18 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
What a GREAT TIME in Antigua/Barbuda = Beautiful
"I was invited by a friend of mine, who had a timeshare, which landed her in Antigua this time around. I decided to go last minute for some majorly needed R & R and I am glad I did. Each of us (3 in total) came from Chicago, Detroit, & Minneapolis. We had a room on the 3rd floor (each of us got our exercise for the week) with a large balcony near the bay. Staff was very friendly and helped us or escorted us by golf cart whenever we needed it. The resort in on the Jolly Harbor property. The resort is HUGE so traveling by golf cart is a good idea. We didn't rent one; however one can rent one by the day or week. Shout outs to Filmena (reception), Alley (Maint), and the man that helped me start the grill and drove us around in his golf cart. I am sorry I can't remember his name but he is a security person. Ladies with medium to long hair - I would HIGHLY recommend that you get your hair braided (like Bo Derek in the movie 10) on your first day. Costs between $20 - $30 American money. It may seem outrageous, but it saves you from spending tons of time doing your hair and keeping it up. Also saves money on hair products. It is very hot here. The braiding saves you and the people you go with time and energy. It was the best thing 2 of us did. The other lady has short hair. No worries for her. If you do braid your hair, wrap a towel around your bottom. The sand flies are BAD. I will explain this later. Bring insect repellant with you that is specific to Sand Flies. If not, you can purchase a bottle in the gift shop for $5. That saved us throughout the trip. Beach was great. You can purchase souveniers on the beach and also excursions. Watch out for the exursion sellers. There is one gentleman that I would HIGHLY recommend. His name is (I will get back to you on that one) Stay away from the guy that GUILTS you into purchasing an excursion. He screwed the 2 ladies I was with on 2 excursions. I did the zip line in the rainforest, kayacking, snorkeling, and island tour on Wednesday and the Barbuda Express excursion (trip to Barbuda-private pink sand beach, bird sanctuary tour, island tour, and AWESOME lobster lunch-best I ever had) on Thursday. Contact me for pictures. I would HIGHLY recommend both of these excursions. We purchased them from the man on the beach and paid him a down payment. Don't be afraid to do this. You might think that this is crazy but he is honest. He always has on black sunglasses, white tank top and white shorts. Describe him just like this to the vendors on the beach and they will point you in the right direction. The only part of the trip that I didn't like was getting bit by the sand flies. They come out mostly in the morn and at dusk, but you can get bit by them all day long. I came home looking like I had the measles. I didn't understand this dynamic or how to deal with it. I DO NOW. If you are wet, you will get bitten. Spray yourself with the insect repellant and keep it with you at all times. The one we purchased in the gift shop worked well and didn't smell like repellant. We sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. Mine itched first thing in the morning. I put some catadryl lotion on it and i was fine. I kept that with me at all times. Best place we ate was at Peter's Steakhouse. GREAT food. We purchased one 'all day' eating and drinking package on Monday. We didn't bother to do it again. We went to the store, bought booze and food, and made the majority of meals in the room. Cabs are expensive on this island and everyone drives on the LEFT side of the road. Gas is also expensive. Weigh the pro's and con's of renting a car prior to going. If you are going to just stay on the resort property, you will be fine. You can walk or rent that golf cart. Hope this helps and have a nice day."
- Travel date: 3rd November 2010
wonderfull staff condos disapointing
"Let me start by saying we are timeshare owners since 1992 purchased in aruba.we travel at least once a year mostly trading off to other caribbean.Tranquillity bay condos are large. we had a two bedroom unit on second floor in sunset delight building.Unit is in very poor condition.ac did not work.I called front desk who sent someone very fast to check it.Long story short after 24 hours and 3 more calls i gave up.unit cooled off some but not to suite me.walls had blue mould as well as ceiling had several water stains.Walls had been patched poorly.bathrooms had no exhaust fans just windows that swung in and out,when closed left a gap of aprox 1/2 inch which allowed mosquitos to enter condo.We where bit several dozen times each night between my wife and i.We are from nothern ont canada so we are used to mosquitos.You could not keep them out.we are wise enough to travel with bug spray and afterbite.It is not the resorts fault for the mosquitos but the windows are ridiculous.No internet in units. with the low cost of wireless routers today this problem could be solved easily.No pool close by.You can not use the restaraunts unless you purchase a all inclusive package.We where advied in orientation not to buy.We used restaraunts in jolly harbour.All where very good.the staff at this resort where great,most helpfull friendy people we have stayed with before.Great beach, very quite and clean resort.resort also say they offer a free shuttle to store,but was only available once in our 2 week stay.store is about 10 min walk,which is a nice walk. zippi ont canada"
- Travel date: 1st November 2010
just stunning and staff so friendly
"A brilliant holiday superb apartment and the staff could not do enough for you. Weopted for the self catering option and for meals and drinks after aday on the beach we took the short walk to the Harbour where the quality of food and service was just as good.In general we could not fault it. Two tours that we reccomend Marcus Tours and The Eco Tour both tours were well worth the money and thoroughly enjoyable"
- Travel date: 28th October 2010
Nice location but tired suites.
"Just got back from Tranquility Bay and survived hurricane Earl!! On arrival you are met by lovely people and a nice rum punch. Long story short, we were moved 4 times in our 2 week stay. We were without hot water for a week and no gas for 2 days. Then all the water went off for a day(this had nothing to do with the hurricane) I would advise people not to stay in the Sunset Delight block as the guards station in the complex next door is situated there and they have shift changes at 2,4 and 6o/c so they are very noisy and scream at each other!! The staff at the T/Bay tried to talk to them but they are not run by the same people so we ended up moving to get some sleep. We ended up staying in every block because of the lack of water and other things. The suites are big but a little tired, considering they are only 6 years old. We upgraded to a jaccuzi but couldn't use it in the end as we had not water. We did get a refund when the manager came back and that was sorted out very quickly. The staff at the bay are very friendly and will help you in any way they can. If it wasn't for them i feel we would have packed our bags and moved out. We had lots of problems which are too many to comment on but the staff helped as much as they could.(i must add we are not the sort of people to complain but it was getting beyond a joke, for a holiday that was quite expensive, you expect water,gas,and other things that are not classed as a luxury but needed for day to day living) We ate out most nights. I would recommend OJ's which is a short taxi ride. Sugar Ridge who will come and pick you up. Al Portos and most restaurants at the harbour which are all in walking distance of the suites. The beach is lovely and the beach bar Castaways is a good place to meet people and they are all very friendly there. You do get lots of locals trying to sell you trips ect on the beach but just look out for a man called Lawrence, he will take you anywhere and is very helpful and once you have met him everyone else will leave you alone. The jetski and helicopter ride to the volcano are worth doing. We hired a speedboat for the day rather that go on an excursion so we saw more of the island and could stop whenever we wanted. We stopped for luch at Turners which was very nice. All in all i would go back to Antigua but stay in a villa rather than at T/Bay as they need updating and a bit of TLC."
- Travel date: 8th September 2010
GREAT FACILITY/LOVELY PEOPLE/WONDERFUL CARNIVALS
"Tranquility Bay is an excellent place to stay if you want fun in the sun. The beach is terrific. It is close enough to town so that you don't feel isolated, but it is far enough away that you don't feel congested. It really is the best of both worlds-visiting in a developing country and staying in paradise. The room are big. The facilities are new. I would go back again."
- Travel date: 26th August 2010
2 weeks in Paradise-total relaxation!!!
"We spent from July 17th till July 31st at Tranquility Bay(we are timeshare owners). Still as lovely as our last time-perhaps even more so. Arrival at airport was effortless and whole procedure moved fairly quickly. Our flight was delayed in NY-so we arrived 40mins later than originally scheduled-this being said we missed the congestion at arrival-having landed way after a couple of big planes. So no crowds-luggage was waiting for us once we did the necessary paperwork etc. Taxi access was simple. No surprises at all. The trip to Tranquility Bay was nice-taxi driver was informative-we did notice the roads seemed to have less pot holes than 2 years ago. Less trash-in fact didn't see any!!! Nice to see!!No plastic bags etc. Arrival at Tranquility was great-a nice cool punch waiting for us. The front desk was as warm and friendly as always. We rented a golf cart for the 2weeks(came in very handy=def. worth it). The rooms were spotless, ac running-so it was nice and cool upon arrival. Did notice our fridge was a new stainless steel model(a bit larger than old one-nice since we are a family of 6 adults-plenty of room). The epicurean grocery store(located next door in Jolly Harbour) was always well stocked. Prices not to bad considering they import their items. Meat fresh-very good quality. The have the best sub sandwiches-good price. We were treating ourselves to them almost every other day. I do have to say that the security in the store is a little unnerving-they were at the end of every aisle. Nice but felt odd-not something we are used to at home. Did venture out to eat in the Harbour a few times. The Dog watch tavern was very good-best fish we had in awhile-very fresh. Well made. A new restaurant a bit further in the harbour-outstanding!!! Al Porta-great thin crust pizza, pasta was nicely done. Went there several times-the one owner was so bubbly and very welcoming!! The only restaurant we saw almost 3/4's full. We will def. go back there next July!! Hubby did dive several times with Jolly Dive-had a great time(as always)!! We did the Eco-Tour. All I can say is this is a tour not to be missed!!! From the time we were picked up in the harbour till we got home it was a blast!!!! Another tour to do again! Jolly Beach had all the facilities to use. Sailed a bit on their hobbi cats(?) so relaxing. Plenty of security all over the properties. Felt safe and secure at all times. Did notice work being done in the Jolly Beach hotel.loads of painting etc going on. Even in Tranquility Bay there was work updating the suites. My only complaint was the beds were a bit hard-need to be changed(the foam topper is old and hard) an easily fixed problem. Housekeeping did a great job. Friendly always seeing if we had everything we needed. We even BBQ'd a few times-when security noticed we didn't have any chairs or a table they arranged to have one there(picnic table)-even before we finished cooking. All the staff at Tranquility always were checking if we needed anything. The island as a whole is filled with friendly quiet people. They did redo the departure area in the airport. "A huge improvement!!! But did ger super crowded when 3 planes all were called to board-within minutes of each other. I am sure they will work that out as they go along. Any questions please email me-I am sure I forgot something. Parrothead82 Parrothead82"
- Travel date: 18th August 2010
Tranquility Bay was pure relaxation and peaceful.
"This vacation was just what our family needed to get away from the stress and electronics of our day to day lives. The resort is old but clean. The villas were roomy and comfortable. The beds were wonderful. We slept well every night. The air conditioning was inefficient at times, but it was very hot during our stay. There is a kitchenette, but we did very little eating in the villa. The grounds are old but again clean. They did have an internet cafe, so you can catch up on emails if you must. They also had free internet in the lobbies if you bring your laptop. The resort is a part of the Jolly Beach resort. We did use their beaches, take advantage of their daily activities and all inclusive food and beverage offer. We had no reason to leave the resort. We did visit a few of the tourist destinations, however we felt that if we had chosen not to do them, we wouldn't have missed too much. There are some restaurants in the vicinity, but they were expensive and felt we could enjoy the all-inclusive more. The food, wine, drinks and champgne was very good and plentyful. We didn't argue about where to eat and what type of foods, because everyone found something they liked every day. The offerings were varied from common foods to island specialties. The Jerk chicken at the pool grill was outstanding. The only things we bought at the store were snack type items. The beach and Caribbean oceanfront was one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen. The beach was about 3-5 minutes walk from all of the villas. There were two pools, one where the activities took place and one very quiet. The staff was nice, casual and provided great service. In the evening, there was entertainment, music, dancing and fun activities. We attended some but most evenings we just enjoyed dinner and relaxed back in our villa. Again, no need to do anything...unless you wanted to. If you want a complete get away from your world place to relax and rejuvenate your soul, this is it!"
- Travel date: 5th August 2010
"We stayed at Tranquility Bay from 14-24 July having booked through Virgin and opted to pre book the all inclusive package at the Jolly Beach Hotel adjoining the apartments. It works out cheaper to do this than to book day or weekly passes once in the resort. We stayed in a 2 bedroom deluxe apartment on the top floor with large wraparound balcony and a jacuzzi. The apartments were cleaned daily and we were given fresh towels, the sheets were changed on request. There was ample storage space in both bedrooms and bathrooms and the aircon in all 3 main rooms was noisy but effective. There was a well equipped kitchen with fridge freezer and a utility room with washing machine. Beach towels could be exchaned daily at the lobby where there was also free internet access on 2 computers. The reception staff were very friendly and helpful and you could arrange for a golf buggy to take you to the nearby supermarket where they would wait to bring you back! We could not fault the accommodation however Virgin should make it clear in their brochure that there is a reasonable walk to the beach, pool and main hotel restaurants as this may make it unsuitable for people with mobility problems. It also meant we were not able to pop back to the bar for a round of drinks once we had returned to our apartment in the evening - but we just bought local rum and cans of soft drink from the supermarket to drink on our balcony. Antigua is a beautiful island and we hope to return in the future. (See separate review of Jolly Beach Resort.)"
- Travel date: 29th July 2010
Tranquility Bay- the BEST vacation spot in the Caribbean
"We have been vacationing in Antigua since 2003. We purchased a unit at Tranquility Bay (then Jolly Beach Vacations) in 2005 and it has been a wonderful experience. We brought our son there for the first time in 2007 when he was just over a year old and the entire staff was so accomodating; we were impressed (and relieved) that they provided a crib, high chair, play pen, the WORKS! We were so happy to not have to lug all of that with us! Furthermore, the entire staff is always so pleasant and we consider many of them good friends! From when you meet Sherman to head to your suite to exchanging greetings and friendly conversation with Felmina, Dawne, Tami, and the other girls at the front desk, to chatting with Eddie, the best maintenance man ever, or stopping in to say hi to Lenore and Sharon in the business office or even running into Paul and Ghee as they go about spreading the good news of Tranquility Bay, you get a sense of belonging and you can feel the easy-going, good nature of the island emanating from each one of them. The timeshares are VERY nice, with so many amenities and gorgeous views at an incredible value. The units are clean and well maintained, and they truly look like what you see on the website; you won't be disappointed. The staff are constantly looking at ways to improve the Tranquility Bay way of life for all their guests; we get frequent updates about construction of a pool and restaurant for Tranquility Bay guests and there's a social hour every week where Tranquility Bay guests can get to know each other and learn more about the opportunities and advantages available to them by choosing to spend their vacations and holidays at beautifully breathtaking Tranquility Bay. We are due with our second child this fall and cannot wait to bring him to Antigua, but more importantly to meet his second family at Tranquility Bay."
- Travel date: 22nd July 2010
Tranquility Suites Antigua excellent value for money
"We stayed at the Tranquility bay suites, formerly known as The suits at Jolly Beach. We (my wife and 19 year old daughter.) rented, for 2 weeks, a 2 bedroom suite via Virgin Holidays. Transport was laid on to the resort. checked in at the Suites reception (which is apart from the check in at Jolly Beach Hotel, and were taken to our accommodation in something resembling a golf buggy. The driver lugged our 3 cases up to the 3rd. floor (only 3 storeys but no lift) He then asked, did we want to go to the super market, which we did, he took us there and waited until we shopped, back to the apartment and helped us with the goods. Well worth a tip, the buggies were always on hand should you need them, though the supermarket was a 7 minute walk. At reception we were given a EC$70 voucher towards dinner at Pete's BBQ restaurant and one for EC $25 for breakfast, courtesy Virgin Holidays. (More about this restaurant and others, under restaurant reviews) Our block, one of four, "Sunset Delight" was the closest to the beach, 100 yards.These suites were made with Americans in mind, thus the accommodation was large, with the balcony measuring 42 feet. Large master bedroom, king size bed, TV, en-suite; 2nd bedroom 2 queen size beds, separate walk in shower and toilet; kitchen area, large fridge, hob etc. Utility room with large washing machine and tumble dryer (pleased my wife, she did all the washing before we went home) large living room area with TV DVD player and CD. This is 3 1/2 stars! It was only a little frayed round the edges, but by European standards for the same money, far superior. The facilities at Jolly Beach Hotel, swimming pools etc. were available to us. Vouchers can be purchased for food or drink, as per all inclusive. We declined, preferring local restaurants. Beach towels could be changed each day at Tranquil reception, where the staff were very friendly and helpful. The beach, is indeed 1 mile long and absolutely fabulous, the scenery and turquoise sea, you never want to leave. Sun shades, beach loungers free, and always available, on our part of the beach, sometimes we were the only ones there, a short stroll up the beach leads to the Hotel. The other side of the beach, basically for the general public, is fabulous and practically deserted of people. I would give the beach and scenery 10 stars. Vendors selling boat trips etc. can be a pain if you are not used to the Caribbean way of life; but you can always say that you have booked all excursions via Virgin, should solve the problem, but then again these guys work on commission and it helps the local economy. Look out for Angie and her bracelets, she's a card. We hired a car for 9 days, 45US$ per day, plus 10US dollars Insurance (not a good insurance and you can decline) Just 2 miles round the coast is Darkwood bay, one beach restaurant, no one on the beach, cept us, beds US5 per person. The next bay round (this is going south) is Turners bay, beach restaurant, sun beds same price (includes sun shade) good , or better, for snorkeling, lots of star fish; once again, practically deserted. June is the start of the rainy season, we had just 2 days of on and off heavy rain, this may be, plus the recession, why the hotel was only 20% full, as was, it seemed, Antigua, so if you want to get away from the madding crowd, it is the place to be, a beautiful island, unspoilt, unlike Barbados. We were there 1st. 30 years ago, and then 15 years ago, and in comparison to Barbados (8 times there) it has hardly changed, it does not have the sophistication or night life of Barbados, but it is real and a real paradise. Virgin Holidays arrange a check out and chill service, they take the departure tax and all your luggage right from the Jolly Beach Hotel, a great service, you do not see your bags until back at home. We will return and to the same resort. Harry Scott"
- Travel date: 16th July 2010
Relax in nature
"We spent a week, June 19-26, 2010 at Tranquility Bay and we had a wonderful time. I went there with my son, 12 years old, a friend and her two sons, 8 and 10 years old. Felmina, the Guest Relations Officer, was key to make our stay memorable. We upgraded to room 301 for a fee and we were happy to enjoy the wrap around balcony with the view of the bay. The beach is a long strip of white sand, the water is calm to swim and we can use the on-site lounges, kayaks, pedal and sailing boats. Security officers are all over the property day and night, making us feel very safe. We took many golf cart rides to the nearby village with a supermarket and some restaurants. Jolly Beach Sports Bar is good for lunch and it allows the use of their pool, Al Porto is great for dinner. We also went to the lunch buffet at Jolly Beach resort which is more worth the money than their buffet dinner. On Monday we took the ferry to the twin island of Barbuda with the Barbuda Express day tour, where we saw the caves, the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and then we had lobster lunch on a beautiful long pink sand beach great for swimming. The Excellence boat day tour does not do the caves but it is a better boat. On Tuesday morning we took a 45 minutes helicopter ride with Caribbean Helicopters to the island of Montserrat, which is the only way to see the restriction zone, prohibited on land and sea, with a view of the changed landscape after the vulcano eruption that destroyed most of the island and the pilot provided very interesting information during the flight. On Wednesday we took the eco safari land and sea tour with Tropical Adventures, which is the best way to see Antigua through unpaved roads passing through Rastas land, taste some fruit from the trees, chew the sugar cane and then visit Betty's Hope, the old sugar mill plantation that is part of the history of the island; then they took us with kayaks tthrough a laggon of mangroves, though we got a storm and we could not explore more to see the turtles and we could not take the boat to Bird Island. On Thursday my friend and the kids went fishing and snorkeling near the reef and then we grilled the fish on the beach, adding some tuna a local got from a deep water fishing boat. Locals are very nice, they love interacting with visitors and being helpful. We had a rental car, driving is on the left, but we actually used it only from and to the airport and one day to go to the capital, St. John. Antigua, compared to other Caribbean islands, is still intact and natural, which is what makes it beautiful. We would like to go back there again. Laura, from Seattle, WA."
- Travel date: 28th June 2010
Our Island home....
"We are back home in Canada after spending four glorious weeks at our island home at Tranquility Bay in Antigua. Our 1 bedroom condo is steps away from the most beautiful beach. It is clean and the swimming is great! The staff at Tranquility were wonderful and made our stay so memorable. Firstly we want to say thanks to the reservation staff for making it possible for us to stay in our favourite unit for the duration of our stay. A big HI! to Tammy and April at the main reception area, they were always smiling and welcoming! We attended a weekly Manager's get together each Monday night which is hosted by Felmina, who has done an excellent job of bringing the time-share owners and guests together. We enjoyed many a glass of wine and rum punch with all the new friends we met at the event! Even did some dancing! Another big HI!! to Sherman - he was a big hit at the party and a great guy! Close by, Castaways was our favourite spot for a few drinks or dinner. We love enjoying our dinner with our toes in the sand and watching the sunset. We had lots of laughs at Karaoke night and enjoyed fun evenings with the many friends we met. Yet another big HI!! to Keron and Shelly from Castaways, who were always so friendly and made us feel at home! For a special treat, go up to Carmichaels. The ride up is worth it and the view is fantastic. Tranquility Bay.....you bet we'll be returning ........as soon as possible!"
- Travel date: 16th June 2010
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