We traveled to Antigua for our second visit in September 2008 to check out more of the all inclusive resorts on the island. We stayed at two Elite Resorts, Verandah and Galley Bay Resort and Spa
. On our previous visit in November 2007 we had stayed at two other Elite Resorts, St James Club
and Grand Pineapple Beach
, the latter of which has since been purchased by Sandals.
The Verandah resort is new. It is located across the road from Grand Pineapple Beach. When we stayed at Grand Pineapple Beach last year, the Verandah was under construction. The Verandah is a family all inclusive resort.
The staff was incredibly friendly, courteous, and helpful. There’s a manager’s cocktailhour for guest to meet the resort management every Tuesday evening. We arrived onTuesday evening, but due to rain the event was cancelled. Nonetheless, we met several ofthe management staff during our stay and they were very interested in our opinions and thoughts about the resorts.
Rooms are in two unit buildings . Each room has a porch . Our room was had a king sized bed with a couch that converted into another bed. The Verandah has time shares, so our room had a small kitchette . The bathroom had two sinks and a large tub.
The Verandah has two pools. The main pool has lounge chairs, palapas, and a fountain in the center of the pool. Adjacent to the main pool is the main bar . While we were there, resort occupancy was about 50 percent according to Robert Gonzalez, the resort’s Financial Controller, whom we met leaving dinner one night. As you can see from the picture of the main pool, there are not a lot of palapas compared to the number of lounge chairs. We were generally able to get a palapa, but it was tight at 50 percent occupancy. At 90 percent occupancy, shade at the pool would have been at a premium.
There is a pool for adults only, which is small and has a waterfall. Palapas and lounge chairs are provided. Within the adults only area, there is also shuffle board and table tennis . We played both. The equipment was in good shape. The adult area was a bit isolated from the main pool area, so that it was really rather quiet and very pleasant.
The resort also has two lighted tennis courts . They’re a bit remote from the guest rooms, but the resort provides transportation around the resort in electric golf carts that seat about 10. The resort staff uses these carts to take you from the reception area to your room. When we arrived it was raining. The golf cart picked us up under a portico out of the weather and drove us to our room.
There is a pool just for the really little kids – in the kids club. The kids club is open from 9:00am to 10:00pm and all children who are potty trained can attend. I met Ricardo, the resort Activities Director, at the kids club. He showed me the facilities including the pool, the activities board , and the playground .
In addition to the main bar near the main pool, there is a beach bar and grill . It’s open for lunch until 4:00pm. It overlooks the beach and has an absolutely gorgeous view while you have a meal of barbecued chicken or pork with salad, fries, and your favorite beverage. They also serve ice cream made on Antigua – both the coconut and rum raisin flavors are absolutely scrumptious.
There are three restaurants at the Verandah. The main restaurant, named Sea Breeze, isopen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are buffet, and breakfast hasthe same food every day with very little variation. The three restaurants are all open fordinner. The Sea Breeze and Buccaneer restaurants are open air and can be rather hot andhumid, depending on the weather outdoors. The Nicole restaurant is the only airconditioned restaurant. According to the information we had on the resort, the Nicolerestaurant was not part of the all inclusive package – meaning it had a $25 charge.However, when we were at guest services making dinner reservations – which arerequired at the restaurants – Danna told us that there would not be a surcharge. It isunclear to us whether that was a temporary or permanent change. The three restaurantsare on the second story of the building housing the main bar and are situated right next toeach other. They and appear to have a common kitchen, although they have distinctmenus. Dinner is a la carte at all of the restaurants, but there are buffet nights when only the main restaurant is open.
There are two beaches at the Verandah. The beaches are small and are not on the openocean. The resort is in on a small inlet off of the ocean. One of the beaches wascompletely deserted while we were at the resort – not a single solitary sole at that beach.The other beach was well used ; it is the location of equipment for the non-motorizedwater sports that are part of the all inclusive package at the resort. These include hobiecats (which don’t get much use because of the restricted space in the inlet, light air, androcks at the inlet opening to the ocean), kayaks, snorkeling equipment, paddle boats, and flotation rings .
The Verandah resort provides nightly entertainment. On the first night we were at theresort the entertainment was supposed to be a steel band, but concern that the rain duringthe day would continue resulted in cancellation of the band. They came the next eveningand performed with the entertainment scheduled for that night – a limbo and fire eatingartist. We had seen him the previous year when we stayed at the Grand Pineapple Beach.He can walk on the sides of his feet and get under a limbo pole only about 6 or 7 inchesoff the ground – absolutely amazing. One evening there was a magician.
Since our trip was mostly business (with a little fun on the side) access to the internet wasvery important to us. WiFi was free and available at guest services and in the area of themain pool. It may have been available at the adults’ pool also – we thought we saw atransmitter, but never took our laptop over to see. There was a desktop computeravailable for use by guests in the guest services office, but it wasn’t working while we were there.
The resort has a gym , which is available as part of the all inclusive package. It has anassortment of equipment. The resort also has a variety of organized events including anature walk every morning and aerobics in the main pool. When there are more guests,the staff organizes games of water polo and other activities every day.
There is also a Spa at the resort. It is NOT part of the all inclusive package at the resort.Overlooking the beach and inlet there’s a gazebo with an awesome backdrop for a wedding.