More about Carlisle Bay Antigua
Antiguas finest Hotel
This place is heaven on earth!... gorgeous beach, lovely bay, nice room with all the mod cons, cinama, cool library, yoga, tennis, spa, fresh juice bar...the list goes on.
I would highly recommend this place but perhaps not for young honeymooners trying to get away from it all. It is pretty family oriented now and the beach front suites is where they put them all. For us it was perfect though. Expensive but worth it! Suite opens onto the beach, very nice.
There is a separate room for you little ones which give grown ups some privacy.
The gym is state of the art with very high end equipment. Yoga class happends 5 mornings a week in a gazebo outside. 9 tennis courts, personal trainers, beauty therapists etc...
An amazing spa on site that carries natutal products from New Zealand.
Carlisle Bay- Two Big Thumbs Up
My husband, 2 sons (ages 13 and 6) and I have just returned from a week (3/19-3/26) at Carlisle Bay, where we stayed in a Beach Suite. I would like to reassure those who, as I did before our trip, may have doubts about this hotel after reading the various negative comments posted here and elsewhere. Carlisle Bay was wonderful and well worth a stay! Now that I have experienced it for myslef, I am especially hard-pressed to understand the negative comments. Everything you might want is close at hand and uncrowded, no fighting for chairs on the beach or at the pool. We could literally roll off our patio onto the beach. The beach is clean and uncrowded, very comfy loungers, water gentle and clean. Ditto the pool. Staff circulate around the pool and at the beach to bring you chilled water and chilled fruit and you can have tea in the afternoon poolside or on the beach. Water sports are included, so you can kayak, or take out a windsurfer or a Hobie Cat at your leisure. The hotel also has a speedboat and friendly group of guys who will take you out for scheduled or privately chartered trips. Two of the best times we had was a boat trip to Nelson's Dockyard with private tour and picnic on-board in English Harbor and a snorkeling trip to Cades Reef, both arranged through hotel watersports at the Jetty bar. We saw none of the service problems other posters have noted; quite the contrary- servers in the restaurants were pleasant and polite and went out of their way to repeat orders, remember our names, even our usual drink orders, and played along with us in keeping our finicky 6 year old in the dark that the (delicious) "chicken fingers" he wanted again and again were really mahi mahi strips. The french fries are possibly the best. fries. ever! For parents who may be wondering, there is a childrens' menu in Indigo on the Beach, but we were also able to request special adjustments to food in East restaurant. We never failed to get a greeting from staffers we passed around the resort. Housekeeping staff were also polite and efficient. Our son enjoyed the kids movie that was shown every day in the screening room and there are DVD players in the room if you want to bring along your own selection (or borrow from the hotel). There is also a kids program for those who are interested. Place is very quiet and peaceful, maybe too much for some people, but if you are looking for a place to relax in an elegant, laid-back atmosphere (no need to dress to the nines here, unless you want to), this was it for us. There is a nice mix of guests, from families with small children or older children, to couples and extended families, Brits, Americans and other nationalities. Early on, we had a minor issue with a leaking toilet, but it was repaired and management sent personal note and comped a dinner for us in apology. Management (both resort manager and GM) greeted guests personally, on arrival, throughout the stay and again at departure and actively solicited opinions and ideas to make the experience even better and seemed to really care that guests are pleased. Yes, bugs are around (sand fleas more than mosquitoes) as they are at any place near sand and water, but not a big deal at all-- forewarned is forearmed. Hotel makes several types of insect repellents available in the room and the resort manager explained that new state-of-the-art system will be put in place to further address any issues later this spring. We had a wonderful, relaxing time and hated to return to the chilly Philadelphia area. We would definitely return.
I've spend nine nights at this resort with my family and have to say only few words to describe my feelings about the hotel:
disappointing, disappointing and disappointing.
Service was bad, food was ok, but definetely not 5 star, bugs problem was very serious. I could not imagine a place in the world which was so badly effected by bugs. There are many beautiful hotels around which provide better customer service and value for money. Hotel's management should improve service and solve a bug problem as soon as possible, at the moment I will not recommend anybody to go to Carlisle Bay Hotel.
A great Resort
We had a great holiday at Carlisle Bay. The service is very friendly and responsive...you are looking at people coming round to you on the beach with melon slices, chilled water, cold towels, nothing is too much trouble...just brilliant.
All day breakfast and free afternoon tea make lunch hardly necessary, though we did also find out the the french fries are very good and plentiful.
Tennis is great, with those 9 courts and pro plus assistant now. The water sports are the same , lots of help, teaching, the whole works.
Yes, like anywhere, there are bugs. But with sensible precautions, supplied by the hotel, and that thing about taking brewers yeast before you go, we were hardly troubled by them.
I personally can't understand how anyone could fail to have a great holiday there.
Hate the Bugs
Have just returned from Carlisle Bay and feel like I am recovering from a bad case of chicken pox!!! Spent 7 days at the resort and it rained every day for at least 2 or 3 hours - sometimes all day. Apparently this is not uncommon!! Because of the proximity to the swamp and the rainy weather the sand flies were out in force and were remorseless in their biting. Even though I wore loads of protective creams and sprays I was covered in bites and suffered several sleepless nights because of irritation.
This completely spoilt what would otherwise be quite a nice resort. We had an ocean suite which is gorgeous but the beach suites(those with a separate sitting room) were very disappointing and although the same price they were of a far inferior quality. The Indigo restaurant is good quality food but boring after a few days. The main restaurant East, is no better than our local Chinese! All the public areas are too large and with no atmosphere. The spa treatments were OK, with particular mention of Tricia who gave excellent massages. Staff throughout were very friendly and helpful but everything was overshadowed by weather and insects. Cannot recommend this hotel to anyone until they sort the problem out.
The best service in the Caribbean.
My family and I just returned from a wonderfully relaxing week at Carlisle Bay and I know I will not have enough room to mention all the good things about it. After reading some of the reviews in the weeks leading up to our stay, I was quite apprehensive about the supposed spotty service issues and mosquito problem - these problems never materialized. The entire staff, from front desk personnel to babysitters, were endlessly accommodating and unfailingly friendly. Each and everyone I encountered went out of their way to ensure that we felt "looked after." One of my twin infants needed medical attention and the staff had us in a taxi to the Island's leading pediatrician within minutes. Both restaurants were delightful...starting each day with a great breakfast (included), choose anything or everything on the menu, and most ingredients were organically grown. You have the option of having breakfast in the beach restaurant, in your room or even by the pool and it seemed to me that they would serve it at any hour! And let's not forget afternoon tea (also included), according to my mother-in-law, "the best scones I've ever had," - no small compliment as she favours tea at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and Claridge's in London!
Our suite was beautiful and opened directly onto the beach, which was perfect for watching the kids from the patio. The room was simply and elegantly appointed and very roomy, even with a four year old and twins infants. The beach and pool were never crowded, unlike Grand Cayman or Turks. In fact, I enquired and was very surprised to learn that the hotel was at full occupancy.
The bug problem was not nearly as bad as I had been expecting. As with every other Caribbean island, the mosquitos come out at dusk, but a mosquito coil on the patio is all it takes to keep them at bay. I brought mosquito nets (which we never opened) and three kinds of bug repellents that were needed only sparingly. I mentioned this to Management and was reassured that they are dealing aggressively with the issue in an entirely eco-friendly manner. And regarding the complaint that toilettries aren't replaced everyday - who needs three new bars of soap everyday?! Once you've been spoiled at Carlisle Bay, it would be hard to return to the indifference of other resorts in the Caribbean. My family and I loved every minute and will definitely be back.
service was terrible, resort was lovely
we stayed in carlisle bay in november 2004. having stayed at one aldwych we were looking forward to similar levels of service and hospitality. unfortunately we didn't get it...
the resort itself is beautiful; the rooms, comfy beds, beach, pool and restaurants were all wonderful. the library was really cool and a great place to escape from the rain!
however there were many downsides.
the spa was the worst experience overall - especially as it was the main reason we chose the resort. the yoga instructor had walked out the day we arrived, unbeknown to other spa staff who had me waiting 45 mins for a non-existent instructor. no replacement teacher could be found for the whole week and no apologies or compensations were made, despite the fact that we voiced our disappointment. we went to the spa on the day we arrived to book appointments for the rest of our stay - but it was pretty much fully booked and the resort was only half full. the spa staff, especially the manager on reception, were all unfriendly and unhelpful. the changing rooms were swarming with mosquitoes - even more so than the rest of the resort!
the service was generally shoddy. everything took a long time to happen, and not just a leisurely carribean pace, but room service would take 2 hours, or orders were lost altogether. the restaurant staff were friendly but had no idea what they were serving, or what was on the menu. and there was no point whatsoever asking them about the wine list!
one of the most annoying things for me was that i booked the holiday and they had my credit card details as a deposit, however they insisted on calling me by my husband's name (different to mine) every time we ordered anything, despite the fact that i told them my name a number of times. in fact the woman at the restaurant told me that i had got my name wrong!
the most disappointing was the manager's attitude. when we let him know about the problems we had experienced, he basically did nothing about it and wasn't very apologetic.
attention to detail makes such a huge difference - especially at these prices. carlisle bay has a long way to go before it can really call itself a 5 star resort.
We vacationed at Carlisle bay from 3/5 for 5 nights and had a wonderful time. We were concerned after reading the reviews but could not have had a better vacation and definitely look forward to returning.
Service - Both Andrew Hedley, the general manager and Stephane Zaharia, the resort manager were fantastic. They are very visible and are always asking vacationers their opinions and seeing how they can help.
The rest of the staff was also very friendly and helpful. Much better than the other resorts of similiar calibre in the Carribean. We only had one lunch where the waitress was slow and had an attitude.
Facility - Unbelievable! The resort is beautiful. A private cove - lots of beach, clear water that at times looks jade green, mountains surrounding the resort - Breathtaking. The pool is delightful. We had a beach front suite which was perfect for us, our nanny and children. It was cleaned well every morning while we were at breakfast.
Very relaxing vacation - great tennis, spa, and other water sports. Very helpful staff.
Food - Very good. Breakfast was fantastic - fresh juices, fruit salads, eggs benedict - anything and included. Lunch - I loved the gazpacho and the ceasar salad with grilled shrimp. Dinner - you can dine at East (Asian) or outside which is varied cuisine. Both had very good food - my favorite at East was the pan fried beef and the lamb chops at the other restaurant.
The bugs - a pain but there are usually bugs where there is water and lush foilage. They were a bit of a nuisance. Having said that - we were prepared and I only returned with one bite (I usually get eaten alive). They provide Family off.
Chill out time
We have just returned from the most relaxing vacation ever. After reading some of the reviews, we were a little apprehensive as what to expect, but these apprehensions soon dissapeared. The resort is larger than we expected, with beautiful trees and gardens well maintained, the beach runs the whole length of the resort, the rooms, we had an Ocean View, are wonderful, well apointed, spacious, the day bed on the balcony is a terrific touch. Why one would want the toiletries change every day beats me, lovely products in larger than normal containers. Sheets are soft and silky and towels like cotton wool.
East restaurant has top marks for both food and service, while Indigo service is a bit confused at times, we never got a wrong order and the food was excellant. Staff in both restaurants are very friendly.
Although the resort was full , it was so quiet, even the few children were well behaved. No fighting for space on the beach or table in the restaurants.
As far as the "bug" problem, we didnt have any problems,a few around in the evening, but this is the Caribean..one must expect a few.
We couldnt have been made more welcome...cant wait to return...
Could be a lot better
My husband and I stayed here for 9 days at the beginning of February. My main complaint about the hotel is the very average service - you are often left to wait over 10 mins to even get a menu in the Indigo restaurant and service is slow. We also found a lot of the dishes in Indigo very dry, however the tenderloin was delicious. The manager did acknowledge there was a problem with service at Indigo and was tackling it (especially after the Valentine's Day fiasco where they ran out of food options and charged $120 pp).
Our mini-bar was not re-stocked at all and we had to call up several times for them to do this. I don't have a problem with them not replacing the toiletries every day but ours ran out and were not replaced the same day which is poor.
Service at the beach was hit or miss, sometimes we had to ask 3 or 4 times for water etc. so they could do with being a lot more attentive.
On the plus side, the yoga was excellent and I had a very good facial at the Spa. We did not get one bite - I did see another guest covered in bites so I guess that just depends.
I would not recommend this hotel to friends - I'm imagining that for the same money you could go somewhere else with excellent service and fewer niggles. Even though some reviews mention that this is the Carribean and people need to chill out I think one can expect a certain level of service when paying this much.
If you do go, it is definitely worth going to Harmony Hall restaurant - delicious food and excellent service.
Best time of year
Hi everyone, I'm new to this site...
my fiance and I are looking at Antigua for our honeymoon, and we would be going in Oct/Nov, and possibly staying at jolly beach vacations.
does anyone have any advice? good time of year to go? good resort? is there much to do? we'd be most interested in relaxing in the sun, snorkling (maybe diving) and visiting local areas. Any tips or information would be great!
RE: Best time of year
Sorry, I have a few more questions...we were wondering if anyone knew of any possible day trips? other than Barbudos, is there anywhere else somewhat close by thats worth the travel?
RE: RE: Best time of year
If you are most interested in the sun, snorkelling and visiting local areas then Jolly Beach is a fairly good location to do all this from. There are also helicopter tours available from Jolly Beach (Antigua tour or Montserrat tour). Renting a car is a great way to get around and see the island for yourselves, but there are also tours available by Antigua Premier Tours or other local firms. Other things to do (just to mention a few) are Eli’s Eco Tour, Horse Riding, Sport Fishing, various boats trips as well as Shirley Heights. You can also catch a flight to nearby islands if you fancy that
November to April are good times to go as although the weather is hot and sunny it is not too hot. You will most probably get rain most of the year, but it doesn’t often last that long and soon dries up again. The hurricane season runs from June until September. Antigua Carnival is held in the last 2 weeks of July running for two weeks and is a great experience.
Other hotels that might be worth looking at are Blue Waters, Carlisle Bay, Cocobay Resort, Dian Bay Resort & Spa, St James’s Club and Hermitage Bay. It depends what your budget is and what your tastes are like.
There’s various listing of things to do, places to eat, and accommodation from www.stay-in-antigua.com.