Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A simple resort without much flair, but the basics are covered
Royal West Indies falls in line somewhere above the smelly Sibonné Beach Hotel and the tacky Ocean Club Resort, but it's leaps and bounds away from nicer (and still affordable) resorts like the Alexandra and the Windsong. Still, you'll get plenty for the price -- friendly service, two beautiful pools, direct beach access, and a nice restaurant with plantation-style architecture and a tiki-hut bar.
The rooms might be where Royal West Indies makes up its costs, as they could use some simple renovations. The patio furniture is cheap, the bathrooms are small and feel like they belong in an old motel, and the decor is the tacky island style you come to expect from a budget beach hotel. Redeeming qualities do exist though -- all units have furnished balconies or patio, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, dual washer/dryers, and fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes.
The pools are something of a fixture here. The separation between the "Quiet Pool" toward the back of the hotel, and the family-friendly pool next to the restaurant, however, doesn't work out so well, as you'll find screamers and splashers in both. If you do happen to catch the Quiet Pool during one of its calmer moments, a nice soak in the Jacuzzi is in order. Otherwise, the family-friendly pool is long enough for a few laps (assuming the crowds don't block you), and if you are able to stand the local radio station's incessant playing of Katy Perry, you can enjoy a nice cocktail at the bar in between tanning sessions.
The grounds are the requisite amount of lush -- plenty of palm trees, nicely manicured lawns, and bountiful shrubbery -- and the beach is surprisingly well maintained by attendants. Grace Bay, of course, is a stunning location no matter where you go, but Royal West Indies does a stellar job of keeping its burgundy umbrellas and blue padded lounge chairs in orderly rows, and an especially nice towel attendant does a stand-up job of cleaning up after guests. On the downside, there is no beach service and you'll have to haul your own lounge chair from a stack in the back if all of the set-ups are occupied.
Right in the middle of Grace Bay, within walking distance of golf, restaurants, shops, and a grocery store
Royal West Indies' location between the much nicer Grace Bay Club and the horribly deteriorating Club Med Turkoise is a metaphor for everything about this resort -- much better than the worst, but not nearly as nice as the best. Nonetheless, its beachfront setting along Grace Bay is as idyllic as can be, and close proximity to the important stuff like a golf course, a grocery store, and shopping and dining plazas, make for a superb location.
What the resort's web site describes as "cool tropical colonial" decor is more along the lines of island kitsch, with ugly motel-style curtains, small bathrooms, and cheap patio furniture. Some details look worked over (the toilet in my bathroom was rusty along the base, for instance) but the property has obviously put a little bit of care into updating the technology: Rooms come with iPod docks, Samsung 40-inch flat screen TVs, and DVD players.
A typical island resort restaurant with a lively bar and a varied menu
The Pelican Bay Restaurant & Bar is surprisingly enticing when compared to the resort where it's located. Fronted by a lovely plantation-style facade, this breezy restaurant with elegant table settings and poolside seating is definitely worth a visit if you are a resort guest. A full bar with a lively atmosphere is a great place to stop by in between tanning and swimming, and in the restaurant, a small but eclectic menu will satisfy almost any craving. The sushi definitely won't be the best you've ever had, but delicious local fare like cracked conch and lobster tail don't get any more affordable than here.
Royal West Indies is a middle-of-the-road choice for comfortable -- but not exceptional -- accommodations and amenities. You won't find tennis courts, a spa, or even a fitness center, but a decent restaurant, two pools, and a lovely beachfront exceed expectations for the budget price. Rooms are mediocre at best, and bathrooms are especially small, but every unit has a furnished balcony and, again, the rates are easy on the wallet.