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Historical Traveler Reviews Hermitage Bay St. John's
If you want to get away from it all, eat well, sleep well, get pampered and really feel like you've been on holiday we suggest you give this place a try - its gonna be popular when word gets out.
We stayed from 20- 28 Jan 2007. Had been slightly worried that there had only been 1 review posted when we departed but had discussed the state of completion of the resort with our travel agent who had suggested it may be safer to go elsewhere.
We are SO glad we took the chance. The kind of place we usually try to seek out is the boutiquey modern hotel type with decent food. We were not disappointed. The top hillside cottages aren't finished but that really didn't affect us.
After private transfer by taxi (30-40 mins from airport) culminating in a slow bumpy ride up a dirt track we arrived at this oasis of balinese huts built into the hillside over looking a beautiful bay. EXCLUSIVE - no other hotels in sight. We instantly felt miles from anywhere that mattered - are we alone in thinking this is what a holiday should be about ?!
On request we moved from a lower hillside cottage (still awaiting the finishing touches) to the beachfront cottage furthest from the restaurant (one of the best in our opinion). Beach cottages are a little larger than those on the hillside but don't have the plunge pools. The ones on the beach, as opposed to set back from it, are probably the ones to go for. When you're choosing your hillside rooms have a think about whether you prefer sun or shade and request accordingly so as to get the most out of your plunge pool. The rooms are air conditioned with mosquito nets and are well stocked with insect repellent but if you have particular problems with mozzies take your own as they are fairly prolific. There was a problem with sandflies during our stay but as some of the other reviews mention the owner is taking the best advice (BioRational Vector Control) to resolve the issue (apparently other top hotels on the island had similar problems sorted by these guys). The bathrooms (huge baths) and mini bars are well stocked, beds comfy (quality linen) with great entertainment systems (flat screens and ipod docks) and there's a decent DVD supply (machines only take US DVDs tho). The hairdrier is powerful enough for the biggest hair. The outdoor showers are a nice touch.
Despite some initial 'new hotel' teething problems, this really is a fantastic place to relax. If barefoot luxury is your thing - GO. Its classy but chilled. It is not up itself so if you are somebody who manages to find fault with something for the sake of it, it possibly isn't the place for you. Dress up for dinner if you want but its not necessary - there certainly aren't any rules in this regard and no judgements made - the atmosphere is comfortable. The FOOD IS FANTASTIC - some of the best we've experienced on our travels. The lunch menu does not change but had enough variety to keep us sampling new dishes until the end of our 8 days. The dinner menu is imaginative, really tasty, well presented and usually involved a choce of 3-4 starters, mains and puddings and (some may say bizarrely in a climate like this a soup every night but damn they were good).
Most of the staff couldn't do enough to ensure we had everything we wanted. As with every hotel, there are some that stand out from the crowd. Michael the food and beverage manger really knows his stuff and seemed to be running the place while we were there. He's very knowledgeable and experienced and will go the extra mile to make sure your stay is as memorable and stress-free as possible. Dexter the barman knows his stuff. Its the kind of place where you get what you want , if not the first time, the second or third - it is the Carribean after all! Devon and his watersports team will keep you well amused and busy if that's your thing.
There is a temorary spa and the massage treatments we had were satisfactory. If the intended spa gets built in the middle of the neighbouring swamp it could take the resort to a different level.
We have just returned from a week at Hermitage Bay and this is the first time we have been moved enough to write a review about where we have stayed.
Normally it is "better to travel hopefully than to arrive" when it comes to holiday hotels but Hermitage Bay is the true exception. Fantastic setting, wonderfully spec'd cottages, really lovely staff and food to die for. And for once all inclusive means exactly that so if you want champagne with your afternoon tea then that's what you got.
A couple of extras: get Carol to do the 60 minute deep tissue massage - well worth the pain, do Tai Chi on the beach, and explore the hidden beaches by boat.
I have been home from Hermitage Bay for a month now and am counting the days until my family and I return.
i havn't stopped boring my friends with stories of how much we enjoyed our holiday.
We arrived in Antigua on New Years Eve with no expectations at all having spent previous carribbean holidays disappointed.
I had booked Hermitage Bay months previously and having found hardly any information about the place decided that it was probably my idea of a perfect hideaway!
I had been looking for a quiet deluxe hotel for my children(aged 9 each) and my husband and I to totally relax after a difficult year.
I truly found it.
As we arrived we were greeted by lovely friendly staff who immediately made us feel welcome.
Last year we spent christmas in Orlando. The children have never mentioned it again and at first I was unsure how the children would react to what was obviously a very small hotel( my idea of heaven) with no other kids around ,but they were the happiest I have ever seen them ,for the whole 17 days. in fact they loved the attention they received from everyone!!
As the hotel normally has a no children policy my husband was worried that other guests would not be too happy ,but nothing could be further from the truth. We made some wonderful friends,both guests and staff, who totally embraced our children and vice-versa. They are very well behaved and polite and we were always complemented as such. This of course made our holiday more perfect. As anyone with children knows, happy kids is happy parents.
Our little hut on the beach was wonderful. Everything that we could have wanted was there for us and if something wasn't, all we had to do ws ask and it was there. Nothing was too much trouble.
The food in the hotel was amazing, the best I have eaten in the carribbean if not any hotel and again, if something did not take your fancy on the menu, the staff would do their best to accomodate you(always successfully).
Although the hotel was all-inclusive ,I would not put it in the all-inclusive category of hotels that I have previously experienced in the carribbean.
This was class. 5* food with 5* service.
We took about a day to get used to the Antiguan way of life( no hurry). Since I have been home I am constantly disappointed by the British attitude towards other people . We can learn alot from these wonderful people who put the happiness of others above their own. I know this is not just because they are working, it is their way of life.
My husband had a very enjoyable Sunday morning in church with some of the dining staff. Thank you all!!
Every day we were taken out for a trip on the little boat or hobbicat and our safety was paramount.
The water sports were plentiful under the expert guidance or tuition of the lovely Janice, Devon and Kevin. They were always there on the beach making sure everything we needed we had.
There was a problem with the sandflies and we did suffer badly from the bites but it did not take away any of our delight in finding such a wonderful hotel.Fly repellant was supplied in abundance and spraying ourselves and the room became habit after a while.This problem was being adressed and I am sure will be cured very soon.
Although the hotel had only been opened a matter of days when we arrived, we did not even notice or care about the road being unfinished . This all added to the feeling of being in our little private hideaway.
We did make a couple of trips out of the hotel but i was more than happy to get back to my haven of peace
The spa was not finished also but we had our tratments in a cottage on the hill or on our own terrace which was lovely as we were right on the beach.
I loved the outside showers and the toiletries were gorgeous. Next time I will not need to take a thing as face wash, creams, shampoos conditioner, shower gell etc etc I could go on forever was constantly replaced in our rooms
A couple of nights we had dinner and a dvd in our room and everything was brought to us fresh and warm. If we were not seen too early at breakfast someone would come and ask us if we woild like to take breakfast in the room or just take our order so that everything ready when we got to the table.
If you want lots of shops ,numerous restaurants, loud disco music, crowds of people on the beach, jetski touts in the sea and freeflowing beer from a tap on the side of the bar into a plastic cup, this is not the place for you.
If you want peace, beautiful scenery, attentive service, fabulous food and lovely accomodation then this is definately for you!!
Al I can hope for is that I am lucky enough to be able to return soonand always have my room ready again for my family and I whenever we do go back......which is very soon.
Absolutely the best holiday ever!!!
Antigua's Hidden Gem
We visited in January 2007 and had a fabulous time. Many others have already detailed here how great the rooms are and I can vouch for that - we had a very spacious hillside room and loved it. Detailing makes a difference, and everything was top quality, from the towels to the contents of the minibar (delicious Dean & Deluca chocolate and nibbles!) and clever little things like a can of Evian spray water, for when you're sat by the pool - all included in the room rate. The only thing we ended up paying for was a daily newspaper, which because of some clever 'newswire' system, was actually that day's paper, printed out, rather than yesterday's flown in via the airline (why haven't hotels thought of that before!!).
One of my small, unexpected pleasures was to sit by our plunge pool after breakfast and watch the tiny, very beautiful black and turquoise hummingbirds flit in the tree overhanging our pool. Absolutely amazing!
The watersports were all included (no annoying motorized stuff like jetskis though - to keep the peace!!), so if you want to borrow a snorkel or take a sightseeing trip up and down the coast on the boat or get a lift to Jolly Harbour to take a diving trip, it's no problem.
Even the bathroom products in the rooms were great - they were Aromatherapy Associates when we visited, which I know to be very good. I get a bit fed up of Aveda and Molton Brown's omnipresence!! The bath was amazing!! The biggest bath I've ever sat in! Room enough for two, with room to spare. I felt like a small child sat in it, such was its size!
Each room has its own 'Room Ambassador', who along with cleaning your room each day, will book any trips you want to take, or organise anything you need doing. Each day, we ordered our lunch from our sunloungers and it was brought up to our room so we could sit there and eat, taking in the beautiful views.
Oh, and be sure to check out Ike and Dexter's cocktail list at the bar! Those guys mix great drinks!
We can't wait to go back!
We have just got back from eight wonderfully relaxing days at Hermitage Bay. Fifteen minutes down a dirt road (how else do you get off the "beaten track"?) brings you to a beautifully secluded bay with cottages scatterred on the beach and hillside. We were fortunate enough to have a choice and settled on a hillside cottage for the privacy, and the stunning views from the sweeping verandah.
We usually go away in February, with Xmas over and the kids back at school, to recharge our batteries on a tropical beach. We look for a low density hotel with excellent service, great food and a beautiful location. Hermitage Bay was a winner on all counts and "Antiguatravellers" review spot on.
We were warned about the sandflies on arrival, and they quickly found my ankles, however we arrived just as the hotel management appeared to be getting on top of the problem. After the first 24 hours, I got scarcely a bite. The mozzies are an issue in any Carribean destination and Hermitage Bay was no differant, particularly if you forgot to spray up at night.
The staff could not have been more welcoming.With the hotel open for only a month, we expected to encounter more teething problems than we actually did, and all were swiftly resolved, usually with a big smile.
Most guests were in the beach side cottages. As most of the on-going work is to the upper hillside cottages we were the ones most likely to have had our vacation impacted by noise and general disturbance. Such was the low key way in which the the work was undertaken, it didn't trouble us at all.
Hermitage Bay is a very good hotel which will only get better. Like many of the other guests who were there with us, we'll be back next year!
Having just returned from this delightful privately run hotel, we can thouroughly recommend a visit if you want total relaxation. Opened in early December there are still a few teething problems which the management are addressing, in particular the "buggs and mozzies." Experts have been brought in from the States and there were noticable improvements prior to our departure. "Don't forget your Jungle Juice."
Under the guidance of Michael, the extremely experienced food and beverage manager, the staff could not have been more willing to assist with all our wishes.
Don't be surprised if you have difficulty getting a reservation in a few months time when this "Gem" becomes well known,we have already booked!!
We have just returned from a wonderfully relaxing stay at Hermitage Bay, a new boutique hotel in Antiqua. The setting of the hotel is utterly beautiful - a long secluded bay with stunning white sand beach and blue blue sea - with the wooden cottages set sympathetically into the hillside. And, amazingly, there is nothing in the whole panoramic vista - not a single building - to spoil the natural beauty of the scenery. We felt we had arrived in paradise!
On arrival we were immediately charmed by the natural elegance of the Reception area - a light and airy atrium built entirely with different woods from the Caribbean region - all the cottages were also built with the same beautiful woods. Our cottage - nestled in the hillside and surrounded by tropical plants - was large, spacious and very classy indeed. The furniture and fittings were of the highest spec. and someone had given a great deal of thought to their choice so that everything was in total sympathy with the style of the building. We loved the outside shower area - the huge shower head was great for having showers together, surrounded by the sound of croaking frogs and chirping crickets.
If you go - and you should go soon because once this place is discovered it will be difficult to get a booking - take your i-pod with you. The cottages have i-pod docking equipment which has the most wonderful sound quality. There are speakers in the bathroom as well, so one can swan around listening to one's favourite music whilst getting ready for another strenous day of sunbathing, reading, learning to sail, swimming or snorkelling and being pampered by staff who are there to bring the cocktails - and anything else you need - on the beach, and to serve you with excellent food.
And the food is really good. They have a great chef who produces deliciously fresh and healthy meals using local produce. Cuisine is International and Caribbean. We hope he will push more towards Caribbean food since he does this particularly well and it's such a relief to have regional food on holiday!
What was really special about this place was the friendliness of the staff, who worked hard to make us feel welcome. Michael, who is in charge of the restaurant side, is really cool and elegant, and a really interesting guy to talk to. He also makes it his job to introduce new guests to ones already there which creates a friendly and relaxed atmosphere for everyone. Devon - who taught us to sail - is a local man who has many interesting stories about the area and growing up there.
Of course there are a few hiccups, as there always are with a new development. There is still building work going on - but it's carefully monitored to cause minimum inconvenience to guests, and we were warned about it by the hotel before we arrived. The mosquitoes and sand flies are a nuisance, but the management assured us that they have an American expert who will be sorting this out very shortly. The pleasures of the place far outweigh these minor incnveniences.
So, do go - soon. Obviously check that they are on top of the mosquito problem, take your i-pod with you, be prepared to slow down to the Caribbean pace of life and have a lovely relaxing time - as we did.
Holiday from hell
Just returned from a disastrious time with five others family and friends. Location fabulous beach and sea great. Hotel just up and running lots of teething problems. Rooms quickly finished off therefore quality not great.Workmen and their machines, hammering, banging and talking from 7.30am.Bar running out of various drinks, restaurant slow and not always having basics. Receiving food to your table hot was a bit hit and miss. Walkways to and fro rooms, bar, restaurant, reception poorly lit, uneven, slipperey when wet or muddy. Biting insects a major problem sandflies on beach mozzies all around and tiny bugs and flying insects in bar restaurant and seating. Road in and out to hotel takes 25 minutes of careful driving due to the rough terrain surface. I think in my opinion hotel should have waited a further 6 months before opening, we felt like guinea pigs whilst we were there. Could say more but hope you ask many many questions of the standards before you go.
Relaxing stay in a wonderful location
We stayed at Hermitage Bay for a week through Christmas 2006. The hotel had only just opened and we were among some of the initial guests, as a result we were treated well and very much enjoyed our stay.
At the time of our stay the Spa was not yet open, but we believe it is due to open in January. This did not bother us particularly but as a result we have graded this hotel as 'Above Average' rather than 'Excellent', simply because is was not 100% complete while we were there, we are sure that the hotel will quickly obtain the Excellent rating from other guests once complete.
The Restaurant, Bar and Pool area are very much complete, look wonderful and are very comfortable. Most of the rooms were complete but there was still some landscaping taking place, which was though well supervised by the Owners to ensure minimum disruption to their guests. Most of the photographs posted on this site just don't do this resort justice and many were taken prior to the final furniture and fittings being in place.
The Owners and the Management Team, led by Keith Martell the General Manager, are focused on providing excellent service and a place to relax and get away from the rest of the world. There is very much an Asian influence to the décor, service style and standards, from the great food and wines through to the excellent bar selection and very well stocked mini bar/coffee and tea making facilities. The rooms are very comfortable and the Room Ambassadors are there to take care of your every need.
All of Keith's team from the Restaurant and Bar Staff, through to the Housekeeping and excellent Water Sports team, were friendly and helpful without exception and really made our stay, (thank you to Kevin & Janice from Water Sports and Dexter & Ike the great bar staff in particular).
We would recommend you visit this 25 room hotel soon, in a years time you may find it hard to get a room as this hotel looks set to become one of the top hotels in Antigua if not the Caribbean. Go relax and enjoy the service, food and drinks, as well as the calm sand/shell beach while you can.
TripAdvisor Reviews Hermitage Bay St. John's
Travel Blogs from St. John's
Chef Annie Copps led our culinary discovery tour. First we went to the market to learn about all the unusual local produce. We saw: Sour sap. Mani apple. Orange inside, 1or 2 pits Custard apple Sapodilla. Like brown sugar. Tamarind pods, some sweet some sour Christophine. Grate in salad. Turmeric. Superfood. Dasheen Cassava Tannia Cassie - smells like dirty socks, tastes sawdust and bad taste. Make the kids eat it. Rucu. Use the ...
... a couple of hours so no point maybe another time. I'm really loving how friendly and how easily it is to make friends around here, especially knowing you'll see all these people again in a year's time since they all own the same weeks as you.
My parents are back from their dinner date so we're off to meet up with our new friends for some kareoki and happy hour fun at the local ...
... suggestions for how he could improve the hotel, and promptly ignored them. "Don't ask me to enlarge the pool. Everyone asks that and I can't do that." Not that dymanic, then.
Then he enthused for about ten minutes about everything he is going to change. "I am going to send all my management team on a ten week university course, to make them dymanic and efficient managers. I am going to change all the pictures in the rooms. ...
... been here before. They are getting the hugs and kisses and warm welcomes and even had a bottle of sparkling wine in their room with a a hand written note saying "Elaine and David - Welcome Back" We had the bubbly too, but we've been here before, they haven't.
I began to worry about how sincere all the "welcome homes" really are. Do they really remember us, do they really care that we've come back? Or are we just a memo on some office ...
... so went back to the ship for lunch. We came back to shore for a couple more cheap beers and found a free wifi restaurant so sent out emails to let everyone know that no one has kidnapped us since we are so adorable. There was a lovely store next door where I bought a pant jumper outfit. We walked through a lot of shops and vendors and streets. The people ...