Carlisle Bay – A Fabulous Family Find

 I was always aware Carlisle Bay was known to be a good property for families, however, having just experienced a 4 night stay at the property with my husband and 4 year old son, I can undoubtedly say the hotel couldn’t be any more PERFECT for families, especially those traveling with small children, and yes, infants.  Carlisle Bay offers a casual easy- going elegance.  From the mini Frette bathrobes for kids to the nightly complimentary kids buffet, the resort was a big hit for our recent family getaway.  If you are a family looking for a new destination, read on, this review is all about FAMILY.

The hotel’s décor is a cross between South Beach and Asian flair.   Overall, the property has a contemporary feel set in a lush tropical environment.  The public areas are all open design with dark teak wood and oversized white slip covered sofas and chairs complemented with modern rattan furnishings.

Sleeping rooms are simple and bright.   Contemporary, clean design with contrasting white bedding and sofas complemented with dark wood furnishings.    All of the rooms at the resort have a large verandah or patio with a full sized teak day bed and dining table and chairs which is great for enjoying breakfast in your room or a late afternoon sunset cocktail.   All of the rooms have a living area with a large white sofa, coffee table, oversized lounge chair and large plasma TV.    The bathrooms are a good size with double sinks separate bathtub and shower stall and ample closet space.  You will also find a well stocked minibar and espresso and cappuccino machine with complimentary coffee and milk.

There are basically two different room layouts within the property (except for the few large suites).  There are “The Beach Suites” which are identical in layout and are either a lower unit (Terrace) or 2nd floor unit (Balcony) and the Garden and Ocean Suites which are also identical in layout except for the view.

I would have to consider The Beach Terrace & Balcony Suites probably one of the most logical hotel room layouts for families I have encountered.  Kudos to the architects of Carlisle Bay for this simple, yet effective, design.  The room is a long rectangle shape with large open sleeping and sitting area facing the water and a small separate “kids” bedroom with two twin beds toward the rear of the room, separated by the bathroom.   The addition of this small separate sleeping area eliminates the need for having to obtain connecting rooms and gives mom and dad the privacy to enjoy evenings when the kids go to sleep!  This hotel room is not much larger than many of the standard resort sized rooms, however, having the separate bedroom for kids, is a huge plus.  All of these rooms are beachfront and I mean beachfront.  Step off your patio and within 15 steps your toes are touching the sea.  We were in a ground floor unit and traveling with our 4 year old this room allowed us to truly relax and enjoy every minute of our time at Carlisle Bay.  We were able to wake up and take pleasure in a cappuccino on our patio while our 4 year old couldn’t wait to play in the sand and surf.    Whether we were taking up a game of Scrabble on our patio or lounging in the sand we never had to be concerned with the calmest waves lapping the shoreline.  Almost all of the families were located in this area of the resort, which is no coincidence, I later learned.  Or next door neighbors were a new mom and dad enjoying their first trip with their 4 month old.  Again, a perfect set up since baby spent most of the day sleeping in the room which was just steps away from mom and dad who were lounging on the beach.

The Beach and Garden Suites are loft like square shaped rooms with the bedroom area raised with a step up from the living/sitting area.  The bathroom is located directly behind the bedroom.  All of these rooms have a large patio or verandah.  These rooms are perfect for couples and are located further down the beach from the above mentioned rooms.

These rooms are slightly more set back from the beach (compared to the above mentioned rooms) however, to be honest; instead of 15 steps from the water maybe you are 30 steps from the water!   Most other hotels would consider these rooms beachfront!

The hotel is a small boutique property.  We found it so simple to move between our room, the restaurants, the gym, the kids club, the pool, the water sports area.  Everything was incredibly manageable and convenient and never more than a 2 minute walks to get anywhere.  We found this a huge upside.   If you had to run back to your room for any reason, it was so easy.

The hotel has a very nice complimentary kids club with planned activities daily.  The Kids Club has a kiddie pool, jungle gym, bikes and trikes, indoor playarea, etc.  One of our favorite kid amenities was the complimentary kid’s supper buffet served daily between 5:00pm and 6:30pm.  This was an enjoyable time of the day when the kids and parents congregated in the restaurant near the pool.  Kids would enjoy dinner with their new friends while parents sipped on a cocktail or beer and socialized.  I thought it was a very nice added touch the hotel offers.  I later learned from the hotel manager (when I was complimenting the hotel on this added perk) that offering the kids buffet helps to keep the restaurants “more adult like” in the evenings.   What a great idea!  And speaking of restaurants, the hotel has 3 separate restaurants.  One being the main restaurant which is located directly on the beach and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There is an Italian themed restaurant near the pool which has a pizza oven and serves salads, antipasti, pasta, etc.  There is also a more formal dinner restaurant which is an Asian Indian theme.  We did enjoy room service a couple of nights and thought the service, presentation and varieties of offerings were good.   All in all, the food was very good, a solid offering.  The quality and options were very satisfactory and of course, a kids menu was always offered (except in the formal dining restaurant).

The hotel has many beach toys available for use by the guests including , boogie boards, floating loungers, sand toys, kayaks, sail boats, ping pong tables, etc.  There are tennis courts and a very well equipped gym.  We never felt the need to venture outside of the property however I did notice that within just a few miles of the hotel is a rain forest zip line canopy tour.

With nonstop service to Antigua from many cities, Carlisle Bay is now top on my list of family friendly hotels.