Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Reviews

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa  

P O BOX 147, Dickenson Bay, St. John's, Antigua

"Just returned from my Honeymoon"
Posted by: Katy on Oct 15, 2012
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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Reviews
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Pictures and Information
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Antigua Antigua and Barbuda

#2
of 25 Hotels in Antigua

User rating 2.7

Based on 23 reviews

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Information


All-inclusive - 9 categories of accommodation - 193 rooms and suites

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Reviews

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 2.7 of 5 23 reviews
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"Just returned from my Honeymoon"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Katy  on Oct 15, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Oct, 2012 | Wedding | With Spouse/Partner
127 people found this review helpful

Overall the grounds were kept clean. The grounds we enjoyed. The pools were lovely. The beach was nice. I did not like the cats all over the place. The cats were lounging in the chairs, walking around in the beachfront restaurants where the guests were being served food. The mosquitos were bad. The room was hot. The a/c did not work well. It was very hard to undertsand the majority of the satff, whether it was in the restaurants, the bars the concierge etc,,, The food was good but not great. I expected to be wowed! I recommed Elanor's restaurant. None of the restaurants have fully stocked bars or drink stations. So if you order a cocktail or a soda, it took a long time to get it. The waitress or waitor had to track down to one of the swim up bars to get the drinks. This was a huge hassle for us. We were there 7 days and the restaurants always seemed under staffed. The wait for service once you are seated is ridiculous. It rained alot, although this was there raining season. Lastly, we had daily power outages. Some lasted up to an hour. Totally unacceptable. My husband got stuck in an elevator the second day we were there due to one of the many power outages. Be aware- lost luggage or very delayed luggage from AA to Antigua seem to be an accepted practice. I lost 3 days of my honeymoon because my luggage was lost and AA had no idea where it was. On the day we arrived, there were many guests that like me there lugggae did not arrive.

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"It's my Birthday... Can I take a shower?"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  K  on Apr 17, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
204 people found this review helpful

We stayed in Sandals Grande Antigua for five nights last month (March 8-12th). The trip was a surprise for my birthday March 10th. We booked the walk out beach front suite in the Caribbean Grove online, but when we arrived at the resort our room changed without authorization and “upgraded” to Room 7029 on the 5th Floor of the Mediterranean Village. We did not consider the room an upgrade and we were extremely disappointed we could not stay in the room we purchased online. Check-in time was at the resort was 3:30 p.m. March 8th, we arrived at the hotel at 5:30pm and the “upgraded” room was not ready. We did not have a room until 8:15p.m! We were also told to carry our own luggage to the room.

Prior to arriving, the Sandals airport shuttle was not a licensed Sandals driver. We were subjected to ride in an individual’s personal van. The van was ran down, dirty, and needed some mechanical work. The diver insisted on stopping to chat with other locals on our drive to the resort. The commute from the airport to the resort was an extremely uncomfortable experience.

When finally arriving to our room we noticed there was no running water. We were unable to flush the toilet. The front desk failed to mention to us that the water was down during check in. For the next 2 days of our vacation we had no running water. No way to flush the toilet. For the duration of the trip the water ran rusty brown.

We demanded that a portion of our trip for the days without water be refunded immediately or a voucher to have a make-up trip at a different sandals location. (Nothing) We stayed at many hotels/resorts around the Caribbean, but never experienced the type of inconvenience and uncomfortable living arrangements as we did at Sandals Antigua. I’ve never seen this fee before…ever!

In addition, during our stay at Sandals we experience racism from both the resort employees and the guest because we are African American. I was harassed by the resort employees when entering the resort from the beach, even when I showed them my membership card they were nasty. We were not shown the same level as customer service while dinning, or in general as the other guest. I was approached by guest to get drinks, towels and even help with snorkeling gear even though I was wearing resort wear. Some lady asked my boyfriend to fetch her shoes… REALLY! I never experienced such racism in my life. I felt like I needed to wear a shirt that said I’m on vacation just like you!

Also, I would not recommend this trip for young couples (20-35). The guest seemed to be 40+. You’ve been warned. This place is like Sandals Assisted Living Retirement Home!

I feel that my birthday was ruined, and there is no way to bring that day back. We would like some compensation for the trip. We spent a lot of money for the vacation and expected to have a “vacation” or at least running water!

Room Number:
7029

Room Block:
Mediterranean Village

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"This was my wedding and honeymoon"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Allen07  on Nov 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
301 people found this review helpful

This is a chronological recollection of our stay in Sandals Antigua from Sept 25 through Oct 3, 2007. Hopefully others find it useful and keep as far away from this resort as possible.

Part I:
9/25 - Safe in room doesn't function. We requested to have it fixed, no one ever showed up.
9/26 - We schedule dinner for 4 with the concierge at Kimonos for the evening of the 26th, which is confirmed.
9/26 – My wive’s spa appointments aren't there. When they reschedule, they refuse to do her trial makeup. The beautician that does her hair has a very, very bad attitude, painfully tearing at her hair the entire time. When she confronts the spa receptionist regarding her trial makeup, the receptionist literally puts her hand in her face and tells her "if it's not in the computer, there is nothing I can do for you". When I arrived to pick her up from the spa, she was in tears.
9/26 - The concierge leaves a message stating that there was a mistake and we do not have dinner reservations at Kimonos, however they reschedule it for the evening of the 28th. We expressed that this was not acceptable as our family was leaving the morning of the 28th. They indicated there was nothing they could do.
9/26 - An international long distance call is made on our phone for approximately $150 worth of charges. The call was made at 7:37pm, while we were at the OK Corral eating dinner with my parents.
9/27 - While exchanging rings we notice the diamond from my wedding band has gone missing. It was accounted for first thing in the morning (8:30am approximately), and was never taken out of the box prior to the presentation of rings during the wedding ceremony. Unfortunately our surprise is clearly visible in the wedding video, as is the missing stone when they zoom in on our hands.
9/27 - During our first dance after the wedding the music skips multiple times. This isn't the end of the world... but it certainly adds to our frustration.
9/27 - Late evening we notice our "member cards" are not on our keychain anymore. That said, our swipe card to enter the room still works, so we assume the cards fell off or something similar. 9/28 - When my parents check out on the "old" side they are charged $4+ per minute for room to room calls. The person working the front desk says this is a typical charge, and my parents pay over $100 in room to room fees. They checked out at 10:46am, verified by their credit card charge.

Part II:
9/28 - We check with the concierge on the new side, whom tells us the key we have is not the room key. He says the key we have is "902", then says he cancelled any other key access to our room and reissues us a key. This was at approximately 12-12:30pm. We assume, but are definitely not certain, that we accidentally left our room key with housekeeping and accidentally took theirs in passing as they were cleaning our room on the 27th. We didn't notice until the morning of the 28th, when we tried to make a purchase at the gift shop. We still don't know what the 902 means.
9/28 - We speak to the concierge and reserve a hobie cat sailboat for 2pm, which they confirm.
9/28 - The spa manager gives us a free "Island Bath" due to the spa issues. It is a far cry from trial makeup, certainly doesn't account for the attitude issues previously, and is nothing more than a drawn bath and champagne, both of which we could have easily had in our room. It was still unpleasant, as they checked in every few minutes, and the receptionist still had a bit of an attitude.
9/28 - We arrive at water sports to take out the sailboat, and they tell us that they cannot be reserved, contrary to what the concierge told us. We have to wait ~45 minutes for one to become available - they even let multiple people go before us even though we were their first, simply because they didn't even take names or make a waiting list... they just took the person that butted to the front of the line and forced their way in.
9/28 - We return to our room at approximately 4:30pm to find all my cash, my cell phone, and my cell phone charger are missing. It was $82 cash, a Cingular/AT&T 8525 cell phone, and the associated charger. The police come and spend maybe 2-3 minutes looking over the room and requests us to meet with them in our room at 2:30pm the next afternoon. Hotel security also arrives and takes our information.
9/28 - The concierge tells me I will not be charged for calling internationally to cancel credit cards. They were not stolen, however if they took the cash out of my wallet and went through all of our belongings, who knows if they wrote down the credit card numbers.
9/28 - Someone finally arrives to fix our safe.
9/28 - We go to the 'internet cafe' to look up phone numbers so we can cancel my phone service. We are told the internet is down, yet there are people in the cafe actively on the internet. This is all after a long conversation regarding getting the internet charges covered by the hotel due to the robbery.
9/29 - We arrive back at our room at 2pm to meet with the police. By 3:30 they have still not arrived.
9/29 - We meet with Mr. Stuedmann (hotel manager) and Mr. Martin (hotel security manager). During the 5 minute meeting Mr. Stuedmann repeatedly asks us to hold as he takes phone calls. It is very apparent that his priority during this meeting is not with us. They indicate they are investigating the robbery and ask us some cursory questions regarding what times we came and went into the room. During this meeting Mr. Martin questions us on a room entry at 10:43am. I assure him it is not possible we were the ones that entered the room, as we were with my parents on the other side of the resort at 10:46am. Mr. Stuedmann also points out that he has authorized a $250 credit due to the construction noise.
9/29 - At dinner we meet 2 couples that came together. We warn them of the room to room charges. After dinner they check in at the front desk, and are told there are no such charges. I confront the front desk worker - whom is the same person that told my parents there was a room to room charge, and he says there is no such thing, that there was a computer glitch earlier. This is the EXACT SAME PERSON that apparently lied to myself and my family not 1 day earlier!
9/30 - While walking through the resort my wife falls due to excessively slippery walkways. It was not raining.

Part III:
10/1 - We have a meeting with the video team to review our wedding DVD. It is scheduled for 3pm. We show up at the TV room in the crystal lounge, as told, at 2:45. By 3:30 no one has shown up, so we go to the front desk and ask. They call the video team and tell us we need to come back tomorrow at 1pm.
10/2 - Mr. Martin calls us at approximately 9am to schedule a meeting with us, Mr. Stuedmann, and the general manager. I request a time of 11:30am, which is confirmed. He calls me later that morning to indicate the GM is still in a meeting and we'll have to meet later. He assures me that even though we have plans for the day, he can track us down anywhere on the resort, that all of us will sit down and get this resolved.
10/2 - We show up at 12:45 in the crystal lounge again to wait for the video team. By 1:10 they have not shown up, so I check with the front desk. They call, and tell us someone is on the way. At 1:25 we were still waiting, so I check in again. They call, and about 5-10 minutes later they show up. When we arrive to view the video they still haven't finished it, so we wait another 5-10 minutes for them to finish before we review the video.
10/2 - We check with the concierge to see if Barefoot by the Sea is still serving food, they confirm with us that they are not open. We go to the main pool to relax, only to see people dining at Barefoot. We walk over to barefoot, get a table, and eat.
10/2 - We go to the front desk, as nothing has been conveyed to us regarding the meeting with Mr. Stuedmann, Mr. Martin, and the GM. We meet with Mr. Stuedmann, who indicates that Mr. Martin was confused and my wife and I weren't to be included in that meeting. He believes that Mr. Martin had myself and the GM confused and was calling me thinking I was the GM. I convey our overall dissatisfaction with the resort and their responsiveness, using the issues we recently had with the video team. He tells me he will work on getting us a credit to cover the costs of the video (approx $250). He also tells me that the video team conveyed to him that they waited from 3-4:30pm for us the original day, which simply is not true. The phone records should verify this, as the front desk called them at about 3:30pm that day.
10/2 - While returning to the room my wife falls again. This time, unfortunately, she hits her arm and chin abruptly on the ground. Luckily nothing serious, just some bumps and bruises. Once again, it was not raining.
10/2 - We return to the room to find the checkout invoice. Noted in it are numerous long distance charges, which we were told would be covered. I confront the concierge desk, whom tells me that is not the case, only the internet would be (mind you we never used the internet). I express this is not acceptable, and she says she will speak with management.
10/3 - We check out, and are told our balance is $0. I question this, as we had a $250 credit due us. She says it was to cover any charges on the room, at which time I point out we had no charges to the room. She checks, and 5 minutes later comes back to tell me that it isn't a credit, but a service credit, and is only valid against room charges. This is contrary to what was expressed to me by Mr. Stuedmann previously. Additionally there is no credit for the video.
10/3 - While waiting for the taxi to pick us up Mr. Stuedmann passes. He apologizes to us regarding our stay, and assures us that all will be resolved - he will continue to be in touch and he will continue to internally escalate our issues. Oddly enough, this is the first time anyone apologizes.

Resumé:
In general, we have absolutely no faith in anything anyone at Sandals says. As you can see, we were repeatedly lied to, given misinformation, and easily spent 1-3 hours EVERY DAY waiting for people to show up for meetings, which they scheduled. Not a single person was willing to work around our schedule, all times were given to us without opportunity to negotiate. This caused us to miss a multitude of events, anything from snorkeling to group events at the resort. During our entire stay there was heavy construction immediately outside our door. I do mean immediately - within 5-10ft of our door. Everything from jackhammers to landscaping equipment was in use starting at approximately 8am, every morning.

We additionally met multiple couples that had similar issues - a couple which had their passports and $1600 stolen, another couple that had their cell phone stolen, another couple had an extremely nice camera stolen, and a massive amount of people that had been continually misled or lied to by the resort staff. A couple we flew back to the US with had long distance charges placed on their room as well - incidentally they were staying on the same floor of the hotel as us.

I would also recommend anyone that doesn't plan to drink in their room to avoid the additional charges of the concierge level room. Only Kimonos requires reservations, all other restaurants are walk in. The walkway from the new Mediterranean hotel to any pools/bars/dining is extremely dangerous due to how slick it is... we would have been much better off staying on the old side with a non-concierge room. Not only would we have saved money, it would have been quicker to get to activities and, more importantly, it would have been safer.

The service we received doesn't even compare to a $40 a night motel, and we paid substantially more. Antigua is beautiful, and we will happily return - with anyone but Sandals. A tent and kerosene stove would be better.

This was my wedding and honeymoon. We will carry these memories with us for our entire lives. When friends and family ask us how our trip was, what are we to say to them? Nothing will ever make this right.

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"A large handful of them were very rude and unhelpful."

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Kris07  on Nov 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Business | Solo
342 people found this review helpful

Visited this resort on a work trip and was extremely disappointed. I had read several reviews and many of them were true....
The ONE redeeming quality the resort had was the butler service in the Meditterranean Village...they were OUTSTANDING!!! Other than that, the food was definitely lacking, most of the employees were cordial but did not have answers to any questions.
A large handful of them were very rude and unhelpful.
A small handful were above and beyond pleasant and helpful.
The resort and the rooms were also infested with mosquitoes - who LOVE the tourists :) And there were SEVERAL power outages on the Friday night I was there. Power outages to the ENTIRE resort....which left us in the dark for several minutes....
I have traveled all over the world in all types of hotels/resorts/hostels with all types of people.
Since I didn't pay for this trip (was work related) - I suppose it was acceptable (and beyond my control). However - had I paid upwards of $2000 to travel across the nation for a wedding or honeymoon I would have been seriously disappointed.
Can't speak for any of the other Sandals resorts - but if you are looking for top of the line treatment and great food - this resort is not the place to be.
And yes - the pictures are AMAZING - but deceiving.

Photos: http://dream-crazy.blogspot.com/2007/11/antigua.html#links =

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"The gardens are well maintained"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  JohnLindsayOntarioCanada  on Oct 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
333 people found this review helpful

We have travelled to many resorts over the past years & the Sandals Grand Antigua Resort & Spa is the very finest we have ever travelled too. The rooms a decorated very well & are all up to date. The gardens are well maintained & have some of the finest plants of any resorts. The beach is great with its slightly off white sand that is cleaned daily, nice walking distance for couples in love. One of the greatest parts of this resort is the people that work there. Right from the top management to all the hard working people, they are all friendly & glad to have you at their resort & on their island.. If you need anything or have any issues managers & staff will fix it to ensure you will have a great vacation. The food is great with many restaurants to pick from & many great bars

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"It took many rings before someone answered."

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  LizabethUSA  on May 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: May, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
320 people found this review helpful

Took forever to get through customs/immigration. Resort is beautiful - gorgeous beach and ocean. Had a butler(s). Service was fair with one and good with the other. Wasn't worth the extra price. Plunge pool was filthy and hot tub only had 1 jet working. AC was horrible. Room temp was never below 75 degrees. Had maintenance there 3 times. It never worked efficiently. room was not cleaned. Had to call housekeeping. Room decor was adequate but it was dirty. Should have been more upscale given the price of this category (the most expensive). Calling the operator for any kind of assistance was difficult - it took many rings before someone answered.

Arrival:
Took forever to get through customs/immigration. Resort is beautiful - gorgeous beach and ocean. Had a butler(s). Service was fair with one and good with the other. Wasn't worth the extra price. Plunge pool was filthy and hot tub only had 1 jet working. AC was horrible. Room temp was never below 75 degrees. Had maintenance there 3 times. It never worked efficiently. room was not cleaned. Had to call housekeeping. Room decor was adequate but it was dirty. Should have been more upscale given the price of this category (the most expensive). Calling the operator for any kind of assistance was difficult - it took many rings before someone answered.

Rooms:
See above. room category was very pricey and other than the proximity to the beach, it was fair. Could not use our pool for the first 3 days we were there. We also requested the first villa on the beach (booked this over a year ago). Three weeks before we left for our trip, the travel agency was told that this particular villa was not available. They had given it to another customer. Very disappointed. Room was dirty - not cleaned before our arrival. Furnishings were adequate, at best. Cocktail table had two broken legs. There was little information in room about the island, etc. Mostly only Sandals info. AC never worked right no matter how low we set the temp. Lighting was poor. Friends of ours had an adjacent villa and their AC overflowed onto their TV and bar area and surrounding floor. It took way too long for maintenance to attend to this problem.

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants were very nice. Had breakfast and lunch at Bayside - best bet for a variety of food. On the whole, the food was okay - not great.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Gorgeous beach. Grounds were kept up and beautiful. Pool was also wonderful. Only our plunge pool was not maintained.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We only went to St. John's, the capital. Honky tonk type of town. Stayed at the resort for the duration of our vacation.

Other Comments:
On the day of our departure, our butler was to have our luggage picked up at 10 AM. The bus was leaving to take us to the airport at 11:30. Luggage was not picked up until well after 11 AM. At check out, we had to wait on a very long line. other butlers were helping their clients check out but ours did little to expedite our check out and we had to have her paged. We gave her a very generous tip yet when we got into our van, she just closed the door and never even said good-bye. Our other butler, however, a young man, was wonderful when he was at our service. Outside of the beach and the beautiful grounds, ocean, etc. it did not meet our expectations given the price. Leaving Antigua was a nightmare. No xray machines and they had to go through, by hand, all of our luggage. Very disorganized. Although we loved the island, we will not return to this Sandals. It is over-rated. Anyone going to a Sandals should check out the food variety as well as the quality. All inclusive does not necessarily mean that what you pay for is what you actually get.

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"Simply beautiful!!!"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  EllenEastBrunswickNJ  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
323 people found this review helpful

The airport is small, only about 8 customs officers. Our plane was first to land and we were on the line with all about 150+ passengers for about 1 hour. We then boarded a van to the Mediterranean village.

Arrival:
The airport is small, only about 8 customs officers. Our plane was first to land and we were on the line with all about 150+ passengers for about 1 hour. We then boarded a van to the Mediterranean village.

Rooms:
Room is awesome. We are return guests at Sandals and we booked a Venetian Suite in Mediterranean village but got upgraded to a Penthouse suite on the 6th floor. Great living room with a plasma TV, bedroom with plasma TV, a huge shower the size of my closet at home (no door don't need one the room is so huge), a great jacuzzi, 2 sinks, a terrace the covers the whole lengh of the suite with double entry from living room and bedroom. The best room we ever stayed at all Thanks to Ms. Lesley Warner. She is the reservation manager. You may get in contact with her and ask for an upgrade. If you are a Sandals return guests you are very likely to get one. Best accommodations!

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was ok. The only good restaurant we ate at was Barefoot, they serve Lobster (1/2 of it) in the evenings. Very romantic. Also during lunch they erve the best Jerk chicken. All other restaurants were ok. If you are a gourmand and want best tasting food this is not the resort for you.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach is beautiful, wide. Water is that beautiful turquioise color but not clear. When we were there were was some seaweed in the water I guess brought up by some tropical storm. My parents stayed here 3 weeks prior to us staying here and said there was no seaweed at all. Water temperature was around 80F. Very pleasant. Water is mostly calm, however a couple of days the sea was very rough were were afraid to go in. Waves were about 3-4 feet high. The best time to visit this place is April - August, this is when you get the best weather/water. The drawback is there are no space underneath the palapas or in any shade by the beach if you are later comer like us. We came around 11 am and everything in the shade was gone. Sun was strong even though not hot. So you do want to ability to stay in the shade. The pools are great. The big one in the Med Village is great. What we found to be a true treasure are pools in the Carib Village. That whole area (even though the buildings are 20 yrs old) is magical, so tropical, especially in the night time, it is very romantic to strall through the grounds. There are hidden pools in the Carib village (go find them you will be amazed) and there is almost nobody who uses them so you are in the midst of the tropics in your own pool with a jacuzzi. Beautiful. Mediterranean village's style is very upscale, Monte Carlo like, very grand. Caribbean village got so much charm, very tropical, lush, many flowers and tucked away pools/jacuzzi's. Simply beautiful!!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn't book any tours. We went once on a catamaran with the sports instructor. Great! But was a bit windy, water was splashing all over the place and I got scared that we would turn over and we came back in 10 minutes. However, if weather is not too windy this would definitely be a great activity, just ask one of the sports instructors to take you on their catamaran and they will gladly do this. We tipped the guy ($15US). You don't need to it's up to you.

Other Comments:
We loved the resort. The things we enjoyed the most: accommodations, beautiful fairy tale like grounds, beach. What we didn't enjoy: food, sometimes attitude of the serving personnel. Also, I lost my Betsey Johnson purse worth about $300 and we went to the manager in the Med Village, someone turned it in to the Pub and I got it the next day. Thank you!

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"Eli's Eco Tour is a must"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  ShellyOntario  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
328 people found this review helpful

Arrival
Flew direct with Air Canada from Toronto to Antigua 1hr to get thru customs, get luggage and arrive at Sandals---very smooth
Rooms
Med Side-Venetian Suite 3rd floor with amazing view. Beautiful room with king bed, plasma tv, very well stocked bar and fridge. Amazing bathroom with soaker jetted tub and separate shower. Awesome balcony with great view of sunset, pool and sea.you can watch the cruise ships come in early in the morning 6ish and watch them depart nightly at sunset, CV side also beautiful just not new, more mature and island feeling each side has its on unique feel to it, it is a personal decision, but overall the whole resort is very enjoyable and you can't help but enjoy

Arrival:
Flew direct with Air Canada from Toronto to Antigua 1hr to get thru customs, get luggage and arrive at Sandals---very smooth

Rooms:
Med Side-Venetian Suite 3rd floor with amazing view. Beautiful room with king bed, plasma tv, very well stocked bar and fridge. Amazing bathroom with soaker jetted tub and separate shower. Awesome balcony with great view of sunset, pool and sea.you can watch the cruise ships come in early in the morning 6ish and watch them depart nightly at sunset, CV side also beautiful just not new, more mature and island feeling each side has its on unique feel to it, it is a personal decision, but overall the whole resort is very enjoyable and you can't help but enjoy

Restaurants and Bars:
we tried all restaurants except OK Corral and were very pleased with each one of them. good quality and service, beautiful view @ Barefoot and Bayside. Lots of choice for all meals. Marios excellent for breakfast

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pool was perfect, although resort was full, never felt to busy. Beach was not to busy with the exception of Tue and Thur as cruise ship traffic was busy. still very enjoyable with white sand and beautiful water.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
shirley height and nelson dockyards were great and so were the pictures. Eli's Eco Tour is a must, a great way to see some of the island.

Other Comments:
Antigua is a incredible island and we enjoyed every minute @ Sandals. Very happy staff that would do anything you ask to make you enjoy your vacation. slow pace and very relaxing!!!

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"Nothing but praises for the "concierge staff" and "scuba dive team""

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  BonnieEdmontonAlberta  on Jan 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
333 people found this review helpful

Arrival: January 17 - January 31
No Sandals private reception room with refreshments at the airport. Just a booth outside the airport. We did receive champagne and snack on arrival at the resort at check-in on the Meditteranean side. Check in was great on the Meditteranean side.
Rooms:
As a repeat Sandals Select guest, we were upgraded to "concierge". WOW, I've never stayed in such a BEAUTIFUL room. Balcony with ocean view, big flat screen TV, fully stocked bar, marble bathroom, double sinks, HUGE jetted tub, glass shower, decorated to the "9's".

Arrival:
No Sandals private reception room with refreshments at the airport. Just a booth outside the airport. We did receive champagne and snack on arrival at the resort at check-in on the Meditteranean side. Check in was great on the Meditteranean side.

Rooms:
As a repeat Sandals Select guest, we were upgraded to "concierge". WOW, I've never stayed in such a BEAUTIFUL room. Balcony with ocean view, big flat screen TV, fully stocked bar, marble bathroom, double sinks, HUGE jetted tub, glass shower, decorated to the "9's".

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was excellent with a wide variety of restaurants (a la carte and buffet). I've never eaten so many desserts, and they were all great! Compared to other Sandals Resorts we've been to in Jamaica, staff could have been a bit friendlier by smiling occasionally and maybe even saying good morning ?? In addition, there was supposed to be "dress codes" for the a la carte restaurants which was not adhered to as in other Sandals Resorts.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The main pool and grounds were the most beautiful I've seen. However, no brochure will tell you the beach is public, not private as other Sandals Resorts. Since we prefer the beach, we were entertained by security guards chasing after "non-Sandals guests" that would try and sneak onto the resort for the free food and booze.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Definite lack of activities/entertainment compared to other Sandals where they have "play-makers" that get guests involved in the activities and fun. We were told they were in the process of hiring "play-makers" though. Also no large venue to accommodate the large number of guests for nightly entertainment, (which was not the greatest). Didn't bother paying big dollars for the tours. We did hire a cab on our own to go shopping. We also took advantage of the scuba diving, and the dive team was excellent. Was disappontment with the coral reefs. Web site said numerous dive sites 5 minutes from shore. Which shore ??

Other Comments:
Overall, the resort itself is beautiful and have nothing but praises for the "concierge staff" and "scuba dive team". However was very disappointed with no private beach, lack of activities, and staff who were not the friendliest. Arguments, swearing and shouting between staff in front of guests was not pleasant. They have a few issues to resolve with the staff there for sure. In addition, the airport really needs to bite the bullet and purchase an xray machine for luggage rather than ran-sack EVERY suitcase to be checked-in. They only have 2 or 3 staff going through every piece of luggage for every tourist, and they un-wrap all the breakables (which you carefully wrap up so they don't break), which in turn, backs-up the tourists trying to check-in at the appropriate air line counters before their flight leaves....

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"How some reviewers can say these people are not friendly"

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  DonBrendaWinnipegManitobaCanada  on Jan 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009 | Leisure | With Group
353 people found this review helpful

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??

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, entre 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 alo! 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:
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 wildlif 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

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