I have stayed at various Sandals, and this is not the best - AT THE MOMENT.
We were upgraded to a Concierge room, which on the plus side, had a nice view of one of the pools, but on the minus, was right next to the construction work. We could only see the construction work when going to and from our room, but they did start at 7.30 every morning. We were not bothered by the noise of the diggers, but the loud BEEP BEEP BEEP when the vehicles were reversing certainly woke me up. They work until about 8 p.m.
Our room was large, with plenty of storage, and as it was a concierge room, we had a nice mini bar. It had a bottle of vodka, whisky, red wine and gin (but no rum, which I found unusual). In the fridge we had various soft drinks, white wine, champagne, beer and water. This was replenished regularly. We had robes, an iron and table, and our towels were changed regularly. House keeping really were great. Antigua has no natural water or electricity supply - it all has to be imported, that's why they ask you to conserve it. A large mirror and lamp next to the small hairdryer, and a large, well-lit mirror above the sink if you wanted to apply make-up, etc.
Our room was on the upper floor, so we had no problem with bugs. It overlooked one of the pools, so you did not have to go far to get to the pool. It was a great pool, but there was no pool bar here, and to get fresh towels you had to go to the water sports hut. This pool was shaded in the morning, and not the afternoon - the pool with the swim up bar was the opposite. There were, I think, four pools in total, but they were all quite small.
The hotel at the moment has an over all feeling of smallness - small buffet restaurant, small grounds, small beach. I think once the Mediterranean Village opens, the opposite will be true, but I had the impression from speaking to the management that it will almost operate as two seperate hotels.
We chose not to do any of the organised excursions. I normally like to do an island tour, but it was US$98 each. we made our own way by taxi into town (US$10 each way). One of the cruise ships were in Port, and we were aprroached by a lot of taxi drivers asking if we wanted to go to a nice beach. we were sitting in 'Cheers' bar right next to the port, and a taxi driver approached a group next to us who had obviously booked and island tour with him. he asked if we wanted to join them, and told us he would charge us $20 each (normally US$30). We did, and had a great day. he took us right down to Nelson's Dockyard, Shirley Heights, and showed us where Eric Clapton's property is.
The only watersports we did was snorkelling - my husband does not swim, and it was OK for him to come aboard and stay there while we snorkelled. The first area we went to was not clear enough, so we went to another, and were warned there may be jellyfish there. I swam for a few minutes, saw a jellyfish, panicked and got back to the boat as quickly as possible. Everyone was the same - instead of snorkelling for 30 minutes, we only lasted about 5. I think if the staff had explained about the jellyfish before we went in the water, I would not have panicked as much. They don't have eyes or control over their movement, so don't 'go for' you. It's only if you bump into them that they sting.
Restaurants - the Italian was nice, but didn't seem romantic. Kimonos was great - definitely recommend it. OK Corrall - OK, except I was right next to the open flame they use to cook the food, and it was far to hot and sweaty to be comfortable.
If I was getting married here, or it was a special occasion, I would say the only option for a nice romantic meal would be to pay the extra for the private dinner they offer. It is expensive, but we didn't see many people use it. We were in Sandals Grande Ocho Rios in May, and it seemed there were at least ten couple every night having one of these private dinners. Every week they have a Signature Guest (repeat) Dinner. I would recommend you go to this as you have a member of management on your table, you get to dine with other guests too, and you get a bottle of rum, two T-Shirts and two Sandals leather necklaces.
As I said, this Sandals is not the greatest at the moment, but we plan to return next year to see the new part.
- 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