Soldier's Bay, St. John's, Antigua
"We were married at Blue Waters"
Posted by: Casey02 on May 1, 2004
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Travellers in search of elegant Caribbean resorts and hotel hideaways need look no further than the Blue Waters Caribbean resort in St. Johnís, Antigua.
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"We were married at Blue Waters"
Casey02 on May 1, 2004 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2004 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
643 people found this review helpful
Just returned from our wedding and honeymoon at Blue Waters (May 1-May12). We were married at Blue Waters on Sunday May 5. From the moment you arrive at Blue Waters a calm sense of euphoria overtakes you and the entire time you have a feeling of what heaven must be like. We were especially overjoyed with the layout and beautiful setting of the hotel and the lush garden grounds. Every morning when you walk to breakfast you will pass probably 5 staff members; all taking care of the hotel grounds.
THE POOLS AND BEACHES:
There are two pools; the main pool is next to the pool bar and allows children-this is where most people spent their days, and another pool at the beginning of the walkway to the wedding gazebo that does not allow children. Both pools are a bit small and there is no jacuzzi, but neither was ever crowded and there is never a problem to get a lounge chair. Tip to those who are going, while the main pool is convenient to the pool bar we found the bottom of the pool to be quite rough and preferred the other pool with a smooth tile bottom. There are 3 beaches at the resort with the main beach being the largest, and 2 small beaches flanking each side of the jetty that the wedding gazebo was located on. The sand is a beautiful white powder and the water an amazing turquoise blue. During our stay we preferred the small middle beach that was inbetween the sun deck and the jetty; there was hardly any seaweed and it was almost always deserted. Being our first trip to the carribean, we were amazed at the number of people that spend money to fly down the carribean ocean only to lay by the main pool and down cocktails. Everyday we swam in the ocean and would recommend travelers to bring some eye drops, as we were not used to the saltiness of the ocean. Loungechairs or umbrellas were never a problem on the beach either, there were stacks of lawn chairs along the back row of the beach if need be. A comment to something we read on wheretostay.com from a previous traveler... they complained that the beach was very deep and we do not agree. As you first step in there is a small shelflike drop that brings the water to your calves, but you can touch the bottom almost all the way to the floating raft they have out near the buoys for sunbathers. We too (like Daniels previous posting) took a peddleboat over to the secluded beach on the other side of the rock cottage. There is no one around and we had brought our camera, so it was the perfect spot for beach photos with that "deserted island look." While we enjoyed the beaches at BW tremendously, we must say that we absolutely fell in love with TURNERS BEACH during both of our 2 Wadadli Cat Cruises. Turners is more south of BW and has a hotel on it that is closed down because it is for sale (Rex Blue Heron). Turners Beach is the most beautiful beach we have ever been to. This beach has tons of shells and is absolutely crystal clear. While in 5 feet of water I could see my toes, and we even spotted quite a few fish. This beach is so amazing and it is so strange because both times we stopped there on the catamaran there was no one there but us. We took 2 cruises; the Cades Reef cruise and the Circumnavigation cruise and really enjoyed the snorkeling. Wadadli Cats was excellent, well worth the money-the food was great and the staff was so friendly-they always kept offering drinks and pointed out the points of interest. A tip to anyone interested-book a tour online before you go and you get a nice souvenir T-shirt free when you get on the boat. Also to make the cruise even more memorable, we purchased a video of us on the cruise that was nicely edited and has been fun to show friends and family-they offered it for $40 US and taped the passengers from the time you stepped on until the time they dropped you off with all the scenery inbetween. We were happy that we chose that company as we heard the Treasure Island Cruise catamaran go by and the music was so loud you could hear them before you saw the boat. We were also extremely happy that we chose BW, because we saw all the other hotels, and were suprised at how the hotels allowed vendors to take over their beaches. A few hotels had vendor shacks all over the beach with many vendors hangning their goods between the trees and such. We went into town for our shopping and was glad that BW does not allow local vendors to do such things on their beaches.
We arrived on Thursday and met with Jolie Watkins (email@example.com) the wedding coordinator on Friday. She goes over every detail of what you want and then accompanies you into St Johns to go to the High Court and apply for a marriage liscense. We also stopped at a bridal shop and rented an exquisite Pierre Cardin Tux for $80 US-we were extremely delighted with the Tux as we were not sure when we went down there as to how the availability/selection would be. BW does not normally do weddings on Sundays, but happily accomodated us-even opening up the salon which is normally closed on Sunday. We got the full spa package for 2, and the pampering got us totally relaxed for the big day. Beverly in the salon did a great job with bridal hairstyle. As for the wedding you cannot script your own ceremony, but the one performed is absolutely beautiful and brings tears to almost all. We were able to pick the type and color of flowers we wanted to decorate the gazebos and for our bouquet and buttonhole. The cake was perfect and so good. They saved the rest of it for us and we had it for dessert after our dinner that evening. We opted for the video and the largest picture package available (Best 50 of 60 pictures all 5x7 with 4-8x10s including the negatives-$280 US) and were happy we did so. The photographer arranges all the photos in a wedding album for you. The photographer takes pictures all during the ceremony, as well as in the garden and on the beach. The video was great and edited with our names and sweet music ($300 US). After our ceremony we proceeded up the jetty to the other decorated gazebo where we cut our wedding cake and signed our marriage certificate. We were surprised that they provided us with 2 bottles of champagne for after the ceremony because it was just the two of us and our two witnesses, that was very nice. We had our wedding dinner in the Palm restaurant because Vivyiens is closed on Sundays and Mondays. A tip-we went barefoot for our ceremony and pictures; the stepping stones that lead down to the gazebo are uneven and when you get down to the beach for pictures you take your shoes off anyways. The next morning the staff comes by and brings a made to order champagne breakfast to your room, which is a wonderful extra that is included in the wedding package. When you receive your video the hotel has free VCRs that they will bring to your room and set up for you to preview your video to ensure that it is to your liking. Jolie is a huge help and is very dependable for all your questions and concerns.
There are two restaurants the Palm which is open-air with an amazing view of the ocean which is where you eat all your breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon tea and cakes. Also there is Vivyiens which is upstairs, small and air conditioned. There is a $2 service charge when you eat at Vivyiens, but we did not notice any difference between the service or food between the two. We enjoyed the Filet Mignon which was offered almost every night. The filet is huge and has a great flavor-the filet is $10 US dollars extra for the all-inclusive plan and well worth it. The meals were all very high quality and with a very fancy presentation. They rotate the menus, so if you really like something you must enjoy it then, because you probably won't see it offered the same way again. Breakfast was great with a make to order Omellete bar. We didn't like the milk in Antigua-someone said that it is not pasteurized and they serve it at room temp, so we did not find it very tasty. Lunch is wonderful with a variety of barbeques and offerings-I recommend the Banana split for desert. All dinners except Monday night (Managers BBQ) are served by the staff which are very friendly and always made sure that everything was to your liking. A note to those who will be traveling...The dress code for dinner is no shorts for either restaurant and at the Pelican Bar after 7:00. Also for breakfast and lunch ladies and men must wear tops, bottoms and shoes. You can wear a swimsuit wrap-as long as it is long to cover your top and bottom. There is patio seating at the Palm so you can eat with a wet swimsuit which is nice. We really enjoyed the BBQ Monday night, food was fantastic with a huge variety and an amazing setting- the filled a kayak with bowels and made a salad bar--Bring your camera! There is entertainment everynight which is nice, but never too loud. We liked the steel band on Mon night-they played some cover songs. The menus cater a bit to the English and dinner is served late. We stopped at a market in town and bought some snacks to put in our minifridge-which came in handy after lots of swimming. Breakfast ends at about 10:30, lunch is from 12:00-2:00, tea and cakes from 4-5 and dinner is from 7-10; approx. We actually had pizza delivered to our room one night to calm our urges for junk food at the advice of the pool bartenders. Big Banana is in Saint Johns and will deliver with very reasonable prices and great quality food.
THE POOL BAR:
The pool bar is next to the main pool and is the hub of conversations and greetings during the day. Dexter and Caroyln were extremely friendly and were very open about island life and were helpful with any questions you had. The drinks are so strong that we usually had to tell them to tone it down a little. This is when the all-inclusive plan came in very handy, because the staff was always asking you if you would like a drink and they are great. Bottled water is not included in the all-inclusive plan and can be purchased, but we drank plenty of tap water and found it very refreshing
The rooms at Blue waters are very nice with great AC. We were upgraded to a villa #604 (we recommend a ground floor room-after those strong drinks you could break your neck going up the stairs). Our room looked right out onto the wedding gazebo and our balcony was very private with the walkway being behind the building-not in front like many of the other rooms #100-500. The maid staff kept the rooms immaculate and were were impressed at their services. The minifridge is filled with 2 orange juices, 2 bottled Coca-colas, 2 tonic waters, 2 soda waters, and 4 Wadadli Beers. The fridge is restocked daily at your request. Also there is a small bottle of Cavalier Rum, London Dry Gin, and Johnny Walker Red Label Whisky provided that can be restocked daily at your request. I really liked the bathroom which had antique style hardware with a great shower. Our room had a large wall of closets with a small convenient safe. The tv has a remote as so does the ac. Our room was bi-level with a connecting door to the next room if you had family/friends along with you. Don't bother to bring shampoo or conditioner-they had 2 large bottles in our tub along with bath gel-and enjoyed it. Beach towels are provided in your room and replaced daily, even though they dry very fast-the staff brings you fresh ones when the turn down your bedding.
I agree with Daniel's earlier posting (BW Trip Report 5/12/02) regarding the age groups and demographics present. The setting is so large and secluded that some days we mingled and talked with other couples (HI lori-great to meet you and your husband-Congrats on your anniversary) and others we took off on our own and just relaxed in privacy. Everyone had a blast down there and we spoke with many who all agreed that there were happier beyond their expectations, and that the hotel undersells itself. We did not see bugs (spiders) of any sort. Although I was bit by probably a mosquito on night on my legs. There are lots of small lizards running around and at night there is an exotic sound that we found out were crickets-nothing we've ever heard like that in California! There seems to be a resident cat that had just had kittens before our stay, but we saw lots of stray animals in town and even inside the airport in Antigua. When departing Antigua they do not have X-ray machines for the items you check so they open them on a table in front of everyone and pull out all your things-a little embarassing but good in terms of safety. In town we found the souvenirs to be not as cheap as we expected, proabably due to much of the goods being flown in. Taxis to town or the Airport were $10 each way with a great availability of drivers. When landing in Antigua you depart the plane by a ladder ramp which is somewhat steep and there are redhat servicemen who will carry your bags through customs to your taxi/transfer for $1 a bag which was helpful after a long flight. Make sure and bring lots of sunblock, after sun lotion and film as it is quite expensive in the gift shop. The steps leading up from the beach each had a shower to clean off all the salt with. There were a few men that approached us on the beach and asked us if we would like to buy horseback riding tickets-if you politely say no they will leave you alone. A couple we met (Phil & Kristin-honeymooners) put a $10 deposit on a cruise and said the boat never showed up and neither did the salesguy. Also another couple said that their friends purchased a Wadadli Cruise from a beach vendor for $75 US while the same cruise we paid $60 US for on the internet. These vendors do not seem reliable and I would recommend having the hotel book your excursions, they can even charge them to your room if you like. Everywhere we went Travelers checks and US money was happily accepted, and we never saw an ATM. International phone calls are extremely expensive, and we were charged for a phone call that we made from our room using a phone card-BEWARE. Another point of advice is that frequently the phone lines were busy and we inquired about this with the front desk, and they said that this is normal during peak times and that there is no way to get through. Due to this we were unable to confirm our hotel transfer that was included in our American Airlines vacation package, so we had to pay for a cab to the hotel-no big deal. The game room and gym were small but full of equipment-besides who travels to the caribbean and wants to sit inside and play pool or table tennis? I would not recommend this hotel to families with kids, as there is not much for them to do, and they are restricted to use the far pool and cannot eat in Vivyiens. During our stay we saw only 3 kids, which were all quiet and well-behaved. There is plenty of room for everyone at BW, so you don't have to go to one of those OTHER HOTELS that advertises couples only-but does not advertise that they have almost 300 guests staying there on one beach. The hotel has a computer with internet access, but I was told that there was a $10 charge to use it for up to 30 minutes. We found th laundry service to be very reasonable at BW-they charged $6 US to press my wedding dress. Something we found funny was at Bird Airport there is a sign in the grass next to the walkway that says " Do not walk on grass-PENALTY $200."
If there is anything that I have missed or further questions don't hesitate to e-mail me directly or post a reply. I have tried to cover everything, as I had a million questions going into this and found much info on this website and from the hotel staff directly. For a wedding, honeymoon, or romantic getaway BW has something for everyone and leaves no one disappointed. This resort is highly recommended in all aspects. UCIANTEATER@prodigy.net