An update on my last review in 2012. Having read some of the recent reviews, I wondered what some expect.
This was the 4th time ( 2006/2008 at the Beach Club part) in the last 8 years but the first without our sons( now well into their 20's). It was like visiting an old friend because there are still a number of staff we know and of course we know our way round and what is on offer. The staff are friendly and generally helpful and one has a sense of comfort.
We know it is relatively quiet and "entertainment " is limited but regular ( not everyone wants Ibiza 18-30 party-time till dawn. Young families and older people are entitled to enjoy their holidays too.) and it's why we go back - not something we do usually with holiday destinations.
There are daytime activities on-site, mostly free and off-site trips and tours plus car hire/taxis. There are two varied beaches (what is the point about being man-made ? - one wants a nice beach; Mamora Bay is not stagnant - it is open to the sea - the boats at the dock show that. You have the choice of an ocean beach - (Cocos) for a breeze; or the Mamora for hotter but calmer conditions & water sports. The ocean beach does get weed blown in to a greater or lesser extent - that's why they clear it daily. It's not a significant problem to bathe in the clearer parts and it is shallow extending out toward the reef.
The all-inclusive package provides meals with variety of restaurant and food choice, ( it is not 5-star international or Michelin but you aren't paying that kind of price). If you wish, you can freely eat as often as you like and you can certainly drink similarly. Alfred and his drinks buggy on the beaches is one of the friendly memories one can really enjoy - top man ! You don't have to make decisions too much when you surface - sometimes that is quite nice - if you want to do something - or nothing - you can. If you engage with the staff - they respond. Some even remember me from previous visits - positively, I should say ! I think we are still welcome.
The food was repetitive in the second week but there is a new chef and I understand he is trying to reschedule to get a longer spread. The Rainbow Garden dinner had some very nice choices - red snapper, mahi-mahi, strip loin steak; Thai. The Docksiders had a range of themed buffet food for varied tastes (they did fail once with the carved beef joint having no rare cut - which disappointed me). The best was at Piccolo Mondo - spicy shrimp followed by lobster - ok a $35US surcharge over the AI but what do you pay for lobster ? - it was superb. Coco's is now all-day informal - a change from our early visits - maybe reflecting the increasing influence and numbers of North American visitors. ( there are more than our earlier visits which were substantially UK customers )
The rooms are clean - perhaps some element of updating needed and some very minor maintenance items e.g. a sticking closet door - the maid service is efficient; towels will be changed daily if you wish - leave the old ones in the bath - but surely that isn't necessary and fresh beach towels are available as required.
Yes there were a few points with which I was not entirely satisfied - and the hotel knows them; one has the opportunity to tell them whenever it is needed and a questionnaire is provided before checkout.
We like Antigua and we like it here and while I can't say we will definitely be back for a 5th or 6th visit, I can't rule it out. We worry that repeats don't live up to our experiences but it hasn't stopped us so far with SJC.
We spoke with Antoine Browne the general manager who is a visible operations man and know his ongoing visions. Keep it going and keep it up.
- 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