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“Disappointed Food”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 31, 2014

First of all, I would like to say that the staff at the resort, grounds(water and land), and accomodations were excellent. Our trip to and from the airport and check in were seamless. We stayed at Sandals La Toc last year during March Break and the food was wonderful so we expected the same from this Sandals. The food was only OK, actually disappointing! The variety and quality were not up to par. We had dinner the first night at the French Restaurant which was not good. I ordered scallops for an appetizer and only got one and the fish i ordered was not available and the substitute was just average. This is not a French restaurant and the service was very slow ( 2 other couples we sat near thought the same). The seafood and caribbean restaurants also had limited selection and often had substitutes as well (note: if you have not eaten caribbean lobster before, it is not the same as Atlantic lobster, you like it or you don't, and I don't care for it)) and the buffets some days were better than others, plates often empty for sometime before replaced and not a lot of variety. The buffet breakfasts didn't even have fresh squeezed juice, and there was only canned orange and cranberry juice at Marios. The best food served was at the Beach Party on mon. night, it was very, very good, lots of variety, and lots of local selection. Marios had the best antipasto bar but the regular fare was not great. We ate at the Tex Mex and we had good service and the food was good but I don't go to the Caribbean to eat Tex Mex and the menu was very limited. The staff there was quick and welcoming. We liked Sammy at Barefoot, she apologized for the slow service several times at lunch one day where we waited 20 min. to get a table and 1/2 hr. before we got our meal(salad, hot dogs and chicken) .The beach and ocean were beautiful, very warm and mostly calm with a great white sand beach and you could walk a fair distance. The beach merchants were actually very nice and would accept a no thank you.. We were suppose to go snorkelling one day but it was too rough so they took us for a boat ride into St. John's which I thought was very thoughtful, and there were only 6 of us. We had our best experience at the Drunken Duck. We would like to thank Claudine (she gives great hugs), Mario, James, Alexandra and Eastmaine - they were all so much fun. Reserving chairs is the worst and staff don't follow up by taking towels away if people don't show up. The Butlers reserve places and the people often don't even show up, so people were always roaming around looking for a place to sit with an umbrella. Rules need to be forced, (apparently they enforce them at Sandals in Grenada). I loved the resort and the people, the concierge called twice to find out if we were OK so they care but the food needs a lot of attention. We stayed in the Mediterranean Village and our standard room was just great.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank jennifer 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 reviewResponded April 5, 2014

Dear Jennifer,

We are happy that you enjoyed your time at Sandals Grande Antigua overall but we were saddened to hear that you were disappointed with the dining options. It is surprising to note that some of the food served was not to your expectations. This aspect of our operation is usually considered exceptional and very often received compliments from our guests and we are quite disappointed that you were not similarly impressed. We appreciate you taking the time to notify us of your concerns and I will be sharing your remarks with the management team for immediate evaluation and action as needed. We hope to welcome you back so that we can deliver the full luxurious Sandals experience on a future visit.

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Reviewed March 31, 2014

March 22-29th. Just returned from Sandals Grande Antigua. Spent 7 fantastic days on the resort. There are two sides to this resort. Mediterranean (new) and Caribbean (old). My wife and I were on the Caribbean side and we are very happy as the views and landscaping were much more beautifull with all the flowers,plants,trees and walkways. So colorfull and fresh. I found the Mediterranean side not as appealling, wide open spaces and highrise hotels for guests, fancier and more modern. We had a Caribbean walk out club level veranda suite with a fantastic view of the ocean and awesome landscape. I would highly recomend the Caribbean side. Overall everything was easily accessible and walkways clearly marked. We spent one day at the big pool but found it to be a little boring, too many people and not that many activities going on. We spent most of our time at the other pool bar and what a difference. We met so many people everyone talked to each other, where you were from, what you do and shared other places we all stayed at before, great information. We all said this is a great resort and many booked for next years holiday. Now to the beach. We have been to other Sandals but this beach is the most beautifull, CLEAN and the finest white sand ever. Tons of room and a great bottom in the ocean. Spectaculor colors. Vendors on the beach are polite and walk away if you say no. Menu wise found it to be mediocore not all that much selection on the menu. My wife does not eat fish or seafood but there was always pork or beef to choose from. She did not starve by any means. All the staff were very pleasant and willing to do anything to accomodate us. I must say that we really took a liking to one very special girl named AKIKO. If you ever go to Sandals Antigua look her up and call her Angel. I think see will remember that, I always called her that. Akiko bent over backwards for us and always had a beautifull smile on her face. Way to go Angel, keep up the great work. I know you will go places. If you go to Mario's (which you will) bring a pillow, the seats are really low but the food is good. I would surely return to this resort, it was beautifull.

Room Tip: Stay on the Caribbean side close to everything.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank royrc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2014

This was our 4th Sandals stay and to be honest the worst!! When we arrived, we had to wait for 45+ minutes to go thru the check in process even though I had already done the on-line check in. When we were escorted to our room the lady started up the stairs to our room. I quickly told her that I had book a beachfront WALK OUT room. She started with the sales pitch that the upstairs rooms were more private and so on. I again told her that I had not booked an upstairs room. She continued up the stair and with the sales pitch. I finally stopped dead in my tracks and had to get a little less than nice to her. I told her I paid for a WALK OUT room and that's what I wanted! When we went back to the office, she tried to tell me that I had called the day before we arrived and changed it (which I might add was NOT true). When we finally got the correct room, it was still another 35 minutes before our luggage was brought to us. (I could have carried it myself and had it when I wanted it). Our next encounter was on the beach. All of the other Sandals we have been to had exclusive beaches so you can imagine my surprise when there were kids running up and down the beach and throwing a baseball back and forth. I asked the security guard about it and she said all beaches in Antigua are open to the public. The next day the population on the beach was insane with tons of cruise ship tourists. For the price you pay to stay at Sandals, I would like to have an exclusive beach and not have to worry about getting hit in the head with flying baseballs. With the former being said, the resort was crawling with security guards and stopping you each time you came back from the beach to make sure you were a guest at Sandals. I understand that it was their job since the beach was public, but having to go thru a security checkpoint multiple times a day was a bit annoying. You almost felt like a criminal trying to enter your resort that you paid a very large amount of money in which to stay. On a minor note, this particular Sandals was voted the most romantic....can't see that at all. Never had any little special touches like the towel animals or fresh flowers on the bed like all the other Sandals resorts.

Room Tip: If you want a more private setting, stay on the Caribbean side.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ULVRS809
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 April 1, 2014

Hello ULVRS809,

We regret to hear that you did not enjoy your time at Sandals Grande Antigua. We apologize for any shortcoming on our behalf and we appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us. Your feedback plays a key role in the process of bettering our services and I will be sending your remarks to our management for immediate review. We hope that this does not deter you from visiting with us in the future so we can deliver the complete luxurious Sandals experience to which you are accustomed.

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Reviewed March 31, 2014

What a great time and a beautiful resort! Very classy and relaxed. Sandals thought of everything. Would definitely go back in a hot minute! The food was 5 star quality and a wide variety of choices. Eggs Benedict at Eleanor's is to die for.

  • Stayed: March 2014
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Thank Matbeme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2014

This was our 4th time back to Antigua and our 3rd back to Sandals Antigua. We especially love having the Sushi Bar with Marc at the helm. Eleanor's always has great elegant food and great special service from Sianna. Love getting my morning cappuccino and beautiful genuine smile from Tanya Lee. Christina brought our drinks poolside and always remembered that we like Frangelico in our BBC without being reminded.Our rooms were always made up in a timely fashion. The staff here were all so friendly and caring and I know we will be returning again. We highly recommend this vacation spot. A bonus is that it is a short ride from the airport.

Room Tip: We chose the Caribbean side because we prefer the coziness but have been on the Mediterranean side w...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank willie421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2014

We stayed from March 22-29th. From the moment we arrived we were impressed with the many people who looked after us. Everything was very organized from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. If we weren't sure about something we just needed to ask someone and they could tell us right away. Everyone was very helpful.

The grounds are beautiful. The staff of gardeners and maintenance people keep everything clean, well groomed, and very lush. The gardeners really know and love their plants (La Donna was a landscaper to talk to) and how to put them together to give a wow of colour and diversity to the gardens. Excellent, excellent job! We took a tour of the gardens with Leroy and he was extremely knowledgeable about the plants and explained how they grow them, what the seeds look like, which ones to not eat and what the names where(.Believe it or not he said people actually walk up and start eating a seed or fruit off a tree and become very ill) We were surprised at how many different varieties of Palm trees there were. Worth the tour if you love plants!

All the staff worked hard every day to make our vacation the best it could be. Not only the people we see through the day but the ones that work at night, very early morning, in the back kitchens, the security people along the beach, etc. Not enough is said to thank these people.
Yes, you can say, "I pay for this and I expect that kind of service", but when we saw the little things, like, a hello from from everyone that passed you by, and are you enjoying your vacation here, let me get that for you as soon as I can or I will check right away ….very impressive.

The food was excellent with lots of choices, and lots of healthy ones.
We loved our very flavourful drinks and concoctions. Lots of fun trying different ones. The bartenders were great and entertaining. Loved Althea at the Mediterranean pool bar.

The beach was beautiful and lots of fun. We also enjoyed the paddle boarding, mini catamaran
sailing, kayaking and snorkelling.
We did the Zip Line and canopy challenge tour with Antigua Rainforest Co. and it was very good. Sam was extremely helpful.

When it came time to leave, it was very hard.
…..Go back?…in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank ron r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2014

We traveled to the Sandals Grande Antigua in March this year. Upon arrival at the airport we almost missed the shuttle location to the resort due to our own faults. Unfortunately the woman wasn't very helpful when we were unclear about the two resort locations in one (Mediterranean and Caribbean.) But when we arrived at the resort an employee handed us cool towels which was very nice. We weren't even 'allowed' to touch our luggage because everything was done for us. We were greeted with champagne and hors d'oeuvres. The check-in process was virtually non-existent! We sat in our comfortable chairs in the British Colonial styled lobby while the helpful staff took care of everything. We were asked if we needed to make any reservations for spa treatments or dining. There are only two restaurants requiring reservations on the premises and I would strongly suggest that you go online to research if you have an interest in either of them due to their popularity. They told us that the room was going to be about 30 mins until ready but that they would give us an overview of the amenities available. We went to our room and were surprised by a banner, wine, and a cake celebrating the birthday we were spending there. The room was a large, well appointed, clean suite with a massive bathroom with double sinks and a rain shower sand whirlpool tub. The toilet section was a bit small but that was a minor issue. Our in-room bar was fully stocked every evening and an alternate pillow selection was available as well. The grounds were beautiful. Staff was constantly cleaning the paths and public areas. We are not smokers and It is not a smoking free property but that was not an issue and wasn't even noticeable. But sometimes if you are walking by the beach, vendors from across the fence would call at the guests to buy their products but would cease after you declined which wasn't too much of an issue . Sandals warns guests of unauthorized vendors specifically horseback riding and we were unaware of this when we made plans with a man named Joe who may have been an unauthorized vendor and when we saw this warning we were wary of going but it turned out that his horses were well maintained and it was a nice experience. We took a cab into St. John and went to an open-air marketplace, our cab driver was named "The Business" and he was great! He told us exactly where to go, the do's and don'ts and he was just fantastic. We asked for hime every time we went out. We also went to the King's Casino, which is a small casino near the market. One thing to be aware of is the EC (their currency) has an exchange rate of $1.70 to US1.00, a person in our party had paid in USD for something small and the vendor out in the town asked if they could give the change in EC which is a red flag due to the high exchange rate.
TAKE SUN-TAN LOTION WITH YOU, they will charge you about $28 USD per bottle inside the resort. The pool was immaculate. There are several around the resort, we were at the main pool which has a swim-up bar and servers walking around serving drinks. No one will accept tips, It is truly an all inclusive resort. Mario's Restaurant has a wonderful breakfast buffet, omelette bar, and smoothie bar. They also have a brick oven pizzeria which has fantastic pizza which can be taken poolside as well. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is served for breakfast throughout the resort. The Drunken Duck is a nice classic British Pub there. There is a French cafe in St. Mark's Square in the resort which had a wide variety of pastries and coffee drinks. The women who staffed the cafe were very kind and courteous. many other guests commented that this was their favorite place on the island. Room service is great which we had several times! There was some sort of entertainment every night. One night there was a huge chocolate fountain and a martini mixer which was fun to go to. The Spa was very relaxing and the treatments are what you would expect to pay at a resort. The spa employees however work off of commission and tips which is why they often recommend an up-sell or another treatment but were not rude or pushy, there were also very service oriented and did everything to make you feel relaxed. We also went scuba diving and the instructors were excellent and very knowledgeable. We dove on a shipwreck a couple miles off shore in 25' of water which was very easy for a first time diver and offered many many marine wildlife encounters. There were other deeper dives for more experienced divers. The water was 75º and clear. The entire resort was exactly like the brochures. It was not crowded and very quiet and relaxing, even with all the activities there was no loud party goers or raucous people. The other guests ranged from the 20s to upper 80s. Kids are not allowed at the resort due to it's "couples" experience. i would absolutely go again and would recommend it to anyone.

Room Tip: Club Level Caribbean Walk-Out Suite was fantastic. Friends had Butler Suite with Rondoval which was...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank PMD-321
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 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: $561 - $1,012 (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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