We liked the Halcyon. It was very pretty, quiet, and serene. In that sense, it lived up the reviews we'd read. But somehow, I was underwhelmed. To be fair, we did have much of our trip affected by the hurricane. Yes, we got lucky compared to much of the island, and maintained power and running water for the whole time. But I still felt like things could've gone much more smoothly. When I write this review (like I did for TripAdvisor), I feel kind of like maybe I'm being a spoiled brat. But I promose that I'm trying hard to keep my review of the resort separate from my review of their handling of the situation. So...here goes:
The Halcyon was beauiful. For a laid back, easy-to-please, not-too-picky couple, it was just right. It wasn't a loud party spot. They didn't try to force you into group activities. There were plenty of places you could hide out to be alone.
The restaurants were a bit of a let-down. The Pier was written up as having "the best Caribbean food on the island." I'd have to disagree. Don't get me wrong, it was really good, but it certainly didn't rock my socks off. Same with Mario's. I was actually really disappointed in Mario's. I ordered a penne dish with chicken and spinach in a garlic creme sauce - the creme sauce was runny, there was no garlic that I could taste, and I'm pretty sure it was tuna. Good thing I'm not allergic to seafood, cuz that could've been a huge problem! The Bayside was good. Breakfast was a buffet and it had pretty much everything you could dream of. Dinners were sometimes buffet and sometimes a la carte. I probably would have appreciated it more had we not had to have it for 5 days straight after the hurricane.
The beach bar was good. They had all-you-can eat nachos, and the ham and cheese sandwich was actually quite delicious. For a casual, quick meal, you couldn't really go wrong there. The Irie bar and the pool bars were good - drinks were made well, they were strong, and you get them quickly.
The staff were all pretty nice. The bartenders were great, especially Aaron and Rita. Aaron bounced around a bit (at the pool bar or at the Irie bar), but we usually only saw Rita at night at the Irie bar. Rita was the only one who knew how to make a good dirty martini, so she quickly won our favor. The waitstaff in the restaurants were kind of slow, but then again - it's the Caribbean, and everything moves a bit slower there. So that didn't really bother me. It's kind of nice to be able to sit and relax and not worry about all the hustle and bustle.
I definitely think communication could have been better. About everything, but especially regarding the hurricane. We didn't even know a storm was coming, let alone a hurricane. They certainly spent time printing notes and slipping them under our doors, so I think a note on Friday afternoon warning "A storm is approaching the island. We will take all measures necessary to ensure your trip is not interrupted" or something along those lines would have gone a long way. Once the storm hit, I still felt like communication was lacking. We had absolutely no idea, until we got to the other resort, that our flights were cancelled. We had no idea how we were going to get to the airport. We basically had to beg for help. And every time I approached the desk with a question, I felt like they were annoyed. I'm sympathetic that they were overwhelmed and that they were concerned for their homes and families. But rather than huffing and giving me a nasty response, just smile and tell me you're working on it. When the shuttles weren't running, and we asked them to call a cab for us to take us to one of the resorts, they basically tried to talk us out of it. It's not like by staying there we're spending any money or anything!
Same goes with the tours desk. We went to discuss our cancelled tours with the person at the desk and kept being told "Check in tomorrow." Finally, on our last day, we said "It's clear we're not going to do any of these. What do we do?" And he just said, "I'll let the operators know you're cancelling your reservations." I had to kind of fight with them to get our money back - we didn't cancel the tours, we weren't able to do them because of weather! And their policy says that you can get your money back if the tour is cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. So that was annoying.
However. I know that this sounds mostly negative and like I wouldn't recommend it. But I would. Like I said, I think a lot of our negative experiences were due mostly to the hurricane. Had Hurricane Tomas not hit and wreaked havoc on our honeymoon, I'd probably have some different things to say about the whole thing. So, would I recommend the Halcyon to other honeymooners? Absolutely. It really is a beautiful resort. And even though it's small and the dining options are limited, you can go between the 3 resorts for free, which opens up your dining options from 4 restaurants to, like, 20. They offer a ton of excursions. They have games and group activities available but you can decline or completely avoid participation if you want to.
So that's it. Our Caribbean honeymoon. I really want to take Matt back to the Caribbean sometime soon so he can really do some snorkeling and see the true crystal-clear turquoise waters. Someday...