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“Exceeded expectations”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Haywards Heath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Exceeded expectations”
Reviewed February 13, 2014

We had a 2 week holiday late Jan to early Feb 2014 and this was our first visit to a Sandals resort.
Not only did it live up to its reputation as a 5 star resort but it exceeded our expectations.
The food was excellent with a choice of 7 restaurants all of which we good, we loved Mario's excellent Italian and the Japanese tapanaki grill was superb the food was very good everywhere.
The staff were excellent and very welcoming and the location is superb, a magnificent beach with numerous water sports all included. There was no shortage of refreshment both alcoholic and non alcoholic at any time of the day.
We stayed in the Caribbean side of the resort which was two story buildings overlooking gardens or a pool. We were on the top level, the room was very comfortable and overlooked a small pool which we used a lot as it was never crowded despite the resort being full. Our only criticism was that there were no robes in the room, at a hotel of this class you would expect them and we were asked to pay $90 for wifi access something that is free in every European hotel we have stayed in. We understood that if you took a more upgraded room then these were included. We felt these were minor irritations and did not reflect the general quality of the resort.
There was entertainment every evening, typical Caribbean with Reggae, Steel Drums etc which on the whole was good although it never seemed to be well attended.
One thing we liked was that despite the resort being full we never had to queue for a restaurant, you have to book for Elanor's and the Japanese, but not the others and at times we wondered where all the guest were. Nothing was ever crowded
It is a long flight from the UK but very much worth it, we would have no problem in recommending this resort to our friends and are already thinking about another Sandals for next year

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank Peter S
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 Peter,

Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Anitgua. We are delighted that you had a fantastic time during your stay with us and that it was everything you had hoped it would be! Your feedback is important to us and I will be sending your suggestions for improvement to our management team for further review. It was our pleasure to have had you as our guests and we are looking forward to welcoming you back again soon!
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,748)
Date | Rating
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English first
US
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Visited Jan 31-Feb 8, 2013. Beautiful property - Caribbean side more tropical gardens (gorgeous). However, we stayed on the Med side as we wanted an ocean view - and boy did we get it on the 7th floor!! Had our breakfast every morning on the balcony - room service was excellent. For dinner, loved Kimonos, Eleanor's (lobster), OK Corral (ribs), Drunken Duck (hamburgers and clam chowder) and Barefoot. Pizzeria was excellent for a snack during the day! Do not stress about the dress code, pretty relaxed. Loved our suite, could have stayed in there all day for 8 days. The Med pool was so fun, met some great new friends. Swim up bar staff and attendants were great! My husband loved the FItness Center, went almost every day. Me, I just enjoyed walking around the property and beach every day for an hour or so! The spa was GREAT - massage and facial - WOW. One thing I highly recommend is taking advantage of the PhotoShop - the photographers are excellent, feels like you are doing a professional photo shoot HA. They wander around the restort day and night (even jumping into the pool). You do not have to get any photos, but I suggest you take a look at them and I am sure you will! Our maids were amazing, wish I knew their names - they were very discreet, hardly saw them... So shout out to them. Other great employees: Butlers Geoffrey and Nkosi (Wendell wasn't even our butler, but every time he saw us, he made a point of asking if we needed anything). Sandeep the Head Butler made a point of looking us up every day to see if we were happy (of course!) PhotoShop - Delmore, Ramon and Javier photographers, and Michelle and Elka in the PhotoShop. Pizzeria - KIA - love that girl! She made a point of putting away a Diet Coke on ice for me every day and appoligized profuesely when she forgot 1 day. She hugged me on our final day and brought a tear to my eye!

Now, I must say one last thing here, if you book a Butler room, you get Butler Service. Hearing a lot of gripes on here about the Special service we receive at Butler level. Well, we paid a Special price.

Room Tip: Upper level Med side has great ocean views. Caribbean side has luch tropical gardens.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank JodiP84
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 Jodi,

It's wonderful to hear that we were able to exceed all your expectations during your stay at Sandals Grande Antigua! We are thrilled that you a fantastic time exploring the property and that you returned home with many wonderful memories of your time spent with us. We will forward all of your kind remarks to the team.
We are looking forward to seeing you again soon!
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Elmsdale, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2014

my wife and I stayed feb 2-9 2014, we were in a group of 176 people traveling together and between our people and the sandals group I believe everybody had a fantastic vacation,there was a huge selection of places to eat and hang out, are choice was the beach,I read a lot of complaints about the vendors on the beach[their beach, you are a guest in their country] but my wife and I made new friends with a lot of the vendors,they love to chat and most have families just like us that they are trying to support, this is still a poor country and to stay here is no less than 10,000 dollars per couple a week and if a few bucks will help you are welcome to it

Room Tip: it's all good
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank wally r
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 Wally,

We are so happy that you had a fantastic time at Sandals Grande Antigua and that everyone in your group thoroughly enjoyed their time with us! The people of Antigua are very kind and we are so pleased that you were able to make such a connection with those that we employ and also the beach vendors. We appreciate all of your kind comments.
We hope to welcome you back soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2014

Visited first week in February......

It is a beautiful property but to me does not "stand out" as anything more than your average 5 star resort...what I mean by that is there isn't really anything that separates it from the others other than everything is very heavily branded--you will not forget that you are at a Sandals property!

I was so stressed about the "dress code" but once we arrived found it to not be what the website had said and was much more relaxed and almost to lax....someone said he rules had been eased up while we were there

Grounds: Gorgeous, very tropical/rainforest feel with lots of trees and flowers and very well maintained but as others have said it is an old section and new section...we were in the "Caribbean section" which was in the older section of a building consisting of two stories with four rooms total.

Rooms: The room we had was a decent size but I honestly thought it would be larger than what it was. It had a huge king bed, desk, wicker loveset, flatscreen TV and large dresser, a corner cabinet which housed a fully stocked mini fridge along with full bar above, a wardrobe which has not one but two digital safes inside, a dressing table and of course two night stands. Bathroom was smaller with a bathtub/shower, toilet (of course) and small vanity. Patio doors go out to a nice patio with a table and two chairs.

Our room was in the "line" which separated the old from the new. Our room was 232, it was a bottom, corner room but was extremely noisy as there is a lot of staff traffic and carts that go through here. Not only that at night when the entertainment is at the huge gazebo by "The Drunken Duck" the noise is unbelievable. The reason for all of the noise is that right beside the door there is a "window" which consists of a screen and wooden shutters (yes they lock) and this combination is nice and very tropical in feel it does very little to block out noise.

Beach: Wow, this is a gorgeous long beach with the softest white sand. If you enjoy walking along an incredible beach with azure water lapping at your feet than this is the place for you! The beach is in a bay and perfect for all sorts of water sports and at this resort there are a lot. They have lots of seating and also many sunshade/cabana type shelters to help protect against the beautiful Caribbean sun! They have incredible security all along the beach and they do check everyone coming on to resort from the beach...you must show membership card and/or room key, number and name.

Restaurants/Bars: We only ate 3 a la cartes because we aren't reservation type people.
Ate at Bayside for breakfast as they have a terrific buffet. We also ate here once for supper and it is a French restaurant, wasn't overly impressed with it.
Ate at Marios twice...Italian food which we enjoyed
also ate at Barefoot by the Sea during the day and at night--excellent menu
Heard lots raving about Eleanors and Kimonos and people were booking into these multiple times during there stay.
There are two main bars one in main lobby and at the main huge pool in Mediterranean section...huge selection of delicious alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks.

Entertainment /Activities: You will never be without something to do and it is never repetitive. They have games at the pool like music or movie/tv trivia and sports which lots get involved in. The one thing that my husband absolutely loved was the unlimited scuba diving. He has dived many places and is very "picky" about who he dives with but said this was the safest, most well run PADI dive shop he has been to.
They have hobie cats, kayaks and paddle boards....they may have more but this is what I saw being used alot by guests
They have singers, bands, dancers, etc that come in all do a fantastic job of putting on a super show

Staff: Where to start? Absolutely the nicest, friendliest, happy bunch of people...didn't matter what area of service area they worked in, they always smile and say "good morning/afternoon" etc--wonderful! There is definitely no shortage of workers and people are well taken care of

Pools: There are so many pools in "hidden" areas in the Caribbean section so if you want quiet these are the pools to seek out--smaller and quaint. The massive main pool in the Mediterranean has plenty of chairs and umbrellas, palms for shade--one thing that drives me crazy is you have to be out there by 8 am to get chairs...there are signs all over that say you cannot "save" chairs and that any personal items will be removed but it is done constantly and people reserve chairs and umbrellas by throwing towels and a personal item on the chair and then don't show up the entire day without anything ever being touched by staff or guests.
Love that they have quite a few floaters to lounge in the pool with. Swim up bars are in the main pool in the Caribbean section and also at the massive pool you see in all the advertising pics in the Mediterranean section.

There is a "town square" of sorts which has an incredible dessert/coffee shop, decent gift shop and Colombia Emeralds store as well as Island Routes (tours) and Snap Shots (they take pics of guests all over the resort and here is where you go to see them---price is high)

Tip: if you want an absolutely gorgeous overview of the resort, ocean, surrounding area and even St.John's if the cruise ships are in then go to the Mediterranean section--it is new a 7 storey tower of rooms and on the other side away from the side facing ocean/ resort, there is a long open walkway that you can walk to the ends of and get incredible views!

Room Tip: Mediterranean section has newer, nicer rooms by the sounds of it with the exception of the specialty...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Bonarie
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
Dear Bonarie,

We appreciate you taking the time to share your wonderful experience at Sandals Grande Antigua. We are delighted that you enjoyed all that was offered at the resort and the beautiful property. We appreciate all of your input and I will be sending your suggestions for improvements to our resort management team for further review. We take pride in providing our guests with the best vacation experience possible and your feedback plays an important role is seeing this goal met.
We look forward to welcoming you back for an even better time on a future visit!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CA
Level Contributor
49 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2014

I read so many reviews about Sandals Grande Antigua so felt like I had a good idea what to expect when we got there. From the reviews I had some anxiety that our air conditioning wouldn't work well on the Mediterranean side of the resort, check-in would take forever, the food would be mediocre and that the staff would be rude. I had nothing to worry about. We had an ocean view club room that had a beautiful view of the grounds and the ocean in the distance. We loved this resort. It's huge, but it was nice to walk around. The firepits were a nice touch. My husband and I for the most part loved the food and drinks. Food is very subjective, but if you can't find something that you enjoy here, you might be too picky. My husband's favorite was Eleanor's for the lobster and Barefoot for the Marlin. My favorites were Mario's and Barefoot's jerk chicken. We both loved the Bella Napoli pizza. The only place the food wasn't good was at the Drunken Duck and coincidentally that was also the only place we received very poor service. This resort has a lot to do. The watersports guy gave us a lesson on how to use the Hobie Cats and I took out a paddle board. We mostly just laid on the beach and at the main pool. The vendors on the beach are actually enjoyable to chat with. we bought a lot of souvenirs from them. If we didn't want to buy anything, a "No, thank you" was all that was needed. We did one of the hour-long snorkel cruises that Sandals offers for free which was the perfect amount of time, 20 minutes to the reef, 20 minutes snorkeling and 20 minutes back. There wasn't a heck of a lot of fish to see because the reef is so dead and it was very choppy, so 20 minutes was good. As to the staff, they were all so friendly and they work so hard. Our air conditioning in our room worked so good, we got cold in the middle of the night. I would absolutely love to come back to this resort, and we normally don't go to the same place twice (too many beautiful places to see in this world!!) From reading the reviews people made it sound like the Caribbean side was not good. After walking through it, I would not hesitate to book here. My husband said he liked the ambiance of this side better. Our bathroom was probably bigger on the Med side, but that's not enough to make me have to book on that side. One last thing, we booked a club level. I'm not sure this was worth it. We did have alcohol in our room, but we didn't drink anything but the wine and when they replaced it, they replaced it with the kind I don't like. They made our dinner reservations, but I could have called and done it myself. The club lounge was supposed to have drinks and cookies every day, but it seemed like that kind of stuff was only put out when people were checking in. Speaking of check-in, there were only 3 of us couples checking in and it only took about 15 minutes. We came in on a Friday. On Saturday, the whole Club lounge was filled with people checking in. I wouldn't come in on Sat or Sun.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank soccermomonvacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2014 via mobile

My wife and I are currently enjoy our last day at the resort before we head home.

This place is amazing. The staff are so friendly, the beach is 'wow' and so many comp activities such as snorkelling, sailing, diving .

The room we had was room 5204 and it was great. Massive bed, 2 sinks, large shower and a jacuzzi!


There are many tasty restaurants to try and swim up bars.

It is expensive so we saved a fair bit but deff worth it if you can.

Nothing is too hard for the team here!!!!!!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Adam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ATL USA
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2014

Arrived Jan 25th and left Feb 1st, 2014. This is a well maintained property. Half the resort is older and renovated the other half is relatively new. The grounds are well kept and the beach area well stocked with boats and other leisure equipment. ( be ready for a daily assault by vendors selling tee shirts, shells, bracelets, etc.) The resort location is good and on calm waters and is convenient to the airport. The butler service is excellent and very helpful. The problem with Sandals is that it remains a resort for the masses. Food quality is middle of the line and certainly nothing special. Service is spotty and slow. The vast majority of people are massively overweight....as in huge... and use this all inclusive resort as an excuse to binge drink and load their plates full of food from sunrise to sunset. Middle of the road all the way.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ukcharlie60
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
Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua.
We regret to hear that we did not meet your expectations for service and quality. As hoteliers we realize that there is always room for improvement and feedback is crucial in this process so we thank you for your review.

We strive to meet our motto: Luxury All-Inclusive Vacations for Two People in Love. We are in a constant state of evolving our resorts and updating our amenities so I will be sure to send your feedback to the relevant departments.

I hope this message finds you well.
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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 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 Family 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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