The Verandah Resort & Spa
How to Get There
Like many, many others who visit this and other 'Elite Islands Resorts' we purchased this vacation via a charity auction winning. We generally enjoy taking vacations through charity auction events and although the auction information highlighted that there would be a daily resort fee, we had never experienced the type of exorbitant expense post-auction for acquiring a room as we had at the Verandah. At auction, we happily bid the value of the package presented in the information, but we ended up spending 3 times what we bid at auction in order to bring our family to this resort!!! We learned by speaking with a number of other guests at the Verandah that they, too, outspent their auction 'winning' by several fold in order to claim their auction prize. Clearly this resort uses 'charitable auctions' as a marketing strategy for filling their rooms at what would appear to be little expense to them. I don't know the regulations concerning charitable deductions but this seems to be ethically questionable and unlike other all-inclusive resorts who donate actual vacations to non-profit organizations.
About the room: We brought our family of 5 over Thanksgiving to the verandah and stayed in a family villa. The 2 bedroom, 2 bath villa was very spacious and we were comfortable. The toiletry amenities were pleasant. The air conditioning worked well. The key-based room safe was frustrating to use (difficult to open and then minding the key while out was annoying - the front desk will not check your key when you go out for the day.) The surfaces of the villa were clean, but the floor was filthy and remained dirty during our entire stay (your feet will turn black if you walk barefoot in the villa). The beds were comfortable, the pillows were not. Our villa frequently did not have hot water. When the hot water went out, we would tell the front the desk and they would send someone to repair it, but all told, in the course of a week, I had 3 hot showers and the rest were cold. The TVs in the villa did not work but they did send someone to repair them when requested. The doors to the patio were difficult to open. The furniture was old and the knobs on the night stands broken so drawers were difficult to open - so a bit run down over all.
The resort facilities: When we attended over Thanksgiving, there were so few other guests that we felt as though we had the resort to ourselves. There was no wait for tables at the main restaurant and almost no lines at the buffets. We were able to find choice seating at the pools and beaches at all times and had prompt service at all the bars. Even with the deserted atmosphere, towels at the beach and pool were occasionally difficult to get. As others mentioned, there was no chair-side service at the pool or beaches. Even with bussing tables - you're on your own to clean up the used glassware. The beaches are absolutely lovely: Shaded, treed, quiet, peaceful. We participated in few of the planned beach/pool activities. We did take a dance lesson at the main pool - just the 2 of us - it lasted 15 minutes. We did enjoy the miniature golf and the table tennis near the miniature golf. But the games in the activity center were unusable because of a lack of balls/paddles/equipment. We took a few Tennis lessons during our stay. The tennis pro was not always willing to give a lesson, so we were at his whim (example, if we took the 7:30 am lesson, he refused to then give us a 9:30 lesson even though we were the only ones who showed up.) We are an active family and did not mind the walking throughout the resort. In fact, we appreciated the layout and beautiful grounds. It was easy to catch a ride when needed. The twice daily spraying of the grounds kept the mosquitoes down to essentially nothing - but we were mindful to try to stay indoors during the spray times (just before dawn and dusk.) The company is building a new, adults-only resort on the other side of the main beach. The work was not disruptive of our enjoyment at the beach, but we were left wondering if once the new resort was finished, if it would drive crowds up during peak times and affect overall enjoyment of the peaceful feeling at the Verandah. The kids weren't crazy about the kids club. The staff was friendly but they were generally the only ones there so they found it a little bit boring. It was a nice feature to have for the adults. We did get some very nice massages at the spa - due to the low numbers at the resort, they offered a 50% sale, which made for a good value.
The food: The food at the main restaurant was generally palatable and offered enough variety that we were satisfied throughout our stay. We did not care for the the 'Asian' food theme night fare (we are used to different flavors of 'Asian' style food.) But the managers pool BBQ was fun and tasty. We sampled all the restaurants. The service at the restaurants was painfully slow (we were the first ones seated at 6:30 and 2 hours later, we were still waiting for our entree - very hard on the kids.) We went on a date night to Nicoles and felt the extra fee was worth the money as we thought the food and service were appreciably better. We are not big drinkers but we did enjoy an occasional cocktail by the pool/beach and found them to be enjoyable. The coffees/espresso drinks were very good.
The staff/excursions: There are a number of other postings regarding the resort staff. I can say unequivocally that the staff at this resort is one of the best features of this place. They are very friendly and super eager to make the guests happy. We took advantage of 2 excursions: the calypso cat 1/2 day snorkel (pretty sad reef but we the crew was awesome and we had fun anyway) and the 2 hour swim with the sting rays (creepy but fun - also really friendly staff). Definitely worth it to go take a look at Devils bridge, which is right near the resort. Also, we took a short taxi ride to the donkey sanctuary/animal shelter and enjoyed spending an hour with the animals there and learning about their work.
The final verdict: While we enjoyed many things about this resort, we are not sure that we would return. We were left with a bit of a sour feeling regarding the expense of our winning from the charity auction and we were perplexed that rather than investing in the facilities and enjoyment of their existing resort, the management chose to build an entirely new resort right next door while letting the Veranda crumble a bit. If we were to go back, we would probably choose Thanksgiving week again as the space/privacy of the underpopulated resort was especially pleasant.
Just back from our second stay at the Veranda and it was even better than our first trip almost 3 years ago. Love the location, food, hospitality, water sports, and the natural beauty. The spacious, clean, well appointed suites have gorgeous views and comfortable beds.
Awesome resort for rest and relaxing. Wonderful ocean views and the staff is phenomenal. All water is on a filtration system, so you can drink directly from the tap. Food was delicious, especially at Nicole's. I would recommend this resort to any family or friends!
We spent 10 nights at the Verandah for our wedding. Andrea the wedding co-ordinator could not have been better, a wonderful lady who helped create exactly the wedding we wanted.
The accommodations at the Verandah are all in bulgalows, our sea view was stunning and peaceful yet close to the main pool and restaurants. A kettle and fridge were invaluable for our early coffee in the mornings.
Food was fantastic, we never had a bad meal in the buffet and we ate at Nicole's on our wedding night, where they had a special table for us and we ate lobster. The meal was amazing and for our wedding dinner, was well worth the extra. Sadly we did not find Buccaneer's as good, one evening the service was sooo slow yet the food was nice. The next time we ate there the service was impeccable but the food was awful. We'd probably stick with the buffet as the selections are amazing and the dining room comfortable. We ate lunch once at the bar grill near the main beach but did not eat there again as we didn't find the quality of the food as good as at the buffet.
We did visit Pineapple beach, we had lunch at the Outpost, amazing ribs in a stunning location. Their italian restaurant was amazing too and their evening entertainment was fantastic. But overall we preferred the Verandah as the beaches and layout of the resort were nicer.
One evening there was a bbq on Rasta beach, it was a stunning event and so much hard work went into it to make it perfect, which it was. The staff here work tirelessly and are all so wonderful, we enjoyed spending time with the staff as well as the other guests as the resort is such a friendly, happy place.
My only small quibble was that bathroom toiletries do not get replenished. We did ask after 8 days if we could have some more shampoo, it was delivered the same day but just 2 small shampoo bottles and nothing else, we didn't receive enough to last us for the rest of the stay. A small thing as I'm just used to hotels replenishing shampoo, conditioners and lotions.
I would not hesitate to recommend the Verandah resort and spa, especially for a beautiful wedding location. We'd love to return one day, fingers crossed!
This hotel complex is just perfect. We have combined our 2 week stay in Antigua with 9 days at the verandah Resort and Spa. A truly Team ethos approach to providing an excellent all round stay. Rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable. The Sea breeze main buffet restaurant has a wide variety of menus and we also tried 2 other restaurants, which we booked in advance. There are 2 beaches, both of which were relatively quiet. The evening entertainment caters for all age groups, staff very happy and obliging. We ventured out on a few trips. Shirley heights is a must on a Sunday evening. Great entertainment and sun set views. An historical trip round the island was also fab. St. John’s is rather basic with a small duty free outlet. Coming from the Uk we did find items very expensive, so glad we were all inclusive. A fabulous 9 day break