Galley Bay Resort in Antigua
Galley Bay Resort’s signature adults-only feature was prompted by a mid 90s game of chess gone wrong.
Growing up, James Lane Jr. didn’t realize that his Dad owned Galley Bay. He thought his Dad was simply spending his holidays at a resort in Antigua. James Jr. recalls fond memories of eating dinner with his Dad in the back of Galley Bay’s original Seagrape Restaurant. After dinner, their evenings would culminate with a game of chess. In 1992, a teenage James Jr. remembers being victorious in chess for the very first time. His competitive father blamed losing on his preoccupation with an unattended young child bouncing around the restaurant, which at the time, was open to children.
When young James won three games in a row, his father got up and declared from that point forward, Galley Bay Resort would be an adults-only destination. Today, couples can thank a rambunctious little boy for the quiet permeating throughout this resort located on one of Antigua’s most spectacular beaches.
Coming Back to the Dream
Galley Bay’s adults-only setting has transformed the resort into one of the most sought-after Caribbean high-end getaways. To meet this demand, today’s version of Galley Bay has expanded to 98 suites amidst its 64 acres. This expansion has evolved without deviating from the resort’s ultra-private, ultra-romantic, and ultra-luxurious ambiance.
What hasn’t changed is that a member of the Lane family is still leading the way when it comes to fulfilling guests’ needs. From an early age, James Jr. was caught up in Galley Bay’s scenic and historic environment. Lane made it a goal to come back and work on the lush property featuring orange-splashed flamboyant trees, a private lagoon, a bird sanctuary, and twin bluffs flanking each end of the beach. “Working at Galley Bay was always the job of my dreams,” Lane said.
Lane currently captains a team of 242 employees, which translates to more than one per guest. The resort boasts a near-zero turnover rate among staff. Continuity among staff serves as a major factor in Galley Bay’s long-term success. Returning guests respond to this familiarity with smiles and hugs for team members enriching their Caribbean vacation experience.
Galley Bay dining is orchestrated by the beloved Chef Andrew “Stan” Baxter. For the past 14-years, Baxter’s cooking expertise has been a tasty constant in the resort’s love affair with guests. At center-stage is the Seagrape Restaurant with a history dating back to the 1960s. Contrary to many all-inclusive resorts, Galley Bay’s daily menu is ala-carte with a palette-satisfying selection of hand-picked items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Gauguin Restaurant, located on the tucked away south end of the beach, is a reclusive slice of culinary paradise. Guests love dining under the private cabanas intertwined amongst palm trees. One would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful oceanfront setting for savoring a meal or just sipping a cocktail.
Ismay’s Restaurant is a tribute to a Galley Bay employee with a remarkable tenure. Ismay Mason worked as a housekeeper at Galley Bay for 50 years. To honor her service, Galley Bay named their new special occasion restaurant in her honor. Ismay’s Restaurant and their romantic dinners on the beach, deliver perfect evenings for newlyweds, honeymooners, or couples celebrating an anniversary or birthday.
Best Island Memories
Favorite chapters in James Lane’s earliest Galley Bay memories continue to thrive today. Bird lovers are enchanted by the yellow-breasted bananaquit, the dance of humming birds, and the photo opportunities offered by people-friendly whistling ducks. There is still a multitude of ways to re-charge at Galley Bay, whether it’s luxuriating at the quaint Indulge Spa or sailing the ridiculously blue Caribbean Sea on a Hobie Cat. Most of all, Galley Bay offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decompress, enjoy, and re-connect with your significant other.
When asked what he likes best about working at Galley Bay, James Lane didn’t hesitate. “Our guests so look forward to their holidays. We regularly hear that vacationing at a place as beautiful as this is a real joy. Our team works extremely hard to make sure guests love their time here. What’s satisfying for me is helping guests make the best possible memories,” Lane said.
Galley Bay’s future admirers can thank a mischievous child and an unlikely chess champion for the tranquil oceanfront environment for which the resort is famous today. If you’re searching for a Caribbean luxury retreat where the dominant tone is soothing ocean waves, you’ll discover that the word “checkmate” never sounded so good.
Tim Cotroneo is a freelance writer specializing in Caribbean travel, business, and golf.