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“LOVE this place---so relaxing”

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Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Ranked #10 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Webster, New York
Level Contributor
81 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“LOVE this place---so relaxing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2013

We returned again in March of 2013 this time for 10 days! We have no regrets. As I said before, if you are the type of person who needs to be constantly entertained then this is not the resort for you. If you are the kinds of person that wants to relax...kick back and enjoy the sun, then this is your place. The staff is great and friendly as all get out. We enjoy chatting with them...they work hard...long hours, but for the most part smile constantly. We will be back again Hawksbill....

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Lorroth1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,147 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (322)
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English first
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2013

If you love water sports and the most beautiful setting in the world with the most friendly and helpful staff - try this one. Let's get the negative out of the way, the buildings and infrastructure does need some t.l.c. and if you are looking for gourmet food I wouldn't recommend anywhere in the carribbean. However, we stayed in the bungalows on the first beach, which are well built and spacious. Air conditioned, kept beatifully clean with fresh flowers every day. We did have a problem with the plumbing (loo blocked after exeptional rain) but it was attended to immediately.
Breakfasts were delicious, with eggs cooked to order and a wide selection of cooked and cold food. The porridge is really good. Lunches served at the beack bar included a grill offering fish, meat and burgers, together with an extensive menu of freshly cooked foods including toasted sandwiches, freshly cooked tortilla chips, fries and salads. Afternoon teas also served here. Fresh sandwiches (always ham and cheese) and a variety of cakes. Dinner was either buffet style or served. The soups were the best for me and portions were on the small side, but I was never hungry having had huge breakfasts and lunch. The bar served the most fabulous cocktails with a special each day.
The real wow factor of this resort is the location, I think it is the best in the world. The extensive grounds covering 4 bays are beautifully kept with well kept lawns and named trees. The beaches were raked every day and were pristine. Because the beaches shelve into the sea, it would not be practical for toddlers. For older children and adults you can snorkel from one bay to the next, borrow gear from the hotel, including pedalos, kyaks and even a speed boat.
The weather was fabulous to say it was the beginning of the hurricane season! We had one day when it rained all day. The rest of the holiday was hot and sunny.
All the staff were helpful, friendly and cheerful. Being out of season, there was little in the way of entertainment, but as we were with family we made our own. It was the first vist of our daughter, son - in - law and 17 year old grandson who are absolutely in love with Hawksbill and are planning their next visit!
So a bit of a "marmite" resort, but if you love a quiet, beautiful location with a variety of water sports this really cannot be bettered.

Room Tip: Air conditioning is essential, particularly in the summer when it is very hot and humid.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Sue D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Camberley, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2013

This hotel has charm and warmth we have not experienced elsewhere. The Antiguan way of life is very relaxed and very soon that is how you feel once you have arrived. Sure, there are a few "tired " areas but this in no way detracts from the feeling and joy you experience at the hotel. Rooms are clean , staff are fantastic and the food is very tasty and varied. If you want a holiday full of character, relaxation and enjoyment in the most idyllic setting then please book this hotel. If you are thinking of getting married there (as we did) then do not hesitate. Ours was absolutely perfect and incredibly good value!! Claudette (our organiser) could not have been more helpful.
Don't wait. get booking!!

Mr & Mrs Chapman

Room Tip: Beach club rooms all have air conditioning although other rooms have fans.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jeff C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Somerset
Level Contributor
46 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2013

We have been to Hawksbill 10 times and this year saddened us. Whilst we loved the place for it's 'unspoilt' beauty and the grounds and beaches are absolutely lovely. the rest of the hotel has been let go with lack of investment over the years that now is almost in need of a complete rebuild in the main building, and a severe upgrade(well rather repair items that have needed repairing for years in the other buildings. Broken drain covers broken louvres on the window, torn mosquito netting under the louvres, broken tiles in the bathroom (they have been broken for the last 5 years that I know of) damaged fences.worn out covers on the beach chairs outside the cottages, Beds and pillows far far past there best, the outside of the cottages need painting. no premium brand drinks now, all unknown brands, food now, whilst never gourmet is now just poor, suppose the budget for the food and drink has been cut to save money, but whilst Hawksbill in not expensive it we pay upwards of £4500 for 12 days with flights, so for us it is not cheap and all that takes working for.
The staff who are so lovely are trying against the odds and many familiar faces are now missing. they must be saddened to see what is happening to this once lovely place.

We did speak with regional Rex directors who happened to be there at the time, and told them of how we feel, I hope they realise the extent of our anger and how we love this special place, and what they are doing to it (or rather not doing to it) upsets us greatly. All returners have known about the lease issues for years but now it is really affecting us, we meet our friends there each year, friends from all over the world who, like us, like what Hawksbill had to offer, but this year even us, the returners, were noticing the poor state of the buildings and the upkeep. If the returners see it, 1st timers would think twice about going back.

Rex are doing a disservice to the staff, Hawksbill itself and us, the customers, who have loved this place for so long.

We will not be gong next year as it will take time to update this lovely place and bring it back to its former self.

We only hope that the shades are taken off the eyes of the powers that be at Rex and listen to the people who love this place

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
13 Thank Sampford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VA
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2013

The Hawksbill is perfect for a relaxing and laid back vacation. Little has changed in the 27 years we have been going to Hawksbill, and that is what we love about it. Hawksbill has the folksy feeling of an old-fashioned Caribbean resort.

This is the real Caribbean. You won’t find any glitzy high-rises here. The rooms are simple and practical, and stretched out parallel to the ocean, all within a few steps from a beach. Ratio of beach per guest is very high. In fact there are four beaches on the property, about a mile’s worth or beach (1.5 km), and only about 100 rooms to share them. We love listening to the waves lap as we sleep and waking to the sounds of the birds singing.

The beaches are never crowded; even when the Hawksbill is at full capacity we still have no trouble finding a secluded section of beach for some peace and quiet. But lately, occupancy has been way below peak. If you use first beach (Royal Palm), third beach (Honeymoon Cove), or the end part of fourth beach (Eden), you will likely have it all to yourself. As you can see from my pictures, we had all four of the beaches pretty much to ourselves. And because of the isolated location and good security, you will never be interrupted on the beach by hawkers. (More on the beaches later.)

The Hawksbill estate is the nicest property on the island. Four beautiful beaches, fantastic sunset view, and gorgeous landscaping. The property is 15 minute cab ride from St. John, but is nicely isolated from the rest of the island by a hilly forested ridge, which gives it privacy and protection from undesirables.

The Hawksbill estate is a former sugar plantation (the old sugar mill has been converted to a gift shop). When the patriarch died in the early 1900’s, the property was forever bequeathed to his 3 daughters and their heirs. The property was subsequently leased to the Hawksbill resort on a 50 year lease. This lease expired in 2010. Rex Resorts has exercised its renewal rights for another 50 years; however, the Antiguan family that owns the property has grown into a large and disorganized state, and the negotiations over the lease terms continue to drag out.

What does this mean for Hawksbill’s guests? For one, it has discouraged development on the property. This we think is the reason the Hawksbill has changed so little over the past 50 years, and the resort’s old fashioned Caribbean charm has been preserved. There are not many more rooms than what Hawksbill had when we began going there 27 years ago. Hence, there’s an uncommonly low density of rooms per unit of beach–which is why you can always find a remote section of beach for yourself.

The second benefit is that the Hawksbill prices are a huge bargain. The lease uncertainty and global economy have kept the prices way below other comparable Antiguan resorts. If you don’t believe me then get on Expedia and check out the resort right next door, Galley Bay, which was rebuilt after the 1998 hurricane. The Hawksbill resort is well maintained and it has beautiful beaches and landscaping, but your money is not financing new development. The rooms are basic, but they are comfortable and clean. There was a remodeling effort in the 1990’s, and some new rooms were built then (Honeymoon Cove). But any major new remodeling is being held hostage while the price of the lease is being negotiated. For our money we love the folksy downhome feel of the Hawksbill, and the beaches are the best on the island. In recent years we have been going twice a year to take advantage of the low prices, while they last.

In fact, if you are planning a group event, Hawksbill is a great choice. This trip was a romantic vacation for just the two of us, but we have already booked another trip for our extended family (30 people). If you are arranging a family reunion or a tropical wedding, the Hawksbill is a perfect place. On a similar trip last year, we had a wedding for our niece, the wedding coordinator arranged a nice ceremony. This is the ideal location for a destination wedding, not only because of the romantic and picturesque locale, but also because the room rates are a bargain if booking for a large group.

A little more about the beaches. The center of activity (if you can call it that) is the Second beach (Sea Grapes), which is located near the beach bar and the open air restaurant where lunch and tea are served. It also has the water sports shack (kayaks, sail boats, paddle boats, snorkel gear – no extra charge). Second beach is also the easiest beach for swimming and access, especially nice if you are a senior or have small children. Honeymoon cove (third beach) is a small protected beach, which is aptly named because you will likely have it all to yourselves. And it is a short walk to the beach bar for refills. First beach is a long stretch of sand and lawn in front of the beach club rooms – I like these for quiet mornings reading on the chaise lounges while my wife sleeps in.

Eden beach is the clothing optional beach; the only one on Antigua. It is the most secluded of the four Hawksbill beaches and is also the longest. Eden is uncrowded and there is plenty of room to spread out. If you always wanted to try a nude beach but were afraid to, then this is the beach for you. For a private skinny dipping experience you can easily find a stretch of sand where you can be by yourself. This beach is discretely separated from the other three beaches (the entrance is a short walk from the main resort area, through a gate and around a small bend) – so if you don’t go looking for it, then you will never even be aware that it is there. We have made several trips to Hawksbill with extended family (30 or so) complete with children and no one has ever been offended by the presence of the nude beach. Most of our group has never seen it.

We like the food at Hawksbill. The all-inclusive price includes a full breakfast, with made to order eggs and omelets while you watch. Lunch at the beach-side grill includes chicken, hamburger, fish, etc. with salads, soup, as well as a made to order menu of sandwiches, pasta, etc. There is tea-time beach-side with little sandwiches and cakes. Dinner alternates between nice buffets (e.g., roast beef or pork carving tables, Caribbean BBQ) and table service from a menu. The menu always has a nicely prepared meat, poultry, fish, and vegetarian selection plus soup, choice of appetizer, and dessert served by the very proficient Hawksbill waitresses. Example menu items while we were there included lamb with rosemary mint sauce, roast beef with gravy and horseradish (side of Yorkshire pudding/pop-over), red snapper, sweet and sour chili chicken, orange glazed duck. We especially enjoyed the soups: chilled tomato basil, cream of chicken with ginger and orange, pumpkin, onion, black bean.

The house wine served with dinner is enjoyable (we drank an excellent Chilean Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon), and the bar staff won’t let your glass dry out unless you insist. The bars also have good cocktails with premium drinks, all included in the all-inclusive price. You only pay extra if you want something special such as a lobster or vintage wine.

There is entertainment some nights at dinner. During the June slow season we had entertainment about every other night, more frequently when we came in the busy season. The entertainment is low-key – small bands that sing old favorites, a steel band one night. There are casinos in town, a short taxi ride away, if you need more action.

The all-inclusive pricing cannot be beat. Once we arrive we spend very little extra money except for a few tee-shirts, sun dresses, or shell jewelry, which we buy from Aloma and Sharon, who set up shop outside breakfast. Their prices are as good as or better than you will get in town. There's also a small shop in the ruins of the old sugarmill, which has nice merchandise. There are day trips and excursions that you can book at extra cost. Over the years my family has tried the sunset horseback rides, catamaran tours, snorkel trips, and island taxi tour.

Tipping the staff is optional. With all inclusive pricing it is not expected, and you will never be solicited for a tip. However, it is our preference to give small tips to the servers and maid as we go, and we think this is well worth it, especially since you will likely be the exception.

As with most of our recent trips, we stayed in a beach club room. The ones on Honeymoon Cove are our favorites. The beach club rooms (Royal Palm beach or Honeymoon Cove) all have A/C, the rest have ceiling fans. The Royal Palm beach rooms are spread out along the very quiet and beautiful Royal Palm (1st) beach. Honeymoon Cove is on a rock outcropping between Sea Grapes (2nd) and Honeymoon Cove (3rd) beaches. Honeymoon cove has the most privacy and closest proximity to Eden (clothing optional) beach (also known as 4th beach). The other rooms are near Sea Grapes (2nd) beach and are centrally located if you want to be near the beach bar, small pool, lunch, and water sports. These include a long two-story building (superior sea view) with about three dozen rooms (largest of the room options with louvers front and back for a good cross breeze) and the rest are cottages (superior sea view bungalows and garden bungalows). The sea view bungalows are directly on 2nd beach, just steps from the water. The garden bungalows are one row back, but still very close to the beach. There is also a great house (three bedrooms, wrap around porch) situated on the rock outcropping between 1st and 2nd beaches if you want to accommodate a large group, or just want the extra luxury. Meals (breakfast and dinner) are served in the main open-air dining room on the hill overlooking the 1st and 2nd beaches. Lunch and tea are served at the beach side restaurant (and bar) on 2nd beach.

Over the years we have stayed in all of the room types. We have stayed frequently in the beach club rooms on both Royal Palm beach and Honeymoon Cove. We have also stayed on previous visits in the superior sea view and bungalows on 2nd beach, and we were always happy with our rooms.

Guest ages range from young honeymooners to old married couples. The average guest age leans towards an older crowd because many are long-time repeat customers. Although mostly couples, there are always some solo travelers and families as well. Most guests are from the UK, with a few Europeans, and Americans (US and Canada) mixed in.. Wherever you come from, you will meet friendly people and make new friends, as we have.

Children are welcome here, but are not abundant. The times that we have brought small children, they kept entertained catching the small lizards and finding hermit crabs, when they weren’t playing on the beach. There is a small pool that is perfect for the kids right next to the beach bar and lunch area.

There is one TV on the property with satellite feed - – but I’ve rarely seen anybody using it. There is wireless internet everywhere on the property now. The signal was a little weak at Honeymoon cove, but strong everywhere else. There is also a pay-per use internet terminal.

We have not been bothered by mosquitoes and sandflies, as others have reported. We have learned to stay off of the grass or sand at sunset, which is when they are active. We usually leave the beach right before sunset and catch the sunset from the beach bar or from our porch. After dark they disappear until morning, so you can enjoy a quiet evening on the porch. Some people seem to be more sensitive, so to be safe, pack some repellant for your legs. The bugs also seem to vary depending on how wet the weather has been prior to your arrival. They do fog the grass several times per week. I don’t know if this works, but the wife makes me take vitamin B1 starting about a week before departure, which is purported to make you taste nasty to bugs.

The staff at Hawksbill is great. Everyone is very friendly. They have treated us like family and we are very appreciative. The Hawksbill staff is wonderful and I can tell you that they have always worked very hard to make sure that we were happy – from our very first visit to our many return visits. If you have any issues, please talk to the duty manager at reception and they will bend over backwards to fix it.

Feel free to Email me via the trip advisor link if you have questions. I have an aerial view photo that the management once gave me, which shows the layout of the grounds. I can’t post it because it is a commercial photo. But if you are interested I can email it to you. For that I will need your direct email address.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank e-bob2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rowlett, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 June 2013

Rex Resorts moved us from the Halcyon Cove to Hawksbill due to renovations and are we glad they did! We loved the resort from the first minute when we were offered cold cloths to cool us off until the last minute when we reluctantly left to return home. The staff here is outstanding! From the housekeeping staff, front desk staff, tour desk, servers and bartenders, everyone was as friendly as could be. Never had to wait long for anything. The guys at the water sports hut were very friendly and helpful too as we took kayak lessons and Kurt had to rescue us one time! We stayed in one of the duplex bungalows and we loved it! High vaulted, whitewashed ceilings and louvered windows where we could hear the ocean waves as we went to sleep. We did have an air conditioner because it does get a little warm in the afternoons when we came in from the beach to clean up for dinner. There are several beaches and one was right outside our door and most of the time we were the only ones out there. We spent lots of time also on the beach by the Seagrape Grill. Not crowded at all! So glad we went the first week of June in their low season, it was so quiet we were really able to rest and relax. Some of the staff we got to know are Jeremine, Elaine, Natacha, Crystal and Shimery. Everlie, the front desk manager was extremely nice, also. We would definitely recommend and hope to be able to return.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Marty L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 June 2013

Hi,

I thought I would leave this review for several days after getting back to let the dust settle so I could give what I believe to be an honest opinion of the place

The location is absolutely stunning with grounds that are really well maintained.The beaches are clean and kept free from litter. The accommodation may be a bit tired but it's kept really clean. It doesn't pretend to be five star and the Virgin brochure rating is about right.

We found the staff to be brilliant and very friendly. You only have to talk to them. No one was ever rude to us and I certainly wouldn't describe any of them as surly. They seemed really happy and the restaurant waitresses were quite often singing and dancing to the background music.

The entertainment was a bit hit and miss but William the barman was the top attraction one night. I hope he's back at work now after his unscheduled week off..

There weren't many guests when we were there and the food choice was perhaps a bit limited. It's quality ranged from average to good. The lunch time soups were excellent. You could drink as much or as little as you wanted and again the service was really good.

The manager was happy to talk about the resort, receive feedback and receptive to suggestions. He clearly has plans once the lease is sorted. He was very approachable and could be seen around the resort on a regular basis. I was asked by one member of the management team if there was any special food I would like. I said goat curry and it appeared on the menu two days later. Nice touch there.

We booked via Virgin Holidays but upgraded our room to one with air con by directly contacting Ornella Nedd at the resort and saved a small fortune on the brochure price. Again, top service from her.

It's not a place for kids apart from the watersports..

If you want a quiet, laid back stay in a tranquil location and a beach to yourself, this is the place.We would go there again but not for a few years.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Wightlink56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hawksbill by Rex Resorts

Property: Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Address: Five Islands, St. John's, Antigua
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#7 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#8 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hawksbill by Rex Resorts 3*
Number of rooms: 107
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hawksbill By Rex Hotel St. John`s
Hawksbill Antigua
Hawksbill By Rex Antigua
Hawksbill Hotel Antigua
Hawksbill Beach Resort
Hawksbill Resort Antigua
Hawksbill By Rex Resorts Antigua/Saint John Parish

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