Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Caribbean Islands (
-   -   hotel question for antigua and st lucia (

alicefe Jan 7th, 2009 09:08 AM

hotel question for antigua and st lucia
I am planning a a trip with my 13 year old daughter for Presidents' day week. We are looking for a nice, swimmable beach with lounge chairs and shade -snorkling would be great too- as well as a nice size pool and a nice room with a water view. Food and other activities are not so important. We loved the Mariott in Curacao but would like to try someplace new. Between the Grand Pineappple, Verandah, St James Club and Long Bay Resort does anyone have a recommendation for Antigua? The reviews I have read are mixed and I am worried the roooms will be shabby or the beach too small and crowded. I have also looked at the Bay Gardens Resort, Windjammers Landing and Cotton Bay Village on St. Lucia. All advice and recommendations appreciated.

Caribzack Jan 7th, 2009 09:18 AM

We saw rats the size of cats at Windjammer Landing...around the pool and in the rafters at the restaurant. ( The one at the top of the hill)Told Mgmt. and the next day they were setting traps..too late for us!! Yuck Rooms are old, had bugs and water leaked in when it rained! NEVER go there !

alicefe Jan 7th, 2009 09:53 AM

Wow. Thanks for this -obviously it is off my list.

ejcrowe Jan 7th, 2009 10:03 AM

I have very fond memories of Antigua from my various trips there, but it's been three years since I was there--Verandah Resort is new since my last trip. I always stay at Long Bay Hotel, as I tend to prefer smaller, more intimate, locally owned and operated places over large, sprawling resorts and chain hotels. Long Bay and Grand Pineapple share the same beach, which is lovely any time but is actually a bit smaller in February due to the erosion patterns that time of year.

I love the staff, the food, the simplicity, and the Old World Caribbean feel to Long Bay and could sing its praises all day. The rooms don't have a/c, but I have always found the ceiling fans and open (screened) windows to provide sufficient cooling. The decor is (or at least *was*) dated in the rooms, but the beds were new & comfy, the hot water plentiful, and the views from all of the rooms (both the cottages and the more hotel like rooms) were lovely. I've stayed in the regular rooms, the View House, and the Harbour House and would recommend them all.

I've toured both Grand Pineapple and St. James's Club and I thought they were both fine but not what I look for in a vacation. St. James's has two beaches--the wild, windswept one facing the open sea and a smaller, calmer one facing an inlet cove. It's a little ways away from everything except for English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard, but the rest of the places on your list are fairly remote as well.

Snorkeling off Long Bay hotel is pretty good--about the best on the island--but Antigua is never one of the top rated islands for snorkeling, so keep that in mind. Long Bay doesn't have a pool, but I personally wouldn't let that keep me from staying there when there the property has water on either side suitable for swimming.

The small size of Long Bay is what I love about it--many staff members have been there for simply ages, including the three wonderful bartenders, the desk staff, housekeeping, and the beach manager. The hotel provides large blue umbrellas and comfortable loungers on the beach and if you let the bar tender at the Beach House know that you'd like to keep the drinks coming, he or she will come out to check on you to see what you'd like next. For my money, Long Bay is the best hotel to stay on Antigua, but I fully admit that it wouldn't be for everybody.

If you have specific questions, feel free to ask me.

alicefe Jan 7th, 2009 10:27 AM

Thank you - this is exactly the type of info I was hoping for. Long Bay sounds great to me but I think my daughter might miss the pool. I am leaning towards the Grand Pineapple as it sounds closest to what we want.

ejcrowe Jan 7th, 2009 07:07 PM

Yes, the Grand Pineapple has a pool, maybe even two? It was pleasant but not a special pool, but if it's important to your daughter, then it's important. FYI: there's not a lot of shade available at the Grand Pineapple on the beach. There are a few palm trees but mostly it's just folks out in their chaises in the sun. There's a bit more shade around the pool area, as I recall.

If you do stay at Grand Pineapple, be sure to walk down the beach to the little green shack that's open for lunch and get some good local fixings.

alicefe Jan 7th, 2009 08:53 PM

Thanks for the warning about the lack of shade - this is a concern for me. I may call them directly to ask exactly what they have.

eileen Jan 8th, 2009 04:11 AM

Hi, I have also been to the Curacao Marriott and enjoyed it. You should consider the Verandah -- we were there in March and it's brand new and a good value. (Don't pay rack rate, there are definitely sales out there). There were a few issues, but I attribute them to only being open a few months. Overall we found service and food to be good and we had a great room right near the beach and with a wonderful view. Request a room near the beach and pool (the property is sprawling) and the top category room (oceanfront) is definitely worth it. There are two beaches, they are nice but not spectacular, the watersports are included which may be a nice feature for your daughter. If you stay there, be aware that it is pretty far from everything -- you can walk to Devil's Bridge but that's about it, and cabs are expensive. We rented a car. And there were quite a few kids there so your daughter might find some friends. Oh yes, there are palm trees on the beach so there's shade. The main pool is very large and there is a second smaller pool as well.

alicefe Jan 8th, 2009 05:22 AM

Thanks for this recommendation. I was put off the Verandah because a few reviews on tripadvisor indicated that the beaches were small and you had to get up early to claim a beach chair which made me think the resort would feel very crowded on a holiday week. Maybe this can't be avoided. Do you know if there was there snorkling off the beach or snorkling trips?

eileen Jan 8th, 2009 10:14 AM

Yes, there was snorkeling and the water seemed very clear. I would highly recommend Eli's Eco-Tour as a snorkeling excursion. You get to see a lot of the island from the sea, snorkel, take a very short hike on one of the small islands offshore, explore caves, etc. A delicious lunch is included. We were at the Verandah first week in March and it was not crowded, but it had only been open four months so maybe that's why. There certainly seemed to be plenty of chairs on both beaches. The beaches are not large, but not teeny tiny either. By the way, don't know how it was when you were there, but the absolute worst place I have been for people reserving beach chairs the night before and there being a shortage was the Curacao Marriott! It was one of the few places we stayed where reserving a chair was a competitive sport! If you do want a nice long beach to walk on, The Verandah is not your place. I just thought it was an incredible value for the price and a good place for kids.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:51 AM.