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“A great experience for the most part...”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Milton, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A great experience for the most part...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 4, 2014

I went to Sandals Grande Antigua with my wife in early April 2014 as part of a Sales Award of Excellence. Having said that, I can't comment on the value since the trip was free and therefore I have to give it a 5 star rating on that aspect.

The resort is very nice with 2 distinct areas (Caribbean and Mediterranean). We stayed in the newer Mediterranean village with a nice room overlooking a lot of the resort. All of the details regarding the room were top notch (fully stocked mini bar, very clean, great sleep each night, etc).

The food was also very good. For breakfast we went to the Bayside each morning except for the last when we went to Mario's. Basically there is no point going to Mario's for breakfast since both places have nearly identical buffets to choose from but Bayside gives the addition of the ocean view. For lunch and snacks we mostly went to either the bistro or the pizza place because it was fast and easy. For dinner we went to Barefoot, the Drunken duck and Eleanor's and we enjoyed them all. We also got a take out lava cake from Mario's as this had been recommended in prior reviews. That dessert did not disappoint! I would say though that the cafe de Paris was only okay and didn't have quite the sweetness that people in North America might be used to in their desserts.

The beach is very nice and it does have the white sand with turquoise water. However there is one main downfall. There are annoying vendors that you will have to put up with each morning. They will leave you alone when you say no but you have to expect this each morning and none of them seem to communicate with each other so you can expect each and every one of them to bother you. Having said this, it is more of a constant bother for a short while but the vendors come fast and most of them will have come by within the first 20 mins of when you set up for the day. There is also a limited amount of shade so you will want to try and go early. People tend to take up a lot of spots closer to the Mediterranean side. So, here is my big tip... Go directly to the Caribbean side and grab one of the shade huts near the end of the resort. People tend to ignore these until it is a last resort but if you go here it is less crowded and there is still a great area to swim nearby with access to the nearby bistro and a regular bar nearby.

Finally, the pools were nice but I can't say too much about them since we spent most of our time at the beach instead. There are a few much more secluded pools that you might want to seek out in the Caribbean rather than the super busy main pool in the Mediterranean. One of hem is near kimonos and is very quiet with a nice little hot tub. That was my favourite of the pools to be honest since I didn't feel the need to be at a swim up bar.

One final negative that I should mention is that they will fumigate each day in the afternoon to keep the bugs away. While it is nice to not have many bugs, it is a bit of a shocking experience to see smoke everywhere. The first time I saw it I thought a bunch of buildings had caught fire, lol! Nevertheless, I suppose this is a necessary evil and it is more of a shock to the system the first time you see it than anything else (you will have to get out of the area temporarily when this happens).

Overall, while I had a few negatives, the experience was still amazing and I would recommend the resort to anyone going to Antigua.

Room Tip: Go with the Mediterranean village.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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5 Thank Danomite6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Virginia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 4, 2014

This was my first all-inclusive/Sandals vacation. So, my first impression was not good. We were taken from the airport to the resort in an old, not air conditioned, van with an unfriendly driver. For what people pay to go to this resort, I would think they could afford to have nice, air conditioned vans to take their guest to the resort. But, that is a minor detail, as when we arrived at the resort, it was beautiful. We booked a Caribbean Club Level Veranda suite. Check in was a little slow, but we had champagne and snacks so it was no big deal.
Our room – we loved it! The building we were in had only four rooms, 2 lower level and 2 upper. We were on the upper level with a large balcony. The Caribbean side is just beautiful. We preferred being in the lush tropical gardens than the high rise of the Mediterranean side with small balconies. Our room was updated and clean. We definitely heard the bugs at night and birds in the morning, but we loved it. I slept very well. These rooms had windows on the back side that were just wooden blinds in front of screens, so you could hear noises outside very well. The only time that it bothered us is when employees would roll carts down the sidewalk and it would sound like a freight train coming through or if someone was moving chairs at the pool (at 5:00 in the morning!). The time of maid service was sketchy. I think the weekend days were the worst. Very late cleaning and no turn down service. The weekday cleanings were done earlier in the day and our beds were turned down upon returning from dinner. The rooms were always clean. The in room bar was nice and it was kept stocked. Our Wi-Fi was very sketchy. It didn’t work most of the time and when it did, it was very slow.
Concierge Service – there was none! Very disappointed in this. I stopped by the concierge lounge to make restaurant reservations. He made a phone call and said everything was all booked up. Then asked had I been to the restaurant reservations desk. I didn’t know there was one, so he proceeded to take me there. I then waited to speak with someone and she had a few times available. So I basically made the reservations myself. The same thing happened when we wanted to reserve snorkeling trips. Concierge just told us to go to the building at the beach and sign up. So the concierge was of no service at all. Disappointing.
Restaurants – all the food was good. We were a little disappointed that some of the restaurants closed on certain nights so we couldn’t always eat where we wanted. The sushi was amazing. Just didn’t get to go as much as we wanted because it closed two of the nights we were there. The Monday night Beach Bash was really good. Some of the best food we had all week. We really enjoyed going to the Café de Paris. Loved the crepes and always had good desserts and coffee you could get anytime.
Entertainment – everything was reggae music. While I enjoy hearing this while on a tropical island, it was a little too much. Just thought they needed more variety. We did enjoy the dancers one evening in the courtyard.
Water Activities – we really enjoyed the Hobie Cats. We had never been on one and the guide was very kind and took my husband out and showed him how it was done. So we went out several times. The snorkeling was a little disappointing. The reefs were dull and not a lot of fish.
Pools and Beach – Yes, there are those people that get out very early and claim their chairs. We didn’t do this, but always seemed to find a place. We would usually be at the beach or pool around 9:00 – 9:30 and could find a place. The beach is gorgeous! We only went to the big Mediterranean pool once for a short amount of time. We preferred the smaller pools, mainly the swim up bar pool on the Caribbean side.
I think the best thing about this resort is how beautiful it is. The grounds are immaculate. Beautiful landscaping everywhere, and of course the sunsets on the beach were gorgeous. We really enjoyed our stay here. If I do return, or go to another Sandals, I'm just not sure I will book a concierge level room.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank plansstuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 3, 2014

This resort is fantastic, beautifully laid out, lush green trees and colourful plants. The place is clean, tidy and the staff are helpful, polite and welcoming (at all times). we found the restaurants were never too busy, the food was lovely. The only concern we had, was the buffet breakfast at Bayside, as there were quite a few birds in there, flying around, occasionally pecking at the food, before being shooed of by staff. So we ate at Mario's instead. The water sports are great, they'll even teach you if you're unsure. The main pool area can be a bit crowded sometimes, as can the sport pool area, but the beach is fantastic. You do get the locals try and sell items and trips, but just be polite, say no thanks and off they go, saying have a good day. All in all, this was above and beyond our expectation, would we book another Sandals? Yes!!!! but perhaps another island in a couple of years.

Room Tip: It's all down to personal choice, near pool, quiet sheltered, beach side etc.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank chris b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 2, 2014

We just returned from 8 days at Sandals Grand Antigua. This was our third - and probably last - visit to this Sandals. The first time we went, the Mediterranean side was just opening in 2007 and it was an amazing experience. This time, not so much. We had a concierge room on the Mediterranean side - we wanted a Butler suite but by the time we decided that, the resort was saying they were completely booked. We arrived at the resort on a Tuesday at about 3 so we expected to be taken to our room immediately. That did not happen. Check in was extremely cumbersome - no one seemed to know what they were doing - and, we didn't get to go to our room until after 4:30. When we walked in, it was terribly hot - uncomfortably hot. The shades were all open so we decided that was the reason and we would let it wait until the next morning to see if it cooled down. It didn't - by this time, my travel agent had called to check on us and I had told her about the a/c issue. I called the concierge desk and when they came to check, there must have been a major problem with the unit because they replaced it - we were very comfortable for the rest of the trip but know that our travel agent made that happen - very grateful for Jane Yarosh at Twinsburg Travel - she is amazing. One thing we noticed on this visit, having a concierge room is totally unnecessary - total waste of money unless you just need liquor in your room. I recommend either getting a Butler suite or a regular room. The concierge's did absolutely nothing for us - in fact, any request we made from them was either ignored or we received an argument - my travel agent contacted them several times during our visit about our concerns. As far as the resort itself, it is beautiful - the grounds are immaculate. We stayed at the Caribbean Grove pool most of the time - we are not snobs in any way and don't demand that we be waited on when we travel - but, for the price paid at a Sandals, it amazes us that when you are at the pool, no one ever asks you if you need anything - you are on your own. We like to travel to the Excellence Riviera Maya in Cancun and at that resort, the staff are begging to help you. The only way to get that level of service at Sandals is to have a Butler Suite - which we have had and it is a lot more expensive. We found the food to be great - everything was wonderful and met expectations except for Kimono's - very disappointed. The food was very 'one note' - everything tasted the same - we just weren't impressed at all. The sushi at Soy was over the top - one of our favorite restaurants. I have to agree with everyone about the bird issue at Bayside - seeing them on the buffet was not a good thing - they need to install screens around the front of the restaurant to keep them out, in our opinion. We are very surprised that the resort was full - it seemed empty to us - the pools were very quiet and the beaches were never crowded - people must have been hiding out in their rooms. We did not use room service so have nothing to say about that. Turn down service was non-existent - they came only one night and that was at 9:30 and we sent them away. We did not use their service to schedule excursions - we only went on one, Creole Cruises, and we booked it ourselves online and, as usual, it was amazing. As far as chairs at the pool - yes, I got up before 7 am every morning to get us a chair because the Butlers were out at 7 getting the good seats. We are in our 50's and need shade so an umbrella was a necessity so I did what I had to do. I don't know that we will visit Sandals again - we have been to other resorts and for less money, you can get as good or better service. I think at the Antigua resort, you are paying for the Antigua experience - it is such a beautiful island. One thing I do suggest is that if you are traveling at a peak time, be sure you get to the airport very early. We were there 2 hours prior to our flight and it was very crowded. There was only one person checking in travelers for Coach and one for first class/priority and it took forever.

Room Tip: Room 7408 does not have a good view - but, it does have a new a/c. Get as high as possible in Medite...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank iloan4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salina, Kansas
Level Contributor
62 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 1, 2014

All inclusive is better than expected. Premium liquors, food, and service. They also have a 'no tipping' policy.

Lots of day activities and good nightly entertainment.

A couples retreat and no children.

Highly recommend.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Caribbean section. Walkout to pool and beach. Very short walk to restaurants, bars...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank 67401
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 1, 2014

Antigua is a beautiful island and the Sandal's Grande is an equally beautiful resort. We were in a concierge level room on the Caribbean side, and the whole experience could not have been nicer. Great weather (mid-March), pleasant workers who were polite and helpful, plenty of food choices, good high-end liquor selection, incredible scenery. We met other couples, from honeymooners to retirees, and no one we met had a bad word to say about the place. Thanks to our travel agent Jillian Turney Albright with Ultra Tech Travel in Dillsburg, PA for finding this gem for us and for making all the arrangements. We would go back here in a minute (and probably will!).

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank KarlaD20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warren, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 1, 2014

This resort is really great. The staff are great, the service is great, the food is great. We will go back again. There is so much to do or you can do nothing at all. The pool is crystal clear. Everyone is so courteous and helpful. We can't wait to go back!!

Room Tip: We stayed in the Mediterranean Village and it was fantastic. It was sunny and bright. We stayed on...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank LynneD226
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 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach 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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