Let me start by saying I was on edge after reading so many negative comments about the disrepair of the hotel, the aggressiveness of the beach vendors and the rudeness of the hotel staff. BUT - I don't think all those whiners stayed at the same hotel I did and I have no idea how anyone could say anything negative about any of those things. Me and my hubby stayed there Feb 9-16 2013 and during our trip we eloped. The staff went above and beyond to make our trip incredible, from start to finish. Let me break it down for you.
ROOMS: We stayed on the Caribbean Side, in an ocean front concierge suite in the Frangipani building. Yes, this side of the hotel is older and less "fancy" then the Mediterranean side, but that was our choice and our preference. The big hotel style didn't appeal to us at all. We were happy with our room, hot water all the time, good water pressure, room cleaned and fridge stocked daily, new beach towels left every day. My only complaint was no screen doors - on the second level it would have been nice to leave the doors open at night to hear the ocean, but we tried it and there were too many bugs flying in.
BEACH: Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! We never had trouble getting chairs, and the beach vendors were SO unbelievably polite. They would ask if I want to check out their wares, I would say no thanks, they would say "Thanks Dear, have a great day" or something as sweet and keep going. Anyone who is offended by that needs to give their head a shake. It is a public beach, which some people whine about but honestly, it's so roomy and spacious that we always had tons of space and it never felt crowded. Perfection!
POOLS: Sorry, I go on vacation for the beach, so I never even checked out a pool so I cant comment on the chair availability or quality of the pools...
FOOD: We went to all the restaurants except Marios, Cricketers and Soy. We prefer open air restaurants and these ones were enclosed so we didn't bother. The buffets for breaky and lunch were beautiful with tons of healthy options, which was important to me. When we arrived, we went to book our restaurant reservations asap, and found most to be full...But, thank goodness for Sasha on the wedding team, she promptly took over and got us in most nights. Kimonos was fun, I don't eat meat so in lieu of chicken and beef they gave me extra salmon and shrimp, which I appreciated. However, I left there smelling of food since they cook infront of you and it is a small space...it got really smokey. Eleanore's was probably my favorite, the coconut soup, lobster dinner and sweet potato pie were all divine! If you love seafood, like I do, anytime you see "seared tuna" on a menu, order it! I had it a few times (at Barefoot by the Sea and the Private beach dinner and it was amazing!) We did the private beach dinner on our wedding night, and it was really nice and romantic. The food selection was amazing! All of the seafood I tried (Lobster, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, smoked salmon, salmon, red snapper) was incredible! My hubby was happy with the steak and the burgers at the snack bar...But he said the burger at Barefoot was lacking. Cafe de Paris had amazing espresso, bush teas and ice cream :)
WEDDING: From start to finish, the wedding team was incredible and made us feel special. I booked my trip and right away was linked to an online wedding coordinator who helped me fill out paperwork, make my selections for the special day and answered all my questions. Closer to the trip, I was seamlessly handed off to the hotel team and it was smooth as can be. At the hotel, my co-ordinater was Maudlyn and she was so professional and helpful. No detail was missed from our flowers, venue, decor, cupcakes and she really tried to understand our "vision" and make it a reality. Sasha on the team also deserves kudos, she was always bubbly and helpful and just made me feel so unbelievably special the whole week!!! The wedding photos came out AMAZING!!! Our photographer Shoshana (sorry if I spelled that wrong) was incredible, she made it so easy for us by giving us tons of direction, and her eye was obviously perfect as we didnt take one bad photo!
GYM: I hit the gym daily right at 6 when it opened. The facilities were very nice, nice variety however, I was surprised how full it was! I heard through the grapevine it dies down after 9:30 once people settled in for breaky though.
STAFF: Not sure how anyone could say the staff is rude. NOT ONE staff member passed by me without a huge smile and a hello. Not one, I'm not kidding. Everyone from gardeners, cooks, waiters, receptionists were super duper friendly.
TIPS: When they say they dont take tips, they arent kidding. We tried to offer tips to bartenders and the ladies who served us on the beach - the will NOT take the money. It felt nice to know they offered great service without expecting something...but, we felt they deserved a tip!
ATMOSPHERE: It is on the quiet side at night, which was exactly what we wanted. I didnt find it to be a crazy party place like some people had stated, it was a more chilled out and romantic atmosphere. Perfect for us!
All in all, this was a great trip with great food, great service, friendly staff, beautiful beach and I am so happy I got married here!
- 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