We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“The Time Of Our Lives”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 10 more sites!
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The Time Of Our Lives”
Reviewed November 12, 2008

We stayed at Sandals Antigua 11/4 to 11/11 and very sad to leave. We booked a room on the Caribbean side but was upgraded to an ocean front room on the mediterranean side. The room was fabulous with a 2 person Jacuzzi and large marble shower, king size bed, large flat screen tv, mini bar stocked daily and balcony. We booked the Caribbean side to save money and were not planning to spend a lot of time in it. Some people have called this the Ghetto side. The buildings are older and seemed to be in good condition from the outside and in beautiful lush tropical gardens far from what I would call a ghetto. If you want a nice new room then book the mediterranean side. We did have a big storm on 11/5 and there were some flooding and it did smell like the sewer backed up for about 24 hours in part of the Caribbean side. The same thing happens in areas where I live in Pennsylvania when we have a flood. They did have lots of staff working on cleanup and pumping out flooded areas and a day later was back to normal. I did kill 3 water bugs in our room on 3 different days but this is what you get in the tropics. I probably kill more bugs in my own home. Also if you understand the caribbean culture, they are more laid back and service is a little slow at times but what is the hurry? Relax and have fun. Talk to your servers and treat them with respect and they will give you their best. I did hear a woman ask a bartender where she could get something to eat. It was about 1 am and he told her the English pub. She said no thanks they are slower than molasses. Well we went right there and got 2 cheese burgers and fries in 5 minutes. As far as food is concerned I am a chef with 34 years experience and work in an exclusive country club in Blue Bell, PA. My wife is also in the food service business and we treat servers the way we like to be treated and we are usually good tippers The food was very good and small in portions same as where I work. I love to eat alot and never went hungry. I ordered whatever I wanted and the staff took very good care of me. The English pub has great prime rib and I asked my server for a very large cut and she brought me 2 nice slices with a large portion of mashed potatoes. I did discretely tip the server $5 even though you not suppose to, I have a problem breaking rules lol. The OK Corral was my favorite. The Chef cooks the food right in front of you and is served nice and hot and fresh. We both had sirloin steaks cooked to perfection and my server here also got a $5 tip. My wife asked for rolls and butter which they did not serve there and the server got some for us anyway. By the way the other restaurants serve awesome fresh baked rolls daily. We had dinner 2 nights at Mario's the first night we had filet that was very good and the second night I did the filet again and my wife had the chicken parm and she loved it. We also were invited to the return guest dinner which had about 150 return guest during our stay which goes to show you Sandals has a lot of return guest for 1 reason. These people were very happy with sandals. We have stayed at Sandals Bahamas and Ocho Rios and love both of them also. For breakfast we liked the Sea Side Cafe. It sits right next to the ocean and every table has a great view. We did see a small cat wondering around 1 time but it did not seem to bother any body. Also there were a few small birds that were hanging around but they also did not bother anybody. The staff would remove your plates right away or I am sure they would help themselves to your scraps. Remember this is a tropical resort and you will have wildlife and the birds were probably cleaner than alot of people. I did not see them near the buffet food and I did see an employee feeding the birds away from the building in an attempt to keep them away from the buffet. There is a pizzeria that we ate at every day but Sunday (they are closed Sunday's). I ordered my favorite ham and pepperoni that is not on the menu and the pizza chef took very good care of me making excellent pizza time after time. We went snorkeling once and also took the hobbie cats out daily. The chairs around the pool in the morning were all taken so my wife would lay on a float in the pool and I hung out in the shade at the pool bar. You could get chairs to lay on in the after noon if you wanted. More than a couple of hours in the sun and most people would be sun burned anyway. We also booked a catamaran trip to Barbuda and the bird sanctuary that was awesome. We got to use a beautiful deserted beach for an hour and it was the best beach I have ever seen. I suggest you bring snorkel gear and an underwater camera. Tip book trips before hand to save a few bucks. Also we did the Shirley Heights tour on the southern side of the island to watch the sun set and listen to steel drum band on Sunday night. The second day we called the front desk about our air conditioner was not working good and our 2 sinks in the bathroom did not drain well. The a/c man came right away and recharged our unit and it got down to 70 degrees vs 73 the day before. I would have preferred 68 degrees but the wife was fine with 70 and we had a nice ceiling fan above our bed anyway so I was fine. The did come and unclog 1 of our sinks which was fine with us and I did not call back to complain about the other sink. The beach was awesome and there are a few locals wandering the beach trying to sell you items. Several of the locals will climb a coconut tree for you and get a coconut for you for $3 and the bartender at the main pool bar will make you a drink in it. This is their country and the beaches are for everybody there. If you tell them your not interested they will leave you alone. I do not see how you could not have a great time at this resort. If you have any problems let management know right away and they will do their best to take care of you. Talk to your maid or server and let them know what you want. If you are a high maintenance person or a person that is afraid of birds or bugs or other wildlife then don't go to the Caribbean. If you are a normal human being that is looking for a beautifull relaxing vacation you will have a great time at Sandals Antigua

  • Liked — Beach, Pools, Hot tubs, Room, Food, Everthing
  • Disliked — Everything was great!
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank bigkevbo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

6,567 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    3,781
    1,621
    590
    330
    245
See reviews for
152
5,427
22
61
Rating summary
  • 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,725)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
lena24
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2008

Well if i could write a book on how horrible our trip was i would! As most of you I was clueless about Sandals St Antigua, they say its one of the most romantic right? WRONG! Very far from romantic. We were on our honeymoon and it couldnt of been any worse. To start we booked our flight through sandals, a flight that should of took maybe 6 or 7 hours at the most took 16 hours! they made up stop at 3 different places with long overlays, left michigan at 8am and got to antigua at 1am, by the time we got there we were too tired to do anything, and we were extremly grumpy. We were supposed to have rose petals on the bed and a bottle of champagne waiting, nothing! The next morning they woke us up at 7:30am to stroll in a cold breakfast. It rained almost everyday, they didnt advise us before we came that there was a hurricane coming which they knew about but not only denied they knew but also claimed it wasnt a hurricane to cover themselves from having to refund us with another trip. We figured since we were there we would make the best of our trip. Impossible! They say they have 8 restraunts 24 hours but that was also a lie, you are limited to about 1-2 restraunts at certain times and most of the time they are closed and if they are open you need reservations but they fail to tell you that. Since there was a hurricane and everywhere was flooded, we were limited to 1 restraunt which was bar food and an italian restraunt that wouldnt let us in because we didnt have reservations. We were starving our whole trip, finally we decided to find a local grocery store that the restort lied and said it was closed when it wasnt, it costed $20 just to go a couple blocks away while we had to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bagels in our room...pathetic! There is absolutly nothing to do at the resort at night, no night life what so ever, as a young couple we were looking forward to our vacation but were in our room most of the time watching our 12 channels of tv which 2 included disney channel and cartoon network at an adult only resort. We are not drinkers so you could imagine that without being drunk we were bored out of our minds. The only thing to do at night is go next door to a casino but how much can you possibly gamble at a casino the size of your bedroom? I can go on forever but im going to wrap this up, the staff at the front desk and managment are extremly rude. Ive never been so upset in my entire life and I could never get my honeymoon back! Think twice before booking a trip here! If you must book a trip at sandals, i hear st. lucia is better! Hope i helped!

  • Liked — palm trees
  • Disliked — everything else!!!!
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank lena24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Coast, UK
Level Contributor
30 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2008

Overall, I have rated this as 4*, which I think is fair. The key to having a good a relaxing time for me rests to an extent in the decision of where your room is...I would highly recommend staying in the Medittaranean Village side. This side is new (built in 2007 I believe) and everything is cleaner, new and better.

Positivies:
- Massive pool (in the Med Village) and lovely big hot tub.
- Large selection of restaurants, we found it easy to reserve at the times we wanted. We ate at all the restaurants except the Japanese ones (ran out of days! + Sushi is not my favourite). Quality of food is good (not 5*), the best ones being Marios and Eleanors.
- Room (Monte Carlo Suite #7402), had a great view of the sea, was spotlessly clean, lovely bed, great bathroom. Can't fault it. FYI - Please note whilst they are called suites, they really aren't - they are largish rooms, they happen to have a sofa at the end which is why they are probably called suites! The only real suites are the ones on the top 2 floors.
- Check in and out, easy and quick
- Watersports - I used the hobie cats and or kayaks each day (they can give you instruction if required)
- Mini bar - always love this, particularly when it is already included!

Negatives:
- If you want a sunbed by the pool, you need to get up by 7am at the latest to 'reserve' one. It was annoying to have to do this. The hotel wants to stop this practice but you can't until there are as many beds + umbrellas as there are guests - simple maths!

We have stayed at 2 other Sandals (Bahamas and St. Lucia Halcyon). The Bahamas is still the best of these, followed by Antigua. The Halcyon is ok but a little dated but more intimate.

As mentioned above, the key part for me is if the room means a lot to you, then you must book in the Med side.

There are some very mixed reviews about the hotel - for me if you have booked you will have a nice time and should not worry. For any break in the sun, poor weather can heavily influence how good a time you may have.

  • Liked — Clean, spacious, great views
  • Disliked — NA (if you are in the med side)
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Yatesy77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2008

A beautiful island and a wonderful resort with a few problems that could effect the quality of your stay.
STAFFING Currently they are understaffed. This leads to delays in service as well as a less than ideal environment. At other Sandals resorts, I have not seen trash or dishes lying around throughout the day. Here I did. Though it was almost always cleaned up by the next morning, it hurt the atmosphere of a lovely resort.
Maids were still cleaning rooms at 7 PM. Maid service quality varied significantly from day to day.
I spoke with management about this during my stay. She related that they have had difficulty finding good people. She states they are firing employees as fast as they are hiring them.
RENOVATIONS: One building is undergoing significant renovations. Rooms in the adjacent building were treated to the smells associated with this (e.g paint, epoxy, etc)
POWER OUTAGES: Not sure if this is an island problem or just with the resort, but power would go out several times per day. An onsite generator only powered some amenities. For instance treadmills and A/C in exercise facility had no power while on generator.

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank Dallyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2008

Hi All,

For those thinking about Sandals, I would recommend reading this first, then making your own decision. We kinda felt exactly like you before booking this trip- "What's up with Sandals Antigua?" . Some people have good things to say, and others don't. For the most part, I don't feel that the complainers have really captured the reality of how much these resorts mislead, and grossly under perform. And for those who write positive reviews aren't highlighting exactly what they enjoyed about thier time there. So that is what I will do now, without much exaggeration.

A little bit about me for perspective: I am 30 and just came to enjoy our friends wedding. My husband and I read a lot of reviews before deciding to go, and thought that most of these folks were just being fussy. Lost luggage, poor customer service, and not being able to get a restaurant reservation are basically what I see reported here. But no one touched the main issue- overpriced and poor value. (FYI- they are all correct about poor customer service)

THE DEAL- This resort offers a premium location on Dickinson Bay, which is beautiful. This is why people come here. However, the beach is full of roaming vendors and they will approach you several times a day. This is NOT a 5 star resort as advertised. It was rated F by the Better Business Bureau for poor customer service, and false advertising. Trips usually cost from $3000-$7000 for one week. (7 days) They never provide refunds, only credit for another stay. *Which is rolled into their "repeat customer" statistics. You pay for all your meals and drinks in the all inclusive price. However, the food is not gourmet and the drinks are not top shelf. Tipping is not allowed, so there is no sense of urgency in the employees. Service is poor. But the people are friendly, as long as you don't need anything from them.

THE RESORT- Overall, the resort is kinda old. Def. not 5 star, but still a nice place. It gives you the sense of a little village by the ocean. Limited seating by the pool, and you have to pay $100 a day for a cabana. $$$
The ocean is beautiful and warm. And the pools are clean.

ROOMS- Some rooms are new, some are old and outdated. This is by design. The room rates vary, and ensure you only use the amenities and services you pay for, thus making the whole inclusive price seem like a bargain for some, and a rip off for others. Basically, the more you pay for, the better time you have. Mediterranean village rooms are all new, in a large hotel-style building. In the Caribbean village side, you have a mixed bag of old and new rooms that blend into the landscape and are very cute. The bottom floor rooms have water damage. Same with some of the cottages and rondovals because they are all on the ground level. There are a few newer rondovals (round rooms with private pools) in the Mediterranean village, but you can not reserve a specific room by number. It's all the luck of the draw. All "private" pools are not private. Everyone can see through the fence, and into the little backyard.

THE GROUNDS- The grounds are beautiful. Nice flowers and trees. Lots of birds and lizards. We did see a dead tarantula. They spray for insects twice a week. Gardeners are the only employees who seem to work quietly. Others shout across the pools and all over the resort. That is certainly something you would never see in a 5 star resort.

CLEANLINESS: Birds eat from the open air buffet areas, and cats roam the restaurant floors. *But I like cats. Lots of flies around the bar. There are indoor dinning options which we enjoyed. Mario's (open for breakfast buffet and lunch buffet), The British pub (pub fare all day) and Kimonos- (open for sushi dinner, but limited seating)

RESERVATIONS- All 4 of the "good" restaurants require a dinner reservation. You are limited to 4 reservations for your entire stay. If you don't have a butler, or concierge service, you will not get a reservation. If you don't arrive on the weekend, you will not get a reservation. Again, you get only what you are willing to pay for. You have to pay for wine if it is anything other than house wine. $$$

The DINNER FOOD in the restaurants that require reservations are very small portions of medium quality food. ( I wouldn't say poor, and I wouldn't say gourmet- which is what they claim) There is nothing a foodie would enjoy, just basic stuff. Elenors serves a 4 oz. lobster. and 6 oz. steak. The pumpkin soup was heavily cut with chicken broth. Forget about a bread basket, you get one roll. Mario's serves a tomato basil salad that consists of one tomato, sliced, with basil paste dotted around the dish. OK Coral serves ribs which are 4 short 4" ribs with baked potato and small salad bar. Best bet is the steak. I would compare it to a steak from TGI Fridays. ($15)

They are also missing typical condiments that you would find in any other normal restaurant such as honey, steak sauce, salsa, and hot sauce.

THE BUFFET FOOD: The buffets are good for what they are, buffets. If I were to see this spread at a local restaurant, I would expect to pay $18-$20. For lunch- They have lots of fruit, selection of meats, a soup, veggie platters, cheese platter, breads, pastas, salads, and some basic deserts. (Typical of a buffet) For breakfast, all the same except with cereal, oatmeal and an omelet bar.

IN ROOM BAR:
GET A ROOM WITH A BAR! It has coke (2) , diet coke (2) , Sprite (2) , caned juice which tastes terrible (2), bottled water (2), ginger ale (2), Red Stripe (2), Local beer called Wadale (2), one bottle of Chardonnay and one of Cabernet. One bottle of local rum, one bottle of no name brand vodka, one bottle of no name brand Whiskey, one bottle of french sparkling wine aka "Champagne". This bar is restocked every day. In my opinion, this is the only thing impressive, and of value they did for me on my entire stay.

The BARS: Top shelf liquor behind the bar is often not what it is labeled. The term "Top Shelf" should also consist of good tequila and high quality vodka. They only had a no-name brand tequila, and Absolute vodka, which after tasting, we determined was not Absolute but something else filled into the bottle. I know my liquors.

Water Sports: Reservations are needed and must be made early in the week. Other things such as hobby cats, and water trikes (bike) were all out of order. They were in no rush to fix them, and remained broken our entire stay. Follow these reviews in chronological order,and you will notice that they have been broken for a long time. The best thing about this is that you can snorkel and scuba for free- If you can get a reservation.


Why I would not choose Sandals again:
ok, here is where I rant based on personal experience-
Overall, they set up the guests for disappointment on all levels- service, amenities, and value.
The service is terrible- They have no incentives to work with urgency, or pamper the guests. The cost is too much- They need to lower the cost because its really not worth the money. We would rather go to Mexico where its cheaper, the service is better, and so is the food! Small things they could do to improve Sandals seem pretty obvious to me- They need more seating around the pool. They should ditch the whole idea of reservations for dinner, and allow people to have free rein on their expensive, all inclusive resort. They need more employees to service the lobby area and concierge. They need to take some management courses. The staff should be held accountable for their actions. We were promised things from people and they never delivered- to name just a few- more bottled water in our bar, a new set of towels, a phone call if the water sports was going to be canceled due to bad weather, a phone call if our dinner reservations were canceled due to weather. It is truly astonishing how the employees just lie to you. They should fix their water sport equipment and allow people to use them freely. They need to stop selling permits to the vendors on the beach, which only encourages them. They need to stop calling the resort 5 star. They need to offer refunds to people that have major issues, and not issue credit only. That policy alone is what marks them as having a long history of problems. (Like when you buy something from a discount store and they tell you upfront that you can only return for in-store credit). Sure, they won't tell you openly that they don't give refunds. But everyone on this website talks about how credit was issued. I personally was flooded out of my room, and without a replacement room for over 10 hours. After several phone calls, and emails, I am still waiting for compensation. (See photos)

Overall, the vacation did bring my husband and I closer. But that had nothing to do with Sandals, it just had to do with our adventurous spirit, the wedding of our best friends, and realization that all you have is each other if you have nothing else. So take my advise, and plan your own trip. You could do it cheaper, and better. Good luck!

  • Liked — The location- the island of Antigua is beautiful. In town is pretty rough though
  • Disliked — The service
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
17 Thank jessbandmikev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maine
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2008

Stayed Oct 26th-Nov 3rd; would like to preface this review by saying we were originally suppose to stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos, but due to maintanence after a hurricane they couldn't accomidate our reservations. Had a very PAINLESS transition with hotel AND flight arrangements handled by Sandals and our travel agent. What a relief we didn't lose our entire vacation due to acts of nature, and would highly recommend this resort chain if you worry about traveling during hurricane season.

Our arrival and transportation to the resort was easy and quick. If you've done your homework you will bypass the people offering to carry your luggage who then look for a tip. Anybody can point you towards the Sandals desk if you can't find it right away. We found out that we were upgraded from the Honeymoon Luxe on the Carribbean side to the Venetian Oceanfront on the Med. side upon arrival. We are returning Sandals guests and appreciated the consideration, especially since the resort was not operating at full capacity. Shared a taxi with another couple and were the only two couples checking in at the time we arrived. We weren't immediately welcomed, but found our way to check in and sat down and enjoyed a glass of champagne while we waited to be checked in. They do ask for a credit card for incidentals as you can't pay cash for shop purchases or excusions. We provided our debit card, but they would have taken a $600 cash deposit if you wanted to go that route. We got a brief tour of our room and the amenities, instructions on how to use our room key to operate lights in room, and assistance with setting up our safe code. We LOVED the rain shower and jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. The seperate commode area has two french doors that made it ridiculously tedious opening and closing the doors. Our four poster bed was the most comforable thing I've slept on while on vacation ever. Nice flat screen television with a selection of channels to keep you as updated on sports/news/movies as you want. Our AC didn't really work while we were there, but we prefered to open up windows and turn on the fan - it was adequete, but the night before we left we told the front desk they might want to fix it for the next guest and lo and behold someone was there right at 11am to do just that on the day we checked out. We did have three seperate occurances where our safe wouldn't work properly, and each incident was taken care of within the hour. Room bar and fridge always stocked with everything we could want, but I do agree with another reviewer in that it would have been nice to have something to munch on!! I was happy with the little coffee pot and real creamers instead of that powdered crap, though they did run out for two days. Concierge offered to send up milk as a substitute, the effort was nice.

We did manage to make reservations at all of the resteraunts the day after we got there. We had NO PROBLEMS and every time spot imaginable was available. My background is as a chef at a resort, so I know good food. I also travel quite a bit to all inclusive resorts during the winter, so I also have reasonable expectations here. I can say we did find something delicious at every meal, though not at every dinner course. I'll break it down by resteraunt:

Sunday - Mario's buffet was great, couldn't complain and discovered the delectable chocolate cake - YUM

Monday - BBQ on the Beach was moved into Bayside because of the chance of rain. It was OK. Steel drum band looked tired of playing the same tune all night.

Tuesday- Mario's a la carte; the duck confit with risotto appetizer was delicious. Service was extremely slow and we didn't get our entree for an hour and a half which was a little aggrivating. My husband didn't like the stuffed pasta and I didn't care for my pork (overdone, chewy and dry)

Wednesday - Had our appetizer course at the sushi bar and it was fabulous! We ate here three times for apps before going on to other dinner reservations, can't recommend it enough. Ate our main meal at Cricketer's a while later, food was good. Carib beer is only available here, and I'd give it a go if you've never had it. As a side note, Sandals Select Members are invited on Wed. to attend a private cocktail and dinner. We went to the cocktail but weren't impressed with the lack of management to talk to. We didn't know how long the dinner would be, or what was on the menu before hand. My husband doesn't care for long, drawn out dinners where they might hit you up for a return stay, we decided to pass on the dinner.

Thursday - Eleanor's has a lovely location. I didn't like the conch salad, but that's just me. I had the steak coated with blue mountain coffee and it was awesome. My husband had the shrimp and they were dried and overcooked. We split my meal, then went to the sushi bar to assuage our hunger.

Friday - Kimono's. Our chef for the evening was CJ. He doesn't have much of a personality and was curt with some guests when they didn't want one of the courses he served (mahi-mahi, shrimp, steak then chicken). Some guests didn't eat steak and he got upset because they didn't tell him before he started cooking the course. There was no flair/drama/ moments of oooh's and ahh's that you would expect from a tempenyaki meal. We've eaten at the japanese restaurant at the Sandals Regency in St. Lucia and had a fantastic time, so it's really all in who is providing you the service that night.

Saturday- Ok Corral we were glad we weren't downwind of the grill or we could have come away smelling like smoke. My steak was fatty, but my husband had a fantastic rib/chicken combo with jerk sauce. This was the best course of our visit.

Sunday - back to Mario's buffet, this time less that great. It's hit or miss, at least they switch up the menu every week.

We had breakfast and lunch at Mario's every day - totally adequete meals with plenty of choices. We ate pizza a couple times and didn't have to wait too long to be seated. We switched up the menu's on the pizza and chose all our fixings and they accomidated us no problem. If we wanted a salad before pizza we just scooted inside to the buffet and brought our plate back out. We could also take our pizza to go, which was great.

Pools - for the most part we stayed away from the main pool. The first day we did the lounge chair shuffle and just ended up plopping our stuff on a far away chair and getting in the pool. The service, well.... not great. A very rude bartender Trevette turned us off from that bar almost immediately. Service was extremely slow, I'm not talking 5 minutes here, try 15-20 minutes of waiting while they chit chatted with one another and completely ignored the guests. When there are 6-8 bartenders behind the bar, this isn't the kind of service you would expect. The main pool bar was also crowded with flies, and more than once I returned my "fresh" drink to the bar because of the added gift floating inside. In addition, they ran out of liquor choices more than once and just wouldn't walk to the storage unit to replace it. A couple of times an upstanding bartender would trek over to Barefoot by the Sea and get beer or your liquor of choice, but just for that one drink. If you have a drink you like that they don't know how to make, they take offense to you asking for it.

The carribbean pool bar however, was the exact opposite. We'd arrive around 10am, have our choice of seating, enjoy doing aquacise with Kim when we felt like it - had GREAT FUN playing pool volleyball afterwards, and the bar service was fantastic. One bartender Althea really stood out. She learned our names on the first day, and never forgot them all week long. She also remembered what we liked to drink, and our glasses were never ever empty. Even when she switched from the pool bar to Cricketers she always met us with smiles, our names, a cold drink - she really is a shining star on this resort. They also have a pool table that's right at the pool and it was a nice distraction after sipping cocktails and lounging in the sun without having to get to far from the pool. This little pool people seem to overlook because of the size, but those that find it, return day after day and you get to know other guests and have a little "posse" to chum with.

One last topic - Excursions. This is the second time we've been to Antigua (the first being at the Grand Pineapple which is now owned by Sandals and is an affordable alternative to the Sandals and Beaches properties - BTW an excellent resort as well and worth the price). The last time we were here, we did a couple of excursions and paid maybe $400 total for all of them. At Sandals we were just floored by the costs quoted in their brochures - FLOORED! One of the trips, the Key Lime Catamaran trip was almost double in price. We enjoyed the excursion last year, but for $125 we just didn't want to repeat it. Other trips looked interesting but just pricey. We decided to put all our eggs in a basket and do the Xtreme Circumnavigation on the speed boat for the bargain price of $190 per person (gasp). We knew we wanted to go around the whole island, do some snorkeling, have lunch on the beach, get over to see the Sting Ray City (too cool for words to swim with a bunch of sting rays bumping into you and swimming all around you), get a little history of the island, the dockyards etc. This excursion did it all BUT does not have the island music, rum punch flowing party atmosphere that a catamaran trip will so think carefully about what you want. We'd recommend the Key Lime trip over this one for first time visitors to the island.

I hope this review is helpful. I know I was looking for some warning about excursion prices when I was reading reviews before leaving, so I chose to include them here. For those looking for a review/considering getting married here, my husband and I did our Weddingmoon at Sandals Grande St Lucia and I would recommend you reading that review before deciding on a location. The extra touches at St. Lucia just put this resort to shame. We didn't get anything special for turn down even though it was our anniversary, no funny little touches, fresh flowers in the rooms, animals made out of towels etc here. Just not the same management priorities I guess. We did have a great time though, but I truly believe it was and will be what you make of it.

BTW - the power outages are constant. Don't bother setting your alarm clock because you'll be doing it multiple times every day. We were also unsuccessful getting a wake up call for the day of our excursion, but thankfully we're early risers. There IS some work to be done, but the beauty of the resort and island are not to be missed.

  • Liked — the room, pool volleyball, some really nice staff
  • Disliked — no wake up call, power outages, price of excursions
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank MaineGirl117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ny
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2008

Below is a letter we sent to sandals management about the problems we had during our trip from October 11th - 18th 2008. We have received no response. In addition to the letter we email photos of the totally unsanitary conditions we had to deal with for 2 days.

Dear Customer Service,
My husband and I stayed at your hotel from October 11th through October 18th. This was not our first trip to a sandals resort. We had vacationed at the Sandals Grande in St Lucia about 18 months ago and LOVE IT. We had a great time and expected nothing less this time. From the moment we arrived we had nothing but problems and disappointments. First we were brought to our room late around 4:00 and when we got there maintenance and a cleaning person were still in it. We were told it was not ready and to wait. We waited an hour and half and finally got in it. When we entered we were overcome by the smell of mold and mildew. There was mold growing up the curtains and walls. I have asthma and immediately felt an attack come on. We tried unpacking but I was becoming sicker and realized we had to be moved. We went to the front desk and told them this was unacceptable. We spoke with Toya who was very nice and found us another room. Which was much better, but we didn’t get into it until almost 7:30. We arrived at 12:30, that is 7 hours waiting for our room, almost a whole day gone. Everything we went to do in the next few days was disappointing. We went to play chess (something we loved in St Lucia) and the pieces were missing. We asked the entertainment manager about this and were told the pieces were lost and the replacement would not be there for weeks, they had to order them from Miami. We went to a water ball toss on Tuesday at the Caribbean grove pool. They had guests waiting for the activity for an hour and an organizer never showed up. Every dive was cancelled except for the first day. All our excursions were cancelled. And when we arrived the only reservations we could get at the restaurants were for Wed, Thur,and Fri and because of the hurricane they closed. They did give us last minute reservation for Kimonos on Wed night since the "Welcome Back" dinner was canceled. My husband got the ice cream for dessert and as soon as he put his spoon in the dish a bug flew out. Everyone at the table was speechless and we all left.
Hurricane Omar.
Let me start by saying I totally realize weather is out of your control however, how you handle it is not. There was no preparation and we were not told what to do if there was an emergency or evacuation. Our room was 705 that is in the Caribbean side of the resort. We went to bed and woke up at 5 am to a terrible storm I called the front desk and asked them what to do and their response was if water comes in your room climb on the bed. We woke up to at least a foot of water surrounding our room. I have attached pictures. Every picture you see was taken from our doorway. We went to the front desk 5 TIMES to ask for a new room. They told us none were available. The toilet did not work and we had no TV. By 10:00am Thursday our room started to smell like sewage from the toilets backing up and the water all around our room. We had to trudge through a foot of sewage water to get in and out of our room (as you can see from the pictures). We continued to call and go to the desk and no one could help us. We noticed that some rooms had at least milk crates that led from the room door to the sidewalk so that they did not have to go through the nasty water. We asked at least for that and were told we would have the milk crates right away. THEY NEVER CAME! We had to go to lobby to use the restroom at night and again go through that water late at night. These conditions were extremely unsafe and unsanitary and nothing was done to help us. My husband came down with a rash from his knees to his feet from walking through that dirty water for two days.
We went to get food at the buffet on Thursday night at the Cricketers (the line for Mario’s was an hour long because only buffets were available everything else was closed) and there was very little food left and what was left was covered with flies. Again weather is out of your control but you need to help your guests and be prepared, we were paying a lot of money for this trip and to be treating like this is terrible. We are well traveled and have never experience anything like this before. We are not hard people to please and if anyone or two of these things had happened we would have brushed it off and had a wonderful time but for all of this to happen in a single weeks vacation is just unacceptable.

Stayed October 2008
Helpful?
4 Thank kandcb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near St. John's
1.3 mi away
Blue Waters Antigua
Blue Waters Antigua
#2 of 15 in St. John's
1,794 reviews
3.8 mi away
Galley Bay Resort
Galley Bay Resort
#1 of 1 in Five Islands Village
3,215 reviews
5.8 mi away
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort
#1 of 15 in St. John's
598 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
5.8 mi away
Hermitage Bay
Hermitage Bay
#1 of 7 in Saint Mary's
942 reviews
7.7 mi away
Cocobay Resort
Cocobay Resort
#1 of 3 in Bolans
2,224 reviews
11.4 mi away
The Verandah Resort & Spa
The Verandah Resort & Spa
#1 of 1 in Saint Philip
3,646 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Travelocity, BookIt.com, TravelUp, HotelsClick, Jetsetter, Evoline ltd, Cheap Tickets and HotelQuickly so you can book your Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing