My wife and I and 3 other couples just returned from Sandals. For what we were looking for, a little something for everyone, it was a good fit but I wouldn't return with just my wife as other resorts just suit us better.
My wife and I arrived from another island on a small plane and because it wasn't a "normal" arrival (ie on American) no one was at the airport kiosk. She arrived in under 5 minutes though so it wasn't too bad (in her defense though we even had to wake up the immigration guy to get into the country!!) We were processed there quickly and the taxi ride to the resort was uneventful.
Check in at the resort was quick and easy. the cold towels and champagne were a nice touch. We were giving a triple upgrade (thanks to whom ever posted to book the lowest category room!) to a honeymoon veranda suite. I asked and was told these rooms bordered the construction area but as we weren't expecting to be in the room much we decided to take it. There IS construction noise and it starts at 7am and ends at 6pm seven days a week. We were always up when it started so it wasn't a problem. If you plan on sleeping in though, this section of the resort is NOT for you. What I did have a problem with though was the main sewer pump for the resort that went off and on all night. I complained but nothing could be done.
The room itself was great. VERY clean, spacious, well furninished, the bathroom was good size and clean as well. The stocked mini bar was a big bonus. In addition to full size bottles of Rum, Vodka, Gin and Scotch it contained beer, wine, Champagne and soft drinks. We called it the magic fridge because anything we took out of it was restocked the next day.
The resort grounds are pretty good---well landscaped and clean. The pools were clean and well placed throughout the resort too. I didn't like the piped in music at the main pool but that's a personal preference.
The beach was just OK----We're fortunate enough to be fairly well travelled in the carribean and this beach doesn't even make our top 10. That's not to say it wasn't nice. It was clean, the sand wasn't rocky and the surf is calm. But you need to swim in a roped off area so you don't get hit by a boat or jet ski and the vendors do start to become a nuisance after a while. I also found it fairly crowded for my taste. You can walk 5-7 minutes to your left down the beach and you escape all the crowds and can have a 1/4 mile beach almost to yourself. Much more what I think the carribean is about.
The breakfast and lunch buffets were really very good but dinner left much to be desired. I was actually impressed with the presentation but the quality of the food was greatly lacking. I ended up sharing most of my dinner with the cats. One thing I found annoying and haven't seen anyone else mention, is that all the restaurants except Kimono's (which was my favorite) surround the central courtyard where the nightly entertainment is. If you want to eat what passes for a romantic meal at Sandals you better time your reservation so you aren't eating while the nighttime entertainment is going on or you won't be able to hear what others at the table are saying.
For the most part I found the staff to be be excellent. We had only one bad waiter but that was more than made up for by some truly fantastic waitresses. The bartenders were friendly and I had no problem with the front desk staff.
The hobie cats, sailboats and other acquatic equipment they offer were top notch--no complaints there. The fitness center was one of the better resort fitness centers I've seen with about 80-90% of the equipment working just fine.
This place is a wedding factory---I'm not exaggerating when I say I saw at least 5 weddings a day and that's only what I happened to see I'm sure there were more. I would never get married like that but again that's a personal preference.
While I did see some older couples, I'd say 75% were under 30 and the resort caters to that crowd. If you're older you may want to explore other options.
Sandals is good at what they do, It's just what they do isn't for me.
- 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