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“Very peaceful with Caribbean charm”

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Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Ranked #9 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Reviewed 22 November 2013

My girlfriend and I visited Hawksbill from the 1st to 14th of November this year. It was our first experience of the Caribbean, so we didn't know quite what to expect. I'd read the reviews on tripadvisor, and so had a few ideas, but kept an open mind.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
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When we arrived at the taxi drop-off at Hawksbill, two staff members who were chatting in the lobby came out and helped us carry our bags down the steps. They weren't porters, just cooks and cleaners I think, but it was greatly appreciated as it was pouring with rain and had been a long day!

We were greeted by a very friendly receptionist, given a welcome drink and cool damp flannel, and taken to our room, a Garden Bungalow near the far end of the resort.

To be honest, our very first thoughts on our room were along the lines of "oh". The bed was massive, but everything else was pretty basic. To sum up the room in one sentence, it was like living in a beach hut for two weeks!

This feeling though soon left us, and by our second day we were quite at home. Having visited St. Johns and seen other bits of the island, it felt very genuine. The room was cleaned daily, to quite a high standard.

At this point I feel I should mention that we were in Antigua for my sisters wedding, and had a 1 night stay in the Cove Suites at Blue Waters hotel, on the day of the wedding. We enjoyed our stay at Blue waters, but were ever so glad to be back at Hawksbill the next day!

The $700 a night suite at Blue Waters was very luxurious, but the whole resort felt like it could have been a 5* resort anywhere in the world, not just the Caribbean. Hawksbill on the other hand is a lot more spacious (I felt a little claustrophobic at Blue waters as everything is packed in), and more "Caribbean".

Another point is AirCon. Our suite had airconditioning. We found it was actually a lot more comfortable in our Garden Bungalow with the ceiling fan, as going from an air-con room to "outside Antigua" was pretty uncomfortable. My advice would be to avoid Air-con if you can and to just acclimatise with the environment. It makes going out in the day so much more bearable!

It was also very quiet when we first arrived, though the resort got a little busier (not much) towards the end of our visit (Mid-November). We liked this, it was quite nice that with so few guests around, you got to know other guests, if you wanted to. This worked in our favour when we ended up sharing a taxi with another couple for a tour of the island, saving about 75%!!!

FOOD AND DRINK
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The food may not be fine dining at Hawksbill, but to be fair, it wasn't that much different than that offered at Blue Waters, except there was more choice. We both absolutely loved everything we were served, and portions were more than adequate. For most meals it was a buffet so you could eat as much as you liked.

The drinks were good, and on-par with Blue waters again. The only difference being that you got a cherry in the top of your Pina-colada at Blue Waters! On a few occasions the lunch-time bar ran out of one or two spirits, meaning a few cocktails were off the menu, but as there was so much to choose from, we were both very happy to use the opportunity to try something new.

THE BEACHES
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We only really swam and snorkelled in the main beach (Seagrapes?) where the watersports are. The first beach as you get to the hotel looks nice, but is some distance from where we were staying. It is also very popular with the residents of the Five Islands town, and often had locals swimming at the end of the beach.

Seagrapes was an excellent beach. Nice and long, not very rocky on the shore. It does drop off quite quickly to about 1-1.5m depth so be warned if you're short, have children, or can't swim. One thing to note is that the visibility in the water can vary quite a lot from day to day, depending on the waves/wind. On the last few days of our trip I think it might have almost been crystal clear. However for about 1 week the waves were breaking on the beach and reefs, and you could only see about 1-2m in front of you. My advice, if you want to snorkel, is to take a dip every day and see what the conditions are like, and if it's clear, snorkel as much as you can as it might be rubbish the next day! There is plenty to see in the bay, I saw a Moray eel, large flounder, and an Octopus, you just have to hunt around a bit, as largely the reef is badly damaged by the hurricanes.

Next you have the Honeymoon cove beach, which is quite small and secluded, we only walked past this to get to the "Clothing optional" Eden beach, which is by far the nicest beach. It's a shame that it's clothing optional, as it both restricts being able to photograph such a beautiful location, as well as potentially putting some people off visiting the beach. It's very quiet, very long, and I wished we'd snorkelled along it if we had had the time and conditions allowed.

THE STAFF
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All I can say is that pretty much all the staff were as friendly as humanly possible. At first it felt a bit weird, as it's rare to find such friendly people in the UK. However having toured around the island, and been greeted by absolute strangers, we realised it's just Antigua in general, where everyone is happy and friendly!


TIPS
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Make sure you get "Off", or "Go" insect repellant. Use the "Vape" electronic repellent provided in your room. Having read the instructions in the supermarket (The one in our room had no information on what it did or how to use it, so we had to use our brains), these are best used with windows etc closed, fans off, for 10 mins (so the vapour can circulate without being blown out the windows).

Watersports. Sean, the main watersports guy, is really nice. However he can be a bit pushy to try and get you to agree, and then pay for, one of the non-free watersports. In our case we got slightly pressured into being taken out to a local wreck. My advice is to try and avoid paying up front for anything, and agree to pay on the day if you can. We paid, but agreed to a slot later in the week when he was running behind. Sadly later in the week the conditions were worse. If we could have paid on the day, we could have chosen not to do the trip, as money is non-refundable.

CONCLUSION
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Overall I can't recommend Hawksbill enough. It was very quiet and had a lovely atmosphere. We were there two weeks, which was quite long as there's not that much to do, but for just chilling out, it's an ideal spot.

Room Tip: If Air conditioning isn't an essential, we found it easier going with a ceiling fan. The transit...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank zpyder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 November 2013

Only stayed here for 3 nights and wished it had been longer.
The no Tv, or wifi, was a new experience for us.
As Twitter/facebook addicted people in their late 20's, the revelation that we could survive AND enjoy ourselves without our phones was a nice shock :)

We had booked into a garden room, and ended up getting upgraded to a seafront room (needed the air con.
Our room was literally 10 paces from the sea - and what a stunning view every morning.

The beaches are fabulous. The one where the watersports centre is, had fish swimming around our feet.

Food was delicious, and the beach BBQ on Wednesday was fab.
Staff were amazing.
Atmosphere delightful, we met a lovely lady called Karen who had visited 17 times (that's got to speak for itself!)....Ps: Karen if you're reading this, we loved meeting you, tried to find you to say bye in the morning but missed you.

100% would return.

Room Tip: If you can't handle the heat...invest in an air con room ! Also if you are going in the rainy m...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank BeccaDia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

Now....if Rex Resorts are reading this, they will be reading yet another "same old" review. This was our 2nd visit to the resort in 6 years, and glad we went back. The staff are very friendly, and we think it has the best setting out of all the hotels on Antigua, and to be honest it was the same as we remember. We paid for the top room, a beach bungalow, and the positioning of these are fantastic, and in true Caribbean style. However, the rooms themselves were in need of general maintenance, and sent a list of 6 items needing repair to reception when we arrived. Just things like toilet flush, bathroom door didn't latch, bathroom door kept getting stuck as it had swelled. Also, the wooden shutters on front window were broken. Or rather they needed replacing. Anyway, they came and "fixed" them, only for the problem to be there in some instances, so I suppose you could say bodged a little. This was such a shame, as really some of these problems should of been picked up by domestics cleaning the room, and reported to maintenance.
The food- now if you are looking for gourmet, well it isn't, and we often found the same thing cropping up the night after on the menu....ie lyonaise potatoes, and a vegetarian dish were appearing in the buffet or menu 2 nights on the trot. The thing that really disappointed me was there was very little fruit. For a Caribbean island the most we were offered at brekkie was prunes, melon and water melon. I asked for a banana one day, but they said they didn't have any, but later saw some by the bar area??? Fruit is quite a staple when you go to a tropical island, and our love of passion fruit etc meant we were left quite disappointed. Also, I like to eat a balanced diet, but found it hard to find fruit when I needed it. The evening did have fruit salad on the desert menu, but was the same fruit from breakfast.
The entertainment was average....I mean if you are wanting something every night, then this place isn't for you, but for us this was great. The other thing that needed some money spent on, was the white wooden tables in the Seagrape Bar area and the tables outside in the Tamarind bar area. I noted they did have mostly new tables in the restaurant, which was good. Unfortunately, they seem to stick another layer of paint on things and this after a while makes things look very tired indeed. We also tried for 3 days to get beach towel, and each time the water sports said they were waiting for them to arrive, so rarely managed to change them, unless you are prepared to spend your day keep going back for things. The shop/boutique was closed, and was told by a domestic that it was possible to ask at reception and they would have some supplies there. However when I returned at a more convenient time, they didn't seem at all keen to source these items, as they were boxed up???
Having said all this, we loved our holiday. It must be said that with these problems sorted it will be a fantastic resort, but until then Rex really need to be taking these comments on board. It is known that Rex resorts need to update things, but are taking far too long to do it. When it comes to tables etc, they are small changes that make a big difference. Would we go back....I think so, but would need to know these changes had happened first.

Room Tip: Beach Bungalow, as long as it has been properly maintained!!
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Doodah99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2013

Having read previous reviews I knew what to expect from the accommodation at this resort. What I didn't expect was just how beautiful the Hawksbill turned out to be. For a peaceful relaxing time in stunning surroundings it would be hard to imagine anywhere better. Another terrific plus was every member of the staff who couldn't do enough to be helpful and make your holiday one to be remembered. What hotel have you stayed at where the staff embrace you when you about to leave and are genuinely sorry to see you go - only at Hawksbill !!
We stayed in one of the Beach Club air conditioned bungalows. OK it could have used a lick of paint here or there but it was very comfortable, roomy and positioned twenty feet from the beach where the sound of the gentle waves lull you to sleep.
The meals were good with a reasonable choice and the desserts are guaranteed to make you put on weight. As for drinks, well you have to stop the staff from bringing you another one when you have had enough.
The entertainment is downbeat and very Caribbean, Sean from the Watersports made very effort, especially with the crab racing.
If you want to visit other parts of this lovely island I thoroughly recommend the taxi driver, Goldman Richardson, a more knowledgable and likeable man it would be hard to meet.
If you are doubting this resort from other reviews you may have read all I can say is give it a go, you will want to return. I certainly do !!!

Room Tip: For a comfortable sleep, especially when it is very hot, choose the air conditioned beach club bunga...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Dunkeswell13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

Hawksbill is our Antiguan 'home from home', we honeymooned there and have been back many times since. We visitied in June this year and I thought to myself that if I couldn't leave a great review, we just wouldn't leave one. We feel disloyal being critical of it because we love it! But, having read reviews left subsequently, I thought I would just leave a few remarks in the hope, if another people say so and if the scarcity of visitors isn't enough, that Rex Resorts might listen to these reviews.

In Hawksbill, you have a gem, a treasure, a little piece of paradise. It isn't Sandals, It isn't swanky or pretentious (not that Sandals is, I haven't stayed there so can't comment), it is just charm personified. Rex Resorts have some of the loveliest people I have ever met working at Hawksbill; Brenda, Novella, Jeremine, David, Adrian . . . the list goes on and on. But they seem content to let it suffer a long, slow, agonising decline. True, there was some 'facelifitng' going on while we were there and the manager (at least) seemed to be listening. We don't want luxury, we don't want cordon bleu cooking, we just want to meet with old friends in a lovely setting and totally relax in comfort. So, Rex, please. Nurture this place, love it, invest a little in it. Don't make it different in character, just spend some money on it.

Talking of meeting old friends, while there we met a couple that had suffered during a previous stay; her being taken to hospital in an ambulance and him diagnosed with Witzelsucht's Syndrome and the staff had been marvellous. This time we went Zip Lining with them to the Antigua Rain Forest Canopy and disasters, yet again, befell them! It was so funny to see them ziplining backwards (they weren't meant to be going backwards) down between the trees but it was even funnier to see him left dangling off of a wire walk, not having the strength to pull himself up and relying on the courage of bystanders (me) and staff to rescue him from his predicament. It may sound cruel to poke fun at the aged but it really did provide us with endless laughter on the trip back to Hawksbill.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank john430smith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2013 via mobile

lastyou're my husband and I stayed here. we spend the money to stay where they are nicer hotel rooms with air conditioning that definitely made a difference. I would say that this occasion was about average still enjoyable had the nicest beaches on the island (we did an island tour). definitely had a British feel to it but that's what was appealing for us. Not the cheep American feel you get from like an all American resort

  • Stayed: October 2013
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2  Thank pac8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2013

It's been a couple years since me and my wife visited. I recall wanting to go back once again. This resort is vary quaint, yet still covers a very good sized area with 3 very different beaches.
You will not get a 4 star experience here, but if you do not expect that and are happy with an older resort that is not exceptionally maintained you will likely be pleased you stayed here.
ONE thing that stands out is the fact, that many people we met during our visit had stayed there multiple times and some came 1 or more times a year. The staff is nice, at the time we arrived they gave us a glass of Champagne and were very welcoming.
I recommend the Cottages/bungalows over a standard room, we had proper amenities and room air conditioning. The cottage was minimal but clean and nice overall.
The beach in front of the Cottages is rocky and has slabs of concrete farther out, it's good for snorkeling and seeing lobster, other but not swimming. The Middle beach nearest the pool is great, you are pretty much waste deep for about 100 feet or more with very, very clear water.
The 3rd beach (at the time was clothing optional) was nice, visited it only once since #2 was good. A pretty long section of secluded beach with local goats frequenting some areas of it.
Overall you can stay at fancier resorts a few miles away, but you will pay more for it.
THis resort is great for the price.

Room Tip: The cottages/bungalows would be the preferred rooms. We saw the interior of a standard room and the...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank jww2001
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

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:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#7 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
Price Range: £130 - £307 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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