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“Beautiful Resort Overall” 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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$305 Spa or Tour Credit!
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in St. John's
Orlando, FL
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort Overall”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2008

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.

  • Liked — Our room
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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4,476 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)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Colchester, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2008

Having read the reviews we were not sure what to expect. We were greeted with champagne and shown immediately to our little chalets in the grounds. All very pretty and clean with big four poster beds and lots of character, but very poor lighting. Lots of restaurants, the sushi bar and the Japanese restaurant were fantastic, had no trouble booking for anything. Bars everywhere and lots of water sports all free of charge. Internet did not work most of the time. Piano Bar was terrible, very cold and neither pianist could sing, one of them could not even play.

Things we did not like - none of the food is covered at breakfast so the birds are eating everything the whole time and nobody does anything about it, which was not very hygenic. There was no water ski ing and the place next door charge you $40 for 10 minutes which was a shame. Also our bath blocked so we had 6 inches of water in it for our entire stay and we then had heavy rain for one entire day and it flooded our room completely and all our luggage was floating. Nobody was very concerned.

  • Liked — Peaceful, private
  • Disliked — The Lighting and the sprinklers outside the door
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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New York
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2008

I do not recommend this Sandals-Antigua. This is our 1st time in Antigua but our 5th Sandals vacation. We stayed in the Frangipani Building and it was filled with ROACHES!!! Our first night I killed over 10 Roaches in the bathroom. At 1:30AM, I went to the front desk and demanded to speak with a Manager and change my room. Of course, they couldn't accomodate me and said they only can change it in the morning. They changed my room but in the same building and on the 2nd floor. Still I would see roaches everyday (in the bathroom). I had to leave the bathroom light on all night, everyday so they don't come out. They didn't do anything about the roach problem b/c the same night, we went by the 1st room and they already put another couple in that room, so you know they didn't even try to exterminate.
I think you would have to stay on the new Mediterran Village side of the resort to enjoy the vacation. It was beautiful.
Also, when I ate breakfast at the Bayside, Guess What??? There was a Roach on its back ALIVE on my table. I told the waitress and she took it off with a napkin, GROSS!!!
I was sooo mad and upset that I would take a roach home with me.
The workers/staff were not that friendly and courteous either.

  • Liked — None
  • Disliked — Roaches
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2008

My wife and I went to Sandals Antigua with more than a little trepidation. What is with all the poor reviews people have written? We hated to leave. Honestly, this was the best, and most relaxing, vacation we have ever taken.

So here are a few comments:

First, we're in our 40s and American. We're well-travelled in Europe, North America and the Caribean.

Understand that Antigua is not easy to get to. Don't get stressed about the travel time. If that's going to upset you, pick a destination closer t home.

Sandals does not control the weather. Lots of the bad reviews were written by people who had bad weather for their stay. Hey, Antiqua is a tropical setting. They get tropical storms. Don't book a trip there during hurricane season if it's going to upset you. We arrived the week after hurricane season ended. We got rain a few times, but usually at night nd usually light.

Third, the food we ate varied from good to fantastic. My wife and I enjoy dining out and cooking. We expected (based on the reviews) small portions of awful food. Well, we were very surprised. Portions are adequate. If you have an especially large appetite, order more. They won't say no and you literally cannot go hungry here. We dinner twice at Barefoot by the Sea (seafood) and thought it was wonderful. Heartily recommend the West Indian Curry Seafood Stew. We also really enjoyed Marios (Italian). OK Corral (Steaks, Ribs and Tex-Mex) was good, but nothing special. Eleanor's (Carribean) was very good (definitely have the pumpkin soup), but I just didn't care for the pepperpot (Antigua's national dish). Cricketeers (British Pub) is a great place for lunch and late night snacks. More than just pub grub. Mario's has an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven and serves awesome pizzas for lunch. We usually did Mario's for a breakfast buffet that nicluded an omelet bar and more. All in all, I give the food an A-. But hey -- not getting a check really feels good too!

The bartenders were, by and large, friendly, outgoing, attentive and quick. Oh -- and talented at mixing up all sorts of tropical delights. We got hooked on a drink made with passion fruit and coconut rum!

Our room was lovely. We stayed in the Mediteranean Village. A little homework up front works wonders. The Caribean Village is older and less luxurious. The Med Village is just over a year old and sumptuous. MV costs a little more in general. CV is more secluded in general. Do some homework, know your needs, and book the right room for you.

Staff was very friendly and generally very helpful. We did a couple of snorkeling trips and had a blast. Took a taxi into St. John's on Sunday for church. We stayed the rest of the time at Sandals. The stress just rolled off. Were there "issues"? Sure! When we arrived, their systems were down. No worries! They got us into our room and we were off. It rained one night when my wife had gotten dressed up for dinner at one of the resort's better restaurants. No worries! We chose to take her cute little dress to the much closer British pub for dinner and pool.

A vacation is what you make it. We had a blast and I suspect most people will unless they are looking for things to complain about.

  • Liked — The beautiful location
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid Spain
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2008

After we had been disillusioned with our stay at Sandals in Jamaica 2 weeks before the management refused to let us cancel this vacation without a huge cancellation charge but promised us that this resort was better. Unfortunately once again the advertising, publicity and promises fell way short of the reality. We have attached photos of some of the things we will comment on.
We stayed in a very nice room in the Mediterranean Village which is a eight storey hotel type building.
The beach is quite narrow and the few umbrellas provided are reserved by the people who opt for the butler service. We were told that even if we got up at 6am and put our towels on a couple of beds the butlers would remove them if their guest wanted that umbrella. This means that unless you want to bask in the sun you cannot enjoy the beach. The same applies to the umbrellas just inside the perimeter fence and the main pool. The pool advertised as the biggest in the East Caribbean was actually less than 3 foot deep in all but the middle and therefore too shallow to swim more than a few meters.
We managed to find a shady spot just inside the perimeter fence, where you could see a little of the beach but we gave up on that eventually because the loungers were so old and uncomfortable.
The sun beds are completely different from the brochures, being old saggy, uncomfortable and many dirty.

We finally found a place by small pool-with a fountain- not for swimming- in the grounds overlooked by the accommodation. We were mostly on our own there but it meant we felt we were in a garden in a town rather than near the sea.

There are several restaurants but the food is poor. THe house wine was good. The outdoor restaurants have a selection of birds and cats to help you eat your food, sometimes even before you can select it from the buffet. The quality of most of the the food I would rate about the same as Dennys or the Happy Eater, lots of fast food occasionally disguised with fancy names. Even at breakfast most of the fruit was from cans and we are not sure where the juices came from. Often the table cloths were either stained, or downright dirty and frequently had holes.

There were very few activities- yoga and aqua aerobics just 4 times a week, some stuff in the gym and things like volley ball, table tennis etc. only once or twice a week .The kit was awful. For example the table tennis net had holes in and sagged, the rubber was hanging off the bats. They had no organised tennis either but they did offer to provide a coach, for a fee of course.

After a couple of days we just accepted that we had chosen badly and tried to make the most of it without grumbling. Shame when you spend so much money though.

Please tell all your friends to avoid Sandals. There are much better all inclusive chains in nicer locations. All the staff were great but unfortunately they cannot compensate for the many inadequacies.

We have always been happy with Iberostar and Sol Melias all inclusive resorts.

  • Liked — The friendliness of the staff
  • Disliked — [-] bore no resemblance to the advertising.
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2008

I stayed in the Mediteranian Village. The rooms look practically new. They are clean and spacious. Absolutely fabulous.

We had butler service. Although I disagree with chairs being reserved first thing in the morning, it was certainly a nice advantage. The butlers give you a cellphone to reach them whenever you need something. They work as your personal assistant, conceirge, escort, server, etc. They are the only ones you can tip. However, they go so overboard to please you that it can also become quite intrusive. Their service can be great at times, and it can be disappointing at times.

The restaurants were very good. Ellenors was outstanding with a more upscale menu and service. It's a shame they're not in a more secluded area. OK Coral offered a nice small salad bar with your steak, potato and corn on the cob (or other choice). Marios had the the Italian Buffet. It seemed more American than Italian, but was still very good. They were also good for breakfast. Outside Pizza at lunch was also very good. Barefoot was nice for a burger and fries for lunch. Bayside was great for breakfast. The bird issue is very minor and actually better than other island resort buffets we've been to. Bayside was also a good buffet lunch spot to get in and get out. Kimonos was good. You sit with a total table of 10 people. The chef will make several different items and give you each a sampling. Vegetarian, no problem..let them know ahead of time and he'll make something special for you. Didn't get a chance to try Cricketers, but it looks good for Prime Rib and Mashed Potatoes. The Beach Bar B-Q was good, but a little too crowded and the tables were all slanted on the beach to be comfortable.
We were very pleased with the food!

The Beach Bar will make you whatever you want.

We did the Extreme Circumnav around the island. That was pretty cool. It takes you to Stingray City and some secluded beaches. Also, take an island tour with a local cabbie.

Downtown shopping offered a lot of shops, although you have to fight through the cruise ship crowds. They also have a twin cinema downtown if you want to go to the movies at night.

A few cats on the property are very friendly and add a nice homey touch.

We were on the beach a couple times. The vendors are polite and leave you alone with a pleasant "no thank you". Although security stands at every entrance to the beach. They'll question you when you try to get back on the property.

All of the employees gave a friendly greeting morning, noon and night. The hospitality was excellent.

Internet cafe was still down, but expected to be put back in service this week.

You can't go wrong with this property. It's outstanding. I had read the earlier postings for the past 5 months and can't believe some of the ridiculous things some of the people had posted. Granted, the resort wasn't at full capacity so I may have benefited from that. But overall, go there! Antigua is lovely and so are its people. Just don't get frustrated over the slow airport immigration and customs!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2008

My husband actually won this trip through his work along with others. I think we had a trip of 24? Not one person was unhappy with the outcome. I highly recommend going here if you get the chance.

Pro's
Rooms
Drinks (Ask for a Monkey Brain Shot!)
Salon - (Hair, Nails, massaages, etc.) I had my hair braided which was costly and I don't think the quality was worth what I paid. I had my braids and beads falling out constantly which I have never encountered like this before. I usually pay $30 in Mexico and paid $140 here. Once I was getting my hair braided someone came along the beach to braid hair much cheaper. if you are interested, make sure that you check everyone on the beach first. Everyone is the salon were extremely nice. The massage and pedicure were just lovely!
Beach/Ocean - Again just wonderful. There were no waves at all here. It was nice to actually go out and stand neck deep in the ocean and not think twice about it.
Entertainment Folks - They did a great job
Food - Many Choices (Be sure to try the Italian/Japanese Restaraunts.)
Beautiful Weddings
Grounds
Activities
Many Others that I can't think of at the moment

Cons:
Not sure that I can think of any that would be at the fault of the resort

You will not be sorry if you chose to stay at this resort.

Please email me with any questions.

~B

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Loved it all
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#5 Romantic 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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