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“we got what we paid for”

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Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts
Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Reviewed 6 November 2009

beach - good - snorkelling nil ! water very cloudy all week.
beach vendors - very friendly, but would leave you alone with a quick no thankyou.they didn't pester you.
food - adequate - but prepare for long waits. three quarters of an hour in a line waiting for a burger ! that's after waiting to collect a ' dinner ticket ' even though your wearing an all inclusive bracelet.
breakfast - service slow. fruit juice - not from fresh fruit. only got fresh pineapple once to eat in a week.
lady, in charge of arawak restaurant, very strict, she reminded me of a headmistress, she took no nonsense, you began to love her really ! you had to sit where you were put and when she told you you could.
managers cocktail party - more queues !
my husband did in fact complain, about the slow service, bartenders - especially some of the women, just didn't want to be there. and things did pick up a little after that. i did not blame the cooks - the management are to blame, for trying to run the place with so little staff.
maid service - well, hit and miss. she didn't seem to care for cleaning out the coffee maker, i ended up doing that myself. and when i visited my sisters room, she hadn't yet found out her coffee machine, when i did find it - there was an old coffee bag in it, from the last occupant !
toiletries were not replaced, and we had to go up to reception to get more coffee.
towels were kept quite low as well.
as for beach towels, well, it was our third day, when my sister tracked down the towel man, even though there were set times for the towel hut to be open, no-one was there.it became quite a joke, trying to find him !
but, three star, is about right. the place does need a lot of work done. our room was a beachfront, the lounge lovely, but the bedroom was very dark, and the bathroom the same.all needed refurbishment.
the warri pier is the best place to eat, and we ate their twice. the barbudian lobster and the lamb chops were worth the supplement.and we watched big fish feeding in the water.
trips out -
the excellence catamaran :-
barbuda - go - i wasn't seasick - but it was very very rough. but it was worth it. if you can buy the cd, the music that accompanies your trip - that was therapy for me, kept my mind off the rough water !
and the dvd, great to look back on. still couldn't snorkel though, cloudy again.

mystic catamaran - from the harbour - around a lot of the coast, snorkelling at cades reef - clearer water - beach break as well. music, lunch included.and drinks.

safari - 4 x 4 over some rainforest, lunch at a disused sugar mill, kayak in mangroves,
lunch, rapid boat ride over to rabbit island and then on to great bird island, snorkelling here, my husband said it was better than cades reef.

all crew on all trips, we all friendly, and made the trips fun.

remember, to tell reception when you want to go to the hawksbill hotel, you will have to pay for taxi, but you can eat and drink, and use their facilities also.
we noticed the difference then, between 3 and 4 star. service was better, cocktails were better also.
also, the seawater was clearer. we told the bar staff their pina coladas were better than the halycyon, she said she'd pop over and give them a lesson !

if you want a cheap holiday in the caribbean, it was worth it, - you get what you pay for.

i must say virgin flights are sliding - they run out of food on the way, was left with a horrible pasta dish, also offer you drinks less often. no cheese and biscuits either.
also the choice of magazines before we got on was not brilliant as it was.
return flight, very bumpy, didn't dare have coffee ! entertainment didn't offer much either.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank jalousiegirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,541 - 1,547 of 2,072 reviews

Reviewed 3 November 2009

Yes its true i'm affraid....It was our first time in Antigua and there are far better hotels on the island i'm sure. This is the first ever negative feedback i've left so i dont normally moan (honest).

Location is spot on with a great beach and should and could be a magic hotel but is needing investment and a management shake up.

Even if you are All Inclusive you have to queue at lunch for a voucher to get your plate!!! Thats if they have any left to give you. Then you join the long single file queue while the 'chef' cooks his couple of burgers at a time. Why??

Breakfast and evening meal are less frustrating and food is ok,

Several bars but normally only one open at a time with often one tender so you can imagine the scene. Come on management get this sorted...

Rooms basic (even our beach room) need updating but cleaned daily to ok standard.

Staff generally not happy but i can understand why working in those conditions. For example one day when the pool bar opened at 10'30 the lady bartender had no glasses and had to clean all the dirties from the previous day at a very slow pace to the point that guests helped her...terrible never seen anything like it!

We have stayed at many AI in the caribbean and other long haul and have only positive things to say about them,lots of staff ,good rooms , but this is a budget hotel and you should go understanding this.

However i still wouldnt recommend it...

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank NottsJase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2009

We first stayed here about four years ago on the 'all-inclusive' package. At that time the food in the evening was a little disappointing although we found we put on about 15lb in two weeks so, you know, we obviously just gritted our teeth - though obviously not quite tightly enough - and got stuck in. You know you're having problems managing your food intake when you find yourself standing there at 2.30PM waiting for them to start serving the afternoon tea and cakes.

Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to eat it. Or drink it.

This time around we went for the breakfast only package figuring that we'd simply stuff ourselves at breakfast, skip lunch and then have a nice dinner.

This works well if you eat dinner off the property. The food at the Warri Pier restaurant on site - while a potentially fantastic setting - is over-priced and destroyed by indifferent cooking bordering on woefully bad and similarly (un)motivated service staff.

By contrast the food down the beach at the inspirationally named 'The Beach' restaurant is outstandingly good. So good we went back three times in only seven days.

The All-Inclusive package includes not just booze and stacks of food ranging from breakfast (good) through lunch (good-ish) to dinner (not quite so good) but also non-motorised water sports ie Hobie Cats and kayaks. Not a lot of the hotel clients seem to use them so you could generally just pitch up and sail/paddle off although because we had the breakfast only package this was billed at an additional 40USD an hour for the Hobies.

Still, fair value.

Kids Club was also included in the price even at Breakfast only rates and the kids had a good time with the facilitators

Beach has lots of other activities available - sea-doos, banana/doughnut tows by speedboat and parasailing although noise is not at all intrusive to just lolling on the beach.

Partyboats etc pick up from the beach in the morning for the various 'Pirate cruises', circle-island cruises etc etc so very convenient location all round.

Kids were older this time so went to the big tourist thing at Shirley Heights.

Two words.

Just don't.

If 200 pasty tourists dancing badly is your thing then by all means go but the only locals appear to be the band, the folk serving ffood and drink and a few local lads looking for their Shirley Valentine for this week.

A far better location any other evening or afternoon than Sunday.

Overall though the hotel offers a very fair price for what it provides although the contents of the spirit bottles are a bit dubious. The staff are generally very helpful and friendly, the breakfasts are good and their egg/omlette guy (Orin?) is outstanding. The main disappointment is their squandering the golden opportunity they have to make so much more of the Warri Pier restaurant but the upside is 'The Beach' restaturant is just a 200 yard walk down the Beach past 'Sandals' PLUS there is a great supermarket just a mile or so down the main road where you can get take-away lunch for about 6USD per plate.

Goat curry anybody?

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with family
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5  Thank jgm2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2009

I stayed at this Hotel for 14 nights All Inclusive between 19th Sept -4th Oct 2009 . I went with my daughter and her husband - we both were upgraded to a poolside room on arrival - The booking in process was easy and informal and the front desk staff were very nice and welcoming -- The room I could not fault for the grading of the hotel - I have stayed in higher graded hotels and the rooms were not better - Staff at the hotel no matter what job they had could not have been more pleasanter if they tried - Food was on a par with a lot of Caribbean hotels I have stayed at and Dining & Bar staff again were superb -- I would not hestate to recommend this hotel to anyone - A real fun holiday and will definitely be returning - The Islanders are a very friendly people no matter where we visited . There is a bonus fact also on the All Inclusive package you can visit their sister hotel - The Hawksbill and utilise the facilities their as if you were in the Halcyon i/e Food & Drinks throughout the day and of course the staff there were just as wonderful.

  • Stayed: September 2009
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2  Thank Zephyr1London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2009

We stayed here for 2 weeks in August with our 2 daughters aged 11 and 13. We had stayed at Halcyon Cove 8 years ago and had a fantastic holiday then so were keen to return.

We had a poolview room which was kept spotlessly clean for the duration of our stay, there was a good supply of clean towels and the bed linen was changed several times during our holiday. Compared to some family sized rooms the room was a good size for the 4 of us and all our luggage. We had requested that the beds for our daughters be proper beds rather than camp beds and our request was met, we had a couple of minor problems with our room and reception and maintenance could not have been more helpul and efficient in sorting the problems out. These minor things were the type of things you may expect from a hotel in the caribbean and I can't help but wonder if some people who travel to these destinations have unrealistic expectations here and so end up disappointed.

We stayed AI but ate out quite alot as we had planned to. We ate at Coconut Grove, Tonys bar, Roti King, the beach bar on Darkwood beach and at the Australian Ice cream parlour in St Johns - I would recommend all of these, the food in all of them was excellent. During our stay we ate several times on the Warri Pier and thought the food was lovely, the service varied but was always extremely friendly and after all we were on holiday and were never in any rush. If you have young children I would definitely recommend booking the earliest slot . The food in the buffet restaurant catered for most tastes, some nights were much better than others but again the friendliness of the staff could not be faulted. We were constantly amazed at how rude and inflexible some people can be to the hotel staff - treat them with the respect they deserve and you will get the best from these lovely island people.

We spent the day at Darkwood beach, visited Jolly beach, St Johns and also went to Hawksbill for the day. Again all of these we really enjoyed and would definitely recommend. Before we went we booked the Eli Eco adventure with Adventure Antigua - this was a brilliant day, the crew are great fun whilst being very professional, this really was worth every penny.

Our experience of all the staff at the hotel was very positive. The reception staff were very friendly and always extremely helpful, the restaurant and bar staff again were very very friendly and the same goes for the maintenance, housekeeping and gardening staff - they always smiled and said Good Morning. There was always a duty manager roaming around the hotel and we found they were very keen to speak to guests to get feed back for how things could be improved. When we left we felt we were leaving some good friends behind.

We made some great friends during our stay who we will be staying in contact with, lots of families were like us, repeat customers which I think speaks volumes.

If you are considering this hotel go along with realistic expectations for a 3 star caribbean hotel and every intention of treating the lovely staff with the respect and friendliness they deserve and you should not be disappointed. We are definitely planning on returning sometime in the future.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank Boscar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2009

We stayed at this hotel for one week at the beginning of October. Although we had a nice holiday, it was with no thanks to Rex Halcyon Cove. We had previously been to Antigua so knew that this hotel was set on a lovely stretch of beach right next to Sandals.

We booked with Marks Travel 2 weeks beforehand and flew with BA. We were shown to a pool view room which looked really nice although it was a bit warm in there. The bell-boy gave us the air-con remote and said it would soon cool down. We unpacked and went for dinner but when we returned, we realised that the air-con wasn’t working. Reception sent someone to fix it but the guy wasn’t able to so we were sent to another room. The room door had been forced at some time and the lock didn’t work, as it was on the ground floor; my husband refused it. We were then given a room in the block behind and moved into this one. There was an odd smell coming from the bathroom but we put up with it for 3 days until we came back one evening after being out all day and the smell nearly knocked us off our feet. It smelt like something had died in the pipes (seriously!). The Night Manager was very sympathetic and offered us a lovely beach view room, unfortunately there had just been a storm and the floor was flooded. We mopped up ourselves but soon realised that the bed and sheets were soaking up the water so we wouldn’t be able to sleep there either. We were then put into a Time Share room (which had a cooker, sink and an awful view) to sleep the night. The Night Manager apologised and said that he would make a note of the severe inconvenience and arrange for us to have a nice room the following day.
The next morning, we spoke to reception and explained what had happened but the receptionist snapped ‘why can’t you stay in that room’?? We explained that we had left the kitchen sink at home and only wanted a nice room to finish off our holiday. We were given our 6th room in 4 days right next to the public walkway which at night was lit up like Stalag 69. Our guess was that we were given a horrid room because they were teed off with us (like any of it was our fault?) By now, I was losing the will to live after unpacking 3 times!

We did get a plate of fruit and bottle of fizz but it hardly makes up for the above.

We made a reservation for the pier restaurant on our 2nd evening and ordered the lamb which carried a supplement. Neither of us could eat the soup as it was quite disgusting but were happy to wait for the lamb and WAIT we did! One hour and 15 minutes later we were served overcooked lamb with cold potatoes. I was livid and walked out, even though my husband complained the meal was still charged for. We cancelled the 2nd reservation we had previously made for this restaurant and ate at Coconut Grove just past Sandals and had a very nice meal. As for the other restaurant………well what can I say? It overlooks a carpark so lacks ambiance! The food we ate there was pretty dire and constantly recycled. The awful beef steak on Tuesday evening turned up as Beef Bourguignon the following night, both were as diabolical as each other. There is a supposed ‘dress code’ yet 2 guys were wearing sport shorts one evening and when my husband challenged the Manager Mr Norris Morris, he blatantly lied and said the code had been relaxed. So why then were the ‘dress police’ challenging some guests but not others?

Most of the staff at The Rex were really lovely, particularly the staff at the beach/pool bar. Some of the housekeeping staff need a rocket up their rear end as there were hairs on the floor of EVERY room we had. The last room had a contact lens case on the floor indicating that the floor hadn’t even been swept let alone cleaned.

Despite the problems we encountered, we did have a nice time but this is because we met some really nice guests and staff and hired a car for 3 days to get out and about. We spent a day at Rex Hawksbill and BOY what a difference! A completely different level of service and no wristbands either! Nice food too! We also did the Extreme Powerboat Circumnavigation excursion which was a complete blast!

The day we left, I had a massage and can highly recommend the young lady (her name escapes me). It was one of the only good things I could say about The Rex.

This hotel is old and tired and it shows. The best thing they could do it knock it down and start again! Start with The Pier, it is seriously ugly and the Carbuncle of Dickenson Bay. Serious investment is needed. We won’t be returning, thank goodness we didn’t pay full rate or I really would have been spitting feathers

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank pistonbroke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2009

This was our 2nd trip to Halcyon Cove and we have had a fantastic holiday! We were lucky to be upgraded to a beachfront suite which was very spacious with living area, bedroom with huge bed, dressing area and bathroom. It had air-conditioning and ceiling fan in the bedroom and ceiling fan in the living area. The room was kept clean with daily maid service, towels were changed every day and bed linen twice per week.

The food was good. Buffet restaurant alway had a good choice. The beach barbecue at lunch time was a bit repetitive but the kids were happy with the burgers and hotdogs and there was always salads, fish, chicken and a local dish. The Warri Pier was excellent. We ate there twice during our 2 week stay but will try and go more often next year. (You can go twice per week on the AI plan but need to book early)

The beach is beautiful, was never too crowded and was right outside our room. There were always loungers available no matter what time you went. The watersports (non motorised) are included on the AI plan and the kids had a kayak out most days.
The pool area was also generally quiet although as we left just at the beginning of the English schools half term it became busier. The gardens are attractive and well maintained.

The management team are very friendly and always around to ensure you are enjoying your holiday. The entertainment team are great and organise day time activities for those who want to join in on most days. (Not sure how effective Fenton's Aqua aerobics are but he made us laugh and it got everyone mixing.) The kids enjoyed the beach cricket and football. The bar and waiting staff can't do enough for you and we were always greeted with a smile.
The evening entertainment has improved on last year and we had various bands including a Reggae Band and Steel Band plus a karaoke night (if you like that sort of thing) and a fire eating limbo dancer.

Due to the fact that the property is ageing and could do with a bit of an upgrade it probably couldn't be given a higher star rating. But if you could rate it on the atmosphere, service, location and staff's attention to detail alone it would, in my opinion, be at least 4 star!!

Don't think there is anything left to say. We're all looking forward to our next visit!!

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Happytoholiday21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts

Address: Dickenson Bay | PO Box 251, St. John's, Antigua
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#5 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
Price Range: £118 - £231 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Halcyon Cove by Rex Resorts 3*
Number of rooms: 181
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoying a pristine picture postcard beach front location, the Halcyon Cove by rex resorts offers the very essence of a perfect Caribbean setting. Beautiful glistening waters gently lap at the palm-fringed white sands of Dickenson Bay where guests can recline beneath the palm-frond parasols or exert some energy on a variety of water sports. International buffet breakfast and dinner cuisine is served at the Arawak Terrace restaurant or treat yourself at the Warri Pier a-la-carte restaurant featuring speciality grills and lobster in its unique setting over the sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Halcyon Cove By Rex Hotel St. John`s
Halcyon Cove Antigua
Halcyon Cove By Rex Resorts Antigua/Saint John Parish
Rex Halcyon Cove Resort
Rex Halcyon Antigua

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