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All reviews water sports piccolo mondo rainbow garden atlantic side a la carte st james beachfront room beach front per person all inclusive package shirley heights royal suite tennis courts nightly entertainment catamaran trip james's club rum punch
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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.

Date of stay: May 2011
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Steven M
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.

Date of stay: May 2011
  • Trip type: 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 the entertainment could be heard but only when the wind was blowing in the direction of the room, otherwise very quiet. Air conditioning only works with the sliding doors closed but the doors can be tricky to get into place!
Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: 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 side
Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: 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
Reviewed 5 February 2012

Quiet, beautiful location. Excellent rooms, pool, food. Perfect for relaxing vacation. Would definitely return!

Date of stay: January 2012
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4  Thank BeckyKnoxville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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