where can I start... I stayed at this resort in a beachfront room with my dad from Nov. 10 to 17th on a travel agent rate. as in many industry I would like to start with the positives before the things to work on:
the quality of the food is decent for most restaurant, except for the mamora beach grill. dinner offers different choice for buffet at docksider, breakfast buffet is typical nothing overly special, but do the trick with the regular stuff: scrambled eggs, omellette station, waffle station, bacon, sausages, etc...
love the breeze from the wind on coco's beach side, you can tan and not sweat your behind off with the constant wind. the resort grounds are well kept. beside a couple incident that I will elaborate below in the cons, the staff in general is very friendly. there was some comments from previous guests about mosquitos, but they were not a worry.
Unfortunately, I cannot stay that my whole stay was perfect. twice we approached the front desk and guest services to complain about ants in the room and extremely noisy and shaky ceiling fans. never a maintenance person came in to tighten the screws on the fan or do pest control. ironic, on the beaches they have the "cute" signs that says: "shhhh vacation at work", with a no cell phone symbols, yet the bad service we received at the docksider from a staff named Priscillia was because she was texting by the water station, while we waited for water and coffee. We had to get up and ask her to bring some, while she hided behind a co-worker not to get caught. I did bring that up to the front desk manager, and I asked if there was a cell phone policy and they say yes, so in this case, it's a case of enforcement. I also did get the same problem at the Mamora beach grill, where after a short afternoon shower, the tables and chairs were wet and dirty and no refills in the condiments with relish and ketchup, and she was sitting, texting. You work as a cook/server in the food industry, you shouldn't be sitting down: there's always cleaning to do, sanitation, things to put away, rotation of food to be done, etc...
As for the room, beside the maintenance issues mentioned, I do have to say that the beachfront rooms are awesome location, in a quieter area of the resort. they are big, with big bathroom, but the quality of the beds and furniture is quite average. the lighting is dark,so at night if you want to read a book, you need to turn all the lights on to have a decent lights. no comfortable chairs to sit: only beach chair on the patio ( a small round table with a couple chairs wouldn't hurt), and a wood chair for a "work desk" in the room. note that they do have wireless for charge in the room, and depending on your location you may or not get a signal. so before asking the front desk to get wifi for a cost in your room, make sure you get the signal. There is free wifi in the lobby area.
They are not the nicest beaches of the island, but even if they say that all antigua's beaches are public, you are most likely not to run into any local there. Coco's beach: located on Atlantic side, nice breeze, a little wavy and some jellyfish, not a nice beach for swimming. a lot of seaweed washing up to shore, no faults at all to the resort, but that you still should be aware of. Nice place to tan, especially in the morning from 7am to 12pm because of sun location.
located in a bay, very calm water and barely any breezes. clean beach, soft sand, warmer weather. again nice, but not the greatest. a lot of chairs and palm trees, a little more happenning. Great place for afternoon for sunbathing, play sports, swim etc...
if you plan to go out at night, do stuff, want to be in the middle of the action, this is not the place. when most tours leaves from Jolly Beach or Dickinson Bay near St-John's, most tours does NOT include transportation, taxi will be approx $35 USD each way for up to 4 people. so get another couple to share cost, that's what we did with a couple on honeymoon from Coquitlam B.C. and worked great for all of us! There is NO ATM onsite, so if you running out of money and need more you will need to go in town, there is a gift shop onsite, but so overprice, it's cheaper to take a taxi to the small town nearby, buy what you need and still have more money left in your pocket.
At the same time if you like quiet, romantic and away from it all this is a good location. I visited approx 12 beaches when I was there, and here's some of the most remembered ones:
Dickinson Bay: located in front of Sandals resort, huge beach with nice sand and water BUT very annoying vendors coming around all the time, Party place, crowded with bars etc...
Turner Point: nice remote beach, barely busy, nice spot to go
Rendez-vous bay: hard to access by road, but popular stop for boat tour, nice beach.
Suggestion for hotel: St-James, Galley Bay and Verandah are owned by the same management company, it is very too bad that they don't have a "dine around/ spend the day at the other resort" as a benefit. I am used to that format with Sandals where you can stay at one and play at the other ones as well. Even if they don't include transportation, I would have love to spend the day at the other resorts and see what else they have to offer. I think this would be good marketing too, as let's say someone goes to St.James, feel it's not the best for them, but discover Varendah is more their thing, how would they know the next time, and book it if they don't give them that opportunity to see it? instead people would most likely try a totally different brand...
with this say, John in guest services was great, and like I say many of them were very friendly, except for a couple.... would I return? maybe, but waiting to see if I will hear back from management from comments left prior to departure, on how they will answer to my concern.
This is a place not for everybody, and you should make sure before you book what are your priorities on the island. to make sure this is for YOU. As a travel agent it would be easy for me just to book what the client is asking, but your travel agent should ask you questions, to make sure this is a good fit. Not just for this resort, but any of them. With this say, the comments above are my own personal observation, and in no way reflects or represent the travel company I work for.
- 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