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.
- 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