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Galley Bay Resort & Spa
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Reviewed April 6, 2012

My husband and I wanted to get away from our hectic routines and enjoy a vacation of relaxation. Well, Galley Bay fits the bill perfectly. We were immediately impressed with the property as we were met with cool clothes after our arrival and rum punches. The people could not have been friendlier. Everyone acknowledges you and then retreats into the background so you can have your privacy. The property is stunning and pristine. Almost all of the restaurants are open-air and this gives the Caribbean flavor we were looking for. We wanted to eat while looking at the beautiful water so this was perfect. Most lunches we ate at Gaughan's and were able to eat at a private tiki hut right on the water. Perfect! We met many wonderful couples at the bar and appreciated the clientele that did not drink to get wasted and sloppy. This is a great place to revive, have many laughs with new friends, and to spend time with that special someone. I would say that this resort is best for couples. We stayed at a premium beachfront room on the second floor near Gaughans. We had an unobstructed view. I would suggest the second floor for privacy.

Room Tip: We were in 74. Great room and view.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank JMR85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2012

My husband and I visited GBR end of March 2012 and had a wonderful relaxing vacation. The BEST part about this resort is that it's private; the resort takes up the whole stretch of 3/4mi beach. No neighboring resorts! Most of the rooms are beachfront and you do not have to worry about fighting over beach chairs. It's not crowded and is adults-only. Just be aware that the resort attracts mostly older crowd... we would say the avg age of couples we saw here were in their 50s+ and all the way up to elders in walkers/oxygen tanks!! We're in our early 30s, and we maybe saw 4 others couple who were young as us. This didn't both us, but may be helpful for you if you're looking to meet other couples in your age range. No rowdy young people here. People come here to relax and is definitely not a party scene. However, there are a lot of activities you can take advantage of: tennis, table tennis, fishing, water sports, exercise rm, walking trail, pool, crockett, and more!

HELPFUL TIPS
1. No need to reserve in advance ground transportation b/w airport and resort. When you walk out of the airport, right across the street is a "Taxi Dispatch" stand where you can catch a taxi right away. No wait! Taxi fare in Antigua is fixed. It's $20 USD one way to get to the resort from the airport. We paid $23 USD which included the tip. Expect to pay the same on the way back to the airport from the resort.

2. Be sure to check out the watersport activities stand and borrow snorkeling gear. Snorkeling in front of the resort (near Ismay restaurant) is awesome! We saw a lot of fishes and snorkeled for hours. No need to pay extra money to go on snorkeling excursion. You can do it here for free!

3. During the day time, a lot of birds fly around the dining area and walk all over the tables. Be sure to just wipe down your plates, utensils, and S&P shakers w/ the napkin before you use them if you're concerns about hygiene.

4. We stayed at the Premium Beachfront suite. We specifically requested for a newly renovated room on the 2nd floor in advance and we got it! But unfortunately, our room was near the Ismay restaurant and most of our ocean view was blocked by the palm trees. We spoke up and asked the front desk if something can be done about this. They had a grounds keeper trim the tree leaves in front of our bldg so the view became much better. Don't be afraid to speak up! Resort will try their best to accommodate you. Be aware that the suites near Ismay seem to have a lot more trees in general compared to suites by the Gauguin restaurant.

5. If you're torn whether you should request 1st floor or 2nd floor PREMIUM suite; here are some things you may want to consider. 1st floor PRO: can walk right onto the beach from the balcony. CON: not as private since sometimes vendors come up and bug you to buy things. 2nd floor PRO: more private and has high exposed wooden beam ceiling; looks rustic. CON: partial ocean view due to trees. We thought spending the extra money for the PREMIUM suite was worth it. It had over 100+ TV channels, good wifi, flat screen TV, quiet remote control operated A/C, his/hers shower heads, and tasteful decor. We had to spend one day indoors due to rain and we really appreciated being indoors w/ all these amenities. A few reviewers complained the position of the TV on the wall which makes it difficult to watch TV from bed. We found out that TV mount can be pulled out and turned so to make it easy to watch TV from bed!!

6. Ocean indeed was clean, blue, and wavey. I thought it was fun swimming in the waves and didn't bother me one bit that the water wasn't calm. Last couple of days we were at the resort, the weather wasn't too great. It was cloudy and rained on/off most of the day. The ocean was quite turbulent and waves were 5-10ft high!! Don't expect water to be calm.

7. Weather here is fabulous. Warm in the sun but breezy so you never feel like you're burning to a crisp in the sun. Be careful though; sun is strong. Be sure to pack a thin throw-on for night time. It can get a bit cool for shorts and tank.

8. For dinner service, men are require to wear long pants and collar sleeved shirt for dinner service (ok to wear open toe shoes). No exceptions! Women can wear anything that looks nice and put together.

9. We have been to many Caribbean resorts on different islands and I would say the food on this resort was about average. Menu changed daily, however, many of the dishes recycled and menu b/w restaurant were similar, which was disappointing. Everything is ordered a la cart and is a sit-down 3-course meal. We personally prefer buffets (especially for lunch) and having access to fresh salad bars. Salad choices here weren't that impressive w/ the exception of BBQ buffet night on Thurs. This was fantastic! By far the best meal of the week. Don't miss out!!!

10. Staff here are professional, courteous, and work hard. We made it a point to leave tips for dinner service and for housekeeping. A few dollars goes a long way. Servers do not expect tips, but we thought it was a nice gesture to show our appreciation for their service. Be sure to take a stack of $1 bills.

11. Finally, we would like to warn other travelers how chaotic the airport can be returning home. We arrived at the airport 3 hrs before our departure time. Yes, that's super early but it was well worth it. We beat the rush of people and cleared security w/o having to wait in line. An hour after we arrived at the airport, lines got insanely long with only 1 x-ray machine working. An airport worker told me that some employees went on strike b/c they haven't gotten paid for months. Apparently this happens quite often here so expect delays. Lastly, be sure you have $28 USD per person in CASH to pay the departure tax before you get in line to clear passport control.

I hope you found this review helpful. Enjoy your trip to GBR!!

Room Tip: Indulge yourself and go with the PREMIUM BEACHFRONT SUITE. It is worth the extra money. If you're like us and like to travel w/o having to compromise luxury/amenities, premium suite is the way to go. It has 100+ TV channels, remote control A/C, flat screen TV, fast wifi, separate seating area, 2 shower heads, big tub, and more! I would not recommend the cottage since you do NOT have an in-room bathroom. You have to go outside to another facility to use the toilet! Be sure to make your request whether you prefer 1st floor or 2nd floor PREMIUM suite prior to arrival; resort will most likely fulfill your request. They're eager to please their guests.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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28  Thank BlueOceanLover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2012

We went to Galley Bay in late March, and it was a dream vacation. My boyfriend and I travelled with another couple, and although we were the youngest couples there we still had a great time. Most of the staff members were awesome, including Keon, Kerry, Arthur, and Natasha!! Some others were a little rude at first, I think because of our age, but warmed up when they understood we weren't crazy spring breakers. The guys with the beach equipment were also very helpful!! Everyone catered to your every need, and everyone was always relaxed and happy.
The Barefoot Grill was my favorite restaurant because it was very casual, and the quesadillas were awesome. The Sea Grape and Gauguin were both great restaurants, I highly recommend Gauguin for lunch because the private huts and blue water make for a fantastic setting. Ismay's, they're gourmet restaurant which charges $35 per person, was very good. It was a very intimate setting with a great wine selection, but the food was about the same as what you would have gotten at Gauguin or Sea Grape. I did really enjoy the palette cleansers between dishes!
The pool area was also awesome, wish they had a jacuzzi though! The beach is beautiful, we only had a red flag on 1 day, and even then you could still swim in it the waves were just a little bigger. We saw lots of fish while snorkeling, and sailed over to the nearby shipwrek from 1906. You can see the top of the ship popping out of the sea, and since the water is so clear you can see most of the wreck from above water.
I highly recommend staying at Galley Bay if you are looking for a relaxing getaway!

Room Tip: Rooms near the pool and sea grape area that are one story are very nice. No neighbors on top of you!
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Claire S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

I can only recommend this place, and I have gushing about it since my return. This was to be a relaxing holiday and it was everything we could wish for and more.
We were looking for an oasis to recover from a busy year, no parties, privacy and a spot of luxury. Once off the plane, the hotel transfer by Virgin Atlantic was slightly chaotic, but so friendly (we were handed a bottle of water just because they thought we might be thirsty and overwhelmed.) Check in was quick and efficient, we were handed a cocktail and shuttled to the Gauguin while our room was given the final touches. We had lunch overlooking the turquoise sea. Stunning.
The three restaurants are absolutely wonderful and we were spoilt for choice. The choices varied, and the dishes were never anything but wonderful. Ismay's was lovely for the special night to dress up. You can also book the Gazebo for an even more special touch and a secluded dinner. The Gauguin was lovely for lunch (dinner requires a same day booking but we hardly ever remembered to book) but the Seagrape was lovely every night. Compliments to the head chef and all of his staff, including the waiting staff! Charming and attentive. The bar - now an open bar day and night - that is lovely. We were again spoilt for choice, from smoothies to cocktails to champagne, our glasses were never empty.
The staff were friendly and nothing ever was too much trouble. Incredible attention to detail while at the same time laid back and ever so friendly.
Our room was immaculate (we had the Premium Suite) with a terrace overlooking the sea. I did not have a single insect bite on the terrace. The bathroom was huge, the bathtub was large enough for two and the double shower was quite romantic. The room was large and had ample storage.
The spa is wonderful, it's like a secret garden. Tip: They hold tea time with champagne and you can take a dip in the spa pool
All in all, the stay was wonderful and I can hardly wait to come back. There were couples who had been there twenty years ago and are still coming back, and I hope we will be among them.

Room Tip: Splurge and go for the suites on the beach.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank JetSetwithaBudget
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

All I can say is that Galley Bay has made such an impression on us. We missed a connecting flight so we arrived a day late. Galley Bay was gracious enough to add a day onto the end of our trip so that we didn't need to cut our vacation short so we also added another day to our stay also giving us 8 days with the resort. We stayed in the Gaugin Cottages and absolutely loved it and when we return we will request the cottages again. There is total privacy with your own plunge pool while being only steps from the resort pool, two of the restaurants, bars & the beach. The restaurants were all good, we didn't have even one bad meal. However, that said, we didn't understand paying $35. per person extra at Ismay's because the atmosphere & quality of food and service was no better than any of the other restaurants. All of them were great. Our all time favorite restaurant was the Gaugin, talk about ambiance, intimacy and great food, as well as a very attentive staff. All of the staff we wonderful to us and knew our names shortly upon arrival. Hyacinth, who cooks at the Beach Grill has won the employee of the month award in the past and we totally understand why. She is a wonderful lady and is quick to please you and always with her winning smile. Natasha, Jahn & Arthur, as well as others that their names escape us, made our time wonderful. The resort entertainment is wonderful and a special evening was had with H2O which Fitzroy from Elmo's Luxury Safari Antigua was the bass guitarist. They took request from the guests and everyone from the guests to the staff had a ball. We hated to leave and go back to the "real" world but we know we will return. I don't want to turn anyone off by saying this but if I said one negative thing about the resort it would be the terribly slow "breakfast" service at the Sea Grape Restaurant. The food is very good but the service is soooo slow. We sat for over 40 minutes a couple of mornings before we even received our coffee. One morning the General Manager arrived & it was amazing how quickly the staff moved. Thank you so much Galley Bay for an enjoyable 8 days!

Room Tip: The Gaugin Cottages are so intimate & private with your own plunge pool--a great place to sit and drink your coffee in the morning as well as sit with a nice bottle of wine in the evening...
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank VonAdams_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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