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“A disapointing 8th visit to this hotel”

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Hawksbill by Rex Resorts
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Gloster
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A disapointing 8th visit to this hotel”
Reviewed 20 April 2006

when planning our 8th holiday at this hotel, over the last 15 years, I read the various reports and chose not to believe that the negative write-ups could be true. However, The hotel has changed ownership and changed management and most of the features we have valued and recommended to firends have gone or have deteriorated.
I write this report following receipt of apologies from the travel agent and holiday company plus a substantial valued voucher towards our next holiday and a refund of the upgrade cost which we were conned out of. The hotel has not acknowledged our complaints in any way.
As a regular visitor our requested room reservation had been ignored, we were offered a poor substitute being a room similar to reservation; unfortunately this room overlooked the rear of the beach restaurant, was dirty and the bedding had not been changed. Surprise, surprise the only alternative was an upgrade to a beach club room at $35 per night. After travelling all day we accepted reluctantly paying the upgrade fee. The Manager or duty Manager were not availableand did not respond to the message left for them.
The attraction to this hotel had been the other guests; they used to be quiet, mainly English and never embarassing. Since going all-inclusive they are attracting a less quiet clientelle and to quote a member of staff we have known for many years " this all inclusive brings guests who drink as much as possible and fill yer belly with food".
The food was never brilliant but has deteriorated to a level where we frequently left our paid for meal and paid for a taxi to take us to a restaurant. The evening dress code was enforced if you were quiet middle class non trouble makers whilst track suited vest wearers with flip flops were welcomed, particularly if they were large!
For the 3rd consecutive visit we received the invitation to the returning guest party the day we were leaving, for the following day. Fortunately we gate crashed the one being held as we arrived; all complaints to the manager were ignored apart from the appearance in our room of a cheap bottle of fizzy wine. Just so as you know I am not all negative, go see my review of Nebitt Plantation, Nevis.
Antigua is a fabulous place and we will return.

  • Stayed December 2005
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Floader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2006

The Hawksbill has the most spectacular repeat business of any hotel in the Caribbean in which we have stayed. And its easy to see why. We couldn’t believe just how many people we met who had been (usually several times) before.

The staff at the Hawksbill are truly special. Its hard to imagine who else would go the extra mile like the wonderful staff there. Agatha, Sandy, Millie, David and so on.

I would describe it as six star service in a hotel which is technically only a three star. Quite unique!

The setting is spectacular - a wonderful mix of wild and gentle beaches set within grounds with just the right balance of attention and naturalness.

There is a charming attention to detail - the elegant signs naming the trees within the beautiful grounds, the effort that goes into the presentation of the buffets and food. Just little things that add to the overall experience in such a charming way. Don’t forget to check out Sylvia’s garden tour, its worth listening to whether gardens are your thing or not.

The food is all that you have hoped for (and probably not had) if you stay regularly in this kind of all inclusive. Simple, local ingredients done superbly well. The A la Carte restaurant provides a pleasant contrast to the standard fare if you are staying for longer, although there is decent variety in the main offering. For the sublime, treat yourself to a trip to Harmony Hall (use Colin from the hotel if you don’t fancy driving yourself).

The spec in the rooms could be described as a little tired but in the context of the excellent service and everything else, you feel more disposed to call it charming. And I guess that’s the point. It draws the right crowd of people for the right reasons, and long may it be so. If you demand the latest minimalist look in a room, high spec audio-visual or whatever, its not the place for you. The Hawksbill is a well kept secret by a bunch of people in the know.

And if scuba diving is your thing, Dive Antigua is THE dive centre in Antigua - except no substitutes - ‘Big John’ has been doing it for longer than almost anyone else, and with the most style. He brings more experience, knowledge and bad (but funny) jokes to it than anyone else could. Its less a ‘two tank dive’ and more a wonderful day out with diving thrown in. Book early as his numbers are wonderfully limited.

Helpful?
21 Thank Blino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2006

We stayed in the little beach front cottages on Beach One (now Royal Palm Beach). The room was of more than adequate size, the beds were comfortable and the pillows were just right. We had packed all kinds of bug spray, but never used anything for insects. There were two plug-in things in the room for insects, but we had no need for them.

The shower leaked, but was repaired within hours after we reported it. There was an ample supply of Yellow Label Lipton Tea, and paks of instant coffe, sweetener, creamer....and the pot for heating water was very efficient. So nice to end the day with a cup of tea on the front porch.

We got a kick out of the birds and the way they would work to get empty (or better yet....not-so-empty) sugar packets. The birds are colorful and fun to watch.

The amount of food available was more than adequate. We enjoyed the buffets more than the nights they provided table service. Breakfast was always a treat. Be sure to have the coco-nut pancakes!!!! We never ventured downstairs to the "Italian themed" restaurant, but we did hear from several folks that the menu from "downstairs" will be served the next night "upstairs". In other words, the Catch of the Day for upstairs might actually be the Catch-from- Yesterday.....but no matter, because it was all good!!!

The beaches were great, the water sports guys were helpful and the water was very enjoyable. We did snorkeling, sailing and kayaking. Would have done windsurfing, but the waves were a little rough for a near-novice.

There were sheep/goats on some of the beaches, but they were fun to watch and created no problems for us.

One tip....either carry a roll of toilet tissue with you, or grab an extra roll or two from Housekeeping when you can. They only supply one roll for the room(very small capacity rolls), and the housekeeping carts do not carry many extras. We had to use our "private stock" because the resort-supplied stuff ran out, and was somewhat difficult to get replaced in a timely manner.


But all of this, including the entertainment, is part of the charm of Hawksbill. We definitely plan to enjoy this resort again.....real soon.


c&c

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank c7C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 9 March 2006

We spent two wonderful weeks at the Hawksbill from 15/02/06 to 01/03/06. As we were getting married at the resort we booked a beachfront club for two weeks, and also two garden rooms for guest staying for a shorter length of time.

Prior to arrival we had been a bit apprehensive about the standard of the Garden rooms but they were in fact spacious and clean. The beachfront club was lovely, the only rooms with air-conditioning, but we only used it twice. The room was situated on the peninsula over looking the resort. Our room was kept spotlessly clean by Brenda, who always made sure towels were replaced promptly, and the hot water was plentiful.

On our last day we moved to a standard room until it was time for departure and these rooms are adequate and clean. The resort is not 5star, but there is a 5 star just up the road where you will pay double what you pay to stay at Hawksbill! It is however a very good 3 or 4 star hotel.

The food at the Hawksbill was plentiful. Breakfasts are great, especially the eggs and pancakes cooked to order by Merleane! The lunch menu stayed the same but there was plenty of choices along with the BBQ which had a different dish every day and also chicken and fresh fish. Dinners at Hawksbill are 3 nights buffet and 4 nights menu.

The menu has two choice for starter, 3 choices plus a vegetarian choice for main and two choices for dessert or cheese and biscuits. I started the holiday preferring the buffet but towards the end of the holiday I preferred the menu. My husband preferred the buffet. The Antiguan beef curry served in a tortilla shell with rice is gorgeous! With regard to the buffet my only slight criticism is that even though the buffet had a theme, international, Caribbean etc, whilst there was enough choice, the dishes did not always seem to blend together.

Drinks at both the restaurant and the beach bar were plentiful. We never had to wait more than a minute or two at the beach bar, and the staff in the restaurant kept our glasses full all the time.

All the staff work extremely hard to keep guests happy. Mille, David, Adrian, Marlon and LaToya are great at the jobs of keeping the drinks topped up. Bevlyn and Drusilla keep the seating and the restaurant working efficiently, and the wait staff work very hard to keep everyone’s food arriving on time.

Foster is a great guy who is always smiling and seems to have a variety of jobs from encouraging guests to join in with a game of cricket, crab racing or table tennis to waiting on tables and generally being the life and soul of the party. Richard and Sandy and the other management staff work hard to make sure everyone is happy with their stay.

Finally the highlight of our stay was of course our wedding, which took place on the 17th February. Vanessa arranged everything down to the last detail, even things we hadn’t thought of.

The cake was provided as part of the package, as were the flowers and transport for the bride to the venue. We got married on a bank overlooking the Hawksbill rock, it was perfect in everyway.

We can not recommend highly enough what a beautiful place Hawksbill is to get married and just how efficient Vanessa is at her job of arranging everything. We had guests staying on and off Hawksbill who attended the wedding and also had our own pastor for conducting the ceremony, but Vanessa took it all in her stride. She is a true star! Spent the remainder of the holiday horizontal on a sun-lounger with the most taxing decision being whether to have a pina or virgin colada!

We would definitely return to Hawksbill, we think it would be ideal to spend a week self-catering or on another near by island and finish off with a week all inclusive at the Hawksbill. Most of the guests are in their forties and upwards and many return year after year. If you are looking for a lively resort with loads of action then this isn’t the place, but if you want to spend a week or two chilling out and recharging then Hawksbill is definitely the place.


  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
25 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 27 February 2006

We arrived on the 25/2for one week, I have to say the location and staff made this our best holiday ever, for value for money it was excellent. Really great place to unwind and to just chill quite low key in terms of entertainment which was what we wanted. Inclusive option is best OK in terms of quality there was plenty of choice and never an issue re service. We had a beach front villa with stunning views, also had air con and I think you need that at this time of year on Antigua.
All the staff had a very positive attitude and nothing was too much trouble, beaches were great.
You can find swankier places on the island but this was heaven for us and would recommend to anyone. Will definately go back !!

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
25 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alliston, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
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
Helpful?
29 Thank herukan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
nottinghamshire
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
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.

Helpful?
25 Thank kayandhoward
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:
#1 Best Value Hotel in St. John's
#6 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#7 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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