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“The friendly, but windy, corner of Antigua”

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St. James's Club & Villas
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mamora Bay
Certificate of Excellence
London, England
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“The friendly, but windy, corner of Antigua”
Reviewed March 31, 2006

Arrived to poor weather at the beginning of February 06, which dampened our spirits, literally! Surprised at the strength of the wind off the Atlantic side of the peninsula which blew for the whole two weeks we were there. The sheltered beach in the bay was much appreciated, though in the second week, which was in the school holidays, it became a little crowded. Sand was excellent though and despite crowds sunbeds were usually available somewhere. Beach grill facility could have been better, but you can get a proper lunch in two of the restaurants. However, a pina colada from the beach drinks buggy soon put things to rights!

Sea in the bay was rather murky and not too pleasant to swim in and sea on Atlantic side very seaweedy and choppy. Water sports OK, but beach staff were a little indifferent and any instruction patchy in quality.

Rooms adequate, but nothing special. Though everything was in working order, our bathroom did need rennovating. TV channel options limited. Soundproofing of rooms was excellent. The bed was very comfortable. Everything was cleaned well - but we were never left the correct number of towels after room service and had to call housekeeping every other day for the missing towels. They came quickly though and with a smile, so no lasting damage done. If hotel full, shower early for dinner, as water pressure can all but disappear by 6pm for about half an hour or so.

Not much to do in evenings, some entertainment during mealtimes (Good singing and combos). We didn't enjoy the nightclub/casino - too smokey and in need of some loving care.

Food very good - especially liked Docksiders, where staff very friendly and professional - great atmosphere. Also liked Coco's at lunchtime. Rainbow Garden was too large and impersonal. You need to book early every day to get the restaurant of your choice at a time of your choice.

We liked the wildlife - lots of birds - diving pelicans in the bay, a frigate bird that would come over every pm to buzz the seagulls, and lots of nectar loving tiny birds around in the garden areas. Saw plenty of fish around the bay - and on one day we saw a stingray there. We didn't have too much of a problem with Mosquitos/sand flies, though we met people who had been bitten. We think the wind must have blown the pesky critters elsewhere!

Building work going on near to main swimming pool on atlantic side of hotel, but it was not intrusive at all. When completed it will make the area a little too crowded in our opinion, and possibly may spoil some of the views of the Atlantic.

Hotel is a little isolated. English Harbour is nearest tourist area and is about 5 miles away but well worth a visit. Taxis not cheap if less than 4 people sharing. Hired a car to explore island, but apart from a few happy finds, such as Pigeon Beach at Falmouth Harbour, didn't find too much of interest on the island. Need a good map, as there are very few road signs.

Can recommend the boat trip round the island organised through our Virgin Holiday rep. Obey boat crew's instructions when sea is choppy to avoid injury - Atlantic Ocean is unforgiving! Someone on our trip taken off with injured nose. Loved the snorkelling and the lunch was good too. Cheery crew made the day even more enjoyable.

Overall we felt that the St James's Club was a friendly and pleasant place to stay for two weeks in our Winter, however in our opinion it is not what we would call a 'luxury' hotel. We did see some other hotels which looked better, but would be far more expensive.

We had originally thought of staying at Sandals, but are glad we didn't, having visited the site. the building work is massive. The beach was very crowded, as cruise ship passengers are taken there by taxis when ships dock for the day at St John's.

One last point. Airport facilities are very poor. Not enough seats, loos, or eating places. It can get very overcrowded.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
32 Thank Shinyrail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2006

I recently went to St James Club for my honeymoon and had a most enjoyable time.
The staff were very helpful, friendly and willing to please. The food was excellent, all four restaurants were at the same high quality enabling us to eat a different meal each night. The only food issue was during the Caribbean buffet the roast lamb & suckling pig ran out quite quickly. The only restaurant not included in our All Inclusive plan was Piccolo Mondo which has a lovley location overlooking the bay but the quality of the food was the same so not really worth the supplement of £35 US per person although it was nice to get a decent bottle of wine (between 30-60 US). The beaches were excellent: Mamora Bay is beautiful but you cant snorkel there as the watersports churn it up although we did see fish while swimming. Coco Beach is cooler as it has a nice breeze so better for morning sunbathing.
The only issue with the accomodation (we had a Premium room)is that its now a bit dated and the shower was a bit old. The bathrooms could do with being updated. We were meant to have a sea view but there were palm tree's in the way!
We enjoyed all our trips apart from visiting Barbuda on the ferry (not good if you arent a good sailer!) which was time consuming, expensive and not really worth a whole day out.
All in all i would recommend the resort and would visit again.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank HoneymoonChick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago, il
Level Contributor
38 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 377 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2006

The main reason we went to Antigua was for the snorkeling. So, if you don’t care about snorkeling, you can stop reading.

I picked this hotel because the ocean surrounding it looked good for snorkeling. In reality, the ocean facing the Atlantic is fine for swimming but is not very clear for snorkeling. There is not much coral to attract fish and lots of seaweed patches. It makes for picturesque photos above the water but below average snorkeling under the water.

We swam out along the rocks to the right of the beach and continued all around (about a mile or two) until we entered the bay. There are some fish near these rock cliffs. On the last day of our trip, we were excited see a small stingray in the waist deep water on the Atlantic side while we were just standing.

We took the snorkel trip thru the water sports desk at St. James Club. The boat took us out past the reef that you see in the distance. I was curious what was out there but it’s too far to swim. I found out that it would not be worth the swim. There was not much fish life compared to other places like Curacao etc.

We took a taxi to Half Moon Bay, which was pretty and deserted with ok snorkeling. We booked a good trip to Stingray City thru the hotel’s travel desk and saw plenty of stingrays.
The hotel was attractive and the services we used (travel agent, massage, waterskiing, snorkel boat etc) were good.

A quick note about food: We live in the Chicago area with plenty of fine restaurants at home, so we don’t go on tropical vacations for the food. But, I was impressed with the food quality and presentation at this hotel. It is borderline gourmet in many cases and we were all-inclusive. The drinks were strong and flavorful, as well.

Another Note: Some travelers were worried about construction. There is some, but it's minor. They are putting up new "huts" near the beach and there is no noise at all.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
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Helpful?
30 Thank profpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 16, 2006

As you scan through the reviews it's a pitty a few of them cast a doubt in your mind before you get there!..have we made the right choice?..what if the stories are true?.. some slightly negative reviews tend to be our American cousins!..(they need to chill..relax!)

However..after an 8 hour flight...just before landing at Antigua the plane circles & turns over the island you catch the beaches out of the window if you are lucky.. & you know you are in for a relaxing treat so ignore the negative reviews!

My wife & I stayed at St.James Club, we booked a premium room, flew virgin Premium econ (not worth the extra cost for the day flight..overnight yes!) went by one of the many mini vans to the resort..through little hamlets of weatherboarded houses.. then after 30mins.. approx we then saw the resort in the distance & the closer we got the better it looked!

Everything was clean, gardens spotless, staff very warm & friendly..even the buggy drivers! check in was no problem, our first room had a leaky loo... no problems to change there too! we asked for a fridge in the room..no problems..it was there.. extra towels.. no problems!! the staff look after you very well indeed!

The resort is split into three sections. The main hotel complex, the beach club & the villa section (some of these on timeshares) There are two beaches.. atlantic side.. breeze.. beautiful but beware the sun gets you! the lagoon...is like a pond, no breeze..just very calm & VERY HOT!! plently of sun beds & shade!

We went room only..hired a car to explore the whole island & found lots of very nice restaurants scattered around English harbour & about 2 mins from the hotel = The hideaway (book in advance). Prices good in all the restaurants on the island.

We ate at the Rainbow for breakfast only (cost for two per day room only = $36)..good buffet..plently to eat & great banana cake! we dined at piccolo mondo & never thought it was exceptional..the atmosphere compensates. The dockside restaurant looks great..we had drinks there & everyone on all inc seemed to be well fed.. its a shame though going AI as there are so many restaurants to select from on the island.

The island itself is tiny... you can easily cover in the day. St.Johns is ok.. safe, very busy, not many great shops..ok ones scattered around the dock. Around the island plenty of beaches to admire..they say there is a beach for every day of the year... there must be a pot hole for every person on the planet! Go to jolly beach & Darkwood Beach via Fig tree drive.. beaches amazing. Halfmoon bay is deserted..so if you want to escape from the crowd head there. Shirley Heights looks good.. went there Sunday eve for the sunset.. along with half the island! Nelsons dockyard worth a visit..very quaint... though try to avoid the cruise ship brigades!

Oh we hired a car from a firm called TITI in Falmouth Harbour (excellent service) look them up!

One other good thing.... we ventured to the NW of the island & looked at Rex "wreck" resort and Sandals "Scandles" ... with st.james you've got a great place to stay! Both the mentioned hotels were terrible, went into Rex & it was like a run down 1970's butlins hi di hi camp... phew... glad we never went there... it would have been virgins 'check in check out' with me! and the sandals place... well check for yourself... its not what its cracked up to be!

Ok.. well whoever reads this..enjoy yourself..it's a great island, we've done a few Carib's now (St.Martin still the best) but you have picked a great resort, in a very lovely spot on a very quaint and attractive island with people who make the island very friendly!

As virgin say.."check in & chill out" we did & hope you do too!

Oh.. finally... one negative... the telly in the room is either CNN, CNN, a movie channel, a sci fi channel or gospel channels galore! still the americans are happy! praise be! ;-)

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
65 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, UK
Level Contributor
77 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2006

Returned from a week at the Beach Club on 12th March after a really enjoyable holiday. The resort is well organised, with beautiful grounds and a good variety of activities.
We've visited Antigua before but wanted a larger hotel this time with more going on for our kids and we were certainly not disappointed. The St James has 4/5 bars, 4 restaurants, 4 pools and 2 beaches all of which are looked after very professionally and in a friendly manner.
We tended to soak up the rays on the breezy Atlantic beach in the morning and then take advantage of the watersports (Hobie cats and Kayaks) in the afternoon on the hotter lagoon side.
Food was very good (unless your expecting fillet steaks and lobster), especially breakfasts. Although I expect it could get a little repetitive for a second week. Drinks were readily available, including the golf cart which tours the beaches.
I've read some reviews which moaned about the seaweed on the Atlantic side, but this is raked up 2/3 times a day, starting at 7.00 a.m., and is not a problem at all. OK if you want a really stunning caribbean beach then you need to go to the West coast but then you won't get the facilties or privacy of the St James.
Whatever we needed was sorted out promptly (Taxi to Turner's beach - 3 mins, Broken toilet flush - 10 mins!).
Overall it delivered what was promised.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank UKMarkB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 14, 2006

We also had a letter about building work piror to our 10 day stay, but when we arrvied we didnt notice the work one bit. Seriuosly, we forgot it was even there, we didnt hear it once you can't see it from any where except one of the pools if you look over the walls and down below. Dont worry at all about the work i promise you won't even know its there!
The hotel was great, its a really nice resrt, well liad out, gorgeous beaches loley sea, delicous food. I don't see why people moan they obviolsuy have way too high standards! Its a truley lovely hotel and you should look foward to your stay! Hope i have helped

  • Stayed February 2004
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colchester, UK
Level Contributor
81 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2006

Wonderful place for a wedding or honeymoon. They handled all of the cumbersome aspects of organising a wedding for us and accommodated our requests for things that werent on the standard list, so we simply enjoyed the day. Excellent kids club. Laid back atmosphere. Simply fabulous honeymoom upgrade room (huge).

  • Stayed November 2001
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank WhamBarQueen
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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