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Public beaches?

York, Pennsylvania
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14 posts
22 reviews
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Public beaches?

I booked a week at Sandals Grande Antigua in early April. I just read a review on Trip Advisor by a couple who stated the beach at Sandals Grande is public. They said cruise ship guests come to the beach for the day and set-up a spot on the beach and often their kids are running around chasing Frisbees.

I've not seen any other reviewers of this resort mentioning this issue and was wondering if any other guests have experienced issues with cruise ship guests using the beach in front of Sandals Grande Antigua? It would be an unpleasant issue for my wife especially since she enjoys the beach and quiet. Thanks!

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21 replies to this topic
UK/Antigua
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for St. John's, Antigua
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1. Re: Public beaches?

All Antiguan beaches are public up to the high water line. More people find it an issue that Sandals set up their rows of beach chairs and get in the way of other legitimate beach users.

I think the comment about kids and frisbees may be something of an exaggeration. There are few children on most cruise ships in my experience. Local kids, however, do come to the beach, and you are visiting at a time when some will be on holiday from school, and it's great to see them at play and taking the opportunity to enjoy themselves and something their home has to offer for free. There are also likely to be school age children staying at other resorts on Dickenson or visiting from other resorts. There are also water sports operators and vendors.

All of that said, Sandals is huge, and there are plenty of quiet spots solely for guest use.

Maine
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194 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: Public beaches?

It’s hard to predict how people will behave when sharing a public space. Kids who happen to be there might be loud and energetic or they might be mellow and stay close to their parents. There are sections of the beach where people can rent chairs for the day, and buy drinks & food. I would think cruise ship guests would most likely gravitate toward that section, but you never know.

Dorset, United...
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15 reviews
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3. Re: Public beaches?

It's fairly common knowledge - not least from numerous posts on this forum - that the beach at Dickenson Bay (where Sandals is located) is invariably busy. There are several other hotels/apartments on the beach, and the area is a popular destination for beach vendors and activities touts, regardless of whether cruise ships are in town or not. Step foot outside the Sandals boundary and you will be hassled; sometimes politely and courteously, sometimes less so. I stayed there once - never again. It's not my kind of place.

There are quiet areas at the far ends of the beach, the first at the low cliffs beyond the Halcyon Cove, the other past Siboney at the west end of the beach. Both are a bit of a walk. The beach does quieten down in the late afternoons in my experience.

However, if peace and quiet are such an issue for yourselves, I cannot understand why you would book a stay based on the busiest stretch of an island where all beach access is public. There are several other hotels in the same price bracket that would be far more tranquil.

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Dickenson Bay
Dickenson Bay
349 Reviews
Antigua
Maine
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194 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: Public beaches?

Flyman- is your reservation for next April? If so you still have time to change to another Sandals, provided your balance isn’t paid in full.

York, Pennsylvania
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14 posts
22 reviews
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5. Re: Public beaches?

Hello Mizgeorge,

"Local kids, however, do come to the beach, and you are visiting at a time when some will be on holiday from school, and it's great to see them at play and taking the opportunity to enjoy themselves"

I have no issues with children in general as long as they are not running around kicking sand in my face and disturbing my peace. That being said I am glad I have learned of this BEFORE my arrival so I can be prepared for it.. It will be my last visit to any report in Antigua. Other resorts we have visited keep non-guests from using the beach.

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Antigua
Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda
York, Pennsylvania
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14 posts
22 reviews
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6. Re: Public beaches?

manet.herbe.

"It's fairly common knowledge - not least from numerous posts on this forum - that the beach at Dickenson Bay (where Sandals is located) is invariably busy."

Common knowledge if one frequents this forum. Not something that I would typically do other than to ask a question.

" I cannot understand why you would book a stay based on the busiest stretch of an island where all beach access is public."

Why you ask? Because the condition of the beach being public and possibly filled with non-guests just isn't something the Sandals web site was willing to share with prospective guests, that's why.

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Dickenson Bay
Dickenson Bay
349 Reviews
Antigua
York, Pennsylvania
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14 posts
22 reviews
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7. Re: Public beaches?

The reservation is for early April 2018 and we paid the travel agent the entire sum.

Dorset, United...
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1,571 posts
15 reviews
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8. Re: Public beaches?

I found the local kids to be pretty well behaved in Antigua, and respectful of other people's space and privacy.

Can't say the same for some of the visiting tourist brats, regrettably.

With regard to denying non-guests beach access - Antigua has public beach access rights, as do we in the UK. I understand (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the same applies in the US. I find it hard to understand, yet again, how you could demand a right to privacy when you come from a country that espouses free beach access for all. Dual standards?

PS: If you book future holidays based on minimal research and the say-so of the hotel's website where you're staying .... you get what you get, I'd say.

Edited: 25 March 2018, 22:01
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Antigua
Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda
Essex
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1,895 posts
254 reviews
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9. Re: Public beaches?

One of the reasons we stopped staying on Dickenson Bay was because Sandals were trying to

monopolise the beach. We used to enjoy walking the beach daily and eventually even doing that was frowned upon. It’s unlikely the company would share with you that it is a public beach as it may stop you spending your hard earned cash with them. One of the things we love about Antigua and Barbados is that the beaches are public and open to anyone, part of our holiday enjoyment is mixing with the local people on the beaches.

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Dickenson Bay
Dickenson Bay
349 Reviews
Antigua
Antigua
Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda
Barbados
Barbados
Caribbean
Maine
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194 posts
13 reviews
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10. Re: Public beaches?

The word “public” is mentioned in 691 reviews. Even though Sandals doesn’t explicitly state it, the reviews do.

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