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“Nonsuch Bay Resort”
Review of Nonsuch Bay Resort

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Nonsuch Bay Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Freetown
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 19, 2013

We have been to Nonsuch Bay Resort twice and were totally pleased both times with the staff, facilities, food, and the beach. It is a quiet resort on the opposite side of the island from St. John's and the airport, but well worth the drive. (The road into the resort is unpaved and best not attempted after dark in a rented.) Half Moon Bay, another lovely beach, is a short drive from the resort. The food is delicious and innovative, and we ate at the resort's restaurant most days. We enjoyed working our way through the menu. We also very much enjoyed having a verandah to enjoy the early mornings and evenings. A lovely place to take a relaxing winter break.

Room Tip: The one bedroom apartments on the upper level offer a good view of the bay.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Myrna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 17, 2013

Our 5 night stay at Nonsuch was absolutely perfect, and our family's favorite Caribbean vacation by far. We loved the quiet, secluded, relaxed feel, and the friendly (but not overbearing or formal) service. Overall, I do think the reviews on TA paint an accurate overall portrait of this resort - what might be a positive for some (no need to save beach chairs with towels at the crack of dawn), can be a negative for others (no night life or shopping) - and so, as with all vacations, the key is deciding whether this resort is the right fit for what you want in your tropical getaway. We opted for the half-board, sailing inclusive option for our family of 4 (2 teens).

Accommodations:
We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, cottage on the beach which was incredibly spacious. It was new and clean, with gleaming dark hardwood floors, and spotless fresh linens. The kitchen was fully stocked with a full size fridge, new appliances, and other cool gadgets as well such as a panini maker and a juicer. We had a washer which was great for doing laundry each night (but, take note, no dryer, although I am not sure if this was the case for all units. This didn't turn out to be an issue, though - after the spin dry cycle, the clothes/bathing suits ended up drying remarkably quickly after being hung overnight or within an hour on the porch). The bathrooms were not as luxurious as the rest of the cottage, but quite spacious and clean, and the master bath had a jetted bathtub. In terms of the location, I am glad that we picked the cottage since it was just steps away from the waterfront, which was convenient. However, the views of the bay from the other villas higher up on the hill (especially if you were on the second floor) would be more expansive, as there were palm trees between our porch and the beach (good for privacy, just slightly more obstructed view). The resort is not so big that walking down the the water seemed like an issue, but it is hilly.

Food:
Usually, vacation eating is not a highlight of our trips, and we were completely surprised at how amazing the food was at The Bay. Essentially, we ate at a 5 star restaurant every night. With the half board option, breakfast and dinner are included, and you pick anything you want on the menu, which included grilled lobster, duck breast, mahi mahi, etc. The service charge is included into the half board price, so there was nothing additional to sign for at breakfast (which included coffee/juice). For dinner, the drinks are additional (and they include the tax and service charge for the beverages only) - honestly, it felt weird to pay only $25 after a huge 3 course gourmet meal for 4 people (though my husband reminded me it was in fact all pre-paid). We thought the service was attentive, personal and friendly - some have commented on slow service in prior reviews - it's not that they are slow b/c of disorganization, etc, but indeed the pace is leisurely, in keeping with a 5 star restaurant, so the full meal did take about 2 hours. I am so glad we chose the half board option, since dining at the restaurant would have felt prohibitively expensive otherwise. For families with younger children, it would probably make more sense to stock up on groceries and cook in the villa. I would also recommend looking at the menu in advance if you have specific food preferences - we eat everything, so had no difficulty making choices from the menu. They do also have a children's half board option for kids under 13 which had the more traditional kids' meals.

Sailing:
We picked this resort primarily because it offered sailing, and while our family wanted to go somewhere warm, we don't like to just sit at the beach/pool. With the sailing inclusive package, we could take out any boat, any time, and also could have sailing lessons as desired. The sailing staff was helpful but the set-up is pretty informal - essentially we let them know at the end of the morning or afternoon which boats we might want next. In terms of lessons, they don't have any formal programs/classes specifically - you just tell them what you want to learn and they take you out. The first day, we were taken out for a family sail on the bay (which I recommend, since you learn where all the reefs are, and get oriented), then later that week we learned how to trapeze on a catamaran, and other racing tips. As we were out on the water all day, we definitely got great value from the sailing inclusive package, but of course it was possible to do all these activities a la carte. (They have 3 RS Elite keelboats, 2 Hobie Cats, and a lot of smaller RS dinghies).

There is another outfit ("40") at the resort which offered other water activities such as paddle boarding, kite surfing, and ocean kayaking. It's not included in the sailing package, and we were so happily occupied we didn't use them, but they looked very friendly and offered other great options.

I had been a little apprehensive about the safety of having the kids sail alone, but because you are sailing in a bay, it was perfect - lots of tradewinds, but no undercurrent or huge waves, and the water was like warm bathwater. It was clear when we came back that the sailing staff had been keeping an eye on us as they knew how far out we'd been.

Some last thoughts:
The beach is indeed small, and there is a bed of sea kelp(?) on the ocean floor (not loose). So it's not the most glamorous, but very safe for young children.

We were told that this resort initially was conceived as a condo/villa resort, which makes it easier to understand its limitations - i.e., there isn't a fitness center or spa currently.

We didn't rent a car, and had the resort arrange to pick us up from the airport. For an extra $20, the driver brought us to Gourmet Basket to pick up food before arriving at the resort. It is worth making this stop in advance, but if you needed to pick up a significant stash of groceries, I would specifically request Epicurious in St John which sounds much larger. We found the basics for lunch, but the shopping wasn't exciting.

Bring everything you need/want with you. There is no gift shop (as yet) though the front desk has some emergency items (sunscreen, etc) for purchase. I understand that in the upcoming year there are plans to open a small store on site for sundry items, as well as plans to open a second, more casual eating option.

We loved everything about this resort, and are still remembering the warm tropical breezes, turquoise water, and the perfect 80 degree weather of each day.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ardenp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2013

Overall this was a great place. We did not rent a car. For US$20 extra, the taxi from the airport detoured to Island Provisions. It was not as well stocked as I expected, but we were able to find enough staples and then have one meal a day at the restaurant, either lunch or dinner. I understand the supermarket in St. John's is much larger.

The food was outstanding in taste and presentation, well worth the prices US$12-29 for lunch, $15-40 for dinner. One couple commented that she tried each of the seven entrees over their seven night stay. Timmy's Rum Punch is the best we ever had.

Unlike several other reviewers, we did not get upgraded to the two bedroom bungalow. Our one bedroom apartment in the second row was spacious and well appointed. Daily maid service was excellent. We left the doors open all the time. The first couple nights, we closed them at dusk, fearing bugs. However, there was so much breeze that we never saw bugs.

The service was very good, but not exceptional as many other reviewers have noted. In fact, those reviews probably set my expectations too high. At 5:30 am on our first morning, a baby was screaming for twenty minutes until she cried herself back to sleep. When asked about our stay at lunch that day, I mentioned the episode. We were told that wasn't right and would be looked into. Nothing was done. Good service seems to have a limit.

That baby cried every waking hour. There were a handful of others heard from the room, at the pool, at the beach, even in the restaurant. Basically, because the resort is family-friendly and quite small, it's not ideal if you want to get away from children.

There were some staff that did provide truly exceptional service, notably Mickey on the waterfront, Timmy at the bar and Chef Mitchell.

We took a taxi to Shirley Heights on Sunday for the sunset party. Quite crowded, although the bar line was never more than a couple deep and the food line was only long right after sunset. All in all, a great evening for the money. This was a great mid-week escape from the very secluded resort. This night I should have put on bug spray.

Last, and most importantly for me, the sailing. I purchased 10 hours of sailing for US$200, which worked very well for us. These packages need to be added to the rate sheet on the website. The boats were well maintained, about what I expected for a rental fleet. The wind was 15 knots straight into the bay, pretty much non-stop day and night. My wife and I sailed mostly RS Q'Ba, without the jib. She with a couple reefs. We also sailed the RS Elite keelboat. Mickey went with us one day to fly the spinnaker, a first for us.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank DaveFrancko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2013

my wife daughter and myself have not long returned from Nonsuch and just wanted to tell all about how great it is....i often read reviews on people finding problems but not at nonsuch and not with us we loved every minute...the food, the really lovely staff, the views, the cooling breeze. Everyone and everything worked perfectly...we had one of the beach front bungalows and it was just the perfect place to relax just what we needed for a quick 10 days r and r.
If you want to eat out the restaurant is great, or there's harmony hall, a short water taxi across the bay, for anything else you'll need a car....or just use V.C the friendly local taxi driver.

Room Tip: ive got to say most of the property looked good but the beachfront with the veranda near the main pa...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Andrew H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

Just got back after 7 days in Antigua and Nonsuch Bay Resort. If you're looking for a desolute, quiet, and I mean quiet resort, this is it. We were asked to lower our I-pod at 6:30pm on a Sunday evening while sitting on our porch. The beach is tiny, lots of seaweed in the water and uncomfortable beach lounge chairs. The restaraunt is only open for two hours for breakfast & lunch (7:30-9:30am & 12:30-2:30) and for three hours for dinner (6:30-9:30). The dinner menu was the same the entire week and there aren't any specials. There is no gift shop, so if you forget something, you have to order it from the front desk. I never saw a spa, but they have spa services on their website. Must be in-room only spa. The beach at Half Moon Bay is beautiful and we drove there if we wanted time on the beach and ocean swimming. The restaraunt at Harmony Hall was good but only open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, like most of the restaraunts on the island. The best places to eat are the shacks on the beaches, like the Nest, for some local fare and a Wadadli, the island beer. I've been to Aruba, Curacao, Turks & Caicos, Barbados, Grand Cayman to name a few, and would return to all. Would not recommend Antigua to anyone who likes to have the option of doing something on vacation.

Room Tip: If you don't like hearing people above you, especially young children who are up early and run...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Eileen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

We loved NON SUCH.
All the staff were very friendly , attentive, fun, and could not have been more helpful.
We were a family of 5, three daughters aged 18 to 23, the Villa at Ayres Creek, was fabulous, very well equipped, spotless, and the kitchen had every appliance on the market. It is a short but hilly walk from the main resort, we hired a car, but the hotel will take you back and forth if required. Some reviews say the Villas are remote, we actually loved the fact they were exclusive, with a good sized plunge pool, looking on to the lovely mangroves, watching pelicans, and hearing fish rise, very special. The kitchen was so well equipped that I was sad we had gone for the half board option, not for long, as the restaurant and staff were exceptional. Breakfasts to die for, delicious dinners, with good portions, we rarely needed lunch ( you can swap the evening meal for lunch) and the superb chef very kindly cooked our fish that we caught, beautifully, on a bed of delicious vegetables with great presentation, really thoughtfully done.
We hired our car from Vernon's as advised by the resort, really efficient and friendly service, delivered to resort and returned, easier than hiring at the airport. We loved the sailing staff, and it was great to be able to use the boats when we wanted to. We also took paddle boards to Green Island, which was good fun. Although we did not need it, I watched the kids club in progress, and the staff looked as if they were having as much fun as the kids, very child friendly. We have travelled quite extensively; and I would thoroughly recommend Non Such Bay, we had a blissful week, with amazing food, made lots of friends, felt totally relaxed and safe, and are desperate to return!

Room Tip: NO 18 Ayres Creek is gorgeous
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Gillie610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2013

We just spent 10 days in Nonsuch Bay Resort with our teenage daughter. I’ll warn you, I can’t say hello in less than 500 words…. So here goes verbosity on display.

All I can say is “FANTASTIC”

What a great resort and a great trip…. but here’s the skinny. A place like Nonsuch (or Antigua for that matter) is not for everyone, so as many others have done, I’ll also try to give some useful overviews to help folks evaluate. I find that some of the “less grand” reviews on places like this have a lot of mismatched expectations as a root.

AREA:

First, it is in a relatively remote section of the island, which I consider a positive – a very charming area. So unless your goal is to stay on a single property, you will need a car and you’ll want a car… a 4x4 jeep-style is fun and practical, but not an absolute requirement, drive what you like. We have driven all over the Caribbean, and the roads here were in good shape and very easy to navigate. We saw the entire island, and I can now drive the majority of it in my sleep. You will make a few wrong turns here and there, but you will never get truly “lost”.

Most places that you would go to on a single excursion (English Harbor, St Johns, Devils Bridge, Fig Tree Drive) are about 20-25 minutes away, but nothing on the island is prohibitively far. We did a lot of partial circumnavigations (with stops along the way for swimming, drinks/food, roadside pineapple stands, etc.) and it was well worth the time spent tooling around.

The big dirt road leading up to the resort that so may folks complain about really isn’t bad at all in your own car – in fact it’s kind of fun. We took the road at full speed without issue. It is, however, downright painful in a taxi/minibus, which I think is really why most people complain.

Most restaurants are in fact a good distance away, so odds are that you will have most of your meals (dinners) onsite at the resort or at Harmony Hall down the road. And both are absolutely outstanding restaurants! We did have dinner in English Harbor and drove home in the dark without a problem, so venturing out to dinner is perfectly fine at night, but we like to imbibe when we dine, so we stayed close most of the trip.

At least as far as the places we “hung out” all week, we were never approached by obnoxious hawkers or panhandlers, even at English Harbor, nor did we ever feel in any way unsafe. I hear that it can happen in some places on the island, but I suspect that it has more frequency where the cruise ship excursions tend to be. The vendors we did encounter, some we purchased from, were fixed (i.e. not trolling the beach), very friendly and respectful and appreciative of your business.

ROOMS/PROPERTY:

Modern, clean, villas. Tastefully decorated – Caribbean chic. Fully equipped kitchens. We cooked breakfast and packed lunch most days, and cooked dinner once. Daily housekeeping was thorough and friendly. The washer-dryer took some time to figure out, though, but a great addition to the room once we got it working for us – an incentive to pack light. The dryer does in fact work when set correctly.

The units have a series of double-doors that latch fully open, allowing the trade winds to blow through and keep it cool. Other than locking up for overnight, we preferred the open doors to air conditioning the whole time we were in-room. Maybe it was the time of year or the trades blowing, but we did not get a single insect bite or even spot a pest. We did, however, have a very charming little gecko as a room guest. He kept watch over our valuables all week.

3 Infinity pools, all really nice….one is pretty small up at the front of the property next to the bar.

BEACH:

We thought it was an awesome little private beach. Caveat: It is not like the beaches you see on Antigua postcards - but as far as a relaxing place to sun and swim under palm trees, and partake in water activities (and there were many), it was perfect: Soft white sand, palm trees and umbrellas, bathwater warm waters, calm surf, chairs, tables and chaises, etc. There is SOME vegetation underfoot about 20-30 ft from shore, but it is not seaweed as some have reported – i.e.: it’s not loose garbage floating around, it’s a natural part of the beach floor, and soft under the feet and easy to swim over if you wanted to…. It is not a problem nor is it unattractive, but it’s the main reason this beach isn’t “postcard” perfect (that and the color - it is a little more muted seafoam rather than the super vibrant saturated teal).

With the car you NEED to rent, you will be driving to any of those 365 postcard beaches. Half Moon Bay is a very short drive and is one of the best. But for just trotting down to shore and hanging for the morning or afternoon, we loved the little resort beach.

ACTIVITIES:

We didn’t really do much formally with the water sports group, but what little we did we found to be done very well. I highly recommend you have them dinghy you to Green Island: Secluded, protected, fair snorkeling. Being a windward island, Antigua sits amid a constant wind…. But Green Island is protected from the wind as well as the surf…. This was a giant bathtub. They’ll drop you off and pick you up when you tell them. We were there all alone for 4 hours with our lunch, some drinks, some snorkeling gear, and some reading material. Talk about a postcard beach, this was it - definitely our favorite.


RESTAURANT:

I’ll review the restaurant separately, but I will say that (without hyperbole) this was one of the most consistently amazing restaurants we have ever eaten at. You truly want to eat here, rather than feel you have to.


SERVICE:

This is really the clincher. We’ve seen places with more elegant accommodations, more pristine beaches, more lavish grounds, more pretentious appointments, easier access to the facilities, etc. – most of you probably have as well - but what makes a place somewhere where you want to be, is how you feel when you are there, which is largely based on how you are treated: Before, during, and after your stay.

Everybody knew your name. People went out of their way for us. From booking, to help with reservations, arranging a car rental, to local travel advice, to check-out. Helpful but not obtrusive; reserved but friendly. TOP NOTCH staff: A few call-outs: Terita at the front desk was amazing, Darian in the office, David and Kenny at the bar, and Chef Husbands. Sorry, there were others, but I can't recall all the names (like our restaurant hostess and wait staff).

CONS:

Nothing is perfect. Internet access was virtually unusable a lot of the time (this could be an island problem as opposed to a resort problem) - not that I needed it a lot, but I do need to stay somewhat plugged into the business.

Although we didn’t stay there, the 3-bedroom villas with the plunge pools really are in a horrible location, you really cannot go anywhere on your own feet from there…. I would not want to be so disconnected, so beware if you want to book there.

I don’t consider this as a CON at all, but some people might (particularly if they have physical limitations) so I’ll mention it… depending on where you are, you’ll be doing a lot of walking up and down hills to get around the property.


FINAL WORDS:

If you are looking for the Sandals-style vacation, or swim-up bars, casinos, endless shopping, or nightly shows, etc… don’t book here. You will be disappointed. But for those who want to feel at home while abroad, and have quiet peace, and search out your adventures on your own… this is THE place. Five stars, but not the five star price tag.

Room Tip: 3rd tier units have the best view.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank island-time-ny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nonsuch Bay Resort

Address: Hughes Point, Freetown po 2208, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Philip Parish > Freetown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Freetown
Price Range: $421 - $960 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Nonsuch Bay Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nonsuch Bay Resort nestles in forty exotic acres of the stunning bay carved out of the southeast of Antigua; embraced by lush tropical hills, a uniquely private and serene setting, a tranquil haven and home to wildlife including dolphins and turtles. Pure relaxation is blended with out-an-out adrenalin, and the finest luxuries with the simplest of pleasures. Resort facilities comprise a dramatically positioned restaurant, 3 infinity swimming pools, seclude sandy beach, 30 sailboats and tuition, kitesurfing, windsurfing, SUPs and spa treatments. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nonsuch Bay Hotel Freetown
Nonsuch Bay Resort Antigua/Freetown

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