We stayed in one villa while friends stayed in the other. Both have fantastic views, are comfortable and clean, and have super-easy access to the beach, bar, watershuttle, and other amenities. But what really made our stay so great was the hospitality of the Blue Moon owners -- they recommended the perfect restaurants, pointed us to the most idyllic walks, and took a genuine (but unintrusive) interest in making our vacation a complete success. This place truly is paradise!
The Blue Moon Villa at Galleon Bay, English Harbour, is every bit as wonderful as all the previous reviews describe. We spent two special weeks staying at Shonnie and Michael’s upper villa in January 2016.
Key highlights for us:
- Fantastic elevated location on a hillside above Galleon Bay with stunning views over the bay and English Harbour (note, access only by steps)
- Very well appointed villa, really comfortable, great decor, everything you need in the kitchen, fantastic patio for the sunsets and chilling out, large bed with mosquito net
- Amazing hosts. Shonnie and Michael live below the villa and are wonderful. They will help you with anything you need and are great for local knowledge and tips
- The bay just below the villa is only a 5 minute walk and is a lovely spot for swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling
- Great choice of restaurants in English Harbour
Couple of tips for guests:
- Be sure to bring mosquito repellent wristbands for dining out. We were quite badly bitten during our stay and found that the mosquito sprays we took with us did not deter the little pests
- Recommend car hire as the villa is a good 10 minute drive to English Harbour for evenings out (the free water taxi stops at 17.00). Local taxis are however readily available at around $10 US per single trip. Also if you wish to explore the island having access to a car for at least part of your stay would be beneficial.
We stayed for a week 4/4 to 4/11 in the upper villa. Shonnie and Michael (owners of the villas) are wonderful, friendly people who know Antigua well and made our stay so relaxing. They gave us good suggestions and recommendations, and were great at getting us off to a good start and with explaining the local culture. The villas are beautiful inside and have a wonderful kitchen which was perfect for breakfast most every morning, making some frozen drinks in the afternoon, and cooking a meal or two when we decided to stay in for the night. There are markets close by and we especially enjoyed the fruit they have on the island. There is a mid size refrigerator with plenty of ice, and a cooler in the villa that we would use to bring drinks down to the beach. There is also a beach bar at the beach and we would get a few drinks from them too. They also have food but we did not try it. During the morning and afternoon there is a free boat ride from the beach to English Harbour anytime you are ready to go. This is about a five minute ride on a small boat and the friendly guys at the beach will take you and pick you up. It is so easy and allowed us to pop over for breakfast and lunch at one of the many restaurants when we did not cook. There really are a lot of restaurants to choose from. If you stay out for dinner and nightlife, it is easy and inexpensive to get a taxi back to the villa. Thursday, Friday and Saturday seem to be the big nights for live music (much Reggae style) and some fun dance spots.
We really enjoyed the peace and quiet of the villa, and the nice breeze that consistently blows thru the windows and doors. The sleeping to fresh air was so wonderful and the bed was nice and comfortable. We are big coffee drinkers and were really happy about the coffee maker in the villa. It was nice to have some breakfast and go walk the beach in the mornings with a cup of coffee. The beach here was not crowded and is peaceful. I did go look into the lower villa and it is really the same as the upper, just a slightly different view that allows you to see further in one direction. The villas also have a nice sounding Internet radio that allowed us to pick up all kinds of good music to listen to throughout the week. We avoided the tv, but there is one with plenty of channels if you need to keep up with a show or some sports. We enjoyed catching the sunset most every night from the deck, and getting in the hot tub some of the nights to see all the stars and to loosen up the legs after a good hike.
At the beach, there are several huts you can sit under and many Palm trees too. This was nice to be able to get both sun and shade. Sitting under a palm tree and looking out at beautiful turquoise water with a tropical drink in hand is the way to go. There are chairs and lounge chairs you can use for free. You just pick your spot and then go grab a few. The villa had plenty of beach towels and even a beach bag to use. When in doubt or in need of something, Shonnie and Michael were always there to help out. It's also comforting to know that Shonnie is a retired physician's assistant and is well connected to the local medical clinic she volunteers at.
There are some amazing hikes starting from the beach (and just over at English Harbour) that take you along the cliffs that overlook the water and also through some of the forest areas. You will find incredible views of the island as you hike further up. There are Old British forts and ruins on the hillsides and just across from the villa. The history of the island is quite interesting. We brought a waist pack and a rock sack to carry water and snacks on the hikes and would suggest this for you if interested in a hike. The hikes are not technical, but some shoes (as opposed to flips) are recommended as you will be climbing over some rocks and stepping around some cactus.
We enjoyed the snorkeling down at the beach. There are some great rock and coral formations right there and around the corner of the bay where we saw some very pretty fish and even swam above a sea turtle two of the days. There is some snorkeling equipment at the villas, but we did bring our own masks, as masks can be very particular to the person. The villas did have masks and a good selection of fins that we used that fit both myself and my wife. At the beach there are also several sea kayaks you can use for free to go exploring around Freeman's Bay and English Harbour. This next week is the Classics sailboat week, so we were able to see some amazingly beautiful sailboats around Nelsons Dockyard and over at Falmouth Bay (where you will find the restaurants and beautiful big sail boats).
Shonnie and Michael know many of the restaurant owners and helped with reservations. Every meal we had out was wonderful thanks to their suggestions. From our experience, our favorite restaurants were Sun Ra and Rumbaba. The owners seem to always be there and are very nice. Both restaurants have creative tastes and changing menus. At Rumbaba, we lucked into a fresh Mahi Mahi being brought in on Thursday night just as we were finishing a few drinks and appetizers. The place is small so we were able to watch the chef cut it up and then cook up a few Mahi steaks for us. A tip for the restaurants is to not be in a hurry, be friendly and they will be friendly back, and it is always best to get reservations unless you plan to eat when they open around seven. Restaurants can get booked at eight and after.
My wife and I agreed that we will be coming back to Blue Moon one day. She already misses the wonderful outdoor shower, and I miss waking up to an incredible view. It was a week in paradise for us. We wanted a relaxing, fun, romantic and stress free vacation, and that is exactly what we found here.
I have had the gift of being at many luxury vacation rentals, and I can honestly say Blue Moon is now my favorite.
The private, beautifully appointed villas overlooking the turquoise water of the English Harbor, combined with Mike and Shonnie's generous, gracious hosting, made the six days I spent in Antigua the best vacation I've ever had.
The villas are a part of Galleon Bay resort and perched above the English Harbor - which means one can walk down to the quiet beach, swim and snorkel in the clear and warm sea, have lunch at Roxy's (a casual, open air restaurant), then walk back and enjoy the comforts of home. (At the end of the dock there is a water taxi to take you on a five minute ride into town, with delicious restaurants and a bit of shopping.) The villas themselves are elegant and comfortable, with an outdoor shower and long patio to enjoy the view. If that weren't enough, there is a hot tub and a small, open to the air yoga studio. Several mornings I was able to practice yoga facing the harbor with a warm breeze and hummingbirds for company.
Finally, Mike and Shonnie are perfect hosts - somehow knowing just the balance between making sure you have everything you might need, while also allowing total privacy.
One small suggestion: If you think you will want to cook while there, consider picking up groceries on your way from the airport. Once you have supplies, you may never want to leave!
This place was awesome! The villa was very comfortable, thoughtfully designed and outfitted. (The bed was so comfortable, the outside shower with stars overhead and palms and ferns nearby was lovely, the kitchen had everything we could have wanted, library of books had something for everyone, the wraparound terrace and large screened windows in every room maximized our enjoyment of the beautiful surroundings...) The landscaping, the harbour view, and the hiking nearby are beautiful. Shonnie and Michael are experts on both Antigua itself, and the art of hospitality. The advice and guidance we received from them made a tremendous impact on our vacation. We found places we never would have found on our own! We had plenty of privacy, but their help whenever we wanted it. We would not hesitate for a second to recommend Blue Moon to anyone looking for a vacation rental in the Caribbean.