Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A tranquil adults-only all-inclusive resort on an excellent beach
Galley Bay is a 40-acre property set on a stunning three-quarter-mile long beach on Antigua's northeastern shore, about a 10-minute drive from St. John's. The 98 suites and cottages have simple but charming Caribbean style, and many are directly on the sand. The focus here is on laid-back romance, so there's no nightlife besides the nightly live music and restaurants shut down around 10 p.m. -- which is exactly the type of atmosphere most guests here are looking for. Even at maximum capacity, the resort doesn't feel crowded, so guests can count on quiet and plenty of privacy.
The guests here are typically low-key couples, ranging from honeymooners to retirees, but the crowd does skew slightly older, particularly during peak season. Activities center around the beach and sea: Snorkeling equipment, kayaks, windsurfing gear, and catamarans are all available to guests for no extra charge. The water can be too rough for swimming on some days, however, but most guests are content just to lie on the beautiful beach. And it's always possible to cool off in the lovely pool, which has an attractive waterfall feature, cushioned lounge chairs, and palapas for shade.
Antigua is known for having expensive, mediocre food, but because the resort is all-inclusive, it's possible to avoid the daily sticker shock encountered at other properties on the island. The all-inclusive meals are a la carte, rather than buffet-style, and many guests rate the restaurants highly.
On Antigua's northeastern shore, a short drive from St. John's
Galley Bay has an excellent location on Antigua's eastern shore, about a 10-minute drive from the airport in St. John's. 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.
Beachfront rooms as well as private cottages with plunge pools
Galley Bay has three room categories: Beachfront Suites, the Gaugin Cottages, and the Beachfronts.
The Beachfront Suites are housed in two two-story buildings and are the resort's finest accommodations. The style is more modern and more subtly Caribbean than in the other rooms, and there is Wi-Fi, which the other rooms lack. In the first-floor rooms, guests can step outside and be right on the sand, while second-floor rooms have slightly better ocean views. Bathrooms have huge showers and soaking tubs, both with room enough for two.
The Gauguin Cottages are the the most private of the room types, making them popular with honeymooners. They aren't right on the beach, but they're only a short walk away, and they are the only room type with private plunge pools. Bathrooms are separated from the bedrooms by an outdoor breezeway and have big showers but no bathtubs. The style is inspired by the Gauguin's paintings of Tahiti, and the cottages have thatched roofs and white plaster walls. Some of these cottages face the lagoon while others face a fence.
The Beachfronts are split into Superior Beachfront Rooms and Deluxe Beachfront Rooms and are located in two-story buildings right on the sand.
air conditioning all
The stunning white-sand beach is three quarters of a mile long.
Galley Bay's beach is one of its biggest assets. It's longer, wider, and less crowded than many other beaches on the island, with plenty of fine white sand and palm trees. Even when the resort is at maximum capacity, the beach feels tranquil and private. In the evening, there are beautiful sunsets, thanks to the location on the island's eastern shore.
The water can get rough, however, and the staff will put up green, yellow, or red flags to alert guests as to the conditions for the day.
Attractive pool with waterfall feature and tropical landscaping
The pool at Galley Bay has a natural lagoon-like look, thanks to the rock landscaping, waterfall feature, lush landscaping, and palm trees. Wooden pool loungers are cushioned and situated under palapas for shade.
Adequate fitness center
The resort's fitness center may not have the most modern machines, but it's perfectly serviceable. Equipment includes free weights, a treadmill, a cross-trainer, a stationary bike, and a strength-training machine. There are mounted flat-screen TVs in the corners as well as ceiling fans.
A rustic-luxe spa near the lagoon with open-air treatment decks
Indulge Spa is located next to the resort's lagoon and bird sanctuary, and has a total of five treatment rooms, three of which are open-air decks with gauzy white privacy curtains. Two couples rooms are available, as is an air-conditioned indoor treatment room.
The spa's style matches that of the Gauguin Cottages. There's a relaxation deck with a flat loosely thatched roof and rattan furniture, as well as a structure with a vaulted wood-beamed ceiling that resembles a tree house. The spa pool is small and has a quasi-rectangular shape with undulating edges.
No kids under 16 allowed
This adults-only resort does not allow kids under 16.
A la carte all-inclusive food that's above average for Antigua
Sea Grape Restaurant is the hotel's main restaurant and serves all three meals. It is open-air and has a vaulted wooden ceiling, ceiling fans, and ocean views. A weekly Caribbean barbecue featuring live steel drum music is offered.
Gauguin Restaurant is located on the far end of the resort and offers romantic, private dining in a series of two-person cabanas on the beach. The menu, which changes daily, blends Caribbean and international flavors; a sample dish is pan-fried fillet of butterfish with sweet chili sauce. There are two reservation times available -- 6:45 or 8:30.
There's a $35 surcharge to dine at Ismay's Restaurant & Bar, which serves island cuisine such as seafood gumbo.
The Barefoot Grill offers casual fare for lunch, such as burgers. Guests can sit at wooden tables under palapas.
Two bars with name-brand liquors
TeePee Bar is an open-air wooden structure with ocean views that gets its name from a high peaked roof resembling a teepee.
The Lounge Bar also has ocean views and offers live nightly performances of Caribbean music such as steel drum bands or reggae.
Food, drinks, and non-motorized water sports are included
All meals, alcoholic beverages, and water sports are included in the rate. Minibar drinks are included until the minibar has to be refilled.
Free Wi-Fi in some common spaces
A tennis court, loaner bikes, and water sports equipment
The relaxed, tranquil environment of this adults-only boutique resort is a major part of its appeal. This isn't Antigua's fanciest property, but it doesn't need to be: Simple Caribbean style (think: thatched roofs, stone, and rattan), a truly gorgeous beach, and all-inclusive food that's better than average for the island make for a winning combo. Water sports are also included in the rate, but the ocean here can get a bit rough so guests shouldn't count on being able to swim in it every day.