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“Variable St James”

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St. James's Club & Villas
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mamora Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Hampshire UK
Level Contributor
55 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Variable St James”
Reviewed December 13, 2007

We booked a premium room at the St james club but was it a premium room? Tired in places and situated right next to the Gym with noise early in the morning from various maintenance vans. Had seaview but not the best. We enquired at reception which type of room we were given and they were positive that it was a premium room. Anyway, too lazy to repack, we did not ask to move.
The situation with the Beach Club (exclusive to Virgin Holidays) and the St James Club is not well defined. On arrival, we were dumped with other people and had to queue for check in at a hut outside the Beach Club and then told to go up the main hotel lobby where the St James' reception is located.
St James Club's guests can eat in all restaurants while the Beach Club's guests, apart of 2 nights a week, can only eat in Coco's or pay for Piccolo Mundo.
According to some guests, the rooms at the Beach Club are in better condition than some at the St James. All the facilities are common.
Food was not brilliant. Breakfast was nice with good choices. Buffet lunch was not very appetising apart of salads. Dinner, a la carte, was for some dishes nice, most of the time indifferent. My husband said that the fish was always overcooked. Accompaniments mostly the same every night. You have to remember to book. We somehow managed to book 2 days ahead sometimes when we could see the menu.
The drinks were watered at the beach bar but quite good in the night bar. Wine and "champagne" were of poor quality.
Service was from good to poor with the staff either very nice or from sultry to rude.
Evening entertainment: non existent or late. The magician who comes around tables in the bar is good if you show interest. A trio in the docksider restaurant was very funny. That is about all. Good music at Shirley Heights on Sunday nights.
Beaches are nice with plenty of shade, mostly from the palm trees. We never had difficulties to find a lounger but were not the last on the beach. Towels were mostly of good quality.
Watersports were good with equipment in good condition and tuition, from my husband's point of view on a hobbycat, good and friendly.
We used the tennis courts most days. They are fine except for drainage problems after the rain. Water is provided on the side of the courts: that is a nice touch.

We went on the Virgin ahoy trip around the island with the Excellence. That was a good fun day out. Snorkelling is not terrific as the reef is mostly dead, but we could find a few colourful fish and the sea was warm.
We rented a car for a day. True the roads are very bumpy and the local driving hazardous, but it was a good way to visit the island and spot other hotels.
Did not think much about St Johns. Only a stop for massive cruise ships with their folks straight into the jewellery shops.
At night the place is scary and on a Saturday night unbearably noisy with a all night rave. But this is an other story following an incident with our Virgin flight back to the UK.

Overall, we enjoyed our week in Antigua. The St James Club has a good location but, in our view only deserves 3 1/2 stars.

  • Liked — Location and beaches
  • Disliked — Food
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank MichFran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cheshire
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed December 7, 2007

We've just had a wonderful, relaxing week at the St James's Club. The temperature in November was perfect, hot but not uncomfortable.Our room which overlooked the ocean was large, spacious and very clean. The surrounding gardens were beautiful. The staff were numerous, friendly and very helpful. The swimming pool areas were very clean - towels are provided, so don't waste luggage space. Both the beaches were great, the sheltered side offering free gentle water sports which we took advantage of in learning to sail a 'Hobie cat' - brilliant - our first time in charge of a sailing boat.
The beaches were well supplied with straw umbrellas and lots of palm trees for shelter and sufficient sunbeds (just about) so that you didn't have to rush to 'bag' one too early.
We were all inclusive which was definitely the best thing to do. $75 a day for 3 meals and unlimited drinks is excellent value. You didn't even have to leave the beach for a drink as a mercy wagon came along every now and then to top you up, so you don't have to carry any money with you. Food was great in all the restaurants and plenty of choice, just remember to book the day before or early the same day. The inclusive wine was just about OK but of course you can choose any other bottle from the wine list and pay extra. Piccolo Mondo was lovely but not really worth the extra $35.
We went on the shopping trip to St John's but unless there is something you really need to buy I wouldn't bother. The sunset
cruise on the catamaran was good fun.
There is a shop in the hotel with swimsuits, sarongs, shirts, flip flops etc and not overpriced, in case you forget anything.
We are definitely going to go there again.

Stayed November 2007
Helpful?
13 Thank sunlovers077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WIndsor, Berks, UK
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed December 5, 2007

We have just returned from a week at The St James Club in Antigua. We looked at reviews before booking and were concerned about other travellers opinions. This is what we thought. The hotel is a bit shabby in places and the service can be slack and off hand in some areas of the hotel, mainly the restaurants, food not all that great either. However, we had a wonderful time, the location is excellent as are the beaches and views, We took a trip into St Johns and bought diamonds, very good value, also a trip around the island by boat for a whole day, fantastic. We would recommend the St. James but just dont expect 5 star more like a nice 3 star.

  • Liked — Large room sea facing
  • Disliked — too many mosquitos
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank JanandMurray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NEBRASKA
Level Contributor
323 reviews
197 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 456 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2007

We decided to come here after having previously stayed at the St. James's Club in St. Lucia, where we had a wonderful time. This resort, however, is nothing like its sister.
The resort itself, was very nice. Our oceanfront room was one of the nicest we have ever had. It was spacious with a cathedral ceiling, ceiling fan, and plant ledge. The bathroom was huge with a tub for 2, and an extra long vanity shelf. ( For such a large room it really should have had 2 sinks and or a bidet. ) Our balcony was the largest we have ever had. It was as big as a room and had lounge chairs. We also had a large closet, a safe, ref., coffee pot, bar sink, and cable TV with a large selection of channels. The bed was comfortable and the pillow was the best I've ever found in a hotel.
The view of the ocean was somewhat obstructed by palm trees, but they did give you more privacy.
The beach was one of the best we have stayed at in the many islands we have visited. For most of our stay the water was very clear and calm. Some of the beach had a lot of seaweed, but there was a space as large as a football field or 2 that was clear and pristine. Unfortunately, at the end of our stay the seas got rougher, the water turned cloudy, and the jellyfish started washing ashore. So I suppose it depends on the weather currents what the water will be like. Be advised that you need to go out before 7 AM and reserve yourself a lounge and umbrella for the day. This is a bit inconvenient.
The ocean beach is breezy and comfortable. The bay beach is hot and stifling most days. It is a nice large beach though and the water is calm and good for swimming. You do however, have to step carefully to find a path through the seaweed.
There are also 4 pools. The tiered level pool for adults only is quite nice.
Now for the strange and the bad.
Half of the staff is very friendly, the other half downright rude. Service almost nonexistant. Most of the guests are not friendly. No one wants to share a conversation with you.
There is a set time for everything and everything is formal. Reservations must be made for dinner and if you don't reserve early in the morning the day before you end up eating at 9 PM.
Breakfast while tasty was the same everyday, no variety. They also do not tell you that Coco's also has breakfast. Breakfast does not begin until 7:30 which is bad if you have an early tour or flight. They are also in no hurry to open. The buffet usually didn't get all of the food put out until 8 AM. Sometimes the wait staff is at your table right away, other times you can wait 15 min. with no service. Once I ordered a drink and never did get it.
The beach grill serves delicious large burgers and hot dogs, but it is only open from 12 to 4. This is ridiculous!!! This is the only beach resort we have been to that does not have a casual place to eat and drink at all hours. With 4 restaurants one should be casual, and open.
Our biggest complaint was about the bars. The pool bars are supposed to close at 6 PM, but in reality they close about 15 min. early and they do not give a last call, and they do not care if you are thirsty. The restaurant bars don't open until 6:30 and you must be formally dressed to be served in them. So there is about an hour ( during what is supposed to be cocktail time ) when you can't get a drink!!!! Ridiculous !!!!!!!!! Most of the bartenders seemed annoyed if they saw you more than once. There was also supposed to be a drink cart that came around the beaches every hour or so. It was quite nice the one day out of our stay that he was working. We spoke to another guest who had a longer stay and they said they had seen him 2 days. Without him it is quite a long walk to get a drink.
The only beer choices are the local Wadadli and Red Stripe, both pretty bad. Most mixed drinks only contained a splash of liquor. We asked for a couple of drinks only to be told that they didn't have the ingredients. It seemed most of the guests were content to sip wine all evening.
The afternoon tea was the worst we have had at any resort. Tea choices were bad. The cakes were terrible and the sandwiches were a joke. Usually cream cheese or peanut butter on WHITE bread. Also you could not serve yourself and they acted like they didn't want you to have anything.
We thought it very odd that no one else at the resort seemed the slightest bit interested in watching the sunset, and you couldn't find a drink to enjoy while you watched it anyway.
After 6 PM you are expected to be dressed for dinner. Again, why couldn't they have one casual option. They were very strict about this rule. You couldn't even go to the bar and get a drink to go with shorts on.
The food was OK, but nothing special, nothing delicious. It is also ridiculous that you must give your room number everytime you eat or get a drink. They are keeping track of everything you do like Big Brother. I suppose it can be confusing when part of your guests are all inclusive and part are not. They do, however, need a better system. I don't know why you wouldn't go with the all inclusive as the a la carte prices are VERY HIGH and there is nowhere nearby to eat. There are very few decent places to eat on the entire island.
Evening entertainment was pretty bland, usually consisting of a small band which played during dinner. One evening there was an exciting fire and limbo show. The casino is closed. After 10 PM all is quiet and only one bar is open until 1 AM.
The maid service was somewhat lacking. We were never given extra towels. When we requested more towels they came about an hour later and they did not bring what we asked for. The maids were also supposed to put ice in your room everyday, but we only got ice 2 days.
The island has a few interesting sights, and getting to them can be interesting. The roads are in the worst condition of any island we have been to. Very narrow and full of giant potholes. There are also very large speedbumps in front of every school and church which is about every 100 feet. They drive like maniacs and we saw an accident everytime we were out. Taxis and tours are expensive but I would not reccommend renting a car. The roads are also poorly marked and unlit at night.
The tour agent at our hotel was difficult to track down, often away from his desk. We also felt misled by him. Few things that he told us were true. We went on the ferry & day tour to Barbuda. No one seemed to know what was going on. When we arrived after a rough sail, we approached the man our Captain told us was our tour guide and he told us he wasn't doing the tour today. We were then approached by someone else who said he was our guide. He however, didn't know how many people he was supposed to pick up, and he didn't know anything about the lobster lunch that was supposed to be included. So after running around for half an hour he finally said everything was taken care of. Lunch was good, but the chicken was not the lobster we had been told we were getting. The tour was nice, the island was lovely and pristine, but once again it was not as described to us. There was no town per se. It was remote and mostly uninhabited. The bird sanctuary was lovely, but we did not appreciate having to pay an additional $2 per person entry fee as that should have been included. The ferry ride was like a roller coaster and several people became seasick. It was also disappointing that they ran out of beer on the return trip as many locals were hitting it hard at 9 AM.
We also took the all day Jeep tour of the island. It was interesting and we saw some nice places, but it did seem like we were driving around in circles. We were told that we would be back at 3:30 but we didn't return until 5:30.
Overall, the trip was pleasant and relaxing. Our overall experience was OK. Nothing was fantastic or horrible. Things were just so-so. We enjoyed the island but it is no where we would return or urge others to visit.
We would not reccommend the hotel to Americans. It is a formal and stuffy atmosphere. We also overheard 3 different guests complaining about how Americans were rude and crude and they didn't care to be around them. We did however, meet some very nice people from other countries while we were out on tour.

  • Liked — Large room, and great beach
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank HUSKERTRAVELER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 24, 2007

We have just returned from 10 days AI at St James and thought this hotel was just ok! We stayed from 31st October until 7th November.

We stayed in St James Club rather than St James Beach Club which is just for Virgin customers. Virgin customers are much more restricted in terms of which bar and restaurants they can visit, however they do get rooms on the beach so its your choice!

THE HOTEL
St James is one of the largest hotels in Antigua and has the facilities to go with it. The capacity that this hotel holds is quite large but we went during a quieter period and found that there was always space around the pool. The hotel has 3 / 4 swimming pools including an adult only pool which was always very quiet. There are 2 beaches, both of which are very clean and have a lovely breeze which makes sunbathing or any other activity bearable in the heat. The hotel is very very clean, and they are very well organised. The staff are quite friendly but do not go out of their way to help you anymore than anyone else. Prince on Customer Services is very good as well as Elaine in the Rainbow Garden. Do not worry about bringing towels as these are supplied, and definately visit the beauty salon to get a lovely massage which is very reasonable at £30 for 1 hour. The 4* status of this hotel is fair - no more but definately no less.

There is a fairly strict dress code which means you CANNOT wear denim or trainers which is relaxed on a Sunday and Thursday - I thought this was a little unneccessary but they were only strict on this in certain restaurants.

THE FOOD

You have to book all dinner reservations in advance!!!!! The food at St James is average. Towards the end of the hotel the food became tedious and repetative, however I think this is the case in most holidays! The Rainbow Garden is where the main buffet takes place and is open for breakfast lunch and dinner. Cocos is a lovely restaurant which is mainly a la carte and serves a good variety of food. The Docksider has a great location as it is right on the beach but they are the least orgnised and make u wait for your food and are sometimes late with bookings. There is also a beach grill which I heard was good but never made it there as I am not the biggest fan of sitting on a beach to fry! The best restaurant by far is Piccollo Mondos which is Italina / Carribean. It served the best lobster I have ever tasted and is worth the extra $35 charge to all AI customers.

THE ISLAND

The island is beautiful and has some fantastic beaches. They have their own currency but I would recommend US dollars to taker as it seems everything is priced in this way so makes it easier to work out what you are getting for your money. There are some great snorkelling sites across the island and it is perfectly safe to go out and explore. We went to St Johns to do a bit of shopping but this is something that isnt that impressive and could be missed. We enjoyed going up to Shirley Heights on Sunday afternoon to have a steel band / reggae party with a lovely BBQ.

CONCLUSION
This hotel offers everything you need to have an average holiday. The reservation part made the holiday a little too organised for a couple who just wanted to chill out and not have to stick to strict timescales! I wouldnt go back to this particular hotel and prob wouldnt return to Antigua because once you have seen it there isnt much point going back - there are too many other beautiful places to see on this earth!!

  • Liked — Variety and size of the resort
  • Disliked — Having to book every day for your dinner reservations
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank becksta1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2007

We recently returned from Antigua. We have been to Antigua once or twice a year for the last 15 years, so we are very familiar with the island. The hotel we usually stay at has been sold and the quality is no longer up to par ,so we went in search of a new place to enjoy. This property was definitely not it!
First the good stuff. The property is nice and the rooms are large and very clean. We were beachfront so that was great.
Other than that we really disliked it. The staff was MISERABLE!
It was not just a few disgruntled staff but the majority of them. They could barely eek out good morning! It was almost as if they were afraid to speak.
Next, the food was poor. We did not have one meal that was even average let alone delicious. Dinner resevations were required each evening. That in itself was ok but ,we were not informed that reservations better be made early or, in some cases even the day before, or you will not be dining where you prefer. This seems extreme. It is after all, a vacation and the price you pay to stay here should not be bound by uptight rules and restictions.
Also, it is expected that you dress for dinner. This was not a big deal for us other than one evening we returned late from town and because our reservation was for eight we went directly to the dinner venue. My husband had on very expensive designer walking shorts and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt. He was banished from dinner until he agreed to return to the room and put on pants. He changed his designer shorts for his $24.99 Old Navy jeans and was happily seated by the host. Ridiculous!
We found this property to have too many rules and regulations! If you are after a robotic, structured vacation then this is the place for you. If you enjoy being ignored by staff you will love it here. It's almost like being at camp. No exceptions to rules, no tolerance for question or concerns. Make you reservations, eat what we offer you and like it!
This is one place we will not return to nor send anyone we know to.

  • Liked — Clean rooms, beach
  • Disliked — Miserable staff, food.
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank Maypag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chelmsford, Essex
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed November 15, 2007

My wife and I highly recommend a holiday at the St James Club. We celebrated our 60th birthdays there and being only our 2nd experience of the Caribbean have nothing but praise for the resort and its staff.
The weather was very hot (too hot for me) but most people seemed to lap up the sun at the pool or on the beach, of which there are two. Bayside very hot and sheltered, the other hot and breezy.
The resorts location is superb, enjoying its own peninsular with not a great deal to do apart from the many facilities offered through the club, on site.
A very relaxing holiday, more suited for couples of middle to older age groups. Not much to offer for the young clubbers, thank god!
The staff we found very helpful and friendly, with only a couple of miserable faces, which you can find anywhere you go.
We only used the 'Rainbow 'and 'Docksider' restaurants as the other two were on the top end of the resort, too far to walk in the heat, (for us) although 'golf buggie' transport was available.
Docksider was our favorite, mainly because of the location.
Food, wine was very good, plenty of it.
Wine was 'Pinot Grigio 'white from Chile and the red 'Merlot' & 'Cabernet Sauvignon'.
We were 'all inclusive', for the first time and would recommend you do the same, as good value for money.
We were only there for one week, so did not do many trips.
The club runs a shuttle bus to St. John's which is a 'shopping trip' great if you have loads of money to buy diamonds etc; more suited for the Cruise Ships passengers!
We took a taxi to Nelsons dockyard/english harbour which was very interesting (don't go out in the midday sun, it was roasting), also the 'excellence' trip around the island, highly recommended.
All in all one of the best holidays we have ever had, the only complaint was the mosquitos, which ate us alive.

Stayed November 2007
Helpful?
11 Thank claude011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about St. James's Club & Villas

Property: St. James's Club & Villas
Address: | Mamora Bay, Mamora Bay, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Paul Parish > Mamora Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mamora Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — St. James's Club & Villas 4*
Number of rooms: 250
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the All-Inclusive St. James's Club & Villas, Antigua's most famous address. This beautiful resort is ideally located on a private, 100-acre peninsula. You will love our two white sand beaches, water sports, tennis, four restaurants, indoor and outdoor bars, beach bar & grill, luxurious spa & salon, freshwater swimming pools, supervised Kids Club, wide array of water sports, Scuba diving, and so much more. One of the Caribbean's most popular all-inclusive resorts. Excellent for couples, honeymooners, families, and friends. Located just minutes from major attractions like English Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard, and the lively Shirley Heights. Our warm and welcoming staff and management team will make your stay wonderful and memorable. We look forward to seeing you soon! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
St. James`s Club Hotel Mamora Bay
St James Club Antigua
St Jamess Hotel
St Jamess Resort
St James Antigua
St Jamess Club Antigua
St. James's Club & Villas Antigua/Mamora Bay

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