On my recent trip to Antigua myself and my husband stayed at two hotels - this was the first one we stayed at and it was only the result of the first night at our chosen hotel being overbooked and so this was where we were sent for our first night in Antigua. The hotel is classed as a 4 star hotel and is based on all inclusive. We had been put in a Superior sea view room type to make up for being put in a different hotel so this review will be based on this room type.
The hotel is only a short ride away from the airport at about 15-20 minutes and is located in a place called five islands where ''funnily enough'' there is five small islands out in the bay near it. It is approximately 4 miles away from the capital St. Johns.
Check in was very easy with the girl on reception giving us a small form to fill in and then giving us some leaflets about the resort which included details of meal times and water sports available. We were also offered a juice or champagne and a cold towel. Once we had our key the porter escorted us to our room by putting our luggage on the golf cart and taking us down the hill to where we would be staying.
As I mentioned above we were staying in a superior sea view room which we were told was an upgrade from the room type we should have been staying in in the other hotel. So with this in mind we thought at least we should have a nice room for the night but how wrong we were!! Upon arriving at the room we noticed straight away that the room had a very small sea view as it was quite far back behind the sea front rooms and the trees and everything else pretty much blocked the view - in fact facing our room was actually a tennis court so if I had actually booked to stay here for our whole trip we would have been pretty cheesed off by this!! Secondly we were hoping the room would be quite nice inside but when the porter opened the door I can only say it was shock horror at how horrible the room was! It was very old fashioned with a cracked wall and lights that were a squint! The towel that the maids normally arrange in a nice design was even just thrown on the bed with a few flowers petal thrown in for good measure! The bathroom wasn't actually separate to the room and the shower was located just around from the bed with the sink next to it which meant that if one of the rooms occupants for example was to step out of the shower and the front door was opened the people playing tennis could have seen you!! Hardly private!!!
Also in the room was a coffee machine and a separate toilet but even this had a very light door on so it again wasn't very private!
The hotel has some water sports included in the all-inclusive which include kayaks and snorkelling and these can be arranged with the guy on the beach. They also have other activities such as tennis. The hotel has evening entertainment and on site shop which is in an old sugar mill so that is quite a nice touch. The beach isn't private (as none are in Antigua) but due to location they won't get many people coming in unless you are at the hotel. The beach is pretty quiet but the main thing we noticed is that this particular beach isn't as white sand as some other beaches in Antigua and the sea is not that clear either. This was a big let-down as with it being our first day there it would have been nice to have been wowed but unfortunately it was just kind of disappointing really.
The hotel has a small pool which in my opinion is too small for the size of the hotel. The idea is the beach is right on the doorstep of the rooms so a large pool shouldn't really be needed but it could still do with being slightly larger!!
The hotel has a small area just next to this with a TV in and a small selection of books. The tour desk is here as well where trips can be booked such as the Waddali cats which are popular.
One thing that all guests should note is that the hotel has 4 beaches within close vicinity to it and one of them is 'clothing optional' beach as they call it which is the only one at current in Antigua so if this is not your kind of thing then be warned!! We didn't see any nudists whilst there but we were only there for 1 night and day!!
The hotel has one main restaurant where all breakfast and dinner is served and then the other smaller area where lunch is served. There is waiter service in the restaurant in both the morning and evenings for drinks and most nights in waiter service for food apparently but, on the night we were there it was actually buffet night as it was a Friday. The smaller lunch area has a set menu and also the barbecue section and there is a small bar here too. The food selection is good in both places and the staff are really good in all areas.
The hotel is rated as a 4 star standard but I wouldn't say that the actual rooms or certain areas in terms of design are worthy of this rating as it feels like it needs a good refurbishment especially when I think that the room we had was supposed to be an upgrade from our other hotel (which is only classed as 3 superior standard) and yet our room there turned out to be better! I thought the staff and food were this best part but was disappointed by the beach, and the decor and rooms overall. I would say if this was your first time travelling to Antigua and you stayed here you would not feel as if you have come to the Caribbean and would probably be disappointed by the hotel in general, especially if you had paid for a room upgrade.
I have just come back from a trip to Antigua where myself and my wife got married. We had booked to stay at the Cocobay hotel but on our first night in Antigua we were told we were staying at the Hawksbill hotel instead as our other hotel had overbooked on the first night.
All I can really say is I'm glad it was only the first night we had to stay here - the resort is nice in a basic way and the staff of the hotel are great but the actual rooms and grounds seem to need 'doing up' as the room we had was very old fashioned (and apparently it was an upgrade as compensation!) and the plants and gardens look like a gardener hasn't been near them in a while! The hotel is made for families, couple and groups alike but we also found out that one of the beaches is a nudist beach so I personally wouldn't have ever chosen to stay here!
The hotel has good food as we had our evening meal, our breakfast and our lunch before we went to the hotel we had supposed to have gone to on the first night and it was all very tasty!
The hotel has some water sports available on the beach but we only saw one other couple on the beach we were on so not sure if it would get much busier.
The staff are good and the food is too but if you had chosen to stay here and get married (which my wife found out you could do) I think you'd be disappointed by your choice of hotel. Obviously some of the even higher room types than ours might be a lot nicer but I won't be going back to find out!!