When we visited Antigua in September 2008, we stayed four nights at the Galley Bay Resort after staying at the Verandah Resort and Spa
. On our previous visit to Antigua we had stayed at two other all inclusive resorts: St James Club
and Grand Pineapple Beach
All four are Elite resorts, which are also located on St Lucia in addition to Antigua. Galley Bay is a quiet all inclusive resort on the western side of the island a bit south of St Johns. It is restricted to adults – ages 16 and above. Galley Bay is a peaceful resort – it’s the kind of place you can read a few good books, just lay around, and hand out with friends and family. It is not a center of night life or high energy activities.
It is on a beautiful white sand beach about three-quarters of a mile in length. The beach has trees and a few palapas for those in need of shade. Except for the Gaugin cottages, all of the rooms are on the beach, in one and two story buildings. Nearly all of the beaches in Antigua have public access, but Galley Bay controls the beach vendors extremely well. There were only two working the beach, they were very polite and not pushy at all, and they weren’t there every day or all day long on the days they were there. Sue bought couple of pieces of jewelry to replace one that had fallen apart on a previous trip.
We stayed in a premium beach front room on the second floor. Whereas the lower floor has direct access to the beach, the upper floors are a bit more private, with access only on the side away from the beach . We had a very comfortable king bed and a living area including two love seats , a desk and kitchenette , with a sink, frig, and coffeemaker. The porch overlooking the beach had two wicker lounge chairs with luscious thick pads. Our bathroom was enormous – it had two pedestal sinks , a hot tub , and a walk-in shower with two showerheads.
We visited two other room categories. Iba, an extremely helpful staff person who had attempted to fix our safe, showed us around the resort. He explained that the superior beach front rooms were being refurbished during our visit, so we weren’t able to see any of them. Iba was able to show us a first floor deluxe beach front room. It was somewhat smaller than our room on the inside with a couple of wicker chairs with pads in addition to the king bed. The room we looked at had a very nice porch with lounge chairs , which Sue tried out.
Iba also showed us the Gaugin Cottages - one of the special features of the Galley Bay Resort. The cottages are about 50 yards from the beach. The cottages are in a thickly vegetated area . Each cottage has a private plunge pool the privacy of which is ensured with woven grass fences. The cottages are bit rustic, with a king bed , a couple of chairs, and a television . The bathroom and the bedroom are across a small private court yard from each other – that’s right, you have to go outside to go from the bedroom to the bathroom, but the courtyard is private.
There is one pool at the Galley Bay Resort. It is a small pool with a waterfall. There are lounge chairs, palapas, and vegetation providing shade at the pool. Since this resort is a quiet, peaceful place there are no activities in the pool – no volleyball or waterpolo or anything of that sort.
There are four bars and three restaurants. The main bar is near the pool and guest services. We met the resort’s general manager at the main bar and had a pleasant chat about the all inclusive Elite resorts in Antigua and the increased air service from Miami planned by American Airlines.
The other three bars are associated with the three restaurants. All three restaurants are outdoors, under cover, and just off the beach. All meals are a la carte, although there is a continental breakfast buffet for those who prefer it. All of the food we had at the resort was excellent – we tried goat for the first time and it was absolutely delicious. The
Seagrape restaurant is the main restaurant and is located at the center of the resort. It has a boardwalk along the beach with wooden beach chairs . Happy hour hors d’oeuvres are served at the Seagrape bar every evening at 5:00pm. We enjoyed a drink and a snack while we watched the sun go down. After dinner there is live music at the Seagrape. The music while we were there was small bands – jazz, island music, and popular tunes.
The Gauguin Restaurant is at the south end of the beach. The bar and restaurant here are open only for dinner. It is a truly awesome dining experience. Each table is in a private gazebo just off the beach. Candle light dining after dark in semi-seclusion is a wonderfully romantic adventure. The staff is wonderful in seating you, taking your order, and serving your food.
The Ismay restaurant is relatively new. It is open only for lunch, although that lasts until 5:00pm. It is open only five days a week, but the bar is open every day. Right next to the Ismay there is a gazebo perfect for a wedding. In fact, there was one there while we were at the resort. Weddings are not part of the all inclusive package at the resort, but are available for an additional fee.
When you first arrive at the Galley Bay Resort, you are greeted by a very friendly staff. We had a great time joking about the taxi ride we had across the island. There is an old windmill right at the reception area. There are dozens of old abandoned and deteriorated windmills all over the island. They are a vestige of the sugar cane industry. They are historic assets on the island and there is a concerted effort to save the stone bases, which you see all over as you tour the island. For some silly reason, whoever restored the windmill at Galley Bay put a couple of cannons in it.
The reception area is on the inland side of a brackish lagoon . The staff uses golf carts to take you to your room, either across the lagoon or around it. The lagoon has lots of fish in it and fishing tackle is available if you wish. The route around the lagoon also doubles as a jogging trail. The lagoon is also a bird sanctuary and there are some interesting local birds – including some rather beautiful humming birds.
There are a variety of activities available at the resort. There are hobie cats, windsurfers, kayaks , and snorkeling equipment available on the beach. These are all part of the all inclusive vacation at the Galley Bay Resort. There is also ping pong and tennis . Bikes are available for use around the resort. There is a fitness center , library, and a few board games – we played Sex in the City Trivia – in a building across from the guest services area. There’s a small turtle exhibit outside that building.
There is a computer center with a couple of desktop computers, internet access, and a printer. If you bring your laptop, there is WiFi access in your room. Our laptop fit into the safe in the room – although we had some problems with the safe, which seemed to want to lock only when it felt like it.
Finally, there’s a spa on the property offering a range of services.