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“Sandals Grand The Truth be told”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Hillsborough, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Sandals Grand The Truth be told”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

We went to Sandals Grand Antigua 2/25/13 - 03/06/13 with 2 othe couples. The transfers were no problem and we arrived at the resort after a short 15 minute ride. We were taken to a office to get checked in. While waiting to check in they gave us a wet towel and a drink. Then the fun started when they told us we were upgraded to a 800 block room which was in the last building in back of the resort with the entrance gate to the resort 30 feet from our door. When we booked we were supposed to be in 400 block (hibiscuss building), when we booked we told them we did not want a upgrade and wanted what we booked. They told us no problem. We also wanted the rooms close together. Well our rooms in the 800 building were on 2nd floor with no elevator and we had to go up 46 stairs to get to our rooms plus 2 rooms were together the other room was at the other end of the building. We told them we did not want the upgrade and would not stay 10 days in those rooms.They agreed to move us 2 days later to the 400 block where we were supposed to be and the 3 rooms were not next to each other but we had no choice. Nothing like starting a vacation off with a bang. We tried to make resrvations at the 3 restaurants well if you are not there longer then a week lots a luck we got them the last 3 days of our vacation.
Beach:is narrow at high tide and there is some pockets of seaweed. The water temp was in low 70's to 75. Beach vendors do bother you but a simple no is all that is needed. Chairs on the beach are no problem if you get there before 9 am. If you want ones with shade you have to get them by 6:30am. Overall the beach was very nice.
Pools are very nice if you want a chair close to the pool you need to get them by 7am if you wait till 10 you will find a chair or 2 in the back away from the pool.
Restaurants: our group liked Marios the best and went there 3 nights(try the lava cake). Barefoot is a waste with a limited menu (3 items), Eleanors was ok but lobster was very rubbery and over cooked, Kimonos was very good and we had really fun time there with other couples., Ok Corral was good but steaks were a little tough., Bayside was ok but a very limited menu. Breakfast at Bayside every morning they were out of glasses if you wanted juice so we just grabbed our water glasses when went to get our food. Two mornings there were out bacon and sausage and took over 20 minutes to refill the trays. Some of the rstaurants are closed on different nights, I have never gone to any othe resort were this occured
Entertainment: was ok but mostly over by 10pm everyone then went to hang out at the pub. Monday night is beach barbeque some of the food was not cooked (chicken and Kabobs) but a lot of fun games.
Drinks: no problem here service was excellent and you name they will make it.
Staff: overal very friendly and always said hello. We did not find one staff person that was not friendly.
Overall We had a good time but this resort is not a 5 star resort. It is over priced you can get the same service in Punta Cana for half the price.
Also if they think they are a 5 star resort they should not charge for internet service. If you need anything bring it with you the shops on the resort have everyrthing way over priced. Bottle of suntan lotion was $25.00.

Room Tip: If you go take a 400 block rooms on the Carib side excellent location. If you can get them take room...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Norwich, Norfolk
Level Contributor
73 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2013

Had a lovely 11 night stay friendliest hotel ever in terms of sTaff and other guests. Just so easy to get talking to all nationalities. Dive shop , the best guys Maurice, Jason, darian, ray, aardvark, Alex all great and very professional .pool bar staff and restaurants great, too many nice staff too mention just need to smile and treat with respect. It was embarrassing to watch people whining they didn't get served in two minutes at bar . Staff were busy serving other customers, not sitting filing their nails. If you want to be waited on hand and foot pay the extra . . . FOOD choice great, tried everywhere but ok corral. No problems with beach sellers, booking restaurants or getting a sunned or floatie. Pool beds do get taken early but we would go down at 10.30 and be ok, BUT reserving is down to customers and everyone joining in not the staff. My only gripe was the waste in pool towels. Sandals should restrict to exchanging twice a week, there is so much waste and people just leaving towels on beds even when the have finished for day or to get soaking wet when raining. If people were accountable would make them think more. We reuse room towels why not beach towels. . . . . Sandals missing environmentally and financially think about it. Great time, would love to go back. Thanks also for the champagne, bed decoration and special cake at Eleanor's for my birthday!

Room Tip: Caribbean side my favourite, quiet hear nothing at night, med side high rise but lovely and modern...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sarah E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2013

I was a bit nervous about this resort as I had read some not so great reviews. As it is so expensive to stay at a Sandals resort I was worried I would feel let down. However as soon as we arrived I knew that the bad reviews I read we're probably just from people who have nothing better to do than moan about such trivial things.

Overall our experience was fantastic. We had a lovely room in the caribbean side which was very clean and had everything we needed for a basic room. The resort is lovely and big. The gardens were STUNNING and I felt like I was in paradise. The grounds are taken care of excellently!
We always chose to relax at the Caribbean pool. It was smaller than the Mediterranean pool which was what we wanted. Also the bartender Latoya was sensational. She made the best cocktails and remembered our name after meeting us just once. She made us feel at home. I would say that yes there are not many spaces with umbrellas so if you want a sun lounger with an umbrella you do need to be up at 7am to put your towels out. But that's how it is everywhere now. And it's because the resort is always fully booked because its fab!!!

We didn't expect there to be so many activities at the resort. We are not people to partake in activities or games but they were fun to watch. And never did the staff pressure us to take part in anything which we have experienced before. If you are the type of person that likes to be kept entertained then this is available to you, as well as if you just want to be left alone and relax.

We didn't use the beach much as we much prefer being by a pool but when we did it was lovely. Yes the beach is public because the law prohibits any private beaches on the island but this wasn't a problem. Vendors will ask if you want something once and if you say no they wish you well and move on immediately! There's no pressure.

The food and service here was what stood out for us. At all other all inclusive resorts that we have been to, the food is always a let down, as well as the wine. Me and my boyfriend love our food and wine so this was a big plus to us. We never had a bad meal. Our favourites were Marios, Bella Napoli (for lunch time pizza) and Soy Sushi. We had a amiture chef at Kimonos so that wasn't great for us but other guests assured us it was amazing when a talented chef was there. Ok Corrals was basic tex mex, perfectly fine but probably the one we wouldn't neccessarily go to again. To be honest the reservation restaurants are reservation only because of the size of them. Some of the best food we had was at the non reservation restaurants. Also I need to mention my lobster at Elenors was sensational.

All members of staff were wonderful to us. Some friendlier than other but all friendly. Everyone said hello and asked how we were, even if they were just walking past us! The bartenders at Kimonos and The Cricketers were fantastic. Always remembering us and they genuinely wanted to talk and serve us....as well as always remembering our drinks!!! That seems to be a bar tending skill that has been lost in recent years.

The only negative is that you need to pay for wifi. I do urge Sandals to get with the times and include this to all guests.

What else can I say other than this place was wonderful. We will definitely be returning to Sandals resorts, we now want to visit them all!!!! Don't worry about the negative reviews. I urge everyone to try a Sandals resort. They really do know how to do all inclusive.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Susanrace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2013

3rd visit to a Sandals resort. St. Lucia LaToq '09, Jamaica Whitehouse '11 previously. Alltho thoroughly enjoy those two, Grande Antigua would be our favourite so far: smaller less congested, great beach, great restaurants, great entertainment, beautiful ambiance, great beach frontwalkout accommodation, pleasant, friendly, helpful staff everywhere at all times.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank PGRoy4382
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2013

This was our second vacation to Sandals Grande Antigua. We went to this resort February 2012 to celebrate our honeymoon. We enjoyed it so much that we booked again for February 2013. We knew that we would enjoy it, but we didn't think that Sandals could top our previous vacation. They certainly did, and we booked our third trip for February 2014. The grounds were beautiful and very well kept. The room was wonderful and perfect for us. The food was great and never had a long wait. The resort is located 15 minutes from the airport, which couldn't be better. With that said I can get to the meat and reason for writing this review. Out of all the places we've traveled to, I couldn't have met a more friendly staff. Everyone we had any interaction with was wonderful to be around. My wife and I went so far as to personally thank the General Manager Matthew. However, I want to give a special THANK YOU! to our butlers Vanessa, and Julian. Since this was our second year at this resort, we had requested the same butler from the previous year. To my amazement Vanessa remembered us and because of that she anticipated everything we would want. Other times when I did have to call Vanessa or Julian for something, I think they were just waiting around the corner. Their response time was incredibly fast. I also wanted to give a special THANK YOU! to Ivence on the Sandals Dive Team. Last year we had done the resort dive course and had a blast. This year we wanted to do our SCUBA Open Water Diver program to open up other (and deeper) dive sites to us. Everyone on the dive team was wonderful, friendly and just a pleasure to be around. However, Ivence was our dive instructor and through the entire process I felt that he was only focused on us. In summary, this is a great resort. The food, facilities, grounds, are all wonderful but nothing can beat the people. I really feel that we have built relationships with the people working at the resort, which will keep us coming back year after year. (Phil and Dawn) See you February 2014!

Room Tip: Get a room near the beach. You can hear the surf at night.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Phil_Dawn_2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, Ont.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2013

My husband and I stayed at this resort with another couple from Feb23-Mar2nd.
We have stayed at 8 Sandals properties now, this one is the prettiest. Stunning beach and grounds. This is our 2nd time at this property. So we arrive at the resort to be told that they have overbooked and we are getting downgraded. First time for us, we have always had an upgrade. We booked this last year in July, to get the room we wanted. We were not the only ones, there were quite a few couples, our friends included that got told the same thing. If you go on the forum, people will tell you book the room you will be happy with, and if you get an upgrade it will be a bonus.
We did get compensated for our inconvenience.
Ended up we got the room we had booked the next day, our friends did too.
Thank you Mathew,Mediterranean manager, and Donovan Caribbean manager. They were there for us the whole trip.
The food was great, we ate at most of the restaurants.
On our last night we ate at the OK Corral. I had a steak that was so tender I cut it with my fork.
We all went to the return guest dinner, which is on Wednesday night the steak was great there too.
We were there to celebrate my Birthday, which is Feb 29th, seeing as it is not a leap year, We celebrate on the 28th.
Karen Blucher, head of the soon come back program, called people up on the dance floor who were there to celebrate Birthdays or Anniversaries. We had a nice dance.
Usually Sandals will give you a cake,or champagne or something in your room for a celebration, not this time, again another first for us at a Sandals resort.
We flew with Air Canada, get on the plane to go home, and they have engine problems, sat on the tarmac for almost 3 hours, they tell us they have to cancel the flight, but they will put us up in a hotel for the night, and a meal will be provided.
We get to the hotel, there is next to no food on the buffet.
So up to bed for us, we were getting picked up at 6am in the morning, asked for a wake up call, never happened. Nobody got one.Went to have a shower in the morning and the water was a disgusting color. Made coffee and could not drink it, as there was only one styrofoam cup that was filthy.Certainly not a Sandals resort.
We did take off for home after another couple of hours on the tarmac.
But please do not get put off from this review, after the first day and getting the room we had booked we had a great time.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SunSeekersWoodstock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario
Level Contributor
31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2013

This was our first visit to Sandals Grande Antigua and it was awesome.
We loved the place so I will try to hit the highlights.
We started each day at the gym and loved it. It was a decent size and had good quality equipment. Towels are provided at the gym and a cold water dispenser as well. On the way back to our room we would stop at the Paris Cafe for a latte and a cup of tea which we then sipped by the pool. The Paris Cafe has lots of little pastry treats in the morning and ads ice cream or sorbets later in the day. We didn't try any as they kind of defeat the purpose of getting up early and going to the gym but they looked really tasty.
By 7 in the morning many of the chairs by the pool have been reserved by the butlers (should you ante up for a butler) but there were still lots to choose from for us. We read reviews complaining about the pool chair reservation game but it really seems quite fair. If you are an early riser you get a better selection of chairs. If you get up at 10 in the morning you get a lesser selection. Everyone has the ability to set their priorities and you cant have your cake and eat it too if you like to sleep in on vacation.
We ate breakfast most days at the Bayside buffet and found it to have everything we could possibly want. The quality of the fresh fruit and vegetables was amazing and the view was beautiful.
We ate breakfast at Marios on one occassion and didnt like it as much. Mainly because of the lack of a view.
As anyone who has read our previous reviews will know we love to walk on the beach and the beach was decent in this regard. It doesn't compare to the Punta Cana beach in terms of distance you can walk but it wasn't too bad. There is a lot of watersports activities operating off the beach and so we chose to spend our sunworshipping hours by the pool which was very nice. The chairs are the best we have had on vacation quite frankly and the pool itself was perfect for floating lazily around sipping drinks on floaties provided by the resort.
The bar staff at the Mediterranean pool were great and we found the service to be efficient and friendly.
We went on two excursions and enjoyed them both. The first was the snorkelling trip which was fun. The staff were helpful and it was a nice little jaunt about 10mins by boat and we saw some really beautiful fish. One word of caution if you don't like to be swarmed by fish ask the guys on the boat to "not" chum the water with bread around you while you swim....lol
The second excursion we went on was the Sandals Exclusive Wadadli Cats circumnavigation tour and we loved it. Well worth the money.
We enjoyed the Kimonos restaurant experience, were reasonably pleased with the Marios Italian meal and absolutely loved the meals (multiple) we had at the OK Corral. Lunch at the Barefoot restaurant was excellent and we also enjoyed the Cricketeers Pub for a meal as well.
One of our favourite things to do between the pool and dinner was to grab drinks at Cricketeers (they have Guinness on tap which impressed me) and head down to the big comfy beach couches by the firepits to watch the sunset. We'd then head to dinner and return to the firepits to relax later in the evening to enjoy another drink and look at the stars.
As for the room we found it to be quite comfortable. The fridge was actually cold and the concierge ensure it was always restocked. It was nice to have real bottles of alcohol instead of the little mini bottles, full size bottles of champagne restocked daily and lots of water as well. We don't drink pop but I expect that would have been restocked accordingly as well.
I'm sure I've forgotten half of the stuff I should have written but hopefully this gives you a bit of a taste of a great vacation.
The resort was clean, the staff were friendly, we met lots of people of all ages and had lots of fun at a first class, first rate resort.

Room Tip: We stayed in a Ground Floor Portofino Suite in the Almond Tower on the Mediterranean side of the res...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank OntarioBeachGuru
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 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 (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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