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Galley Bay Resort & Spa - All Inclusive
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Reviewed December 23, 2008

Overall this is a very good 4 star resort, but not quite deserving of 5 stars. The Beachfront units are clean and well laid out, the bathroom has a large shower and twin sinks and the room has a comfortable bed and a good size closet.If you stay in the lower unit, you could encounter 2 problems, noisy occupants above you, and when we were there ,the ocean was very rough and flowed into a few lower rooms. Staff said this is very unusual ! The beach is very nice , but the ocean undertow is strong, so caution is needed for swimmers.The food quality was mostly very good, although at dinner I paid $20 for a Lobster that was either overcooked or just not very tender and would not recommend it as there are plenty other tender options on the Menu. Breakfast at the main restaurant was very good and the lunch menu there is large. Ismays restaurant to the right of the beach also has an excellent and different lunch menu, too bad that they don't open for dinner.The Gauguin, open for dinner only, is to the left of the beach and has intimate seating in a Polynesian setting.One night though, I found the Lamb chops could have been more tender. They were perfectly cooked med-rare, but just not tender.Considering the rather casualness of the open restaurants at night,and there is no air cond., the enforced rule of long pants for Gents, seems rather over the top. You are quite warm in the restaurants and I can understand why there are complaints about this rule, maybe dress shorts are an option.The Staff are well dressed and if you engage them in conversation, they are usually very friendly, though we found that the sales assistant in the shop was unfortuneately quite the exception. Service in the Restaurants can be uneven at times, but you are on vacation, so relax and be patient. The Food Manager "Mike" makes a real effort to remember your name and tries hard to chat to you as time allows.The afternoon tea and pre dinner snacks were generally very poor, pancakes, bread with mustard and no filling for example, for anyone who has cruised and enjoyed excellent snacks with tea, it was very disappointing to say the least. Also disappointing during our stay, the bars ran out of Baileys and one of the popular wines, maybe a sign, as other reviewers have pointed out, of cutbacks by Mgnt.. We found out that in Antigua, something like "skin so soft' is a must, to protect from Mosquitos and sand flies, as many people had real problems with bites. Allow lots of time at the Airport, it is very very slow at times when 2 or 3 flights are departing, also you have to pay your departure tax at a Booth beside the line-up.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank assessor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2008

My boyfriend and I were seeking a relaxing, serene and low key holiday somewhere beautiful and GB fit the bill. I was a bit weary before leaving as I read some unflattering reviews in the last week but fortunately we had a different experience and truly enjoyed Galley Bay. Most of the larger resorts may offer varying detail and a larger pool but they lack the intimate feel Galley Bay gives you and avoids the cookie cutter chain feel you can be anywhere in the world. GB offers a real island low-key vibe that gives you complete relaxation and interaction when you want it. No loud speakers, showy "entertainment" and I didn't see or hear a cell phone for a week - that was fine by me.

Deluxe beachfront: The room is on the petite side but overall, very comfortable. A big positive is having two entryways to our room - one from the front and out to the back patio. Our patio had it's own "semi private" little sand hill/trail just steps out to the surf. I loved sitting for hours on our patio with a book overlooking the water which was literally just steps away. The bathroom was large - roomy shower and had a great view out to the beach. We had the nicest neighbors from England who were on their honeymoon as well as a caterpillar many chirping birds (who like to steal our sweet-n-low out of the room) and a gecko.

Food: My boyfriend and I really appreciate a fine meal and I have to say we had many at GB - especially at The Gaugin restaurant which we tried to book practically every night. Beautiful surroundings, excellent service and personalized. Each time we walked in we were so warmly welcomed with a smile. My boyfriend loved the lamb and ordered the dish every time. At most all inclusives if you were to order "medium rare" it would be likely a miss. But GB got it right every time. I enjoyed the fish specials each night as well and the orange creme brulee, coconut ice cream, the soups, salads and goat cheese starter. The drinks were free flowing as well - and strong.

Beach: The beach is beautiful but there is surf so if you're expecting the "warm calm island water" this is not the beach. The beach is long and wide with light golden sand and plenty of room to play. The water has light surf and waves to wrestle with but still a lovely and fun beach. The water can change color according to sunlight at any given moment and we saw rainbows during our stay too.

Activities: Pretty low key but we were happy spending our time reading and relaxing anyway. We were offered a jet ski ride by an outside vendor on the beach but passed though I know it would have been a blast. We played ping pong and enjoyed the hobbie cat - ask for Shiloh on the beach...he's absolutely terrific and will take you out on the hobbie cat with glee. But really my favorite "activity" was sitting out on the adirondack rocking chairs with my guy and watching the boats sail by over a good book and a banana slider in my hand...paradise.

Staff: This is the best part. The staff make this place. I already miss the laughs and the smiles from all our friends - Ann Marie, Levick, Kenny, Stuart, Amanda, Lysette,
"Buttercup" and so many other great members. We found the staff to be nothing but pleasant, happy, warm and accommodating. We were sad to say goodbye.

Thanks Galley Bay and hope to see you again!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Bordeaux&castles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2008

We have just returned from a week at Galley Bay (following a week in Barbados) and tend to agree with some of the better previous reviews.

Galley Bay is perfect for a completely relaxing time where you can pretty much keep yourself to yourself and everything is at hand when you want it.

We had a beach front room with direct access onto the beach with our own loungers both on the small veranda and on the sand under a thatched umbrella. All of which is very private and secluded. The room was fairly big with a large bathroom with double shower and kept clean and well serviced.

The beach and bay is only occupied by Galley Bay and although the beach is ‘public’ has no real access other than through the hotel so the beach is not crowded and used exclusively by the hotel guests so you can feel pretty secluded. The beach is fantastic and although the breakers can be a little rough at times the sea is safe enough to swim in.

All the units are strung out along the beach with the exception of the cottages sited in the gardens. It could however be a bit of a hike from some of the units to the main complex.

At the main complex, central to the bay, there are two bars, the main open air restaurant, guest services, a small shop, library, spa, gym and a free internet room and the swimming pool. There are two further restaurants sited at opposite ends of the bay, one open for extended lunch until 5.00pm and the other for dinner, by reservation book able on the day through guest services.

The food was very good but sometimes limited. All meals including breakfast are ‘a la carte’ (although there is an additional buffet for cereals, fruit and pastries at breakfast and there is a BBQ buffet one night a week for dinner)

We heard some complaints, mainly from our American cousins that the portions weren’t big enough and that you couldn’t get any food after 10.00pm. But in all honesty the portions were more than adequate unless your intention is to come back off holiday markedly heavier than you went and food is pretty much available all day if you count sandwiches and cakes for afternoon tea between 4.30 – 5.30pm and bar nibbles form 6.00 – 7.00pm before the restaurant opens for dinner. Only complaint is that there could have been more choice although they were happy to adapt dishes on request to suit likes and dislikes. Yes service is slower than what we and especially other tourists are used to - but its on ‘Caribbean Time’ and “soon come” – couldn't understand why the rush?

Drinks and cocktails are very good and all premium brands including various name brand beers. Sparkling wine is also available. (Ask Levique for one of his ‘special cocktails’)

Pool is relatively small but more then adequate and always with spare loungers. There are apparently plans to build a second pool in the very near future.

Most of the staff are exceptional especially the porters driving the carts too and from the main gate/reception and a special mention for Ian (Deputy Manager), Levique and 'Buttercup'.

Some of the reviews mention the ‘dress code’ for dinner which is enforced but there is no real excuse for not knowing. Unfortunately we arrived without luggage thanks to LIAT and our internal transfer from Barbados. Apparently it happens all the time so word of caution if you are travelling ‘internally’ that your baggage may not be on the same plane as you. If we had known or been informed beforehand it would have taken a great deal of stress out of the situation. As it was it arrived about 5 hours after we did.
As I had no long trousers, shirt or shoes – Ian (Deputy Manager) made arrangements for dinner to be served in our room with a complimentary bottle of wine which after travelling for the best part of the day was perfect.

There is limited entertainment in the evenings and if you’re seeking a raucous time then this may not be the place for you.

We went on a number of trips but found some quite expensive compared to our last port of call in Barbados
Catamaran trip around the island US$90– complete circumnavigation of the island pointing out all the points of interest, various VIP houses, into Nelson’s Dockyard and a stop over on Green Island for lunch and snorkelling. Picked up direct from beach if it’s not too rough
Shirley Heights (Sunday) – hotel runs a shuttle for US$20, US$8 entry (Virgin supply free entry voucher and one free drink – see rep) is a must to watch the sun set, drink, eat and listen to a steel pan band (who were excellent the day we went) followed by a reggae band till about 10.00pm.
We also hired a car for a few days and picked up some of the other attractions around the island:
Stingray City US$50 – a chance to swim with and hand feed these very friendly fish. Be warned these are not the dustbin lid/dinner plate size ones that you see in the city aquariums but coffee table size and very very ‘friendly’ – they will get up close and personal. Not for the faint hearted as you are taken out by speedboat to a sandbank offshore in about 4 – 5’ of water so you are completely in their territory.
Nelson’s Dockyard US$5 – a big slice of British history. Museum, restaurants bars and shops in the original buildings as well as some very expensive yachts moored up inside the yard (some even bigger ones in Falmouth Harbour as you drive past)
Lunch at Catherine’s Café opposite (see pic) drive past towards Shirley Heights and take road to the Antigua Slipway, park up and walk through boat yard. A very pleasant place to spend a long lunch in a great setting. Very good food and a warm welcome, but not sure what Horatio would have had to say about the French owners and the tricolour flying above the café immediately opposite the dockyards.
St Johns 5 – 10 minutes drive from the hotel – parking a bit hectic and very busy if the cruise ships are in but a chance to shop at Heritage Key and see the capital.

Some of the roads can be a bit rough and signage limited, but reasonably easy to navigate around. Some of the views from the coastal roads very spectacular.

All in all the hotel is in a beautiful setting and if your looking for a really relaxing holiday you cant go far wrong with Galley Bay

Note that the queue at the airport can be very long and slow as ALL the bigger flights to the USA, Canada and UK seem to leave about the same time. Despite taking advantage of Virgins ‘Check In/Chill Out’ service at the hotel and pre paying our departure tax (US$20) it still took about 90 minutes to clear immigration and x ray.
It is probably the same on the way in but we arrived on a small internal flight (without luggage!)
It’s also worth noting that he airport is fairly small and that there are limited duty free shops once through into departures

Another word of caution the tree frogs can be very noisy at night – so if you are a light sleeper you may want to take ear plugs.

Three Little Birds? - don't leave any food lying about or leave your table unattended at meal times - you'll see why!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Howard-Moon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2008

Having chosen Galley Bay for our honeymoon the main worry was that it may not live up to our expectations. We needn't have worried, we had an amazing 8 nights in one of their Gaugin Cottages and really didn't want to leave for the rest of our honeymoon in Barbados. The cottage was beautiful, secluded and spacious. The food and drink was amazing, with great service from all of the staff. Nothing was too much trouble. The watersports staff were really helpful too and very happy to give lessons and advice on all that was on offer. The best excursion by far was horse riding in the Christian Valley, followed by a tour of an organic fruit farm owned by the same guy. Delicious oranges, tangerines and grapefruit fresh from the tree. Not to be missed!

22nd November 2008

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank ontheroadagaindonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2008

My husband and I just returned from a 7-day break at the Galley Bay and we loved it. The setting is just like paradise. With a better service, it could just be heaven on earth !

The room : We stayed in a superior beachfront room (the cheapest) which was perfectly located on the beachfront but very dated. If you are a light sleeper, you need to get used to sleeping with a heavy noise coming from the ocean since the room does not have proper windows, just some sort of stores with mosquito nets. I am sure that the premium suites are much better but also twice pricier so that was fine by us.

The service: I tend to agree with other guests regarding the service. I had to call 3 times in order to get an extra blanket and the room could have been more thoroughly cleaned. We were also disappointed that the hotel did not provide or even sell adaptors for guests coming from the UK. We had to go to St John's to get one !

The dress code: another annoying surprise was the dress code for evenings, which is not mentioned on their website. I think it's nice that people need to dress up in a decent fashion but they should make sure that guests are aware of it. Men need to wear pants and collared shirts or polos. My husband having brought only tee-shirts (the nice, fashion kind though !), we had to buy a polo shirt from the resort's shop as soon as we arrived for 70 USD !!! And it was not even great quality nor pretty !!!

The food: overall, we thought that it was above average for an all inclusive resort but there is still a massive room for improvement. We generally found the starters really tiny, the pasta way too greasy, the so-called parmesan was in fact grated cheddar and the service again was a let down. We did not find the staff that friendly at all. Whenever we would request something, they would comment on it. There were mistakes on our orders on a couple of occasions and overall it is very slow.

The beach: I dont understand the bad comments some guests made about the beach. I don't think it comes much better than this anywhere else in the world and we've travelled to many places in the Caribeans and Indian Ocean. This beach is 300metres long with a good width and beautiful white sand. The waters are just the right temperature and waves for a little swim. The jetskis that come around everyday are disturbing the calm a little bit but nothing too bad. I also very much enjoyed sailing on the Hobbie cats.

Overall, it's a shame that this place is not perfect when it has so much potential but we would definitely go back again.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Ruthyyy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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