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“Our 3rd visit and we still enjoy...”

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St. James's Club & Villas
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mamora Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Thames Ditton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
338 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Our 3rd visit and we still enjoy...”
Reviewed July 15, 2012

We could only manage a 7 day visit this time and inevitably it was too short.
Previously we have stayed in the Beach Club section fronting the ocean but this year we were in the SJC. Again we travelled on the Virgin Hols all-inclusive deal and once again it didn't let us down. Callie, the local Virgin Rep, - a lively American lady, zany with a great sense of humour but what a star - she does make every effort to make your stay as enjoyable and trouble-free as possible.
The hotel staff are helpful and very friendly and it was nice to see some familiar faces again. The service is generally good, sometimes a little slow if the restaurant is busy but we find they respond positively - not sure about some reviews complaining of rudeness - not our experience at all.

Our usual haunt is on Coco's Beach with the refreshing ocean breeze but a weather system had blown a lot of surface weed into the bay. We saw great strands of it all the way from Barbados and, from several thousand feet up, thought it was oil. Coco's usually gets some weed in off the ocean which a 2 man team normally clears up each early morning but it took a 12-man team the best part of 6 days, working all day,to get on top of the huge amount blown in. They did a fantastic job and we did at least get a couple of days there. However, the great benefit of SJC is having an alternative so we spent most of our time on the Mamora lagoon beach instead. It does get a bit hot in the afternoon lacking the ocean breeze but just a few steps into the water to cool down or several visits by Alfred with the drinks cart hits the spot and you never need to go far to reach some oasis.

Although there are several pools we rarely use them. Not conducive to quiet reading, etc but we prefer the beaches anyway.
The new blocks and their surrounding areas built since our last visit in 2008 are a good and attractive addition to the accommodation available. The water activities are always a big plus for our 2 boys (now 24 and 20) out on the Hobiecats every day. They even tried tennis this time but an admission of rubbish standard restricted that to one session.
The rooms are a good size with huge double beds, a sizeable bathroom and a verandah or balcony and the aircon is efficient, so again we found it very comfortable. Two minor issues which arose were resolved by housekeeping instantly.
Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and all drinks included - you don't have to think too much - choice of restaurant for dinner, inside or outside in the Rainbow Garden - a la carte menu or buffet . The food and wine perhaps are not Michelin but what are you paying ? It is good; varied daily menus; plenty of it... and, if you feel inclined, opportunity to get very merry. I recommend the Wadadli cocktail Perfect way to wind down.

Perhaps not smooth opulence ( if that is what you want)...been there; done that and all a bit stuffy. We want to relax and enjoy the holiday. The setting is peaceful away from everywhere, with a lovely garden setting.
We think SJC the best on Antigua and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it - we even sent parents here for a 60th anniversary - which they thoroughly enjoyed.
Still a few things to do to keep on top but thanks SJC for a really nice stay.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank stanmansurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 15, 2012

I've stayed in quite a few 4 star hotels in Antigua, St.Lucia and Barbados, and have always been able to find a few flaws. St James Club is the only hotel that I can honestly say is perfect, and I don't have a negative word to say about it.The setting is lovely, on the penisula of the South-East coast. The beaches have the best of both worlds, with the pretty, breezy Atlantic side, and the calm picturesque Carribean bay. People complain about the seaweed on the Atlantic beach, but at the end of the day, it is the sea, and seaweed is a natural part of it...

The water sports are great, with plenty of equipment available. We never struggled to find a sun lounger, and there are many pools to choose from, including adult only pools. It is a family resort, so expect young children running around on the beach. Didn't bother us, but maybe not someones cup of tea if on a romantic, peaceful honeymoon.

The rooms are lovely, and from what we could see, are all seaview rooms.

The staff are very friendly and helpful - especially the beach drink guys, and Super Dave!

Great stay and would definately recommend St James.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Cabz1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2012

My wife, 10 year old daughter and I just returned from St. James and our first trip into Antigua. We have been to 15 different Islands in the Caribbean so we do have a fairly broad comparison spectrum. We relied on reviews read on this website when we made our decision to go to St. James.
When we made our booking we were offered a hotel transfer for $60USD per person per direction for a total of $180 per direction. I can say to everyone if you are offered the same, don't take it. Taxi was easy, safe with very friendly driver who gave us the history of the Island during the ride and it was a flat rate of $31USD per direction for all of us. I can also say we were well on our way long before the vast majority of those using hotel transfers.
The resort itself is quite nice. It gives the impression of a community with its own roads bustling with golf carts as residents make their way around the place. They also have a very large team of security guards who are very visible starting late in the afternoon into the evening. My wife went for a walk after dark on our first night and felt very safe with all the security around, although she did say after a while it creeped her out a bit because it was like they were following her around. Check in was smooth although the staff didn't really say much during this process. They basically told us where to eat that night and handed us a key but didn't say anything about the type of room we had nor did they offer us any map or information on the resort. The hotel manager however did give us a wonderful greeting upon arrival and offered a refreshment. We were shuttled off to our beachfront room in the Mango building on one of the golf carts.
The room is pretty much what you would expect. Overall for the Caribbean it was fine. The bathroom was massive and the shower felt like you were in your own boat the tub was so large. The air-conditioning does not go into the bathroom which made it often feel like a sauna which was a bit of an irritant. Some days it was so hot in the bathroom my wife had a difficult time getting ready.
The resort is easy to get around. Distances are not far so long as you are in reasonable shape as it is very spread out. Many resorts are concentrated in one particular area where everyone gathers. St. James is on a very large property with very distinct areas which is largely what we liked about it. You never feel that you are in a crowd.
We read a few reviews with people complaining about the food. Our experience with the food was fine. We loved Coco's which was open air and right on the beach and very casual. Most nights we had most of the place to ourselves.
They advertise 6 pools. This is misleading as we only saw 2 we were allowed to use and believe me we looked! We did see a couple of more off in the distance but they were reserved for people staying in villas only and had signs all over the place advising you were not allowed to go there unless you were staying in the villa, so the claim of having 6 available pools is exaggerated.
The Mamora Bay side is like a typical lake and not a Caribbean sea experience but it was beautiful. They had great availability of water sports, the staff was friendly and offered Catamaran lessons for free. Never had to wait for a kayak and was never once given a time limit .
The difficult part of Mamora Bay at least while we were there is it was extremely hot with dead air, not any breeze which is probably the reason why it was largely deserted most of the time.
On the other side, CoCo beach was my biggest frustration. It was a beautiful beach with lots of lay out chairs and Palm trees and palm umbrellas for shade with nice views and it is all less than 5 steps from our balcony, but you simply cannot go in the water. I was dying to go into the ocean and I tried on a number of occassions, however it simply isn't a beach for swimming. Allow me to give some perspective on my views. I grew up in Atlantic Canada 10 minutes from a beach. I am very accustomed to having seaweed around my legs in the water. This however was different. Some days you couldn't even get into the water it was so thick. Then anything pretty much deeper than your knees there was not a 'sand bottom'. It was more like standing in a field of grass which was uncomfortable. I have to give the staff credit, they worked hard all week trying to clear the seaweed, but it was a losing battle. The stuff just keeps coming. That created another problem because all week they had to run tractors up down the beach to cart the stuff away so it does take away from the peace and quiet. The worst day it was like being at a construction site when they brought a backhoe in the water the seaweed was so thick and they were running dumptrucks as well. They tried. I give them credit for that. It was also clear they have no choice but to continue their efforts because if they stop, the place will become like a swamp very quickly it is that thick. The other problem is when they are not able to keep up the smell can get pretty bad so they are doing what they need to do, but it is a shame.
The 2 pools we were allowed to swim in were nice and the staff was friendly. They have a golf cart that does go up and down the beach distributing drinks which was nice. The tennis courts are OK but you can only reserve for 30 minutes at a time. Not so bad but if you plan on playing you would do yourself well to bring your own equipment. We were given 3 tennis balls and 2 of them were split down the middle making them impossible to use. We met another couple who only had split tennis balls so they couldn't play at all. Not sure why they don't just throw away damaged unusable equipment. They gym was fantastic and very clean with good equipment.

While there are some negative comments here, I do have to say I honestly enjoyed my stay and I don't regret going despite the issues with the beach, and for me that is saying a lot because I love swimming in the ocean. We had a very peaceful and relaxing stay and we don't regret choosing St. James.

The important question is would we ever go back to St. James? The answer is a difficult one. I would love to go back to St. James, but honestly I don't think I will. It saddens me to say it but the reason is simply because of the beach. There are dozens if not hundreds of Caribbean resorts to choose from so if I can get one with a good beach, I will. If they could solve the problems on CoCo beach this would be the ideal resort. Most people who go to the Caribbean surf through a multitude of photos of crystal clear water for swimming and body surfing, which you won't find here.
If you don't care so much about swimming in the ocean and are happy with lying on a chair or swimming in a pool, then this place is ideal. If you want to splash and frolic in the ocean then stay away.

Room Tip: No breeze at all on the Mamora Bay side, so avoid if you can. Avoid the Papaya building on the CoCo...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
13 Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2012

Just returned from St James this morning.
I have worked in the travel trade for almost thirty years and have travelled extensively world wide throughout this time, staying at minimum 4/5 star hotels/resorts.
I do not usually write reveiws but the staff at St James have left me so impressed that I feel obliged to do so on this occasion.
Island time is something one has to expect when in the carribean, this is for some strange reason something the staff at St James dont seem to be aware of.
During our stay we had several issues, I see no need to go in to the detailts or specifics but what really impressed me was the way they were dealt with so promptly with such care.
Thank you Julia Myers!!!!!!!!!! you and your collegues are in a league of your own, superb Customer service!
I will be returning thanks to you!
OK, now I've got that off of my chest, things handy to know:
Seaweed can be an issue on Coco beach at certain times of the year, but the hotel management seem to have an obsession with removing it at ANY cost! including a small army of workers tasked to remove every piece!
Dress code: Collars on every top for men for dinner (rigorously inforced), the dress code does seem to only apply to males- actually it definatly does!, men no collar = no meal, yet women can wear minimal beach wear with bits of flab hanging out! (very strange but true).
Sea: Not really crystal clear as resort is on the Atlantic side, however having a a choice of hot calm bay or lovely breezy beach is a real bonus, sea is clear, but not crystal clear unless you go out on the snorkeling trip for $15 US.
Food/Drink: Something for every taste and branded drinks, even the house wine is very good, inculding sparkling. when asked for something a little different from the menu never a problem.
Fussy eaters would be struggle to have a problem here.
Entertainment: enough for us but some people said they wished for more, good live band most nights. the dance floor bar area could do with a bit of liven-up as lacking atmosphere.
Sports/activities: good availibility of Kayaks, Hobies, etc never had to wait. good tennis courts and enough, just book on the day. table tennis, pool, etc loads to do! - oh and the fishing is excellent, just make sure you bring some real tough gear, - BIG FISH!
Pools etc : clean and lots of choice, always a quiet spot with plenty of bedchairs, towels always plentiful.
Buggys are always availible as the resort is hilly in places, we never waited for more than a couple of minutes. a guy even brings round drinks on the beach on a buggy, brilliant!
To sum up We would all recommend this resort, and look forward to returning ASAP!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Globeba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ocean County, NJ
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2012

Just back from celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary at the St. James's Club. A perfect choice!

The St. James's Club is on Mamora Bay with the unique advantage of having access to the bay beaches (swimming, kayacking, sailing, dining,etc.) and the Atlantic Ocean beach where you can swim and sun. Our room was large and clean with a spacious double-sink bathroom, AC and ceiling fan.

All inclusive package is a great value. Multiple beachside and poolside bars (check out the view at the Reef Bar), on-beach bar cart and restaurant bar service always near by.

For dining, typical buffet breakfast and lunch offerings. Impressed by dinner table service with a menu selection that changed every night we were there. Food was well prepared with acceptable service. Did not go to the fancier Piccollo Mondo restaurant with its $35 surcharge per person for the fine fining menu.

Some entertainment provided by various musicians/bands and the evening DJ in the disco. Overall a pretty mellow place.

Strong British influence (and lots of friendly Brits) here. We came to look forward to the outdoor 4:00 tea time.

Cost to taxi from the airport was $31 plus tip for the the 40 minute ride. St. James's Club is pretty well isolated on the southwest side of the island so don't expect much hotel hopping.

We quite enjoyed our stay. Beautiful, friendly and fun. We entered the room to find a complimentary, chilled bottle of champagne for our anniversay.

Only complaints...(1)better system for pool towels...hard to find other than at the reception desk between 8-10 AM. (2) fee for in-room wi-fi (free wi-fi only at reception lobby).

Room Tip: Oceanside rooms have great view, great breeze and easy access to beach.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank MikePet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2012

Had a wonderful vacation at St. James. The service was wonderful, Plenty of lounge chairs and never had the feeling that tipping was needed to get service like some of the other all inclusive places we go to. We were 2 adults with a 3 year old so we hung out by the pool most of the time. I chose SJC because they had a kids club which I thought would keep my little one entertained. We ended up never using it as she made friends by the pool. It was definitely a family place. Walked around and found the adult pool which was very quite and peaceful. Food flavor good, would have liked to see more variety, beach not so good with a lot of seaweed but was fine as they cleaned every morning, rooms could be a little more updated but was totally fine. The only problem I had was with the air which was never cold enough but would perform perfect when the technician shows up to fix. I would definitely consider going back again. I would recommend bringing mosquito spray.

Room Tip: Beach front room is great.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Travlil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2012

My Wife and I decided to book this resort for ourselves and our 2 children (10 & 8) after reading about it in various places including tripadvisor. We based the decision on the fact it had 2 beaches, it was All Inclusive and it had a Kidz Club,
Our decision to go to this resort was the right one. We went for 10 days and would have been happy to stay for some more. In summary, The beach on the Bay side was amazing. The watersports were all included and because the bay was so calm we had no problem with the kids going out on the kayaks etc. The beach was great for sun bathing and there was plenty of shade if you needed it. The Breach on the atlantic side looked nice and it was a lot more breezy but we stuck mostly to where the fun was.
The food in the restaurants was fantastic, We did not have one bad meal. There are 4 restaurants. Coco's is the casual 11am till 11pm walk in place serving burgers, ribs, subs etc. (Great for lunch)...Rainbow gardens was A la carte, the docksider was Buffet with a different them every night. We never went to the piccolo Mondo ($35 extra per head) but heard it was fantastic.
All drinks were included (The wine was very nice red or white) and the pools were excellently
looked after.
The Kidz club was open from 10 am until 11pm with a half hour break at 12.30. This means that the staff were available to take your kids at ANYTIME within these times. The staff have to stay and wait for kids even if there are non to look after. They will even feed them at 5pm (if you order by 3.30pm) as part of the package. They were amazing and our kids really enjoyed it there and made friends..
The property is very well maintained and whilst we were there they were constantly painting on parts of the property and laying cable etc which just shows that they are investing.
The only one minor blip was that we found the room a little too small for a family of 4. It was nice and clean and modern but We found the 2 double beds a little smaller than we would want and there was no seating area...Whilst a small gripe it did not spoil our wonderful 10 days and we are already planning to go back next year...we recommend you try it for yourself..

Room Tip: If Travelling with family as for a Beach front room. Apparently they are bigger!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Ashley D
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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