We booked a private transfer, this was efficient and the driver was interesting. On the way back it was late picking us up, we thought we'd been forgotten but again the driver was charming.
Didn't get the usual warm Sandals welcome at check in that we've had on previous occasions which really took us aback, and with hindsight somewhat set the scene for the trip.
The room was in the big Med building when we'd been expecting a Caribbean room in the grounds, I was later told we had been upgraded and offered the room we booked if we wanted to change. However, the room itself was great - clean, spacious, sea view above the trees, large bathroom, plenty of towels, air con worked well and so on. Housekeeping service was good. Mini bar was stocked with everything and replenished daily. This was the only benefit I could see of the concierge service, though on the 8th day we got some cookies and a card addressed to another couple advising us to call if we needed anything. Maybe on day 1 someone else got ours!
The grounds are beautiful, immaculately maintained and designed.
The wifi was $43US a week and it worked very well all round the resort. $50US for late check out on departure day.
The spa needs modernisation - it's basic and they played the local radio station, the repetitive commercial jingles weren't very relaxing while you had a treatment.
Tried all of the restaurants in the evening except sushi and they were just 'ok' except Barefoot which was good, though as with all the restaurants the portions were very small. Share a pizza in the afternoon. Lunch and breakfast was mostly buffets, good choice of food, especially if you like flies. Can understand flies are hard to prevent in Bayside being open air, but in Mario's, no. They should use covers.
The service was the biggest surprise, and disappointment, for example on numerous occasions we had to ask for drinks several times (even wine which all inc hotels usually have someone topping up) and in general it wasn't the warm Caribbean or Sandals welcome that they are famous for. If you asked a question you got a curt answer. With the exception of the playmakers who were wonderful (didn't bother you if you didn't want to 'play' but put on fun games that were just as much fun to watch as participate) and the staff serving drinks around the pool. In Eleanor's the waitress spilt the soup over my partner's shirt and didn't even say sorry, she just walked away to get a cloth. Luckily as it turns out the soup was cold, so we sent it back.
I felt sorry for people who were only there a few nights, as unless you are in a Butler suite the restaurants for the evening require booking and you have to be at the front desk 2 days before at 8.30am to be in with a chance of getting a table, even arriving on the dot we found only 6pm or 9pm tables left. We met some people who had contacted another couple via the Sandals facebook page who were arriving earlier, and asked them to book Eleanor's for them! Good thinking!
Anyway we just laughed and had a great time regardless, how can you fail to in the Caribbean. Just wouldn't return to this hotel. The helicopter trip to Montserrat was amazing, definitely recommend that. We also went to Shirley Heights, this was good fun, very touristy, but nice to break up the holiday and get a few hours out of the hotel surroundings. We could no longer face the queue for restaurant bookings or the so-so food so we ate out on the last night, at Blue Waters Hotel, beautiful restaurant looking down on the bay, recommend it.
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Grande Antigua Resort And Spa
- Sandals Grande Antigua Hotel St. John`s
- Sandals Antigua
- Hotel Sandals Grande Antigua
- Sandals Grand Antigua
- Antigua Sandals
- Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Saint John Parish