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“Beautiful resort!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Dickenson Bay, St. John's, Antigua   |  
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Up to $255 Spa Bonus!
Ranked #5 of 20 hotels in St. John's
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2012

We had an amazing time at our fifth Sandals resort! This was our best vacation yet! Antigua is a beautiful island, mountainous and tropical. The room and resort itself was top rate as was the service. The only slightly neg is the dining options. There were about five choices for entrees at each restaurant as most were a la cart. My husband has many food allergies so this made his options very limited. The food was fabulous! We are divers so we went on several dives when we were there and saw many amazing sea creatures and beautiful coral! The reef was not as pretty as in Jamaica but we saw more of a variety of fish, turtles and manta rays than we had seen there so it balanced out. The dive team is, as usual, top notch. You wont find a better group of people than at Sandals resorts. We found a dive master from Ocho Rios in Jamaica had transferred to Antigua and were thrilled to dive with him again! We would recommend this resort to anyone who wanted to experience the beauty of Antigua.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Whitehall
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

Wife and I spent our 10 year anniversary at Sandals Grand Antigua and absolutely loved it. We did our homework so we knew what to expect and our expectations were exceeded.
We stayed in the Portofino Walkout Suite which is located on the bottom floor of the main building on the Med side of the resort. The room was very nice, comfortable for two with the added benefit of the fully stocked bar, not that you need more opportunity to drink as there are plenty of bars and people wanting to serve you drinks.
We enjoyed all the restaurants, favorites were Eleanors and Kimonos. OK Corral was good food, but very slow service. Marios was good for breakfast, dinner appetizers and the Lava Cake, but dinner itself was nothing special. Lunch at Barefoot was the best, especially the Jerk Chicken and Pork. The least liked place was Bayside which was nothing but a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You will not go hungry!
In the evening, the entertainment was OK, nothing special. We enjoyed taking walks around the grounds stopping for a drink or two along the way. The social drinking spot in the evening was at the pub, which was fun after we met a few couples to hang out with.
Most days were spent lazily by the pool or at the beach. It was true, if you wanted a lounge chair in the shade, you needed to reserve it by 7ish. If not, no big deal, just get a chair in the sun and go hop in the pool to cool off. We enjoyed taking the Kayaks and the Hobie cat out on the water. The beach vendors were annoying, especially when they had their kids with them on the weekend.
We took the Sandals Exclusive circumnavigate trip. We enjoyed it, but the Atlantic was especially rough and the wife did not do real well with that part of the trip. If I had to do it over, I think I would have rented a taxi for the day instead and gone sight seeing around the island. We did take a taxi into town, waste of my time and money, but the wife enjoys shopping so you go along for the ride. Most of the souvener stuff is crap made in China, so watch out what you buy.
Negatives of the Resort:
They try to sell you 3 things. Pictures, Trips, and Spa treatments. The first two, not too much pressure, the spa is over the top in your face every place you go and was a real detractor. My wife wanted to get a massage while we were there but after the 3rd day of being hounded to sign up for a treatment or massage, she was turned off and elected to pass on it.
Positive of the Resort:
Great food, friendly staff, relaxing atmosphere, all the drinks you could possible want, Cafe de Paris (loved their coffee and expresso).

To sum it up, definitely had a great time and enjoyed ourselves. Definitely interested in staying at a Sandals again. Antigua is a beautiful island and the people are friendly and laid back.

Room Tip: Enjoyed the location on the Med side of the resort.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
newport, vt
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

We just returned from an 8 night stay at Sandals Grande Antigua. It was amazing!! We have stayed at previous Sandals in St. Lucia and Jamaica. The whole property is amazing! We were upgraded to a beautiful room on the Mediterranean side, I think we were in the Almond building, 5106. The beach was beautiful, I was a little worried about the vendors bothering us, however I found the spa girls to be far worse. The main pool is a lot of fun, as is volleyball on the Carib side. The food was good, Eleanors is by far our favorite, with Mario's a close second. Cricketers is alot of fun too, we did lots of late night dancing! We also met a lot og fun people and the staff was great! Antonio and Emmanuel got us to play volleyball almost everyday and were a ton of fun. We met a really nice intern too Anete. Melanie at the soon come back desk was awesome. We booked beaches turks and caicos for April and Sandals Emerald Bay for next Nov. We can't wait!! We booked the helicopter tour to Monserrat, it was awesome.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honeoye Falls, New York
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

For those of us who paid for the butler service, Sandals promises that your expectations will be satisfied before you know what they are- it slices! It dices! It's amazing! I'm actually staying in a Sandals suite with a plunge pool right now, and I can tell you that - as nice as this place is - it isn't *that* nice.

The butler service, in particular, is a bit of a joke that I would STRONGLY encourage you to not purchase. This is why:

I don't have terribly high expectations. Really. Feed me, point me to the pool, and I'm generally happy. But when you blow smoke and tell me you are going to bend over backwards to make my vacation amazing if I just pay you $8k for 4 nights, I kind of expect you to deliver.

For example, I traveled 6 hours by car, plane, and bus. When I arrive, I don't expect to sit in a hot lobby for another 20 minutes waiting for a butler to find me. I want to take a shower. Is it too much to have the driver of the crappy shuttle bus call and say we are on the way? I thought I was being picky, but I also thought, you know, so far my expectations haven't been exceeded. I'm not paying through the nose for average, and already, this is average service.

Once back at the room, we were hungry. I called the butler on the little phone he gave us and asked him to send over a steak. Nope. No steak. You can get fried food and pre-made salads at the one place that is open at 3:15pm. What? Is this a joke? Apparently not.

I also asked if the butler could get a floatie from the main pool and bring it to our pool, 100 feet away. Nope. Can he reserve us a floatie in the main pool? Nope. WTF, may I ask, do the butlers do?

Day 2. At about 2pm I called the butler and asked him to bring dinner from one of the restaurants to our room at 6:30. "No problem, sir." Dinner didn't arrive until 7:19, and it was really just below average. (Being late seems to be normal for Sandals Antigua. When we arrived to a 1/3 empty restaurant for dinner last night, they kept us waiting for ten minutes before seating us.) That brings me to my second general gripe. The food is just approaching average. Its almost good but not quite.

We have had three steaks so far. One was no better than what you would expect a local diner to serve for breakfast; it was thin and over spiced. The other two steaks were just not that good. Neither of them was nearly as good as any steak I have had from - no joke - Applebees. Also, the fish here all tastes frozen. I'm honestly shocked about the fish, considering we are in the middle of the ocean.

Booze is another issue. If you look at the videos Sandals posts online, you will hear the phrase "top shelf liquor" repeated over and over again. I really expected to find Patron Anejo, Glenlivet or Glenfiddich 18, etc. So far all I have found is well tequilas and well scotches. None of the mixed drinks are made with fresh fruit. I didn't travel 2,000 miles to get loaded on booze that isn't as good as the stuff I keep at home. Again, I'm really not that picky, but Sandals sold a particular experience, and so far they haven't come close to delivering.

Look, if you get a great deal on a stay at this resort, and if all you want is to stuff yourself with average food and crappy booze, I understand. Buy don't come here thinking there are Vegas-class restaurants or NYC-class bars. There aren't. It just isn't all that amazing. Its nice, but not amazing.

Who knows - we have two nights to go. If there is a dramatic turnaround I'll update this review, but so far I'm disappointed enough that I didn't want to wait.

Room Tip: We are staying in a villa with a plunge pool. Its very nice, but not as nice as say, The Bellagio.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Folsom, California
2 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

TOTALLY RECOMMEND SANDALS ANTIGUA. I'll describe our trip and end with a summary of suggestions. Hotel is only 20 mins from the airport and Sandals arranges your van transportation. We booked a concierge-level room, so check-in was great (champagne, snacks). We also stepped across the hall to the sales office and signed up for our complimentary breakfast in bed one morning (since it was our honeymoon). BTW, we didn't have to prove it was our honeymoon, so I'm sure they'd do it for you, too, no matter the occasion you're celebrating;) Our room wasn't ready since we got there early, so we ate and explored the campus. Our room was ready on time, however it wasn't a "walk-out" like we had booked. They did move us to a "walk-out" room and gave us a $100 credit - just ask. Our room was great - Portofino Walk-Out Suite in Mediterranean Village - super convenient and fridge was always stocked with alcohol, water, and soda. I recommend staying in the Mediterranean Village because it's newer and you have less lizards, etc. The Caribbean side is filled with greenery, which is absolutely beautiful and fun to walk through on the way to dinners, but in my opinion, doesn't make for nice sleeping quarters. Just depends on what atmosphere you'd like:) Dinners were great, and I can tell you that Kimono's is the absolute best, even for a vegetarian like me! Ask for Sugar - he gives a great performance. The other restaurants were good, too, but Kimono's just stood out. The pizzas you could get during the day were also fabulous, especially the Pego. Yum! I probably ate 10 of these while I was there. We got a couple's massage ($240), which was pretty average. We didn't get our wake up call that morning, and the power blinks at least once a day so our clock was never set (couldn't set alarm), so we were late to the massage. I feel like they weren't very pleased with us and our massage suffered because of that. Either that, or they just aren't that good. We went on the Adventure Eco tour ($115pp), and it was awesome. Super informative and well-organized. The boat picked us up at Sandals (with passengers from somewhere else, too), and we toured around the island. We did some hiking, caving, snorkeling and they provided lunch (BBQ chicken, pasta salad, salad, papayas, juice) and when we were on the way back, they provided Rum Punch. Yum again! Bring an underwater camera for this cruise... and tip money, apparently. We also went to King's Casino one night in town because the casino on the campus was closed for some reason (bummer!). It was just okay, don't know that I'd recommend that. I do wish we had gone to the Saturday morning market in town, so maybe add that to your agenda. When it was time to leave, we were notified that we should be ready to leave almost 3 hours before our flight. We opted not to and took a cab ($17) an hour and a half before the flight and had plenty of time. I probably would have waited even longer to leave knowing what I know now. In summary, our trip was SUPER FABULOUS and I'd totally recommend it! Make sure to check out everything the resort has to offer!

I've seen complaints about the beach vendors. My guess is these people have never been to Mexico... the vendors there are much worse. The ones in Antigua didn't bother me.

Suggestions:
1. Bring bug repellent. You're in paradise, so there will be bugs. I was just fine with spray, and bugs LOVE ME.
2. Bring a disposable underwater camera if you go on any of the excursions.
3. Call to book dinner reservations (Kimono's, OK Corral, Eleanor's) at 8 a.m. two days before you'd like the reservation, otherwise you won't get a super ideal time, if you get a reservation at all.
4. Try the Chocolate Monkey drink! I think that's what it's called? 'Twas delicous.

Room Tip: Mediterranean Village is quieter with less wildlife (birds, lizards, etc.)
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Mass area
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

First let me say that the overall experience was very good. This was my second time back at this resort. When we first arrive though we stood there with three other couples waiting for anyone to come and greet us. No hot towels (like last time), no welcome champagne (like before) - we stood there while pressured by the Spa staff to book a massage. We aren't even checked in yet! I was furious. Hello - we traveled since 4 am. to get here - how about getting us checked-in and to our room or at least welcoming us to Sandals! While waiting the 20 minutes - I ran and booked my restaurant reservations while my husband got "come-sit-and-have a sample massage and then book one" 5-minute sampler.." When booking this hotel, carefully look at your room selection and ask a lot of questions like where is the room in reference to nightly entertainment? Our room was located in the carribean village which was close to Kimono's restaurant, the carribean lobby, Eleanor's restaurant. The 6 a.m. wake up from housekeeping carts squeeking across the pavement and walkways as well as the late night entertainment so close to our room meant we didn't get a lot of sleep-ins or rest. We were close to the beach but I really wish the carts had rubber wheels and that the staff wasn't yelling to each other at 6 am. There should really be quiet hours between 11 pm and 8 am.
Since this was our 2nd time around at this resort, we were familiar with the restaurants and the need to make reservations for the ones we wanted right away. We were disappointed in Mario's that seemed so perfect 2 years ago. The chicken parm wasn't a real chicken breast - which bothered my husband since I can get a chicken sandwich at wendy's that was better. Eleanor's has the carribean lobster; Ok Corral has excellent tuna steaks and ribs; Barefoot has a nice but limited lunch menu and extensive dinner menu with a lot of fish selections. Kimonos' was just okay - since I sat where all the smoke was heading right towards me at the hibatchi table.
The cleaniness of our room was good. I would strongly recommend the following: bring bug spray and bug anti-itch spray as well as plenty of sun block, especially since Sandals jacks up the price on everything while you are on the property. Buy your Rum, for example at the airport and maybe bring bubble wrap to place it in your luggage while at the airport. Sandals charged me $10 per bottle more than the airport price. Also negotiate price with vendors on the beach. Don't buy anything in Sandals stores since it is 40% higher than if you walked 100 feet to the vendor building where three lovely Antiguan ladies are selling bags, jewelry, wraps, t-shirts for a fraction of the cost. We were disappointed to see a tray left for 3 days filled with food on our 2nd floor outside the room next to us. Thought it should have been noticed and removed instead of letting the birds pick away at it. The dive team is outstanding, if you dive. We went on two excursions this time. Took the Excellence catamaran to Barbuda to see the Frigate birds. Awesome trip - the island, the beaches, seeing all the birds and the great crew, special hello to Wayne who was so funny and took good care of us. The 2nd excursion we did was the ATV trip through Antigua. I wouldn't recommend it for someone in poor health or elderly but OMG it was the first time on an ATV and the two tour guides were reassuring and really made it a special trip. The view at the top was spectacular while riding among cows, fields and country side to Betty's Hope and by a herd of wild horses! I would recommend the Extreme Circum Nav as well but we had done that tour the 1rst time in Antigua. We skipped Shirley Heights because I felt it is a tourist trap. You have to pay for your drinks, your food, there are even more vendors and you have to pay an entrance fee. (really) Save the $30 dollars and take the ATV trip instead.
We want to say hello to Emmanual, one of the playmakers and Shantea (spelling) who were both so kind, fun and made volleyball a very competitive event - in a good way. (4:30 pm everyday for those of you interested). We also did a professional photo shoot. I'm glad we did, but really speak up and tell the photographer what you are looking for. The pics are expensive but maybe you want one or two really good photos of the both of you to take home.
I'm not sure we'll be going back to Antigua (this is our 2nd trip), and we've gone to St.Lucia Sandals Grand twice - so we're hoping that one of the other Sandals look enticing.
Sorry I'm all over the place while writing this but we spent 9 nights, cause 7 is too short, and just got back yesterday. Remember the bug spray - the after-bite and plenty of sunblock. If you want peace and quiet book 7th floor in Mediterean Village building overlooking the ocean but plan on a good walk to the beach and pools. If you don't mind staying up late and getting up early - book in the Carribean village. If you dive, the dive team was professional and always had safety as a top priority. Kudos to all of them - I walked with my husband down to the dive boat every morning and they were so very nice and happy. It's obvious they love their job.
Let me know if you have questions. I'll try to help. Enjoy your trip!

Room Tip: Choose your room carefully and ask a lot of questions when booking. Some rooms are near tennis court...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

This was our second stay at a Sandals resort, and we loved the lush beautiful gardens and beautiful beach at the resort. Our room had a wonderful view and we enjoyed sitting on our patio early in the morning drinking coffee and looking out at the ocean and resort below. The people were very friendly and the hotel amenities very nice. Our travel agent with Beach Bum vacation - Robert, did an awesome job with all the details for our trip. I remember vividly when we were shown to our room and the door opened, I will never forget that view! Talk about take your breath away! The food was delicious, the staff friendly and we enjoyed our time on the island. We took a catamaran tour around the entire island and enjoyed snorkeling, swimming and sailing. Such a fun trip. The people were so friendly and fun to be around. What a lovely vacation, such a relaxing trip. Don't miss an opportunity to see this beautiful paradise.

Room Tip: Our travel agent - Beach Bum Robert selected our room for us and it was awesome!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Also Known As:
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort And Spa
Sandals Grande Antigua Hotel St. John`s
Sandals Antigua
Sandals Grande Antigua Hotel
Sandals Grande Antigua
Hotel Sandals Grande Antigua
Sandals Grand Antigua
Antigua Sandals
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Saint John Parish
Address: Dickenson Bay, St. John's, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in St. John's
#4 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#4 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#5 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#5 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•A European Hotel in the Six-Star, all-suite Mediterranean Village •Exotic Rondoval with private plunge pool and butler service •1,400 square foot Mediterranean villa with private plunge pool and butler service•Houses the East Caribbean's largest pool (1 of 6) •Offers 9 dining options and 8 bars including an English pub •Voted "World's Most Romantic Resort" 14 years in a row ... more   less 
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