My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary at the end of November / beginning of December. It was very hot when the sun was shining but it did rain a lot. The rain never really interferred with too much and it was fun to go in the hot tub and the ocean in the rain. The beach is spectacular and the water was always warm. The last part of our week was very windy and all watersports were cancelled. We really wanted to go snorkelling but couldn't get out.
There are many "vendors" on the beach. Usually a polite "no thanks" will send them on their way but they do return - often. We met several who were not polite at all and others who were very nice. Talk to the woodcarver, Somarly, he has a very interesting history. When the cruise ships dock in St. John, a lot of the passengers end up walking the beach. It never caused us any problems. We did talk to guests who were approached on the beach to buy drugs . It never happened to us.
We REALLY liked the Japanese restaurant - ask for Sugar - he's the best!. OK Corral was very good as was the Bayside. We didn't really like II Palio. The pasta is nothing like real Itialian. Men bring long pants, shoes and collared shirts. Ladies need a couple of dresses, skirts or dressy slacks etc.
Entertainment ranged fron very good on some nights to not very good on others. Rain did interfere with the entertainment a couple of times.
There are some mosquitos and sand fleas. Some others got bit - we didn't get bothered at all. WORD OF CAUTION: We brought 3 containers of bug spray with us (as recommended in other postings here). We didn't use them and the Antigua Airport staff would not let us take them back on the plane. They said they are banned because they are flammable. Our airline allowed us to take them to Antigua. We protested but to no avail. Funny, they let other aerosols, like hair spray go on the plane (very flammable) but not the bug spray.
Speaking of the airport, the departure area is nice, the arrival area is not. It is very crowded, hot and unorganized. We lost some of our luggage and no one seemed to know who could help us out. We also had to search out a Sandals rep to get to the resort. On the way back we were treated much better (except for them seizing our bug spray)
We disregarded the resort's 2-hour paid shopping tour of the duty-free area of St. John. We went on our own and walked though the downtown area where the cruise ships come in. We found lots of good deals and we had a good time on our own schedule. Taxi ride was $10 US each way. There are lots of vendors thereso be prepared to say "no thanks" a lot. Another vacationing couple we spoke to got scammed for $150. Use caution with any free offers you get in the town. We turned them all down.
REALLY IMPORTANT! If you like it quiet to sleep, bring ear plugs. We were in the older rooms with a screened window with only a shutter on it. The crickets (some said they were sea frogs) started chirping at dusk and kept it up till dawn. Lots of guests complained about them. We turned the ceiling fan and air conditioner fan to the highests speeds to drown the sound out - it worked for us. They are really loud!
Overall - a great resort with a fantastic beach. Be prepared for a slow pace. No one moves fast on Antigua. Perfect.
- 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