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“Fun and edgy”
Review of Galley Bay Resort

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Galley Bay Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 December 2012

I came here the week right before Christmas 2012. First of all, the location of this resort is BREATHTAKING! The beach is absolutely beautiful and picturesque. I was also told that a celebrity, who shall remain unnamed, lives right next door, so that certainly adds to the star value of this place.

I stayed in a beachfront cottage, which has 2 stories. I regret this a little bit because 1) I was staying in the ground floor of the building, and the ceiling was very thin so I could hear the footsteps of the guest staying upstairs at night, as well as room service cleaning during the late mornings, and that makes it a little hard to sleep peacefully. 2) There was construction on the cottage right next door, so when I was trying to relax out on the patio, there was loud machinery and hammering going on that was very bothersome. The deluxe beachfront room probably would have been better than the cottage as they are only one-story, and there would be no one stomping around upstairs when you're trying to sleep or relax. As for the construction, I suppose there could be nothing done about that since it is a beachfront property, and constant maintenance is necessary for the rooms.

Their room service was awesome though; they always swept the floor of my room, as well as the sand off the porch, and always replenished the shower gels and towels provided by the resort. I had all the towels/toiletries I wanted!

The food is absolutely amazing; I have never stayed at a tropical resort with such flavorful cuisine. They have 3 restaurants, but I would say that Seagrape is the best because there is a little more variety and excitement and live music during the meals. Thursdays are also buffet nights, in which guests get to sample more of the true Caribbean cuisine.

Their rum-filled cocktails are awesome and strong and very pretty! You will certainly have fun with these!

The employees were overall very nice and accommodating. Since I was traveling alone, they all lavished some extra attention on me, which was most appreciated!

Their wildlife is very interesting, especially the birds. They keep hanging around my patio whenever I'm present. I quickly learned that they are not afraid of sneaking into my room to take sugar packets from the coffee counter. This may or may not be good news to some guests, but since I am a bird-lover, this was all very amusing to me. In addition, during my stay, baby sea turtles hatched somewhere on the grounds and one of them crawled into my room. This was also really fun and amusing, but if this ever happens to anyone, remember to notify one of the employees, or (if you're confident in your animal-handling abilities) gently pick them up and place them into the ocean waves so that they may be swept away into the water. Also, the mosquitoes here are NOTORIOUS, so purchasing a can of bug repellant from their gift shop is definitely advised. They also provide a complementary can of spray in every room.

Their spa decor was lovely, very much in conjunction with the "paradise" theme. They have several outdoor massage rooms, overlooking their pond and bird sanctuary, and the spa employees were especially accommodating. One thing that did bother me, though, was that my massage therapist had very rough hands. It took quite a lot of oil to cancel out the texture of his hands on my skin as I was being massaged. The massage itself was very relaxing, though.

The one thing that keeps me from giving this place an overall 5 rating is an incident in which I was changing clothes in my room with the sliding patio doors slightly open, and one of their security staff started peeping at me. I closed the curtains immediately, and peered out at him. He was still looking in my direction, which naturally made me uncomfortable. I swiftly called their services extension, and notified them of this event. Later, when I passed by their guest services desk, they did recognize that I was the person who made the call, and assured me that this employee would receive a disciplinary discussion with his supervisor. I certainly appreciated that news, but the whole incident scared me in general. Since I was traveling alone, I did feel that I should be extra cautious about my circumstances on the resort.

At the end of my stay, I took a questionnaire which entered me for a free one-week vacation for 2. If I win this, I would certainly return. However, this time I would definitely stay at a deluxe beachfront room instead of the cottage, and certainly bring a companion with me.

Room Tip: The deluxe beachfront room might be better than the beachfront cottage, as the price for both are th...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled solo
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5  Thank Vivian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,083 - 2,087 of 3,344 reviews

Reviewed 22 December 2012

I've read many of the other reviews of Galley Bay, and having just spent 9 nights there I am left wondering if we stayed in the same hotel. Sure the staff are great, and extremely helpful, and judging by the number of guests hugging them on exit there are many repeat visitors. However, first impressions count, and on arrival at our Deluxe beachfront room I was left lamenting my decision not to pack a paintbrush and on entering the room somewhat taken back by a room last refitted many years ago. Electrics were frankly dangerous. We immediately asked about paying for an upgrade, but no one came back to us. True, there is painting being carried out, which will benefit the next guests, but I have to ask why we were put in this room when the hotel was only 70 pct full. Moving on to the pool, if you like noisy waterfalls this place is for you, but I can't count how many times I wished I could have found the switch. Sunloungers were very tired, and mattresses would not have been out of place on a council tip. The pool itself was freezing, everyone was bracing themselves before entering.
Ok I've finished my whining now. Food wise breakfast is pretty good, lunch ( especially the Barefoot grill) was really very enjoyable. Dinner after 7 nights was getting pretty mundane and the wine was awful, although the upgrades weren't too expensive ( I lied when I said I'd finished whining).
Overall, I felt the place was no where near the standard it claimed to be, and having visited Carribean hotels over 20 times, Galley Bay is certainly one of the more forgettable.

Room Tip: Ask to see it first. Because the rooms are some way from reception once you are in it's tricky...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank OlliebeakLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 December 2012

We enjoyed a wonderful holiday at Galley Bay. We had a Beach Front premium Suite which was huge, we chose to be upstairs. The whole resort is so relaxing, not for the people who want to be up dancing until the early hours, but for us it was ideal. We ate at all the restaurants which were all good, Ismays is a must, well worth the supplement. We found all the staff efficient and friendly, the choice of drinks was superb, and the music in the evening most enjoyable. They were busy preparing for Christmas and even put a little Christmas Tree and lights in our room - a lovely touch. Can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: Beach front rooms are very special, they are right on the beach
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank casndegs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2012

First the good news. The Beach Front Premium Suite was large, well maintained with a great view of the sea. No problems here. Too bad the rest of the resort doesn't have the same standards.

There is little to do at this place but sit in the sun and watch the waves. The recreational equipment is scarce and in general poorly maintained. As an example they have a single treadmill in the so called gym and it's about falling apart. They have three Hobe Cats only one of which was in service during my stay. The ocean going kayaks all had the back rests broken off. Their claimed Sunfish sailboat was also out of commission.

The service is spotty at best with about 30% of the staff acting like they are disinterested in their job. One night one of the waitresses made three errors during our dinner service and seemed not to care one bit. It took the water sports person about 30 minutes to check out a Hobe Cat after he had already shown up about 20 minutes after his listed opening time. There is drink service at the pool but the girl only came around about once an hour. There is no service of any kind on the beach. You can walk to the bar and get a drink if you wish but the bar can be about 1/4 mile from the beach in front of your room depending on what number suite you are assigned.

The food is at best mediocre at breakfast and lunch with dinner being the worst food I have eaten in a long time. All the meats were tough enough to almost use for shoe soles. They have a shack called the barefoot grill where a lady turns out what may be the worst grilled lunch food on the planet and has an attitude problem to boot. An added attraction at one of the restaurants at the end of the beach is being attacked by sand fleas. We didn't have this trouble but stayed clear of the place after the lady next door had been bitten on both legs about 30 times while eating there.

I have been to at least 10 similar supposedly high end resorts in the Caribbean over the last 6 years. Galley Bay is at the bottom of the list all things considered.

If all you are interested in is a nice room on a nice beach then this may be your spot. If you think a resort should offer food at least as good as a low end restaurant chain, well maintained and reasonably plentiful recreational equipment along with service without an attitude then look elsewhere.

I have absolutely no idea what the people rating this place as excellent are talking about. I notice most are from the UK. Maybe a sunny day and a night sky with stars is all they need to make them happy.

At the rates Galley Bay charges it surely wasn't enough for me as I know from experience there are many better Caribbean resorts in the same or somewhat lower price range offering decent food and service along with a lot of recreational activities and entertainment.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank ronsc1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2012

We enjoyed 5 nights in an oceanfront suite. We liked being on the Ismay side of the resort, it was a bit more spread out and quiet. Actually, the whole resort was quiet, just delightful for relaxing. Our suite was immaculate and well cared for by the housekeepers. The bed was firm and the pillows comfortable. The space was excellent, especially the huge bathroom with double walk in shower, double sinks, and an enormous tub. We liked the second floor, more private, a high ceiling, and a full sweeping view of the sea from our balcony. Wifi worked great in our suite. The restaurants were fantastic. No buffets, everything off the menu, and daily specials. The house wine was quite good. Service is excellent and professional. The fish and meat offerings change daily, lots of fresh vegetables and salad. Breakfast is divine, many egg concoctions - my favorite was the poached eggs and crabcakes. The breads are to die for, freshly baked daily. There is plenty of fresh fruit, creamy oatmeal, yogurt. And don't skimp on dessert during the day, this pastry chef knows how to bake. We enjoyed the Sea Grape, the main restaurant, but came to love Gaugin and had many lunches and dinners there. It was just more remote and we liked eating under own private palapa. Ismay's was fine. The lobster was incredible. If you'd like a fine dining night with white tablecloths and incredible service, GO, the upcharge was only $35 pp. Bar service is friendly and there is usually live music during the evening. Sitting out on the main patio at night watching the stars was heavenly. The beach is so clean. The sand so soft. There are lots of lounges, no fighting for a spot. The yellow flag was up all week, many went in the sea, but the waves for a bit high for me. The airport is just a 20 minute ride away, appx. a $20 taxi ride. We took walks around the lagoon for afternoon exercise. There are lots of ducks and birds to see on this walk, one day I even saw 2 mongeese running around. The beach is long enough for a good stroll or run as well. You feel absolutely safe and secure at all times. Most of the visitors are British, then add a handful of US and Canadians. A really nice group overall, generally aged 30-75. If you want to party hard, do not go to Galley Bay. It is awesome for relaxing and being pampered. We rarely go back to a place, but this is one we would visit again.

Room Tip: The suites are spacious and lovely on the Ismay side.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Pamela V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Galley Bay Resort

Address: Gray's Farm Main Road, Five Islands Village, Antigua
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > Five Islands Village
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Five Islands Village
Price Range: $754 - $1,320 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 98
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Galley Bay Resort & Spa - Antigua’s Most Exotic Escape - Refurbished 2015. An exclusive all-inclusive 4 1/2 star hideaway with 98 intimate guestrooms nestled amidst 40 secluded acres of beachfront tropical gardens, lagoon and bird sanctuary, and magnificent 3/4-mile white-sand beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Galley Bay Hotel St. John`s
Galley Bay Antigua
Galley Bay St Johns
Antigua Galley Bay

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