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“A fading star - beware the Corporate Groups!”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A fading star - beware the Corporate Groups!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2014

We have just returned from a two week break at the resort and we would rate our time as good, very good in fact in many aspects, but not great and sadly certainly not special... Why? well a couple of main reasons:

1. The room we booked we would politely describe as 'tired' and some facilities just didn't work (the safe for example). Also, the housekeeping schedule was haphazard - sometimes they arrived before 10.00 AM sometimes not until 17.00. Makes it a little difficult to plan your day (but hey, its only a minor gripe). We also needed to get the room fumigated as we experienced a lot of insects bites when we were in the room. The fumigation did make a difference.
2. The resort was heavily occupied by a couple of Corporate Parties on reward programmes. Really nice folks individually, but their presence meant that when they moved in a group, the facilities were really busy - so pools, restaurants and activities. Almost a shut out on occassions. The sad part of this is that we went for a romantic time away (as per the advertising), but would you choose to spend a romantic evening with you better half and 200 or so heavy agriculture machinery salesfolks/distributors and Mortgage Clerks from North America?? No? me neither, but I didn't get the choice..and for this I paid north of $10,000.

One final annoyance was that as returning guests and Sandals Select Reward Members we were not offered any room upgrades (or indeed any other benefits), unlike many of the couples staying around us that were enjoying their first Sandals holiday. Why not? What is the point of being Select Rewards Members? Truth is we got absolutely zero benefit from our membership.

So, We DID have a good holiday because the location, setting and the staff are mostly brilliant, but I am sorry to say that we feel that standards have noticeably slipped in the rooms, the restaurants and the entertainment (very variable) and that the resort is no longer worth the premium prices charged.

Would we take another Sandals Holiday? I think we would, but there are a number of things we would want to check before we booked, specifically whether there were any Corporate Parties expected when we were planning to stay there..and of course whether there was a deal available - We certainly wouldn't pay the full advertised prices - lots of better alternatives at those levels...

Room Tip: Caribbean rooms are quieter and have access to smaller, quieter pools.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Peelsd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Essex, England
Level Contributor
104 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2014

This was our 4th Sandals stay, second time at Sandals Grande Antigua. Had a "shaky start" to do with our room but, credit to Sandals, the issue was resolved to our satisfaction with the help of Dihanne. We'd booked Club level in the Caribbean Grove where we had stayed 5 years previously, but were relocated to the Mediterranean block. Not much to choose between the quality of the rooms, but the bathroom in our room in the Med block was much nicer.

There are only two things that I would fault:
1. Cabanas on the beach. A great idea for additional shade from the sun, but if someone puts one up in front of you, then bang goes your view. Would be much better to have more of the wooden shades with the thatched roof.
2. Reserving sun beds by the pool and beach. Yes, we did it. There were four of us so it was essential in order to get beds together. Having said that, it was difficult to get two together after about 7.30. But the worst of it is that people reserve them and don't turn up all day. This includes beds reserved by butlers and others. All this in spite of notices saying that the beds are not to be reserved.....come on, Sandals, sort it out!

Apart from the two points above, everything else was first class. Spotlessly clean throughout all areas; bed linen changed so frequently I lost count; fabulous grounds; beach to die for; delicious food in all restaurants; good entertainment (much improved on 5 years ago), including excellent bands and for me the girl dance group Elite was truly outstanding.

The staff were all very polite, friendly and welcoming. There are so many names I could highlight, but to name a few: Michelle (pool bar and OK Corral restaurant as part of the Hospitality Trainee Scheme, I believe), Althea (pool bar), Violet (Bayside restaurant), Narissa (cocktail waitress), Gavin (bar manager), George (sushi chef), Sugar AKA Mr Lover-Lover (Kimono's chef), Nicole (barefoot by the sea waitress), Ursula (piano bar-tender). However, I do think pianist Foster could do with a lesson in being customer focused and a bit more friendly! One more person I'd like to mention.....Mr G, the General Manager. He hosted our table at the returning guests dinner, after being in the position for just a couple of weeks. We saw him here, there and everywhere around the resort, mucking in with the troops, and having the senior team do the same. If ever there was someone that will make changes for the good at Sandals Grande Antigua, it is this man. He is very dynamic; his eyes are everywhere watching everything that's going on and picking up on anything that's not right or needs improving/service. He leads by example. Let me tell you, Mr G, your staff love you .......we know because we asked them. Keep up the good work!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Val_G_England_1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fincastle
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2014

Spent 6 days at Sandals Antigua and it was by far best vacation experience we've ever had! Beautiful setting, top quality food, excellent service and the friendliest hosts anyone could ask for! The friendliness cannot be mandated...these employees of Sandals genuinely like their jobs and it shows. From grounds keeper folks to waitresses to services staff to shop clerks we found them all to be genuinely friendly and helpful.

The Sandals Antigua resort is multiple resorts in one, from older and serene Carribean side to newer Mediterranean side, this resort sparkles. So many pools we couldnt count them all and the lush tropical foliage was beautiful. These folks know how to do it right! The white sand beach was clean and beautiful as well. And turquoise waters were inviting and warm.

We will be back!

Roy & Shelia Martin

Room Tip: We loved Carribean side of property, older but more charm and quieter than newer and larger sections...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Roy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2014

This was our honeymoon and we wanted a vacation where we didn't have to think about anything, and for the most part, the Sandals Grand Antigua offered that.

Pros: Gorgeous beach, wonderful weather, decent room and facilities, Caribbean side was quiet and pleasant. Poolside and beachside drink service was great. Antiguan breakfast from room service was awesome.

Cons: Food was average, housekeeping was below par, room was nice but furniture was dated and worn, very difficult to get a chair at the pool, beach towels were hard to find, in-room liquor is not the brand names that are advertised.

We had the concierge-level room and it was nice to have the mini-bar and refrigerator. It would have been nice to have screens on the doors to let the ocean sounds in at night.

Housekeeping did not clean the room until 4:00 pm or after on three of our days there and it took several calls to finally get it cleaned. We could hear the housekeeping staff talking and arguing in another room in our block as we were sitting by the pool.

Eleanor's had good food but it was not anything special. Wait staff was horrible and we had to wait quite a while to get someone to even take our order. Food at Mario's was good and the lava cake is to die for. Food at other places was fair. We ended up ordering room service most mornings and that was good. You have to ask and look around for the top level liquors that were advertised on the website. Most bars couldn't find them for us when we asked.

It's impossible to get a chair at the big pool as all of them had towels thrown on them. We had to go back several times to get replacement beach towels as the kiosks were empty often.

I travel the world on business and I can say this is not a 5-star hotel or even close. We were able to relax, not worry about dinner reservations or any schedule, and the resort was nice enough. We talked a lot about whether we wanted to try Sandals again or shop around for other all-inclusives, and decided that we would give Sandals a try one more time but with Butler-level service. At that point we will decide whether we want to stick with this brand or try another.

Room Tip: Carribbean side is quiet and away from the drunks.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank EJtraveler558
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kingston upon Hull
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2014

We visited Sandals at the beginning of February, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and also my husband's birthday, we visited Shirley Heights for the occasion. It is a long journey from the UK but well worth it. After going through immigration we went to the Sandals desk where we were given our room numbers and then our luggage was put into a car and we were driven to the resort hotel. When we arrived we were greeted with a cold towel, followed by a glass of bubbly and canapes. What a start!!. We were greeted by Philip who showed us to our rooms - WOW. We were obviously upgraded and it just blew us away. We went with friends and they were just along the corridor from us, also upgraded. We were on the Med side and had an ocean view. The grounds were well kept and beautiful. The restaurants we visited were all good. We visited Bayside for breakfast and lunch, Marios for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Eleanors a couple of times for dinner, Barefood for lunch and dinner. We also had some lovely pastries from the Cafe de Paris. We visited the English Pub which was also good, although a little dark inside. All the staff were very helpful, always happy and said hello, you certainly felt welcome. The beach was beautiful and plenty of beds for sunbathing, we never had a problem but I think with the UK time difference we were usually having a walk on the beach at 6.30 am (lovely time as there were very few people about at that time). We managed to get a cup of tea to have on our sunbed before Bayside opened at 7.30 for breakfast. One of the things which I really noticed was the fact that there were no flying insects, no problem with the mosquitos and the lovely weather, no humidity, so different from European countries with similar heat. You still need to be careful though as it can get really hot and you can burn. Although it is an all inclusive resort you could still spend money for photos, gift shops, Red Lane Spa (which I didn't have time to sample). Another nice touch was the fact that someone would come along the beach from the bar and offer drinks, alcoholic or otherwise. The customer service of the Sandals Resort is excellent and you are certainly made to feel welcome. This was our first visit to the Caribbean and a Sandals Resort (recommended by our friends who we were on holiday with) and we are already planning our next visit. Thank you so much to the hardworking staff of Sandals Grand Antigua Resort for making our stay such a memorable occasion.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Couple312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Urbandale
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2014

We visited the Sandals Grande Antigua at the end of January 2014. This was our 2nd trip to a Sandals resort and the resort and everything around it blew me away. The restaurants had delicious food, I would say that Mario's starter buffet was my favorite and our daily pizzas from Napoli's with a Carib were great! The location is great. Beautiful beach and the water was a clear as I have ever seen. We spent a lot of time walking on the beach but my wife loved the pool also. It was somewhat of a challenge to find a chair sometimes but there were plenty of pools to pick from. The resort seemed HUGE when we arrived but as the week went on it was pretty easy to get around. I would advise anyone who is going to definitely do at least the Club level rooms, and be prepared to be blown away. Incredible place and we can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Caribbean side, which was for older people so not as lively but still great and clo...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jeff H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dudley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2014 via mobile

From the time we booked (last minute) with Sandals UK with Monika, we received top class service. My wife has multiple sclerosis and was unsure whether she would cope with the airport,flight and hotel. I need not have worried as Monika arranged everything for us and the Gatwick special assistance team were great and we had a smooth trouble free departure. On arrival at Antigua we were met and the transfer (15 minutes) time was also great. On arrival we were greeted and were allocated a ground floor room in the Mediterranean side. From then on, the staff and the team at Sandals were brilliant and it is obvious that Mr "G" ( newly appointed Manager) is in total control and has an excellent team of staff who work together. Well done Sandals for making our holiday perfect. We will be returning for sure. Overall the fully inclusive holiday booked represented excellent value for money.
The food,drinks,and activities were faultless.
Well done everyone at Sandals Grande Antigua!!!
Including the Health and Safety Manager Andrea who was our host on the returning guest dinner. (yes they really do have a H&S).

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Whats_The_Fuss_About
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 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach 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 Hotel St. John`s
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort And Spa
Sandals Antigua
Hotel Sandals Grande Antigua
Sandals Grand Antigua
Antigua Sandals
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Saint John Parish

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