Carlisle Bay Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Antigua and Barbuda

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • White-sand beach and calm waters
  • Big beachfront suites suited for families
  • Free organized kids' club and kid' activities
  • Dedicated section of the resort for couples
  • Free non-motorized water sports, including windsurfing
  • Free group yoga and Pilates classes
  • Spa with sauna and plunge pool
  • Attractive beachside bars
  • Free afternoon tea
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Food is underwhelming and expensive
  • Some may feel decor is too light on local charm

Bottom Line

Carlisle Bay offers understated luxury on Antigua's southern coast. The resort has dedicated sections for both families and couples, and successfully appeals to both with its lovely white-sand beach, calm ocean, free non-motorized water sports, and impressive kids' club. The 82 rooms are modern and sophisticated if not very distinctly Caribbean, and the food is both expensive and unimpressive. But the extensive features and services (many of which are free) still make this one of the island's top luxury options.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A lovely beach, extensive features, and separate sections for families and couples

For travelers seeking a truly full-feature resort, Carlisle Bay is one of Antigua's best bets. It has just about every activity one could desire, including tennis, sailing, kayaking among the mangroves, windsurfing, paddle-boarding, motorized water sports (on a separate cove so as not to disrupt the tranquility of the beach), free group yoga classes, movie screenings...the list goes on. Despite the many offerings, the vibe remains mostly tranquil, and the white-sand beach is lovely (if not quite as wide or long as beaches at other properties).

For families, Carlisle Bay provides the perfect combination of peace and activity: Peace for the parents, activity for the kids. There's a great kids' club for kids from six months to six years, and it's free for children over two. There are also free organized activities for kids seven to 12 and a teens' club for kids 13 and up. But those traveling without younger guests needn't worry too much about being overrun by kids, as the resort reserves one end of the resort for families and the other for couples.

The decor in the rooms and common spaces is modern and luxurious, but the Caribbean influences are very subtle; some may prefer a resort with more distinctive Caribbean charm. The food is a significant downside, as it's mediocre and extremely expensive (which is common for Antigua). For many travelers, the setting and features will amply compensate, but others may feel that the resort doesn't quite live up to its advertised five-star status. Competing Caribbean properties such as the Four Seasons Resort Nevis might offer more for your money.

 Location

On Antigua's southern coast, about 30 minutes from the airport

Carlisle Bay is located on Antigua's southern coast, to the west of English Harbour, which is a popular yachting destination. The island is small, and driving from one side to the other usually takes under an hour, though it should be noted that roads are in poor condition.

Antigua is a former British colony that's known for its multitude of beautiful beaches. It's also known, however, for its high prices and mediocre food. St. John's, the island's capital, is home to the only airport as well as a harbor where large cruise ships can dock. The southeastern shore has protected harbors with calmer waters, and English Harbour is the site of a massive week-long sailing regatta in the spring. The eastern shore gets beautiful sunsets.

 Rooms

Modern, understated rooms, all with balconies or terraces and at least partial ocean views

Carlisle Bay's 82 rooms are all suites with modern technology, balconies or terraces, and ocean views. The decor is modern and sophisticated, with a subdued color scheme of white, gray, and sage. The Caribbean influences are subtle: wooden ceilings, plantation shutters, and on the balconies, white wooden railings and rattan furniture.

Ocean Suites are located on the calm, couples end of the resort and have a separate sitting area and direct ocean views. Beach Suites are best suited for families, featuring a master bedroom with king bed and second bedroom with two twin beds. Ground-level Beach Suites have direct beach access. The Carlisle Suites are the largest option, with three bedrooms and room for six. All units have direct ocean views except for the Garden Suites, which have partial ocean views.

  • Balconies or terraces with day bed and at least partial ocean view
  • Big bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers
  • Flat-screen TVs with DVD players
  • CD players but no iPod docks
  • Espresso machines
  • Turndown service
  • Reading lights by the bed
  • Free Wi-Fi (though some complain signal can be spotty)
  • Free bottled water
  • Stocked minibars
  • Yoga mat
  • 24-hour room service

 Beach

Lovely white-sand beach and calm waters

Carlisle Bay has a stunning white-and beach and, thanks to the location on the protected southern shore, calm waters where kids can swim safely. The beach isn't as side or as long as the beaches at some other properties, however -- it's about a third of a mile long -- and on one end it abuts modest local homes.

  • Beach service available
  • Cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas
  • Hammocks and palm trees

 Pool

Main pool surrounded by tropical landscaping, plus a kiddy pool

The main pool is adequately large for the size of resort and has tropical landscaping and cushioned lounge chairs. The open-air Pavillion Bar is directly adjacent.

  • Square kiddy pool with a small splash fountain
  • Adults-only pool by the beach bar in the works as of spring 2013

 Spa

Two-story spa pavilion

Blue spa has six treatment rooms, a sauna, and a plunge pool. The decor is understated and incorporates lots of cool grays.

 Family

A first-rate luxury option for families, with great kids activities

  • Kids' club for children six months to six years; free for children over two. Supervised activities such as treasure hunts and lizard hunting.
  • Crew Blue program for kids seven to 12 with (free) supervised activities such as raft building and starfish hunting.
  • Crush teen club for kids 13 to 19 with pool, Wii U, barbecue parties, and water sports.
  • Calm waters for swimming
  • Dedicated family side of the resort. Beach Suites have two bedrooms and can fit families of four, while Carlisle Suites have three bedrooms and can fit families of six.
  • Kids' menus available at Indigo on the Beach and Ottimo.

 Food

Decent variety, but food is underwhelming for the price

Indigo on the Beach is a casual beachfront restaurant offering healthy fare such as salads and grilled seafood. It's the resort's main restaurant and is open for all three meals.

East, open for dinner only, serves decent Asian cuisine (a rarity on Antigua) and has air-conditioning as well as decor of dark wood and red fabrics.

Ottimo is a poolside Italian restaurant open for lunch daily and for dinner about twice a week. The wood-fired pizzas and homemade gelato are popular.

Private dinners can be arranged on the beach and on the jetty.

 Drinks

Plenty of spots for casual beachside drinking

  • Pavillion Bar is adjacent to both the pool and East restaurant, and has a romantic setting with cushioned furniture and soft lighting.
  • Indigo Bar is adjacent to Inigo on the Beach Restaurant and has cushioned rattan furniture.
  • The Coconut Grove has cushioned wooden chairs right on the sand and shaded by palm trees. Drinks and Free afternoon tea are served.
  • There's also a casual beach bar where guests can order drinks in swimsuits.
  • Live music is on offer several nights a week.

 Services

All the luxury services one would expect from this caliber of resort

  • Food and drink service beachside and poolside
  • Attractive modern library
  • Free Wi-Fi in common spaces and rooms
  • Dry cleaning and laundry service
  • 24-hour room service
  • Screening room with frequent movie screenings
  • Concierge services

 Physical Activities

Water sports, a big fitness center, tennis courts, and free group yoga classes

  • Large fitness center with cardio machines, strength training machines, free weights, wall-mounted TVs, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • Free non-motorized water sports include sailing, kayaking among the mangroves, windsurfing, and paddle-boarding
  • Motorized water sports such as waterskiing (fees apply) take place a separate cove so as not to disrupt the tranquility of the beach.
  • Free group yoga classes and Pilates classes; private classes available for a fee
  • Nine tennis courts (reservations are booked through the spa)

 Bottom Line

Carlisle Bay offers understated luxury on Antigua's southern coast. The resort has dedicated sections for both families and couples, and successfully appeals to both with its lovely white-sand beach, calm ocean, free non-motorized water sports, and impressive kids' club. The 82 rooms are modern and sophisticated if not very distinctly Caribbean, and the food is both expensive and unimpressive. But the extensive features and services (many of which are free) still make this one of the island's top luxury options.

Things You Should Know About Carlisle Bay

Address

  • Old Road St. Mary, Carlisle Bay, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda

Room Types

  • Beach Suite Balcony King
  • Beach Suite Terrace
  • Carlisle Suite A
  • Carlisle Suite B
  • Garden Suite King
  • Ocean Suite King

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

Galley Bay Resort & Spa

Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 82
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Antigua and Barbuda
Address: Old Road St. Mary, Carlisle Bay, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
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