We went in June, during the hurricane season apparently. The resort I thought was good. It appeared fairly well maintained and clean. Our ‘ocean view’ room did in- fact have an amazing view of the ocean. As well as ‘ocean view’ rooms there are ‘gardens or beach front rooms’- we thought that a beach front room would be preferable, and to be honest we thought we booked that on line- but when we were escorted to the ‘ocean view’ I was kind of disappointed- but the room grew on me. It sits on a hill, over-looking the resort. You are about a 1 min walk to the centre of the resort anyway (check out a resort plan if you can). So there is a bit more peace. If you are thinking about the beach front place keep in mind, as my partner pointed out, that the bar, restaurant, beech chairs and activity centre are on your door step- so early nights probably wouldn’t work. There are two or three small pools dotted around. Couldn’t quite understand why there were people in them when only a few meters away there were the warm, crystal clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea.
There is one beach. Smaller than I anticipated, given the reviews I had read prior to coming here. I imagined you could walk for miles along the coast, but in fact, it was rocked in on both sides- so there is no strolling along the coast- Five minutes walk from one side to the other. There are a few activities on offer, like a catamaran sailing, two pedalo’s to play with (which you get 30 mins on) or 4 kayaks. There are also things inside the resort bingo, aqua aerobics etc (the resorts guys appeared to have trouble rallying people to take part, it was a bit embarrassing really, and often when I said no I got pressed to take part- Quickly nipped in the bud but when I did so I got a bit of attitude. My thoughts are I paid alot of money to swim among the reef not play pool side bingo with a bunch of drunken English sun worshipers). The best reef seems to lie outside the swimming area- but you run the risk of getting hit by something, i.e. a boat, as they seem to enter the cove at warp speed. Fortunately, my partner doesn’t like the sea so she got a kayaked and stuck close by, particularly handy as she could dragged me to other bits of the reef. The gym is small and with dated kit, but there is enough there to work up a sweat, so I was pleased with it. As well as a place to fill up with cold water. There are four tennis courts also which was great when the heat of the day subsided. We threw on the running shoes and jogged to Devils Bridge one morning, nice spot for an ocean view. That’s about the only thing near the hotel, anything else is beyond jogging distance. If your going to make an attempt- take water, lots of it! Otherwise you will be found by a passer-by in the fetal position licking the tarmac for any hint of moisture. The resort is quite secluded and away from the local population
The place is a 3 stars I think. Our room was nice, seemed fairly clean and spacious. Comfortable bed. No fridge , the furniture appeared a bit used, but who cares, I wasn’t there to admire the lamps shades. Double doors lead on to a small ground floor balcony. Having suffered a bit of jet lag today I am on the balcony with my feet up typing this. It is 0500 hrs. The stars are shining in the cloudless night sky, I can hear the sound of the ocean hitting the beach, a few birds are doing their early morning thing, and apart from the occasional snore of my partner inside, there is absolute silence as the sun creeps over the Horizon. This alone was worth every penny.
The Food \ Resort restaurants
There are a 3 places to eat on site. The pool side snack bar, not much on the menu, but I didn’t expect much being a snack bar. Two slices of sausage pizza and a portion of chips was the first and final experience of it. I Struggled to finish the Pizza slice (Horrible) and had one chip- to greasy! Being a bit on the cuddly side- I am certainly not one to turn down food. On the other hand my size eight , calorie conscious, girl friend turned into a desperate savage and had to be dragged away from the fries, but that was only because we hadn’t eaten much in the last 15 hours. The Tapaz, the main restaurant, is right on the beech over looking the water- brilliant stuff. The ‘a la carte’ dinner was a bit bad to be honest, Bland, tasteless, soggy and the potatoes I got seemed as if chief Mike had done a great job, Mike being the Microwave. But to be honest- food is food- if it’s warm and fills you up then I am happy- I am not a food critic, But I guess someone could argue that if you pay a few thousand pounds- you expect a degree of quality-The buffet on the other hand wasn’t great quality but was absolutely brilliant - you can gorge yourself to within an inch of your life. The Pineapple Grill, seemed more sophisticated, strict dress code, classical musical in the back ground and fairly formal waiter service. I guess this was for the more civilised visitor. It was OK, nothing more to be honest. The food was of a similar quality except with miniature portion sizes instead.
The entertainment on site was pretty crap. For example, there was a quiz going on and I guess the lad holding it ran out of questions so he asked “what size do you think the waitress is”. Not really appropriate I thought. What pissed me of completely is that there was always music blasting from a loud speaker at the bar. It would only be late at night when you could kick back and truly appreciate the silence and tranquillity of the place.
The Experience/ Advice
I found it a bit hit or miss with the staff of the resort. Some were friendly, some very rude. I got the distinct impression they didn’t like tending to the visitors. We have always done holidays on the cheap- fly there, self catering, little room, do your own thing and I guess we took that for granted when we booked this package holiday. We completely over looked one of the glaring advantages of our little penny pinching holidays- which is that you get exposed to the local community, no reps, no resorts no package deals- you are on your own to absorb the wealth of the local culture-The most striking aspect I have noticed so far is that we have paid a lot of money, and we find ourselves locked away in a resort that seems to be out of bounds to local residents. Security were are all over the place. I often wondered why that was! We even got stopped a few times and asked for our hotel details, especially when heading out jogging before the sun came up. There were times when they were preventing us from going down certain tracks around the resort- Bloody annoying, I began to feel a bit like a prisoner-gated away with English people (no offence sweetie)
You get charged for bottled water- But you can fill up a bottle at the bar or at the gym. Otherwise its $4 a pop I think. Although alcohol, juice and everything else is free- go figure! I have been assured the water at the resort is drinkable, but be weary- tastes weird.
Touring- that’s a tricky one. I wouldn’t recommend the tours, like the ones being sold out of the resort. Example- the resort was offering a transfer to Shirley heights, $40 each return, plus £20 each entry fee- total $120 US, not EC. . Instead, we rented a buggy for $60 per day, circumnavigated the entire south side of the Island, went to Shirley Heights, and found you didn’t have to pay $20 entry fee at all (It was a Sunday were there is a band playing). The resort sold this as a huge local’s thing, a real taste of the community, where they all get together, have fun, listen to the band and generally chill out with the awesome scenery. Instead what we found that it was bus after bus of tourists from other hotels, no locals- the whole thing seemed to be organised by resorts rather than locals. But I would recommend renting a Buggy - They are brilliant fun, easier to get around than in a car. But definitely rent your own wheels and go forth and explore, especially the southern coast road, spectacular scenery and beeches. DO NOT rent a scooter, as a seasoned motorcyclist I can assure you the roads are too dangerous and I wouldn’t fancy getting treated in Antigua for any serious injury.
Three other bits of advice for you. (1) US of EC (Eastern Caribbean) dollars are fine to us, so go for what ever you get the better rate on(2) check out the other sandals resort, the Antigua Grand,- we hand a great time there when we were touring the north side of the island (3) Be aware of the far side of the beech at the Grand pineapple after 1700 hrs. When on a little stroll we were approach by a shady looking local who was hoping we would want to “party”, as in drugs. So be cautious and assertive if approached.
But on the other hand- outside the resort the island is rich, unspoilt and beautiful. The people appear to be warm and welcoming. A great island and we would certainly return.
Get a site plan. I would recommend the ocean view rooms, as they sit slightly away from the resort a...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC