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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
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Reviews (7,102)
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Reviewed 17 July 2014

I stayed here in July with my partner as part of a group of around a dozen couples. The holiday was a real mix of good and bad but at around $500 per couple per day it should be better than this.

Room: Our room was on the 5th floor on the Mediterranean side (7000 block) - some of our friends chose Caribbean and it was noticeable that all the issues such as a leaking roof, dodgy key lock, etc were on the Caribbean side. I have no complaints about the room - large comfy bed, air-con very efficient, clean, well stocked drinks fridge, excellent shower, wonderful ocean view. 10/10

Restaurants: We actually managed to eat in every restaurant during our stay - breakfast in Mario's was a very pleasant buffet, not too crowded and friendly service;apparently evening service was pretty slow though. The little outdoor pizza place next to Mario's does a good lunchtime pizza too. Barefoot was our usual daytime haunt and the pulled pork and jerk chicken are great, service also good. OK Corral were very unaccommodating and refused to let us move any tables with the result we ended up sitting in 10 couples each staring at the backs of the couple in front - utterly ludicrous. Food was also poor - I had beef chilli which had quite literally one small piece of beef in around half a pint of chilli. We had breakfast at Eleanors which is a la carte and slow - we returned to Mario's for breakfast after a single visit to Eleanors. However those that ate there in the evening said the food quality was generally very good though missing some items you would expect such as fresh fish and lobster. Staff at Kimono's were just plain rude and we could not wait to get out of there - we were ten minutes' late (due to waiting at Sandals reception ten minutes for a member of staff to show up to cut us a second room key) and the reception was downright surly. The service was little better and the food was the worst dinner that we had at the resort - avoid. Bayside does a nice variety buffet for lunch with friendly service - I recommend the beef stew - and Cafe de Paris does great coffee and icecreams. We had late (after 10pm) snacks at The Drunken Duck and they were frankly terrible - however we can forgive them anything there as they were so accommodating (we had a table of 20 watching the World Cup Final), efficient at serving drinks and friendly and we had a great time every night that we went there, especially karaoke nights. Special mention to the Scottish guy who I think is the manager who scuttles around making sure everyone is happy and fed and watered. Overall 7/10

Resort: You will go a long way to find more immaculately manicured grounds than at Sandals and the gardeners are constantly hard at work keeping it that way. We liked the fire pits with the incredibly comfortable loungers - perfect place to sip a few cocktails after sunset. The main Med pool is very good - large, well laid out with a well staffed bar and plenty of loungers. However while we were peacefully lounging and reading around midday they fired up some ghastly Caribbean hip-hop at about 100 decibels which went on for hours every day - very few people liked it and those that did agreed it did not need to be so deafening. In the end it was so dire, repetitive and intrusive that we left. The beach is OK but as others have said is full of locals trying to sell you trinkets or boat rides which is wearing after you've said no a dozen times already. Also, around half of us got insect bites and I had around 20 by the end of the week so pack your repellent - they treat the grounds with repellent daily and that seems effective but the treatment doesn't extend to the beach. Having said the above we toured the island and saw at least twenty nicer, less crowded beaches. Also note that for scuba, if you have not dived in the previous six months they insist on a 30 minute refresher in the pool even for master divers. Snorkelling at the resort is really uninteresting so you need to book one of the many reef trips to make it worthwhile. Overall 7/10

Facilities/activities: The first thing to say is not to use the shop on-site - it is shameful at such an expensive resort that the management then feel the need to gouge their customers for even more money. Cigarettes are $11 a pack when they are $2-$3 in St Johns, chocolate is similarly 4x the price it is in the supermarket 1 mile down the road as was the insect bite cream which I bought. Utterly disgusting. The hotel organised trips are a complete rip-off too - the all-day island tour for example is $125 per person in an open bus whereas we did the same trip in a comfortable air conditioned taxi bus for $250 for 6 of us. It was a similar story on the catamarans - if you negotiate directly with the providers you can get the tours for half the price. Overall 5/10 - the free stuff is OK but anything you pay for is poor value.

In summary, if I'd been paying $2,000 for two for a week I'd have been happy but I was paying double that and at that price Sandals Antigua was a disappointment. It was not bad but I expected more. In particular, the staff seem to fall into two groups of roughly equal size - half of them can't do enough for you and half of them are surly and regard customers as an inconvenience. I can accept that some of the issues we experienced especially in the restaurants were due to Sandals not being geared up to parties of 20 - and they don't market themselves as that type of place - but I expected the service to be better, I didn't expect to feel like I was being robbed every time I booked an excursion or visited their shop and I didn't expect to need earplugs for the pool.

A couple of final tips - the duty free shops in St Johns are very cheap especially for cigarettes and cigars - they have all common UK (B&H, every flavour of Embassy and some of the cheaper brands too) and US brands at £13.40 per carton of 200. Spirits were also about half UK prices as were luxury watches. The duty free at the airport is the cheapest I've ever seen - I bought a carton of Embassy No. 1 for £8.70 and a litre of Tanqueray Ten for £11.60. Also if you plan to go off-site then you need to take U.S. dollars with you - there are very very few ATMs on the island and not all bars/activities take credit cards. Our favourite activity was Stingray City which is $50 if you book direct (and $15 each for the photos which you will definitely buy)

Room Tip: Our room was excellent, 5th floor in block 7000 in the Mediterranean section. These rooms have little balconies with a wonderful view of the spectacular hotel gardens and the ocean.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2014

Resort located on Dickenson Bay; beautiful carribean beach,emerald green water with white sand, warm water. Grounds are well maintained with many tropical flowers and trees. Sunny and dry all day. Many restaurants to choose from; carribean,american, italian food; Mario"s restaurant our favorite, managed very well by Kenny with excellent chef. Staff friendly and accomidating, our favorite waitress,Denisha at Bayside,and OK Corral was hospitable,friendly,professional and made our dining experience enjoyable-thanks denisha; detail orientated caring manager of resort serving fruit on beach: front desk and cleaning personnel-job well done.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank Edward S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014 via mobile

My husband and I spent our honeymoon on this resort and we absolutely enjoyed every moment. From the time we arrived we were greeted with cold towels and offered beverages. After arriving exhausted from our wedding day and it being morning when we arrived (check in is usually 2-3pm in most hotels) we were expecting to have to wait for some time to be checked in and have something to eat etc. To our pleasant surprise we were escorted immediately to have breakfast and after breakfast to the concierge lounge where we checked in within another hour and escorted to our room. The staff were extremely pleasant and helpful. the resort itself was well kept and we had no complaints about our room which was in the fragapini building Caribbean Grove side. We were able to book spa appointments, make reservations for Kimonos as well as tours pretty easily with the help of concierge staff as well as Tamica and Juliet. Antigua is absolutely beautiful and there are a number of activities to keep you busy. Special thanks to Tamica who was just amazing from the time we set foot on the resort ensuring that we were enjoying our stay. Shout out also to Vanessa and all the other really pleasant staff we met on the resort. Excellent service. We can't wait to return to Antigua and hope our sandals experience will be just as pleasant in any of the other islands as we definitely plan to have another sandals experience in the future.

Stayed: June 2014
2  Thank KMA23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2014

My wife and I went to this location for our 7 night honeymoon starting June 8th. We're both late 20's early 30's and have been to several other all inclusives in the carribean so we feel like we have a good bearing on things. We mainly hung out by the pool most days. There was always chairs open ~10am when we got to the big pool and never had any problems. The beach was nice too. The vendor vultures weren't too bad either. Just say no and after a couple times they'll leave you alone. Def. not as bad as Jamaica. We rented a car one day and decided to go site seeing on our own. The wife didn't like it much because she felt un-safe and lost a few times but I thought it was fine. Be aware if you rent a car that about 1 in 10 streets in St. John has a sign so it is easy to get lost. It took us an hour or so before we figured out where we were. Once out of St. John's it isn't too bad though. The map they give you is terrible from the rental car desk.

Room:
We stayed on the 7th floor of the Med. tower. The view was awesome! The rooms were a little small and the toilet area was hot since it has no A/C and is vented from outside. Door nob to the toilet never worked and you had to force the door open with your shoulder most of the time. Bed was huge and comfy. Bathroom was huge and had 2 sinks and a rain shower which was awesome. When we first checked in our safe didn't work. This was ~4:30pm. We called the front desk and they sent a security person to our room to fix the safe. She worked on it for about 2-3 hours and said she couldn't fix it and to call maintenance in the morning. I did so and it took until 11 or so the next morning until it was finally fixed.

Food
Pretty good overall. Not top of the line but very edible. The beach BBQ the first night was good. We met alot of friends that night for the rest of the trip. Food was great. Didn't really watch the entertainment though. They had a firebreathing guy which was pretty cool.
Eleanor's - I thought was good for an all inclusive place. This was not our fav. place for dinner. The lobster was so/so.
Mario's - We ate breakfast every morning here and loved it. The omletes and french toast were great. Dinner is good here too. This was our second fav. dinner place. the lasagna is good.
Kamonos - I thought this place was decent. Not supurb but OK. We only went here once and didn't want to go back.
OK Corral - Good. Kind of like a mexican steak bbq place. The steak I had here was very spicy so I just scraped off some of the blacking and it was good. Wife liked this place too.
Bayside - This was our fav. place for dinner. We didn't ever know they had dinner until we were heading over to the OK Corral again and decided to stop in. Nobody was in there hardly and we sure wouldn't have been if we hadn't have wandered in there. This is the only place you can get a regular steak. The menu was French oriented but the steak was good and the other food was too. It was our second to last night when we discovered this place but If I were to go back here I'd hit this place up alot for dinner. If you go here for lunch there are birds everywhere but they aren't too bad. There is a guy with a stick to guard the buffet.
Drunken Duck - This is the late night place set up like an english pub. Mainly bar type food. The wings were good and the dips.

Entertainment
I thought Sandals was a little lacking in this department. At other all inclusives I've been to there were shows and alot more interaction I felt like than here. There was some entertainment by the drunken duck but it was mostly a band or person playing guitar. These people were pretty good though but I've been to other places that were much better in this department.

Cons:
- Our room safe didn't work when we first got into the room. Spent 3/4 of a day getting that worked out.
- No recognition of our honeymoon whatsoever. I sent in the wedding invitation and did the online check in thing and thought that they would atleast do something to acknowledge this but they didn't.
- There was a note left on our door with other people's names on it. I feel like this place was somewhat disorganized.
- Couple's message was subpar. Don't waste your money on it go for something else. We had a 100 off credit that we got with the room. My mom called and booked us the couples message and didn't tell us about it. When we asked to get the $100 credit applied they couldn't do that.
- Room service takes atleast an hour


Overall, we had a pretty good time. We're not very nit picky are pretty easy to please but we thought for the money we could have gotten more.

Room Tip: We stayed in the med. honeymoon oceanview club level suite. 7th floor view was awesome. The elevators are the fastest I have ever been on too. Never used the concierge.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank BeachPack07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014 via mobile

What a great vacation. June 29th - July 6th. Beautiful location and landscaping and very nice pools and beach. We already booked as mother vacation next year but are going to Whitehouse in Jamaica. Can't wait. Once you get off the plain their are no worries, just what we needed.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Cara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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