very nicely designed with numerous tables facing the sea with lovely views. Service here was very friendly and mostly efficient.
Breakfasts were always buffet style and were always excellent. Cereals, oats, fruits, full cooked style English breakfast, yoghurts, egg station etc etc! You won’t be hungry till lunch time!
Lunches were a mixture of buffet, bbq, and menu. Some buffets didn’t suit me (for example the curry and Mexican food) so I opted for food off the menu. So you’re never stuck for choice. The star of the show however was the bbq. Lovely cooked meats, slowly cooked and succulent. A meatasaurus paradise!
Dinners in the Palm followed the lunch time, including a bbq.
This is the only enclosed restaurant in the hotel, so it had air con going. I have to say it didn’t suit me. It only served Asian cuisine but it also served Indian food as in curries. We tried it once and my wife liked her curry but I had a very poor mahi-mahi fish dish. You may like it here but it wasn’t for us.
Easily the star eatery.
First the good:
Excellent service is provided by all staff here. They were friendly, courteous and efficient.
The restaurant itself is brilliantly positioned on the water’s edge, about 10 feet above the sea. It has recently been moved down to this spot as the old restaurant further up is now the Spa at Blue Waters. It has a wide expanse and numerous tables along the water view edge so if you’re a couple it’s likely you’ll have a good view.
Food here is really excellent, although one or two mistakes occurred during our stay. My wife and I ate here 4 times and had the lobster thermidor 3 times! So you might say we liked it! In fact it was the best thermidor we’d ever eaten. Other dishes were also excellent but on one evening I chose pork as a main dish and it was horribly overcooked. However, when I mentioned about this it was absolutely no issue about getting a new dish – they couldn’t have been more professional about it. Excellent.
Nature in the restaurants:
Say what? I mean things like birds, bugs etc, as these can irritate some people when eating. Although there were birds, meaning you had to cover your food if you both left the table, they did an excellent thing here which I haven’t seen before. They had a bird house and replenished bird food during our eating times. The birds made a bee-line for this and not the restaurant, so an excellent way of solving the problem, to within about 80%. After all, you’ll never completely get rid of them!
During our stay we had a fly problem – houseflies in fact. These were prolific due to heavy rain the week before we arrived. They were a nuisance but a temporary one, so don’t be put off by my, or other’s reports on them.
I’ve noticed in the last few years that many hotels are really trying to up there game with staff in the Caribbean. I think for many years tourists were a plenty and hotels never really worried too much about staff. As long as they did there job then that was ok. Not any more, not when every hotel is having to fight to gain an ever dwindling tourist population. Now, they do there job but are so much more friendly, efficient, and ultimately – professional. This is testament to better training and management choice in staff. They are clearly chosen on personality. I’m happy to say it’s working as I found all the staff here very professional. Even the gardeners, hotel pool cleaners, cleaners greeted you with a cheery smile and hello. They also go to great lengths to learn your name which is quite an achievement considering how short a time people stay.
If I say I was disappointed in the beaches I would be being insincere, because I knew the beaches were not the main attraction here, so no surprise. However, if you come here expecting a long bay with a long sandy beach you WILL be disappointed. There are 3 small beaches within the bay here, the longest took me 30 seconds to walk end to end. So they are really small but never bothered me because the hotel has another little secret up its sleeve.
Busy or not busy?
This little secret is the way the tourists are spread throughout the property. Even though the beaches are very small you always had room on them to sit in a lounger. This was because the hotel had 3 main pools dotted around and numerous little cut outs in various areas where more loungers were placed. Allied to this the Cove Suites were separate from the main hotel, and they had there own pools and loungers. With the property sitting on 17 acres it meant people were very spread about. The hotel was quite busy during our stay, but you always were able to sit where you wanted to without having to lie next to someone you’d rather not!
Why have I got a separate heading for this? Simple, because the little buggers eat me alive everywhere I go. But I was never bothered by them here which was a minor miracle. I had 6 bites on me at the end of my stay. I took my normal precautions but 6 bites is a daily occurrence most of the time in the Caribbean, so 6 in total was like manna from heaven! Sand flies were never an issue because of the small beaches.
One of the managers told me that some of the planting of certain flowers was done to help repel mosquitoes. Along with regular smoking of foliage I’m delighted to say their methods are working.
So far my review has been rightly enthusiastic, but nothing’s ever perfect so to be absolutely objective I have to express one or two niggles. Here goes!
The chairs in the Cove Restaurant were uncomfortable, as was the design of the tables. On occasion service was slow, true to Caribbean form, but this was rare. I would have liked service to come to me around the main pool/beach areas, but facilities were nearby so perhaps I’m being fussy. Service in the main pool bar was very hit and miss, sometimes someone was there, sometimes not. In fact this was a main gripe for many and must be improved upon. On one occasion, when I went to the indoor main bar to ask 4 staff members (who were chatting about their shift) I was met with disdain. A tourist had interrupted them! They couldn’t have been less helpful. But after a few minutes someone deigned to come over. This was the only incident I had where things were not up to scratch so it hardly bears mentioning. I do so more for any Blue Waters hotel mangers reading this review.
So there it is, my (hopefully) definitive review of the hotel. As you can see you’re in for a treat if you go. It’s very relaxing, with great staff, great food, great grounds and facilities and you will have re-charged your batteries at the end. My niggles are just that – niggles. Nothing serious occurred which may have put a dampener on the holiday. And that’s very rare these days.
Antigua is a fabulous island, and this resort is a credit to it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the North West Corner of Antigua where crystal clear waters lap onto secluded white sand beaches, Blue Waters Resort offers an island paradise. From your personal welcome, complete with cooled scented towel and rum punch, you will realise you are our valued guest. Featuring small secluded beach coves, seven freshwater pools and 17 acres of lush tropical gardens, Blue Waters provides the ideal setting for relaxing days by the pool or on the beach, cocktail in hand, or for reading a good book in the shade of the swaying palm trees. Having gently evolved and constantly improved over 50 years we offer a range of luxuriously appointed rooms to meet the needs of our guests, from hillside rooms in a garden setting to beachside rooms with renowned spectacular ocean views. For the more active guest we offer complimentary watersports, tennis and a newly refurbished gym. Our recently opened Elemis Spa and Hair Salon with its stunning ocean views provides a perfect setting for a pampering treatment or as part of a wedding package. Finish the day off dining at one of our 3 restaurants, each with a different ambience to suit your mood. Our staff is ready and waiting to welcome you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Waters Antigua Hotel St. John`s
- Blue Waters St Johns
- Hotel Blue Waters
- Blue Waters Hotel Antigua
- Blue Waters Antigua Saint John Parish