> Destinations > Antigua and Barbuda > Trip Reports > Trip Report
As a single' traveller, I stayed in Blue Waters in one of their De-Luxe Beach-front rooms for 10 days on an all-inclusive basis from 3 to 13th December.
My allocated room (501) could not be regarded as being very private or totally peaceful. It was next to a generator room which although noisy outside was reduced to a low-level hum inside the room.
The room maids tended to congregate quite noisily in the area between the 500 and the 400 blocks quite early in the morning. Also, if you wanted to nap in the afternoon, you may be disturbed by 1 member of staff calling out for another member (Monica was a very popular person!).
The footpath along which everyone passes to get to the next blocks along (601 900) and also to the Wedding gazebo, also means that there is virtually no privacy at all when sitting on the veranda. Despite the much vaunted description there is actually NO direct access from the veranda to the beach which is, in fact, quite a few yards away down a ramp and some steps. The room was otherwise comfortably furnished and appointed.
The standard of cuisine is simply out of this world!
Both Vyvien's (only open 6 evenings a week) and the Palm restaurants served a splendid selection of meals mostly nouvelle cuisine and therefore very well-presented. Buffet service or barbecues is an alternative option to the Table d'Hote menu for lunch on some days.
(You need to book for dinner in either restaurant daily and if you want to be assured of a table in Vyvien's it is wise to book at breakfast time!)
Despite the resort management declaring a policy with regard to standard of dress after 7:00PM (casual with collared shirts and long trousers for the men) it was not rigidly applied. I found it a little disappointing to go to the bother to dress smartly in the evening to find other guests (even in Vyviens!) dressed in jeans, trainers and collarless shirts.
I had only one little niggling bad service experience one evening in the Palm restaurant when, having ordered an ice-cream & sorbet for my dessert, I was seemingly forgotten. I gave up and left - after waiting 35 minutes. (I was told next day that the dessert I had ordered wasn't even ready for serving by the time I vacated my table!)
(But the cheese-cake confections are to DIE for!)
I did find the lighting at some tables (both in Vyvien's and the Palm restaurants) somewhat inadequate making it a little difficult sometimes where to aim one's knife and fork!
The beach bar was magnificently staffed - with the staff even visiting the 3 beaches at intervals during the day to take and fetch orders for drinks. Carolyn and Jarolyn are 2 happy characters who are rays of sunshine in their own right.
The bar-staff in the Pelican Bar in the evening also serve diners in the Palm restaurant so sometimes it is difficult to get yourself noticed and served at the bar.
I am not an enthusiastic fan of steel-pan music but it seemed to fit the mood and ambience of being on Antigua. There were also very good small jazz combo's on other evenings with one in particular having a trumpet player who played in a similar style to Herb Alpert although not as technically proficient as Herb at his jazzy best (NOT the Tijuana brass Herb!) and a lady singer who sang in the style of Nina Simone.
I cannot say that the fashion shows during dinner were necessarily a success with me delightful though the ladies were.
The bands stopped playing at 11:00pm every evening and the bars closed (I am told!) at around midnight so you would not have your beauty sleep disturbed if you are the early-to-bed type.
These are magnificently groomed and all the palm trees are a haven for the rather strange sounding crickets (they sound like hundreds of overhead fans squeaking in unison!) however, the racket that they made soon became natural' and certainly did not stop one sleeping. The main beach is quite small and there are 2 other smaller but rather more secluded beaches where you can do your Robinson Crusoe thing.
Altogether a very pretty and picturesque place in which to spend a large amount of your time on holiday.
I had read in one of the trip reports here on the Net that the staff would know your name within a couple of days a nice touch I thought. This was not my experience and indeed the staff would not necessarily remember your room number for which you were asked whenever you ordered a drink or had a meal.
Don't expect anything much from the available programmes on the TV sets in the rooms. The only watch-able channel was CNN from the USA (which was dire).
The mosquitoes proved to be a problem due to the heavy rain at times. They were at their most voracious under the tables in the Palm restaurant in the evenings. Some judicious spraying by hotel management wouldn't have been amiss so do take insect repellent with you if you are attractive to mozzies! (The little beggars had me on ice even when I was wearing long trousers and socks!)
During my 10 days on Antigua I took only 3 excursions.
I took Caribbean Helicopters' Montserrat volcano and round-the-island flights. Both were truly awesome and the Montserrat flight was even a little scary (and I thought I was past having such feelings!). Steve the pilot provided excellent and most knowledgeable running commentaries over the headsets during each flight. Flying around the actual rim of the volcano we even had Smellorama too as we got a sniff of the sulphurous fumes right inside the cabin! The sight of bright sulphur-yellow acid streams running down the side of the volcano has stayed in my mind as did the sight of the domestic animals (abandoned when the inhabitants were evacuated) all seemingly enjoying the freedom of ranging over the unaffected parts of the exclusion zone that were still green and lush and providing sufficient grazing for them. We saw cows and horses during our flight which seemed to be quite happy surviving without any human intervention.
The 30-minute round-the-island flight showed the island of Antigua at its truly beautiful best.
The helicopter flights operate out of Jolly Harbour about a half-hour taxi ride from Blue Waters ($US50 return for each trip). The route to Jolly Harbour skirts around St John's the capital and enables one to see Life as it is lived by typical Antiguans their homes and their laid-back ways and I saw enough of the island to make a 4th excursion of a taxi-tour of the island quite unnecessary.
Perhaps the costs of the flights combined with the taxi rides are quite expensive but well-worth the outlay for the sheer excitement and thrill content and I am truly glad to have had experiences.
The third excursion I took was a half-day (4 hours) charter of a speedboat from Island Speedboats Ltd operated by Graham. He picked up from off the beach at Blue Waters. Graham will literally take you wherever you want to go. I was intrigued by the Prickly Pear Island (very Treasure Island-ish sounding I perceived!) which was not too far from Blue Waters to the north so off we went in that direction. It is a small, uninhabited island with not a prickly pear to be seen! On the beach was a precariously built bar on stilts to service, no doubt, the water-borne visitors' thirsts. Then it was left to Graham to conduct the rest of the trip which he did, giving a very knowledgeable running commentary. It was a splendid tour of about a third of the coastline of Antigua before making a high-speed return to Blue Waters. He would stop anywhere you took a fancy to for a swim or to explore some of the many sandy beaches of Antigua that are only accessible from the sea. Graham provides ice-cold beers and soft drinks too, making for an altogether great value and exciting ½ day adventure. Graham's speed-boat will take up to 6 people at a squeeze but 4 in relative comfort. Highly recommended!
Having read the foregoing comments about Blue Waters it may sound unwarrantably critical and nit-picking. It is not meant to detract one iota from the whole ambience and beauty of an attractive, well-managed and efficiently-run hotel worthy of the four and a half stars that Blue Waters is accorded and well deserves. My comments are intended to be constructive and indicate to Keith Martel (the general manager) a possible source of minor irritation to other guests as well as myself.
I loved the place and my holiday. There is really very little indeed to criticise about the resort but much to commend it.
PS: The Check-in and Chillout service operated by Virgin on the return day is fantastic and a boon!
Thanks to Mark for this trip report ...