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“Beautiful Place-mediocre experience”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Indianapolis
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Beautiful Place-mediocre experience”
Reviewed 27 May 2012

Spent the week of May 13-19 at Sandals Grande Antigua for my son's wedding. The resort is beautiful! The flowering trees and shrubs are truly amazing and all amenities are conveniently located. We stayed in the Mediterrian tower room 7411 and it was fine-plenty of room and lovely view from the balcony. Housekeeping was adequate and requests were filled promptly. Concierge level service did not seem worth the extra money since we made all of our reservations on our own. Here are my concerns: The check-in was very slow. We waited in the lobby with our cool cloths and semi-cool champagne for several minutes and I believe the purpose of this wait was to give the spa ladies an opportunity to hawk their services-very annoying. After about 30 minutes we were allowed to check in and finally shown to our room. When we signed up for the free snorkeling trip, we were informed that we would have to pay $25 each (4 of us) for beginner lessons, which turned out to be 10 minutes in a pool with very little information offered. I thought the $100 a bit steep for a lesson on how to put on a mask. The food was a disappointment. Breakfasts were good, but lunch and dinners were very ordinary and a couple of nights-really poor. The lobster at Eleanors was inedible and the steak at the OK Corral was tough to chew-I gave up after 3 bites. We loved Marios-everything we had there was delicious, especially the lava cake! Check-out was smooth, but we had to leave at noon for a 3:30 flight and the Antigua airport is no place to spend 3 hours :{
The staff that coordinated the wedding festivities did a great job. The photos and video were well done-kudos to all for making the ceremony memorable! We enjoyed our week, but felt it was overpriced and not really good value for the money.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank plmslp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2012

Just arrived home this morning from the above holiday spent with our friends. Had a wonderful time and would definitely go back, however here are some positives/negatives of our trip!

NEGATIVES :-
We arrived on a saturday which is the worst day for crowds getting through passport control.
Left on a wednesday which was much easier. On arrival at the resort (1.30pm) we were advised that our room woudnt be ready till 3pm and to go back after we had grabbed a bite to eat which wasnt unreasonable. However, at 3pm we were told just another five minutes etc and got in at 4pm eventually but the maid was still in there finishing off. When you just want to get unpacked
and freshen up, to be repeatedly told just another five minutes was very frustrating.
Our room was one of the basic bungalows in the caribbean side. It lacked natural light and a little
settee to sit on, plus would have preferred the sink to be in the bathroom.
Be prepared to reserve a sunbed at 7am for a good spot round the main pool. A lot of them get reserved by personal butlers.
There is a house red/white wine on the menu but a rose would have been nice too.
Beach vendors can get a bit annoying.
POSITIVES :-
Fantastic resort overall.
Caribbean grove has lovely grounds laid out and feels more like the main hub of the resort
Plenty of food options
Lovely beach. Hired a jetski for $45 for 30 mins, was great fun.
Very clean and tidy
Staff very helpful and friendly,
enjoyed our nightly visit to St Marks Square for a coffee outside the cafe.
For anyone going shortly, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did

Diane from Chelmsford, essex

Room Tip: Go for the Caribbean Grove side
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Diane K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vire, France
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2012

We first came to Sandals Antigua 9 years ago and this was our fifth returning visit and the first in 3 years. Last time we were a little concerned that things were 'going off the boil'. However our concerns have disappeared. Under Gerald's leadership the entire hotel is run well.
Food in all the restaurants was good to excellent (we are foodies). We give special recognition to Vanessa in Mario's who continued to walk the extra mile. What a class act!
We had no issues getting sunbeds by the main pool and once again Althea did a great job. We found a new friend in Teandra who also worked at the pool bar and we loved her hat!
Diving was good and safe though the sea was a little choppy. Diving in Antigua is enjoyable but for sea life it is not the best in the Caribbean All the dive team did a great job,
We went to the returning guest dinner twice and sat with Matthew and then Nico. Both were entertaining. Nico went out of his way to say helloafter then.
The grounds of the property were immaculate and this gives a real quality feel to the property.
We will be back!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jaggmahon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2012

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa and everything was great. The service from the airport to the resort was prompt and upon arrival we were greeted with champagne and a cold towel (which was nice since it was so warm and humid!) I thought the check-in process took a bit longer than it should have, once we checked in we had to wait quite a while for someone to "take" us to our room, but once we found out we had a room upgrade, we weren't complaining much more. The rooms were beautiful and kept very clean. I liked the option of pushing a button to notify housekeeping outside the door if you room needed cleaning or if you didn't want to be disturbed.

The food was much better than I had expected it to be. I have been to three other all-inclusive resorts in my life and the food here was by far the best. I highly recommend the sushi bar and the teppenyaki restaurant. The pizza place wasn't too bad either, if you didn't mind a 15 minute wait. The breakfast was great, though the outdoor breakfast area had quite a few bugs and birds too close to the food for my comfort.

My husband and I had a couples massage and the spa was very nice - very clean and great service.

The mosquitos were a bit irritating, but nothing the resort could control, though they did perform routine "fogging" to try and keep the mosquitos away.

The main pool was very nice and though the pool area was pretty crowded, someone came around every so often to get a drink order. The swim up bar was great and prompt. The beach connected to the resort was incredibly clean and free of any shells which made walking barefoot on the beach great.

I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone looking for a vacation or to spend their honeymoon.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Samclam22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 May 2012

We decided to spend our honeymoon at Sandals Grande Antigua in May 2012. We had very high expectations, especially since a few of our friends spent their honeymoons at this resort. When we first arrived, the free shuttle service from the airport to the resort was chaos. We were in a mass of about 30 couples trying to get to the same destination, with no sense of urgency or order by the shuttle service provided by Sandals. Once we finally arrived to the resort, we were greeted with cold champagne and friendly staff. However, we were left sitting, waiting and waiting for someone to take us to our room after we scheduled our couples massage. I decided to go up to the front desk after 15 minutes of sitting with no direction. The young lady behind the desk was having a riveting conversation with a co-worker or friend as I watched her giggle, whisper, and carry on while I stood there waiting to be recognized. When we were taken to the room, our experience turned from frustrating and impatient, to relaxing and enjoyable. The check in process was a D on the grading scale. However, at the end of our stay, I wrote a hand written letter to the management on site before leaving. It was a letter of commendation for 3 of the outstanding individuals at the resort that displayed exemplary service. Outside of those 3 individuals, the rest of the staff was hit or miss.

Alcohol- With this being an all inclusive experience, I was very disappointed to see that there was bottom shelf alcohol everywhere we went. I wasn't made aware of premium alcohol service until another guest told me you had to explicitly request it at the bar because the premium bottles were "hidden" away. This was made aware to me during day 4 of our stay, very disappointing.

Spa- We booked an 80-minute couples massage that was great. However, we noticed that we weren't able to use the water filled private jacuzzi tub laden with rose petal flowers and the standing shower in our massage room as it was advertised. We expected to use these amenities after our massage since that was the expectation given during your promotion commercials on the Red Lane Spa tv channel in our room. The glass of champagne wasn't offered to us as advertised either. When I asked if we would have use of the tub and shower before heading back to the locker rooms the masseuse stated "no". We felt short-changed for the $360 massage we paid for.......

Staff- Once again, this bares repeating. The inconsistency of the service is a big concern. The locations with the biggest issues include all the bars, the water sports desk, and the concierge.

Water Sports- My only complaint here is that we weren't made aware of the daily (FREE) snorkeling cruise for all Sandals guests. I found this out on the day we were leaving. This really frustrates me as we paid over $700 for circumnavigation cruises to snorkel. Since the free snorkeling cruise wasn't advertised, it seems like we were taken advantage of by paying for a free service.

Food- Dinner was the highlight of all our meals. It was the only meal in the day that had quality ingredients and professional preparation. Lunch was by far the most disappointing.

The all inclusive value at Sandals Grande Antigua is rated a 7 out of 10 as far as our experience goes. We had very high expectations going into our dream honeymoon, but unfortunately, we were disappointed.

Room Tip: The Mediterranean side is newer and gorgeous. Request a room above the 2nd floor so you have an act...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Mongo56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 May 2012

We’re avid travellers so we always do a lot of research before we travel somewhere and we had done our homework this time too. We read good and bad reviews so we knew what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised. The good was very good and the bad wasn’t so bad at all (some people just like to complain).

The room: We were located on the 6th floor of the Cypress tower. The room was always impeccable thanks to Reginole our room attendant. She made a special effort every day to come up with a wonderful flower decor and she made our stay even more special.

The food: Both the food and the service were excellent no matter where you went. Unless you’re too picky (you should stay home in that case) there’s plenty to choose from. Everything was fresh and delicious. Bayside for breakfast was one of our favorite: it’s true that birds will try to steal the food right off your plate if you walk away but we simply took turns my husband and me or covered our plates with our napkins. For dinner Mario was our favorite and yes, it’s absolutely true; the molten lava cake is to die for. We also enjoyed the Ok Corral quite a bit. Eleanor not so much, just a personal choice though. We also enjoyed the pizza from Bella Napoli and the fresh pastries from Café De Paris. Kimono was also very good.

The people: Everyone we met was extremely nice and we never had any issues with anyone but don’t expect them to bow to you as soon as you walk into the place. Yes you paid for a nice vacation and you might think they owe an excellent service no matter what but try being nice first and see what happens. We made many friends during our stay and I’m absolutely certain that our attitude made the whole difference.

Our Butlers: We had 3 really nice butlers: Nkosi, Wendel and David. I don’t even know where to begin...It was our first butler experience and not the last I hope. We were pampered, surprised and spoiled for 2 weeks. Very kind guys and absolutely amazing service. We felt like they were long time friends and we still miss them!!

The diving: First I have to say that all the staff at the Watersport was also amazing; very knowledgeable and very professional with a wonderful sense of humor! The facility and the boat were extremely clean and the equipment well maintained. The dives were really nice with a lot to see. I took 2 specialties (Wreck diving & Deep diving) with Tiny, one of the best instructors I’ve had so far. He was kind and patient so I would recommend him for any certification you might want to take.

We highly recommend this resort, it was very romantic and it was our most memorable vacation so far.

Room Tip: I strongly recommend the Cypress Tower, the 6th floor view was awesome. Room 7604 was just perfect.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank L C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Syracuse, New York
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 May 2012

The property was fantastic- the lush green tropical feel was awesome. The short bouts of rain didnt bother us at all, it was relief from the heat and lasted 10minutes max. The lizards and cats around were great company, never obtrusive, and made us feel at home as we have pets as well. The beach and pools again, fantastic, clean and wel taken care of. Everything about this property itself was 5*.
The service- great for the Caribbean, but just good as far as American standards. Nothing compares to the service in Mexico. You could feel that they were made to say hello as we passed, and only a handful were warm and actually friendly.
The food- I know I am a picky eater, so what I say about the food with a grain of salt, but it was decent. OK Corral was my favorite dinner spot-does require reservations and we wish we would have ate there more. Everythign else was just okay- not bad or fantastic, but edible and filled me up. I loved the chili cheese nachos at cricketers, the british pub. The pizza, also good, and being from NY pizza is a hard please. The french pastry shop is also yummy, with great coconut ice cream.
The room- We were in the Venetian oceanview rooms, 3rd floor. Rooms, again, clean and very nice- our AC was a little funky, but dealt with, and also our refrigerator was broken and never did get fixed.
Overall- I would return to Sandals, probably not this property, and I would very well go back to Antigua, but again a different resort.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank kbcb3749
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Property: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Address: Dickenson Bay, St. John's, Antigua
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#3 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#4 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Business Hotel in St. John's
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 373
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

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