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“The most romantic resort on a fabulous beach !”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 May 2009

Visited this hotel on a Travel Agents educational so we looked at lots of room categories etc. I had stayed at this hotel back in 2000 so was intrigued to see how it had changed and if I still loved it. I did ! The hotel is sat in 24 acres and there are 2 sides, The new Mediterranean Village or the Caribbean Grove. The new Med side is very new, clean and pretty flash looking ! It houses all suites and offers 4 extra dining options to the hotel.

There are restaurants offering Italian, Seafood, South Western Cuisine to name a few plus the fabulous Kimonos offering Asian cuisine cooked at your tabel by the most entertaining chefs. Cricketers is also a favourite, it offers traditional British Pub Grub when you're missing your shepherds pie or bangers and mash ! The food just cannot be faulted and its available 24/7 ! There are also 6 bars serving premium brand drinks, cocktails etc. Most all inclusive hotels serve imitations of brand name drinks but here you can get Jack Daniels if you want it etc. I could talk about the food and drink all day !

There are 17 room categories to choose from, my favourite on the Caribbean Grove side being the Honeymoon Garden Rondoval with private plunge pool and a Butler on hand ! These get very booked up so dont leave it to late to book! My favourite on the Med Village side was the Luxury Ocean Villa one bedroom auite with private pool ! one storey villas in paradise with private pool deck and whirlpool. Total honeymoon must have.
But..if you're on a budget and cant go for a Butler Suite or a concierge room, all the other rooms are still beautifully decorated and have lovely garden views.
This hotel offers 6 pools and they range from quiet areas to fun activity pools. Here you can be as active or as chilled out as you want. When I visited, the hotel was at 100% occupancy but you would never have believed it, there is so much space that nowhere seems crowded.
Its ideal for weddings as the gardens and beach are fantastic and even though Sandals is known for having a few Weddings a day, you are made to feel so special and ceremonies are staggered so never cross paths!
There is a top class Red Lane Spa, nightly shows, great range of watersports and so many activities.
If you're looking for pure luxury, ultra all inclusive and to be situated on the best and longest beach on Antigua then you have to book Sandals Grande Antigua !

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled on business
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4  Thank cazzalinton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2009

Sandals Grande Antigua was the destination for my recent honeymoon. The resort is by far the nicest place I have visited. From the service to the food and the activities and beaches this resort is simply put -heaven on earth. I would go back in a hear beat and this time stay longer.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank luv2beemee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2009

We and 4 of our closest friends went to Sandals Grande Antigua to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. My wife and I had previously been to Sandals Grande St. Lucia and had convinced our friends to come along with us, but were a little apprehensive due to some of the reviews we had read.

In as few words as possible, our trip was as fantastic as we had hoped.

We’ve tried to make the following review realistic and useful without being gushy as that would be too easy.

Firstly and primarily, as for the staff at Sandals Grand Antigua and the other Antiguans that we met, in general they are some of the nicest, most pleasant people we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Yes, even the security ladies at the airport tasked with rummaging thru your luggage before departure were pleasant in their own way.

How some reviewers can say these people are not friendly is beyond me?? Maybe they are the unfriendly ones??

Your Arrival
From the moment that warm air hits our lungs as we step out of the plane and down the steps to the tarmac, we just allow ourselves to be processed thru the various airport procedures, gather our luggage, with the process having as little affect as possible on our vacation as we are not here to see an airport. To those folks who get cranky at this stage, just relax for crying out loud.
The Sandals folks were awaiting all those from our flight and ensured that our baggage and we were whisked away as quickly as possible to the resort; which is maybe 15 minutes away. We were warmly greeted at the resort with glasses of champagne, our room toiletries packages, keys etc... Everything went smooth, quickly and pleasantly.

Rooms
Our room was in a Cottage (Room 213) within the Caribbean Village. A very nice spacious main-floor suite with a king-sized 4-poster bed, tile floors, clean bathroom, in-room safe, and separate vanity and sitting areas with sliding doors to a patio at the back, where a stand of palm trees and other vegetation was the home to many little birds and a variety of geckos. Great spot for relaxing with a glass of wine at night or enjoying breakfast in the morning. Note: the birds love the pastries.

We did not go and see a room in the Med Village for comparison and perhaps our furnishings were not 100% pristine, but we felt safe and comfortable and all appliances (tv, radio, iron, lights, air conditioner, etc..) worked as they should.

Restaurants and Bars
Visited every restaurant (other than the sushi bar) more than once and never had a poor tasting or inadequately prepared meal. Some reviewers say the portions may be smallish, this may be true, but nothing is stopping you from enjoying an appetizer, soup, salad, entrée and dessert at the same meal; this is a great way to sample various menu items that you may normally not try. I’m 6 foot and 215 pounds with a very healthy appetite and never went hungry.

As for getting reservations, yes it is a good idea to plan and book your dinners asap, and we found as long as we were “flexible” we didn’t have any problems getting reservations and we were usually making reservations for tables of 6 or 4. Tables for 2 were never a problem.

Bartenders were always more than willing to make up any concoction we could think of and never spared the use of the name-brand liquors. Yes, they do have different grades of liquor, but if you have a particular brand and they have it, there was never a problem getting them to use it. And the idea that some reviewers say of the drinks being watered down is just absurd. And so what if they are, just have another one!!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Interesting resort with the Mediterranean side which is ultra-modern with very clean lines and exquisite lawns and a huge pool and swim-up bar, contrasted with the Caribbean side which is older and more quant with plenty of seemingly natural vegetation and many smaller private pools.

The pool bar on the Caribbean side is the place to go for daily activities, from morning pool aerobics to pool-volleyball and basketball, among others. And don’t forget to visit Latoya in the pool bar, her drinks are magical. Antonio may even pop around to bring his sense of comical mayhem to the scene.

To those other reviewers who didn’t know ALL beaches in Antigua are public, I have to ask; did you not do any reading before going to Antigua. Having been to Mexico a few times, the few “retailers” on Dickenson Bay were certainly more pleasant and some even entertaining in comparison. The best marketing slogan heard was “You say hello, I say aloe”!

As for the beach itself, the sand is soft with a nice gradual slope into the crystal-blue-green calm waters, great for swimming, or for those of us non-swimmers just relaxing, frolicking and enjoying the sea waters.

Good idea to grab a couple of pool towels the night before and keep them in your room for the next day. They are usually plentiful at night while sometimes scarce in the early mornings. And yes it is a good idea to go early to get a specific spot / chairs beach or pool side (say by 8:00 am) but isn’t that true of any beach/pool?

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel - Did you go on any tours?
St. John’s - Jan 31st. On our first Saturday, we were lucky enough to get linked up with a local taxi driver “Bill” (just ask for him as he is very well known) who took our group of 6 into the St. John’s Market. For those who like to mingle with the heart of the area you are visiting, this is an experience not to be missed. Also visited both Redcliffe and Heritage Quays. Heritage is more cruise ship orientated with Duty Free shops while Redcliffe has some nice local shops and galleries; great for buying those little take-home trinkets.
- Super Bowl Sunday. - Feb 1st. The staff at Sandals - Cricketers needs to be commended for the “American” spread they put out that day. Burgers, dogs, nachos, beer, Steelers and Cardinals cakes it was all there. Great job folks.
- Eco Boat Tour. - Feb 2nd. JayDee and his cruiser/powerboat crew provided a great amount of information about the local water ecosystem and how the reef and mangroves play a part. Interesting non-eco related sidebars about the “wildlife” on Long Island and some history of Antigua. The Rum Punch made with Bushy’s Rum was also the smoothest rum punch I think we’ve ever had. Excellent views of the northwest coast of Antigua and snorkeling at Devil’s Gate with a nice lunch on Bird Island home of the Racer snake which we luckily did not come across.
- Beach Lime Tour - Feb 3rd. A more relaxed adventure on a catamaran down the west and south coast to Cades Reef for snorkeling and then on to Morris Bay for lunch with a steel band and a limbo / fire-eating performance by Mr. Moves. Also managed to get our first taste of playing Cricket with the crew and some local children. The crew members again were all more than willing to share any information about their homeland.
- Wedding Vow Renewal - On Feb 4th my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows. We had pre-booked this event with Sandals to ensure we could get that date. From one simple meeting with the event coordinator, they planned our ceremony in a beachside gazebo just before sunset complete with a local Marriage provider, photographer, champagne, cake and appetizers enough for ourselves and our four dear friends. To make this short, Sandals “exceeded our expectations” and made this a moment we will always remember.
- Tradewinds Hotel – Bayhouse Restaurant - Feb 4th. The 6 of us went to the Bayhouse Restaurant for dinner after our vow renewal. Fantastic views of Dickenson Bay and Sandals resort. The food was superb, the best lobster my wife says she has ever had.
- Island Tour - Feb 7th. Contracted “Bill” for the day to take us on a tour of the island, where we visited Jolly Harbour, took a drive down Fig Tree Drive over to Nelson’s Dockyard, up to Shirley Heights, across to Devil’s Bridge and finally to Betty’s Hope. Bill was fantastic for sharing knowledge, allowing us to take as much time as we wanted, and just stopping here and there to show us interesting points or local vegetation. Although this tour took nearly 7 hours we could have easily spent 7 more. If you like historical sights there is plenty to see at Nelson’s Dockyard. The sights of English Harbour and the Antiguan Atlantic coastline from Shirley Heights are breathtaking.
- Cedar Valley Golf - Feb 10th. Played the front 9 holes on this course. Pleasant but not too difficult layout with smallish greens and plenty of elevation changes as well as some excellent views; which is really why we went, the golf was secondary. Caddies were not mandatory, but I’d advise renting a power cart, which we did.

Other Comments
Generally our experience to both Sandals Grand Antigua and Antigua itself was absolutely wonderful to the point that we did not want to leave. Having been to other Caribbean sites (St. Lucia, Barbados) we would highly recommend both the resort and the country to those wanting a relaxing, enjoyable, memorable Caribbean vacation.

Perhaps you to will want to “Soon Come Back”!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Tornado24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2009

A trip of a lifetime!!!
We had an incredible time, so please read this!!! Upon arriving at the airport in Antigua, we were greeted instantly by several people offering to help us with our luggage, go through customs and find our way to our transportation to the resort. We only waited a short time before leaving the airport. I will be honest and say the ride to the hotel was a little scary. They drive on the opposite side of the road and fairly fast. When they go around a corner the just blow the horn and go! We arrived at the resort in about 15 minutes and were greeted with a cold washcloth and a glass of cold champagne. NICE!!! We sat for a couple minutes and filled out some paperwork while our luggage was being transported to our room. We stayed in a Venetian suite in the Cypress Building. Our room was beautiful and overlooked the pool and ocean. Our bed was very comfy with lots of pillows. We had a small sitting room, patio, large bathroom with a jacuzzi, and a fully stocked bar and frig. The housekeeping staff did a great job keeping the room nice and tidy! We even had turn down service! EVERYONE was EXTREAMLY friendly, outgoing, and helpful! The bartenders, waitresses, waiters, concierge always greeted you with a pleasant smile, and were helpful with anything we needed. We would recommend that if you want to eat at the restaurants that require reservations, you do that fairly quickly. They do fill up fast. Also, if you want an umbrella or a spot in the shade by the pool or beach; you might want to go out early before breakfast to put a towel on the chairs. They get allocated early. (we would try to do this between 8 and 8:30) Another thing we would recommend is if you want to do a tour, book this early so you can guarantee that you can go. The trip we wanted to go on was canceled because not enough people booked it that day. Our only other recommendation would have been to extend our stay. We got married so it took about half a day the first full day there to meet with the wedding coordinator, Nasasha... who was WONDERFUL to work with, and to go into town. And another half a day the day we got married to do the ceremony, pictures etc. The best thing was we got married at 11:00 in the morning, the pictures were ready by 3 that afternoon to look at and our album was completed and ready for pick up at 8 that evening. We also got the wedding DVD too and I would highly recommend that!! The gentleman that put it together did an amazing job and it truly captivated Antigua and our special day. Janice did our photography and we LOVE all of the pics she took! We dined at Mario's for breakfast everyday and they had everything you could possibly want! We also ate at the Bayside (Melissa was joy!!!!), O K Corral, Elenors, Barefoot, Kimomos, My favorite would have to of been our wedding dinner at the Bayside. For a wedding dinner you get to select off of a special menu... Fillet Mignon, and Lamb chops WOW!!! Also, we had breakfast in bed the day after our wedding!!! WONDERFULL!!!!! We also went snorkeling one day and saw so many tropical fish! It was amazing! We did do the excursion on Sunday to see the sunset and really enjoyed that too!!! We LOVED the entire Sandals experience! We will definitely be back!!! We met so many extraordinary wonderful people on our vacation!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank MarriedInAntigua2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2009

Room - 3/5. We stayed in the Caribbean side of the resort in a "honeymoon deluxe concierge" which meant, as part of the all inclusive package, we had access to a fridge with re-stocked alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The air conditioning was a life saver and worked brilliantly. The room itself was fairly average and the bathroom area could have used a bit of a makeover. However, it was kept spotlessly clean by daily room service. There was a handy balcony overlooking the pool area. Massive four poster bed which required steps to climb into.

Staff - overall 4/5. Always pleasant and polite, with most people, if they had time, willing to have a chat.

Restaurants for dinner - overall 4/5.
Excellent choice of restaurants including buffet and a la carte.
1. Loved Mario's (Italian - a la carte) - presentation of the food was lovely, service wasn't always consistent in quality or attentiveness, but always polite. There was definitely much more of a dining out experience to it.
2. On principle didn't eat in the English Pub "the Cricketer's"; (I'm on holiday in the Caribbean after all!!!). Although did dance the night away in there after seeking refuge from the rain one evening.
3. Eleanor's (Caribbean - a la carte) served good "taster" of true Caribbean recipes (although no doubt dumbed down for Euro / American market).
4. Kimono's (Japanese - a la carte) was an experience but was very dependent on the Chef - first time we ate there the cooking was entertaining and engaging, the second time (different Chef) was more like watching my mum prepare Sunday roast. Be prepared though - eat lightly during the day, you are offered a lot of courses and they all taste really good.
5. Sushi bar - didn't experience a meal here
6. Barefoot (seafood) - outside dining; lovely experience (good for lunch too).
7. Bay (international) buffet - a good selection of food - which was always good well, tasted good. We tended to use Bay as our second choice if we couldn't get in elsewhere or wanted a lighter alternative as, given the other lovely restaurants we were spoilt for choice. Also open for breakfast and lunch.
8. Pizza place - open for lunch; very tasty pizza's - good lunch size.

Amenities
1. Pools (5/5) - didn't spend much time around the big pool on the Mediterranean side of the resort. However, each of the blocks on the Caribbean side had it's own small swimming pool - this was luxurious, there were days when we had the pool to ourselves. Only downside one might consider to this was that it didn't have a swim up bar (but hey, I think we could cope with the two minute walk to the nearest bar!!).
2. Access to the beach - excellent; we always found a sunbed to use (these are fiercly defended from use by non-sandals guests by the resort security girls). Could do with more beach umbrellas - there was always a towel fight at dawn (you think I jest) for those!
3. Sea - don't bring your snokelling gear if you're not prepared to take a boat trip to access clear water.
4. Bars - overall 5/5. There was a really great choice of branded alcoholic drinks including 4 brands of gin (we were in heaven)! Great cocktails; standard list but staff really knew their cocktails; don't think there was anything I asked for that they didn't know how to make!
Main seafront bar; staff always pleasant, never any great wait for a drink (but then again, it's not like I was going to be late for an appointment if I'd had to wait more than a few minutes!). Cocktails - fabby. Staff at this bar made the best Caiparinha's!
Pool bar - Caribbean side - staff here were really excellent; you said what spirit you generally like to drink and you got a cocktail to match it. Definitely best Bahama Mama's here.
Gym - yes, sad but true, I did visit the gym most days (like I said the food is good!). Good variety of gym equipment. The gym was air conditioned (thankfully) however the last few days there seemed to be a problem and it was unpleasantly warm - didn't really get any better despite letting staff know.

All inclusive value for money - excellent; 4/5.

Hotel organised trips - these appeared to be extortionately expensive and put us off booking anything.

There was a variety of day and night time entertainment; what I saw / experienced was good.

The gardens were beautifully kept - there was clearly a lot of work, on a daily basis, put into keeping them that way.

Liked most:
"private" swimming pool
choice of restaurants
choice of activity level

Liked least:
All inclusive red and white wine (it was yuk!)
Extortionately expensive trips
Disappointing that there was no free internet access.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank jleastsussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2009

I could not wait to post OUR review. After booking our honeymoon with Sandals (Antigua) I couldn't stop reading all the reviews. I barely canceled our trip to this resort because a few of the reviews on this website. If anyone has anything negative to say about Sandals...they are just unhappy people period! I could not have been more pleased and surprised at the location & service of Sandals. It exceeded our expectations. From the moment we entered our upgraded room (for free) and walked the resort we put to rest the negativity from the reviews we read...it was worth every penny! My husband was a bit hesitate about the cost of the trip and what exactly we would find when we arrived, not even a day into our honeymoon we were already discussing what Sandals/Beaches resort to visit next. We absolutely loved the resort, the staff & especially the food (I gained over 10 pounds in a week). If you have booked your vacation already...STOP reading the negative reviews and count down the days to your awesome vacation and if you havent booked your vacation...GET TO IT, you won't regret it.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MSCinMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2009

The overall service at Sandal's Antigua was very poor. Any question you may have came with a curt response. It was like walking around on egg shells. We felt like the people were mad at us, didn't look you in the eye, no smiles etc. They also allowed wedding parties to stay at the hotel. So single men and women were there. One particular group would have late parties at the pool whisling and yelling while you were going to dinner. The spa was not relaxing. I had a 9am appointment and arrived about 8:30 so that I could use the wet and dry sauna and take a shower. The staff showed me to my locker and I told the attendant I wanted to use the saunas and she pointed them out. However she did not point out the showers, restroom, etc. So I had to open every door in the room to find them. Once I was ready to get into the sauna they were all off and cold. When I asked the staff about it, there response was that I should have called ahead and asked that they be turned on. Never have I made an appointment for a spa treatment the day before and then had to call that morning to let them know to be prepared for my arrival and what I expected. Sandals sets the expectations and it's up to them to meet it. Needless to say the massage was one of the worst ever. I should have walked away when the attendent got sassy with me, live and learn. Everyone else we talked to was upset with the lack of service and unfriendliness. And just a heads up for people that love to hang out at the beach, you will be hassled every 20 minutes by someone that wants to sell you something. The pool was also dirty, lots of mildew on the tile by the bar. Never saw anyone cleaning it ever.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank CareyWilmingtonDE
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

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: £366 - £842 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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