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“5 time and still love it” 4 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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Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in St. John's
Jersey City, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“5 time and still love it”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

This is our 5th stay at this resort and we like the Sandals experience. Being Sandals Select members we assumed we were getting an upgraded (we prefer the Mediterranean Side) but that was not the case, so we complained and was moved on the second day.

Staff: Always do what they can to please you ..just ask. Special thanks to Jeroma, in sales office, Chef Nigel, Chef Juleen at Bay Side, Faith-Lynn, Altia fro the coconut water. Antonio who kept us entertained.

Restaurants : Enenor"S is a must - difficult to get in but worth it. The grilled lobster is excellent.
Kimonos (Japanese) is also an excellent. Pizza is simply one of the best by far.


Beach and Pool: Great beach but the water during high tide was close to the shoreline during our stay in March, usually this is not the case. Main pool is always a nice spot to enjoy a cold drink and just relax.

We will be back. But we will be going to SANDALS Grande Riviera Jamaica in July. Found out they did a $60M renovation with a new section.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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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4,553 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 (1,086)
Date | Rating
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English first
Lexington, Kentucky
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Was there June 8th through the 15th. We were met at the entrance at once and offered a cool damp towel and champagne. After a brief overview we were told they were upgrading us to a nicer room, no charge! Are luggage was taken to the room, which was much larger than the one we booked and was just steps from the beach. I had read that you had to reserve beach chairs, NOT TRUE. First come first serve, it was even posted. Have no complaints about the food or drink. While on the beach we were offered drinks and received them in a timely and polite manner. As for service at the restaurants, it was just fine. I didn't feel rushed to get out so they could turn the tables, as they do back home, and the waiters were very friendly. If you expect a place that is rushed, fast paced, like being at home or work its not for you. If you like laid back, relaxation, then this is the place. This was our first time at an all inclusive and we were very pleased. Would recommend, and would go again.

  • Stayed June 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

Great experience, would recommend for couples! Watch out for airport scam.

To start the review, I want to get out of the way what was the only complaint we had on the whole trip, and we will also be sharing this directly with the resort – it mostly had nothing to do with Sandals, but there is a connection, so we want to make people aware of our experience. Sandals provides an airport shuttle to and from, so on the day we left, our driver put everyone’s bags in the farthest front seats, which was odd, but we figured the “trunk” part of the van must have been full for some reason, and he still had room for 8 people, so we didn’t say anything. Note, our bags were all put in the back (in the trunk) on our way to the resort. Upon arrival back at the airport, because most of the passengers were sitting behind our luggage, we had to wait for the door to be opened. Well, by the time we got out from the back of the shuttle, our bags were being wheeled up towards the front of the check-in area. My husband tipped the driver, when he came towards us, but then two other men with “Divi Resort Casino” Yellow shirts approached us and asked for a tip, and I noted that he had already received tip money from several others on our shuttle bus. The two men said it was for handling our bags thru check-in, so we gave them additional tip money (thankfully not a lot) because when we were done checking in, our bags were right there, 20 feet away from where we had stepped off the bus. Here’s the issue as I see it (this is just my opinion based on what we observed on our bus, and then several buses after us): Either the drivers of the buses know what is going on, and they purposely putting the bags up front, so that the passengers cannot get off the bus before one of the “other guys” takes our bags and then goes around asking for tips, OR the drivers know about it, and are ignoring what happens after the “other guys” take our bags. Either way, it’s not a good situation. Is it possible the driver doesn’t know what’s going, maybe, but he gets his tip because we’re thinking he is going to do the work, and then these other guys ask for money too. We watched as several other people had the same situation happen to them, your bags aren’t being checked in, nothing more is being done with them other than you don’t have to hold them for the 5 minutes while you wait to get your boarding passes. It put a sour spin on the very end of our vacation, so I wanted to note this to others so perhaps it will be stopped.

Regarding our stay, I would recommend this place to couples, and didn't see any teenagers or families while we were there. We would return as it was a great all-inclusive location with some extra amenities that not all all-inclusive resorts include in the price. Despite our experience on the shuttle back to the airport, is was very nice to get off the plane, go thru customs, and we came out only to be asked where we were staying, and when we said Sandals, they showed us where our checked bags had already been placed and also marked with our room numbers. They then showed us where the Sandals desk was, we checked in with them, waited 5-10 minutes – basically long enough for a group big enough to fill the shuttle bus, and we were off. I was dressed for the airplane, as opposed to 84 degree weather, so I found the shuttle to be a little warm, but not uncomfortable.
Upon arriving at the resort, our bags were taken to our rooms before we were. We were brought to concierge building where we were given champagne and a cold towel. Note: This is also the place to get bottled water should you need it, and not have a butler for the duration of your stay. We went during rainy season, we were told, and that consisted of a daily rain period lasting about 10 to 30 minutes at which time it downpoured – it never just drizzled, it poured, but then it was over rather quickly. We found the weather, overall, to be just right, but it moves very fast, it is windy and heavy rain when it does rain. Every room does have an umbrella.
The rooms were clean, the air conditioning runs via remote control which we didn’t know until we asked, but then it worked just fine the whole time we were there. There’s one window that is only a screen and wood blinds which are tightly closed. This didn’t make much sense with the air on, but we figured it must be for ventilation reasons. We were upgraded from our original room level. We did not ask, I just noted the name of the building we were supposed to be in and the name of the building we were in, and they were different – we ended up with a view of the ocean, which was a nice extra. The toiletries were full-sizes which was nice as well.
The big pool area was the place to be, with a swim up bar, and plenty of lounge chairs. That said, given the time of the year, we didn’t have any issues getting the spot we wanted, although if you are very particular, and you don’t have a butler, than I would recommend getting up before 8am to get your spot of choice. I got up our first morning there and went down at 7:30am to find the butlers reserving certain spots. I asked where the good spots were, and was told where to get the most sun. I chose the opposite side of the pool where there’d be a mix of shade and sun, and that worked out just fine.

Restaurants:

Bayside - Good buffet food, but the birds are a bit of a nuisance. There was a guy there with a stick scaring off the birds, but there were too many birds for him to handle all at once. I recommend an indoor breakfast at Mario's or head up to the OK Corral for a great a la carte breakfast with a fantastic view!

The Cafe, open from 7am to around 11pm is great for all day dessert snacks, plus coffee and tea.

Bella Napoli has pizza in the afternoon's, good for eating in between lunch and dinner. Pizza is unique, but would recommend ordering two for two people if you want a full meal, as one isn't always enough, and there are so many to try, so you won't get tired of them.

The pub was great, and such friendly service. We were greeted, welcomed, and hugged on several occasions, plus the service was great, nice menu with a variety of meals and pub food. Great for watching the game. We took over the little side room with the TV to watch playoff hockey while we were there - if you ask they will give you the remote to watch what you want on the TV in the side room.

Barefoot by the Sea was good for getting food while you are by the big pool. The birds are less of an issue at this restaurant, but they swoop in immediately after you leave if no one has taken your plates away.

Regarding the restaurants that you need reservations for - Eleanor's, Kimonos, and OK Corral. We ate at two of them, and chose to skip Eleanor's based on reviews I read, plus the first night we were there, there was a Caribbean beach bbq night on the beach that we enjoyed. Oddly enough, the people we sat with confirmed what I had read in the previous reviews by saying that they had been to Eleanor's a few times, and found that if the servers retrieved your food quickly, then the food was good, and of course the service was quick, but if the server was slow, then the food ended up being rubbery (particularly in the case of the lobster), so it was the reviews were very dependent on how quick one's service was - that said I cannot speak personally to the experience at this restaurant.

Kimono's, the Japanese restaurant, seats 10 people per room, and is a nice experience with good food. Kevin was our chef, and put on a great performance, was very entertaining, put kept the food and the evening moving. The rest of the staff was also very helpful with keep plates, bowls and drinks moving. The drink menu is extensive, but seemingly every drink had sake as an ingredient. I don't think every drink is good with sake, especially the fruity ones, but that could just be me. Sushi is served on the first floor without a reservation. There were several people in our group that were confused by that, so I would make sure you know what you are getting with your reservation - which is a traditional meal cooked in front of you on a giant grill.

OK Corral, which is TexMex, was good, but is exactly that TexMex, so everything had a little kick to it, just something to keep in mind if you are not big on spicy foods. Again, great views, so make sure to reserve a time around sunset. I'm not a fan of coconut rum, so I had a few bartenders make me something based on my specific requirements. I took one of those drinks up to the OK Corral, and the waitress took the time to go back down later in the evening to have that drink made again which I thought was very nice, and above and beyond what was required.

Entertainment was good each night, always something going on, with a daily newsletter being delivered each afternoon for the next day's events.

There were a lot of watersports options with snorkeling trips being included, very easy to sign up, and discovered that someone will go out with you on the sail boats if you don't know how to sail, which was nice.

There were a lot of newlyweds, many who got married elsewhere, and then came to Sandals, but also many who were married at the resort and then were on their honeymoon.

The fitness center was really nice, with a separate area for weights and then cardio machines. It was a little warm in there though, so dress accordingly.

Regarding butler service, just want to note that if you plan on sending your butler all over the place, making reservations, booking tours, reserving beach or pool spots, and you've not traveled a lot to where you'd know how to do all of these things yourself, then a butler may be helpful. Just keep in mind that no tips were accepted to the service/help that we offered tips to, but we're told if you get a butler, than tips are expected. I think there's a purpose for a butler, but if you are an experience traveler, particularly if it isn't the busy season, than a butler is not needed, maybe wanted, but not needed.

Overall, I would recommend this resort for couples/newlyweds. We saw every age group while we were there from early 20s to early 70s. We spoke to many return guests who always stay at various Sandals, and like all of them. Feel free to ask any questions.

Room Tip: We spoke to one couple who requested a room near the ocean, and that room came with a butler - that...
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013 via mobile

What a great time! We arrived June 9th 40 minutes early and right there I knew it was going to be an amazing stay. We stayed in the Ultra Luxurious one Bedroom Villa with Private Pool room 906 which was I think is the best spot in the resort. This location was on the Mediterrain side right next to the main pool, stages, Crickets Pub, Mario's and St. Marks square. The room was beautifully decorated for my birthday and also very comfortable.
Desmond, Kevin and Natasha were our butlers and the were amazing. You never had to do a thing. They did everything for us. For example when we arrived they had all our dinner plans already booked. Bath drawn with bubbles and flowers. Champagne and snacks waiting for us every afternoon. And always had our clothes that were draped over the chair in the bedroom nicely folded when we came back. It was like magic. A couple nice touches were when sitting poolside Natasha Kevin or Desmond whoever was on checked would check in on us. Asking us if we needed anything and would go get whatever we needed. We never had to worry about a thing :).
The food was pretty good. We come from an area that has many amazing restraunts everywhere so were pretty spoiled with good food. So with that being said I really couldn't complain about the food. I did really enjoy the jerk chicken.
The pools and beach both were very warm and inviting. Yes it is a public beach and yes the vendors do come up to you but a simple no thank you and there on there way.
The photographers were great. They were everywhere. Beach, pool restraunts bars. Always taken pictures if you want them to. We purchased a package of photos before we left and it was expensive but the pictures were awesome.
We rented a jeep and drove around the whole island. That was an awesome experience. We saw everything we wanted to and at our speed. Never had anyone rush us because we were on our own. We did get lost a couple times but it was like the locals knew we were lost and helped us get back on track. The people (locals) were very friendly.
One night we had a private dinner on the beach. That's was really nice and romantic. We would definitely do that again. Our server was right on top of everything.
The only thing that disappointed me was the spa. It was highly over priced. I've been to a few great resorts and spas that were amazing. One that we went to is actually voted one of the number one spas in the world. We paid much more at sandals and got much less then the others. They don't have a water journey that a lot others do that you get to experience before and or after your massage. Which makes a great spa experience. When we go back to Sandals Antigua we will not use the spa.
When we go back next year I'm going to request room 906 and also request to have Desmond, Kevin and Natasha! Thank you for making my birthday week so special

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

We stayed on the Caribbean side June 5-9th 2013...IT WAS NOT LONG ENOUGH...the staff was splendid...Onica in Entertainment...Mike in Photos...and karen Bulcha front desk....omg all staff was great but these people made us feel like family....the restaurants were awesome I love Barefoot....the nightly entertainment was a blast...everything was truly "all inclusive" my room was comfortable and had a great island feeling just what we dreamed off. I wish i can go back tomorrow...i will not take another vacation unless its SANDALS...Grenada and St. Lucia will be next on the list....If you are shopping around and dont know where to go....Antigua is a great choice....

Room Tip: Caribbean side had the island feeling Mediterranean side is like being in America so its up to y...
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  • Stayed June 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

Sandals isn't the cheapest place on the pocket book for many travelers. There are great perks associated with Sandals and many people mention those, I don't need to get into those. However I'd prefer to try another resort before returning to a Sandals.

The food isn't 5 star by far, it ranges from cheap dinner to 3.5 star quality. I felt like we were waging a war with bugs the entire week at nearly every eatery. Bayside was horrible in fact, there were bugs all over the salad, fruit and deserts. I tried to talk to one of the staff about the problem and was told the bugs were 'clean.' That was quite a shock, I simply didn't know what to say.

At Eleanors I had to track my waitress down to get silverware in order to eat my food.

Getting food in a timely manner for breakfast or dinner at Ok Corral was an issue too. At dinner we witnessed the lady in the center grill area repeatedly berating the waitresses to get the food to the tables. They simply ignored her and let the food get cold. We had a 4 table discussion afterwards about how wretched they were. The lady in the center and the grill chef worked hard to get the food ready but were repeatedly ignored. They sure spent a lot of time flirting with men who came by during dinner and breakfast though.

Our one highlight was at Marios, it's the most protected place from bugs and birds who constantly try steal your food.

Service from the non-restaurant staff was great. We had good results from practically all the employees including help changing our room 2 days into our stay.

The beach was a nightmare. You cannot get away from the people constantly walking black and forth trying to sell you stuff. My advice is to get a pool cabana and stay away from the beach. You can still get sun, swim and the cabanas come with a waiter.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

I know some of these reviews are long. Hopefully this one boils down some of the important stuff into one you can read in just a few minutes.

1. There really is no need to get the bag guys to get your cases at the airport but if you've got a few spares bucks and heavy cases why not.
2. The transfer is around 20 minutes. The shared minibuses are basic but functional.
3. On arriving you'll need the cold towel and your first drink. Very welcome.
4. Make the most of the resort. Use your first day to explore and find all the swimming pools, restaurants, etc.
5. Try all the restaurants at least once. Kimono's is excellent (in fairness they all are).
6. No need to leave towels on beds if you are going away for a couple of hours. There are loads of beds so take your towels and let someone else use the bed.
7. Try all the cocktails at least once.
8. Join in Karaoke in The Cricketers; its a great way to meet people.
9. Be friendly to the sellers on the beach. They are just trying to make a living and aren't pushy.
10. Enjoy the grounds. Have a walk around. Its beautiful.
11. Enjoy an afternoon crepe at Cafe du Paris.
12 The Lamb at Elenors is to die for.
13. The beach party is fun and 'Mr Moves' is great.
14. Slow down. Antigua works on Island Time. Its a bit slower but hey, your on vacation.
15. Smile and say hi to people. All the staff I found very welcoming.

It was our 2nd visit and it was as much fun as our first. I'd go back tomorrow if I could.

Happy holidays!

Room Tip: We were beach facing Frangipan. Great rooms that lead out to a small pool. Quiet but you stil get a...
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
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 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#4 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#5 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Family Hotel in St. John's
#5 Luxury 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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