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“"No Tan Lines :)"”

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Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Ranked #8 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Reviewed 26 February 2006

Date: January 16 to 30, 2006
From: Ontario, Canada

We travel every year and still curious enough to try new places in the world. So far the choices we made, never led to disappointments. To travel with an open mind and readiness to imbrace other cultures is a must.
If we return to Antigua, it would be Hawksbill.
BEACH:
Four beautiful beaches, especially Eden beach: A truly natural setting. Not crowded, easy to find a lounging chair. The safest to enter the ocean was on the far right (2nd palm tree). Even on red flag days, this corner was protected and we went ocean swimming every day. This is by far the nicest naturist beach we have visited, quieter than Orient beach.
ACCOMMADATIONS:
We had the Superior room in the main building, comfortable for 2 weeks, good closet space, good ventilation, most nights we turned off the ceiling fan. Rooms were kept clean, but late cleaning daily. Furnishing was simple. New, clean beach towels daily.
FOOD/BAR:
No line ups. We really enjoyed the sit down dinners 4 times a week. Enough variety not to get bored and more important never had an upset stomach. Even at lunch we mostly chose sit-down. Try the chicken roti, from the grill the fresh fish. The house wines were from Argentina and Chile, we enjoyed the red and the rose. The glasses never got empty. My husband liked the native Wadadli beer. Very fast and friendly service at the bars. At breakfast we always sit further in, not to be bothered by the birds.
STAFF:
Friendly, accommodating and still elegant. Led by an outstanding Manager Richard, he talks to all the guests, by asking if everything is alright, and how we are enjoying our stay. So many long time employees, who were all exceptional; like Silvia, Sandy, Adrian,Agatha, David, Foster, Jo-Ann, Rotalinda, Latoya etc.. We highly recommend to take the garden tour with Silvia.
HOTEL GUESTS:
95% from UK, great sense of humor and well mannered. The rest was made up by Canadians, Americans, Germans. If you take the effort, it is very easy to make new friends, and dinner partners.
Remember: There is only one international language "SMILE".
H & R, Swiss-Canadians

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
29  Thank herukan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 February 2006

February 2006

e:mail address hawksbill@candw.ag
Telephone (268) 462-0301 /Fax (268) 462-1515

This was our third visit to the lovely Hawksbill Beach Resort Hotel in Antigua. We first went in 1991, then again 13 years later in 2004 (when, to our disappointment there were no discernible changes/improvements in the fairly basic room facilities and decor). However, we obviously were not put off enough to abandon it altogether, although We were certainly quite apprehensive this time, as Hawksbill has recently been taken over by Rex Hotels.

We contacted the hotel prior to our arrival to ask if we might be allocated a room in our preferred location (the upper floor ‘de luxe' sea-view rooms). The hotel must have so much trouble trying to please all their guests, and particularly their repeaters (of which, at Hawksbill, there are a great many) but Ornella, who has the unenviable job of room allocation, responded positively and promptly to our emails and, without making promises she was unable to keep, nevertheless came up trumps on the day.

Hawksbill is a warm and friendly resort and has the great advantage of a huge span of four absolutely lovely beaches, one of which is optionally 'au naturel'. The hotel is all-inclusive and, so far at least, the manager, Richard Michelin, has managed to stave off Rex's usual compulsion to vary the meal plans, thereby requiring the 'tagging' of guests. which would be a complete no-no for us!

Built, we understand, in 1959, Hawksbill could never be called modern, smart or trendy but it has a charm many people greatly appreciate. They offer several different types of rooms - the relatively new air-conditioned Club rooms are quite small but modern and very nicely fitted out - though a fair way from all the main facilities of the hotel. The older beach-front bungalows are a little too public for us, but popular with many people. The cheaper garden rooms have limited views, but our preference is the upper foor of the old-fashioned, two-storey block which is fairly private, with good sea views to most rooms - and, most important with the unpredictable Caribbean weather, within easy reach of the main building (housing the main restaurant), the beach and the popular beach bar/restaurant. They have no air-con but very effective ceiling fans.

The food at Hawksbill isn't brilliant, but it's not at all bad - in fact mostly it's very acceptable. Lunches at the Sea Grapes Beach Bar give the best choice and were very good indeed. The food is either from a varied set-menu or from the barbecue, which serves freshly cooked fish, chicken, beefburgers and pasta, with rice, lots of good salads (and chips).

This beach-front bar is transformed three or four times a week for evening eating, with an Italian based menu. Trying to popularise this restaurant means that the staff, under the wing of the statuesque Sandy, really make a special effort to please and we ate there well two or three times. This included Valentine's Night, when everywhere was bedecked in red & white hearts, balloons and candles. 'Champagne' was served and everyone had extra little goodies left by their plates. The atmosphere was warm and happy and the meal was delicious.

The more formal restaurant, in the main building, is lovely - certainly for the 'better' front and outside tables (which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis) - but, being picky, we felt the menu choice was a little limiting especially for starters. The two buffet evenings a week were OK - sometimes really nice and sometimes a bit limiting. But then one should never forget that this is only a 3* hotel and just excellent value for money so, if you expect fantastic food, you'll have to go somewhere else - and pay for it.

Almost all of the staff are cheerful and helpful. We did find one of the receptionists, June, to be generally rather surly and unhelpful, which in our experience, from 20 years regular visits to the Caribbean, is most unusual. Unless they are being treated with arrogance or indifference (lack of respect) the West Indians are a naturally smiley, generous and friendly race. One or two of the waitresses were also a little sullen and sometimes uncommunicative, but the rest of the staff -often working under great pressure - more than made up for that. Difficult to pick out individuals for praise but, if pushed, we particularly liked the approach of David, Foster, Adrian, one of the two Latoya's, Millie and Sylvia. Also, in housekeeping - a pretty thankless job - Edna, who was wonderfully efficient, happy and cheerful and always ready to respond to any of our requests.

The water sports guy was also excellent in his care and expertise. The manager is frequently visible (always a reassuring sight) and charmingly helpful. The trainee manager, Everlie, was simply excellent - always smiling, taking the time to stop, chat, take on board any niggles and, most importantly, caring enough to take remedial action.

Hawksbill look after all their guests but never underestimate the value of their repeaters - some of whom have visited 30+ times! Each week they arrange a special, very pleasantly done, pre-dinner get-together for them. There are other perks for regualars too - one being on our departure day, when we were fortunate enough to be able to keep our room on until mid-afternoon, with no extra charge, which makes one's last few hour so much more relaxing. Although it's obviously not always possible to be able to do this, if it can be arranged, then Hawksbill staff will do their best for you. What a refreshing change from some grasping hotels!

Downsides? A lot of the hotel looks dated and many parts are in need of a proper, up-to-date refurbishment. The rooms - other than the new Club Rooms - are not brilliant in their furnishing, lighting and fittings, but they are clean, spacious, with plenty of hanging space and the older ones are gradually being freshened up with new paint and tiles in the bathroom etc. There are no telephones in the older rooms, either, which can be a distinct disadvantage. The swimming pool, which shows in brochures as being relatively large (by cunning camera angle - which is totally misleading) is little more than a plunge pool. Disappointing and certainly not suitable for young children. There is a great lack of sufficient shade on some of the beaches. Sadly no sparkling wines are included as a norm in the all-inclusive package - but the house red, rose and white are very acceptable and lavishly served. Some of the entertainment is a bit stale - they repeat on a weekly basis, rather than fortnightly which could be changed. They have also now started to include an evening with a 'Fashion Show' which has, surely, to be the biggest and naffest turn-off of any so-called 'entertainment'- but at least gives one an excuse for an early night.

Sadly, too, there are no toilet facilities or bar on beach 4, though water is provided. As it's a good walk back to the main part of the hotel - particularly in the rain, more facilities would be nice to have - though, obviously, costly to instal.

There are a lot of mosquitoes, as there are in many parts of the Caribbean - and the hotel does provide plug-in machines for the rooms, but we thought a spray might also have be provided - we ended up buying a couple of sprays from the boutique and they were considerably more money than they needed to be - but we found them very helpful in repelling the mozzies, when we sprayed the room thoroughly, as we left to go for dinner.


Upsides? All four of the beaches are superb. If nude sunbathing is your thing, then Hawksbill's is private (no cameras allowed) and easily available to use.

We would most certainly go back there. Being valued as a guest at a hotel is important - and Hawksbill look after ALL their guests - both new and old. They do their best to make everybody feel special and valued - and, as I keep saying, give GREAT value for money.

25  Thank kayandhoward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2006

I cant believe how much people moan. They moan about sandflies. They are in the caribbean, for Gods sake! I went to Florida and was bitten all over but accepted that it was a part of the natural surroundings there! As for the person from Billings, US saying the food was bad, and the staff were sullen, its just so wrong and far off the mark I cant believe he said it. So the goats wander onto the beach and leave droppings? Oh boy, what a calamity! If you want no signs of nature, go to a city for your holidays! As for the staff, Ive always found they cannot do enough to help you. If their natural demeanour seems to be serious, it may be part of who the west indians are, but you only have to speak to them and they are joking, happy, helpful people. We were hugged when we got there by the staff,and when we left. I truly think that some people expect to be fawned over without making any effort themselves to integrate with others.
An excellent resort and one I would go back to again and again, and mostly BECAUSE, not in spite of, the staff.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26  Thank blondiedagwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Cheboygan, Michigan
111
Reviewed 8 February 2006

I have held off writing this as I do not like to be negative as I'm sure the staff works hard but it definately was far from a good experience. It would be okay for someone that didn't care and liked summer camp. We actually switched our reservations from Sandals to here because of their bad reviews. What a mistake and we really aren't hard to please but we do want to enjoy ourselves.
11 reasons that we did not like Hawk's Bill
1. Waited 45 minutes to be taken to our room.
2. Requested Air conditioning but didn't have any. 85 degrees and humid.
3. Beds were terrible (2 small doubles pushed against the walls. Accomadations fair.
4. Mosquito haven should have told us that there were repellant cloths in drawer.
5. Beach full of sand fleas.
6. Pool very small and water COLD.
7. Were not able to eat other than at their scheduled times.
8. Men have to wear long pants for dinner. (have they checked the temp outside)
9.Manager asked how are stay was and didn't seem to care after I told him.
10. Food at restaurant was nothing great and you could tell that they used it again the next day for lunch. Also birds flying through dining room and making deposits. My placemat had droppings. MM MM!!
11. Liquor choices were slim no top shelf. My vodka and tonic was flat so I asked for another and they gave me straight tonic.

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2006

My husband & I have been to many carribean islands and many times to Barbados. We had a perfect Christmas at Hawksbill. The staff are really special, so friendly, glad to see you each morning/evening etc. We usually drive around and experience the local restaurants rather than all inclusive but the package included all meals and we were delighted with the variety the presentation and taste! I rarely eat dessert but in fact I had dessert at lunch and dinner.

Try the key lime pie at lunch. Some guests have written about the fish being overcooked we had no experiences like that One day we went to the other side of the island and had lunch which was not as good and cost $60. for two with one glass of wine each.

The manager Richard is great and if you have a problem let him know and he will fix it.

We had a room in Honeymoon cove and it was terrific, wonderful view and airconditioning although I don't think in the winter you really need it We used it one night.

Thanks to all the Staff! Hope to see you next Christmas.

Stayed: December 2005
23  Thank kwinterton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2006

We spent a week at the Hawksbill between 21 and 28 January 2006. We were somewhat aprehensive after having read a review on this site - a comment made by other guests - and I hope this review helps to redress that impression as we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday at the hotel and would recommend it to others as excellent value for money.

We stayed in a beach bungalow which was spacious and simply furnished and which gave direct access to one of the four clean beaches, two of which were wonderfully uncrowded. Due to the excessive rain during the previous week and the low-lying ground the bungalows were surrounded by small moats and soggy grass, but our room remained dry, and the damp outside was never a problem.

Staff placed a clean bowl of water on the verandah each day to enable feet and shoes to be washed off, and this helped us to stop wet and sand being carried in. This was typical of the care the hotel took. The water helped to reduce the risk of being bitten by sand flies, which one couple had problems with, and which we had been warned were a problem if you stayed on the beach at sunset. A couple of minor problems (small harmless ants and a minor problem with the toilet)were attended to immediately. Water was heated by solar panels and was hot and plentiful in our bungalow, although others further down the row told us they had had insufficient hot water.

The location of the hotel was the best we saw on trips round the island, with well-kept gardens and as high a degree of privacy or socialising as you chose.

The cheaper accommodation appeared to us as somewhat 'holiday campish' but adequate.

Staff were very courteous and friendly, especially when we bothered to engage them in conversation, and gave good service at the bars and in the restaurant.

The senior staff, including the manager, were present a good deal and appeared to pick up and deal with any problems quickly .

The food was probably better than we expected, with a wide choice at breakfast particularly -including local juices such as tamarind and ginger, and adequate choice the rest of the time. We particularly enjoyed all the fresh fish, and hardly touched any meat apart from at the barbecue evening. Plenty of fresh fruit and salads meant we both felt we had had a very healthy diet. The range of drinks was fine, lime coolers and rum punch being among the favourites and the wine served with meals was generally perfectly drinkable. We had been dubious about the availability of free alcoholic drinks all day but the atmosphere was friendly without ever being rowdy - this may be because the clientele when we were there were mostly over 50.

Evening entertainment was enjoyable and the open terrace location meant that you could bop until you dropped without getting too hot -at least when we were there, as the weather was coolish and sporadically wet.

32  Thank Pennines
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Meredith, NH
125
Reviewed 1 February 2006

Just returned from a week at the Hawksbill ..we have visted 7 other Carribean islands and found the staff at the Hawksbill to be the friendliest. We had a superior ocean view room --no air conditioning which was nice --no TV --no phone, but coffee maker which we never used and a mini fridge and a quiet ceiling fan which kept the room cool in combination with our open windows. You could hear the pounding ocean and birds at night --it was nice. The room is typical Carribean shabby and the bathroom needs updating --walk in shower --only really warm showers --not hot. They don't change the beds daily --I discovered on my own when I got a mark on one of the sheets--and I understand with water being a premium on the islands. The grounds are very nice and someone was raking every morning. The beach was also neat and raked every morning.
The nightly entertainment in general was pretty good.
The computer was very slow --needs updating as people do want to keep up with their email.
We were on the all inclusive plan. The food in general was good, sometimes really good. The lunch menu was pretty much the same everyday except for the catch of the day off the GRill --got to try many new kinds of fish. Sauces were really good. The dinner menu changed every day --never had a really bad meal.
We never had time to go for afternoon tea --so I can't comment.
The staff really attended to you --never had much of a wait for a beverage. Richard, the manager, and his assistants were around every day making sure everything was running smoothly. I have never met a manager at any other hotel.
The one big drawback is the birds in the dining areas--many of them--trying to get food off plates. With bird flu becoming more of a probability --something will have to be done. We had no trouble with insects or sand flies --tho some people did complain about bites. They did spray --we had no warning and could not close our windows in time.
We rented a car --would not do it again--the roads for the most part are in terrible shape and poorly marked. It was a miracle we found the Hawksbill. I would definitely not want to ride at night.
If we returned to Antigua, we would stay at the Hawksbill again --certainly not for the accomodations or the food, but because of the friendly and helpful staff.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
25  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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
#6 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
Price Range: £140 - £249 (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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