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“A Beautiful Wedding”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Henley-on-Thames
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“A Beautiful Wedding”
Reviewed March 25, 2008

We visited Sandals Antigua in January. We had previously had a number of booking problems so when we did actually arrive, Virgin Holidays had made sure that everything ran smoothly. We had a private transfer and were checked into our room quite quickly.

We were on a 7 night holiday, getting married on the third day. I must say overall our experience was wonderful. We were in the Mediterranean Village and were upgraded to Venetian Suite which meant that we had a wonderful view of the resort and out to sea. Our room was exactly as described and except for an electrical socket in the bathroom not working, everything was functioning exactly as it should. Our room was looked after very well and our bar topped up regularly. (Could have done with a few more English tea bags though. If you like your tea, could be a good idea to stick a few in you suitcase.)

We went with the flow when it came to getting restaurant reservations. If we didn't get our first choice, generally our second choice was available. We ate in Mario's (very nice for buffet breakfast and lunch but dinner on our wedding day was ruined by a very noisy group people on a freebee). Kimonos was fun and the food was good, Barefoot by the Sea was lovely, very good food and friendly staff. The worst meals we experienced were in Bayside. Just not the standard that we had had elsewhere.

Overall we found the staff to be very pleasant and helpful. It was apparent that some were new for the opening of the Med Village but generally we only experienced good service.

Our wedding was amazing. Just what we wanted. Quiet and romantic and stress free. The coordinators were very efficient and everything went like clockwork. We were worried that it would feel a little bit like a production line but the ladies managed to personalise every wedding and it was certainly a special day for us. The photographer was brilliant. The hardest thing was whittling down over a hundred pictures to an album full.

If we should decide to re-visit Sandals Antigua, which would like to do in the future, I think we would choose the Caribbean Grove because we preferred the atmosphere - more Caribbean!!! We couldn't fault the Med Village though. It was beautifully laid out and incredibly oppulent. Just a bit too big! The pool on the Med side is stunning so we followed suit and put our towels out early to get a spot. It was very busy (with a group of 200 construction workers on an incentive) so on the one day we didn't, we literally wandered the whole resort before we found somewhere to sit.

To summarise, we had an absolutely brilliant time! It was beautiful but we will be trying other places before we come back. We do feel that we could book a similar standard of holiday elsewhere for a lot less money.

Our two main negatives were.... lack of environmental awareness when it came to laundry. There was no control over the use of pool towels meaning thousands of towels being unnecessarily laundered daily. Secondly, the block booking of 200 construction workers who were very noisy should not have been accepted into a hotel which markets itself as "Romantic".

On a positive note, a big thank you to Maudlin and Luanne the wedding coordinators. They were fantastic! :-)

  • Liked — The food and cocktails
  • Disliked — The rowdy group
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CarolineinHenley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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NB
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2008

We stayed at Sandals Grande Antigua resort from March 1st to March 8th, 2008. Absolutely a great resort, beaches are splendid, food is great, people are very welcoming and nice, activities wise great also. It was one if not the best resort ever that we went on vacation to, and we travelled almost every year since we met me and my wife more than 20 years ago.

We recommand this nice romantic resort to every couples.

  • Liked — Food, beaches night entertainment
  • Disliked — a bit of rain almost every day but not for long....
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank lovetotravelNb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Ontario
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2008

First time at Sandals and probably the last.....
4 couples traveling march 3rd - 10th/08 with all the husbands turning 50 this year. We were booked for the old side but thankfully got upgraded to the new side. The new rooms are beautiful no doubt but the food was maybe a 3 star. I'm not a picky eater at all but it's pretty sad when the pizza joint and the pub are your favorite restaurants at a 5 star resort. There were line ups to sit down for a buffet breakfast......buffet! The most I've paid for a vacation is $1500 Canadian each and paid $2500 for this place.....not worth it. The El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Seaside Suites, both on the Mayan Coast in Mexico are much better and the food is spectacular. Check it out. This was my 2nd visit to Antigua (Royal Antiguan in '99). Had a great time with our wonderful friends but if great food is what you're looking for.....try another resort.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
5 Thank betsyOakville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ENGLAND
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2008

On arrival, we were checked in and asked for a credit card to cover any extra costs and then told that they do not accept Maestro cards. They then managed to loose our luggage.We stayed in a concierge room in the older part of the complex.
The room was cleaned efficiently twice daily and overlooked the beach and sea. Apart from the mini bar service, the "concierge service" that was supposed to make our restaurant bookings etc was a complete waste of time and money.
In a full week , they failed to book a single restaurant on the day or time we requested. Everyone we spoke to had the same problems with retaurant bookings.
I am amazed that Sandals does not have a computerised booking system--or if they have, the staff do not know how to use it.
The location was great, the room cleaning was very good.
Some of the sfaff were very friendly, others very rude.
Bayside restaurant, Cricketers pub and Barefoot all good
Marios Italian -the staff were very rude and need training, the sevice and food were very bad. OK Coral--the food was average and the service poor. No wonder you can't book a table-they only let 12 people in for each sitting.
Eleanors had good service and food.
We didn't manage to get a booking in Kimonos
On a minor note, they need more staff ang glasses in the main bar. The number of times I went to the bar and was told that they had run out of clean glasses was incredible.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Restarant Booking Hassle
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank TRAVEL170
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
18 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2008

My husband and I travel to the Carribean at least twice a year and we love the ease of an all inclusive vacation. Now, I think the staff at Sandals needs to realize that all inclusive does not mean free...it means paid for in advance.

I have to start with this because it is really what pushed us over the edge...the Pizzeria is opened from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and let's forget for a moment that even though it's not busy you would have to wait over a half hour for a personal size pizza. Anyway, we sat down around 3:00 and after waiting 10 minutes for the waitress, who was busy leaning on the counter having a personal conversation, we waived at her desperate to be acknowledged because we were hungry. Annoyed, she comes over and tells us that we could not be served because they were going to clean the pizza ovens! That same evening was the only night that we did not have a dinner reservation at one of the restaurants and we figured we would eat at the Bayside restaurant where you do not need a reservation. When we arrived around 8:00 p.m. even though more than half the tables were empty, we were told we could not be seated because there was a very long wait ing list and by the time it would be our turn the Bayside would be closing for the evening. We questioned the fact that so many tables were empty and were told that each waitress could only serve four tables. I'm confused as to whether their understaffed or just plain lazy.

The food is mediocre at best and certinally not enough. After waiting for a shrimp and tuna kabob at the Barefoot restaurant for 45 minutes, I was served a skewer with two small shrimps and two small squares of tuna. The breakfast was worst of all and that is always what we love the most . We flew 1,800 miles for a poor selection that included stale bread and canned pineapple.

One evening in the elevator, I heard a man say to his wife...well, I had a terrible dinner and I had a horrible lunch. It validated everything that we had been experiencing ourselves.

We stayed in the new Mediterranean Village, the rooms were clean and comfortable, but the whole design from the outside looks like a retirement community in Florida...nothing tropical about it at all.

The beach is public, so that means cruise ships dump off people at an alarming rate and at times we felt as if we needed a traffic light in front of our chairs, which by the way Sandals never cleans and we would have to search for chairs that had the least amount of bird poop to clean off.

The pool is nice but we were never able to get chairs and the only thing that was available were the cabana beds that cost $95.00 a day in this "super all inclusive".

Oh yeah, one more thing. The orientation which is usually to get you aquainted with the grounds and restaurants includes being dragged into the tour office and spa for sales pitches.

This was actually our third vacation within a year this time and by far the most expensive...and we couldn't wait to leave...what a shame and what a waste of our hard earned money. I don't know if it is just this Sandals that is mismanaged, or as it seems not managed at all, but we would never take a chance of throwing our time and money away at another Sanadals again. Next time I will pay closer attention to the reviews.

  • Liked — Clean room which I would expect anyway
  • Disliked — Poor service, mediocre food
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank kat88nyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
north yorks
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2008

we have just returned from sandals having spent 2 weeks there. we stayed in the caribbean grove and was upgraded to a honeymoon room. the room was ok but the bathroom really needed upgrading the water pressure was terrible and the taps leaked. The room lights need replacing as it was quite dark probably due to all the trees outside. We looked at another room but it was just as bad, we then inquired about a move to the med village we were quoted $3000. dollars charge. we were also disappointed with the food in some of the restaurants we expected gourmet food only to find it very mediocre, the dress code in marios was never adhered to either. Needless to say we won't be returning. ps watch out for biting insects, they are supposed to spray nightly but that happens infrequently.

  • Liked — The Cocktails
  • Disliked — The Food
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank morsedog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alberta
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2008

I usually don't pay attention to "reviews" as everyone is so different with their expectations....anyways...wished I would of listened to the reviews regarding Sandals Antigua!!! What a horrible place...service, quality, beach etc....The staff was not there to serve...and they did not care. Experienced 2 other Sandals before, Grande St. Lucia and Dunn's River Jamaica, they were absolutely awesome. Wonder if it's the Antigua way?

The beach at Sandals Antigua was not private so you were constantly hassled by people selling whatever....and there were lots of people because cruise ships bring their guests there. Anyways the service was horrible.....if you wanted something you'd be better getting it yourself because otherwise you could wait a couple of days....The hotel "carribean side" is really in need of renovations...lots of things don't work, and the rooms are disgusting. If you like fun & activities...don't go here because nothing is going on there...the activity board is the same everyday and they don't follow it or even do it.

Would not refer this Sandals hotel to anyone because it's definitely not 5 star maybe on a good day 3 star.

  • Liked — Tennis Courts
  • Disliked — Service
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank bddalberta
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

Property: 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 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#4 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Business 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 Hotel St. John`s
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort And Spa
Sandals Antigua
Hotel Sandals Grande Antigua
Sandals Grand Antigua
Antigua Sandals
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Saint John Parish

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