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Reviewed February 1, 2004

The honeymoon of our dreams. We went on our honeymoon in the middle of November, and the weather in Antigua could not have been better. It was about 85 degrees or higher and sunny every day we were there. The ride from the airport was short, which was nice after traveling by plane for almost 5 hours. The thing to remember is that you are visiting the Caribbean, and nothing is going to be like it is in the United States.
The staff were very accomodating and nicer than hotel staff we have encountered in the United States. Our room was upgraded because we were on our honeymoon. There is nothing to complain about, you get all of the food and drinks you could possibly want. There were so many things to do. We do advise sticking with the resort to plan activities as opposed to the random people coming up to you on the beach. Try the Sip Sop, and try to get as many points as you can to get your sandals...we recommend pool volleybowl.

Thank Fearless22447
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2004

We visited Sandals Antigua from 18-25 Jan 04, and while we had a relatively enjoyable and relaxing vacation, this Sandals resort fell far short of expectations. It was our third stay with a Sandals (Dunns River Falls in Jamaica and the Halcyon in St. Lucia were the others); we ve also visited two other Sandals resorts as part of the resort exchange privileges. Unfortunately, Sandals Antigua did not live up to its, or the overall Sandals, reputation.Just like the couple from Chicago who wrote their review on 25 Jan 04, we also were in a Grande Luxe Beachfront room. Ironically, we were in room 104 for a few days, i.e., the room right next to theirs, although we never met. Since the Chicagoans wrote a review that hit our thoughts almost exactly, I won t rehash the good points of the resort (and they were some), but did want to provide a couple examples of why we were disappointed and also rate the resort as average. The problem at Sandals Antigua was the staff, and it s lack of attention to detail and almost indifferent attitude to customer service.While we were generally pleased with the grounds, we did note there seemed to be an inordinate amount of broken light fixtures that left some part of the grounds extremely dark. For example every ground light at the far end of the Frangipani block was not working. On the second floor of the block, lights were also out at various points. Likewise, there were several light fixtures in the main courtyard and by the Bayside Grill that were out and/or broken. While a light out here and there wouldn t normally have made an impact on us, we were surprised that they stayed that way the whole week! Additionally, it seemed these grounds had more glasses, plates, etc., left around then normal. We noticed that two bar glasses were left in one of the two person hammocks by our room for over five days. They only were removed after I picked them up and took them back to the bar. These are just small examples of lack of attention to detail.Our main disappointment, however, was with the Sandals Antigua staff. Just as most of the negative reviews tend to note problems with the staff, we experienced the same, often indifferent attitude. We ve been to several Sandals and become Signature Guest Club members because of how pleased we were with the service and pampering the staffs provided. The Antiguan staff, however, often seemed to not really care.Despite being Sandals Signature Guest Club members and traveling with another couple, we arrived to find the resort had no knowledge of our reservation. (Sandals notes that being a Sandals Signature Guest makes you a part of an exclusive family and brings you a world of benefits, including ongoing discounts, promotions not available to others, free gifts, special handling and more.) Our friends reservation was in their reservations system, although the Sandals rep at the airport did not have them on their incoming guest list either. (Again, lack of attention to detail?) Several times per day we inquired with the Concierge and Reservations staffs to inquire about our status, yet they were unable to provide answers, nor provided the follow-up they promised. We arrived on Sunday, but it took until Wednesday night and our having to get our travel agent involved to get things straightened out. One of the promotions we received by being a Signature Guest was a $250 credit for use in the Spa. Again, despite our requests, this issue was also only rectified after getting our travel agent involved. We also experienced problems when requesting extra water and orange juice for our in-room bar. We made the same requests at the other resorts we went to and the request was promptly and efficiently completed each day. At Sandals Antigua we never received the OJ, and only once received extra water. We eventually gave up asking. Similar things occurred with the amenities kit and robes that were supposed to be in our room.While some of these issues are relatively minor, they aren t when one considers Sandals website touts you'll get to be pampered like royalty . , and when you have a room with Suite Concierge Service (as we did and as have had with our other stays at a Sandals) that you have a Concierge who is devoted to fulfilling all your needs, from guaranteeing dinner reservations to arranging tours . Unfortunately they did not fulfill our needs or requests, nor did they arrange tours. Their solution to arranging tours was to say, talk to the Tour Desk.The bar staffs were generally good, meeting guests with a smile and a greeting. I say generally good, however, because more than once we encountered bar staff that made it seem like a chore for them to make a drink for you. The restaurant staffs were hit or miss. The grill staff was particularly bad, often making you wait until they finished talking among each other, and then not even saying any greeting. (We also noticed the grill would often put their closed sign out around 5:20 pm, even though they were supposed to be open until 5:30 pm.) As another example, we started out having lunch in the Bayside because they had a sandwich bar. However, the Sandals employee working the sandwich bar rarely said a say a single word during the process, and more than once did not even acknowledge our greeting or to comment when we made our selections. We stopped having sandwiches, and then stopped going to the Bayside altogether because of similar problems. In general we found that many employees did not greet you with a smile, even when you smiled and said hello . Quite honestly, I often felt I was being served by a teenager at a fast food restaurant, being provided that same air of great, now I have to work because you are here.I could go on at length about the trip, but the bottom line is Sandals Antigua does not pamper you like royalty, and does not live up to its reputation. The room and service provided with the Suite Concierge rooms was not up to par, nor worth the cost. For a resort rated 5s or more depending on the scale used, you will not feel like you got what you paid for. If you ve been to other Sandals, you will most likely be disappointed. If you decide to go to Sandals Antigua, save your money and go with a garden room, and lower your expectations. The great weather, ocean, and beautiful sunsets will make up for much of the other disappointments.

7  Thank Seaside10427
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2004

I felt compelled to write because I relied on this site to gain insight into my first visit to a Sandals resort in which we stayed from 1/19 to 1/24. Our objective for our stay - relaxation, which was accomplished once we lowered our expectations. Keep in mind that Sandals is a marketing machine, and their flashy brochures, internet clips, and videos give you a false sense of luxury, gourmet dining, and elaborate room facilities. We did a lot of research and since this was our first Caribbean vacation, outside of a cruise 3 months ago, we thought the money that we spent towards a Sandals vacation would be well valued and safe. Here are our thoughts when returning:

Beach (Our weather was perfect!!)

The resort itself, nestled in Dickenson Bay, has breathtaking views of the Caribbean and is situated on a very nice stretch of beach. The watersports were great. Snorkeling twice daily, Scuba trips daily, water skiing daily, Hobies, Sunfish, Windsurfing boards, (First come first serve - almost always available). The guys at the desk hustle on a daily basis, and helped teach us how to Hobie and Sunfish. I saw them raking seaweed one day to keep the beach clean, which it was, and it showed they cared. As others have said, there are locals selling their beads, wraps, shirts, horseback excursions, and wave runners. While it could be annoying, if you just said, "no thanks" they would go on their way. During our five days on the beach we were approached by the same 6 or so vendors repeatedly so it was almost funny by the end. Chairs are available and you can find them if you arrive a little later when it is more crowded. Water was warm and beautiful with silky sand.

Room (Room 103 - first floor)

We learned with our stay that places in the Caribbean get a little worn down with time because of the strong salt air. This Sandals is 13 years old. We booked a grande luxury beachfront concierge room. Sounds snazzy, eh? Well when we walked to our room after a glass of champagne, we were disappointed that it really was a little more snug then the pictures indicated, walls were cracked, and the bathroom, while spacious, was worn as well (some mold). The bed was very comfortable, but the cover was seemingly old with a cheesy floral array matching the curtains. It reminded me of a Holiday Inn arrangement - not a luxury Caribbean $400/night room which is what Sandals sold us on. We did have a mini fridge stocked with cokes, water bottle, wine, and beer which you don't really use much of because you don't need to be in your room much. Our view, through the garden, over one of the pools, with hints of the beach in the distance was nice, however not exactly our depiction of "beachfront". You could hear the crashing of the waves which was pleasant, however at times it was a little noisy in the mornings. We did have turndown service at night which was nice and our attendent kept things manageable in our room.


They are constantly working on the grounds and they are plush with vegetation. I would assume that when the flowers are blooming it would be beautiful. The pools, as the whole resort, are showing their age.
There is not a pool on the water, as the main pool is towards the middle of the grounds with a swim up bar - we didn't hang around the pool much as the beach was beautiful. I played pool volleyball once which was fun. There were hammocks, etc. near the ocean which was nice either during the day, or at night. There are security guards positioned throughout the grounds, mainly to keep locals out.


First, keep in mind that Antigua is far away from any mainland - fresh frozen would be the best description. In talking with others in comparison, food in the Caribbean is not going to be the greatest. The buffetts were very poor (Breakfast and Lunch) We basically closed our eyes and hoped for the best to just get the day started. Kimonos (Japanese and everyone raves about) was ok. I tried the Sushi as an app - bland. Steak was cheap, chicken was good, and shrimp were good. You get to know other couples which I think is why it is so popular. The Italian restaurant had good calamari, snapper, and fra diablo. Desserts weren't handmade but made for a nice sweet at the end (think frozen Pepperidge Farms desserts). The OK Corral had good fajitas, the steak was cheap, and the cajun shrimp were good. The Bayside restaurant which we found as the best had a nice selection all around. At any of the restaurants you can order more of anything. You do have to make reservations a day in advance so don't forget to do that. Except for Kimonos all of the restaurants are open air and on the water which is nice.

The service, all around, was not up to par. I would have expected more smiles, greetings, and enthusiasm towards the customer. They are on island time and I just didn't get the feeling they cared and they know you have already spent your money. They don't have to work for tips which is good and bad for the customer. They seem to look right through you at any of the restaurants, however most of the bartenders were nice. We did have the "special" concierge party which those folks were nice - but really they were trying to sell on the spa.


One of the nice things about being in an all inclusives is that the drinks are free. The Piano bar was fun and the other dance spot was ok.
We hung out with several couples (Canucks, English, and Americans) which made the experience a lot of fun. They do have singers/bands which prompted dancing and conga lines which was fun. One night they had a cool cultural night which showcased costumes from Antigua and Barbuda.


Since we wanted to relax we didn't do much, but we did choose a sunset sail which was nice. We went around the bend from the Sandals and just floated around until the sun went down. There was a videographer trying to sell you a $40 tape, which was ridiculous and annoying since you were trying to have a romantic sunset experience. I would have hoped to have sailed further but we didn't. It was like we spent $80 to get on the sailboat. The sunsets were all gorgeous.

We went into St John's one day for the two hour trip which is sold through the concierge desk and that was enough time. It was typical of any of the island cruise stops. They ask you for "taxi" rides constantly and again you just say "no thanks". The vendors are not pushy which makes shopping pleasurable if you are seeking souveniers.


The Spa was excellent. We did a couples massage, used the steam room, and whirlpool. The massage was the best that I have had. They did try to upsell you on other treatments so keep that in mind.

In all, the experience was average/neutral as I have rated it. If I had to go back to Antigua I would try a different place, and Sandals really will have to convince me for other destinations. As I mentioned we lowered our expectations, got to know other couples, and overall had a relaxing time. It's 14 degrees out and I wish I was still......sitting on the beach enjoying the outdoors on Island Time with no problems mon!

12  Thank GlobeTrotting26526
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2004

We were married at and honeymooned here the beginning of January. We were not the least bit dissapointed considering some of the negative reviews we had read.(I wonder if there are alternative motives behind some of these, especially when they recommend another specific resort?
I can't believe they stayed at the same resort as we did) Our room was great, on the beach, and always serviced well. The staff was very friendly, courteous and helpful. The food was plentiful and for the mostly quite good. The vendors were no big problem in fact rather enjoyed talking to some of them. Of all the other guests we talked with, there never seemed to be any major complaints. Have never been to other Sandals Resorts but would consider for sure. Hated to end the vacation.

1  Thank Trek31104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2004

We went to Sandals for our Honeymoon on Jan 5,2004 through Jan 13. We had no problems checking in and were upgraded to a nice size room. We felt the pools were nice and we were able to find lounger chairs somewhere on the property (they go fast in the morning). The weather was very warm and sunny and windy. We enjoyed the pina coladas and felt the staff was curtious and prompt. We enjoyed the activities such as volleyball, snorkeling, sailing the hobie cat, shuffleboard, tennis, and ping pong. The evening entertainment was also good --either bands or talent night. We were able to find something we liked at all of the restaurants and really enjoyed Kimono's. The spa was fabulous -- we did the couples massage and both did the reflexology massage -- I highly recommend getting Lisa as your therapist. She's great. We didn't have too much of a problem with bugs or ants but we weren't dumb about it either-- we didn't leave food around or dump anything sweet down the sink without washing the sink afterwards with soap. The maid service tries to be accommodating but might not come until 5 or 6 pm. We really had a relaxing, wonderful time and would recommend it to anyone.

1  Thank Quest23938
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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