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Galley Bay Resort & Spa
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2,910 - 2,915 of 3,459 reviews
Reviewed 14 December 2009

I was lucky to stay at this hotel for 2 weeks and found EVERYTHING about it 5 star. The staff were top class, professional in their conduct and courteous and friendly in their attitude. I stayed in a beach front villa (lower ground) which lead onto the beach and was 20 metres from the sea. The views were wonderful and it was a stay to remember. The 3 restaurants a;ll served a la carte food and nothnig was a problem to the chefs even if it wasnt on the menu. I would recommend this to anybody and would also add that you would not be disappointed. The extra money to stay here as opposed to any other cheaper hotels was worth it. I was lucky to be met at the airport by a great taxi man called REG, his car was clean, large had air-con and his was reliable and courteous.
Try him out if you need him as he is cheaper than the hotel taxis who seem to add on 20% or so, his number is [--]

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled on business
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5  Thank LSGY2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2009

I will first preface this review with the fact that this is the first time my wife and I have been to an all inclusive (w/ liquor included), so I don't have a lot to compare it to. Upon arriving we were warmly greeted (cheesy, "welcome home" greetings from the staff) and shown our room (Premium Beach Front #17). It's in a good location for the resort, as it's not too far of a walk from anything on the resort. Our stay here was the last leg of our Caribbean adventures (we stayed in Petit St. Vincent (PSV), and St. Lucia prior to Galley Bay in Antigua). Had Galley Bay been our only stop, I may have rated it Average, but compared to our other stays it was much deserving of my poor rating!

First the good: The resort is in a nice location, the grounds are kept up pretty good and there is AC, TV, and wireless internet (which worked for about the first 16 hours of our stay) in the Premium Beachfront rooms. The breakfast was great for the two mornings we had it at the Seagrape Restaurant (French Toast, and Coconut Pancakes w/ bacon - most other selections were eggs or omelets). The service for breakfast was great. We were seated promptly, and had an overall pleasant experience. The location isn't good for swimming, but is good for sailing (if they let you - we got to go once).

Now for the bad:

Staff: I would say that 70% of the staff are mean, and are generally bothered if you ask for even the most basic of services (like making a REQUIRED dinner reservation). 30% of the staff are very friendly, and nice. I feel the ratio should be at least the other way around.
I also ordered 6x Diet Coke for my fridge (I don't drink alcohol, and the "free" diet coke from the bar tasted terrible). The price was good $1.00 US for each can, but it took over 4 hours to be delivered. Also, we wanted to go sailing on our last day at the resort and there was no one staffing the small watersports area. I went to the guest services desk, and asked for help. About 10 minutes later a guy came buy with some life jackets, and I said I wanted to go sailing (he thought we wanted to go kayaking for some reason). He said I can't go sailing, because there was no one at the watersports desk (and for safety concerns there needs to be someone there for sailing). . I asked a simple question, "why is there no one there?" And instead of giving me a polite answer like, "he stated that I can lodge my complaints with management." I laughed to myself and said, well now you officially get a review from my on Trip Advisor (I normally only review really great or really bad experiences). Overall this experience was mediocre, but that was the straw that broke the camels back.

Food: They schedule the food, so it is relatively inconvenient for you to eat a diverse amount of food when you want it. For example, they have three restaurants on the resort, with the Seagrape always open (at specified times). We stayed from Friday - Monday (And they staggered the other two restaurants dinner (M-Th for the Gauguin and Fri-Sun for Ismay's). This means we didn't have much of a choice for dinner. The menu's are not too different anyways. You get a choice of a beef or chicken, along with a varied selection of fish). We don't each much seafood so there wasn't much for us to choose from. If I wanted a Hamburger or something simple like that, I couldn't get it. After our first dinner at Ismay's I rate it one level above your local buffet in taste. Although we were among the first to be seated, we were the last to be served. And it took about 2 hours to get our 3 simple courses, with mean service from most of the staff (although there noticed one friendly member of the staff who wasn't working our table). The food is sparse and his a bit of flavor. To give you an idea of how much we enjoyed our dining options, on the night of day 2 at this resort we took our rental car into town (to find a fast food restaurant), and we saw a bunch of cars pulled over on the side of the road by street vendors. We decided to give it a try, and had some very good grilled chicken! The cost $4.00! If I was staying here more than three nights, I think I would go insane due to the lack of choice! I will preface that with the fact that I like to plan my trips months in advance, and have total control (something they try to keep you from at an all inclusive). My wife joked, "we escaped the prison" when we left to go get dinner in the town.

The Bar: There were not too many people at the resort when were were staying and overall we got good service (especially after tipping after every drink poured). But beware of the "Bar Food" advertised. I was expecting burgers, fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. Nope. There are a few tiny bowls of either pretzels, chips, or crackers (depending on the day).

The rooms: We stayed in the most expensive Premium Beach Front Suite. The room was spacious but felt pretty cheap. The room is covered in tile which makes it easy to clean, but by no means was romantic or visually appealing. The bathroom was large and cold, with a large two person shower (one for someone 4' tall, and one for someone of average height). There was also a large bathtub in the bathroom with two pedestal sinks. The AC worked well, and we were on the lower level (all odd number rooms are on lower level - even numbers on upper levels). Our first night, the were doing construction on the room above us until 1:00AM. It didn't make for a nice sleep. The advantage of being on the lower level is you can walk onto the beach, the disadvantage is you can hear EVERYTHING going on above you. They were also doing construction on the building next to us, which made sitting in front of our unit during the day to relax virtually impossible.

The internet: There was wireless access available in our room for the first 16 hours of our stay and it was pretty good (3MB down and 1MB up). It went down for a few seconds here and there, but overall it wasn't bad. And then around 5:00PM it went down. You still had a wireless signal, but the router didn't have internet access. I lodged a complaint 5 hours later when it still wasn't back up. Then the next morning it still wasn't back up. I lodged another complaint on the way to breakfast, and they had 3 other complaints as well. Guess what, it wasn't back up for the rest of our trip. I thought it might require a simple reboot of the router but we had a brief power failure in the morning that caused it to reboot and that didn't fix the problem (I work in IT and was able to get this information from the status website built into the router). Luckily, there was still internet access at the Library area, but it was annoying having to walk down to there to use the internet because they were to lazy or inept to fix the problem. The only saving grace is the fact that I knew this going into the resort from all the other Trip Advisor reports about it being unreliable.

In conclusion, I stayed in there finest accommodations during mid-level season (a week before Christmas) at a rate of $849.00US a night, and I know I would have had a much finer experience finding a non-all inclusive hotel for around $300.00 a night and I would have had much better food, drinks (for the wife), and service. It really wanted to like this resort for all the money that was spent here, but I did not and the only thing good that came out of this stay is it actually made me look forward to going home to the blizzard in Minnesota. Like the review below me states, if you don't mind eating a limited selection of food and at limited times, and you want to sit on the beach and read all day this may be the resort for you (although i think you could do a lot better for a lot cheaper elsewhere)

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank tpthaler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2009

Overall a very nice place and people. We experienced good food and service. The grounds are lovely and well kept, our room was clean and comfortable. If you intend to lay on the beach all day and read a book this is the place for you! However if the main reason you go to the Carribean is to enjoy the warm clear water than find someplace else. The resort sits directly facing the sea with very little protection making for rough water much of the time. Forget about snorkling from this hotel some days we were not even allowed to enter the water. They have a wonderful assortment of boats and kayaks however most days you will be told the sea is to rough to use them! .They also boast about teaching you to use the equipment, good luck getting them off their chairs to do that. Never again!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank nitrofish1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2009

We have just returned from a weeks stay at Galley Bay and had a wonderful time. Our accomodation was directly on the beach and was lovely, looked like it had been recently decorated. As honeymooners, we were spoiled with sparkling wine on arrival as well as $250 credit to spend in the resort. It was also my husbands birthday whilst we were there and we received another bottle of sparkly :-0)
The food was good with plenty of variety and we had no complaints about the wine, especially the saviougon blanc which we found very drinkable :-0) The Gaugain Restaurant was very imtinate for romantic dining. We found the majority of the staff to be very pleasant and accomodating, there were a couple of surely ones but not a problem for us.
All in all, one of the most enjoyable holidays we have ever had and would have no hesitation in recommending Galley Bay to others.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank WSLLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2009

We have recently returned from a 10 day stay at Galley Bay in Antigua booked through Virgin Holidays. The island and the resort were beautiful and it was a slice of the Caribbean that we have come to expect. We have travelled around the Caribbean with Virgin Holidays before and have stayed in a few very lovely places. Galley Bay is one of those lovely places; however there were a few problems we encountered during our stay.
We arrived in Antigua in the afternoon. After clearing customs we waited outside the terminal for over an hour for our transfer to be organised by the Virgin reps. As we were one of only two couples from our flight going to Galley Bay, we were passed up time and again as the available taxis were being filled first with guests going to the bigger resorts. We were eventually put on one of the last transfers after almost all the others from our flight had left. We were tired and hot after 8 hours in a plane and just want to get to the resort.
We arrived at Galley Bay to greetings of “welcome home” and given the much talked about cool cloth and rum punch as we checked in. While we were filling in the check-in forms the clerk spoke to us at such speed with her beautiful Island accent that we missed most of what she said. We would have preferred her to wait until we could give her our full attention or speak slower but there were others waiting to check-in so we didn’t ask her to repeat what we had missed. We were taken to our room by Javid who pleasantly explained about the resort and gave us a quick tour around. He pointed out the badge that he was wearing that said “always a pleasure” which we were led to believe was the motto of the resort. After reading all the gushing reviews on Trip Advisor, being sincerely welcomed and having been given a taste of the “motto” in action we were looking forward to 10 days in paradise.
The positives: the resort is beautiful and well kept; the grounds were stunning and well maintained. We had chosen a Gauguin Cottage for its privacy and even though it was not on the beach it was well worth the seclusion you get and in any case, it was only a short walk to the beach when we wanted to swim in the sea. The cottage’s personal plunge pool was the selling point for us and we thoroughly enjoyed using it despite its problems. All the restaurants were exemplary, especially the Gauguin, serving some fabulous food with a nice dabbling of local cuisine. They always seemed to be prepared and ready for service not falling victim to “Caribbean Time” that we have experienced elsewhere. A friendly face in the Seagrape Restauarant was Mike, who was always pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu. During some of the evening meals, local musicians performed and it was quite pleasant. The swimming pool with its water fall was a nice place to relax for a change of scenery from the cottage. The beach was spectacular with crystal clear water and some of the softest sand we have walked on. It was always clean and there was a minimum of beach vendors. Sitting on the deck looking over the sea drinking rum punches was something we savoured. We indulged in spa treatments that were totally relaxing and the spa staff were very pleasant.
The negatives: the motto “always a pleasure” is not the motto of all the staff even though a number of them wore the badge. We were dealt with very curtly on a number of occasions, mostly in the Sea Grape Restaurant and Tee Pee bar. At times we felt uncomfortable, as if we were being an annoyance or bothering the staff. There were a few occasions where we had ordered food or a drink that didn’t come until we asked for it again. On the other hand we would be asked a number of times by several staff if they could get us something, for example coffee, and then we would have wait quite some time for it while others around us were being served. We saw staff arguing amongst themselves on a few occasions, doing so at the expense of customers waiting for service. On our day of arrival, our plunge pool was only half full of water and being filled by a hose pipe. We thought they were filling it for our arrival but this was not the case; the pool was leaking and we had to fill it every day with the hose pipe. There was no explanation or apology. During our stay, there was some construction work going on near the pool but when we asked a staff member at the TeePee bar what was being built, she said “I don’t know. They don’t tell me anything, if I want to know I have to ask”. Clearly she wasn’t interested enough to ask, so we didn’t enquire again. The housekeeping service was good and kept the room clean. However, we went for lunch one day leaving our beach towels on the chairs by the plunge pool but when we returned, they had been taken by the housekeeper and not been replaced. The following day (our last night) the bed was made up without the blanket; in fact, for some strange reason, the blanket had been taken away altogether but we didn’t notice this until late at night when we were ready to go to bed. The resort hires its own taxis which you book from guest services. We took a taxi to Stingray City and were due to be collected on completion of the tour. We waited but became concerned when Stingray City was closing and their staff were leaving for the day. One of the Stingray City staff kindly called Galley Bay for us to enquire about our missing taxi and they then waited with us until the taxi arrived to make sure that we weren’t stranded, for which we were very thankful. We had to wait 45 minutes for the taxi to arrive but there was no explanation or apology from the driver. On another occasion, we asked guest services to book a particular taxi and driver for a trip 2 days later, only to find on the day that guest services had not made the taxi booking, so we were late leaving for our appointment. Taxi fares in Antigua are very expensive, so be prepared if you want to leave the resort; examples of round trip fares from Galley Bay: to Stingray City US$70, to Rainforest Canopy Ride US$84, to Jolly Harbour (helicopter) US$64, to St John’s shopping US$30. The Resort provides free internet and Wifi access, however it can be very slow at times and you get repeatedly kicked off. We have travelled with Virgin Holidays to a number of Caribbean islands but on this occasion we feel that the Virgin rep that did our ‘Meet & Greet’ was not as well informed about the resort, for example, what was available to accommodate guests using Virgin’s check-in, chill-out service.
On the whole we had a wonderfully restful and relaxing time accompanied by lovely food and drink. We had a beautiful resort with a comfortable room and happy memories of Antigua; the sunrises and sunsets, walking on the beach, swimming with stingrays, boat trips, kayaking, snorkelling, zip-lining through the rainforest and a helicopter ride over Montserrat. The memories have been dampened somewhat by the less pleasant experiences. As Galley Bay is rated one of the top places to stay in Antigua, after reviewing our whole experience we will probably not be returning.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank tanned_and_rested
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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