(Crawley, United Kingdom)
Oct 25, 2021
ARRIVAL AT AIRPORT
Our normal destination would be Barbados but due to Barbados wanting arrival PCR tests we decided not to risk it this year. Hence we booked the trip to Antigua instead.
We used express test to do our pre departure PCR test in the UK. We did the test at Gatwick 10am and they had our test results delivered by email by 10pm the same day.
On arrival in Antigua we were expecting some chaos. However there was none. From leaving the aircraft, to leaving the terminal, it was less than 30 minutes. Then we went over the road to get a taxi to the resort and we were the only ones in the queue. It was all so easy. No PCR test on arrival in Antigua and no PCR test needed for departure back to the UK. All they did was temperature checks at the airport and resort.
All but one of the staff were very polite and pleasant. Only encountered one crazy staff member who was shouting at the guests if they accidentally tried to help themselves to food. Mistakes happen. Please don't shout at the customers. Just explain in a professional manner.
The Rainbow restaurant was open on most days for a la carte evening meals. We booked for 6.30pm on most days as the food was so good in there. Some evenings we ate at the Docksider as it was a "walk in". No need to book. It was a buffet. The food was good, but the Rainbow was much better.
Breakfast at the Rainbow was buffet. You are not allowed to help yourself. You leave the table with your mask on, and go up to the counter and ask for what you want. There is someone to put toast on for you, or serve you the hot and cold food. It was absolutely mobbed in there and hence a queue for eggs etc. If you go in about 0930 it is much quieter. The quality of the breakfast was better than a lot of other resorts we have stayed in. BUT. They did not put any milk on the tables. Only creamer. There may have been a shortage because we did go up to the cereal counter and ask for milk but they were reluctant to give it to us. I can only think they get the milk imported from the US and there is a supply problem. So take a carton of long life in your suitcase. If you buy the skimmed long life it tastes like normal milk. We keep milk in the fridge in the room as there is a coffee maker and kettle in there.
There is a bar on Mamora beach and a bar on Coco beach. There is also a bar in the adults only section (Royal Suites) and a bar by the main reception. The air conditioning has been switched off in all bars due to Covid and doors are kept open to circulate fresh air. Some nights it was too humid to sit inside the reception bar but there are plenty of tables just outside so it wasn't a problem.
The beer is fine, nice tasting and the wines were ok. The Chardonnay and the Merlot were my favourites. They also have rosé, white sauvignon, cabinet sauvignon and a french 11% sparkling wine which tasted fine. I noticed a lot of people drank the sparkling wine during the day.
We were able to get the wifi on the beaches and in the room which was good.
We stayed in a Royal Suite. They are nice and big. The fridge in the room contained two water bottles and a bottle of sparkling wine. It had a coffee maker and kettle also.
The a/c worked well and looked new. (Panasonic)
The mattress of the bed was knackered. If you moved during the night the whole bed shook! They need to consider zip and link for comfort, when its time to replace.
Room cleaning was offered every other day if needed. We decided not to have room cleaning at all during our stay. I didn't want disinfectant constantly wiped on the surfaces or doors left open to let the mozzies in. We just topped up from the maid's cart when we needed any extras.
They are clearing the seaweed daily in the mornings on Coco beach so there is a bit of noise from the tractor, collecting the seaweed. There is no noise outside the Royal Suite rooms.
Mamora bay has the floating rings for the children and is a very safe beach for young children to swim and play in. But it is very murky and not clear waters. There is no reef there so you cannot snorkel. Water sports are available from this beach.
Coco beach is the other side and is much nicer It has relatively clear waters and is slightly choppy. Still not clear enough for snorkelling but much better for the adults. More like typical blue/green Caribbean beach water.
We swam in Coco beach all days. There wasn't much seaweed there for our first few days. Apparently it had been quite bad the previous week. The seaweed increased towards the end of our stay as it became very windy. Probably bad weather driving in the seaweed. We were swimming in about waist height water when my husband pointed out a jelly fish that was literally a couple of inches from us, heading towards the beach with the tide. We decided not to risk a sting and went over to Mamora Bay for the rest of the day.
There were a few spare sunbeds on both beaches but apparently the resort only had 47% occupancy at the time so I think there would definitely be a sunbed problem if it was at full occupancy. Both beaches have sunshade straw canopies dotted around but you have to wait until the sun is higher in the sky, around 10am to get any shade on either beach.
We did not see one beach seller there for the whole 10 days. I don't know if that is the norm.
There were a lot of UK primary school aged children at the resort when we were there. This was 14th to 23rd October. The resort is well thought out. We stayed in the adults only section that has its own pool and bar where children are not allowed. There are other really good sized pools on the resort for the children to play in. So everyone seemed happy.
There is a little shop at reception selling soft drinks, water, rash vests and some toiletries.
Due to Covid they have had to switch off all a/c in the bars and restaurants. Therefore bring loose cool clothing to wear. The only a/c you will get is in your room. It was megga humid some evenings and rained a lot during the night.
Oct 23, 2021
Antigua arrival. temp tested, must show double vaxxed proof, and covid test results, process
thorough. Make sure you have all necessary paperwork.
Arrival process at St James club, good enough, but so much testing! Temp tested again, and
show double vaxxed proof. 250usd for departure covid test, plus 24$ USD per day for cleaning,
plus 5$ USD per day for fee. No welcome drinks, no greeting, lots more paperwork to fill in.
Room has very large bathroom, and living area, with patio overlooking water. Tv carries all USA stations and many cable stations. Air conditioning works well, but ceiling fans can be noisy. Empty fridge, coffee maker, and kettle for tea. Wifi works well in room and around 110 acres of property.
Bar drinks are good, not anything special. (Didn't know how to rim a margarita, instead shook salt from a shaker into glass.) Premium liquor available at royal suites bars, or ask for it. Wine is mediocre, cabernet Sav or pinot grigio are both scarce.
Buffet dining only on some nights at dockside, due to lack of ppl. Service and food both ok,
meats, vegetables, desserts, friendly staff. Coffee bar open late. A la carte choices different
nights during the week, (themed). Mornings at breakfast buffet only at rainbow garden room, no room service. Reservations for gym, à la carte dinners, and 40$ charge for italian restaurant.
Main pool is large with smaller pools, some adult only, located throughout complex. Beach has
plenty of water sports which are included, as well as, golf cart drinks all day. Not necessary to
reserve (with a towel), any chairs at pools, plenty to go around.
Rainbow garden restaurant meal for à la carte meal, very good, plentiful. Coffee shop has lots of variety and sweets, tea time as well.
Eleven restaurant open 11-11, with fusion dinner options starting at 6. Great views, and food is
Slight rain daily, sometimes lasting only a few minutes, umbrellas in room, golf carts will
transport you to spa etc. Maid service every other day due to covid, but overall, lots of cleaning. Bugs on door in the morning, gone by the time I returned with coffee.
Can't go to Barbuda unless you quarantine for 14 days, but lots of choices for excursions. Must wear mask at all times off resort, no exceptions. Excursions must be made in advance, as well as covid test.
Water sustainability supports much of resort, so low flush toilets.
Food choices, vegetarian, gluten free, but nothing outstanding.
No needling for games etc., quietly suggestions, signs posted, as well as menus.
Royal suites guests can make à la carte dinner reservations for the week, rooms are nice and quiet.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
(London, United Kingdom)
Oct 22, 2021
i read so many reviews as well but I am always keen to read between the lines and filter out some peoples objections.
The staff are all amazing...We spoke and engaged with everyone and that human interaction brings out the very best in them.
There are so many wonderful characters and it was a joy to run into so many of them at all the restaurants and bars as they move around.
We used a lot of the fitness classes and all the staff there are great.
Politeness and a smile goes a long way and even got bought a drink while in the pool.
We must have made a nice impression as Dane even refilled our drinks while we were asleep on the beach. That was amazing or worrying he knew our order so well!!
Therefore anyone finding the staff rude is simply treating them poorly. I went running one morning 5km out the resort and as you climb the hill 3 staff were giving encouragement....everyone was awesome that we met.
Food was very good.....not in terms of being out of this world. But it was in terms of a great quality, freshly prepared, plenty of choice and i ate everything without being ill. So perfect for me. Breakfast was a delight with wonderful poached eggs. He has some great skills.
Tennis courts are in good condition and it was a shame that no one showed for the afternoon tennis on either week but we did enjoy a hit with the pro.
The floating rings and nets in the sea were perfect for floating with a beer and so much fun.
Junior suites are described as ' Rooms are also equipped with ... bath with double vanity and an oversized tub with shower combo.
Opening the room to find a shower was a shock as their website is wrong. A polite visit to see the manager and they sorted a room with a large bath which was great. The manager was great and sorted anything we needed over the 2 weeks.
Seaweed is a slight issue on the bay side and was present after a storm.
Coco beach......i didn't have an issue wading out through seaweed but i do have a huge issue with the rocks that are just out from the beach. I had swimming shoes on and without i would have cut myslef.....you go in thinking it slopes and then you hit rock. The beach is fine and nice to sit by but forget the beach for swimming its dangerous if you are down the end closer to the restaurant...surprised i never read this on any other reviews but guess others were just moaning about seaweed rather than swimming
The Junior suites are next to the restaurant...so if you go to bed early you will get woken up with the music quiz that went on to 11pm or drunk guests partying on after the bars close..take earplugs
We had a fabulous holiday and the resort felt 100% covid safe and i joy to spend time at. We relaxed and joined in so many activities. It was a great holiday and despite the late night noise next to the rooms...these rooms are still really nice and the beds and fitting are first class.
Thanks once again for looking after us so well
Good but not Great
Oct 22, 2021
After spending 2 weeks at the St James club I have mixed feelings.
First of all it is going to cost you more than you think as they have added a resort fee and government tax which comes to around £350 for 2 people, this we didn't know until the last minute.
It's a good 3 star but not 4 star,
The basic room we had was lovely, very clean and spacious with a huge bed.
The food at all the restaurants was good to very good. The staff were great, very friendly, helpful and courteous.
The beach was ok, long palm tree lined with plenty of sunbeds and shades, but don't expect crystal blue Caribbean waters as this bay is fed by the Atlantic ocean.
There is no snorkelling off the beach, nothing to see and snokelling boat trips are disappointing, the two I took you have to wear a yellow float belt and do a guided tour! I've snorkelled around the world and never had to do that! Very frustrating! Sort it out Antigua please! Give us experienced snorkellers the option of a restriction free snorkel!
Don't expect lively entertainment, live bands finish playing at 10pm and when they are in the hot and sticky Jacaranda Bar they are stuck in a corner almost playing to themselves.
All bars shut at 11pm. Using covid as an excuse, not good enough.
To me this is not a 24 hour all inclusive resort. I've been to much better in the Caribbean.
All in all it was a very good holiday but won't be coming back.
Amazing relaxing holiday and culinary experience
Oct 19, 2021
My wife and I stayed in a Royal Suite 204 at St James Club for 17 days in September/October 2021.
Before departing UK we read the many reviews about the resort and we were concerned at the many negative reviews that criticised the staff. the smell of the seaweed, the food and the accommodation
As a regular traveller seeking the best 5 star holidays and resorts we were more than happy and satisfied with St James. The Royal Suite was excellent with great views over Mamora Bay, the food in all the restaurants was excellent, the food in the Picolo Restaurant was out standing but most of all the staff were so kind, professional in their service and helpful
It is hard to include every member of staff who helped make our stay memorable but the following are worth mention:
Peter the Lead Concierge was delightfully polite and helpful
Toyanne kept all the staff in the restaurants on their toes ensuring a highly professional service
Cora, Amanda, Samantha really looked after us
Bridgette our room maid kept our suite clean and tidy and well serviced
The COVID Cleanliness was superb and we felt very safe
The sports facilities were excellent for Sailing, Paddle Boarding, Canoeing with clean beaches and adequate numbers sun loungers
All in all a memorable holiday in a resort that we would highly recommend to potential travellers here
Finally a thank you to the Reception staff who were always most helpful
THANK YOU ST JAMES CLUB WE WILL RETURN