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“Another holiday in Paradise”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 16, 2014

This is the second time in the past three years that we have visited this resort. There are two hotels at this resort The Caribbean Village and The Mediterranean Village and we have stayed at both. The beach is long and is ideal for guests enjoying a long walk (if desired) on the beach which is well maintained. The gardens are beautiful with masses of shrubs and pretty flowers and it is a joy to walk around them. One of our daily strolls ended up at The Cafe du Paris where we sampled the delicious pastries and coffee - Orlesea, Tany-Lee and Sylvia were always pleased to see us and welcomed us with smiles. It is very popular with many guests and a place where you can meet other visitors also enjoying the pastries etc. We enjoyed dining at Marios the Italian restaurant which is our favourite and Ken, Courtney and the girls were always there to ensure we enjoyed our evening meal and we ate breakfast there each day. We also had a lovely meal at Eleanors and Nigel the chef ensured that our meal was to our liking. We dined at Barefoot on the Beach and watched the sun setting whilst we enjoyed our dinner. Wherever we went to for our meals there was plenty of choice and good food. We found our room in The Mediterranean Village to be very clean and comfortable, with a well stocked bar and large bathroom which had a large shower and Jacuzzi the only downside was the balcony which was very small and just big enough for a small table and two chairs but it did overlook the sea and gardens and was very quiet. The General Manager Mr G whom we had met previously at other Sandals resorts is working very hard to ensure that every guest enjoys The Sandals Experience and can be seen walking around the site checking on things and speaking to the guests. If you do encounter any problems they are immediately resolved by just going to the Reception Desk or picking up the telephone and speaking to them.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PAULINE O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,907 - 2,913 of 6,970 reviews

Reviewed March 15, 2014

My husband and I stayed at this resort from March 1-8. Overall was a great vacation! There are alot of positives of this resort and a few negatives. I will start with the negatives..This resort is very overpriced. We were very disappointed that our Anniversary was never acknowledged. This resort is known for celebrating special occasions and they asked us when we got there what the special occasion was and I told them multiple times. Our travel agent also had it noted on the reservation. So that was sad. Some of the staff was also rude(especially a girl at the Drunken Duck). At night some of the staff gets a little to raunchy when trying to entertain. One night we basically saw one of the girls (you know what) cause she was dancing so... ummmmmm dirty.
DO NOT rent a Cabana..big waste of money..We rented one and we never saw a waitress all day, Had to get our own food and drinks all day. You basically are paying for a beach chair.
So now for the good parts. This island is completely beautiful, the resort is beautiful, it is very clean, organized and very friendly staff (with an exception to some). All the restaurants were great! Mario's was by far the best restaurant there, and the chocolate Lava cake is soooooo good! Breakfast Buffets were very good had a lot of choices. Eggs were always cold. There really isn't too much variety for lunch, we had the pizzas everyday(Which were very good but had to wait a long time to get one), cause we didn't like the buffet at Bayside. Cafe De Paris was a perfect place to get any kind of sweets you want.
We stayed in the Caribbean Side in the little cottages. Our room was great, big, clean. It was also right outside from the pool. I personally like the Caribbean side better than the Mediterranean side, its just so much more beautiful with lush gardens and was very quiet, it was more centrally located to everything. I would recommend the ATV tour around the island we had a blast! The beach vendors are annoying..but most of them will leave you alone if you say "No Thank You" . We stayed by the pool most of the time. You do have to get up early to save a pool chair if you don't have a butler or you wont get one.
My husband enjoyed all the water sports and the free snorkeling. We also rented Jet skies from one of the guys on the beach which was fun.
All and all we had a great time, had great weather and had a relaxing vacation. I do wish our Anniversary was celebrated since that is why we chose Sandals but it is what it is.

Room Tip: Caribbean side is more beautiful and quiet than the other side. Makes you truly feel like you are i...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mbradley22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2014

My wife and I stayed at this Sandals resort from 2/28-3/7 and I had been reading reviews for about 6 months prior to our visit. To be completely honest all the great reviews are more sport on than the negative ones. I’ll keep this simple as many of the reviews cover most everything. When we arrived we were escorted to our room on the Mediterranean side of the resort. When we booked our stay through our travel agent and were supposed to have ocean view room... anyways this room was on the first level with no view what so ever. The room was a walk out which was nice, however we preferred to have an ocean view. Right away we went to the concierge desk and spoke with Darnisha and politely told her our room is not what we expected. She then showed us another room on the 4th floor (Monte Carlo Sweet) which would be available the following day. Needless to say we switched rooms with no hassle, Darnisha was more than accommodating and checked on us 3 days later(after her days off) to make sure we were pleased and to see if there was anything else she could do for us. She is prime example of great customer service.

The resort itself is beautiful, we spent all our days on the beach and did not step foot in a pool. Sandals provides plenty of beach chairs and shaded cabana's you can set up yourself which are a great plus, especially when you start feeling the full effects on the sun. I would caution leaving valuables unattended on the beach as there are multiple vendors walking around. The vendors do get a little bit tiring but they are all friendly. If you’re nice to them they will be very nice to you.

The food is good. I recommend Eleanor's for breakfast as your food is made fresh and not from the buffet, it’s also very good. We enjoyed lunch at barefoot, I had the jerk chicken twice. The pizza is also a nice snack in the afternoon and also very good. All the dinners were good, except for Mario's... for some reason we just didn't enjoy the food. Service can be a little slow at times but who cares, as your spending time with your loved one and there is absolutely no rush to be anywhere.

Two minor complainants. By the end of the week I was getting tired of staff members asking us if we wanted our picture taken or a spa treatment. They ask you just as much as the beach vendors ask you to buy their items, however they were all very friendly and personable. Also the gentleman at the water sports shack wasn't the most pleasant to deal with. Asked for lesson so we could take a hobby cat out and it seem very dreadful for him to do this. Honestly didn't do much of the water sports because I didn't feel like dealing with him... oh well.

The snorkeling was very fun, we went out three separate times. They are very organized and safe. Would recommend at least going out once while staying, especially if you have never snorkeled before. As for excursions we booked the extreme circumnavigation tour (Adventure Antigua) through Sandals. It’s cheaper to book through Adventure Antigua however they have a contact with Sandals saying if you are staying at the resort you have to book through the resort. It’s $20 more per person booking through Sandals. This was the highlight of the trip however. Gave us a day to get away, see the island and the crew members were outstanding!!

Overall our stay was great and we have already talked about booking another stay at a different Sandals. Sandals is more expensive than most all inclusives however I think once you stay it would be hard to stay at another resort.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Adam_Melissa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2014

This was our first experience at a Sandals resort and it exceeded all of our expectations. The staff and property were exceptional and there were three people who made this vacation so memorable they will forever be in our hearts. Their names were Tony Bennett, Seanan Henry Merrick and Briana Matthias. When you go there please say "hi" to our new friends! We enjoyed our stay so much we booked our next trip to the Sandals Grande St Lucian for November to celebrate my wife's birthday this year. The property in Antigua was located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the staff kept it immaculate. The food and resort were one of the best we have ever stayed. Kudos to Sandals!

Room Tip: They're all great!
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Dee49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

I stayed for a week with a large group. Everyone had a wonderful time – I’ll get that out of the way upfront. All the staff I dealt with were very polite and friendly, but often the automatic answer to a request was a blank “no”. So be prepared for some issues.

General
• We were on the Caribbean side, and I absolutely loved it. The gardens, pathways, low-rise colorful buildings – it felt like the Caribbean. (The Mediterranean side is lovely, but it feels like you could be in Newport Beach.) All the rooms I saw (I had to walk around a lot) looked as advertised. Many of the buildings front their own small pools, a nice refuge from the hubbub of the main pool.
• My room was in the oceanfront 100 block, second floor. That’s at the far northern end of the property, which also makes it the quiet, peaceful end. The subdued, neutral room didn’t look like much on first entry, but it grew on me. The bathroom was a good size and well-lit, the firm bed was comfortable, the sitting area was roomy, and I had a small balcony overlooking the building’s pool and the beach. Along with the umbrella and café table & chairs, the balcony also had a drying rack – excellent! But I had trouble locking the balcony doors. I could always get a sunbed out front in the afternoon, but not always a palapa.
• Someone else has mentioned the Euro-style glass wall on the shower. They’re right – it’s a good foot too short. You can’t avoid getting water everywhere.
• My tv was often fuzzy, and sound was inconsistent. Good thing I wasn’t there to watch tv.
• I easily fit my 16” laptop and slr-size camera in the safe.
• That bathroom has acres of counter space, and there’s a big chest of drawers, but the closet is just enough for two people.
• The wall thermostat and service light weren’t working. (The ac unit did have a remote.)
• I needed the $45/week wifi plan for work, but from my room it was really spotty. I think my neighbors might have gotten tired of hearing me yell in frustration. Signal in the entry courtyard was more reliable.
• Service was also uneven. Our building didn’t get cleaned till 4pm, sometimes later. Sometimes the daily water I requested showed up, sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes the bed was turned down at night, sometimes not. I got an introductory call from the concierge, others in the concierge section didn’t.
• Food: not out of this world, but everything was enjoyable. Bayside had enough variety at the breakfast buffet to keep me there daily. I had very good meals at Barefoot (wrap) and OK Corral (chicken fajitas); we all thought Kimonos was good, but overhyped. (We didn’t get a show, others did. I didn’t miss it, but some were disappointed.) I liked the variety at Mario’s appetizer buffet, but a few of us felt a bit sick later. I absolutely loved Café de Paris – daily pastries, house-made ice cream, crepes – yum! The mid-week beach bbq was also a big hit – tons to choose from and all of it good. Service everywhere was very slow (as in two hours to eat), even when a restaurant wasn’t particularly full.
• Yes, there are cats. I adored them! Judging by all the “Here kitty, have some fish, kitty!” so did everyone else.
• We did a half-day group excursion with Wadadli Cats, who I believe is run by Sandals. This was great – terrific service, a very good hot lunch (they called it “light lunch”, but we got a full meal with several choices) and friendly staff. The reef is so-so, but we did see plenty of fish. The beach we anchored at for lunch is very nice – good swimming, or a nice hike up to an old fort.
• We also did a full day with Xtreme Antigua, which was fantastic. They pick up at Sandals.
• I enjoyed my daily swims in the ocean, but this is not the best beach on the island. Boat trips took us to others that had both clearer water and a bit more wave action.
• The games really are like adults re-living spring break. Seemed a bit low-rent to me.
• Only house wine is included at dinner.

Denied!
• We wanted to combine two group tables in OK Corral. Nobody else was in our section, so why tell us it couldn’t be done? We just moved ourselves, and to their credit, the staff then went with it.
• Our group table for ten at Mario’s was set up outside, where it was very buggy. They wouldn’t let us move inside, even though it was mostly empty, because “tables have to be available for the couples”. Don’t our couples have to eat somewhere? No budging here no-how. Sure enough, the place remained half empty the whole night.
• At Bayside for dinner, the host was asking guests to wait in the lobby, saying it would be about 30 minutes. But there were plenty of clean and set tables ready. He explained they were short-staffed on servers, and didn’t want people to have to sit at their tables for a long time. So…we had to sit outside instead? How was that better?
• Café de Paris does not make crepes one second before 11am, no matter how many people are standing in line waiting for them.
• There’s a smaller volleyball/game pool, but they also do games at the main pool. If you want to relax there, forget it.
• We had some problems with pre-arranged dinner times. I don’t know if the error was Sandals’ or our tour operator’s, but Sandals (while being nice and polite) didn’t offer solutions. We had to figure things out and suggest alternatives.
Really, that’s the baffling thing. I know the Caribbean has that whole island-time laid-back thing going on, but often we got the downside of both worlds – spotty service and rigid adherence to the rules. And Sandals is not cheap, so I was expecting a different level of training.
We all enjoyed the week anyway, it just came with some headaches. It’s a beautiful resort staffed with friendly people. I’m not sure this place is the best value for money, but it certainly has a lot of fans.

Room Tip: If you want peace and quiet, ask if your building has its own pool.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank JenAzz
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 March 14, 2014

Hello Jenazz,

Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua. We are happy that everyone did enjoy their time with us on the beautiful island. We were disappointed to learn that there were a few things that did not meet your expectation and indeed do not live up to our Sandals standard. We apologize if this detracted from your overall experience in any way.
We appreciate you taking the time to notify us of your concerns and I will be sending your comments to the resort management team for immediate evaluation and follow-up.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014 via mobile

We spent a week in Antigua at the Sandals Grande Antigua. What a great resort. As is usual with Sandals properties, the facilities and service are first class. Employees are friendly and helpful with any request. Dining options are varied and will satisfy most tastes. The weather during our trip was ideal. Mid 80 's during the day and low 70's at night. I highly recommend this resort.

Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
1  Thank DEG228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon from 2nd Feb-12th Feb. After reading many reviews that seemed to go from horrendous to sublime, we were unsure of what to expect. Upon arrival we were greeted in the concierge lounge with champagne and cool towels-perfect! Check in process was quick and we were settled in our room within 15 minutes (again with the concierge pouring us more champagne)! Our room was perfect-large bed, massive bath and congratulations cards from the staff. After the 1st day, there were some tiny bugs in our bathroom-I just sprayed with bug spray and that was it for the duration of our stay.
The food was great-lots of choice and flexibility of dining times. my absolute favourite was Soy, the sushi bar. Fresh, yummy and prepared to order-delicious! My least favourite was Eleanor's-considering this was billed as the top restaurant it was definitely the worst service we received, even when we visited for breakfast. Having said this-'worst' doesn't equal 'bad'-the courtesy and attention from all staff we encountered was fantastic, and so Eleanor's just fell short.
Kenrick, one of the photographers, was brilliant-he was fun, always around and did a great photo shoot with us.
When we stayed, there was a corporate event-this did not ruin any kind of atmosphere for us. We found in the day time they didn't stick together-the only time we saw them en masse was when they actually had their big evening function (1 night only)! There will always be things that aren't quite to your pleasure and my husband and I didn't allow little things like that affect our honeymoon. Enjoy your vacation-soak up the beautiful surroundings and remember that whatever is thrown at you, it's how you react to it that matters. That's why we had a great time-we were on honeymoon and just focussed on the great stuff!
My only advice is TAKE BUG SPRAY, and then take some more! I thought I was well prepared…..I have never been bitten so much in my life! Having visited carribean islands before, I took the same precautions, but Antiguan bugs seemed to be immune to whatever I used. Towards the end of my stay, I did have a lot of pain and discomfort due to this…..but I slathered on bite cream and soldiered on!
An amazing location, with great staff and facilities-we would definitely return

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Roccomc
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

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 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: $563 - $1,508 (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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