More about Blue Waters Hotel, Antigua
Blue Waters Trip Report June 2004
Blue Waters Antigua, Trip Report
Purely our own thoughts………
Blue Waters – Small, un-crowed, very sophisticated but at the same time extremely relaxing. Very much service orientated. From the Guest Services and Reception Desks to the Restaurant managers, waitress and waiters to the Pool and Pelican bartenders to the maids and the grounds keepers. Every single employee at Blue Waters deserves their own 5 star rating. The place is in every since of the word Marvelous. Just guessing, the overall nationality ratio at Blue Waters would seem to be about 95 percent British or UK, 3 percent other and 2 percent American. All very congenial to each other exchanging pleasantries and such. Blue Waters is worlds apart in difference compared to places such Sandals and the much larger resorts that feed on the crowds and party types.
222 pictures available at http://community.webshots.com/user/dhornick
Rooms – Ours was a Deluxe Beachfront room in the 600 block of rooms. I specifically requested room 605 on the advice of some other couples that had previously stayed in the room. Overall the 600 block of rooms have extraordinary views of the Caribbean Sea with the best being on the second floor with balcony’s. They are extremely nice and the size was very adequate considering that you only spend a limited amount of time there. The Deluxe Beachfront rooms have a TV (which we never turned on once), a bedside radio alarm clock (which we never used once) and air conditioning. They have a fully stocked mini bar which providing you take the All Inclusive package they restock daily the way the guest wants it. More on the All Inclusive package later. The bathrooms are as nice however we were a bit taken back by the hand pump flush toilet. But soon mastered it with no problems.
Pools – They have 2. We are definitely beach people and did not use either pool other than maybe a 5 minute dip. They are very nice and well kept. The main pool is where the pool bar is located. This bar also services the beach. The second pool is located further away from the main pool, restaurants and overall foot traffic but has no bar.
Restaurants – They have 2. The Palm restaurant is where they have breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea for those who choose and dinner. The second is Vyvien’s. It is to be considered the more formal of the two. A note about the dress code. We anticipated the fact that I would have to wear slacks and some form of dress shirt for dinners at both restaurants but I had intended to wear nice open toed sandals with the slacks. I was turned away the first night. Thankfully, I had brought a pair of deck shoes which worked out nicely. My wife wore a selection of evening dresses, simple but very nice. Now a word about the food at both restaurants. Every meal, every course simply scrumptious. Absolutely wonderful. Nothing else to say.
Bars – They have 2. The main Pool bar and the Pelican bar. As stated earlier the main Pool bar services the main pool along with the beach. Any one wanting a drink during the day has to use this bar. The Pelican bar does not open until around 630pm and is the gathering spot before dinner. The same dinner dress code is enforced in the Pelican bar.
Spa – If there was one thing that we could think of that needed improvement it would be their Spa facilities. The are at best adequate. We had been given gift certificates for his / her messages and her a facial and pedicure. Everything went well and it all turned out very nice but it just didn’t seem to us that the facility was up to the standards of the surrounding hotel property.
Night Entertainment – They usually have two forms of nightly entertainment in a gazebo that’s located between the Palm restaurant and the Pelican bar. One from 7pm until 8pm and then another from 8pm on. They range from traditional steel bands to piano soloists. There is at no time loud obnoxious music blaring much like you might find at some of the larger resorts that are geared towards bigger crowds and the younger party goers.
Gift Shop – Very nice and well stocked with anything from souvenirs to toiletries to newspapers. Just about anything you might need. We actually did a lot of our gift shopping there.
Water Sports / Beach – They have just about anything you might want to do on or around the water with the exception scuba diving (Guest Services can certainly arrange that if you choose). For use are ocean kayaks, small sailboats of different types, snorkeling equipment and floatation mats to lay out on. We choose a small Hobie cat to play with for a day. On other days we simply used their sun mats and lounged around just off the beach in the swimming area. Let me make one strong suggestion about the Water Sports area. They offer to take guests out to a secluded beach for a 2 to 4 hour outing. We choose to go in the afternoon and take a box lunch that the Palm restaurant had made up for us. We had a fantastic time, it was truly something to remember from our trip and should not be missed. Now a few words about the Blue Waters beach, because of the fact that we are beach type people we always choose to spend as much time as possible on the beach rather than a pool. There has been much written about the size of the Blue Waters beach. Yes indeed it is to be considered small but it’s all relative. There are only 77 rooms at Blue Waters and considering the fact that not everyone enjoys the beach some of which choose the pool(s) or even the sundeck area. The size of the beach never comes into play nor is a concern at any time. Matter of fact without reservations we found ourselves in our same favorite spot any day we choose to go the beach.
Guest Services and Reception Desks – The combination of these two areas cover all the bases. I can honestly say that anything we needed or wanted they handled without question or hesitation. They were simply the icing on the cake. They were so gracious and concerned that we had a good time that they continually went out of their way to get what we asked for. From booking outings to lining up taxi’s to recovering what we thought were lost taxi charges (we had to cancel one outing due to weather) they never ceased to surprise us.
Our personal thoughts on the All Inclusive package – We choose the All Inclusive package mainly due to the fact that we had never been on one and liked the fact of not having to continuously shell out money or tips. I suppose this would be true for most who chose the AI packages. The only problem, if you can consider it a problem is that you find yourself feeling tied to the resort. I had spent the better part of a year creating what I thought would be an itinerary for our trip of things to do once we arrived Antigua. Half of which we never did. Now this is not to say that we felt forced at anytime not to leave the resort but more the fact of simply enjoying the resort more than we had anticipated. I guess what I’m saying is that yes we would definitely do the AI again but now know not to try and over schedule outings and tours. In the case of Blue Waters you find yourself loving every waking moment of being pampered and enjoying the incredible food and drink that you just don’t want to leave.
Tap Water – To drink or not to drink that is the question. We have spent a great deal of time in Mexico so we are always very cautious when it comes to drinking foreign water. There is a simple answer to this never-ending question. Drink it!!! It’s very good.
Bugs / Animals – On different web sites there are always question about bugs or insects such at mosquitoes. I wont say that we never saw any but I will say they were never a concern, to us anyway. And Tarantulas or spiders, always questions about these. We never say one spider of any type. Just bring your bug repellent and you should be just fine. In the evenings there were to us Americans some very odd but beautiful sounds. On our first night there we were told they were toads. Later someone else told us they were crickets. Whatever they were, the sounds were very soothing. And the cats, I can’t forget to mention the cats. Besides the resident airport cat there are what look to be two resident Blue Waters cats who are always roaming the grounds in search of the tiny lizards and any other items they can consider food. They are well kept and do not harm a sole.
Power Outages, there is one very small inconvenience, sporadic power outages. They come at the most inopportune times. Evidently this is normal and Blue Waters has a emergency backup generator for these times but still a inconvenience.
Alexander Parrish taxi service is very courteous and prompt with Airport Hotel transfers that Expedia had lined up for us before hand.
Island Time – always 30 minutes late, considering the fact that we both work for North America’s largest railroad we are used to timely functions. Island time was a bit hard for us to adapt to. Things move much slower on the island. Just be patient.
Heat / Humidity – we anticipated the heat but definitely not the humidity. It was difficult at times unless you were around the water to cool off. Knowing ahead of time that the Sun is much more intense in Antigua than anywhere in the States we both tanned at a Tanning Salon a month before our trip. This was a huge benefit and allowed us to better enjoy our vacation.
Baked Beans - . It seems this must be a British tradition for breakfast. Highly unusual for Americans by all means but to each their own as they say.
Blue Waters Hotel
Blue Waters is a family-owned hotel, and one of Antigua's longest established resorts. The hotel is located in Soldiers Bay, on the north western side of the island, with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.
Guests have the choice of relaxing on the beach, taking a stroll through the lush, tropical gardens of the hotel, or spending time at one of the two sea-view pools and the pool bar.
Gourmet cuisine and fine dining is provided at the hotel’s two restaurants.
The hotel provides a choice of luxury rooms, suites and villas, all with the modern facilities. For the guest looking for a special treat, the luxury 5-bedroom Rock Cottage is located on the farthest corner of the bay. It is secluded and offers a real island escape for its guests. The hotel has a private bay and two beaches. Watersports are available in the form of cats, kayaks, windsurfing and snorkelling. There is also an all-weather tennis court, air-conditioned fitness centre, spa, beauty salon and two freshwater swimming pools.
Will definately be going back to this hotel. We were married there in October 2003 and the wedding was excellent. Wedding Gazebo is set on a promentary in the sea.
My wife and I just returned from a five-night stay at the Blue Waters Antigua from the 7-12 August and it was as good as advertised in the many reviews I've read on this site. There are people who complain about the hotel and the staff but those are people that will complain no matter where they stay.
The first surprise came when we checked in, having booked a superior hillside room, and we were immediately and unexpectedly upgraded to a deluxe beachfront room at no charge! The other two couples checking in at the same time as us received the same deal! I would imagine this is because August is the slower season and if they can accomodate everyone in a better room, they are willing.
The room was wonderful. Plenty big with its own patio with an unimpeded view of the ocean. Sitting on the patio we weren't more than 100 feet from the ocean. From our door, down the hall and down the steps to the beach couldn't have been more than 30 seconds. The room was also air-conditioned which I didn't think we would need because a lot of places talk about being "cooled by the trade winds..." Don't be fooled. Especially in August, it's hot and it's humid.
The food was very good. I would say the food in the Palms was slightly above average with the fare in Vyvien's excellent. The full breakfast buffet, included in the room price, had the works with made-to-order omlettes and everything...even baked beans for the English types.
The beach is small by comparative standards, but the place only has 77 rooms so it's never busy.
One thing I did notice was that some of the staff, while not rude, certainly weren't brimming with excitement either. I will say that they warmed up considerably. They seem guarded at first, but if you show them respect, they are more than pleasant.
A final note on Antigua. My wife and I didn't do the all-inclusive plan because we wanted to try some other restaurants on the island. (HQ in Nelson's Dockyard and Le Bistro near St. John's were two of the best meals I've ever had). The only problem with that is that the meals aren't cheap (expect between $50-$75 per person $US) and you'll have to take a taxi to get there because the resorts are spread out, and they'll run you $20 round trip for the shortest route ($80 round trip to Nelson's Dockyard on the other side of the island). We aren't big drinkers, so we wound up spending about the same amount as we would have with the all-inclusive, about $100 per person per day.
One final thought was the Wadadli Cats catamaran trip we took. It picks you up in the morning, sails you halfway around the island, stops for lunch and snorkeling, stops again for a swim at a deserted beach, and sails you the rest of the way home. It even includes the cocktails! It was awesome! Just laying back and sailing around the island.
all in all a wonderful trip. Highly recommended..
In Cozumel, you absolutely...
In Cozumel, you absolutely must explore the east side of the island. And, in Mexico, you must absolutely respect the local culture and treat others the way you would expect to be treated yourself. I love the way you can lose yourself, immersed in the clear blue waters. It is a peaceful sensation beyond any meditative trance or hypnosis-enduced state.
Love the people
This was our fourth visit to Blue Waters in Antigua.
We had 11 days all inclusive. The hotel is absolutely wonderful, the best place in the world to relax and unwind all those stressful events in the year. The hotel is quiet with a wonderful staff, very friendly and cannot do enough for you. The food is very good and the service excellent. To all those people who visited during the tropical storm for the first time, do give Blue Waters another visit as for the most part the blue skies and sunshine will make you feel on top of the world and ready to face anything when you get back home. A hugh Thank you to all at Blue Waters.
Very Much Liked Blue Water
My wife and I stayed briefly at the Blue Water 6/27 through 6/31, being in Antigua primarily for business reasons which involved a good bit of driving around Antigua. We put 400 miles on the rental car in 3 days. This is perhaps our 4th visit to Antigua. We have terveled extensively through the Caribbean and have stayed at many fine resorts. You will find Blue Waters to be a very comfortable and accomodating place with a "small resort" feel which I fully intend to be a compliment. Antigua is an island full of wonderful people, and you will find this reflected in BW's staff. They do go that bit extra for you at BW. Be sure to talk with the staff, as you will meet some lovely, friendly people. Rent a car and explore the Island. Take a drive and be sure to get to the south side, where the really great beaches are. Head to Ffryes beach or Darkwood Beach or Turner's Beach ( $5 gets you a beach chair and umbrella and a great little snack bar and restroom. Ffrye's beach is free and theres a govt. security guard who will watch your car ( it may be the only car there !). Avoid St. John's if you're not a left side driver, it can get crowded and tight. The roads are not the best outside of town and heaven knows it would be a mercy to put up a few signs showing what road you're on, but Antigua is well worth exploring. We always got where we wanted to be, but it sometimes involved a false start on a road that looked promising and didn't get us just where we wanted to be. People are helpful and we never got directions that weren't hpnest. Maps....well, get 'em where you can. I think there is a map store in St John's, I never got into it this trip, I did years ago but can't recall enough to comment. I can say though that the one thing about Blue Waters that really infuriated me was being charged $ 15.00 US for road map of Antigua !! Food....the restaurants at BW are very good. I don't think I could go as far as 5 star but certainly very good is not an exaggeration. Breakfast, my favorite meal is well done, with omelets to order and lots of very good fresh fruit. We were never there for lunch. Dinner...quite nice. We only made it to dinner twice. The International Buffet was quite good. I'm sure the all inclusive program is the way to go....it usually is , but we aren't real "drinkers" and knew we would't be around for many meals. All things considered I would agree that the Blue Waters is a very good choice....but do hit some of the beaches I suggest.
I have recently returned from Blue Waters and find that i must disagree with a number of the recent reviews. As usual i did my research on Trip advisor and with the exception of one or two reports found that Blue Waters was highly regarded and recommended. If only i had taken heed of the negatives that had been highlighted. The arrival was fine and Rum Punch was served efficiently before we were escorted to our room. The Bell hop was courteous, informative and friendly and we were "on a high". That is until we entered our room! The room was advertised as a Deluxe beachfront but i have to say that upon inspection it was not up to standard, the Bathroom was particularly small and "pokey" and the decor looked like it had been made from Tom Selleck's shirts in Magnum.
I contacted reception to request a change of room but was informed rather brusquely that it was not possible as the hotel was full. This rather aggressive manner to replying to guest requests seemed to be the standard operating procedure for the reception desk throughout our stay. The beach is small, but we were aware of this before our stay so on one day we asked the watersports staff to take us to a private beach just about two minutes away around Rock Cottage only accessible by boat, this they duly did however when they did not return to pick us up as arranged we had to swim back to the hotel whilst carrying our belongings over our heads. The Restaurants were of a good standard though especially the food which we found to be consistently good and quite varied, the only downside was once again the rather unhelpful attitude of a number of the staff. Whilst on the island we took the opportunity to look at a couple of other resorts namely Curtain Bluff and Galley Bay and i have to say that the welcome recieved at both was far and away more friendly and in tune with what you would expect from an island who's premier industry is tourism. Overall i would have to say that Blue Waters is a pleasant venue but the rooms need a facelift as do the staff. The management need to be a little more in touch with what is going on as i only saw the GM at the Monday night cocktail party or when he was eating in the Palm Restaurant
Where to begin....My wife and I just completed an 8 night stay at this truly gem of a resort. It was a 25th anniversary trip we will not soon forget. My review will be technical in nature and my wife's will be more towards the ambiance and romantic!
First let me say to anyone who is considering a stay at this resort, you will only be disappointed if you are looking for a large beach from which to snorkel, a raucus night life experience, or all night partiers keeping you awake till 2:00AM, for this resort has none of the above.
What it does have is old world charm, a highly responsive staff, a small intimate feel, and no less than 15 grounds keepers that are constantly cleaning, manicuring, or polishing every nook and crannie you can find.
My first word of advice is to hire a car only if you are truly adventurous. Antigua has diplorable roads with unmarked speed bumps, strategically placed trenches across roads, deep drainage ravines, potholes that could destroy axles, and maniacal drivers that think nothing of driving at breakneck speed on roads as wide as your breakfast table. The island is only 14 miles long. I have no idea what the hurry is! The local wandering heards of goats and cows also present a challenge if you are not careful. Plus, if you are American, you must learn to drive left. If you are faint of heart, hire taxis and hold on!!!
One last digression before returning to the hotel review. Be prepared for long waits at immigration. The people that check your passport are slow but steady. Virgin Airlines and British Air both fly large Boeing 747-400's and 777's into this airport. If you come in behind one of those planes, forget it. You will be in line for at least 40 minutes.
The air conditioning is functional at best. There are no gates so you may be forced to walk distances over 1/2 mile to the terminal on the tarmac. You are watched by unarmed guards, but they do allow departing passengers to comingle with arriving passengers. We walked right under a 747 on the way to our departing plane! A bit unnerving after 9/11 security measures in the USA. The airport is also a hub for Caribbean Star Airlines and it needs to be twice as large as its current facility is outdated and small.
Now....back to paradise. You arrive at Blue Waters and are greeted with fruit or rum punch. The check in procedure is smooth and functional. We had room 704 and it had a beautiful second story view of the ocean with a very private balcony. It was in the "deluxe beachfront" category. You would love this room along with its sunset views!
The 600 and 700 block rooms are the best for privacy (more on that later). Our bathroom was all tile with fancy inlay. The tub was large and doubled as a shower. The only annoyance was there were no US compatible outlets for blow dryers or curling irons or shavers in the bathrooms. Our porter told us that they were in the process of installing new outlets in all the bathrooms but we were not one of the lucky ones. My wife spent a good deal of time using the bedroom outlets to heat her TWO curling irons....is it always about the hair ladies?
My recommendation on rooms is as follows:
For deluxe beachfront with privacy, choose the 600 or 700 block rooms.
For close proximity to the beach with less privacy choose the 100-200-300 block rooms. The 400 and 500 block rooms are nice but if you have a ground level unit, people are constantly walking past your patio and looking in at you. I would recommend the second floor 400-500 block rooms for more privacy. The ground level 600 and 700 block rooms are not accessible to the other guests and are completely private.
Also, the 400-500-600-and 700 block rooms are the only units with sunset views. I would avoid the hillside 800 and 900 block units as they have no or limited water views. Your other option would be the Rock Cottage at the end of the peninsula, if you have about $2,000 US per night or more.
My next recommendation is for the ALL INCLUSIVE OPTION! For an extra $170.00 US per couple per day. EVERYTHING is included including drinks and house wines. I was shocked at how many people had no idea it was even available. The retaurants charge a fixed plate charge for dinner.
The Palms is around $35-49 per person US depending on the number of courses and Vyviens is $75.00 US per person for all courses. Both restaurants were spectacular. The Palms was open air. Vyviens was enclosed and airconditioned. As you can see the all inclusive is well worth it. The number of high end restaurants on the island is limited and taxi bills can add up. Throw in the price of lunch and you can see the obvious. The food is close to 4 star at all times. Two of our meals at Vyviens approached 5 star.
The grounds are meticulously maintained. Each moring the entire property is hosed, swept, and even the beach is raked for the morning guests. My wife and I both appreciated the little details like double table linens in both restaurants, weekly fashion shows, two outdoor buffets a week, one international and one barbeque.
During the week we did hire a car and traveled to most of the other resorts on the island for a quick peak at the competing facilities.
After returning we both agreed we made the right choice. Most of the other resorts looked tired and worn, however the beaches were better at most of the others. The rooms in many of the other resorts on Antigua were not as nice as those at Blue Waters. If a large, long beach is a priority, then I would suggest staying at Blue Waters and taxi to other beaches or buy day passes at one of the other resorts. You will be glad you are coming home to Blue Waters at night. Trust me! Again, it is all about priorities and what is important to you.
Last but not least, the staff. Look people, if you are cronic complainer, you will never be happy at any resort. I have seen a few negative staff reviews on this site for Blue Waters and I honestly can't believe it. We found the staff so attentive to our needs that we do not have words to describe it! Many of the staff knew us by first name on the second day we were there. If you are from the USA, be patient please. Although everyone speaks english, you have to slow down your speech and take time to listen to them. It is THEIR COUNTRY NOT YOURS! Meet the staff on their level and they will meet you on yours.
This would be true for any resort on the island. Mutual respect cuts both ways! Lower your expectations a little before arriving and your trip will be so much better.
Momentary side bar....only visit St. Johns on Saturday. The cruise ships are not in and the town gets MUCH SMALLER when 5 ships are in the harbour on week days. Avoid Shirley Heights on Sunday. It is so packed you can't move! The best tour BAR NONE is the helicopter trip to view the volcano on Montserrat. It is $190.00 US per person on Caribbean Helicopters. They fly out of the Jolly Beach Resort, a 20 minute taxi ride from Blue Waters. The second best is Eli's Eco Tours and you can book it online at Antigua Adventures or at the hotel. They pick you up right at the beach. Make sure to taxi to Half Moon Bay and hike around the corner of the bluff on the left side of the crescent. The view is one of most amazing you will see anywhere in the world!!!! Watch out for large falling rocks....just be careful and do not flirt with the waters edge! Long Bay is also a beautiful beach with "walk in" snorkeling.
In closing, you cannot do any better than Blue Waters on the Antigua unless you have $1,800 a night for a room at Jumby Bay Resort. You will not be disappointed. If you have any questions, e-mail me at any time!
My wife will have her review posted soon. Thank you for this opportunity!
A little slice of paradise!
This Place was absolute paradise. My wife and I took our two kids to this wonderful island for the first time. We wanted a small but pretty hotel with an all-inclusive package for the kids. This place hit the nail on the head. Although we did have some troubles with our airline, but that did not manage to ruin the vacation. Upon arriving at Blue Waters we were greeted happily by the bellman and were taken on a tour of the property. We got to our room and the only word to describe it was WOW! We stayed in the main part of the hotel close to everything.
Although the beach is small it is very cute and well maintained, with water as turquoise as an aquamarine itself. My children enjoyed floating on the yellow floaties out to the raft and tan and embrace the experience. While you are there make sure to talk to Owen in Water Sports he is absolutely the greatest guy and a terrific sailing instructor. There was plenty to do for the kids like the games room, the pool and the basketball hoop at the tennis court. Also make sure to meet Andre he is the nicest young man there and is a pleasure to talk with (not to mention he mixes a great drink). All in all, this place was amazing and i would thouroughly recommend it to everyone out there looking for a peaceful, fun and relaxing holiday.
Beach is lined with boats and docks
KFC sign from the front seat of a cab
Casino from deck of ship
Vere Cornwall Bird (1910-1999)
We are headed to Antigua Sandal's resort next week (Honeymoon)! I know the resort has some nice (all inclusive) restaurants, but I'd like to get out a little. I've heard of "The Cove" restaurant. My wife likes the nicer places. Also, I've been looking for a nice dinner cruise? I don't want a choppy all-day adventure (Well, I'd like that, but her, maybe not). Anyways, any advice? Stay on the property? Cruise? Nice Upscale Restaurants?
Re: Sandals/Dinner Cruises/Restaurants
The Cove restaurant is supposed to be nice and there are various other resort restaurants that are also nice:
:: Vyviens (in Blue Waters Resort)
:: Le Bistro (in Hodges Bay area)
:: Home Restaurant (In Gambles area)
:: East Restaurant (In Carlsisle Bay Hotel)
:: Bay House (In Trade Winds Hotel)
:: The Pavilion Restaurant (On the airport grounds)
Have a look at the following web site for more info and maps:
Some other useful website
As nice as Sandals is it is always good to look around the island. There are various places that can make a nice day trip or just a short trip for a couple of hours. Places like English Harbour, Nelsons Dockyard, Shirley Heights, Betty’s Hope, Devils Bridge and Stingray City.
You can rent a car to get you around the island or ask Sandals to book you a taxi to take you out. For shopping it would be best to visit the capital St Johns as they have a duty free area as well as many non duty free shops around the rest of the town. Another experience that might be worthwhile is a helicopter trip around the island as it gives a great views.
Whatever you decide to do I hope you have a great time!
Re: Sandals/Dinner Cruises/Restaurants
Go to The pavillion but bring a jacket (it's formal) , service is EXCELLENt and food is beyong! AVOID Le Bistro..rude staff, uncooked meat and very far for you $$.
You won't be disappointed with the Pavillion
PS: I hope you upgraded your hotel room to the new Meditterean suites..older part not so nice and needs work.