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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
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Reviews (7,102)
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Reviewed August 11, 2004

We stayed at the resort from July 8th through July 17th and had a great time! After reading the mixed reviews, we were skeptical about the resort. However, after vacationing there we felt we should write our own review and share it.

When we arrived to the resort on July 8th, we were greeted with cold wash cloths and champagne. To our surprise, the deluxe room that we previously booked was upgraded to one of their Honeymoon Luxury Conceirge Suites. Check in was smooth and our room was available immediately.

Our room was very clean, very roomy & cozy. It had a fully stocked bar with rum, vodka, gin & scotch. Our refrigerator was stocked daily with large bottled water, champagne, wine, soda & beer. The conceirge service will remove or add anything that you like or dislike. The maid & conceirge service was excellent. We never had a problem with insects, maybe an occassional fly when the doors were open, but certainly nothing to get upset over.

The beach was absolutely beautiful and clean! There are more than enough beach chairs on the beach! We never had a problem getting a chair no matter what time of the day it was. You didn't need to get to the beach early to save a chair like some of the reviews indicated.

There are some vendors on the beach that will ask you if you'd like to see their jewelry, carvings, wraps, etc. A simple "no thank you" will suffice them. We were approached by them, they're very friendly and they do understand that people do not like to be bothered by vendors and once you tell them no thank you they leave you alone. We were never hounded by them anytime we were at the beach.

The restaurants exceeded our expectations. The only restaurant that we didn't care for was the OK Corral. It's Tex-Mex style. We tried their steak, granted it was edible, but it's Antigua and steaks are just better in the US than the Caribbean. Kimono's (Japenese Hibatchi) & Il Palio (Italian) were our favorites. We also enjoyed the Bayside. The Bayside has a buffet for breakfast & lunch, dinner is a la carte, unless it's the night they do their Beach BBQ Party or they have a theme buffet these are usually Monday & Saturday nights.

The staff was very friendly at all times. We never encounted anyone that was unfriendly, but then again, we're friendly people.

The bars were fun. The banana sip sops are great! You must try them. Any drink you get that seems light on the alcohol, just ask for extra, they will give you a more potent one. The nightclub and piano bar are fun places too.

The entertainment was great, they had different local bands come in throughout the week to perform. They also put on their own shows which were enjoyable. They do try to get you to participate in activities during your stay to earn points for prizes. The prizes are different and range from leather sandal necklaces, bottle of their "viagra rum", t-shirts, sunset cruise, etc. We participated in their version of the Newlywed game, couples dance contest, volleyball, etc. We had a lot of fun.

While we were there, we renewed our marriage vows after 7 years of marriage. Our wedding coordinator Scherrie took care of everything! We just had to show up. We were very pleased and they did an excellent job! The weather that day was perfect. The photographer took some beautiful pictures. When we got back to our room the wedding coordinator's decorated our bed with balloons, 2 t-shirts opened up along with flower petals sprinkled over our bed. There was a bottle of champagne chilling on ice, a wedding cake and a plate of hor'derves. That night there was a special dinner for 2 planned for us and the next day breakfast was delivered to our room. We never expected all of this. When we arranged to renew our wedding vows the basic pkg included: bouquet for the bride, flower for the groom, free 5x7 picture, certificate and an officer to officiate the ceremony. The extra's were something they did as a surprise. We were very surprised.

We went into St. John's twice to do some shopping and were able to find a few good deals. They have a vendors mall that you can barter with, they don't like to go down on their prices, but will, unless there's a cruise ship intown. We went to the casino one night it rained for something different to do. We won a voucher for the sunset cruise through the resort. If you get a chance to go, we would recommend to go. It's a fun cruise down the coast and back (2hours), the day we went the sunset was spectacular.

All in all, we had a great time! We met some wonderful people and had a great time with all of them! We would definitely go back to this resort. Your vacation will be what you make of it. There are plenty of activities and watersports to do through the resort.

I wouldn't rate this resort as "high class luxury" it's not the Taj Mahal, but it is very nice. This was our first time going to one of the Sandals Resorts and we had a very positive experience. We're already planning our next vacation to try out the new Sandals Whitehouse Resort in Jamaica with another couple we met in Antigua.

4  Thank MRT2KB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
West Haven, Connecticut
1
Reviewed August 5, 2004

This was one of best vacations my husband I have taken. We have travelled extensively in the Carribean and Europe and have taken seven cruises. The hotel staff was excellent. I read all the bad review and was disappointed on how negative the reviews were. The beach is beautiful --- my room was clean and cozy - kind of small but the size suited the resort. The staff was excellent and helpful. The restaurants were good -- and everyone worked extra hard to make us comfortable. All in all I had a wonderful vacation. The Carribean is mostly beach and relaxation and this resort excelled in both areas.

I did have a problem with the lack of modesty - there should have been rules about nudity on the beach.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2004

After having read a truckload of bad reviews I feel it is only fair to post my positive review of this destination. First things first, My girlfriend and I are in our late twenties and stayed at this resort for 14 nights in July 2004. In the past, I have travelled to places such as Cancun, Nevis, St-Martin, Canary Islands, Negril, St-Thomas, Cuba and St-Barts.
In almost every respect the resort met or exceeded our expectations. However, those expecting a five star Manhattan or Mayfair hotel/service should maybe look elsewhere and prepare to pay double the price! Remember the Carribean is not Rome, Paris, N.Y. or London. If you have realistic expectations you will not be disappointed.

Pick-up at airport was A-1: Four minutes after we had our bags we were in taxi towards hotel. (15 minute drive)
Check-in was a breeze and very professional, greeted with cold towels and champagne.
Our honeymoon concierge suite was as we had hoped but not brand new: good size, fully stocked bad, good maid & concierge service.
Grounds were very lush.
Watersports plentiful, equipment in very good condition.
Beach was perfect and with only three hotels on Dickenson Bay, white sandy beach was never crowded. Vendors were present but not too much.
Service was sometimes uneven at breakfast and lunch, but dinners over our fourteen day stay were always a pleasure. No qualms about any of the four nightime restaurants. Lots of variety at buffet lunchs (ie. Asian day, Carribean day, Italian Day etc.)
The drinks behind the bar were premium brands and the staff are not cheap with their servings. Port and Amaretto servings were doubles and triples.
Rose and Red Chilean wines (which are included) are quite good. White was a bit harsh though. However, if you are expecting fine wines ($30-$40 like one guest mentionned to me) you may not understand the concept of an all-inclusive, even at a premium resort like Sandals. Included 'Champagne' was very drinkable, we must have had a bottle a day!
Some renovation ongoing but nothing to really upset guests.
Evening entertainment was actually entertaining! Instead of having staff show off their 'talents' it was nice to see outside bands, singers, etc strut their stuff. Many were very good.
Clientele mostly consisted of Brits. and Americans. Many couples are under 35! Half of couples were there on honeymoon or wedding. July in the Carribean can get quite hot, average daily temp. well into the thirty degree celsius range.

Some fun add-on activities:
Tour of Island with local cab-driver, can take you to a few deserted beaches, Shirley heights, Nelson's Dockward etc. A quick 30. min. stop in St-John's is ample.
Horseback ride on beach near sunset a must!

Overall all,after two weeks, I can safely say that we would return to Antigua, Sandals, and Sandals Antigua.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at following email addy:

adam_blondin@hotmail.com

3  Thank A&MOttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2004

This place was the biggest nightmare, EVER!!! The upper management and front desk are the worst you can possible have. They ruined my family's stay, my wedding, and another couples wedding. I've never been to another Sandals, but after this one- I'll never go. Our family spent alot of money to get there and were disappointed and rudely treated. Most of the staff has about as much personality and are as friendly as stale bread. When I wrote a letter complaining they brushed it under the rug.
I seriously doubt they ever get return visitors. It's too bad, because it has the most beautiful beach and grounds I've been to. If you are planning a wedding here- CANCEL!!!

  • Stayed: June 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank iluvnillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Caldas da Rainha, Portugal
11
Reviewed August 2, 2004

For what we paid it had to be much better!
It is a nice place if you plan to have some quiet holidays. The swimming pools are small and nice, give you a chance to relax and read, but some shadows are missing. There is no drinking service ( except in one pool) and if you want a snack you have to go to the main place - the food there is too greasy and without much choice - hamburgers, hot dogs, terrible fries ...
The thematic restaurants, except for OK Curral ( where the waiters know nothing of how to deal with wine) are far from being fair on what they want to represent. The japanese food knows nothing of Japanese food, they will cook you a "kind of" chinese food, not japanese. They don't even show you some sushi. At the Italian restaurant the waiter that served us had no idea of rhe names of the dishes he should recommend us, when at the end we asked him for two expressos, and there was an expresso coffee machine there, he served us watered american coffee in small cups. The food was not so bad but the mushroom soup is nothing but musherooms.
The bartenders have a lot to learn, they can only prepare their own cockeils and can´t serve a straight drink properly. They also lack being nice. I think it all comes because they get no tips. Cuba,Dominican Republic are other worlds, people are extremely nice!
The all complex is kind of old.
The ladies from the rent a car and travel services are absolutely unkind, sometimes even rude. They are not interested in doing a good job, probably they get their wages whether they sell or not.
For a Sandals resort we were expecting much better! - just compare it with Mexico.
The beach was very nice, the water perfect. The barbecue dinner was also nice, but you had to be there by 6,30 ...

1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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