We stayed at the Royal Antiguan late May / early June 2003 on an 'All Inclusive' basis. Overall we had an enjoyable and relaxing time there. However, if you're considering staying there, you'd best bear these points in mind:ALL INCLUSIVE: watch out for hidden extras, e.g. some drinks and all room service items are chargeable, as of course are phone calls. A meal in Barringtons (aka Barringsnobs) will almost certainly cost you extra. Watch out for the small print on the vouchers you get - e.g. if you don't get your 'included' towels back by 6pm you are liable for a $30 charge PER TOWEL PER DAY!ROOM: was clean and comfortable - we paid extra for a view of the sea; I think this is definitely worth having if you want to sit on the balcony and enjoy a few sundowners. Our room had a fridge; our kids room next door didn't; although both were otherwise identical. There is NO TEA OR COFFEE facility in the room. Room service for a pot of tea will cost $5 also there is NO HAIRDRIER provided. Ice machines located in the lift area of 3rd 5th and 7th floors.STAFF: were in general very friendly, polite and helpful. As with most places, it pays dividends to get to know them rather than just treat them as servants.FOOD: was usually very good and varied cuisine in the Lagoon self-service cafe. The breakfast offerings are superb. In the evening the fare was good quality, usually a soup starter, at least two or three meat dishes (based on chicken/pork or lamb/beef or beef steak) plus fish (usually swordfish/snapper/grouper) and veggie stuff. We had hoped for more Caribbean dishes but they tended to cater for 'international' tastes. The sweets were OK. We were happy to eat in the Lgoon most evenings. The Andes restaurant was OK but got booked up quickly and had a limited menu - so we used Andes mainly for lunch. Barringtons 'gourmet' fare we thought was highly over-rated and not really worth the additional expense or dress code hassle - also I found to my annoyance that they require you to wear proper shoes in "Bde doesn't state it anywhere. We actually cancelled a highly sought-after Barringtons slot on our last night in favour of the Lagoon. Note that in the evenings Andes is open when Barringtons isn't, and vice versa.DRINK: the local beer is good; rum based cocktails are good; the house wines weren't terribly impressive.BARS: don't be surprised if it takes up to 20 minutes between arriving at the bar and leaving with your drinks. However, I found that most of the friends we made during our stay were the result of chatting to people who were passing the time whilst waiting for service. It isn't the fault of the barstaff - it's just that there were so few of them and the process of having to sign for everything adds to the mayhem. A result of this slowness is that it is almost impossible to get anywhere close to drunk! We were also irritated by the fact that in the evenings only ONE bar was ever open. No outside bar was open in the evening.ENTERTAINMENT: Dire, dire, and even more dire. Come back Butlins, all is forgiven! Apart from one night when a reasonably good steel band was on, the rest of the time it was just depressing and appeared amateurish. Some nights there was nothing, others there were dreadful karaoke evenings, and the occasional quiz night that was OK if you like that sort of thing.ACTIVITIES: some volleyball and beach soccer was organised on several days, but there was absolutely nothing arranged for the kids to do in the evenings at all. No gamesroom provided, and kids (naturally) aren't allowed into the 'casino'. I saw some people attempting to play tennis on one day in the blistering heat; otherwise the tennis courts were empty.POOL: nothing special about it except that it is very deep but you can't dive!BEACH: was wonderful, crystal clear water and soft white sand. The constant approach by beach hawkers is irritating at first but after a few days they tend to leave you alone. Also it is worth chatting to them as their local knowledge is fairly useful, plus they tend to be extremely jovial folk.SPORTK and ostensibly safe BUT we watched someone with a kid on a kayak get blown out to sea by the wind and when we pointed it out to the staff they just laughed and said they were having a good time. It transpired that they weren't and eventually (30 minutes later) the staff realised that we were right and had send out a rescue boat! The powered sports are expensive e.g. US$45+ for 30 minutes on a jet-ski. The island circumnavigation trip is a great day out but costs around US$90+ per head depending on who you go with. The much vaunted 'swim with a dolphin' is outrageously expensive US$130 per person and I think is tantamount to animal exploitation - we decided not to partake, especially as from what others told me all that happens is the dolphin 'kisses' you on the nose.TAXIS: grossly expensive.CAR HIRE: good value US$55 per day for a 'jeep' which you will need just for the roads. Lack of decent road signs mean a good map is essential - a 1:50000 tourist map can be obtained in St Johns. Note that even this map doesn't have all roads marked, even though they have been around for several years at least. After 2-3 days you should have been able to see all that there is to see on the island.SHOPS: a few shops at the hotel will sell you jewellry and postcards / tee-shirts sunblock and soft drinks, etc. If you want to stock your fridge (if you have one) with your favourite tipple for 'sundowners on the balcony' you'll need to head to St Johns and find a shop / supermarket - it really isn't practical to just nip down to the bar and take drinks back to your room because of the enormous time delay involved.MONEY: people tend to talk in terms of Dollars and it is easy to make the mistake of assuming that they mean US dollars rather than EC dollars. As US$1 = EC$2.65 this can be an expensive mistake to make.ST JOHNS: aka 'shanty town' don't expect to be able to saunter around and enjoy the nightlife here! There is one decent eating and drinking establishment 'Hemingways' that we found; otherwise St Johns is a place for the to5 beaches' - well it seems only a handful are actually accessible by road and most of these are attached to hotels which means that you're not welcome to use the beds and in some places can't even PAY for a drink. We were actually told to leave one hotel beach that we ventured on to! However there are some truly beautiful beaches if you venture far enough - Half Moon Bay is wonderful and unspoilt (which means no sun shades or beds are there!).OVERALL: a stay at the Royal Antiguan is very relaxing as there really isn't much to do!
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Ebookers, Southall Travel, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com, HotelQuickly and Cancelon so you can book your Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Hotel St. John`s
- Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort Antigua/Saint John Parish