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“Not Fabulous but just OK”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 5, 2005

My husband and I just came back from spending our honeymoon at the Sandals Antigua from August 27th till Sept 4th. (Ages 24 and 28)

I'll be completely honest about this resort....This is definetly not a five star resort as they advertise. I don't know where they even came up with the idea they were, maybe there other properties but not htis one. I have been to plenty five stars and below resorts and Sandals Antigua is no more than a three star property. We both arrived and left disappointed...I had read the reviews before leaving for Antigua and almost switched to the bahamas resort...At the time I didn't think a 1000 dollars more was worth it, but now looking back...I really wished we had just switched locations.

ROOMS: We were upgraded to a honeymoon suite lux (They upgrade everyone, I did not meet one person during our stay that was not upgraded) So yes this was a good thing......however our room was nothing spectacular. It had a very large four poster bed, which was indeed comfortable, but the only thing noteable in the room. The bathroom was very small, with only one sink, tub/shower and toilet so very basic. We didn't have any bugs however so that was a good thing. We did bring bug spray with us just in case. Make sure you pack some - the entire resort is basically set in the outdoors so there are plenty of mosiquitos. I was just very disappointed with the room.....our airconditioning also did not cool down our room very well, but I dont think other guests had that problem. FYI - They are doing construction on the property - they are adding ton of new rooms/pool so be sure to request a room away from the bulldozers and etc. We met a couple that was woken up every morning to the construction.

FOOD: The food is just ok, nothing fabulous but not terrible either. The only thing they lack is choices and variety. With only Five restaurants, only three are open a night, so you have a very limited choice. Make reservations 24 hours in advance in order to ensure you get the time you want and restuarant. The Japanese restaurant was very popular and we almost didnt' get a reservation there in the 8 days that we were there. Although the food was really nothing to write home about. So that was just ok.

POOLS: The pools were honestly pretty pathetic. Granted you go to the beach, for the beach and not the pools but this was just sad. They have five pools - four which are very small, and as I'm sure you have read in the other reviews - they are run down. This is completely true, and actually quite dirty - the tiles desperately need to be cleaned and in some cases re-tile the entire pool. The "main pool" which has a swim up bar is also very small. When activties such as pool volleyball take place, there is no where to swim/sit except at the bar. We spoke to several couples who had been to the st. Lucia property and said that there smallest pool there was still larger than our main pool. So that was disappointing.

BEACH: The beach was nice. The sand is nice white and powdery. The water wasn't as crystal clear as I had hopped. I went to cancun last year so maybe I was a bit spoiled, but I was expecting it to be as clear as that and it wasn't unfortunately. But it's clean and warm as bath water. There are vendors around and they can get a bit annoying, but just keep saying no thank you and they get the point.

SERVICE: I would go as far as saying that 75% of the staff was rude and just simply disgruntled employees. I'm not sure where these people are getting this wonderful service, because besides the playmakers -everyone else didn't care about the guests. The bartenders esp. were rude. ***They water down their liquor*** So be sure to request double shots in your drinks. Because these employees don't expect/work for tips they don't treat the guests as well as they should. I use to work in the hotel industry and I know what good service is, and for the most part the service was not good.

Entertainment/nightlife - This resort I would say is more catered to the mid 30's -50's crowd. Don't come here looking for a wild night. They have bands everynight in the evening which is very pleasant. They also have a "nightclub" which barely anyone goes to. I went there several nights and besides the other couples we were hanging out with - only employees went there to hangout, drink and hook up with each other. I'm not even exaggerating. There is a piano bar....it is one of the only few places that is airconditioned, so it's nice to go there for a relaxing night and for some sing along songs, but it's nothing spectacular either.

Bugs/cats: Yes there are about 6-7 cats roaming the resort. Honestly they are harmless and it's more sad than anything to see them because they are skin and bones. The reason they are there is well not only is it impossible to control the animals when the resort is wide open, but they keep away the rats/mice. Bugs, lots of mosquitoes as mentioned before.

Watersports: There are plenty of watersports to keep you busy from waterskiing, windsurfing, hobiecats and etc.. However keep in mind when you go snorkling during this season (which I was failed to have been informed untill I saw them myself) It is jellyfish season. THey are floating around everywhere around the coral reef. Apparently they don't sting, but there was no way I was going to jump into an ocean of jellyfish. My husband went and said they were more annoying than anything - I guess he's more brave than I am.

So take the good with the bad -that's my review of the resort. I felt that it was a rundown property and definetly not worth all the money we spent on the place. I'm sad to say that our honeymoon was just OK and not fabulous. However, we still made the best of it and tried to have a good time.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
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14  Thank VANatalie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,392 - 6,398 of 6,959 reviews

Reviewed September 1, 2005

My husband and I flew to what we thought was a 5 star resort, we travelled for 15 hours to get there. The hostess at the airport had no record of us, though we had paid months before. We and another couple tried for at least 1/2 an hour to get a cab to take us to Sandals, finally taking matters into our own hands and circumventing the person organizing the cabs. . Check-in was lengthy, then we were escorted to our room, with a bargain bag of shampoo etc. No hot water, curtains didn't extend to cover the windows, no robes...
Told that there were no tables for dinner that first evening, bar staff were surly throughout our week.
Rained for days and nights, no dry beach towels available for some reason, and had to walk to the beach area to try in the first place...
This place has some serious work to do, not a 5 star, maybe a 3 star...?

  • Stayed: November 2004
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14  Thank Loridp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2005

My husband and I went the week of August 6 and had a fabulous time! We got married there, the wedding was beautiful - no hassles, the staff looked after everything. We read some of the reviews before hand and were nervous enough to phone our agent (Sears) who informed us that not to worry, our trip was guaranteed and that if we got there and found it to be that bad, we just had to call them. So we went with an open mind. Don't forget, these are tropical poor countries. We were upgraded to a lovely room with a small garden and four poster bed. The air conditioning was quiet and so was the room. The frogs and crickets seranade you every night, we just loved that. The food was good, we had no complaints. You certainly don't go hungry. Restaurants are open all day and night, drinks were plentiful. We started at one end of the drink menu and worked our way through it (and we are not usually drinkers) until we discovered the Sip Sop. It has a bit of banana in it. This way you get your fruit too! They are like strawberry milk shakes, absolutely delicious! It was a good thing we got married on a Tuesday and not the Friday, I had enough trouble getting into my wedding dress on the Tuesday! LOL It was fun to dress up at night and go for dinner. The entertainment in the court yard was good - we went down just about every night. The white sandy beach was great! We swam in the ocean every day or you can sit by one of the many pools. We went horseback riding along the beach - the horses are certainly not what we were used to, but the sunset ride was lovely! We rented a taxi ourselves and went to Shirley Heights and a tour around town. Its a nice couples' resort. Everyone seems to be on their honeymoon. We had a great time! Its all in what you make it. The staff are extremely friendly and when you think about how much they probably make, it is amazing. We received a room upgrade and a $250.00 credit so we used that for a couple's massage, which we loved. All in all, we had a fantastic time and would love to go back for next year, if we can afford it.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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13  Thank Horsegirl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Bedfordshire, UK
19
Reviewed August 29, 2005

I spent 10 nights at Sandals Antigua with my husband this summer and enjoyed every minute of it. We found the staff friendly and helpful and the food was very good, especially Kimonos. Our room was clean and well presented and everything was in excellent working order! The beach was glorious (see photo) and although it is not private (all Antiguan beaches are open to the public) vendours do not hassle you in any way.

In fact, the only negative of the whole holiday was the birds who had a tendency to fly into the Bayside restaurant to try to steal food from the buffets!

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2005

after reading some of the reviews i felt i had to put forward our feelings regarding this resort
some of the rooms are in need of upgrading but sandals have a revolving refurbishment programme which is acheiving the desired results.people should beaware that there is a large expansion of the resort currently under away that will provide another 198 rooms and 3 resteraunts which should be complete december 2006.
we found the staff to be most helpful & friendly, it is amazing what please and thank you can achieve.
the resteraunts offer varied menus which cater for most tastes and the food is of a good standard
the beach is a public area so expect the local traders to approach but once again a polite no thank you and they will leave you alone although there are some very interesting people to be met !!
all in all we had a very enjoyable stay and would return one day.

Stayed: August 2005
13  Thank neilnorthwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Kent, UK
116
Reviewed August 24, 2005

Both my husband and I got married in the Sandals Grande St Lucian and then went on to Antigua for our honeymoon. We was both appalled by the resort, the food was disgusting, the rooms were in desperate need of renovation and we would barely have described this hotel as a 2*!

It definately did not warrant the money that we spent on the holiday and after being back in the UK for 6 months we have yet to receive a response to our letter of complaint from Sandals.

If anyone is considering going to this resort, take our advice and DON'T, our honeymoon was completely ruined and the management at the hotel was not at all helpful and couldn't have cared less that they had unsatisfied clients.

  • Stayed: February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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16  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Phoenix, Arizona
117
Reviewed August 16, 2005

I recently returned from the beautiful island paradise of Antigua. I booked my vacation and then I read all of the awful reviews for Sandals Antigua and I thought that I had made a mistake. I was pleasantly surprised with a very nice room and a great hotel staff. With 5 restaurants there were a lot of options unfortunately I didn't find the food to be that great the italian place and the OK corral were alright but the bayside was not very good the buffet was bad and the dinner was worse. The grill was great and fast and I thought Kimonos was really good so on the last night which was my birthday we decided to eat there, but we got stuck waiting over an hour before we even got our appetizers and with a 9:00 pm reservation we didn't get out of there until 11:15 and we didn't even stay for desert. I was dissapointed that we wasted so much of our last evening waiting and the reason was that the resort doctor was having dinner with us and his nephew was flying in and they were waiting for him to arrive which I thought was ridiculous since if we were an hour late for our reservation they would have served everyone else without waiting.
I thought that the hotel and grounds were beautiful the beach was the most beautiful I have ever seen. We arrived on Sat Aug 6 late in the evening due to delays in Puerto Rico I wouldn't recommend American Airlines American Eagle all of their flights were delayed and one was canceled. On Sunday we went to Shirley Heights and had a great time it is a big party there with a live band and food every Sunday.
We also did the Wadadli Cat snorkeling trip to Cades Reef which was amazing I saw a 100lb. Barracuda. They make lunch after snorkeling and then you go to a beach where you can play Cricket, swim, and layout. The crew was great Sheldon the Captain taught my husband how to play cricket and he had a great time. I would highly recommend this tour.
The beach party at the hotel was a lot of fun and we made friends with some really nice couples throughout our stay, but we didn't really participate too much in the hotels activities we did our own thing most of the time. We did spend some time in the pools late at night which was fun. It seems like the place is deserted by 11:00 pm so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
We rented some jetskis from Tony's watersports and we had a blast the water is so calm that you can really tear it up out there. My husbands jet ski ran out of gas and he had to go back in but they gave us extra time for the inconvenience.
We also did the couples massage in the spa at Sandals and it was very nice my husband felt a little uncomfortable going to the spa but he thanked me later. I got a pedicure in the beauty shop and I have to say that it wasn't worth the $50 I am used to the salons with the massage chair that are top of the line and this pedicure was lacking no exfoliation, no calf massage, and an uncomfortable chair with a small foot bath. Maybe I am spoiled but I wished I had just gotten one at home for 1/2 the price for 2 times the quality.
We went to St. Johns for a day and did some shopping it was ok. I thought that although duty free a lot of the items were severely overpriced and it is very run down and poor. There was a lot of litter all over the island it is kind of depressing to see such a beautiful place with a dirty diaper on the beach and broken beer bottles. The beach in front of Sandals was maintained beautifully, but some other beaches were not.
I also did the horseback riding which we booked through the guys that hang out on the beach right in front of the hotel. I think that was a big mistake I have never riden such a poorly trained animal and I was the only 1 out of the 4 in our group who had riding experience so they gave me a horse who looked like he had some kind of a disease with blisters all over his nose and he didn't respond to commands at all. I would pull right he would go left. At one point during our 3 hour ride we went onto a beach and my horse took off at full speed and wouldn't stop I was pulling back as hard as I could shouting Whoaa and holding on for dear life before he finally slowed a few minutes later. In hindsight I never should have booked this except through one of the reputable companies on the island. I was very scared I have never ridden such an unpredictable horse and I would recommend skipping the horseback riding.
Overall I think this island is beautiful and Sandals was a very nice place to stay and I would consider staying there again.

17  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#4 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Business Hotel in St. John's
Price Range: $565 - $1,457 (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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