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“Christmas in paradise!”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 29, 2012

Went with my husband for five nights during Christmas 2012 to celebrate our delayed honeymoon after we got married this past summer. It was our very first experience at an all-inclusive resort, and we are sort of bummed that we didn't start on a lower scale of all-inclusives because we can't see how future experiences could ever beat this one!

Resort - As you know, there are two sides: Mediterranean and Caribbean. The Med side is a gigantic resort -- very beautiful, traditional resort feel, and you can tell it's new. This is the side we stayed on. The Caribbean side, also gorgeous, has a different feel - there are several different apartment-style looking bungalows that are all different colors and designs, making each of then unique. This side seems much more intimate, private, and personable, and is hidden among a lush setting of trees (though this probably means more mosquitoes). I definitely wouldn't say one side is better than the other, but they are different. Since we stayed at the Med side this time, I'd love to stay at the Caribbean side next time.

Food - I'd probably give the food 3.5/5 stars. Nothing amazing or spectacular, but not bad. I'd say the best thing we had all trip was the chocolate lava cake from Mario's. During our last two nights, we ordered a piece to share and eat outside after we had dinner elsewhere. Yum! I won't waste time summarizing all the different restaurants since you can try them yourself, but I did love the open atmosphere of Barefoot and Bayside the best.

Beach - If you've ever been to Lanikai on Oahu, I'd easily compare the quality of water and sand to Lanikai. It wasn't crystal clear by any means, but it was gorgeous and the sand is soft as a baby's bottom! We were so excited to do the water sport activities, but you can only do them on a "yellow" or "green" flag day (depending on the current/tide) -- the first two days we were there, the flags were "red" so we weren't allowed. Such a bummer. The yellow days are "water activities with caution" and the green days are obviously days where activities are up for grabs. If you are adventurous, TAKE ADVANTAGE of all these water sports -- kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, sailing, etc. These things cost a lot of money normally so enjoy! Oh, and the vendors aren't that big a deal.

Pool - Amazing! Swim up bar makes grabbing a drink more convenient than ever! They have a handful of floaty things and I have to say that drifting aimlessly on a raft in the pool in the 85 degree blazing sun is one of the most relaxing times of my life! Yes, the pool chairs do get taken (on most days, a couple of days we just walked straight up to a chair) but don't waste time trying to get there super early to reserve a spot -- hang out in the pool for a bit and then go to the beach and lie out on the sand! The ocean is a more gorgeous landscape anyway.

Staff - The staff was very friendly. Somebody shows you to your room when you arrive and gives you all the ins and outs of how your room works and answers any questions you may have. No complaints here!

Miscellaneous - Yes, there are mosquitoes! I got bit quite a few times at night (I think there was a mosquito hiding in our room) but I just dealt with it. Bring or buy bug spray if they bother you. There are several stray cats on property but they are so tame and friendly, and some are quite pretty! I would also say that if you are staying a week or longer to definitely bring some work out clothes. The whole all-inclusive meals thing really starts to make you self-conscious, especially wearing a bikini all day!

Room Tip: Honestly don't think there is a bad room on the property.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank cowgurl808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 29, 2012

My husband and I went to Sandals Antigua for our honeymoon I. August for 10 days. We reserved a Rounduval room with private pool, and after reading the reviews here and making a special request, we ended up with the smallest room where the pool is next to a walkway. So we talked to our butler and the hotel upgraded us to a room on the Mediterranean side that was FANTASTIC! The Rounduval rooms are in need of upgrading, which the resort is currently working on, but for a room in that price range we expected a bigger bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. Our new room was on the top floor of the Mediterranean side: one bedroom suite with jacuzzi tub and had a panoramic view of the ocean. It was definitely a "honeymoon room".

The staff at the resort was so friendly and helpful. We had a butler service room, and Maureen and Wendell really made us feel special and added the perfect romantic touches to our trip. Some of the staff members that provided us with great service were: Stacia at Barefoot, Teandra, Roland, and Marie Louise at the Mediterranean bar (Marie Louise made the BEST rum punch!), and Romain, or waiter at our beachside candlelight dinner. In terms of the restaurants, Barefoot and Eleanor's were our favor. The jerk shrimp appetizer and the lobster tails at Eleanor's was OUTSTANDING! We visited that restaurant 3 times! The steak at Eleanor's was also delicious, and they were also willing to give you another serving or mix and match entrees if you requested it. Also, the pizza at the resort is as good as people say (and that's coming from a NYer that's picky about pizza). OK Corral was good, but I thought the menu would be more tex-mex; however I did have a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. Mario's was great for breakfast, but not as great for dinner.

We did a few excursions: Shirley Heights, Barbuda, and the circumnavigation tour. The latter was canceled because hurricane Isaac blew in at the end of our trip. Shirley Heights was fun, but the hotel should change the timing of the trip so you can stay later to hear the band; the taxi driver was also accommodating if you wanted to stay later. Barbuda was beautiful! But the trip across the Atlantic to the island was rough. I think that was partly due to Isaac, but I hear the trip can be rough on a normal day.

Overall we had a wonderful honeymoon. The resort doesn't deserve the bad reviews it has received. The staff was friendly, the room was great, the food was delicious, and the beach and pool were wonderful. It was nice having butler service because they reserved chairs for us by the beach and/or pool and took care of all our dinner reservations and anything we needed; we felt that this was an expense worth paying for because it was our honeymoon.

Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
5  Thank travel_chickLI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2012

The resort and staff are just the best. Food and drink could not be better. Already have booked my return trip. Can't wait to go back. We stayed on the Caribbean side, the Mediterranean side is too much like a hotel, just does not feel like you are in the tropics.

Room Tip: Caribbean side for sure
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Susan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

We have stayed in many fine places in the Caribbean over the years. The Sandals Grande Antigua is one of the very best, on a very beautiful island.

Sandals is an excellent organization. You always know what to expect so that there are rarely any surprises. We have stayed in Sandals Grande Antigua, as well as Beaches (a Sandals property) in Turks & Caicos. They were excellent, but of the three our favourite is the Sandals in Antigua.

Why?

• It is only 20 minutes from the airport
• The hotel grounds are beautiful and well maintained
• There are many different types of rooms available, depending on your budget
and the type of room you desire. For instance, high rise or low rise, on the beach
or not, lots of activity or peace and quiet nearby, butler or concierge service, etc. etc.
• I lost track of the number of swimming pools
• Both the Bayside buffet and the various specialty restaurants provide a wide variety
of excellent food. Reservations are easy to make
• The staff are friendly and helpful
• There are great water sports and many island excursions to choose from
• The beach is spectacular, second only to the beach at the Paradisus Varadero
in Cuba which is still number one
• Antigua is a stunningly beautiful island. Be sure to do a land tour. Don't miss Nelson's
Dockyard in English Harbour. You can also see the homes owned by Oprah Winfrey,
Eric Clapton and Giorgio Armani. The fact they are here recommends Antigua

Checking in was quick and easy. Our room was on the second floor with a beautiful view of the beach. The bed was super comfortable, the room was well cleaned each day, and the bar service for the room was prompt if anything was needed.

We do not hesitate to recommend this hotel. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank VACATIONER097
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

Words cannot explain how fabulous this resort is. The food is out of this world, the rooms are beautiful, even if you dont have a butler! Will always choose Sandals first when planning future holidays

Room Tip: I think there are 24 different type of rooms, all fabulous. It would not matter what part of the hot...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Linda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

It's hard to write a review when all you have to say is good things. But there are things you should know before you pick a place for your vacation.

we came here for our honeymoon. A few months back we went on a vacation through a website deal and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life. This time we decided to go through a travel agent. We had a list of wants and the travel agent found this place for us.

1) We wanted the resort to be close to the Airport:

This resort was a short 10 min ride from the airport in Antigua, The cab driver was friendly and there was absolutely no wait to get into the cab from the airport

2) We wanted there to be good quality food:

We live in New York. So it's hard to find food as good as home. But this place did it! Their restaurants are top notch and the service was exceptional. we did not have 1 bad meal the entire time we were there. And even the days we went to the "no reservation required" restaurants THEY WERE AMAZING!!!!!

3) We wanted to be spoiled:

Our travel agent recommended the Butler service. Now let me say one thing here. This is not a cheap option. However, since it was our honeymoon we decided to go for it. And we are glad we did. Our butlers Maureen and Geoffrey were outstanding! Every morning we would wake up and have a spot reserved for us wither by the pool or the beach if we wanted it. Next to our chairs would be a cooler with drinks in it and towels would be placed out for us. This might not sound like much but when you go to these resorts you know you have to wake up pretty early to grab a good spot. This was not an issue here. They took care of all of our reservations for the restaurants as well as left us little notes for dinner and flowers in our rooms for when we would come back after dinner. You get a phone and whatever you need you just need to call them and ask. They really made our honeymoon special!

4) We wanted to go scuba diving:

Ok, so here is where I read the other reviews and have to disagree with some of them. The water sports team was fantastic! The manager Tiny was out instructor for the resort class. His Patients was remarkable. He made us feel so comfortable in the pool and in the course. Then there was Ray. This guy is THE MAN!!! I went out for two dives. The first dive wasn't that great. Visibility was low and the seas were pretty rough. But he made me feel very welcome when I decided to try it again. And I was so grateful to him because the second dive was the highlight of my vacation! Thanks Ray. Respect!

This was our first time in a Sandals resort but now they have clients for life! We want to try the rest of the Sandals resorts in the Caribbean but it's going to be hard to beat our experience in Antigua!

Thank you to the whole staff for making our honeymoon as special as you did!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jontravel1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

We are still here, giving you a play by play of our experiences. Thanks to our $43.00usd Internet wifi package. * for the price of a penthouse butler suite why is Internet an extra charge? Internet is a given, clearly not customer engaging. Our transition from airport to resort was perfect and seamless.we were checked in the moment we arrived.no waiting and all items covered concisely. A word of advice .. Do as much online ahead of time as possible. Our first evening we ate at barefoot.. Food good portioned average. The service was good but not wow.. Went to show on Caribbean side of resort. Emanuel was a great host. Day 2 was great.. Bug spray a must .. Girlfriend visited nurse.. Huge welts .. Benadryl !!!!
Had dinner at OK corral next day .. Service amazing food good the resort is amazing and beautiful . All staff have been really friendly and kind. We are quite enjoying the trip so far. Literally no concerns or complaints. As our second day is over the complaints of beach vendors is unfounded. The staff are friendly all the way around . Bugs are an issue, pleased that nurse was available no charge.

Room Tip: Seventh floor cypress 7705
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Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
5  Thank kajah4
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: $222 - $1,377 (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 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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