Location, location, location – it’s the property agent’s mantra. But can apply equally to the tourist industry.
It poses the question – exactly how many home comforts do you need when the location is little short of idyllic? And the answer it transpires is actually very few.
The Rex Hawksbill in Antigua is at the lower end of the scale in terms of facilities demanded by international travellers. Yet it seems to have a dedicated following with many guests returning year after year.
It’s not even particularly cheap with rooms coming in at well over £200 per night. But with a position like that nobody was really getting worked up.
The style is essentially medium-grade English holiday hotel but set on a tropical Robinson Crusoe sea front. A lick of paint wouldn’t go amiss and even some new furniture and curtains. But the sea dom8nates everything.
Spread along four beautiful soft sand beaches with the warm Caribbean Sea lapping almost to front of it’s properties, the hotel consists of a mix of bungalows, classic block rooms and duplexes – virtually all with a sea view.
There’s air conditioning but it barely works so fresh air is the order of the day.
We tried it out as the hotel was coming out of Covid semi-hibernation.
An eight hour flight out of Heathrow and we were transported out of an English winter to a warm Caribbean island, and mentally back three years.
Facemasks were supposedly required in public areas but this was not enforced particularly rigorously for clients. A blessing considering there was a gentle, but constant breeze and all bars and restaurants were essentially open air. Staff wore face coverings pretty well constantly to their credit.
We booked through hotels.com, taking a 30 dollar taxi from the airport as independent travellers. It is also available through most booking websites as well British Airways holidays and Virgin holidays.
The all inclusive food was reasonable with a few highlights. The lunchtime barbecue fish in particular was fabulous.
Our most interesting experience was with hot water. The shower ran cold and after a couple of days there was no improvement so we spoke to reception. The maintenance man had a look and decided it needed a plumber. He duly arrived and spend most of the next day working on the system eventually producing a trickle of tepid water.
But by that time the Caribbean had taken over – we shrugged our shoulders, had a couple more rum punches and lived with a tepid shower for the rest of our trip.
The sea is so warm, those beaches are so tremendous……we may even go back.