Dickenson Bay | PO Box 251, St. John's, Antigua
"We found it offending and put a damper on things"
Posted by: ChrisCarolUK07 on Feb 1, 2005
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You are welcome to dine out at one of our other resorts in Antigua and the staff at reception will be happy to make a reservation for you.
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"This was such a DISAPPOINTMENT!!"
AnaToronto on Feb 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2005
260 people found this review helpful
This review would be of interest to families with little ones. My husband and I have traveled to some very nice islands, and I will try to be non-judgmental when reviewing this resort, but it will be difficult. As a mom of a 4 year old, who happens to be a great traveller, we were disappointed with this resort, for it catered very little to small children.
Lobby & Rooms:
We flew with Skyservice from Toronto and booked with Signature Vacations. When we arrived to Antigua, there was a shuttle bus/taxi awaiting us and promptly dropped us off at the hotel. The lobby is modest, but very clean. We were checked in immediately and offered a beverage. We had arranged for a superior room, and were taken to room 252, which apparently is known as the Gardens. Our room consisted of a king bed, a small cot/bed for our 4 year old, a full bathroom with tub, and a balcony overlooking the gardens (BE CAREFUL IF YOU HAVE A TODDLER - it's quite a drop down). The resort mostly consists of 2 to 3 storey buildings, and everything is just steps away, which is convenient when travelling with small children. We could hear the waves from our room, and our building was behind the beach-front rooms. If your children take naps, I would highly recommend the poolside rooms, because many parents would be tanning outside while the kids napped inside.
The buffet restaurant is located directly in front of the lobby in another building. My daughter's best meal was probably breakfast. She enjoyed her morning cereal, and enjoyed her eggs and bacon. The meal consisted mostly of the traditional fare - eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast or pancakes, fruit and some traditional dishes from the island. For coffee drinkers, I would recommend the coffee machine - I would enjoy my cafe latte every morning in comparison to the coffee that the waitresses provide. Lunch was also available here, but somehow we seemed content with the food the Carib bar by the beach, that provided fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, salads, bbq chicken. At dinner, every night was represented by a different island. A warning to parents - try the food before placing it in your kids plates - some food tends to be very hot/spicy, even though it doesn't look it. We were told at the end of the week, that there was a kids menu - but no one ever mentioned this to us, a common trait we found at this resort- information was never volunteered. Ask the waitress after your child's meal for ice cream - they will bring it you, but again, they will not suggest. Overlooking the beach is Warri Pier - it looks runned down, with some shutters missing - the food consists mostly of seafood, and personally we didn't eat there, but from those who did, said there was nothing to boast about. Many people who chose not to go all inclusive, raved about a little place up on a very STEEP hill, about a 5 minute walk from the resort, Paty's Pizza and another little restaurant near Coconut Grove, the Beach, just after Sandals resort.
The bartenders were nice, happy and jovial. Our favourite was Denton, who was by the beach bar. After a while, he knew what we were drinking and referred to my daughter as the "fruit punch" lady.
Beach, Pool, Chairs & Tikki Huts:
The week that we traveled (from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7) the ocean was very rough. The water is a nice turquoise colour, but unfortunately, we only went to our knees. We were in Dickenson Bay, whereby the water is supposed to be calm, but not during our stay. After speaking to some locals, when the west side is rough, head east of the island. The pool is very small and not shallow at all for little ones (shallow end starts at 4 ft). I would highly recommend bringing arm floats or even a lifejacket as we did, independent but still safe. As in other islands, we learned that the chairs and tikki huts disappear rather quickly. Get up early, and reserve your chairs (and tikki huts) with your towels. The weather is quite comfortable - it was sunny around 9 am with a gentle breeze blowing. Around 3 pm, we would see some cloud cover and would cool down somewhat.
Children's Club & Playground:
This was such a DISAPPOINTMENT!! On our arrival, we were told that the kids club was closed on Tuesday - fine, no problem, my daughter waited patiently to the next day. On Wednesday, I approached the front desk to find out the hours of operation: opens at 10:15 am and closes during lunch and opens again in the afternoon. On several occasions, I personally walked over to the kids club which is by our building, the room was locked and dark. I went to ask the front desk, and they acted all surprised. After the 3rd day, I realized this resort did not cater to kids. As for the playground, there's a frame for the swings, but no swings and the games room also non-existent. In comparison to other resorts, like Mexico, Turks and even Cuba, it really is disappointing. FYI...I spoke to people who stayed at the Pineapple Beach and St.James, everyone said the same thing - "it must be an island thing" was our conclusion. So, keeping this in mind, DON'T ADVERTISE THIS TO YOUR KIDS, BECAUSE IT IS NON-EXISTENT.
There is no team like ANAMICON in Cuba - instead, one evening you have guests entertaining themselves with karaoke, there's a steel drum band another evening and the most "entertaining" evening was the fire-eater man. Other than that, entertainment lacked and because the proximity of the buildings were very close to one another, the music was very loud. As for the island of Antigua, we didn't do Shirley Heights, but everyone did rave about it (but I think its an adult-only thing). If you think its Mexico or Grand Cayman, there's no clubs. Just little bars and some nice restaurants.
We did the Wadali tour to Bird Island. The catamaran was nice, but the little island could be slightly more accommodating. There's one building, not much to see, just snorkel. I would recommend that kids and adults too, wear sandals or water socks because it has a lot of coral and you can cut your feet easily. It can be quite busy as well, since you get many passengers from the cruise ships - we went on a Thursday.
So, to wrap this review: I would not return to Antigua, especially to the Halcyon Cove with children. After traveling to nice islands like Turks & Caicos, Barbados, Aruba, Grand Cayman, Mexico and even Cuba, I was really disappointed with Antigua. The fact that the resort could have done a lot more to cater to children was a real downer. However, they are not to blame entirely, but Signature vacations should do some major updating to their brochures.
"We found it offending and put a damper on things"
ChrisCarolUK07 on Feb 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Feb, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
251 people found this review helpful
We read all the reviews and still went ahead and booked this Hotel. I will compare it with other 3* hotels we have stayed at in the Caribbean and I have to say we were very very disappointed The superior room we had booked looked like something that could be found on Corfu for the club 18 to 30's. It was insulting. We did move room, along with all other English guests allocated these rooms awful rooms and the room we were given was OK.
Some of the staff were really rude and off hand, others were very nice and jolly.We found it offending and put a damper on things.
The beach bar glass's were often dirty and also the coffee cups. The beach BBQ was a very strange set up. All inclusive guests had to get a chitty from the beach bar and only then were you given a plate. (Why this could not be done at the BBQ area I have no idea).Please do not ask for more than one piece of chicken or burger or hot dog (The full choice) as this was greeted by either you being ignored or snapped at with words like "Two "very loudly,unless you were of course the one special American guest who was actually asked if he would like two pieces of Chicken.Staff at this BBQ area would not even get a 1 of of 5 score from us.To be honest we only ate here 4 times in two weeks it was a little dampening to our holiday spirit.
Brown water from the taps and urine colored water in the loo all the time.
Our room had badly fitting doors and we could not keep the mosquitoes out, no repairs done even though our rep did mention it twice on our behalf.We had to stuff the gaps with towels at night and have the room sprayed as our mosquito machine could not keep them all out.The maid was excellent and the room was kept very clean.
Food, not a lot of choice, looked ok but we needed Imodium on two occasions. The restaurant staff were on the whole very pleasant but we found restrictions on carved meats. We both have small appetites and were ok but if you like to eat, well? All in all don't book this hotel. The staff are not a happy bunch at all on the whole. We heard rumors of the hotel being closed down this summer for a revamp and the best staff already having gone to the better Rex hotels. True? who knows. We did know that the hotel needed a lick of paint, but we were not prepared for how shabby it was. If there is a large group of you may be you would get by ,but I honestly could not recommend it to anyone.
We have stayed at the Trelawny Starfish on Jamaica and the Casa Marina Beach on the Dominican both hotels were far superior to this hotel in every way.