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“Absolutely Wonderful”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
New Milford, Connecticut
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Absolutely Wonderful”
Reviewed February 4, 2014

We traveled here Jan 18 -25 2014. We planned this trip last year through the Soon Come Back program while in St. Lucia. Somehow along the way our reservations got "lost" and we didn't have a room. Due to some finagling by my travel agent and Sandals, we did end up with a butler suite. My husband and I were a little apprehensive about having a butler. We are both in the sevice industry and did feel a little uneasy about it. Let me tell you, this is the way to go folks! We were met at the hotel by Julian who was very friendly and inviting. He took us up to our room, gave us a tour of everything we needed to know. Offered to unpack our bags (whattttttttt???) and get us a bite to eat. He asked what our preferences were for the week. We told him we were pretty easy going, we would just like to be sure that we had spot on the beach every day. The next day Desmond (Butler #2) came by to show us our "spot" on the beach. Perfect! The beach here is very nice. Keep in mind that all beaches in Antigua are public so it does tend to get some cruise traffic in the afternoon. The vendors on the beach are plenty, but a simple "No thank you" and they will leave you alone.
The food was spectacular. Eleanore's is not to be missed. We ate there twice, (Thank you to Vanessa, butler #3!) . The pasta at Mario's is delish. Make sure to stop at the cafe' for wonderful capuccino! The entertainment was good. If the band is not to your liking, there is always the Drunken' Duck for a good time. The DJ there is great.

We did a tour through Island Routes at the resort. Did the the 4x4 Eco Kayak trip and were surprised that we were the only ones from our resort on the trip. What a day! We definitely got our money's worth. It was a full day of sight seeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and eating. A true pleasure. The tour guide on our trip was AMAZING as was our Kayak/snorkeling guide. See our review under Island Routes for that one.

We would come back to Sandals Grande Antigua in a heartbeat. Truly a great experience all around!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Maria B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lakeview, OH
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2014

My husband and I just returned from Antigua where we spent our first anniversary at the Grande. We chose Sandals because we were married at the Sandals Grande in St. Lucia in 2013. Overall I would say that this location was good, although a very large resort. We usually like a smaller resort so my comment is strictly based on what we like. The choices of restaurants was a wide variety - which we liked very much. Our favs were Barefoot, Eleanors. and Bayside. We had breakfast at Bayside most days - its right on the beach. The food quality was excellent everywhere we ate. We stayed on the 5th floor in the Mediterranean Village. The room was great - perfect views of the main pool and ocean - plus sunsets! While there we did do a couple of the excursions. One shopping trip into St. Johns - not impressed by the 'mall' or the vendor area, we decided to explore to the outlying area and found a treasure trove of small shops and the C&C Wine shop where we had a wonderful glass of wine and a short break from the heat. We also did the trip to Shirleys Heights - advertised and a shopping trip as well - but we were really disappointed. The only 'shopping' was one vendor set up with hot sauces. But the sunset there is spectacular - the jerk chicken was awesome and so was the steel drum band- so well worth our time. The best experience we had off the resort was when we had the hotel staff get us a taxi for the afternoon. We asked to be taken to Devils Bridge - THIS YOU MUST DO! That is a once in a lifetime experience. Our driver (his name was Wahl) was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of history about the islands. If you go on a jaunt like this - make sure you ask about seeing Betty's Hope. It is one of the last remaining windmills that they used in the old days to process sugar cane. Truly a great example of how the island has evolved from those earlier days. Hard to believe that this windmill and park were never mentioned in anything we read before going to Antigua. **something worth mentioning *** At the resort every evening around 6:15 they fog for bugs. We know that this is a must - just be aware and take cover if you get caught on the grounds. We took refuge in the Drunken Duck - had a drink and a game of pool until it passed! So make the best of it - the alternative to having bug bites is not a pleasant thought!!

Room Tip: The Caribbean side of the resort is the older part. It is charming and would be a good choice too. T...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Kelly K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2014

Reading some of the previous reviews makes me think some people are just impossible to please...because we had an amazing time at Sandals and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Not every vacation/resort is going to be perfect!

First I'll mention the very few complaints we had:
1. the beach vendors are really annoying...it's a public beach so they can be there. All you have to say to them is "no thank you" and they won't bother you...it just gets old when different vendors approach you all day. By the end of the week they didn't really bother us though, which was nice.
2. Service was a little slow at a couple of the restaurants. Particularly Eleanor's and Bayside. Not a big deal, we weren't that annoyed by it because we were on island time and the food was great! Just a heads up though...they aren't working for tips, so they aren't as motivated.

Recommendations:
1. If you want a little adventure in your trip do some tours! We did the Island ATV tour, which was amazing and our favorite was the Xtreme tour. A power boat took us around the entire island; we stopped at Stingray City (awesome) had an amazing lunch at Green Island, snorkeled at the Pillars of Hercules (double awesome) and stopped at Rendezvous Beach, all while learning about the history and landmarks on the island. We highly recommend it!
2. Get scuba certified at home! We wish we had done this...we ended up not diving, because we booked a few tours and didn't have time to get resort certified and dive. We are getting certified at home!
3. Do the resort snorkeling - Paradise Reef is fantastic!
4. The pizza is delicious, we had it just about every day
5. Check the events calendar in the Caribbean lobby - they always have fun things going on each night
6. Make your dinner reservations for Kimonos early. The food was so good, the show was even better (we had Eric, he was great) and the reservations book up fast...don't miss out!
7. We stayed on the Mediterranean side and were upgraded to a villa...AMAZING! We enjoyed both sides of the resort, but the Med side is definitely newer and cleaner...we would recommend staying on this part of the resort.

Other things good to know:
1. Locals are very friendly, but poor, so there are a lot of people selling tours, jewelry, conchs etc. We did all of our tours through Sandals - they contracted through local tour guides, so they did a fabulous job.
2. Get to dinner early, you won't have to wait, unless you don't mind waiting. We loved OK Corral...one night we got there at 630pm and were sat right away, another night we got there at 7pm and there was a 45 minute wait.
3. Try the Messicana Pizza from the pizzeria...YUM!
4. Love in a Cup, Reggae Top and Miami Vice were some of our favorite drinks from the bar.
5. Make use of the spa - the treatments are wonderful, just be ready for them to try to sell you other crap. I said "no thank you" to the $45 lotion they tried to sell me.

All in all we had an absolute wonderful vacation. We are in the process of planning our next Sandals vacation...we are thinking Exuma! We met a lot of wonderful guests and staff and wouldn't change a thing about the experience!

Room Tip: We got a free upgrade from a suite to a villa. The villa was amazing, but didn't have a view...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Lacy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spring Valley, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2014

We just arrived home after a week stay and what a fantastic stay it was.
We stayed on the Caribbean side in a pool walk out room. It was close to the beach and the restaurants.
The staff was friendly and welcoming. Some favorites were Dolly at the spa, Ken at Mario's and Violet at Bayside. The food was great. Lots of food to try.
The vendors on the beach were plentiful, but took a no thank you and did not come back.
We enjoyed this trip so much that we set up our return trip here for next year.
Mr. G- I watched you interacting with your staff and you will do well here. Good Luck!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Aggie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2014 via mobile

Stayed 21st Jan - 1st Feb 2014. Best holiday ever!

UPS:
Resort paradise with the tropical trees and flowers everywhere with humming birds darting in and out, sea turquoise blue and white sand, palm trees everywhere!

The beach vendors are very polite and do not persist if you just say no thank you. They get to know you and stop asking you after a couple of days. They are colourful characters and love to chat. Ask for Devon to arrange a good trip.

Hotel spotlessly clean everywhere.

Every type of food available from grab and go to fine cuisine and local menus on offer. Also no limit on food or soft drinks or alcohol from 10.30am when beach service also starts!

Staff AMAZING! So friendly and cannot do enough for you. Love to be addressed by name and engage in a chat with you. They all shook our hands on our last day.

Go for a sail around the island on the Excellence. A fab trip with lots of fun. Crew amazing, carried my wheelchair onto the catamaran and then down onto the beach for lunch etc.

Go for a Pelican Safari and ask for Damian. We had a great day with him and learnt so much about Antigua and it's history. He's a wonderful guy.

DOWNS:

We were in Caribbean Grove by a pool which was so beautiful but room not as pictured in brochure, however decided to stay put because of location. Worse thing was the wardrobe was in bathroom so clothes always felt bit damp. Very clean though.

Beach beds hard to come by after 9am and beach cabanas all gone. Rules state no reserving but as some guests reserve the night before you have to do the same or miss out.

There were lots of our American friends here, some in large "mature" groups who seemed to be engaging in competitions of who could shout down or outdo his/companions the most both in the restaurants, at the bar and poolside This spoilt the much advertised romantic atmosphere sometimes. Our peaceful pool in front of our room was hijacked by such a group some afternoons where they took an iPad playing on full volume, took bottles and glasses of alcohol from their rooms and sat with their feet in the water shouting at each other across the pool. Other guest enjoying their books and relaxing in the quiet all had to move away. We told several members of staff but they didn't seem to do anything about it. Arranged fun activities were available in other areas every day - the Caribbean Grove is supposed to be the quiet area. In the dining room sometimes you couldn't hear each other speak. Very selfish, inconsiderate and juvenile behaviour displayed by some which let down their nation and I'm sure their fellow Americans would agree with that.

DRESS CODE:

As per holiday info however some people did push it to the limit and arrived at dinner in nothing better than beach gear, extra short hot pants even wearing baseball caps back to front. And who wants to see builders bums and T shirts parting company with trousers in an elegant dining room? I think the hotel should impress upon guests that appropriate dress should be worn in all the restaurants.

However overall we have come home feeling we have been to paradise, had the best holiday ever and would thoroughly recommend this hotel and the Island. Do get to know the people - it's really worth it!

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
10 Thank t100osh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eden, Utah
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2014

This is our 3rd stay at a Sandals. Each has it's "better than" points. At Sandals, Jamaica, our room was literally 10' from the sea. Emerald Bay, Great Exhuma was our favorite Sandals resort and the view from our suite was breath-taking. At Sandals Grand Antigua we loved the Island, it's history, many beaches and people. The resort is HUGE!!! and yet we seldom felt crowded - even tho it was packed with January escapees. We stayed in a rondoval with butler service and a private plunge pool. Loved the rondoval - very private and cozy. Our butler was mostly Trisha, who did a fine job. We also liked Cecil, but neither he or Maureen were on duty much while we were there. 10 restaurants gave plenty of choices, but we liked Eleanor's best and ate there most evenings. The lobster and pork tenderloin were especially good.
For us, January was a little cold for water sports (OK, we're wimps), and the resort maybe a little crowded. We made return reservations for later in the year when it should be warmer. We thought the staff was great. Everyone made an effort to be helpful and friendly, but it could obviously have been more personal if there were fewer guests. Probably slower season and the size of Emerald Bay are a better fit for us.

Room Tip: If you can afford a rondoval, go for it. Also, there are 2 main areas with entertainment nightly, so...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank christineineden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 30, 2014

This review is more geared towards Sandals Corporation as a whole and the poorest customer service or lack there of EVER! We stayed at this Sandals resort for our honeymoon and has several issues while there. Our room had hundreds upon thousands of "sugar ants" in it MULTIPLE times and we were never relocated into a new room. In fact, the resort showed up with a pest control person wearing a mask and sprayed the entire room down while we were there (we left the room, but couldn't go far b/c of inclement weather). There was a "photo shoot" going on the same week and these people were treated far better than us paying guests. The main pool was shut down (a boat trip around the island was offered b/c of the inconveinence) but we decided to just go to the beach and enjoy that......well then we were forced off the beach to the far far side away from everything b/c it was being used for the "photo shoot". At this point I wanted to go crazy but my wife made me calm down and TRY to enjoy ourselves. Small issue with butler's not handling the reserved beach chairs for us, but they did a FANTASTIC time other than that! Lastly, we saved the "best" restaurant Eleanor's for our final night and when we arrived I wasn't allowed in. I had a shirt on without a collar I was told. I showed them the daily resort sheet placed in everybody's room and it specifically states men's dress attire shirts (with or without collars). They still wouldn't let us in. I was beyond pissed at this point.

After we arrived back in the states I wrote a letter spelling out these issues in full detail. I put this on the sandals website under the post trip details, I mailed a copy to the corporate headquarters, and I also informed my travel agent of the issues. My travel agent gave me the name of someone within the sandals corporation to also send the letter to which I did.........

THESE LETTERS AND EMAILS WERE SENT ON NOVEMBER 7, 2013 AND IT'S JANUARY 30, 2014 AND THERE HAS BEEN ZERO RESPONSE FROM ANYBODY WITHIN THE SANDALS CORPORATION.

This company has basically ruined my honeymoon and when I tried to explain my issues in hopes to get some sort of answer and possible response of how they would fix it, I have got nothing. It's been swept under the rug and nobody cares that it happened and it will probably happen again to someone else if I didn't speak out. This is huge worldwide corporation in which image is everything and word of mouth spreads like wildfire so I'm shocked that nobody has reached out to me. At this point, I honestly don't know if sandals offered us another week vacation at a sandals resort if we would accept. I'm so extremely frustrated with how everything was handled and don't know if I would want to put myself in another situation like this.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
21 Thank Brian M
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 review, February 1, 2014
Dear Brian,

We regret to hear that your honeymoon stay at Sandals Grande Antigua was not as expected. We apologize if you experienced any inconvenience during your time with us and if you felt your concerns were overlooked. We value all of our guests' feedback, as we realize there is always room for improvement and we are committed to delivering excellent service to all.
I would be happy to look into this matter on your behalf and I have sent you a private message for a few additional details about your stay. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for your patience in this matter.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 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 (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 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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