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“Really Wanted to Love It....” 3 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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$305 Spa or Tour Credit!
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in St. John's
ny
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Really Wanted to Love It....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

My husband and I just returned from our first visit to a Sandals property in Antigua on February 19 Tuesday night. We both really wanted to love it because of good things we read and heard. I gave it a rating of 3 circles because of a few things. Let me start with the good things:
The welcome from staff - pulled up and was greeted by 2 staff members with bright smiles. One gave us a cool towel to cool off with, the other walked us in and handed us a champagne- like drink that was delicious. We were asked to sit and relax while the staffer retrieved our information. While waiting (only a few short minutes) we were given a tasting of appetizers!
The views- from hotel and our room-spectacular views of the ocean!
Pool - was a lot fun
Diving - my husband enjoyed his 5 diving trips
Short ride to/from airport
Best meal at Kimonos restaurant
Grounds - are beautiful
Very relaxing
Variety of drinks - drink of the day was fun
Things I didn't like-
A/C and fan didn't work properly on the first night-both needed to be completely replaced and we were never offered a new room or upgrade. We slept in a very warm room on first night. All was replaced the next day and found out later, that the worker who did not notice broken A/C was taken to task for that.
Lighting in bathroom not good.
Beach is public! Vendors up and down beach, most were very polite. A group that was renting jet skis on our end had arguments with other vendors every day and used foul language. Plus on two days we could smell marijuana coming from there group! It made me uncomfortable.
Food was decent-small portions- our best meal was in Kimonos-great chef-Eric!!

Most staffers were pleasant and the grounds of hotel were pretty. Don't know if we will re-visit. We want to try other Sandals and compare.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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4,474 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,049)
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Sechelt, Canada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

We'd never been to a Sandals, and our only AI experience was with Palace Resorts in Mexico - so they were the benchmark for our Feb. visit to Sandals Antigua. Sandals makes an incredible first impression - set on 27 acres, it is absolutely beautifully laid out. The buildings are all tucked in among carefully landscaped areas, with well lit paths and fake "rocks" that play gentle music. The beachfront firepits/couches are a lovely place to sit before or after dinner and the overall impression of the physical property is spectacular. The staff were almost all friendly, professional and responsive - we had one or two bartenders and one waitress who seemed unhappy to be there, but we must have encountered dozens of housekeeping, servers, grounds and bar staff during our time there and they were all courteous and pleasant. Our room (Venetian oceanview concierge) was lovely and wanted for nothing - big bathroom, comfortable bed, tiny balcony but certainly big enough to sit out for a while in the late afternoon. Housekeeping service was very good, and the bar was replenished everyday with sodas, water, beer, and wine (we didn't really use the spirits). Food was a bit of a disappointment - the buffets at breakfast and lunch were great - enormous choice so if you wanted something different every day you could do that- plus additional outlets like the Cafe de Paris and Courtyard for snacks and treats. Dinner however let us down -- each restaurant serves only about 4 entrees, so the choice is limited and may not suit all tastes. We never had a bad meal, but didn't ever walk away saying "wow"! either. This would be one of only two areas in which Sandals didn't meet our "AI benchmark"....the other was a lack of shade at the pools and at the beach. The clientele seemed to skew to an over 50 crowd, with about 20% being the younger wedding/honeymoon crowd....the former always seemed to be looking for shade and there just isn't enough provided at Sandals. Reservations for dinner are hard to get -- we tried on the day we arrived and were not able to book for nights 1, 2 and 3...but don't let this put you off, as the food was of equivalent quality at the reservation and non-reservation restaurants; the non-reserves are easy to get into. Overall, a very enjoyable, relaxing week; we'd probably try another Sandals and see if they can earn our fifth star by having better dinner options!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holbeach, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Having spent very enjoyable 10 days at Grand Pineapple Antigua with very friendly staff we moved to the Sandals Grand for our last week which we remember as being upmarket. When we arrived by taxi at reception we waited there with a lot of discussion going on behind reception eventually one of staff said we had come to the wrong reception and he would take us to the Caribbean reception, he was friendly and give us a lot of history about the hotel. We got our room which was a Garden Bungalow to say it was dark is an understatement we had to put all the lights on in the room at any time of the day. We had a lovely looking four post bed only trouble was there was a wooden plank long each side of the bed which you banged your leg on getting in or out of bed.
Because of my wife having a dietary problem we asked to speak to a chef. Antony the Chef said he would organise where we would eat and inform the chefs of the restaurants about my wives problem, which he did and we would like to thank him for that. We would have felt like second class citizens because we did not a butler to reserve our sunbeds and book our restaurants for us. We all paid good money to stay why should there be any difference. All the restaurant food was excellent and well presented. I am surprised they do not seat you as they do in the Barefoot at lunch take room number and give you a rough time. In the evening they could give you a vibrator like they do in American restaurants and you could go and have a drink.
Most disappointed, supposed to be the most Romance place on earth according to its advertising. It is supposed to be above a star rated hotel. We have been to a lot better 5 Star hotels in the world. Holes in the table linen and dirty mark from previous eaters do not impress. Also the sheets on the bed did not fit properly so you were on the mattress most of the time. It really is two hotels in one, them and us if you’re rich and pay for a suite with your butler your OK. If not you’ll enjoy it but don’t expect the service.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
toronto
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Let me start by saying I was on edge after reading so many negative comments about the disrepair of the hotel, the aggressiveness of the beach vendors and the rudeness of the hotel staff. BUT - I don't think all those whiners stayed at the same hotel I did and I have no idea how anyone could say anything negative about any of those things. Me and my hubby stayed there Feb 9-16 2013 and during our trip we eloped. The staff went above and beyond to make our trip incredible, from start to finish. Let me break it down for you.

ROOMS: We stayed on the Caribbean Side, in an ocean front concierge suite in the Frangipani building. Yes, this side of the hotel is older and less "fancy" then the Mediterranean side, but that was our choice and our preference. The big hotel style didn't appeal to us at all. We were happy with our room, hot water all the time, good water pressure, room cleaned and fridge stocked daily, new beach towels left every day. My only complaint was no screen doors - on the second level it would have been nice to leave the doors open at night to hear the ocean, but we tried it and there were too many bugs flying in.

BEACH: Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! We never had trouble getting chairs, and the beach vendors were SO unbelievably polite. They would ask if I want to check out their wares, I would say no thanks, they would say "Thanks Dear, have a great day" or something as sweet and keep going. Anyone who is offended by that needs to give their head a shake. It is a public beach, which some people whine about but honestly, it's so roomy and spacious that we always had tons of space and it never felt crowded. Perfection!

POOLS: Sorry, I go on vacation for the beach, so I never even checked out a pool so I cant comment on the chair availability or quality of the pools...

FOOD: We went to all the restaurants except Marios, Cricketers and Soy. We prefer open air restaurants and these ones were enclosed so we didn't bother. The buffets for breaky and lunch were beautiful with tons of healthy options, which was important to me. When we arrived, we went to book our restaurant reservations asap, and found most to be full...But, thank goodness for Sasha on the wedding team, she promptly took over and got us in most nights. Kimonos was fun, I don't eat meat so in lieu of chicken and beef they gave me extra salmon and shrimp, which I appreciated. However, I left there smelling of food since they cook infront of you and it is a small space...it got really smokey. Eleanore's was probably my favorite, the coconut soup, lobster dinner and sweet potato pie were all divine! If you love seafood, like I do, anytime you see "seared tuna" on a menu, order it! I had it a few times (at Barefoot by the Sea and the Private beach dinner and it was amazing!) We did the private beach dinner on our wedding night, and it was really nice and romantic. The food selection was amazing! All of the seafood I tried (Lobster, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, smoked salmon, salmon, red snapper) was incredible! My hubby was happy with the steak and the burgers at the snack bar...But he said the burger at Barefoot was lacking. Cafe de Paris had amazing espresso, bush teas and ice cream :)

WEDDING: From start to finish, the wedding team was incredible and made us feel special. I booked my trip and right away was linked to an online wedding coordinator who helped me fill out paperwork, make my selections for the special day and answered all my questions. Closer to the trip, I was seamlessly handed off to the hotel team and it was smooth as can be. At the hotel, my co-ordinater was Maudlyn and she was so professional and helpful. No detail was missed from our flowers, venue, decor, cupcakes and she really tried to understand our "vision" and make it a reality. Sasha on the team also deserves kudos, she was always bubbly and helpful and just made me feel so unbelievably special the whole week!!! The wedding photos came out AMAZING!!! Our photographer Shoshana (sorry if I spelled that wrong) was incredible, she made it so easy for us by giving us tons of direction, and her eye was obviously perfect as we didnt take one bad photo!

GYM: I hit the gym daily right at 6 when it opened. The facilities were very nice, nice variety however, I was surprised how full it was! I heard through the grapevine it dies down after 9:30 once people settled in for breaky though.

STAFF: Not sure how anyone could say the staff is rude. NOT ONE staff member passed by me without a huge smile and a hello. Not one, I'm not kidding. Everyone from gardeners, cooks, waiters, receptionists were super duper friendly.

TIPS: When they say they dont take tips, they arent kidding. We tried to offer tips to bartenders and the ladies who served us on the beach - the will NOT take the money. It felt nice to know they offered great service without expecting something...but, we felt they deserved a tip!

ATMOSPHERE: It is on the quiet side at night, which was exactly what we wanted. I didnt find it to be a crazy party place like some people had stated, it was a more chilled out and romantic atmosphere. Perfect for us!

All in all, this was a great trip with great food, great service, friendly staff, beautiful beach and I am so happy I got married here!

Room Tip: If you like a more rustic feel, do the Caribbean Side, but if you like modern, big hotel feel, choos...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. John's, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Just back from 7 nights at this resort. beautiful location on the beach. Stayed in the Mediterranean section but on the first floor. No view of the ocean. The rooms were very nice but the air conditioning unit was noisy. Large tub and shower, fridge, small balcony and beds were very comfortable. The biggest complaint was the lack of service. Water was not left in room daily and had to request it. The restaurant staff were not quick to seat you at the tables. They were slow cleaning dishes from tables and we had to constantly ask for coffee and tea. There seemed to be a lack of supervisors to organize the little things. The food was ok but nothing spectacular. The best meals were breakfast and lunch because of the buffet style. We expected more from the a la carte restaurants. Not sure why this resort is so expensive to visit. We have had better beaches and service in Cuba and Mexico. Also, the food was better in Mexico. Overall too pricey for the valu received.

Room Tip: Stay on the upper levels in the Mediterranean section. The view is best here.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carteret, New Jersey, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Resort was well kept, service was excellent. Food was great- didn't like having to make reservations for certain restaurants or dressing for dinner, but wife enjoyed dressing up a few nights. The bars and restaurants are well staffed and the service is excellent. Beach is cleaned daily, and the entrances back into the resorts are staffed 24 hrs a day with security. We took a boat tour, again the hotel staff arranged it and we had a great time.

Room Tip: We had the conceirge rooms in the "old" section. Absolutely a much better choice than the...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Windsor
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

I'm a little late writing this. But I noticed when I was looking into information about weddings done here, I found very little information. So here goes nothing

Wedding:
My husband and I got married first week in November, 2012. What a great experience! The first day we arrived, we got an appointment for the next day with the wedding coordinator and a trip to the courthouse. During our wedding interview, you go over all the details of the wedding from the cake, to wedding pictures to music everything. We brought our wedding CD which calls for 4 songs. We also paid the extra $500 a videographer since we had no family or friends with us, video was fantastic. We went to the courthouse that day and women can dress casual but above the knees. The courthouse paperwork was superquick since the paperwork is done at the wedding interview. If you been divorced, make sure you bring certified copies, everything went so quick. We got married two days later and was fantastic. Nasasha ran the wedding and I had a person help me with my dress (also an extra cost) which was great because my hubby didnt see me in the dress. I had an hair appointment a couple of hours prior to the wedding and they did a great job. The ceremony was fantastic. Everything went smooth and they really make a feel like your own. However, we did the ceremony at the hottest time of the day at 2pm and would not recommend that as you have to take pictures on the beach. But our pictures came out great thanks to Delmore. You pick one of the restuarants to have your wedding dinner and it was nice as it was personalized. Overall, the wedding was a great experience.

Hotel:
When you get off the plane to get to your bags, beware of guys with yellow shirts and hats as they do not work for Sandals and expect a tip when they bring your stuff to desk outside. You go right across the street and wait for the van to take you to the hotel which is about 15 minutes. When you get to the hotel, they welcome you with champagne and cooling rag which is refreshing after sitting in the van. You get checked right in and within 15 minutes arriving at the hotel, someone takes you to your room.
We stayed in the Mediterranean Village of the Resort. These rooms are more modern and just a little walk to the rest of the resort. We had the Grande Luxe St. Tropez Sunset Oceanview Suite. This room was a perfect size, awesome bathroom and wonderful view of the rest of the resort and ocean. Had no issues with the room. The resort would experience very very short outages but this only happened a couple of times during our stay. Not enough to damper the trip.
Our concierge staff was awesome and brought anything we needed for the minibar which came in very handy.

Food:
The food is good and there's so much options for breakfast, lunch and dinner you just have to try them all. I wasn't impressed with Mario's (dinner) but sushi bar was really great and OK Coral had an awesome breakfast and dinner. So try them out.

Entertainment:
You might read from other reviews that the entertainment lacks, but it really is what you make of it. Make sure you get to the Staff Talent night, we almost missed the whole thing but the Entertainment director: Emmanuel was awesome. Everyone ends up at the Cricketeer Pub so enjoy the karaoke and DJ music night. There was also a live jazz band. But sometimes its nice to just walk around and sit by he firepit :).

Pool/Beach:
The beach is beautiful if you want to hang there all day but there is no close bar which means you would have to walk back and forth to get your drink (by the pool, I recommend the dirty banana). We also rented a jet ski off one of the vendors (not covered by Sandals) and it was pretty nice. Most of the Sandals water sports like water tryke were broken, but the sail is awesome so go for it and there's no time limit, so enjoy. Also, there are a few vendors on the beach but a simple no thank you would suffice. The pool is oustanding, theres good music during the day and if you get up early enough, just throw your towels on some chairs, we got great seats every day we were there (near the bar), was just awesome to relax.

Spa:
The spa reps annoy everywhere you turn but if you tell them you booked already, theyll leave you alone. I suggest using your free credit for the spa as the massages are awesome, they just always try to sell you the couples one later if thats what you like great.

Excursion:
Our excursion was cancelled probably because lack of people that got it so I didn't get to do any snorkeling :(. However, if you go to the front desk, you can ask them to call a cab for you and can take you into town for a couple of hours if you want to do light shopping. We were only out for a couple of hours and our cab driver picked us up and took us right back.

Just as note: Beware the sandflies. My husband was abused by them all week, use bug spray and if you get bit, just go to the shop, theres a great reliever for it and it goes away too.

Overall, this resort, the staff, wedding and everything was just really great. A week in this resort was a good enough stay to experience everything. Can't wait to go back for one of our anniversaries!

Room Tip: Stay at Meditarrean side, great views, modern and clean!
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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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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

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:
#1 Business Hotel in St. John's
#4 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#4 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#5 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#8 Family Hotel in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 373
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

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