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“Awesome resort !!!!!”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Burlington
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Awesome resort !!!!!”
Reviewed 14 November 2013

After reading some other reviews I am truly shocked that anyone could find fault with this resort. We spent a week in the villa with plunge pool for our 20th anniversary & the only fault I can find is the few bites I got which obviously Sandals could do nothing about. Lol. We arrived & were met in the lobby by our butlers Julian & Vanessa. They escorted us to our room #911 which was a little creepy to hear lol. The villa was spotless well laid out & there was a bottle of champagne on ice & cheese & fruit platters awaiting us.
The resort itself is beautiful with the prettiest flowers & greenery everywhere. The villa was very private had a living room area & a huge bedroom with beautiful 4 post king size bed. There was a patio table/umbrella plus 2 loungers out back. The plunge pool was spotless & hot tub was too
We ordered breakfast every morning & butler brought & served on the patio. We ate @ Drunken Duck the first night & went to the beach barbecue on another night. The other nights we ordered from various restaurants & our butler served again on patio
We have a hectic life with an autistic child so just being away together is what we need & we found it so relaxing to just dine @ our villa & the yard was so beautiful we wanted to enjoy it!!!!! The food from Barefoot/Mario's & Eleanors was top notch & plentiful. Our butlers were absolutely fantastic they went above & beyond in everything. They seemed to think of things before we even knew we wanted/needed them
We had a couples massage in our room & it was fantastic!!!!
We also enjoyed the lattes & pastries from the Cafe
We have travelled quite a bit & have seen many islands & cruised lots too. This was our second Sandals stay & in our opinion Sandals is way above other resorts. We have had butler service twice & tho it's not a necessity we really enjoy it. If you want to just relax & be pampered pay for butler service. It's really worth the extra cost. The beach @ this resort is gorgeous. Yes there are some locals selling stuff BUT we just said no thanks & they walked away. The pools are spectacular as well. Having the butler means your seats are always reserved & there's a cooler with your fave drinks waiting for you. We did splurge on this trip but it was worth every penny. In my opinion Sandals is just way above any other 5 star resort & once you go to a Sandals it's hard to go anywhere else.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Lesleyapp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 November 2013
Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua, Lesley!
We are ecstatic to hear that your second stay with us was just as wonderful as your first and that you loved the beauty of Antigua! It is fantastic that you were able to have some much needed R&R and explore all that the resort has to offer with one another.
We hope to welcome you back again soon!
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San Antonio
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2013

This is a fantastic resort but the advertising brochure is not totally truthful. We're scuba divers so were excited to read that the resort offered "unlimited" scuba diving but upon arrival we were told we could take only two dives a day. The resort general manager had no response for this false advertising. Clearly the diving is "limited"!! Also when we signed up for the "two dives" we were told we had to take a checkout in the pool to check our skills even though we're certified advanced divers with over 250 dives over 17 years. They said they'd have to review our dive logs which we were not forewarned to bring.
Above and beyond the scuba diving problem, the resort is deluxe in every other regard. The numerous restaurants are all superb, the staff totally outstanding and always ready to go above and beyond to provide assistance to guests. All of the alcoholic drinks are excellent and feature premium liquors at no additional cost. The beach and numerous pool are top-notch. The nightly and various entertainment productions are all worth attending.
Beware of the numerous beach vendors not associated with the hotel. Do not book excursions through anyone but the hotel.
Do not proceed under the impression that what we believe to be "toll free" calls are really free. Any toll free call made from your room costs about $13 a pop added to your bill. Also do not sign up for the weekly WiFi offering. It is inexpensive (about $42) but connections is spotty which will send you cell phone into roaming mode which is very, very expensive!! Best bet purchase hourly chunks of internet café usage for $11. You can use the hour at each session until it's used up, then purchase more as needed.
This resort is a favorite for weddings and every detail is handled meticulously by the hotel staff.

Another positive is the art gallery. The painting are beautiful painted by a local artist and at very reasonable rate. A must visit is the Café de Paris which makes wonderful "STARBUCKS" type coffees, serves incredible and pastries, and makes to-order crepes. Of course, everything in this shop is included.

Would I return? Probably not because of the scuba diving problem. Otherwise, this is a great place to stay. Look at it as a land-based cruise with many more amenities.

One added note, the photo staff takes your pictures at every opportunity but the cost of each print is $15. Better to bring your digital camera, take your own, and print them off for 15 cents each at home.

Be prepared for the loudest crickets you've ever heard anywhere!! They chirp all night!!!

Room Tip: Rooms on the Caribbean side of the resort are significantly cheaper than the Mediterranean side and...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Dolphin913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 November 2013
Thank you for your review!
We were pleased that you enjoyed your time at Sandals Grande Antigua and its luxurious amenities. We regret to hear that you were disappointed with the Scuba operation. We do try to offer as many scuba and snorkeling trips as possible but we understand that we did not live up to your expectations. For this, we apologize.
I will be forwarding your concerns to the relevant departments for further discussion - including our watersports team.
Our response to feedback continues to be in word and deed. We hope that you would afford us an opportunity to demonstrate the same.
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Hays, Kansas
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2013

This website was crucial when it came to choosing where to take our honeymoon. For that reason, I'm excited to write this review. I hope that someone finds it helpful in making a decision on where to take their trip.

I guess I'll start from the beginning with the booking process. We kept everything simple and did the booking ourselves. There are not many travel agents in our area, and honestly, it isn't difficult to do. We booked the resort through sandals online and booked our flights separately through expedia.com. I found it was cheaper for us to book the flights myself than to use the service through sandals.

We originally chose to go as affordable as possible and booked a Caribbean Honeymoon Premium room. Several months before the trip, my husband called to see if any upgrades were available. They were able to move us to a Sunset Bluff Honeymoon Luxury Club Room for a very reasonable price. I loved where we ended up being located, but some may not have enjoyed it. Let me explain! The building was directly behind the Carribean pool and up a set up stairs. There is a smaller pool and hot tub there for the people of that building. The walk is a short jaunt off the path; however, we were in room 831, which meant once we got to the building, we then had more steps to get to the second level. Again, I didn't mind it at all, but I can see how some people would find the amount of stairs and distance to the building to be a bother.

The room offered a balcony, which normally I wouldn't have used, but our room ended up being on the end of the building and that location completely hid our balcony from all others. It was perfect for us! We used the balcony every morning and even spent some nights out there relaxing. The only downfall to the room was the bathroom. There was nothing gross or unclean, but it could have used some updating. I probably wouldn't have commented on that except I saw the bathroom of another room which was "the same" as ours...and their bathroom/vanity area had been updated very nicely! Our room was larger in size, so I guess they balanced eachother out. Also in the room was a mini fridge that was stocked with juice, water and a few different pops. There were also bottles of rum, vodka, wine and champagne which were ours to drink! Thaaaaank you.

If you're having trouble deciding between staying on the Mediterranean vs Caribbean side, here is my opinion. I didn't know which to choose, and had seen great things about both. In the end we decided on the Caribbean side. I can't honestly remember what our reasoning was, but I'm super happy with the decision we made. The Mediterranean side is a very nice area and is in a very beautiful and impressive building; however, I've stayed in a nice hotel before. And that's really all it was. We wanted the greenery and more of an island feel. That's what we got on the Caribbean side. It really felt like we were somewhere special. Also, most of the night entertainment and restaurants are on the Caribbean side. So, make your choice, you're sure to be happy no matter which you choose.

We booked two excursions to go on; however, we did not book them through the resort. We wanted to have fun, but save money where we could. We had friends who had done the same thing about a month before us, and they had no issues. Because of this, we weren't worried. I can't think of the man's name who we booked through, but he hung around on the beach just in front of the Caribbean lobby. He took cash and offered several different tours. We choose zip lining and a catamaran cruise. Both excursions were a blast! The catamaran was through a company called Wadadli Cats. It's a yellow and red catamaran...can't miss it. They picked us up around 9:30 or 10 right on the beach. We rode around the island for about an hour before coming to an area where we were able to get off and snorkle for another hour. After that, they had an amazing lunch for us. Once you snorkle they allow you to enjoy the rum punch for the rest of the ride. Hello, delicious. By the time the cruise finished, we had made a circle around the whole island and got to see many beautiful sites. Originally we were told we'd be back to Sandals by 2, but it was probably closer to 4. We weren't mad about that at all, more for our money, but if you're making plans, allow the extra time.

Food on the resort did not disappoint. We went to the desk on the morning of our first full day to make all of our dinner reservations. There were plenty of openings to pick and choose what worked best for us. Even thought it was easy for us, I would still make sure to get that done as soon as possible.

We enjoyed every single restaurant. The most fun was Kimonos, which you do have to make reservations for. We made a great group of friends over the week, and oddly enough, we all made 9pm reservations for Kimonos on the same night. As far as the other restuarants, I won't talk about them all. You'd be tired and hungry by the end of it. So, I'll spare you and just say to go to each place! Breakfast at Bayside was our favorite and we went there every day. The come and go buffet was right up our alley. There was everything from fresh fruit, pastries, bagles, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and made to order eggs and omlettes. Oh, there was an area to make your own bloody mary's and mimos too!

We spent our days at the Mediterranean pool and would grab lunch at Bayside or Bella Napoli Pizzeria. The wait for a pizza was close to 20 minutes, but honestly, there's no rush on the island. Grab a fruity drink, or hydrate with a water while you wait.

I saw a lot of reviews saying that it was hard to find a place to sit by the pool and that people hoarded the floaties. I didn't find either of those an issue. If the chair doesn't have a towl reserving it, sit there. If you want a floaty, take one. I didn't see anyone getting upset or arguing over those things. Also, there was a popcorn machine at the Mediterranean swim up bar...I'm just saying...That was genius.

All in all, if you go into the trip with an open mind, and looking for a good time, you'll have one. We had a blast and can't wait until we can go again. So take a look through our photos and feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Natalie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 November 2013
Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures and experience at Sandals Grande Antigua, Natalie!
We are thrilled that you enjoyed your honeymoon from beginning to end! We always look forward to hosting such special events and making sure that our guests have the best experience.
It was our pleasure to have had you as our guests and we hope to welcome you back again soon!
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 November 2013

I’ll start this off by saying this was our first Sandals experience and our second all-inclusive. We had a 10-day stay in a Honeymoon Concierge level room in the Caribbean Village.

Because of the Sandals name we went into this experience expecting top notch service and facilities, we left a little disappointed and found that overall there was a major lack of consistency with the service level. Considering what we paid for this vacation, we were left feeling somewhat overlooked and let down. This is a long but thorough and honest review.

Check In/First Impression
As soon as we arrived we were taken to the concierge suite to be checked in, very nice. We were not offered any champagne, as other couples arrived they were all offered champagne or another drink. We were instantly approached by the Red Lane Spa ladies, we hadn’t even been there for 10 minutes! However we did in fact want to book a couples massage, it was just overwhelming. After filling out some paper work we asked if the requests we put in the week before (twice) for dinner reservations and honeymoon check in had been received, they had neither. They told us there were no reservations at Eleanor’s that evening. We were told to go to the sales office in the Med building for the honeymoon check in (just to get breakfast in bed) We were then taken to our room, which at first glance was disappointing. Yes, we knew the Caribbean Village was older but BOY did it look different in person. When I walked over to the full bar I noticed that there were half drunk bottles of vodka and missing glasses, the person who checked us in apologized and said that they must have forgotten to re-stock it. They promptly fixed this, however it was gross to think what else they “forgot” to clean/change. We went down to the Concierge Suite and expressed some concerns about our room, the bar etc. and we were told unless we wanted to move to the Mediterranean Village there was nothing they could do. Not so great customer service. When we got back to our room they called and said we had a reservation that evening at Eleanor’s…it wasn’t full anymore…?? Definitely did not get off on the right foot. However, their saving grace and I’m kicking myself for not remembering his name was the man who re-stocked our bar, he asked if we like poetry and read us 4 personal poems he had written, that man has talent and it was very calming!

Food
The food here was outstanding! Lobster at Eleanor’s was delicious and so was the pumpkin soup! The steak at Bayside was delicious. We did not like Mario’s for dinner, except their lava cakes—heaven on a plate. The beach party on Monday night was so tasty! The kabobs and chicken tacos were great. Kimono’s was SO much fun, if you get a chance request your meal with Teddy…he really blew us out of the water! We ate breakfast at Mario’s almost every day, it’s the best. Eleanor’s was dead slow for breakfast and Bayside is all outside and the birds were sitting all on the fresh fruit and bread, same goes for lunch there. We ate lunch at either the pizza place (YUMMM) or Barefoot..the chimichurri beef wrap with steak fries is soo good! We also loved the Grab n Go, Monday they have chili that is so amazing, they have nachos everyday and the jerk chicken quesadillas always hit the spot! The biggest let down was the honeymoon breakfast in bed, it was so bad. We barely ate it. When we went to fill out the form the woman just asked for our room number, handed us the form and then ignored us. We found out later that you could add hot items (eggs, french toast, etc) to the form, so we went back. We wished we could have skipped it; we also asked for a bottle of champagne and did not receive it.

Grounds and Staff
Gorgeous!! The water is so clear and the sand is so soft and white, truly felt like I was in a dream! I loved all of the lush gardens and flowers in the Caribbean Village, hearing all of the wildlife at night was spectacular! The Med pool is huge and a great time, hardly any wait at the swim up bar. You can always find chairs, they just may not have an umbrella. Yes people reserve chairs very early and most of the day they go un-used, just a fact and you have to deal with it. People also hoard the floaters, like roll them up and stuff them under their pool chairs. We asked several people doing this if we could use theirs, they were not happy to give them up but hey, if you’re not using them then don’t keep it to yourself all day! The resort is on the larger side but we didn't mind the walking, especially after a few lava cakes! We hung out on the beach a few days, we really weren't bothered by vendors, we sat closer to the fence so perhaps that’s why. We only got maybe 1-2 bug bites, not sure why that is either. The resort cats are so friendly and well behaved…so cute! The staff here are all so nice (with maybe 2 exceptions) everyone was happy to talk to you and give you a smile. As I mentioned, TEDDY from Kimono’s…fantastic man! The (sorry I’m horrible with names!) man from the Island Routes desk was so sweet, he remembered us on the second day! Same goes for the girl at the Entertainment Desk, we talked for a few minutes and the next day she came up to us and asked how are night had been, so sweet.

Entertainment
The Med pool is the place to be during the day. There was usually a fun group activity, a big shout out to the Playmakers for making our time so fun! Go Team Crush It!! We really enjoyed the nightly shows, the singers were great and Mr. Moves is awesome!! We played in the Newlywed Game and had a blast on white night, definitely don’t miss the chocolate buffet! We also did paddle boarding and rented jet skis ($50 for 35 minutes). I loved that there was no wait to use these items, you just walked up, signed your name and off you went! The Entertainment Room (next to Eleanor’s) also has board games and books if you’re interested. Because we were there for Halloween they had a costume party at the Drunken Duck and we had so much fun! I also sang 6 songs on Karaoke night there..great times! As for Wi-Fi we paid $11 for 30 minutes, then were given a free 30 minutes by the staff just because..very nice!

Excursions
We did the catamaran tour and the trip to Shirley Heights on Sunday for the party. Shirley Heights offered beautiful, stunning views, even though it was overcast! The steel drum band was fantastic, the food was delicious (a bit pricey $15 a plate on average) but the drinks were reasonable $4 mixed drink $4 for beer…if you get the chance make this trip!! They closed the Med pool (yes ALL day…see below) they offered a free catamaran ride around the island, we obviously went on it. However it wasn't just for Sandals guests and the people from the other resorts were really rude. We were crammed trying to sit down and this family of 6 was laid out like a bunch of starfish in the seating areas. They never moved and everyone else was pretty much on someone else’s lap. That being said, I would HIGHLY recommend this tour (just do the Sandals Exclusive) it was the best way to see the island and the private island they took us to to snorkel was so pretty! They gave us a yummy lunch and rum punches all day!

Red Lane Spa
We did the couples massage, it was great but overpriced. We got a second massage by Dr. Sunshine and his wife, walk out of the resort and go right. They use freshly shaved coconut, squeeze out the milk and massage that into your skin. $40 for a full body massage, not to mention Dr. Sunshine is great!

Don’t get me wrong we had the most incredible 10-days of our lives, there were just some things that kept popping up like little buzz kills throughout the week. There is room for improvement.

Things that weren't great (and a common thread between other couples)
1. Every time we called for reservations at Eleanor’s we were given a really hard time, yet when we ate there the place was barely half full.
2. I mentioned above about the bar not being stocked in our room when we arrived, yea well 6 days into our trip my husband pulled a half drank juice bottle from the fridge…that wasn't ours.
3. We never received any sort of acknowledgement that we were on our honeymoon. I was looking forward to the towel animals, we never got any until my husband asked the maid on a little note for one. We got 1 that night and that was it.
4. Some days we got beach towels and other days we didn't.
5. It took 4 phone calls to get more waters for our room.
6. We had quite a bit of rain (serious downpours) during our stay and they didn't provide any sort of activities during those days, we had to go ask the staff for a foam football and a portable music player, we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves. I guess they expected us to lie in bed all day and watch tv?
7. Sometimes we got the day’s newsletter slipped under our door and other days we didn't.
8. The beds are not comfortable, I slept better on the pool chairs.
9. "Romance" costs extra ie private dinner on the beach, rose petals in your tub
10. The resort to the right of Sandals (if you're looking at the beach) was at capacity and half of their guests came onto the Sandals property, used beach chairs and pretty much took over the beach...there were a lot of young (crying) children, we weren't able to enjoy the beach in this section.

And last but not least, the photo shoot crew. We had to put up with them all week and it was quite annoying. Every day something new was blocked off or closed. And the staff was RUDE they made rude comments to guests if they walked too close or crossed their caution tape. I went into the bathroom by the Drunken Duck while they were shooting and a staff member yelled at me telling me there were bathrooms outside closer to the pool, I told her I wasn't at the pool and I was a paying guest so I can use whatever bathroom I want. Mind you there were no signs posted outside that I could not enter. Not to mention they closed the Med pool all day due to the shoot.

Fantastic week with several snafus, at this point I’m not sure if we would stay at another Sandals again. We feel that we can get the same experience (if not better) at another resort for much less money.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank BeachLove5238
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 November 2013
Thank you for your review and sharing some of the lovely photos of your stay at Sandals Grande Antigua.
We were pleased that you had a fantastic honeymoon and enjoyed the beautiful island surroundings. However, we noted that there were some aspects of your stay that you were not completely satisfied with and for this, we apologize.
We have received many reviews from guests that have given us high praises concerning our luxurious accommodations and amenities. but we realize there is always room for improvement. We thank you for your feedback as it is a tool to identify areas that we can work on to make sure all of our guests have the vacation of their dreams. I will be sending your comments to the relevant departments for further review on how some of our processes and services can be fine-tuned.
I hope this message finds you well and we hope to welcome you back on a future stay.
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Farmington, New York, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 November 2013

We did have an amazing time here. We went for our honeymoon. I put the blame on what we were disappointed in on our travel agent actually. See below for a full description on our experience.
Arrival: We had expected a long check in process,as we were for warned by the travel agent that it would be since the resort is almost always filled. It actually wasn't too bad, definitely not as long as we expected. The transportation was provided as we were told it would be. However, the "taxi" that was provided was very questionable in safety. We were afraid that it was going to break down at any minute. The driver, very nice and very funny. No real complaints about arrival besides the questionable safety of the taxi its self.
Our room:
When we arrived we were told that our room had to be changed. We were not given a reason and we still dont know if the room we got, compared to the room we paid for are comparable to each other but I hope so. The room we ended up with with nice and had a great ocean view so we did not complain or ask about the room situation. The gentleman who showed us to our room was very nice. Our room was clean and the bed was nicely made with fresh sheets. The only complaint we have regarding the room was that the bath tub ( a jacuzzi style) was dirty and did not seemed clean. When we sat in it and turned the water on, a bunch of black stuff would sink to the bottom and float on top. Other than that, it was cleaned daily and refreshed with sheets, towels etc. We had a very very comfy chair in our room that seated 2 and we napped on a few times.
Food:
Food was great. Not a lot of selection for breakfast, its basically the same buffet in two restaurants every day unless you want room service, which was not very good at all. BUT the buffet was very good. Our favorite of all the restaurants was actually the pizza place. The four cheese pizza was nothing short of amazing. We paid for a dinner on the beach, which was perfect. Our second favorite was the OK Corral and Kimonos. The chef we had at Kimonos was so funny and interactive. Food was so very good. I read before we went that Eleanors had the most amazing lobster tail, bit we were not a fan. No real complaints on the food, it was really all very good and something for everyone.
Alcohol:
We did have a bar in our room. A few comomon liquors, beer and champaign. But we never made more than one or two mimosas in our room. We typically used the other bars for our drinks. The drinks, amazing. Bars did run out of some things but never was really a problem. We found that every bar tender had a favorite and we typically asked for that. The only complaint about alcohol is that the only 2 wines included for free were Beringer Merlot and Pinot Grigio. Neither are sweet wines and any other wine is $15 per glass or $30 and up for a bottle.
Activities:
We were happy to see that every night there was something planned, but also that you could still find quiet spots to sit and enjoy your spouse. We did attend the managers cocktail hour, the White Party, the talent showcase, and plenty of live music acts. My favorite, the chocolate fondu and martini party.
We were told that we "wont have to bring a dollar" by our travel agent. That was correct ONLY if you plan on strictly eating, drinking and spending time in the pool or at the beach. We paid in advance to do the shopping experience which was fun yet scary, they drop you off and leave you for 2.5 hours in a not so safe area it seemed. But we also did things like the scuba diving course and experience. We paid $90 each for the course and an actually ocean dive. We would have thought that the wet suits would be included in that fee, they were not. We paid $10 extra each for our wet suits. Same with snorkeling. They advertise it as free, which it is but you cant do it unless you pay the $20 course fee that they recommend you take. Same with tipping, there is a no tipping policy. But all the taxis expect tips. We did a photo shoot "for free" but if you want their pictures, plan on spending atleast $200. They have packages or you can purchase idividuals for $14 each.To me, it was a straight rip off but my husband wanted those pictures. You will find people wanting to take your picture through out the trip. If you let them, you will be bale to purchase those as well. Everything in the shop is extremely expensive. So I would bring anything you would possibly need instead of planning on purchasing there.
We did the sunset cruise which was incredible and well worth the money. We did the couples massage and the 30 minute foot rub. Both were amazing.
Over all we met some really great people, had a ton of fun and relaxation. If I could give any tips I would say, bring a good amount of money, don't eat outside of the resort and talk with people. I dont know that we would go again, but definitely try another sandals resort somewhere else.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Tonya M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 November 2013
Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua, Tonya.
We are pleased that you had a great time at our resort and enjoying the fabulous amenities.
As hoteliers, we realize there is always room for improvement and we appreciate all of your feedback. I will be forwarding your concerns on to our management team for further review.
On a future stay with us, please do not hesitate to notify our staff on property of anything that does not meet your standards. The are always willing to work with you to make sure you have the best experience possible.
We look forward to welcoming you to one of our other beautiful properties in the future!
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Bethel, Connecticut
Level 4 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 November 2013

We did a lot of research before our trip, looked at many reviews of many resorts, checked prices and talked with our travel agent. All signs pointed to SGA as the destination to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

Funny that the very beginning of this trip set the tone for the whole week. The flight from New York's JFK actually left the ground 5 minutes early and landed in Antigua 10 minutes early. Less than 1 hour from touchdown we were sitting in the Caribbean lobby sipping champagne. Nice.

It was raining on arrival, and the next day there were a few short showers, but every day the weather was better than the next. There were some beautiful rain storms out at sea which were great to look at from the sunny beach. One had an impressive water spout.
We stayed in the 700 block of rooms with butler service. When we first started looking for reservations we were trying to keep the budget tight, but the more we thought about it, butler service seemed to make the most sense. And it was the perfect choice for us. In fact we decided that the room we were given was the perfect room: Close to the beach, but not on the main beach-front path. I'd tell you the room number, but I want to make sure it's available when we go back....and we will be back!

I would not consider us the type of people that need a butler. We're pretty independent and will always make do with what we have. Our main butlers, Vanessa and Julian, and the sub for their day off, Tricia, were so friendly and so helpful it just blew us away. And they kept suggesting ways to use their service. It didn't take us long to get used to picking up the cell phone and asking for more beer or water for the beach cooler, a takeout lunch from the pizza place or the Grab & Go delivered to our chairs, or get a snorkeling or excursion reservation.
They also made the dinner reservations. After all the reading about the various restaurants we weren't sure when to go to which one. When we arrived Julian had the entire weeks dinner schedule set up for us. Perfect!

Another guest asked if I would do the butler service again. My answer was absolutely! We are hooked! But we did get the idea that SGA will work with or without the service.

The nice thing about SGA is you can make it what you want. Our basic plan was to spend each day at the beach (we are beach people). We love playing in the water, snorkeling and sailing. Love the buoyancy on the water...so easy to lay back and just float around. Other than the days we arrived and left, lunch on the beach at our butler reserved chairs under the umbrella was the norm. Later in the afternoon we'd head to either of the pools/swim up bars. Latoya and Manon were fun and prompt with the drinks. As the sun went down we'd slip into the hot tub.

We know that many people prefer the pool. The Grove pool was smaller and quiet. The Mediterranean pool was huge with lots of entertainment during the day. The playmakers do a nice job. Whatever your idea of fun, it's there.

The only restaurant that required long pants and shoes for the men was Eleanor's. I think it was our favorite place. We even stopped by for a take-out Creme Brulee! Our favorite desert, though the Lava Cake at Mario's and the Chocolate Mousse from Bayside give it a run for its money. Most nights we had dinner at 6:30. No line, quick service. Our least favorite was Kimono's. The food was good and the company fun, but they ran out of Saki. Not a big deal, but kind of like running out of Vodka in Russia. All in all we were very pleased with all the food choices. Gourmets and foodies may be more critical, but it worked for us.

My wife went to the Red Lane Spa for a Swedish massage and was very happy with the service. I have read reviews that said they felt like they were being hard sold all week long. Quite the opposite experience for us. She booked this through the butler as well.

I did two 2 tank dives. There had been a lot of rain the week before so visibilities were variable. I'd say we had an average of 40' on each dive. Though I didn't go on the one tank dive, I'd heard that visibility varied from 20' to 3'. I had lots of fun on my dives. The crew was great and very professional: Ray, James, and the worst captain ever (just kidding! :). Saw a variety of sea life with the topper a beautiful Spotted Ray and a Sea Turtle that lazily circled our group in about 60' of water.

Antigua is not noted to be a dive mecca and if you have lots of dives in exotic locations you may be a bit disappointed, But I loved is as I don't get to dive very often. I did make a point of diving at home just before the trip so I wouldn't have to do a refresher on vacation. I'll also bring my own fins next time as I'm not a fan of the slip on fins. I wore a dive skin and a thin wet suit for each dive and was very comfortable. The dive shop rents wet suits for $10 if you need one, but I brought my own. The BC's and regulators were fine. Daily two tank dives are at 8AM, so there is just enough time to grab a great breakfast at Bayside or Mario's (they open at 7:30) or something quick at the Cafe de Paris. We don't drink coffee, but the Cafe was a big hit with a lot of people.

The snorkeling was good. 3 trips per day. The farthest about a 20 minute boat ride. Captain Sherman and mate Josie were great. Again, visibility varied, but they seemed to find good spots with around 30' of visibility. The 2:30 trip seems to be the most busy, so sign up early in the day or the day before. The other two trips you can probably show and go.
The bands in the evening were good. I'm a musician so I can be a bit critical, but for the most part they did a great job. I got up on stage with one band on talent night. Definite pros, and I was thankful that the bassist lent he his bass for a song. Love playing and singing the Bill Wither's song, Use Me. Wish I had the chance to do a few more with them. I also enjoyed getting up a few times for Karaoke night (it's Thursday and Sunday). A fun bunch, some real talent, some not so much, but all having a great time.

Every evening the next day's schedule is delivered to your door. A great aid to plan out your day and night.

We took the Extreme Circumnavigation tour on Thursday and had a great time. The crew was fun and knowledgeable. I think there was Trevor and Sean, maybe Gervase? Not really sure. The other passengers were fun too. This trip makes many more stops than the big cat cruises due to the fact that this boat flies from stop to stop. Fun at Stingray City and Nelson's Dockyard, lunch on Green Island, various stops for local points of interest and island history, and the last stop for Rum Punch on deserted Paradise Beach. Next time we will do the ECO Tour run by the same company. We booked through Sandals.

Local vendors on the beach. No problems for us. A polite no thank you and they move along. Some were pretty funny. We did buy some necklaces and a shirt on the last day. You may see a few vendors selling hats that they weave out of palm leaves. Love these hats. When they dry out they turn brown which probably takes a few weeks. I found out the hard way that U.S. customs won't let them back into the country if they are green so I had to give it up in NYC. The beach vendor told me it wouldn't be a problem, but I'm sure he had no idea.

Animals: Cats are around. We love cats. We brought cat treats that most of them loved. The black cat decided that we should get up a 7:30 each morning and give him more. He did this by meowing under the door. We decided to give them treats, but not near our room. One couple had the black cat sleep in their bed one night. Probably not the best idea, but I understand. Most of the cats are friendly if you want them to be. If you don't like cats, then ignore them and they will ignore you.

Birds: Yep, there's birds. If you leave your table cover your plate or they will help themselves. Other than that they're harmless.

Lizards: Yep, them too. Good luck if you want to catch one. They are pretty fast, but harmless.

The only time we noticed any biting bugs was at the Butler's Cocktail party in front of the big building on the Med side. They did fog 3 or 4 times, so I guess it worked everywhere else. Not an issue for us, even on the beach or at the pools.

I wish we had more time to visit more of the island and learn more about the culture. Next time! We met a lot of great people from all over the world. All were happy and all were smiling.

We enjoyed the entire staff of Sandals. All do a great job taking care of you. Most vacations seem to go by so fast, but we felt so comfortable at SGA that it felt like we had been there forever...in a good way. Definitely feeling withdrawal today. Sandals, we are yours. Signed up for SSG at the resort, and now I'll register online. Can't wait for the next trip. The only question is which Sandals location will it be. It'll be hard to beat Sandals Grande Antigua!

Room Tip: I liked having a room that is centrally located. Right between the beach and the pools. Easy walk to...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank arubasail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 November 2013

We stayed from 9th to 19th October 2013 and had a lovely time. This was our first Sandals experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. All of the staff here are first class, they are all so friendly and they just want you to enjoy yourself. They always have a smile for you and say hello. Our room was very clean and comfortable, the only thing that was wrong was that the fridge was quite noisy, so I had to switch it off at night. We went on the Barbuda Boat Trip which was very pricey and we don't think it was worth it. We also did the Sandals only Circumnavigation Catamaran Trip which was superb and we'd thoroughly recommend it. The beach vendors added character to the place and were not a problem. Please try and support them, they are lovely people, especially a lady called Evelyn. She has one front tooth, wears a head scarf and carries a white plastic bucket. She made a necklace for my boyfriend exactly what he asked for. If you speak to her please say hello from Ruth & Simon. We may return but want to try other Sandals Resorts

Room Tip: High Floor Meditterean Rooms probably best we were in 7207 (second floor) but limited ocean view. We...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ruth H
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 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#3 Family 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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