Monday, December 31, 2012

C&C Winebar

First and foremost, (belated) Merry Christmas to all! Sorry I haven't been keeping up, but I'm back now and here to give you a reivew of my trip to C&C Winebar - which of course is not accommodation, but a decent place to eat!


C&C is, as decribed, a "bar" but so much more! Located in the historical Redcliffe Quay, the outside setting really gives the place a great ambience. They have an extensive range of wines, but specialise in South African Wines. In addition to the drinks, they also serve finger food - including chicken wings, fries, coconut shrimp, cheese platters. The prices for these are extremely decent - 6 chicken wings for $12 EC (or $4.50 US) works about to be a great price, and the wine servings start at about $8-9 EC. I've noticed that they recently expanded, so hoping to try them out again pretty soon.

Cheers!

(Pictures to come later, when my main computer is back up!)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sorry for the delay!

Hey guys, sorry for the fact that I haven't been posting for the past few days. Things have been CRAZY busy for the past month, both at work and personally. I promise at least 2 new awesome budget antigua posts before christmas, so watch out for those!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

3 Martinis Beach Bar, Restaurant and Apartments


3 Martinis Beachbar, Restaurant and Apartments

So I was passing by Turners beach the other day. Since I’d never actually walked ALL the way along the beach, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to. At the end of the beach I stumbled onto the 3 Martinis.

Pros
The best thing  about 3 Martinis is it’s proximity to the beach. It is located on the opposite side of the road to the beach, literally a stones throw away, just a few steps and you’re on the beautiful, nearly mile long beach. Not only that, the slight elevation means beautiful views of neighbouring Montserrat
Of course, there is the price. This starts at 75$ US per night – nothing short of a fantastic bargain for beach side accommodation

Another pro is location location location. 3 Martinis is located on the South West Coast, with a long stretch of Turners beach right in front of you. The guesthouse has a restaurant located right downstairs. Should you get tired of this fare, though, there is Keyonna Beach Club which is a bit more upscale, and then Turners Beach Bar at the end of the beach. These are all 5-10 minutes easy walking distance.
You will also be right on the bus route, meaning easy access to a number of beaches, hotels, and other attractions located along the coast. This includes Jolly Harbour, with a supermarket, many restaurants, and shopping.

CONS
3 Martini’s Bar is certainly dated. You get an immediate “rustic” vibe, and the peeling paint immediately signals the fact that the exterior is in serious need of upkeep, which is a regular comment from those who have stayed there. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a proper look inside, so I can’t really comment on the d├ęcor. It is also my understand that there’s no AC, so if you’re a city dweller who absolutely NEEDS their room at a well maintained 72 degrees, this may not be the place for you.

VERDICT
3 Martinis offers an excellent opportunity for those who enjoy opening their windows and looking down on a beautiful ocean and a white sandy beach. While it is no luxury accommodation by any means, and is in need of a bit of sprucing up, it makes up for this in heart and having a fantastic location. It also works well as a base in exploring other beaches and areas of interest around the island.


RATING
3.5 out of 5 stars


Friday, October 26, 2012

Inn La Galleria - Super Budget

Inn La Galleria is located on the North Western side of the island, right off the village of Five Islands. This area contains several lovely beaches, the best of which is arguably Deep Bay, located 10 minutes walk or so (if you take the shortcut) from Inn La Galleria

PROS
For what it offers, Galleria is the cheapest on the island. Period. Prices start from 48 US per night, all taxes included. All rooms are air conditioned and come with en suite bathrooms, which means that you won't have to be sharing with anyone else. It is located on top of a small hill, giving you spectacular views of the Deep Bay. There is also the breakfast option for an extra $10US per person, a steal of a deal since it's an *actual* breakfast instead of just toast and cereal. It's a small property  (12 rooms if I'm correct) meaning that there are no irritating noises, sights or activities that you'll experience on a large resort. You also have the option of walking down to the beach, although this will depend on the security at Grand Royal Antiguan since you'll have to walk through their lobby. However, Deep Bay is easily one of the best beaches on the island, so is well worth the trek.

CONS
Inn La Galleria is a proper "budget" accommodation. This means that the inn, unfortunately, is not always up to many people's standards. Much upkeep is necessary, both inside and outside of the rooms, as well as in some cases new furniture, better bedding, etc. "Shabby chic" may be one of the words that comes to mind when describing Galleria
Another issue is the location. It's not very close to town or any of the other main areas of the island, meaning that you'll either have to rent a car, or get a taxi, or bus. While there is public transport, it's mainly only available during the day, and runs rarely on Sunday, making transport difficult. Also, if you are planning on staying for an extended period, you will need to stock up somewhere else, as there are no major supermarkets in the village.

VERDICT
Inn La Galleria is a great place for backpackers and people looking to save some money or are not very particular about their budget surroundings. While there may be a few issues regarding upkeep, make no mistake: This is a great deal, with cheap accommodation and a great nearby beach, more than worth the price you'll pay.


RATING
3.5 out of 5 stars



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sweet T's Ice Cream Parlour and Snackette

I've done quite a few hotels, so I figured it's now time for something different.

Sweet T's is located to the southern part of the island, in the village of Falmouth, just a few minutes drive away from English Harbour. It's brightly coloured building on the left hand side as you are driving towards English Harbour just before Bailey's Supermarket.  Although it's named an "Ice Cream Parlour" it is so much more than that. There are a wide range of normal, fast foods (e.g. burgers, hot dogs and fries) which you can get at the normal "local" prices - e.g. starting at about $15 EC (or about $6.50 US) you can get a decent burger and fries, or something similar. Personally,  it's a godsend, and I highly recommend it to ESPECIALLY those going to the Shirley Heights lime, which has (in my opinion) somewhat exhorbitant prices for the said same fast food.

Of course, they also sell a wide variety of sweet treats, including ice cream. However, to me the real draw is the creative and inventive "milkshakes. Most of these involve alcohol, although there are probably some virgin, but taste wonderful and go down well, and there are a wide varieties of flavours and styles to choose from.

The only minor quibble is that it is exclusively outdoor, meaning that especially at dusk there may be a few mosquitos trying to take a bite. Other than that, it is a great recommendation for anyone staying or passing through the English Harbour/Falmouth community.


RATING

4.5 out of 5

Thursday, October 11, 2012

B and J's Guest House (Budget)

So I'm going to write a post on place that I have never seen any kinds of reviews or feedback on - hopefully someone will be able to stay there and tell me what it's like!

PROS
B and J's Guesthouse is located in the main  (and only) city of Antigua and Barbuda, which is St. John's. This means that there's plenty of access to all the capital has to offer, including shops, food, transport, etc. There are lots of people who don't necessarily need to be situated on or near a beach, but like the convenience of town, and this is probably the place for you! At $80 US per night, this is a very decent price being offered, and a bit cheaper than the rest of the accommodation in the city of St. John's (meaning Heritage Hotel and City View) It's a proper self catering apartment, which means that you can save money by preparing food there or go out to a restaurant in St. John's. The place looks to be in decent condition, and there is (allegedly) air conditioning and internet access. When I spoke to the gentleman involved, he also seemed quite happy to give me a discount if I considered staying there. Being in St. John's, there is relatively close access to the islands two main bus stations (about 10 minutes walk) so transport will be relatively easy to come by.

CONS
It's possible that a large amount of traffic, both human and vehicular, can keep one up at night. Also, although  the area is "relatively" safe, it certainly isn't as safe to walk around at night, as there would not be the level of security you would have with another guesthouse/resort. Also, THERE IS NO WEBSITE!!! Something critical in this day and age! Doesn't seem to be a facebook page either. However, you can get their details from this site:http://www.antiguahotels.org/v2/hotel.php?id=53

VERDICT
Although St. John's may not be the best place to spend a relaxing vacation, there are many people who would appreciate the merits of staying in the city of St. John's. Clean, well appointed, and very reasonably priced, B and J's Guesthouse represents a great deal for people hoping to stay in the capital city.


RATING
3.5 out of 5 stars



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Barrymore Beach Club (Budget)

Antigua is well known for it's 365 beaches. Unfortunately, beachside resorts tend to run far more expensive than most budgeters can afford. However, Barrymore Beach Club is a great opportunity for an affordable vacation right on the beach without breaking the budget.

PROS:

Barrymore Beach Club is located right on a beautiful beach, Runaway Bay. This is on the North West Coast of Antigua. Runaway Beach is located right next to Dickenson Bay, the less beautiful yet more popular of the beaches. One of the fabulous things about Runaway is that you get a beautiful, nearly secluded beach, yet access to the many restaurants, bars, and other amenities located just 5-10 minutes walk away at Dickenson Bay, with one or two of these located on Runaway itself.

The price ranges from around $85 US a night in off season to about $120 during the high season for a one bedroom apartment. Again, for a property where you can literally walk onto the beach, this is a fabulous bargain. You are also located relatively close to town (although you may still need a car to get there) and two major supermarkets (Epicurean and First Choice) are also located just about a 5 minute drive away, with a small shop which sells the basic amenities at Dickenson Bay a few minutes away. The option of self catering is there if you don't feel like walking to a restaurant every day or would like to save a bit of money.


CONS:
Not many cons. It would seem that AC is either not provided in some rooms, or provided at an extra charge in other rooms, which *may* be a bit of a problem if you're not used to the hot weather, although ceiling fans are in all the rooms. There also doesn't seem to be a dedicated website, although you can book it through VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner)



VERDICT

Barrymore Beach Club is a great deal for those looking for an affordable beachside vacation. There is the ability to relax on a gorgeous, clear beach, or visit a far more lively one just a few minutes away. With few drawbacks, and a price cheap enough to fit most pockets,  this is nearly a perfect budget vacation getaway.


RATING
4.5 out of 5 stars






Sunday, October 7, 2012

Anchorage Rooms (Budget)

Anchorage Rooms is located to the south of the island, in English Harbour. This is a historical area, where in colonial times the British Navy based their operations. Nowadays, it serves as a base for the biggest "tourist" event, Sailing Week. There is also a thriving yachting industry in the area, and during the tourist season this area gets quite busy.


Pros
There is lots to love about Anchorage Rooms. First off, is the price. Despite the fact that it is located smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest tourist areas, you can get a room for as low as $75 per night, taxes included, in the high season! The buildings are relatively new, and well maintained. Of course, all rooms are en suite, and there is free wi-fi internet provided for guests. There is lots to do in the area, including restaurants, bars, the biggest "club" in the area (Abracadabras aka Abras), the historic Nelson's Dockyard,  and beaches, all within 5-10 minutes quick walk. The bus system in this area is generally reliable and runs relatively late, so you can easily get by without renting a car here. There is even a small cafe downstairs.

Cons
The biggest con here occurs during high season, which is simply getting a room! Other than that, most rooms come without AC (they do have ceiling fans) though I understand they are putting AC units in some of the rooms. Also, it does tend to get a bit noisy during the high season, with people walking around and several bars booming, so if you're here in March/April and your ONLY reason for a vacation was tranquility, this may not necessarily be the best place for you. Also, it doesn't appear that the rooms have any kitchen facilities, but this is such a minor issue in an area with a huge range of affordable eats that it would be nitpicking to point this out as a major problem.

VERDICT

Anchorage rooms is a gem of accommodation. Great location, great rooms, for a fabulous price. A near perfect pick for a person looking for cheap yet comfortable accommodation in Antigua.

4.5 out of 5 stars


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Paige Pond Country Inn (Superbudget)

Paige Pond Country Inn is a pretty guesthouse located pretty much smack dab in the center of the island. Rates start at about 55 US per night, and can be booked from their website.


PROS
The pros about Paige Pond is that they seemingly having excellent high quality accommodation for a seriously low price. Both the outside appearance and the rooms themselves are clean and well maintained, something that is not often done with accommodation this cheap, and all the rooms are fitted with AC, which is a godsend for some of the stifling hot days The furnishings in the rooms are relatively new, none of that "rustic" (aka run down) look that you get with other cheaper places, and you have a decent kitchenette in even the cheapest rooms, as well as FREE wifi. It's far away from the hustle and bustle of St. John's/English Harbour, and the views just a little way down the road are simply spectacular, as they look over the valley of the Body Ponds.

CONS
On the other side, the cons are that this place is pretty out of the way. It's in the middle of the island, far away from the main points of St. John's on the northwest, Jolly Harbour on the southwest, and English Harbour in the south of the island. There aren't any supermarkets in the area, though there is a small onsite shop that will provide the bare essentials. There is a bus service on the route, but if you're intending on enjoying the nightlife you may be better off renting a car, or taking a taxi, especially at night.

VERDICT
The verdict is, Paige Pond is a great budget buy, clean, cheap, and comfortable, and lots of useful amentities.  Well worth it if you're willing to rent a car or are willing to take the bus, though you will have to stock up on supplies if you'll be staying here for a while.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

About budget Antigua

Many visitors to the island  of Antigua and Barbuda seem to think that it's an "expensive" island. Having grown up here, I can assure you that it's not. In fact, there is a wide range of inexpensive accommodation, restaurants, bars and activities around the island. Unfortunately, most of these places are smaller, or have a small budget, and thus receive a lot less coverage and buzz than other places. I've taken it upon myself to put these places on the map to show the world that coming to Antigua and Barbuda doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Welcome to Budget Antigua.