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“Crystal Blue Waters, Grand Sandals Experience”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 17, 2013

We stayed at the resort back in March 2013 and it was excellent. This is a great property, with great amenities and excellent restaurants. Mario's was especially excellent as the chefs were from Italy and food preparation was exceptional. Also, food selection whether it was at breakfast or supper was incredible (you could not have improved upon it). The fact that they had a Kimonos on the property was an added bonus as you could show up for sushi (which was superb), or sit down for a Japanese display of good humour and good food prepared in front of you. Take advantage of Red Lane and take a couples massage. It was a relaxing and sensational experience. Beach wand pool areas were fantastic with lots of water sports activities. The service was excellent overall but not the same level at Barefoot (beachfront for lunch), but the jerk chicken was excellent. Airport ride to the resort was less than 30 minutes.

Room Tip: Our room was on the ground floor and did not have a view because of all the greenery; however, it wa...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank aftalarico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 17, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I travel A LOT.
We decided to spend more than usual on this trip as it was our honeymoon. We chose Sandals, it was expensive and we had high expectations. The resort, location, and beach at sandals Antigua is absolutely fabulous. Our only disappointments were with our room and the service. The room was very plain. The bathtub and sink was rusty. I immediately let the hotel know that we were disappointed with the room. Unfortunately they were fully booked and couldn't do anything for us. As for the service, many of the staff seemed like they didn't want to be there and that made us feel uncomfortable at times. All in all, we are very easy going and can have fun anywhere. This was a very relaxing and fun vacation even with the minor shortfalls.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
3  Thank The_Grezwells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2013

Full disclosure, this will be a lengthy review and hopefully bits and pieces will help those such as myself who either were thinking about booking or had booked and were curious about specific details.

Arrival at Airport -

Very small airport which means pretty quick from plane to curbside with baggage. Beware the baggage handlers just outside customs which will yell the name of resorts to you hoping yours is the one they say so that they can grab your bags and lead the way to expect a tip. If you need help with bags they are probably great, we could easily handle ours for the 2 min walk so just ignore and pass by if you do not want help.

At the curb Sandals has a desk and will get you set up and into a van quickly. These are mini vans in US terms and not buses like you might get elsewhere but are clean and ours had AC which was nice.

Ride to the resort was a bit bumpy and a few windy roads through neighborhoods but was only about 15 minutes which was great!

Arrival at Resort -

Arriving at resort they grab the bags and lead you into the concierge lobby where they provide wet towels and a drink with snacks. We then waited for our butler who met us and showed us to the room. The bellhop delivered the bags 10-15 min later.

Room -

Once at the room the butler gave a tour of the layout and went over the paperwork with us. I think if you don't have butler service they do the paperwork in the lobby. (Hint - I wouldn't get butler service again but more on that later).

After paperwork but left us with cell phone to contact them and left us to our beautiful room.

Romeo and Juliet Suite -

The room was great, very well shown in the pictures on the website. Sometimes those can be deceiving but in this case were very close and I was happy with that. What you see is what you will get.

Resort Overview -

The resort overall is gorgeous, very well kept grounds which is pretty impressive as this place is large. It really is like 2 separate resorts joined together and each has some really great features, places, etc.

Pools -

The pools are great, I will say that we spent our time at two of them, the main pool and the carib pool. The main pool is great for lots of people, socializing, noise, music, great bar service and fun!

The carib pool, just off the path a little is a little slice of heaven if you enjoy a few less people, fantastic bar service, better than main pool due to so many less people, and really fun afternoon pool volleyball. Trust me, you don't have to be good, just have fun.

We didn't make it to the other pools but there are a few more in the caribbean village that were small and had no bar. Very quiet and hidden away if you want peace and relaxation.

Restaurants -

A hint here, my wife and I do not eat seafood so it limited our desires at certain restaurants.

Tex Mex - This was our favorite by FAR!!! Service was spectacular, atmosphere was amazing sitting around the grill area upstairs where the breeze is unreal. Food great! Chili was spicy and a true flavor explosion! I loved it!

Marios - Italian, pretty good, we live just outside NYC so it's tough to judge certain foods against what we are used to. But the service was good and it was an overall good place for breakfast buffet and dinner one night.

Pizza - Great, Great, Great....perfect place for lunch as it is near pool and perfect sized meal, ice cold beer and if you want more than one....giddy up order 2!

Bayside Restaurant - We went here one night for the beach BBQ which was moved inside due to the threat of weather. The food was okay, I would recommend the chicken fajitas.

Cafe de Paris - GO HERE!!! It is a coffee and pastry shop hidden in the St Marks Square and it is phenomenal! If you like strong coffee, hot or iced you will love this place. And the pastries and sweets are delicious. What's more, the ladies working there are absolutely amazing and so friendly!

Drunken Duck - Formerly Cricketeers Pub was a huge disappointment! If they really call this the "sports bar" they must think sports is watching old ladies knit blankets. The place has one small TV completely out of the way. Then they have another TV in a totally different room removed from the bar area. Food is way below average pub fare. Not sure if there is any redeeming value with this place other than the staff is very friendly as they are throughout this resort.

Beach - The beach area is very nice. We have been to St. Lucia, Maarten, Aruba, Hawaii, St. Thomas, Bermuda etc etc etc. Many many islands and I can say this beach had some of the softest sand anywhere. The water was a nice temp and clarity similar to Aruba in my mind. There are vendors as many have mentioned but true to other reviews a few no's here and there and we never encountered anyone being aggressive at all. They offer, is you are interested say yes, if not a no and they head off to the next person.

Gym - For anyone who cares or wants to work out. We did about every other day. They have quite an extensive offering of machines, weights, etc. Also tennis courts.

Finally Butler Service - I will start by saying the ONLY reason we had the butler service was that it came with the room that we wanted. Otherwise if it had been an option you pay for I would have opted out. Although after tips you really do pay for it.

So we had 3 butlers that rotate and cover from about 7am to 10pm. They reserve chairs by pool or beach, stock coolers with beer, water, soda, etc. Long story short, they can do pretty much anything you ask and are very friendly. However, maybe we are just not high maintenance people but we barely used them. Other than having them reserve chairs so we didn't have to get up early, they didn't do much.

They decorated the room one night, and did some other thoughtful things. However, at times I found them to be more bothersome than helpful. A few days they called the room phone at 9am when we were sleeping asking if we need things. They would call throughout the day to see if we needed things. I get that they are trying to be helpful but it almost started to feel like they were trying to do things to get a tip. I would have thought by day 5,6 or 7 they would realize the routine of us not needing the 9am call or calls throughout the day. We ordered pizza to be delivered poolside one day which we thought would be nice but it took over an hour for them to deliver it and the order was wrong. We could have walked 2 minutes made the order, gone back 15 min later and picked them up ourselves.

All in all they tried and were friendly but being someone who is not lazy and likes things done right, I'd just prefer to do things myself, not be bothered if I want to sleep in, and not have to tip because it's the right thing for 3 people who did relatively very little for us. I would select a room below the butler level in the future.

Final Tip - This seemed to be not well known at all and not offered by the resort even the butlers....there is FREE Wifi service that works pretty well throughout the resort both in the room and by the pool, beach, etc. Yes it is free. You can pay for an upgraded version if you want to video chat, stream movies etc but the basic was perfect for internet surfing, texting over wifi to friends with iPhones in the US etc. Also, there is a Sandals calling app that you can download and you can then make free phone calls to the US and Canada over that same wifi network. Hope that little tip help you have a great vacation.

As always remember vacation anywhere is what you make of it. This place is great! The food is very average to below average but the setting is amazing! Enjoy it for what it is! You will not regret booking this resort!

Room Tip: Stayed in Romeo and Juliet Suite on 6th floor. Great ocean views. Huge room with separate living and...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank arzkats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2013

Totally not worth the money. We were bombarded by the locals who would not take no for an answer and parked their jet skis and boats right in your view. I felt like I was swimming in fuel. I understand they are trying to make money however you could not even act like you were sleeping they would stand over you and wake you up!! They asked us for the drinks in our cooler. We could only stand it two days we stayed at the pool the rest of the time. Sandals messed up our flights and we were stranded in Antigua and had to purchase new tickets and still have not been reimbursed it has been over a month already. They originally messed up my name on the ticket and I knew it would be a problem and after telling them this at least five different phone calls later they told me I have to call 3 days before travel. Right before my wedding. They kept putting me off back and forth saying it was the airline then the airline would say it is them. Now they are still doing that with the reimbursement of this extra ticket. The food is really bad. There were birds perched above the buffets on the chandeliers in their nests. They would fly down and lay on the foods get what they wanted and fly back up. So GROSS. Also if that is enough for you and you really want to go and you like snack foods, make sure you bring your own pretzels or chips - 10$ in gift shop!! The grounds are gorgeous and I loved being there with the love of my life. We had fun together, however I would want someone to tell me these things, I would've went elsewhere.

Room Tip: we had the private swim up room - it was nice because we wanted to be alone and the beach was not re...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank 473amyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 18, 2013

Hello and thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua, Amy.
We regret to hear that your stay was not as expected. We strive to uphold the highest standards of service and quality. Our staff goes through 120 hours of rigorous training each year to ensure we are providing excellent guest experiences. We have many guests that boast of our luxurious inclusions, water sports, fine dining, accommodations and quality of staff but as hoteliers we realize that there is always room for improvement and your feedback is appreciated.

I would be happy to look into this matter on your behalf and will be contacting you privately for additional information. We do request that while on resort you notify us of anything that does not meet your standards. We are always willing to work with you to make sure you walk away feeling like your stay was money well spent.

Thank you once again for your review.

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Reviewed November 15, 2013

First all inclusive we've done and it was incredible. Quick pick up at the airport, wine and champagne while you wait to check in and the rooms are all close to the beach. The beach is beautiful and clean and is a 1 minute walk from the main pool. The Drunken Duck bar is tons of fun at night. Mario and Ken are top notch. They are entertaining, friendly and very personable. They made the trip even better which is almost impossible. The spa treatment was worth it, very relaxing and extremely helpful with loosening up my shoulders and back without pain or cracking. All of the restaurants were excellent. kimonos was very fun, get a group and reserve together so you sit at the same table. Sugar, our chef at kimonos, was a fun surprise. He sings and entertains while cooking. I recommend barefoot seafood by the beach, it was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect. We were so impressed with the trip that while we were here we booked to the Sandals Grande in St. Lucia. I'm still debating if I would just rather come back here. Loved every minute of my vacation. Worth every penny.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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2  Thank NickBogart84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2013

Thank you for your review, Nick!
It was our pleasure to have you as our guests and to be your first experience of an All Inclusive resort! We are delighted that you had a fantastic time and that we were able to exceed your expectations!
We cannot wait to welcome you back and we look forward to seeing you at one of your gorgeous locations soon!

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Reviewed November 14, 2013

After reading some other reviews I am truly shocked that anyone could find fault with this resort. We spent a week in the villa with plunge pool for our 20th anniversary & the only fault I can find is the few bites I got which obviously Sandals could do nothing about. Lol. We arrived & were met in the lobby by our butlers Julian & Vanessa. They escorted us to our room #911 which was a little creepy to hear lol. The villa was spotless well laid out & there was a bottle of champagne on ice & cheese & fruit platters awaiting us.
The resort itself is beautiful with the prettiest flowers & greenery everywhere. The villa was very private had a living room area & a huge bedroom with beautiful 4 post king size bed. There was a patio table/umbrella plus 2 loungers out back. The plunge pool was spotless & hot tub was too
We ordered breakfast every morning & butler brought & served on the patio. We ate @ Drunken Duck the first night & went to the beach barbecue on another night. The other nights we ordered from various restaurants & our butler served again on patio
We have a hectic life with an autistic child so just being away together is what we need & we found it so relaxing to just dine @ our villa & the yard was so beautiful we wanted to enjoy it!!!!! The food from Barefoot/Mario's & Eleanors was top notch & plentiful. Our butlers were absolutely fantastic they went above & beyond in everything. They seemed to think of things before we even knew we wanted/needed them
We had a couples massage in our room & it was fantastic!!!!
We also enjoyed the lattes & pastries from the Cafe
We have travelled quite a bit & have seen many islands & cruised lots too. This was our second Sandals stay & in our opinion Sandals is way above other resorts. We have had butler service twice & tho it's not a necessity we really enjoy it. If you want to just relax & be pampered pay for butler service. It's really worth the extra cost. The beach @ this resort is gorgeous. Yes there are some locals selling stuff BUT we just said no thanks & they walked away. The pools are spectacular as well. Having the butler means your seats are always reserved & there's a cooler with your fave drinks waiting for you. We did splurge on this trip but it was worth every penny. In my opinion Sandals is just way above any other 5 star resort & once you go to a Sandals it's hard to go anywhere else.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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8  Thank Lesleyapp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2013

Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua, Lesley!
We are ecstatic to hear that your second stay with us was just as wonderful as your first and that you loved the beauty of Antigua! It is fantastic that you were able to have some much needed R&R and explore all that the resort has to offer with one another.
We hope to welcome you back again soon!

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Reviewed November 12, 2013

This is a fantastic resort but the advertising brochure is not totally truthful. We're scuba divers so were excited to read that the resort offered "unlimited" scuba diving but upon arrival we were told we could take only two dives a day. The resort general manager had no response for this false advertising. Clearly the diving is "limited"!! Also when we signed up for the "two dives" we were told we had to take a checkout in the pool to check our skills even though we're certified advanced divers with over 250 dives over 17 years. They said they'd have to review our dive logs which we were not forewarned to bring.
Above and beyond the scuba diving problem, the resort is deluxe in every other regard. The numerous restaurants are all superb, the staff totally outstanding and always ready to go above and beyond to provide assistance to guests. All of the alcoholic drinks are excellent and feature premium liquors at no additional cost. The beach and numerous pool are top-notch. The nightly and various entertainment productions are all worth attending.
Beware of the numerous beach vendors not associated with the hotel. Do not book excursions through anyone but the hotel.
Do not proceed under the impression that what we believe to be "toll free" calls are really free. Any toll free call made from your room costs about $13 a pop added to your bill. Also do not sign up for the weekly WiFi offering. It is inexpensive (about $42) but connections is spotty which will send you cell phone into roaming mode which is very, very expensive!! Best bet purchase hourly chunks of internet café usage for $11. You can use the hour at each session until it's used up, then purchase more as needed.
This resort is a favorite for weddings and every detail is handled meticulously by the hotel staff.

Another positive is the art gallery. The painting are beautiful painted by a local artist and at very reasonable rate. A must visit is the Café de Paris which makes wonderful "STARBUCKS" type coffees, serves incredible and pastries, and makes to-order crepes. Of course, everything in this shop is included.

Would I return? Probably not because of the scuba diving problem. Otherwise, this is a great place to stay. Look at it as a land-based cruise with many more amenities.

One added note, the photo staff takes your pictures at every opportunity but the cost of each print is $15. Better to bring your digital camera, take your own, and print them off for 15 cents each at home.

Be prepared for the loudest crickets you've ever heard anywhere!! They chirp all night!!!

Room Tip: Rooms on the Caribbean side of the resort are significantly cheaper than the Mediterranean side and...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Dolphin913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2013

Thank you for your review!
We were pleased that you enjoyed your time at Sandals Grande Antigua and its luxurious amenities. We regret to hear that you were disappointed with the Scuba operation. We do try to offer as many scuba and snorkeling trips as possible but we understand that we did not live up to your expectations. For this, we apologize.
I will be forwarding your concerns to the relevant departments for further discussion - including our watersports team.
Our response to feedback continues to be in word and deed. We hope that you would afford us an opportunity to demonstrate the same.

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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 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach 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: $578 - $1,323 (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 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

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