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“Great getaway for couples”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 14, 2012

Couples only resort, majority of guests were from America or Canada.

We stayed for 2 weeks over Christmas & New Year 2011/12 - christmas was low-key but very nice and New Years Eve was a brilliant evening - with fireworks, entertainment, dancing etc etc.

We stayed in the caribbean side (grande luxe walkout beachfront sunset concierge room) - so many rooms to choose from so be sure you pick one to suit what you're after. Location does make a difference in this resort so if you're OK to pay extra would definitely recommend doing so to get the better rooms. Caribbean side is much quieter (and such a short distance to walk to the livelier side).

King size bed very comfortable & good quality pillows - slept so well every night. Room service was spot on and mini-bar refreshed daily.

We were happy with the restaurant and food choices - stone baked pizza a real hit! We're vegetarian and still managed to find plenty to variety (impressed to see tofu on the menu). Some restaurants to need to be pre-booked so good to have a concierge room as they do all the arrangements for you (even managed to squeeze us in a fully booked restaurant on our first night).

We stopped by the coffee shop each day (good coffee selection + homemade biscuits and cakes).

Good selection of drinks - shame the cocktails were made up using syrups rather than fresh juices though - also never seemed to have mint for mojito's.

It is a public beach so not exclusive - nice to have a few beach vendors to haggle with, but the beach can get busier on "cruise ship days" with day-trippers being dropped off in the morning and picked up late-afternoon (the security guards do a good job of keeping the day-trippers off the sandals beach beds.

Hired a car for the day which was well worth it - saw everything we wanted to & felt very safe - locals very friendly and happy to point you in the right direction when you get a little lost.

Room Tip: If you want peace and quiet stay on the Caribbean Grove side.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank SharonHarr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,745 - 3,751 of 6,863 reviews

Reviewed October 13, 2012

Don't waste time & money on concierge service as they are never around when you need them and all employees on site are helpful, gracious and willing to go out of their way to give like services. Resort as a basic unit offered great value for room, food, pools etc but remember butlers,(tips expected for special services) room service, locale on resort upgraded rooms on premises are a extra cost and a great luxury for honeymooners and people who desire extras
above average services available free. Remember rooms are for sleeping and relief.Go to the carribean for relaxation and amenties not what's available at home. Enjoy mario's food (johnny)
service -vito(viva italia) and wait staff joy at having you as a guest Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may be old like me! Do not expect administration staff to be innkeeper friendly. they do their job and do not blend unless necessary with guests! Read well unique vacations fine
print. Then prepare for what may befall you if vacation comes in connect with terms & conditions.
We have been involved and on one occasion staff was uninterested and medical service was needed . Wife was told to go to nurse (walk); upon demand cart was provided, and outside doctor' and three iv's were at cost to us at a jamacia resort.


.!!!
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Room Tip: Private plunge pool sites are available if you don's like walking to water. Avoid round rondoval...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BERNARD60956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

We just got back from our wedding/honeymoon both were at Sandals Grande Antigua. First of all, our butlers, Vanessa and Julian, were AMAZING! They made the trip so memorable and romantic! From bringing us breakfast in bed to beautifully decorating our room with flowers and palm fronds, they were a perfect ten. Definitely, ask for them if you decide to splurge on having a butler room. Also, Vanessa brought us cheese and crackers and Champagne EVERY night. Also, she helped us win the scavenger hunt. Couldn't have done it without you, Vanessa!

Next our encounter was with the wedding staff. We meet with LuAnna. She was perfect and helped delivered our vision within our budget. She was honest and opinionated which helped us be able to choose each detail with confidence. The day of the wedding was perfect and not rushed at all. Our meals were delicious and service was impeccable. The whole experience was delightful and relaxed. I highly recommend having your wedding here.

Also, the photographer, Marian, was INCREDIBLE!!! The pictures are like in a magazine. All of my friends are so amazed at the pictures. My only complaint was that there were too many beautiful ones to choose from! She definitely has an eye for photography and was absolutely delightful to work with.

Another amazing feature of the hotel was the staff of Playmakers. Emmanuel, Chantel and Kevin made each game so much fun! We never had a chance to be bored because of all the extremely fun activities they offered. But it was not only the activities that drew us in, it was the high energy, fun attitude of the Playmakers that made everyone want to participate in their games! We played so many different games that we got enough points for t-shirts, necklaces & a bottle of rum to take home!!!

Also, the staff for the scuba diving was great, too. Maurice was awesome and helped us learn to scuba in under 3 hours and let us go out that same day! It was awesome!!!

Finally, the overall hotel and restaurants were fantastic. I could not possible recommend this hotel more if I could. I want to go back next year and the next and the next!

Hope this is helpful! :)

Kelley & Alex

Room Tip: Get the Bougainvillea Butler Suites- highly recommend them!
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Kellruby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

My wife and I just returned from ANOTHER amazing week at Sandals Antigua. We went last year and are already booked for next year. We are experienced travelers and have learned over the years that the old saying "you get what you pay for" really holds true. That said, do not expect to have the same experience in a "Garden" view room that you would get in a butler villa suite. My wife and I tend to splurge on our vacations and cherish the alone time! Life is too short to go cheap on vacation. Many people ask us if the butlers are worth it? I will tell you without hesitation, YES. Our butlers, Hunter and Lincoln, tAke care of everything for us. They reserve the best chairs at the beach and pool, they make our restaurant reservations for us ( not easy to get the good time slots if not butler guests), they set up our villa every night with special touches that you have to see to believe. They are never intrusive and will provide you with a cell phone to contact them whenever you want to. This was our second year in a row with Hunter and Lincoln and we already reserved our villa for next year. These guys and this place are simply the best. We have been to other all inclusives, including other sandals ( Royal Bahamian), none come close to SGA. I read many of the same complaints, "there are not enough chairs at the beach" "the people are not friendly" or my favorite, "too many Mosquitos ". The resort, beach and pool areas are tremendous, if you do not get a chair, you either arrived at the beach/pool way too late or did not have a butler. I never feel crowded at any public area while at this resort. As a matter of fact my wife and I tend to wonder where everyone is. The resort was fully booked and yet there is never a mob of people anywhere. It really is very nice to not wait in lines or feel like a number. As far as the people go, I am convinced that the people that complain are simply nasty ********* and have no idea how to treat people. We never came a cross one staff member that did not say hello, good evening or simply smile. They love their jobs and if you treat them with the respect that you want to be treated with, you will be treated wonderfully. If you are a jerk and treat everyone like they are your servants, well my advice is to learn some manners or do not complain when you wait 20 minutes for a melted frozen drink.

As far as the food goes there are two places not to miss. Mario's and kiminos (especially the sushi bar). Mario's serves some of the best lasagna I have ever had. I know every Italian mom out there just said " what does he know" but I have to say as a 41 yo from NYC with an Italian mother in law and wife, I know good when i taste it and Mario's is excellent. The sushi is outstanding, very fresh and rivals any sushi bar I have been to. Say hi to George for me. He is the "Japanese " sushi chef and does a great job. The rest of the restaurants are all good with barefoot being the best of the rest. Elenors is overrated in my opinion but worth a isit if you want lobster. Ok corrall is just that......ok. Mario's also has a great breakfast buffet but if you have butler service you will have breakfast in your room every day if you want to. The English pub is great and has some very old late gift bar food available until 2:00 am. Their dinner menu is not extensive but very good if you are looking for a casual night.

As far as entertainment goes, you can be as involved or removed as you want. There is a schedule of events and shows but no one will force the issue or pull you off your chair if you do to want to participate. The nightlife is limited and is focused in the British pub during the late night. If you are looking to do belly shots and bar slides, this is not your resort!!! If you are looking for a romantic and fun week with your wife, it is paradise. One GIANT NEGATIVE FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW IS THE PIANO BAR. It is in a horrible location that resembles an attic from the 1970's and the piano player is awful. We have been to other resorts and the piano bar is often the life of the party and a great place to kick back and sing along. Here it is almost an afterthought and honestly a ig disappointment. If anyone from Sandels reads this, please address this glaring issue. We do to expect Billy Joel but the player and the physical location of the bar is terrible.

Be nice to and make friends with the photography staff. If you are like us, you do to want to lug around a camera. These guys are everywhere and take great shots of yo all week. Just give your room number and they will link all the photos for you. When it comes time to buy your photos, you can mimimize the pain if you have been a good sport and kind to the staff all week. If not you will pay full price and it is expensive.

If you plan on communicating with loved ones at home, buy the wifi service and download "pinger" you will be ale to text and call until your hearts content. The service is being upgraded everywhere you look but is currently very good in the 3rd floor med lobby and by the pool. It is not so good in some rooms but it was not a problem for us to walk 50 feet to the pool area to make the occasional FREE call. Again download pinger to your iPhone. You will be glad you did.

I hope I covered everything and helped anyone planning to vacation here. Spend the extra money if you can and get a villa suite with the butler. You will not regret it. Nothing like your own hot tub and pool cleaned for you every day! It makes for a very nice way to end the night.

Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
10  Thank Joe F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

Here's a quick version in case you don't want to read my whole review:

Pony up for a nice room on the Mediterranean side with butler service. PERIOD. Otherwise don't go. If you're looking for a lot of "Night Life" and you want to stay up late partying with others, don't go. If you will be bothered by the fact that its 90% young honeymooners, DON'T GO. BUT, if you're looking for a relaxing, beautiful place to spend time with the love of your life, have as much of whatever you want whenever you want it, and not worry about money.... then you will love it just like we did.

BOTTOM LINE:
We had whatever we wanted whenever we wanted it. The room was something out of a movie. Having a butler is amazing - they were like our own personal vacation planners going out ahead of everything we wanted to do organizing and reserving everything. If there was something we wanted, they made it happen. We enjoyed the time we spent in our room with room/butler service, breakfast on the balcony, and our own private bar. We enjoyed the time we spent out on the beach with our private covered chairs and a cooler from our butler (there's a cocktail waitress too). The pools were wonderful. You could find a quiet pool or party in the big pool with the swim up bar. We were always full, never hungry.


REVIEW:

You get what you pay for. I'll say it again, you get what you pay for. There are options at Sandals Grande Antigua and if you want the most it has to offer you have to pay the most.

This resort has a wide array of rooms which come with different levels of service. There are two sides of the resort - The Caribbean side of the resort is older with older rooms but it is more private and has a beautiful garden setting (tree frogs, lizards, and all) & the Mediterranean side looks brand new with more modern rooms but overlooks the main pool which can be a little loud but was never a real bother.

We had originally booked a Garden Rondoval with private Plunge Pool with butler service on the Carib side and found out when we arrived that we were being offered an upgrade to 7th (top) floor suite on the Med side. We weren't sure what to think because our "upgrade" didn't have a pool. Our butler offered to show us both rooms and lugged our luggage to the Med side, then to the Carib side, AND back. After seeing both rooms, we HANDS DOWN chose the 7th floor suite on the Med side.

The room was beautiful with a commanding view of the ocean and resort. It had a large living room, large bedroom, large bathroom with separate water closet, 2 person Jacuzzi tub, and 10 person shower (I mean, it was big). This made a huge difference in our vacation. We would not have been as happy on the Carib side.

The Rondovals are small - just your basic Holiday Inn room and small bathroom - and the plunge pool wasn't much (definitely not enough to lure us away from the AWESOME suite). The majority of them are private but 2 or 3 of them have balconies overlooking your plunge pool so that looked like it could be hit or miss.

While on the Carib side, we saw a bunch of smaller dingier looking rooms which I suspect were the origin of some bad reviews.

ONE THING MADE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE FOR US................... BUTLER SERVICE!

Our butlers Sheldon & Nkosi bent over backwards for us. They found and ordered bottles of any liquor on the resort for us and made sure we had it in our room (I was drinking Johnny Walker Black & the wife liked Absolut). They made all our reservations for us (dinner & watersports) and took our breakfast order to bring to us in the morning. They reserved a private covered chairs for us on the beach every day and escorted us down with a cooler full of drinks every morning. We found a drink that we liked at one of the little restaurants and they would go get it and bring it up to us whenever we asked. They were amazing. Having a fully stocked room (liquor, beer, wine, champagne, soda, juice & water), 24 hour room service, with the butlers on top is what put our vacation over the top.

I can definitely see how I would have been annoyed if I did not have a butler. It would be hard to get a beach/pool chair. I would have to make my own dinner and watersports reservations in person and only 48 hours beforehand. Don't put yourself through that. GET BUTLER SERVICE.

I will admit, it is a laid back atmosphere. Sometimes we had to call twice before someone picked up if we were calling room service or the butler but we always got what we wanted within minutes. The butlers were the most helpful and willing to help. We met many nice servers and bartenders but they tended to be the exception. I'm not saying any of them were mean or dismissive. They just have a more laid back attitude than service workers you might be accustomed to in America. I only noticed because it was on my mind from all the bad reviews.

The food was fine. We always asked our servers for recommendations and they never disappointed. You could always find something good to eat. Everyone had different opinions on the restaurants. None were terrible but my wife and I had our favorites.There are always at least 3 restaurants open from 7:30am until about 9:00pm. In between times there is pizza and a room service menu (which is basically just the food from the pub plus a few items). After hours there is a limited 24-hour room service menu and I think the pub is open pretty late. My only regret was not finding some of the buffets sooner. They were some of my favorite food (Bayside & Mario's especially).

There are beach vendors. They are a little pushy but if you tell them no, they go right away. My wife bought a few things from them and they were very happy and friendly when you buy from them. It did not affect our decision to go the beach we went every day and most of them knew us by the 2nd or 3rd day.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank AtlBrianM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at this resort and we cannot stop raving about it. This resort was highly suggested by our travel agent Sarah with Beach Bum Vacations. We were skeptical at first because we thought that Sandals would be cheesy, "fake romantic" and have an older crowd since it was adults only. However, we met several couples that were our age and even younger, and I would guess that 75% of the people there were between the ages of 25 and 40. I've traveled much of the world and have stayed at several different all inclusive resorts before, but I i'd definitely say that this one is my favorite. The food at all of the restaurants was just wonderful. We didn't have a thing that was bad. The pizzeria and snack bar are open until 5:00 so they're the perfect place for mid-day snacks before dinner and the sushi place doesn't require reservations so its the best place for a quick appetizer before dinner. Though the resort only offers two beer selections, this isn't different than other all-inclusives I've been to. The included wine selection was great, as was the provided champagne. We also noted that all of the liquor was name brand (Stoli, Absolut, Jim Beam, Crown, etc). There was nightly entertainment and while it wasn't Broadway quality, it was definitely entertaining and served its purpose. The pool games were also fun. There is one bar that provides late night food and entertainment with a DJ and dance floor. We stayed on the Mediterranean side of the resort and I would highly recommend this over the Caribbean. Its much closer to the Main Pool and the pizza shop, its next door to the scuba diving and watersports office and has newer rooms in a tower so you have a great view of the beach. The staff was extremely helpful and went above and beyond to get us anything we needed, from a different kind of wine in our room refrigerator to customizing the menu selections based on our preferences. I read comments about the bugs being a problem so we wore bug spray every night and were fine. I didn't hear anyone complaining at the resort but I'd recommend wearing bug spray at night, just in case. If you're wanting a wild, drunken, party until late in the night, trip, I would suggest another resort, as this one is definitely more relaxed with couples who are wanting to wind down from their wedding. But, if you're wanting a relaxed, fun honeymoon with a great pool, delicious food at several restaurants, good drink selections and friendly staff, this is absolutely the place. I'd highly, highly recommend this resort. Thanks Sarah, and Beach Bum Vacations!

Room Tip: The Mediterranean Village is definitely my preference. We were on the third floor, out of seven, and...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Rachel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

We went here to get married (3 weeks). Room was lovely, staff & service very good - Butler service.
Wedding day was a bit rushed but lovely.
Pool facilities are good. Entertainment a bit naff & bars closed too early.
Very disappointed with 'snapshotdesigns' who did our Wedding photography...3 months on & we still havn't had our photos due to their error, after choosing photos they send pre-view link for you to ok before final album is printed...wrong photos,nearly half were omitted from album & wedding date incorrect...still fighting 3 months on to get this rectified as still wrong photos & date!!!!! You are better off getting another holiday maker to take pics with your camera & least you know you will have something to show when you get back home!

Room Tip: Beach front rondaval rooms...open your door & the beach is there infront of you.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Paula R
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:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#3 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#4 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Business Hotel in St. John's
Price Range: $497 - $1,143 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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