Currently a bit shabby chic but a great place to stay and about to undergo a refurbishment. The location is superb and boasts 4 lovely beaches, one clothes optional! Food is good, fair amount of choice but could be served hotter? Often, especially on BBQ night its cold by the time you get to eat it! Entertainment is OK, great opportunity to have a dance but it does finish really early. Starts during dinner and often winds up at 9.30? Sea was a bit rougher this last visit but settled so we were able to have a good swim and snorkel. Taxis available for trips out and a shuttle to St John's 3 x a week.
Where do I start? I will, with an apology for the long (and detailed) review. I read SO many before going out, that I feel a lot of the comments need to be addressed.. We booked to come here 4 years ago, but with our initial Travel company going bust and then 2 years of Covid, this was eventually our 4th Attempt to travel – it was WELL worth the wait !!! As has been said multiple times, this is not a 5 star resort, but it doesn’t claim to be. It’s 3 star, with such amazingly friendly staff and Antiguan charm, that it exceeds 5 stars. You don’t get Butler service, but you get to relax, kick off your shoes, sink your toes into that fine sand, and relax with a glass or 3 of rum punch. As you walk around the resort (more about that later) you will see the odd thing or two that you think can be improved upon, but it’s somewhere where you REALLY CAN forget your day job, and relax. This is the first AI resort I’ve been to, that doesn’t have food available 24/7. (but it’s not far off). Breakfast is available between 7:30 – 9:30 at Tamarind. Then the Sea Grapes Bar opens at 10:00 – 5:00. The Grill is open 12:30 – 2:30 and “Afternoon Tea” (sandwiches) is available between 4:00 -5:00. This bar closes at 5pm. Tamarind Bar then open at 5:30 and evening meals are available between 6:30 – 8:30. The bar closes around 11pm. There is also charge you for water @ $3USD for 1.5 litre bottle, but they will refill it for you Free of Charge. This cuts down massively on plastic waste. We took insulated water bottles, and they will also fill these with whatever you like. Even rum !!! When you go to Breakfast, they will ask you to choose a slot for dinner in the evening. Check in …. This was a breeze. The absolutely lovely Ladies on Reception are always happy to help. They will order you Taxis if you need to go into St Johns ($20 USD each way). We stayed in the Royal Palms. This wasn’t our first trip to Antigua, but it was to this resort. I had researched this resort to within an inch of its life, so I knew what to expect, but Antigua is breath taking, whether this is your first or twenty first trip. The rooms are immaculately clean. Relatively basic. PLENTY of space. The beds are very comfortable, and there is more than adequate hanging and drawer space for 2 people for 2 weeks. There are USB chargers in the bed-side light base, but we found the sockets were “sideways” so if you’re taking a mozzi plug-in, make sure it’s one that rotates the plug. There is also a safe in the room. There is a fan above your bed. It’s on a truss, of an apex roof, and too high to attach a mozzi net (one of the questions I had asked). You also have AC. I’ve never needed this before, but 100001% recommend it. The weather was hot and humid (in July/August() – and this keeps the biting critters at bay. They don’t like the cold. We only needed to ask for our room to be fogged once, on arrival, and relied on the AC after that, (Just leave your keys at Reception when you go to Dinner and they will do this while you’re eating). There is also a fridge in the room and a kettle (with a bowl of coffee, tea and sugar) …. SUGAR!!! If you leave your door open the little yellow breasted birds or Finches WILL fly straight to the basket to pinch your sugar sachets. The yellow Birds are Bananaquits or Sugar Eaters. If you like to watch birds, just open a few sachets of sugar onto your veranda, sit back and watch them eat. I also put a bowl of water out for them, as they get sugar stuck all over their beaks. They are a pleasure to watch. If you’re lucky they might take some from your hand too. The bathroom is HUGE!! The Porter refers to it as the party room as it’s so big. You have a bath, shower cubicle, toilet and foot washer (Bidet). There is a his n hers vanity. Sometimes we had issues with towel replacement (they kept forgetting hand towels), but they bring any additional towel needs to you within minutes. You are also supplied with Shampoo, Conditioner and soap. We were a family of 4 and all the Palms have adjoining doors with the next door rooms. They are lockable from your side only, so there is NO way to get onto the adjoining room from your side, unless you leave the door open. This set up was ideal. Outside your room, you will have 2 sunbeds, with the MOST comfortable blue mattresses on them. (fall asleep comfortable) They leave you with 2 beach towels when you arrive, which you can change at the Kayak Hut on Sea-Grapes Beach (the next one over) every day. This was a bit hit and miss. They’d rarely deliver enough clean towels for everyone, and the next lot would be on Antiguan time. No drama though – just relax, they’d get there ….. eventually. FOOD : This was self-served from heated “bombs” (large silver lidded drums). The choice was usually : (breakfast) Toast, bagels, Muffins, Baked Beans, Scrambled Eggs, Fritters (sweet potato or banana), French Toast and Pancakes, hash Browns, bacon and Sausages. Eggs cooked to order at the Omelette station. Fresh fruit, yoghurts and cereal. (Lunchtime) Burgers, Hotdogs and fish from the Grill. You could also sit down to eat freshly made wraps, sandwiches etc and the nachos come highly recommended, Not much for Vegetarians here. (Evening) Rice, Vegetable Medley, Chicken, Potatoes, Pasta and Fish. The flavour of rice, and sauces on the chicken would vary, but the basics were the same. There was VERY little in the way of vegetarian choices during the evening. There was always a hot dessert, cake, and ice-cream on request. So, the resort has 4 beaches: PALMS : This was about 5 paces from your front door, but it’s very steep. You couldn’t put a sun bed on the majority of the beach, as you’d slide off it. There were sections that were flatter, but they were right at each end of the beach. The best end would be where the local kids would play (and Moms would erect gazebo’s and stay there all day!!) They were in front of the Security Hut at the resort entrance, and were absolutely no bother at all. It was lovely to hear them having fun. The sea at the Palms was also VERY rocky and unless you were a snorkeler and swam past the rocks, this wasn’t somewhere to have an enjoyable swim. There were also sea urchins attached to the rocks, so be careful. It also had a slight undercurrent. The beach and sea has some steep areas, making it difficult for people that are less mobile. SEAGRAPES: This was the main beach. This is where you can drink from 10am, and eat lunchtime and also has the towel exchange, and kayaks etc which you get from the infamous Fenton. There are AMPLE sun beds, just VERY limited shade. They could do with some extra palapas as that sun does get extremely hot. You can go an sit in the shaded/covered bar area though if it gets too much. There is a small pool, toilet and also shaded sitting area behind the bar. The beach here is flatter. There are some rocky areas getting into the water, but there are also large sandy areas where you can walk straight in. There are some (very low) sand shelves getting in too, some are easier to navigate getting in (and mainly out) than others, especially if you’re less mobile. The sea is crystal clear. Loads of fish (that really like the odd slice of bread or bagel from breakfast) and they think it’s great fun to have the odd nibble of your back or feet ….. or bikini strap if it’s dangling. They don’t hurt, but it is a surprise – even when you’re expecting it. We did see a few Jellyfish, and one person was stung, so keep an eye out. I still believe a lot of the jet skis that ski near the rock, disturb/injure them, and they wash towards shore. HONEYMOON COVE : I’m not sure of the name of this beach. It could be Almond beach, but this is a really small and (always) empty beach, behind the Honeymoon Cove suites. This was flat and the same as the others, had a lot of rocks to navigate getting in/out of the sea and a sand shelf, making it quite difficult. This leads us to ….. EDEN BEACH : THE only clothing optional beach on the island, and more importantly, home to the cutest Momma Pig and her babies, who troop down to the sea to cool down, several times a day. They live in a nearby pig farm, but have access to the beach. This beach while beautiful, and very long, is much more left to nature than the others. There are lots of vines growing across it, and the beach is badly eroded. To the point, where I slid down to the sea, and the sand hid a few of the vines, which where like a tip wire across the front of your foot. I missed face-planting the rocks, thankfully!! There is usually a security Guard in duty halfway up the beach, and such a beautiful walk. I think we only saw it being used once or twice (for sunbathing) in the whole 2 weeks we were there. The sea is VERY rocky. There have clearly been attempts to stem the water eroding any more of the beach by dumping huge concrete blocks in the sea. These can house sea urchins, so be careful. This is a large resort and it’s a fair bit of walking between the rooms and the bars etc depending where you’re staying of course. Between the Palms and Tamarind Bar, for example, there are 2 sets of steps to choose from. The closest steps were shallower steps but there were more of them, or walk around the corner, and there are fewer but steeper steps. Again, I’m not sure I’d recommend this resort for people with mobility issues. It is workable if you take your time, but can be exhausting in that heat. Something to consider. If you’re staying at any of the beach front rooms, you also have another set of steps to get to the Tamarind Bar too, as it’s elevated. Just before you get to the Tamarind Bar, you pass the Sugar Mill Boutique shop. The lady in there is absolutely lovely. She will sell the basics, like water, sun tan lotion, t-shirts etc. They do come at a price. Each morning, there is also another Lady that will sit behind the Tamarind Bar, selling T-Shirts and Island souvenirs. This is a quieter resort, where everyone seems to be of the early to bed, early to rise mind-set. The bar is closed by 11. Most people have gone by then anyway, and everyone seems to be up and ready by 7am. There is little in the way of evening entertainment. They have a duo singing once a week, and the lovely FENTON doubles up as a DJ once a week. There is also a steel band on the BBQ night, but other than that people just chilled, played Cards (THAT was popular, don’t forget your deck) and relaxed. I couldn’t possibly not mention the 2 resident cats. Maverick and Lolly. We rarely saw Lolly, she’s the 3.5 legged-cat. She was really skittish too. Maverick however – what a sweetheart!!! He has the strangest MEOW I have ever heard – and so loud!!. We took cat biscuits over with us and bought more in St Johns while we were there. I also saved a few of the empty cereal bowls from Breakfast to put down for water, as there is no fresh water for him – he REALLY appreciated that. They get thrown away by the staff though, which is a pain. If you’re a cat lover, please take a packet of treats with you, he will appreciate it, and you’ll have a friend for life. There are also a small herd of goats that come to visit from the adjoining farm. They are so funny. They will lie on any unused or abandoned sun beds. Very comical, and cute. Now the trips – I would 1001% recommend “ASK IBA”…. There are SO many choices of things you can do out there. It would be a good thing to do your research beforehand, as not all the circumnavigation trips, for example, go to Stingray City. We personally wanted to avoid that. I love animals and wildlife, and I, do not like the thought of all those tourists covered with Sun Tan lotion, picking up sea-life just for photo opportunity. Not at all Eco-friendly. This was a relaxing holiday, so we did very little, and wanted to do very little while we were here. We did book a couple of trips with Iba. As I mentioned before, we booked 2 trips, with ‘Ask Iba’ before arrival, and contacted him via the Hawksbill Facebook page and he also has his own website. He came to the resort as planned to take the deposit, then as part of the trip, we were taxied into St Johns to pay the Balance on the day of each excursion, and started the day from there. Easy Peasy. I couldn’t recommend Iba enough. Professional, polite and trustworthy. Nothing is too much trouble. We did the Jeep Safari (Gold). This was in an AC’d 4xWD. We had Bruce, our own personal Guide, who took us through some of the areas of Antigua you’d never get to see in a normal trip. Seeing how people live, the road side “fast food” stalls, and the realities of the beautiful Country. He’d stop to point out the local flora and fauna. Loads of photo opportunities. We didn’t want to go to Devils Bridge so opted for the Donkey Sanctuary, but unfortunately, booked the trip on a Monday – the ONLY day it’s closed to the Public. We went up to Shirley Heights (boy is it windy), Little Ffryes Beach, Betty’s Hope for Lunch, Fig Tree drive – so many different spots. He’s SO informative, and made the day an absolute pleasurable experience. Highly recommend this over bouncing around on the back of an open jeep, with other people. More personalised. He’d go to different locations at your request. Stop whenever you wanted for photos – and he had a bar in the boot (Trunk) !! We also did the Excellence Circumnavigation. We’d done a Circum Trip before, on Wadadli, and that was amazing, so wanted to try something a little bit faster. Again, this was a perfect trip for someone to see all around the island, from the sea, and see a lot of the smaller islands, and vantage points. We went to Green island for 2.5 hours for snorkelling and investigate the island at your own pace. I was a little disappointed with his trip though. There was approximately 80 people aboard, and ONE bar man. People stood around the bar area, drinking, or waiting to be served, and eating, which made getting past with food/drinks to sit back down a pain, as you have you’d have to navigate past 2 sets of steep steps down to the toilets. I saw a few near accidents that day. It was easy to embark and disembark though, as it had a ramp and steps to get on board, so recommend this Catamaran (but not wheelchair use). PLEASE don’t be put off by negative reviews. If you want peace and quiet and a relaxing holiday, this is the place for you. Shabby Chic gets mentioned a lot. It is, but they are also in the process of starting a refurb. I just hope it doesn’t bump the price up. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Hawksbill. A BIG shout out to some of the more outstanding members of staff (not all wore name badges). Dalston, Julian, David, William, Shakira, Fenton, Myra and the lovely Mario (the GM). Antigua really IS the Paradise island. Consideration should be given if you have mobility issues staying here. It’s a lot of walking and steps to contend with. We managed, but I know it was hard work. I’d go back in a heartbeat. In a nutshell : Pros: 4 beautiful beaches Relaxed atmosphere Maverick and the goats!! Such friendly staff – nothing is too much trouble Delicious food and cocktails Cons: A large resort, so lots of walking Quite a lot of steps to contend with Some areas are poorly lit, and paths are uneven The food can get a little bit repetitive if you’re there for 2 weeks and very little for Vegetarian/Vegans…
We had a wonderful holiday, staff were all very helpful. It was a lovely room, great air con, fab shower, comfy beds, all you need in a room. The beaches were amazing, with great views. Food was ok, could of been hotter. We had a fab 2 weeks.
the harper party is arriving this coming sunday march 26th to our usual upgraded beachfront club bungalo on honeymoon cove at this friendly, one of a kind resort for the 4th time spread out over last several years.cant wait to once again enjoy the quiet peace, and beutiful views!! (hopefully the wonderful staff will be able to forfill our request to locate us in a bungalo facing eden beach as weve had in the past??) we look forward to udating our great time in our post trip review , as all the online advise is so helpful! see you soon!!!!!!
Beautiful beaches for swimming and great food in a peaceful resort The views are a wow! The first night the sunset was amazing and every night after. We had a fabulous holiday here, we both love swimming and good food with a cocktail or 2. Our room: superior Seaview was big and both beds very comfortable & aircon was great too, but the view! Great to sit on the balcony and enjoy the views of caribbean turquoise waters and orange and purple sunsets and little bird looking for sugar. Breakfasts were super: omlettes are very tasty & lots of other choices . BbQ lunch delicious and dinner was fine too. Pool was however no good as only 3ft deep and small but look forward to seeing the upgraded one! Sea can be quite wavy so it would be good to have a better pool.
Really friendly small adult only hotel. Great home cooked food. Excellent variety of drinks. Gorgeous beaches on the doorstep. Comfortable rooms. Will be great after the upcoming revamp. Evening entertainment on most evenings. The sea breaking on the beach is loud at night. I used earplugs. I’d stay again and recommend the hotel to friends and family. Car hire and taxi available at the hotel
Recently visited Hawkesbill with my daughter. We went with an open mind as was advertised as a three star. We were not disappointed we stayed in the garden view bungalows which were literally seconds from the beach which was amazing not a scrap of seaweed in sight. Have to admit that the rooms could do with a bit of tlc but we had everything we needed. The place itself is so relaxing the staff are all excellent and always stopped for a chat. The food could have been better maybe more choice especially the evening meal but breakfast and lunch were great. Not a lot of evening entertainment but we were fine with that as we are early risers. There is a tiny swimming pool but with the beach so close it was never used. All in all a great holiday. They are due to close in April this year for six months for a refurb I just hope when they reopen that it haven’t changed that much as would love to visit again.…
Our experience at Hawksbill definitely exceeded our expectations. This was our 4th visit to Antigua, each time to a different resort. We love to walk along the beach, swim, snorkel, and sail so this resort judging by the pictures and reviews was our choice this year. We were slightly disappointed. Eden is the biggest and easiest to walk along but accessing the water was tricky.Sea grapes was the easiest to access and the most popular as it had shade, loungers and most importantly the bar and lunch time restaurant and grill. There was also good snorkelling around the old jetty where I was lucky enough to see an octopus. The watercraft were unfortunately slightly lacking. Only one sail boat and a handful of kayaks some of which were lacking parts were available on this beach and then only if the weather was “perfect” A nice wind for a perfect sail was considered a yellow or even red flag so boating was off. Palm beach was again hard to access unless you walked up to the far end. Our room was just a few feet away from this beach and we could always hear the waves which was lovely. We had a lovely veranda complete with large tub for foot washing to keep the sand out of the room/ bed. We had visits from goats, one of the 2 resort cats and many delightful birds that popped in for sugar packets if you left your door open. The bed was really comfortable and cosy, the furniture charmingly rustic, the bathroom a bit oversized. The bath plug arrangement didn’t work, the shower was never more than warm and the pressure wasn’t great so I’m hoping that will be something that will be part of the renovation. Getting anywhere involves climbing up and down numerous steps which personally didn’t bother us. The food was on the whole pretty good with excellent soup and desserts. Most evenings there was a great hot dessert with custard. The wine wasn’t great but tasted better after the second glass. The service was hit and miss, sometimes frustratingly slow especially at lunch. The staff were kind and friendly but there didn’t seem to be any one person in charge to direct them to be more efficient. Some evenings there was entertainment which started during the 3rd sitting of supper and finished by 9.30 so it was a lovely quiet resort. Would we go again? Yes I would certainly consider it as long as the price doesn’t increase too much after the renovations. I hope it doesn’t loose it’s lovely Caribbean character and charm.…
Opening up those Shutters from The Cove Rooms, is Paradise. The Roar of Sea, Little Birds a Colourful Gecko Perch, with The Perfect Backdrop of Rolling Turquoise Waves The Magnificent Sweep of Golden Sandy Beachfront & Swaying Trees of many varieties. Revived & Happy.
Having first stayed at Hawksbill 32 years ago, it is reassuringly unchanged. Not for those seeking a myriad of activities and thumping music on the beach. But if you want relaxation, friendly staff and hands down the best beach location in Antigua then it’s hard to beat.
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