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“Clean, comfortable, Uninspiring”

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Blue Waters Antigua
Ranked #2 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Albany, NY
Level Contributor
52 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Clean, comfortable, Uninspiring”
Reviewed 6 November 2008

The Blue Waters (BW) is an above average, mid-sized hotel. It is what you would expect from any Caribbean based Marriott, Hyatt or Wyndham, just on a smaller scale: nice reception area, professional staff, well manicured grounds, clean rooms and decent food. If this is your first time in the Caribbean, are honeymooners or are traveling with your children, you should find the BW more than adequate. But if you are looking for something quiet or elegant or distinctive, the BW is simply not the place.

We returned a few days ago from the BW. We rented a car from Titi Rental (a wonderfully run, highly recommended local company) and made the 15-minute drive to the BW. Ivan warmly greeted us as we entered the reception area and our bags were immediately taken from us. We were led to a comfortable couch and given ice cold, mint scented washcloths to freshen up with. A very nice touch. We were offered the drink of our choice from the bar, and two rum punches were delivered within minutes. Check-in was quick and painless and we were ushered to our room where Ivan went over all the details: safe, mini bar, room service, beach towels, etc. This was one of the better check-in processes I have recently experienced.

We opted for the Deluxe Beachfront room, which, may I add, was NOT on the beach. In fact, you could not even see the beach from our room. It was nothing more than an ocean view room with a limited view of the ocean. So we were disappointed. I’ve stayed in enough beachfront rooms to know that means you walk out of the ground floor, without shoes, and onto the beach within seconds. This is simply not the case at the BW. As an example, the beachfront rooms at the stunning Hermitage Bay on the west coast of the island are on the sand. That is beachfront. To be clear, NO rooms are truly “on the beach” at the BW.

Our room consisted of a king size bed with ample space to move around (see photo). There was plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom consisted of a very small sink area and a larger toilet/shower area. Because of its small size, the sink area is limited to one person only, so be prepared to take turns (see photo). There was nothing bad about the room, but nothing special either. It was just a room…

The mini bar can also be used as a personal refrigerator, which we stocked with beer and pineapple juice (to mix with the rum). Speaking of rum, a 750ml bottle of Antigua’s Cavalier Rum costs about $6 – the price of a rum drink at the BW bar – at the Woods Mall grocery on the way to St. John. We just did Happy Hour and nightcaps on our balcony and saved a bundle.

Breakfast was good with a variety of juices, fresh fruit, packaged yogurt and cold cereals. There is a hot food station where eggs are made to order and where you can also load up on bacon, sausage and potatoes. As with most breakfast buffets, the choices became tiresome around day four. We did not eat a single lunch at the BW because we were never there for lunch. Let me tell you why.

The beach at the BW is quite possibly the SMALLEST beach on the entire island of Antigua (see photo). Had I known the true size of the beach, which is cleverly camouflaged on the BW website, I would have chosen a different hotel. It is also one of the least attractive beaches on the island. There are maybe 150 feet of usable beach at the BW. While the beach is actually longer, a good portion of it is taken up with the water sports equipment (i.e., sailboats, kayaks, paddleboats, etc.) For some reason, the architects who designed the BW chose to use a good portion of the limited beach for the main pool. On the beach there are only eight umbrellas permanently installed with two chairs at each umbrella. The BW was at less than 50% capacity during our stay and the beach was crowded with all chairs scooped up very early. I couldn’t imagine the traffic on the beach during high season. It would be as far from relaxing as you can imagine. As a result, my wife and I ate breakfast and drove to one of the many stunning, and often near-deserted, beaches on the island. Long Bay, Half Moon Bay and the beach at Turner’s on Johnson Point put the BW beach to utter shame. The pool areas at the BW were attractive, but uninspiring and crowded - with chairs at the beach pool set just a few inches apart (think cruise ship).

We passed on dinner at the BW. The menu at Vivian’s didn’t do anything for us and the Cove appeared overpriced, which it was as we later learned from other diners. We were, however, directed to several outstanding restaurants – many of which were so good, we returned. Amongst the best were Le Bistro (French) and La Bussola (Italian). The service (especially at La Bussola) and quality of these restaurants were outstanding, with both costing about $110-$120/person with starter, entrée, desert and good wine – excellent values. Papa Zouks was a fabulous, casual (shorts and flip flops) seafood dining experience that is a must. Coconut Grove at the Siboney Hotel should be avoided. While the food was not objectionable, it was more expensive than both Le Bistro and La Bussola but not even close in variety, service or quality.

We did the Shirley Heights thing on a Sunday night. This is a weekly “tourist event” on a hill above English Harbor – just about the farthest point on the island from the BW and a good 50-minute drive one-way. There is a BBQ, music and a LOT of people. If you have a rental car, nothing else better to do, and are curious, it may be worth the trip. Had I known in advance that this was nothing more than a tourist gathering place, I would have instead bought a bottle of nice wine and hit a quiet beach on the west coast to watch the sun set. I would certainly not pay what has to be an exorbitant taxi fare from the BW solely for the purpose of attending this event.

I have nothing bad to say about the BW. It is a decent, comfortable, chain-style hotel. But I truly feel that it will be generally uninspiring to anyone who has traveled the Caribbean more than a few times. To experienced travelers it will not be magical, paradise or enchanting.

  • Liked — Clean, comfortable, close to St. John and some great non-hotel restaurants
  • Disliked — Uninspiring lacking elegance and distinctiveness
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank USMA1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (532)
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English first
North Carolina
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2008

This hotel is is 2 stars on a good day. The staff is so rude and uncourteous no one smiles or is happy at all. There was never any drinking water available. The restaurants were covered with flies and mosquitoes, I cannot imagine how many my husband and I consumed. The rooms were dirty with dead bugs, poor air conditioning, and phones that don't ring. I have never stayed at a hotel where when you call the front desk no one answers and it was only around noon. This hotel is expensive and advertises as something much nicer.
The beds should absolutely have mosquito nets available and the hotel should fog for them as well. (Which they did not do the whole week that we were there.) There was continuously a shortage of beach towels and you had to walk about a half a mile to get them. Most of the beach is eroded from the latest hurricane and there is no service on the small beach either.
This is the first and last time that my husband and I will visit Antigua as an island. This is also the only all inclusive resort we have ever stayed at where we lost weight!! A combined 30 pounds!!!
Our advice is choose a different island altogether!!

  • Liked — Pretty view.
  • Disliked — The mosquitoes, unfriendly and rude staff, dirty rooms.
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank penny5869
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
120 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 October 2008

After reading one of the more recent reviews on Blue Waters that gave the hotel a 1* rating we were a little concerned as to the standard we would find. We did not need to be, it is a lovely hotel built in plantation style. The rooms are not plush and a little shabby in places but the feel of Blue waters is relaxing and calm. The staff are typical of the Carribean so service is slow and steady but the more we chatted to the staff the more friendly they became, the food was good and the cocktails fab. I would recommend all inclusive as it could work out quite expensive to be on any other board basis as the hotel is a residential area so not within walking distance of restaurants etc.
We arrived before half term and the hotel was only 2/3 full but we will take our children back there as the bay is good for swimming and the non-motorised water sports that are included.
The only negatives I can give the hotel are the water in the bay is cloudy compared to other Carribean Islands we have been too and there are lot of mosquitos so take the strongest spray you can!
Overall the hotel is a very good 4*, not a 5 and there isn't a spa as we had been told. This did not spoil our holiday in any way.

  • Liked — Views from pool
  • Disliked — Rooms are tired and basic
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lovemyflipflops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 October 2008

Wow! we stayed at the new (opened late 07?) Cove Suites and what can i say? the rooms are spacious, bright and pleasantly furnished, with beautiful bathrooms, complete with free-standing bath and seperate shower unit, each with their own terrace/balcony. the blocks of 7 suites are 2-3 minutes walk from the main resort and each block has its own infinity pool, creating an ideal luxurious, peaceful environment, ideal for honeymooners or those just wishing ot get away.
allowing for the slower 'caribbean time' that you're living by in this resort, the service is good, polite and friendly. the food is of excellent quality in all the restaurants, and the facilites are good.
the management are attentive, as are the majority of the staff. room service can be a little slow, but the quality of food is still high. i'd recommend paying for all inclusive in advance, as this includes most drinks and your own in-room mini-bar, as well as 3 meals and afternoon tea!
we got a great deal through luxuryholidaysdirect, and are already planning to return!

  • Liked — Luxurious, great views, excellent bathroom, possibly the most comfy bed ever.
  • Disliked — n/a
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CaribbeanBug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ktcat220
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2008

Upon arrival, the hotel didn't seem as grand as we had expected it to be (based on photos and brochures we had received) but calming and peaceful, nonetheless. Check-in was hassle-free enough and once we entered our room (which was composed of one king sized bed and a large enough bathroom) it was about 2pm. During the course of our stay, we had seen other hotels, and in comparison the Blue Waters was definitely 5 star compared to the others.

We found out the first day that in order to go anywhere, you need to take a taxi (DEFINITELY would recommend renting a car if you plan on staying for awhile and/or you want to go into the main city to eat). Even though the hotel says it's in St. John's, it's really on the outskirts. We went to get something to eat locally (not even in town) but it was $12 US. To go into town, they charge $24 US, and to go to English Harbor (opposite side of the island) and back is $80 US. Apparently all hotels negotiate with taxi drivers a certain rate... so no matter which taxi driver you use, they will all charge based on which hotel they are taking you. Everything at the hotel is charged in US dollars... makes you wonder if they're trying to rip you off... make sure you know the conversion before you leave... It was $1US = 2.7EC when we were there but some people round it down to 2.6 or 2.5... when you're paying hundreds, it adds up.

Part of the reason we went out to eat for dinner/lunch every day was because at the time, The Cove (probably the best restaurant at the hotel) was closed for renovation, Vivyien's was only open certain days, and The Palms was average food. Breakfast was included which was pretty good. Along with fresh fruits, breads, hams, cheese & cereals, there is available hot foods - eggs all different styles & french toast and waffles. We had dinner at the Palms one day (International Buffet) $50US per person, and I would say it was NOT worth it. The desserts were good but that's about it. Meals only during certain hours so be careful. Breakfast 7:30 to 10:30, lunch probably 11 to 2, tea 4 to 5, dinner 6 to 9pm. Room service needs to be entered in a DAY before... and closes at 9pm.

In town, go to Commissioner's Grill (best carribbean seafood... conch salad, conch fritters, lobster). Coconut Grove wasn't bad either. Island Beehive for their grilled shrimp for a casual snack. Papa Zouk's has some amazingly fresh seafood (snapper was awesome) and some crazy rum punch.

Service on the other hand was amazing. Everyone's willing to help you. However, this may be because this is the low season and not as many occupants as they normally have. They mainly service people from the US and the UK but this season so far has been down... probably because of the economy of both these countries. My boyfriend & I were comparatively younger to a lot of the clientele and got a weird vibe from a lot of the older customers.

The beach is MINISCULE... a small cove area which is beautiful but I'm sure that during the high season (December through May) people will fight over spots... Didn't spend any time at the pools. The adult only pool isn't that nice... your average inground backyard pool that no one goes in. The other two main pools looked really nice.

Nighttime entertainment: every night they have some kind of entertainment (steel drum band, singers, DJ, etc.) but kind of on the slow-end... We ended up watching a lot of TV on the small screens that were available to us. A lot of the hotels have small screens probably b/c of electricity shortages (we had 2 during our stay), so that's probably normal. There were only about 7-10 channels available.

Daytime: sailing, kayaking, snorkeling are all included... We did the snorkeling with Phoenix... took us out to the protected reef area and we had seen probably 10 different types of fish.

We also participated in a lot of excursions: Adventure Antigua (Eco-tour) worth going on (hell's gate and snorkeling was pretty good), Scuba Diving at Halcyon Rex Resort (which you have to schedule yourself), chartered boat for full day fishing on Overdraft (out of English Harbor), taxi driver will take you on a tour (Betty's Hope Sugar Mill, Devil's Bridge, Pineapple beach, Half Moon Bay (which used to be the most beautiful beach on the island until '95 hurricane), $110US for 3-4 hours or you can take yourself if you rent a car... Definitely go to Devil's Bridge (east on the island). Harmony Hall is open but only during high season.

The only thing we didn't enjoy was an EMBARKATION FEE when we got to the airport... many people were as confused as we were there. No one tells you about it... Not even our travel agent or the travels guides I had read. it's $20 US per person.

  • Liked — service
  • Disliked — having to take taxis everywhere, small beach, food
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank ktcat220
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 September 2008

We arrived hot, tired, and very fed up after having a delayed flight and stopping at barbados when it should have been a direct flight but all that went out the window when we arrived at bluewaters! Staff were there to assist and made us feel more than welcome with the manager there also to introduce himself.
Me and my husband to be had been looking fwd to this for over a year and had been planning our wedding for nearly 18 months. I searched every brochure possible to find the perfect hotel to get married at. We were taken nine of our family and wanted it to be the holiday of a lifetime for everyone and that it was.
Our wedding was amazing, Alicia the wedding co-ordinator was brilliant and the photographer outstanding how many weddings have u been to where you get the photos back the next day presented perfectly in an abulm, they were better than any english photgrapher could do.
The staff couldn't do enough for us they were always happy to accommadate our large family at meal times and never turned us away, even at vyviens which is a more private restaurant and alot smaller, there was never a problem. Yes we did have rain but always smiles of sunshine from the staff were given to us.
I feel that the people who complain about this hotel are looking for problems and should learn to relax and remember that your in Antigua not England or USA where everyone is in HURRY!! We look forward to going back to Bluewaters for our anniversary one day.
The only downside to going to this hotel was having to come home but all good things must come to an end.

  • Liked — The fanastic wedding gazebo!!!
  • Disliked — The mosquitoes but we were in carribean, so what do you expect!!
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank AnitaEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 September 2008

I loved this Hotel, it is relaxed and charming and typically Caribbean. The staff are increadilbly friendly and always available to help. I particularly liked the gardens and all the greenery.

Try snorkling at the reef!

I reccomended this hotel to a couple of friends for their honeymoon.

  • Liked — the gardens and the view
  • Disliked — beach was a little small but made up for it by its privacy.
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank RupertJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blue Waters Antigua

Property: Blue Waters Antigua
Address: Soldier's Bay, St. John's, Antigua
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in St. John's
#1 Family Hotel in St. John's
#2 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#2 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Blue Waters Antigua 5*
Number of rooms: 77
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the North West Corner of Antigua where crystal clear waters lap onto secluded white sand beaches, Blue Waters Resort offers an island paradise. From your personal welcome, complete with cooled scented towel and rum punch, you will realise you are our valued guest. Featuring small secluded beach coves, seven freshwater pools and 17 acres of lush tropical gardens, Blue Waters provides the ideal setting for relaxing days by the pool or on the beach, cocktail in hand, or for reading a good book in the shade of the swaying palm trees. Having gently evolved and constantly improved over 50 years we offer a range of luxuriously appointed rooms to meet the needs of our guests, from hillside rooms in a garden setting to beachside rooms with renowned spectacular ocean views. For the more active guest we offer complimentary watersports, tennis and a newly refurbished gym. Our recently opened Elemis Spa and Hair Salon with its stunning ocean views provides a perfect setting for a pampering treatment or as part of a wedding package. Finish the day off dining at one of our 3 restaurants, each with a different ambience to suit your mood. Our staff is ready and waiting to welcome you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Waters Antigua Hotel St. John`s
Blue Waters St Johns
Hotel Blue Waters
Blue Waters Hotel Antigua
Blue Waters Antigua Saint John Parish

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