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“Enjoyed Sandal's”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 13, 2005

We stayed at Sandal's August 3 - 11 and enjoyed our stay very much. The food at Sandal's was very good especially the OK Corral - the Bayside was
good - especially the breakfast buffet and the international buffet on saturday - also the beach bbq on monday was great - the other nights is off
the menu and its okay - not enough variety for us. We did not eat at kimonos or the italian restaurant because the husband must have long pants and a collared shirt for those and we didn't bring any. They also have a grill open throughout the day which was also very good. My wife went scuba diving and enjoyed it very much. Also the snorkeling trips were very good as were the other water activities - remember they are at no charge so take advantage. We also went on an atv tour, bicycling and a tour by paddles (must do this one) - you can e-mail them for a reservation - --- - they can also put you in touch with the cycling if you are interested. Alot of people went on the circumnavigation tour (all day sailing around the island with various stops) and loved it . The sunset cruise is a must also - very nice!
Make sure you have a couple days of clothes on your carry - on - luggage seems to get lost at san juan - ours didn't but you never know. Also bring bug spray - we used a sunscreen with bug repellant in it which seemed to help - not a major problem. There are cats walking around the restaurant but there are not alot of them and really wasn't a big deal. The birds do fly
around but you are on a carribbean island for god's sake - what do you expect!!! The nightly entertainment was great - there was something there every night - alot of people go to the piano bar late at night and said it was great . The grounds are beautiful and the beach is fantastic !! The main pool is not very big but it works okay.You must remember you are not in the United States and there will be minor inconveniences but you are on vacation - enjoy it it is a beautiful island and our service throughout the week was fantastic !! We will go back again !!!!

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank Bob_In_Kansas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,320 - 6,326 of 6,876 reviews

Reviewed August 2, 2005

My husband and I went to Sandals Antigua for our honeymoon July 12 thru 22 2005. Overall we enjoyed our stay and had a good time, but we did feel that the resort was slightly over-priced and not quite the ‘luxury’ advertised.

Arrival: The arrival to Sandals was great. After the hot (not air-conditioned) airport transfer, it was so nice to walk into sandals and be greeted with champagne and cold towel. You sit on a comfy sofa and sip yor champagne while they take care of checking you in. Then once you are checked in they carry your bags to your room for you.

Room: We had book the base room (deluxe) and were upgraded 2 levels to the grande-luxe. The room was very nice and overall pretty clean. We were on the 2nd level of the Oleander block overlooking one of the pools which was right out front. We had a balcony with a lounge chair and small table and chairs and the room also had a 4-post bed, tv, desk, small sofa and chair, 2 small dressers and a bathroom and closet. My only disappointment with the room was with the bathroom. It was very small and the tub/shower was not very clean at all. There was mold in the tiles and on the shower curtain. Also, the hot water was very intermittent. However, we were happy with the room overall.

Pool: We never made it to the main pool with the pool bar because by the time we got up and out each day (usually around 11) all the chairs at the main pool had towels already reserving them. So, if we decided to use a pool, we just stayed at the pool near our room. This one was not crowded and was a nice place to relax and read. However, the pool itself had cleanliness issues. There was mold in the grout line in the tile along the sides of the pool and on the stairs and on the built-in seats. Although I still used the pool and enjoyed it, I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed in the cleanliness of it.

Beach: The beach was by far my favorite part of sandals. The beach was extremely clean and you could always get a great spot. However, if you wanted a shade spot, there were very few and those were taken very early in the morning - luckily we didn't need those because we never would have gotten one. The water was beautiful - crystal clear and perfect temperature for cooling off. The views were absolutely amazing. There were a few vendors, but if you said “no thank you”, they went away and they usually remembered you and would not ask you again during your visit. Really not a problem at all. This beach simply cannot be beat.

Weather: We were at Sandals during the rainy season - which we found out from one of the staff. According to him - rainy season is July thru December. Along with the downpours 4 of the 10 days, there were also tons of Mosquitoes. One afternoon I fell asleep for 2 hours outside on the balcony and woke up with over 40 bites! Throughout the week, the bugs were a minor annoyance. Not sandals fault, I should have brought something to prevent bites, so beware and pack something if you are going during rainy season. On the days it did not rain, it was absolutely beautiful. While it was very hot, it was also very easy to cool down by taking a swim in the ocean or pool – and we went a lot of our time in the water. Our room air conditioning also worked great and kept us very cool. The only time the heat became a problem was at dinner. Since men are required to wear long pants and collared shirts at 2 of the restaurants and the restaurants are open to the outside with no cooling, my husband often sweated thru dinner. This was the one thing that really bothered him during the trip. I often wore a sundress to dinner and I was fine.

Grounds: The grounds were beautiful and very clean and well-kept. There were a couple of cats and dogs hanging around the beach, but we thought they were cute and they never bothered us. They didn’t really come up to you unless you offered them food. There were lizards around, but they were tiny and harmless and we enjoyed watching them. We really enjoyed the lush tropical feel of sandals.

Food: The food was average to slightly above average. There was a decent amount of variety, but there wasn’t anything that we loved. In fact, my husband ordered fajitas at the Tex-Mex place and said they were good, but not as good as TGIFridays! I had a steak there once and the king fish another night and liked them both. The Bayside was my favorite for dinner because it seemed to have the most variety offering a range of types of food from pasta to vegetarian to pork. The Italian restaurant was good, but some of the tiems on the menu weren’t very Italian. The Japanese place we really enjoyed – big variety and sushi for appetizer was great. I didn’t have a meal there I didn’t like, but I also did not love the food. I did like that 3 of the restaurants were overlooking the ocean and beach and it made for a very romantic dinner, especially if you ate during sunset!

Staff: This varied from person to person. Some of the staff was so nice and so accommodating. However, some of the staff was either rude or really took their time helping you. Several times at dinner I would have to wait 5 to 10 minutes to get a refill of my drink and often they would bring over a desert and the coffee would come literally 20 minutes later. However, sometimes I wouldn’t even be finished with my drink yet and a new one would be waiting for me. So, it just varied greatly. Overall, we were satisfied with the staff, but definitely not overly impressed because of the bad experiences.

Activities: The beach water activities were great. Sailing was really fun and snorkeling was fun also. You could also go water skiing, kayaking, and scuba-diving, but we didn’t do those things. There were several billiard tables, pig-pong, chess, darts and tennis courts. There was also a volleyball court and a basketball hoop in the main pool. You really could be as busy with activities or as relaxed as you wanted.

Nightlife: If you are looking for wild nights, this is not the place for you. However, there was plenty to do if you were looking for a low-key evening with your spouse or other couples. The courtyard had music until 11 and was a great place to hang out and have a drunk and dance after dinner. The sing-along piano bar was open until 2 am and was always a good time. Sometimes it was crowded, sometimes empty, but it tended to be more fun when more people were there to sing. Sometimes it even had an amazing buffet. We only went into the night club once and it was pretty empty and way too loud for our taste. For us, plenty to keep us entertained in the evenings.

Overall, we had a really good vacation, but I feel that for the price and the way the hotel bills itself, it did not live up to expectations and could be improved upon in many respects.

  • Stayed: July 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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17  Thank Sarah V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
South Carolina
111
Reviewed August 1, 2005

The simple truth is that this resort is "nice", but no "ultra all-inclusive".
BEACH:
The beach was nice, but it's not private as advertised, so get ready for the vendors, the locals, and the kids from other resorts.
ROOM:
We stayed in a beachfront Rondoval and despite reports we thought it was actually very nice.
FOOD:
The food is average in the restaurants (think Applebee's)......there in NO White Glove Service!!
The buffets (breakfast and lunch) are horrible.
Room Service was cold both times we had it.
BEER:
There is only one beer (Wadadli - the Antiguan beer), and it is disgusting! They will tell you that the other Keg is Red-Stripe, but it's not, it's Wadadli too.......order one of each and try it!!! Red-Stripe is only available in Butler rooms unless you pay more. Other beers are available at a premium, but who's going to pay for an all-inclusive and then pay extra for American Domestics like Bud????
ALCOHOL:
Not too many top shelf liquors, but there are some, and you won't care how good they are after a few!!
STAFF:
The staff are not helpful at all, a few were nice, but 90% were miserable.
SERVICE:
Service in the restaurants was OK, but not what you'd expect from a 5 Star resort.
They don't bring you drinks by the pool or on the beach.
ANIMALS:
There are 5-6 Cats around the resort.
A few Dogs seem to live on the beach.
Sea-Gulls are everywhere (they live off the Buffet)
Lizards are all over, but they did not bother us at all.
We found a few dead Roaches in the room.....we assume they have some poison down.
Mosquitos are bad.............but only at dusk.
AIRPORT:
No A/C, long lines, and pure chaos.
CONCLUSION:
A pretty resort with some old world charm that simply fails to live up to it's billing as an ultra luxury resort. It is all inclusive, but it's just not very good.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
scotland
115
Reviewed August 1, 2005

where do I begin? We booked Sandals in Antigua for our honeymoon thinking we would stay in a 5 star resort with excellent food, service and facilities. This is only a small example of our problems - we are in the process of writing to Sandals and Hayes and Jarvis to recieve compensation.
Our upgraded room was very poor - roof leaked, air con did not work for most of our stay. Our bathroom needed upgraded badly!
The pools in the resort had chipped tiles and needed cleaned.
When we ate in the the restaurants, with the exception of the Mexican and Japanese, we were also eating with cats and birds!!!!!!!! When we complained about the hotel the manager, or should I say the 3 managers we spoke to, did not care.
we were not alone in our views, many other honeymoon couples like us were also very disappointed and when we spoke to our rep she even agreed that this was not a 5 star hotel and recommended that in the future we should stay ay galley Bay and not Sandals! She told us that 50% of people who stay at Sandals complain and she rated the hotel a 3star.
Do not waste your money on Sandals in Antigua, especially if it is your honeymoon!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
15  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Coventry, England
115
Reviewed July 27, 2005

Firstly can I say that I have used trip advisor many times before and whilst the site gives a good general opinion it tends to over eggs the minuses. So I have tried to ensure that this review is as honest as I can make it !

Please understand that this resort is on Antigua time and in our opinion has lovely rustic charm located on one of the best beaches in the world. If you are wanting a modern "americanised" resort with gizmos and gadgets don't bother staying here. The resort has a wide range of good food (japenese our favourite) a great atmosphere and good evening entertainment, as well as some great watersports including scuba, snorkelling, water skiiing hobie cats, and kayaks.

Sandals are commited to investing heavily in the resort and have a very ambitious expansion project which is scheduled to start work any day (they were clearing a plot of land next door to the resort when we were there - so beware of building works starting soon) The new "sandals antigua carribbian village" promises to once again put this resort at the very top of sandals collection of resorts and even before the expansion is finished I would recommend you go !!

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
15  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2005

We stayed at Sandals this May and had a very good holiday. The very negative views must have a hidden agenda because everything about the place was very pleasant. The only thing I would say is that some parts are due for a paint over. Apart from that, the food, drinks, staff, beach, watersports were excellent. The gardens were absolutley beautiful and very well maintained. The head gardener gave us a private tour of the estate and he was very knowledgable. Oneof the members of staff went out of her way, in her own time, to obtain tickets for the cricket. The piano bar was great fun and the people we met were super. They actually made the holiday perfect.

We are a widely travelled mature couple and know what we like.

Happy to answer any questions.

  • Stayed: May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank HelenSN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2005

just a quick review on this property, just not worth the money we had a pool rondoval room it was beautiful always kept clean butler service was nice but the brand new a/c system could not cool these rooms down as much as we had the maintenance people there and mgr they could not make it happen...I am sure in non summer months it would be fine but just beware of the hot months..also i am sad to say there were roaches in the room, all the restaurants are out doors and very hot and even the one in doors kimonos was very warm all the people with us eating were complaining, food in other restaurants was pretty good, service was so so feel free to email me direct joedelraybeach@aol.com i would be happy to tell you about the rest...this is a place for people who dont travel often and are just happy to get out of there hometown and visit a new and exciting place...a 3 star at best

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank joedelraybeach
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 Family 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: $562 - $1,011 (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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