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“An absolutely fantastic holiday”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Berkshire
Level Contributor
42 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“An absolutely fantastic holiday”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 December 2009

We have just got back from Sandals Grande Antigua after staying at Sandals properties in St Lucia and Jamaica previously.
The hotel and location are absolutely amazing, they have one of the best beaches in the area, Dickenson Bay, and the staff worked really hard to keep everybody happy, they could not do enough.
We found the cuisine far superior to the other islands and would definitely recommend the Barefoot by the Sea for their lobster, Mario's for the great sword fish and also OK Corrall where you need a reservation. If you are a big group we do recommend trying to book the table together even when they say you do not need a reservation as they are always busy.
The rooms in Mediterranean village are stunning with great views over the ocean, the higher you go the better the view and the suite. However they are refurbishing the ones in the Caribbean village and they are comfortable enough if you can live without the jacuzzi and the concierge room bar for the holiday. Also thought the elderly people might prefer the Caribbean as you are closer to the center of the resort, bars, pools and some restaurants, also it is all on flat.
We had an upgraded Venetian Suite in the Almond Tower, beautiful and large enough room, impressive bathroom with separate toilet, rain shower and jacuzzi. I was lucky enough to see the St Tropez suites which are of an extraordinary size, really large and airy with lots of space and also the one bedroom penthouse suites with stunning views and butlers.... does not get better than this.
They were brilliant at organising tours of the island or taxies for golfers and the diving facilities at the hotel were great.
Can not praise them enough and we will definitely return!!!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank ChocolateMartini
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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,731)
Date | Rating
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English first
Wayne, NJ
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2009

The service was outstanding. The room was very spacious and colorfully decorated. The room was centraly located on the resort and was an easy walk to everything. The staff was extremely pleasant and was willing to help in any way possible. There wer many restaurants to chose from so yo had a constant variety of food choices. There were many water activities to choose from or just sit by the pool. Out of all the Sandals locations we have been to, this one by far was the best. The resort is beautiful landscaped and very clean.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank islandgirlWayne_NJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2009

We just returned from a week at Sandals Grande Antigua and overall had a very nice time. The resort itself is quite beautiful and the landscaping very well maintained. The main pool is awesome, very large with lots of loungers and plenty of spots at the swim up bar. The beach is also very nice, especially at this particular spot. If you walk down the beach a ways you find a lot of debris and rocks, so Sandals definitely has a prime spot.

We stayed in a basic Garden of Eden room and were pretty disappointed. The bed wasn't very comfortable and was very squeaky, which was a bit annoying. The power also went out several time during the stay which wasn't too inconvenient aside from the fact that our AC would turn off. The bathroom was OK in the room, but definitely not as luxurious as the pictures on the web site. Our location in the Caribbean Grove was fantastic, however, because we were steps away from one of the smaller pools and only a short walk from the main pool and the English pub.

The main thing we were disappointed with was the food. We read all the reviews and went to Sandals with an open mind, but were pretty unsatisfied considering the price we paid. The sushi was horrible - you could tell the fish had been frozen. We understand the island is remote and needs to ship stuff in, so if you're a sushi lover you probably won't dig the sushi bar. Kimono's was a fun place, OK food, really it was all about the setting and the socializing. Our favorite place to eat was Barefoot. It was amazing hearing the ocean while you dine on fresh seafood. The pizza by the pool was also really good, and we at that probably five out of the seven days. We never got into Eleanors, and didn't try for OK Corral since we heard it wasn't too great. The reservations issue is pretty annoying and we just gave up after the first couple days. You have to call or visit the concierge desk at the crack of dawn. Cricketer's Pub food wasn't too great, either. The buffet at breakfast was nice, especially at the Bayside restaurant.

We highly recommend getting out of the resort and doing some excursions. The tours we took were the best moments of the trip. We went to Shirley's Heights on Sunday which was fabulous. They had an amazing steel drum band, and a BBQ that was delicious. There were hundreds of people gathering for the sunset, and after the sun goes down you can see all the yachts in the harbor with their lights. Quite beautiful. We booked through Sandals who takes you up and back, and stops for some photo ops along the way.

We met a group of people that booked a private charter for a circumnav tour of the island and this was the best day by far. Highly recommend doing this if you can find enough people. We had a total of 14 people and the price was about $20 cheaper than the larger cruise with Sandals. We booked directly with Mystic http://www.tropicalad.com/mystic.html The staff was awesome, the lunch delicious, and the tour was an absolute blast. We would have done this over and over again if we hadn't done it on our last day. We'd recommend it to anyone. We did not go through Sandals for this, and got a good deal because we booked on a day when there wasn't a cruise ship in the harbor. These are their slow days, so you can get better deals. Ask for Captain Mango - he was the best! The snorkeling is not so great, but we weren't expecting too much based on reviews we read.

We're pretty social people and were a bit surprised at the low key nightlife at the resort. We managed to meet a lot of similar couples by joining activities like pool and beach volleyball, but if you're looking for a party this isn't the best place. Romantic couples and people wanting a nice, quiet, relaxing time would love this place. Talked to several brides and honeymooners who thought the resort was marvelous for their special trip. We're not sure we'd return to another Sandals but overall had a great time.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank duranleau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
norfolk
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 December 2009

From the moment we arrived in Antigua the Sandals staff were on hand to take care of us. We were quickly transferred from the airport to the resort in a taxi. When we arrived at the resort, staff were waiting to greet us with cold towels, champagne and canapés. Check in was quick and efficient and we were shown to our room within minutes of arrival. We stayed in the Med village in a 'Portofino suite'. The room was spacious and very clean with a king-size 4 poster bed and a huge flat screen TV. It had a well stocked mini bar (which was restocked daily) a coffee maker and a kettle. Throughout our stay we found all the staff to be very courteous and efficient. I was always greeted with a smile and offers of help, nothing was too much trouble for any of them.
During our stay we ate at all the restaurants except the Japanese one. The food was of a high standard and there was plenty to choose from. The staff in all the restaurants/bars were excellent, but i particularly enjoy the service in the cricketers.
The beach was beautiful, white sand and warm turquiose water. There are plenty of sun loungers but you need to get there early to reserve one of the prime spots under one of the beach shelters.
All in all my partner and I had a fantastic trip. The service, accommodation and amenities really are 5star. The staff were friendly and efficient and went out of their way to make sure we had a fantastic time. For us this truly was the holiday of a lifetime and we cannot wait to return.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank NorfolkCafegirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 December 2009

We just returned from Sandals Antigua and were absolutely WOW'ed be the excellent service, very gracious people from one end of the resort to the other. The rooms were absolutely beautiful and VERY VERY clean. We stayed in a Venecian Suite overlooking the pool/ocean. The restaurant personnel were extremely accommodating and interacted with you through out the dining experience. All I can say is WOW. What a beautiful resort.

Kim and Glenn
PA

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank doves86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey - exit 8a :)
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 December 2009

We have stayed at 4 different Sandals resorts... Here is how Sandals Antigua compares to St. Lucia - Regency, Jamaica - Dunn's River Falls, and Jamaica - Whitehouse....

Food

Antigua had the best food of all of them. Lobster and Filet Mignon easily accessible at mult restaurants. I recommend staying away from the buffets on tues and wed nights. Restaurants had much better food. Eat there and then go check out the entertainment at the buffets. Pizza was great, Marios, Elenors and Barefoot were unbelievably good. The Japanese place was avg or below avg. If you order lobster... you get one tail but if you ask for two you will get it without a problem.

Pool and grounds

Pool and grounds were as good as the other places... no significant differences. You should stay in the Mediteranian Village, the caribean side is older and we met people that were upgraded over to the caribean side from the Med Village and they hated it... rooms were dirty. But Med Village building is new and very clean, near the large pool and many rooms had ocean view.

Service

We got the butler service for the first time and it was great. They were extremely nice. They setup breakfast on the balcony, they got you chairs in the morning wherever you wanted to sit, they brought you lunch at the pool.... and they got you priority reservations at the restaurants. I would get butler service again. Other staff was luke warm at best. Don't always expect a smile or a your welcome even if you say thank you. Staff in other resorts was friendlier. St Lucia was the nicest.

Activities

There were activities going on but you had to find them. Not much was going on at the main pool. Not even music. That was fine with me because I was just looking to float on a raft. But if you are looking for lots of competitions and pool activities, this resort was more quiet than others. If you are looking to not be pressured by staff to participate then this is your place. There was no pressure. There was a casino not owned by Sandals but attached to the property so easy to access. There was sports betting on all american sports so that was great.

Summary

Don't stay at the base level rooms on the caribean side... others we know were dissapointed. Don't accept an "upgrade" out of the mediteranean village. Must stay in the Med village. Food was awesome. If you are looking for relaxation by the pool or beach this is your place. If you want activities you have to go find them, they won't come to you at the pool as in other places. Staff not rude, but not real nice either. Try to splerge for a butler if you can find anyway to afford it. It was great. We really enjoyed ourselves on this trip and would recommend it.

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank JohnnyPa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southern- New Jersey
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 December 2009

We visited Sandals in Antigua Dec 2nd-8th, what a wonderful time we had!

Arriving in Antigua- the airport only has a couple flights come in and leave the island a day, when we arrived 2 flights landed at the same time. We waited about 45 minutes to go through immigration. A very painless process. After you go through immigration, you have to find your bags then go through customs. If you are unsure which carousel your bag came in on, ask someone at the airport. This will alleviate the headache of walking around aimlessly. After going through customs you go outside to find the sandals counter. At the counter you’ll check in and get the shuttle over to the resort. The ride is no more than 15 minutes.

Checking in at the hotel was very smooth. Once you arrive they welcome you with champagne. You will out basic papers (email address, departure flight time, etc). After this they will show you to your room; your luggage will meet you there not long after checking it. We originally reserved a Garden of Eden deluxe on the Caribbean side; however we were upgraded to a Garden of Eden premium on arrival. Our room (a small cottage) was very nice and basic.

Restaurants-

Bayside- (located on the Caribbean side) offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet. There was someone there to make you omelets, eggs, and pancakes at your request. We enjoyed lunched here twice (both times the food choices were different).
Kimonos- (located on the Caribbean side)offered dinner and was very good! A Japanese hibachi restaurant. You sit at a table with 5 other couples. The chef gives you a little bit of each entrée on the menu. Reservations are required for this restaurant. There is also a sushi portion of this restaurant that does not need reservations.
Ok Corral- (located on the Caribbean side) offered dinner and needed a reservation. A tex mex restaurant. We did not make it to this restaurant, however, many couple we saying how they enjoyed this restaurant.
Eleanors- (located on the Caribbean side) offered dinner and needed a reservation. A seafood restaurant with great views of the beach. This restaurant fills up fast but is worth going to.
Marios- (located on the Mediterranean side) offered a breakfast buffet and dinner. The breakfast buffet was good, but we enjoyed bayside more. Dinner was wonderful here. They have a salad bar during dinner with antipastos. This restaurant does not take reservations.
Barefoot by the Sea- (located on the Mediterranean side) offered lunch and dinner. This restaurant was one of my favorites. It is on the beach. For lunch they offer sandwiches and for dinner seafood. The blackened Mahi Mahi with jerk mayonnaise was awesome.
Cricketers- (located on the Mediterranean side) offered lunch and dinner. Mostly sandwiches for a quick bite. They have pool tables and karaoke at night. Also at night they offer a late night snack menu until 2am.
Bella Napolia- (located on the Mediterranean side) open from 11am-6pm for pizza. Good for a snack or for lunch. Pizzas are personal size.

Most of the restaurants require evening attire. For men, dress pants, shirts with sleeves and collar, dress shoes. For women, nice pants, skirts, sundress, nice sandals or shoes. (Barefoot, Marios, Eleanor’s, OK Corral, and Kimonos require evening attire for dinner) Reservations for restaurants are made between 8:30am-4:30pm. You are able to make reservations 48hrs in advance. These go quick, so make sure to call early.

Pool/Beach-
Chairs were never hard to find while at the resort, but if you wanted first row at the pool, you’d have to go down early and save chairs with your towel. The bartenders at the Mediterranean pool are wonderful. Ask them what their specialty drink is. The chocolate monkey drink is awesome. The beach is great, very relaxing. There are security guards at each entrance to the beach. The vendors on the beach are harmless and a simple “no thank you” and they will continue walking down the beach.

Weather- approx 87* everyday. We would experience occasional rain clouds but they passed within minutes and were a nice cool down after sitting in the hot sun.

Staff/Property- The staff was wonderful. Everyone was extremely friendly and always willing to make your stay that much better. The property is beautiful. The Caribbean side is a quiet relaxing with beautiful trees and plants. The Mediterranean side has a large hotel and is more open space. There are two shops on the property for t shirts, dresses, lotion, bags, etc.

Leaving Antigua- When the day comes that you sadly have to leave check out is 11am. The night before your departure, the front desk will drop off paper work on what time they will be picking up your luggage and taking you to the airport. After checking out, you will have to get a transfer slip from the front desk to give to the driver (this allows the shuttle to take you from the resort to the airport). When arriving at the airport, after you check in with your airline you will have to go and pay a $20 departure tax. This is located outside right before entering into the building for customs. They accept US dollars.

All in all, I would recommend this resort to anyone is wants to relax and enjoy time in the sun. There are many pools to choose from, the beach, and many water activities (snorkeling, scuba diving, kayak, hydro bikes, etc) to enjoy. I was a little nervous after reading the reviews from other guests, but I am glad I went and cannot wait to go back!

  • Stayed December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank snookie_d
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 Family Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury 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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