I should first say that my career background has been in hotel management, working for both Marriott and Four Seasons Hotels. This does not make me an expert, but it does make me savvy to asking the right questions and helps when researching a location. My husband and I were on our honeymoon (Dec. 17-26) and like many others booked our reservation after reading some very favorable reviews on other sites. We then found some unfavorable reviews on this site and were scared to death!
I will simply say that we enjoyed our honeymoon very much and this resort has a lot to offer! Due to our concerns we paid to upgrade to the Mediterranean side and then I contacted a manager prior to our arrival and expressed some of the concerns based on reviews. The manager (Cinzia) was an absolute delight and should be commended on her hospitality and customer service. Upon arrival we were upgraded to a penthouse suite (occupancy was low- so that made this possible). The rest of my review is lengthy, but hopefully I have made it easy to seek out meaningful information to you.
Now for the PROS/CONS of our trip:
-Arrival: Arrived with 2 other couples, greeted promptly, offered beverages, and given keys to our room.
-Luggage: The bellman opted to take one of our suitcases and we took he other two, instead of getting a bellcart. Luggage was on wheels and very mobile so we were okay with this.
-Room: FABULOUS! See pictures. Full Mini-bar, breathtaking view. The Rondovals look nice; however, they do not have a view like we did! Room 7702- great sunset, jacuzzi tub, 2 flat screen TV's, fully mini (large) bottled bar.
-Spa: We had couples massages. They were one of the best massages we have ever had.
-Main Pool: We are early risers and opted to put towels and a pair of shorts or hat on two chairs about 8:30 am each morning, grabbed breakfast and then went back to our chairs and not once had a problem. One day we went out about 11am and although 90% of the chairs were taken, there were still a few-but in complete sun, again okay for us who like a good tan.
-Housekeeping: The housekeeping staff was maticulous; however we did notice that the conservation efforts of placing your towels in the tub if you needed them replaced was not really followed through. Often we would only place one towel in there, but half of our damp hanging to dry towels would be replaced also.
-Restaurant Reservations: I highly recommend you make your reseravations as soon as you arrive. We did a concierge orientation and they told us we could make reservations, but they did not make it sound highly important. It is definitly important if you have a restaurant preference or would like to eat at a more common time than 9:15pm.
-Restaurants: We ate at all of them! I would say the food is more like 3.5 stars in most cases. We ate at Eleanor's two seperate nights and I had the same meal; however, it was prepared differently each time. I believe the quality of the food is about a 4; however, if you like your steak or fish at a particular temperature (rare, medium, well done), you may be dissapointed. For the most part, your full order (app, soup/salad, entree) is taken at the same time, so this explains how it makes it easier on the kitchen, but not always "made to order" quality when it comes out.
Also, if you don't get reservations for one night, I should mention that both Barefoot and Bayside (which don't take dinner reservations) both offer a great menu, almost better than the restaurants that require reservations.
Yes, we did see birds and flies near food at Bayside, but they do their best to keep the food covered and what do you expect when you eat a buffett meal that is open air- and ocean view, pick your battles.
-Bugs: They liked me, I got bit on both feet the second day we were there, I then used "OFF" and sprayed my feet each day before going out and didn't have a bite since. (they were some kind of beach firefly-ouch)
-Entertainment: Fairly good, the organization sometimes seemed to be missing. The other thing is that there is not a entertainment board on the Mediterranean side so you typically walk to the Carribean side to read about what is going on that day. The casino is awful, don't waste your money. It is clean and appears new, but we did not see more than 10 people there and their machines don't take new bills and they don't have change for bills larger than a $10.00.
-Romantic Dinner on the Beach: We did this and it was nice, but the menu you choose from was not much better or different than the regular restaurants, so although it is personalized and romantic, that is what you are paying for- not better food. Also, our butler for the dinner was not wearing white gloves as advertised- small detail.
-Beach: The vendors were not pushy and there were not that many like I expected. They were cordial and polite.
-Activities off the grounds: We only went off the grounds to go shopping downtown. About a 15 minute car ride, lots of duty free shopping (perfume, jewlery, and souveniers.)
Our only CONS or areas for the resort to improve on were:
Minibar service. They are suppose to check/restock each day. Two days they did not restock- and we are not big drinkers, but really wanted bottled water after being out in the heat all day. We called down 3 times in a 2 hour time period and finally had to go down to the front desk (concierge) to get water ourselves. One of the times they were out of water and offered no alternative (we will get some from the other side of the resort). As I found out they have a stockroom, where they can send a staff member to get these items if they want to.
Noise: On Monday night there was a party on the mountainside of our room. Picture a microphone and speakers so loud that it could probably alert the entire island of an emergency. We called to the front desk and they said it was a party that would end at midnight. No, try 2:30am and the next day we found out it was many of the staffers that worked there. I understand a party, but I have never heard speakers that could literally be loud enough for a whole island to hear. It was good music - but none the less I could imagine there were some upset guests.
That is my review, I hope it helps, I know its terrribly long, but we stayed on property all 8 days, so we really got the oppportunity to use everything. If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
- 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