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“Best all-inclusive we have been to”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Best all-inclusive we have been to”
Reviewed February 9, 2014

My wife and I try to choose Caribbean vacations at locations that are a little less traveled. We decided to go to Antigua. We had never been to a Sandals and my travel agent stated that Sandals Grand Antigua is the best resort on the Island. She was not wrong.

I start off by saying that the Island seems very safe. I have been to Mexico several times, St Maarten and Costa Rica and never felt worried in Antigua when I went off site.

I am used to tipping for everything, even at past all inclusive resorts. Sandals would not accept any tips (this is the case for everything except for butler services) So let me officially begin my review with what I loved about the resort.

The staff was extremely friendly helpful. There are more restaurants than we were able to try in the week we were there. The food was fantastic (The pizza place was decent but it leaves a little to be desired, they are small). The rest of the food was fantastic. The best restaurants in my opinion were Kimonos (Japanese hibachi) and Eleanor's (Caribbean cuisine). We also really enjoyed the Sushi place which was surprisingly good. We also did a private dinner on the beach which was very nice and surprisingly reasonable compared to other resorts that do the same thing.

There is a lot to do at the resort and the resort is huge and our room was right in the middle of everything so despite its size, we never had to walk too far. Our room was nice. Nothing extraordinary. The room was always clean and the minibar/fridge was always restocked. The pools were very nice. The main pool is huge and beautiful but crowded. The other pool was quite a bit smaller and quieter but not inviting. The main pool was the place to be. There was always music playing and things going on, but not in a "you're on spring break type of way". The staff encouraged you to participate in activities but didn't hassle you. At Sandals they realize this is your vacation and want you to enjoy it in you're own way.

One of the things that drew us to Antigua was that they say the island has a beach for each day of the year. The Sandals beach was probably the best on the island. Clean crystal clear water, white sands and waiters that will get you drinks or food if you want. We decided to take a day trip to see other beaches and explore some of the island. Compared to other islands, Antigua doesn't offer a lot of history to see. A lot of people don't leave the resort. We were told by one of the Sandals staff to just get a cab and tell the driver what we want to see. The driver was happy to show us his island and culture and it was worth it. The only time the shops in town open is when cruise ships dock, so unfortunately there were no restaurants offering traditional Antiguan food for us to try. We did go to some other beaches and although they were nice, they werent as nice as the Sandals beach.

As far as entertainment goes, every night they have events planned. They range from guest/staff talent shows to competitions and fire dancing shows. All of them are pretty fun and we laughed a lot.

Now for the cons of the resort. Although there arent many, and none of them ruined our experience. The main pool was dirty. Ive been to resorts where the staff is normally cleaning the pool every morning. This did not happen here. I could constantly feel sand on the floor of the pool like it was never cleaned. I also saw food floating in the pool on numerous occasions. This was most likely the result of seagulls taking left over food from the beach and flying over the pool and dropping it. The seagulls were not a huge problem, but when you eat at the Barefoot restaurant during lunch, there are seagulls that will hop on the table to eat your food if you arent paying attention.

The beach is not private (which is rare for Sandals). Antigua laws prohibits any private beaches so there are locals that are walking around trying to sell you items. I have been on many vacations where this happens (mexico is the worst) and if you say no they wont bother you again. To counter this problem I have also brought beers to locals and when you do that they tend to watch out for you and leave you alone.

I would say that the bar tenders do not get personal with you like I have seen at other resorts. They probably have no reason to because they arent getting tips but they do work very hard.

The only other negative thing I would have to say is that the drink selection at the Irish Pub is not that great.

Sorry for the long poorly written review but I am not a writer. After this vacation we immediately booked another vacation at a different Sandals location. This is the best resort I have been to.

Room Tip: If you can afford it, stay in the Mediterranean Village. It has the best views of the ocean. It is...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank Migs1181
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Fort Saskatchewan, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2014 via mobile

My wife and I arrived in Antigua on the 30th January 2014. The trip was planned for awhile and we are both sports orientated. We travel with 2 other couples, and have stayed at 3 other Sandals resorts in the past.

We were never disappointed, from the no hassle check in, arriving to our room followed very quickly by our luggage and the helpful, friendly staff who always were there when needed. We always greet fellow customers whenever we can when walking through the resort, but seldom could we get out a greeting to staff as we were always greeted first! That simple gesture goes a long way in our books!
Our room 7301 in the Mediterranean side of the resort was perfect for us. It offered great views and the room layout was great.
The beach at Dickensen Bay was beautiful and the vendors are a little much especially the foul language. Not classy! If you don't want to be bothered with vendors I would suggest one of the many pools.
Diving at the resort is awesome, partly because we had the opportunity to dive with a Tiger Shark! Fellow divers at the resort were jealous. The dive staff were very professional, don't expect hour long dives or deep dives, not going to happen! Dive sites were a fair distance away 35-40 minutes. Deepest dive was 70 ft. We had a blast during every dive and enjoyed every minute.
We also like to play tennis, playing on Astro turf was very different but very enjoyable.
We also used the spa for a 50 minute massage. We were both very pleased with the service we got and we would recommend a couples massage, very refreshing and relaxing.
Overall the food was amazing, every eatery had its own ambience and the staff were always friendly and courteous. The food and meals were great and our ala carte meals did not disappoint. The bars throughout the resort were amazing, waits were short and the drinks awesome.
The wife and I rated this resort our favourite so far! Great job management and staff for making our vacation one to remember.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
7 Thank Michael K
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 15, 2014
Hello Michael,

We are delighted that you had an amazing time at Sandals Grande Antigua and thank you for taking the time to share some of your wonderful memories of your time with us. It's great that you fully enjoyed exploring the beautiful marine life and that you were pleased with our dive staff and operation. We hope to welcome you back again soon for more adventures in paradise!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leyland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2014

To start this review I have to say this hotel complex is going make a significant hole in your bank balance initially BUT!
If you are looking for that special touch of luxury for a special occasion or just splashing out on a top holiday. This is the place to do it.
After an eight and a half hour flight (which isn't bad) and a 20 minute more or less immediate transfer to the hotel, you land in Shangri La This is it folks, from the moment you step into the hotel all you see are big smiles and the welcome you get makes you step back and think wow. The immediate impression is the friendliness of the staff and is like magic, you know you are going to be looked after.
After a cocktail and the customary cool towel you are shown to your room. Everything is explained thoroughly by a member of staff who becomes your friend from the word go.
You are left in peace to survey the room and the vast four poster bed, which is the comfiest I have ever experienced on holiday.
Very practical, spacious and well appointed bathroom but, not sure I'm keen on the wardrobe being in there. The best A/C on the planet, if you set it to suit you, it actually keeps the room at the set temperature. Good size patio with stunning gardens all around and a decent sized swimming pool for that block just below you, with plenty of very comfy loungers to relax on.
Evening meal in the Bayside restaurant which is the largest on the complex was very welcome and again the staff make you feel at home immediately. The food is plentiful with lots of choice and boy is it good. There are several other high quality A la Carte restaurants to choose from dotted around the vast, meticulously kept grounds. The bars are stocked with every drink known to man
Entertainment is varied and excellent quality, always with a top band somewhere on the complex.
We usually ended up at the Drunken Duck, which is a large English style pub which serves amongst other things English Sunday roast and fish and chips. Outside on the band stand a band is usually present and after 10.30 Pm a DJ takes over the music scene inside and will play absolutely anything you ask for.
In that part of the complex is the very large pool (resembling Lake Windermere) with more loungers and places to relax around the pool than I thought possible.
The management have got this place just right with no needless intrusions if you want time to your self.
Overall this is the place to go for an experience you won't forget and I would rate it at 6 star+ if that were possible. It takes around 15 to 20 mins to walk from end to end with a beautiful white sandy beach along the front. I haven't mentioned every one of the numerous things on offer here but that is in the brochure anyway.
Couple of little tiny niggles-- bity things are around and can be a nuisance although Sandals are continually trying to eradicate this by spraying. Charging for internet access was small minded and did not go down well considering the price paid for an all inclusive holiday.
In short PUT IT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!

Room Tip: Have a good look at the locations and layout of the rooms.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Tom W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2014

We just returned from a week at Sandals Antigua. My husband and I travel with 2 other couples. This is our 4th Sandals resort and they never disappoint.

Why do we chose Sandals for our vacations? Extra all inclusive including diving or snorkeling everyday – paying extra for diving can cost up to $1000 per week. We use the wind surfers and paddle boards – all in great condition. Tennis lessons – most resorts have tennis courts but few give free lessons. No limit to the number of times you can go to a restaurant and few need reservations. Good food and drinks with quality ingredients and variety. Less buffets, we would rather sit down and be served. And, of-course the adults / couples only.

The Antigua Sandals resort met all our expectations. The staff are very friendly – there was a few that don’t hit the mark but that is everywhere. The drinks were extra special here - every drink we had was well made and garnished with fruit – Latoya at the Caribbean swim up bar makes the most amazing creations – be sure to sit at the bar let her do her magic. The beach is gorgeous – there is a lot of debate about the vendors on the public beach for me they were a little much.

The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. We found the Caribbean side had a cozy village feel and the Mediterranean side had a new luxury vibe. Our room was right in the middle and steps from the beach. We chose a butler suite in the poinsettia building. Our butlers Desmond and Julian were amazing.
So what do you get for the extra money for butler service? Starting at the airport we were first to leave back to the hotel. Once at the hotel we immediately were taken to our rooms and checked in there. There was a snack and a drink waiting. Every day there was a surprise in our room – a bubble bath drawn, the bed made up with flowers, and a snack. Our butlers would call us to see if there was anything that we need a few times throughout the day. They would reserve a lounge chair where we wanted, made all our restaurant reservations for the week and brought food or drink to us where ever we were on the resort. This was our first time with butler service and we definitely could see what we got for the money.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank tapp496
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2014

We had a wonderful stay at this superb resort. As it was for a special occasion we booked a butler room and thoroughly enjoyed being pampered by our butlers Kevin, Vanessa and Desmond.
We were so happy to laze around on the beach that we only had one trip, which we organised with Sean one of the beach sellers. Sean did us proud and our day and Prickly Pear Island was a day I will never forget.
The food in the resort was perfectly acceptable though not stunning. We loved the coffee shop and went most evenings after dinner for a cappuccino.
Everyone working at the resort was very friendly and helpful. I would not hesitate to go back to Sandals Grande Antigua.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ziggidy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crewe, Cheshire
Level Contributor
36 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2014

Stayed at this resort from 17 Jan to 1 Feb 14, and had a fabulous time! We think it could be the best Sandals resort we've stayed at.

Check-in went smoothly, taken to our room which was the category we booked (no upgrade as the place was full) and were very pleased with it - opposite the volley ball sand pit, caribbean side. Perfect location as we were in the middle of the resort and had easy eccess to everything. Had a concierge room and it was very clean with generous proportions, full bar and fridge. The room wasn't always cleaned until well in to the afternoon, but we weren't in the room anyway so it didn't matter.

Restaurants - We ate at all the restaurants and have to say we did NOT have a bad meal. Yes the lobster was over cooked at Eleanors but it was still edible. The ribs at OK Corral were to die for, Marios was really good and the antipasta was great!
Biggest gripe about Mario's is they have changed the dress code to resort casual and that is a big mistake. They were admitting guys wearing baseball hats and letting them keep them through dinner - BIG NO NO!! The restaurant screams an elegant dress code, what were they thinking?

All the pools were good, the grounds were stunning and the staff were very friendly. Latoya at the Caribbean Grove Pool was brilliant - possibly the best bar tender ever, Claudine at the Duck was great and always greeted everyone very warmly with a big hug.

We went to the returning guests dinner our first week as we were due to get our gold sandals and our certificate for our free week, but we got missed off as the presenter should have been wearing her glasses and forgot to put them on, there were 3 couples missed. So we went in our 2nd week and everything went smoothly, disappointed with the lack of attention to detail, only a small gripe tho.

I think Sandals have one of the better check out rooms here as previous visits to other resorts the facilities have been appalling. Here they are more like changing rooms but clean and tidy with plenty of room although they are separate for men & women.

Bites - Yes I did get bitten on the 1st day (normally never get bitten) and after that we put spray on all the time, even on the beach in the day and that kept the critters at bay. The nurse said they were'nt mossies but sand flies/fleas.

All in all a great holiday and we would definately return, it did rain near enough every day but it very quickly blew through and we both came hope with fabulous tans!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Devon-GirlCrewe
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 February 6, 2014 via mobile

Just returned from our first stay at a Sandals. After many trips to the Caribbean we decided to try a Sandals and were not disappointed. Really liked the butler service - Vanessa, Julian and Desmond are THE BEST! A special treat was THE SPA. Jeanna gives a WONDERFUL massage. Rented a car to explore the island. Driving is a little difficult but loved Devil's Bridge. We will be back.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank swiman1
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 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach 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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