|One of many suites overlooking the ocean at Galley Bay Resort & Spa|
It’s been five years since Travel Agent last visited the luxurious, all-inclusive Galley Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua. We will not be waiting that long to revisit ever again. Here’s what you need to know to make your clients just as happy as we were.
The Rooms: The hotel has roughly 100 rooms, including its very popular Gauguin cottages, which are hidden amid the gardens and offer lagoon views and concealed individual plunge pools for private dips. We stayed in an Ocean View Suite (#43), however, and were very happy to do so. It is located mere feet away from the sound; although we highly object to this type of guest behavior, you can literally chuck a rock from your balcony into the Caribbean Sea.
There are 20 of these with four, one-bedroom rooms located in each building. The top rooms provide better views of the ocean while the lower-level rooms offer somewhat easier access to the beach (one of the best in all of Antigua, by the way). However, we suggest going with a higher-level room since it is still practically effortless to get to the beach from there.
Although there is no beach service, the hotel provides clients with two Galley Bay water bottles per room to be used to fill up a tasty, adult cocktail to go. These water bottles are also great for clients who want to drink in the Ocean. Clients can keep these as a souvenir as well. But if drinking roughly 20 ounces at a time isn’t exactly your client’s thing, there are two bars located on either side of the beach. The bar in front of the Sea Grape Restaurant and the one at Ismay’s Restaurant both serve drinks during the day. Agents should tell clients about Ismay’s bar since many guests we met at the hotel, including us, were unaware that it was open during the day and instead opted to walk to Sea Grape, which is on the other end of the beach.
The Spa: This multi-level hideaway features three massage areas, two of which are rustic, open-air treatment “pods.” The pods are rough-hewn, airy massage decks draped with sheer, white curtains for privacy, and both overlook the bird sanctuary and lagoon. In-room treatments can also be provided for guests who desire the utmost in privacy combined with the best in spa-style pampering. You can take a bit of indulgence home with you, as beauty products used during your treatment are available for purchase, for a luxurious remembrance of Galley Bay.
Dining: The best restaurants here are also by no coincidence the two that require reservations: the upscale Ismay’s, which is best known for its fresh lobster, and the Gauguin Restaurant, the highlight of which is its extremely quiet surroundings. Guests at Gauguin are seated outside in front of the ocean. Ismay’s, named after the hotel’s longest tenured employee, comes with a surcharge of $45. Reservations for each can be made the morning of, but we suggest the day before to play it safe.
Cabanas for Clients With Late Flights: This is a touch we don’t see terribly often at Caribbean hotels, but Galley Bay has six small cabanas that can be rented out for $35 each day with the proceeds going to charity. Since a good chunk of the hotel’s guests are Europeans who usually have very late flights, these rooms are not cabanas in the traditional sense, but rather small rooms where clients can store their bags and shower in privacy.
Galley Bay Upgrades: Travel Agent had the opportunity to chat with General Manager Alex de Brito about the resort’s upcoming renovations. He told us that six or so of the property’s 15 bungalows will be completely renovated by the end of the summer while the remaining nine will be renovated by the end of next summer.
He also told us that by the end of December, the resort will have a brand new gift shop that will also serve as a grocery store, a new Diamonds International shop, a new rum and cigar bar and a new fitness center that will offer ocean views, something the current gym does not offer. The current gift shop will be converted into an office for the owner and general manager while the gym will become part of the shopping complex that will house the new gift shop.
Agents should reach out to Sherrie Ault ([email protected]), director of sales, with any queries.
Editor’s Pick: Antigua’s Best EP Hotels
|Carlisle Bay Antigua has 82 suites — all with ocean views.|
Got clients looking for something other than an all-inclusive in Antigua? Of the hotels we had the opportunity to visit during our one-week visit to the island, South Point Antigua and Carlisle Bay were our favorites. We suggest staying at both — perhaps three nights at each.
South Point Antigua, which is just under three years old, is a chic condominium resort that gives off a heavy cosmopolitan vibe and caters primarily to affluent Millennials. It is well suited for girlfriend getaways or couples traveling with other couples.
There are 23 rooms, 19 of which are included in the rental pool. All are the same size and provide similar views of the marina. There is practically no beach here, so this is more of a pool-lover’s hotel — and the pool doesn’t disappoint as it overlooks the ocean. In fact, from a glance, it’s hard to see where the pool ends and the ocean begins. We were told a glass-front gym facing the ocean and small spa with two treatment rooms will be open by the end of the year.
Agents should direct any questions to the hotel’s manager, Tess Clarke ([email protected]).
The 82-room Carlisle Bay feels like a luxury all-inclusive because the value was so impressive. Whereas some all-inclusives may surprise its guests with extra fees, here or there, this EP hotel did the opposite. A lot of the amenities were included in the rate, most notably the minibar with top-shelf spirits is stocked for free once a day with all of its contents included. There is a charge if clients want this restocked more than once in a day.
The hotel accommodates children but does an excellent job in separating children’s and adult’s areas. We recommend booking this for either smaller families or young affluent couples. Like Galley Bay Resort, Carlisle Bay offers one of the best beaches of any hotel in all of Antigua.
Mandy Cameron ([email protected]), reservations manager, is the go-to person for information.