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“Fair deal for the price but not great”

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St. James's Club & Villas
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mamora Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 February 2012

6 day vacation at SJC, Januray 28 to Feb 3, 2012. Very nice resort - beautiful grounds and multiple venues within the resort so it is NOT the same beach, same restaruant, same pool every day. Food was average which is what you get for all inclusive at this price - one night the buffet was fine(sea food) and one night very dissapointing (oriental). Pay the extra $35 and eat at the italian restaruant Piccolo Mondo at least once - we ate there twice. Lovely setting and very good food. Do not miss the lobster (lime and butter sauce).
Had a very bad experience checking in - we specifically requested a second floor room in the Mango building - one of three right on the ocean beach. When we arrived we were placed in a first floor room. When I explained that we had very clearly requested a second floor room and we were assured we would get one by the reservation person - the women at the reception desk said it was not printed on our confirmantion and basicly told us tough nails. She made no attempt to search for avialabitiy the next day, just politely said tough. So we went to the room - DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT stay in a first floor room on the ocean beach. They are poorly furnished, they have very low cielings, poor lighting, the sliding door was rusted and the room had a terrible musty smell (room 359). It was depressing. Next day my wife found a very helpful person at the front desk (Collette) and we moved to a second floor room in the Mango building. Room was great no complaints. Vaulted cieling, nicely furnished, nice bathroom and shower, great patio with a terrific view of the ocean. Hard to believe they charge the same price for first and second floor ocean beach front rooms.

Quality and beauty of beach is important to us. Ocean beach is lovely and the view is spectacular. Beach is nice for swimming but no coral reefs to snorkel. It was very windy for the first 4 days and this limited the use of the ocean beach. Nice thing is they have a bay beach a very short walk from the ocean beach. And well protected from the ocean winds. Very nice beach but it is a bay - no aqua blue water, muddy bottom 20 feet out and no coral reefs. For two days wind reduced and we really enjoyed the ocean beach. There is also a pool adjacent ot the ocean beach - very nice - and a place to eat lunch just above the pool. This is what I mean by multiple venues - ocean beach is one, bay beach another (also with a pool just up the hill and a very nice little beach grill), bluff overlooking bay and ocean another with two pools. Also with the exception of the front desk women when we checked in the staff were very nice and very helpful.
Played a round of golf at somthing Valley (cannot remember the name),. Course was oK.
Enjoyed Shirely hights on Sunday - yes lots of tourists up there (including me and my wife!!) but I liked it, great party atmosphere and great steel band.
We did eat at a restaruant called EAST at Carlisle Bay resort (super upscale resort - about 1500 US a night vs 600 at SJC). Excellent food. Expensive cab ride (as are most because SJC is at the far end of he island). Should have explored he island a little more - there are some great beaches arond the island - but we were not up for running around.

So to sum it up - if cost is a big factor this is the place to stay. If you can afford more I woudl suggest you take a step up.

Room Tip: As I said in the review stay away from first floor rooms on the ocean beach - 2nd floor great. Roay...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KRB60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,342 - 2,346 of 3,516 reviews

Reviewed 9 February 2012

I went to the SJC on a recommendation and i was not upset that I chose this hotel. The hotel is very beautiful and the food was top notch. It is a little out of the way from all the other hotels but I guess that can be a good thing. If there was one thing I didn't like it was the beach area. It was really hot and i didn't like the lagoon side of the ocean and the ocean side has alot of wind and rough water. As I traveled around the island I found so many other beaches that are postcard perfect. That being said the staff was very friendly the food fantastic and my room which was ground level and overlooked the ocean was impressive with a nice size to it. The grounds were impeccably manicured. I would definatley recommend this hotel to anyone looking to go to Antigua.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank topguntnl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2012

We visited St James in May 2011. Our room faced the lagoon side at the west end, and was wonderful. There was a small adult pool just around the corner on the west side, and evenings there were wonderful. Food was very good and staff was very friendly. A beautiful spot we would like to return to some day.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank DaveCostner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2012

My husband and I chose the St James Club on a recommendation from my father-in-law who visited about 4 years ago; the purpose of our visit was a belated honeymoon and birthday celebration. On arrival, we found out that we had been upgraded to a Royal Suite which we were thrilled to hear although we did have to wait 30 minutes to get the keys as it was not ready. To pass the time however we were given complementary drinks (champagne and rum punch) which was a lovely treat. Though overall we had a wonderful relaxing time (exactly what we hoped for) there are a few positives and negatives we'd like to share to help out others considering this resort.

POSITIVES:-
- Exceptionally well managed taxi service at the airport, takes you door to door ($32 one way). DO NOT bother with an arranged transfer, the taxi service is cheaper, pre paid transfers worked out at around (£90/$145) return trip.
- Royal Suite upgrade, very spacious with a king size bed, his and hers bathroom (2 sinks, 2 showers, huge bath), lounge area, tv/dvd, wifi, coffee making facilities, balcony over looking Mamora Bay, air conditioning and ceiling fans.
- Very friendly and polite staff, there was always someone on reception and guest services to assist/answer questions. Very accommodating when requesting something out of the ordinary and were eager to please.
- The grounds of the resort were immaculate, everything was very well kept with staff around all day maintaining the gardens, plants, weeds, etc.
- Sports and water sports facilities we superb, one of our favourite features of the all inclusive deal. The gym had very good facilities and well air conditioned to keep you cool. Water sports on the beach are well managed (first come first served) and maintained, excellent lessons provided (windsurfing, hobbie cat sailing) and always something available to do, the kayaks are great fun and a lovely way of seeing the resort from a distance. The tennis courts are great (but hold water if it rains), rackets and balls available near guest services.
- The diving hut seemed very well kitted out with helpful staff but their prices were than we wanted to spend; though well worth a look if you're interested.
- 2 good beaches, Coco Beach on the atlantic side of the resort tended to be very windy but good if you prefer a breeze to keep cool. Mamora Bay better for swimming and water sports as the water is flat and the beach longer for walking. Neither beach was over crowded, there were always spaces to make it feel as though you were not too close to the next guests.
- Good "adult only" pool areas near the Royal Suites if you prefer to be quiet, read and have a view.
- An excellent selection of food at all meals; able to accommodate special requests (e.g. coconut ice cream even if it is not on the menu).
- Beach grill was excellent, fresh burgers and fish cooked for you (did a salad if you prefer not to eat bread like me) served with crisps.
- All inclusive package recommended as the price of food would be expensive otherwise; easy system to sign for drinks around the pool and/or just give your room number, no questions asked.
- Evening entertainment was lively and appropriate for the resort, although a lot of well known reggae (and similar types of music) was often repeated.

NEGATIVES:-
- Not really a negative but something to watch out for is the security deposit taken from your card on check-in. We were not warned of this and the money was taken from our available balance ($300).
- Don't be pushed into going to Shirley Heights on a Sunday for the main event; it cost us about $80 in total for the shuttle there and back, ticket, a few beers and BBQ food. It was packed with tourists and very few local people. The Halcyon Steel Band were amazing but it was too busy and prices steep in our opinion. We went in the week to see the sunrise when there were very few people there (maximum of 10) and we much preferred it, and it was free (though no entertainment or food).
- After a day or 2 at the resort we realised that the majority of guests were probably over 50 years of age; though of course this was not a problem, we did think that it had an impact on the atmosphere and ambience of the resort and therefore for younger couples considering this resort it is something to keep in mind.
- Watch out for the dress code rules for meal times; men must wear a collared shirt, trousers or smart jeans and shoes (not flip-flops). Some staff enforced this more than others which we found bemusing and frustrating and not all guests honoured this policy.
- Although as mentioned above there was an excellent range of food at all meals, for a 5 star resort we did not think the quality of the food was to a 5 star standard (once it arrived cold). The meals were "average" (nothing special) and for us rather bland. Our favourite buffet evening meal at The Docksider was the Caribbean food. Also, if you like good quality coffee you may be disappointed, it wasn't great (filtered; but tended to be better at breakfast) and was always served with UHT milk, not fresh.

Because this is an all inclusive resort do not be fooled into thinking it is not wise to go off the resort and explore; it IS absolutely worth it. Hiring a car from the resort is very easy (though expensive compared to European car hire rates, $55 a day for the smallest car plus $20 for an Antiguan driving permit and a damage waiver of $12). There are many beautiful sites, places and beaches to be seen and it can be done in a day if you are prepared to stop start, stop start. Our recommendations of places to see/visit would be: to drive down Fig Tree Drive (great views of lush green forest and a zip line experience through the canopy of the forest), eat at OJ's beach bar (amazing spot, stunning views and excellent food), visit Hermitage Bay Resort/Beach (off the beaten track past OJ's but it's like paradise!!), Devil's Bridge (but be careful, it's slippy) and Shirley Heights for the sunset and view (but avoid Sunday if you don't want to spend a fortune and don't like crowds). Be warned the roads are not well maintained so it can be very bumpy! Also watch out for the exit fee at the airport, $70 XCD (roughly $25 at the time of this review) per person.

All in all a very relaxing holiday which is what we wanted, but it did lack the 5 star quality and "edge" that we had expected for this special occasion.

Room Tip: Royal Suite room 213 was excellent, an end suite with a view to Mamora Bay. Sometimes the noise from...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank emilyruthgroves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2012

My fiancee and I settled on the St. James's Club for our wedding for a variety of reasons. We wanted a location with good weather, somewhere that would allow a marriage license in a short time span from arriving, someplace more 'upscale' than Mexico and all inclusive so our guests didn't have to be continually watching their budgets.

Happily the St. James's Club and Antigua fit all of our requirements. Were were a bit apprehensive as some of the reviews were mixed and the website photography wasn't that great, but this property was recently renovated and it's hard to trust what you 'see' on the internet.

In short, we were ECSTATIC with our choice!!!

First, this must be the only resort advertised on the internet where the photos just don't do it justice. The beach is perfect, the restaurants are MUCH better than advertised and the grounds are immaculate!

Every detail of our wedding was taken care of for us by the staff, everything went off without a hitch, and Piccolo Mondo is the perfect setting for a reception dinner.

We couldn't have pick a more perfect place :-)

Boyd and Christie Stowe

Room Tip: all the rooms are great, but for more of a breeze, pick the ones on the Atlantic side, not the bay s...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank Boyd_Stowe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about St. James's Club & Villas

Address: | Mamora Bay, Mamora Bay, Antigua
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Paul Parish > Mamora Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mamora Bay
Price Range: $452 - $1,361 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — St. James's Club & Villas 4*
Number of rooms: 250
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the All-Inclusive St. James's Club & Villas, Antigua's most famous address. This beautiful resort is ideally located on a private, 100-acre peninsula. You will love our two white sand beaches, water sports, tennis, four restaurants, indoor and outdoor bars, beach bar & grill, luxurious spa & salon, freshwater swimming pools, supervised Kids Club, wide array of water sports, Scuba diving, and so much more. One of the Caribbean's most popular all-inclusive resorts. Excellent for couples, honeymooners, families, and friends. Located just minutes from major attractions like English Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard, and the lively Shirley Heights. Our warm and welcoming staff and management team will make your stay wonderful and memorable. We look forward to seeing you soon! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
St. James`s Club Hotel Mamora Bay
St James Club Antigua
St Jamess Hotel
St Jamess Resort
St James Antigua
St Jamess Club Antigua

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