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
see all reviews

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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"The staff basically didn't care"

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

Posted by:  Rob03  on Jan 1, 2004  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jan, 2004 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
98 people found this review helpful

I am an avid Sandals supporter, but I must advise that the property in Antigua leaves a lot to be desired. My wife & I visited Antigua 3/14-3/22/03. The property is beginning to show signs of wear. Had NO water pressure from Friday pm until they finally agreed to move us on Sunday afternoon (no shower for 1 1/2 days). GM, Franklin, was off property and the assistants just had NO CLUE. Food was just OK. Service was not the usual Sandals variety. The beach was unkept. The seaweed was raked into piles and left for the day. Water sports wrapped-up at 3pm. The snack bar never had half of its menu available and no effort to accomodate. All rooms that I saw (5) were run down and needed work badly. The sprinklers in the lawns were broken and all they did was flood the walkways and lawns. Glasses and dirty plates littered the beach and adjoining areas. The staff stepped over the mess rather than picking it up. The guests were hassled more by the security guards than were the beach vendors. Many were allowed to "hang" over the property rail and beg for drinks & food. The best meal was the returning guests dinner with the GM. Several staff members drank too much at the dinner and were acting very unprofessional. The staff basically didn't care about the guests or their jobs. It was a great disappointment. If you want a TOP resort...spend the $$$$$ and go see Mario (GM) at Beaches Royal Plantation. He will not disappoint you.

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"DON’T GO THERE"

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

Posted by:  KevinCanada  on Feb 1, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
88 people found this review helpful

Sandals – DON’T GO THERE – MOST DISAPPOINTING
In Nov/04 we spent one week at Sandals Antigua for our 36th anniversary. Having heard much about Sandals being 5+ star resorts, (although in the last few years we have heard and read an increasing number of negative comments), we decided to try the Sandals experience.
We were most disappointed!! During the week, we talked to several other guests all of whom were also most disappointed.
Based on our other 14 trips to the Caribbean, the rooms, other facilities, service, food, booze, and many employees were, being generous, of about 3 star quality. The beach, although public, is very good although not the best in the Caribbean. This makes our generous overall rating 31/2 stars. The cost is 5+ stars.
On leaving we took the time to leave with the Manager an extensive comment card. Since then we sent to Sandals several e-mails with our comments and seeking responses. We telephoned and left messages asking for calls back. Our only purpose in doing this was to get from Sandals why the resort was so disappointing and what improvements are they making to deliver the advertised quality in the future. Almost 3 months later we still have had no response, other than acknowledgment of receipt, to any of our e-mails or calls. Obviously Sandals don’t care!! We continue to read and hear about the slipping Sandals quality.
Bottom line – Sandals do not deliver 5 star value, but charge 5+ star prices. If you are thinking of a trip to the Caribbean, there are many other resorts that deliver the promised value and then some. They are living off their past reputation.Of our 15 trips over several years to the Caribbean, this is the first time we have been disappointed in the overall quality relative to promised quality.
PS: Today Feb.7/05 just heard from a friend who was at Sandals in Cuba – He too was disappointed.

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"Our honeymoon was a disaster"

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

Posted by:  NicoleUSA  on Mar 1, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
75 people found this review helpful

Our honeymoon was a disaster. When we arrived at Sandals Antigua, they lost my luggage. My husband had his luggage. We could not do anything about it the first night we arrived because we got to the resort at 11pm. We asked the representative for the general hygiene supplies and he stated that he would coordinate it and have it sent to our room. Someone brought us room service and stated that we would have to talk to the front desk in the morning in order to get the personal hygiene products that we requested.
The next morning, my hubby had to go to the gift shop to purchase some clothes, underwear and other products for me. We then contacted customer relations to get some resolution on my lost luggage. We were basically given the run around and couldn't get a definitely answer all that day on where my luggage was. The manager found us late that afternoon to discuss the issue with us. His excuse was that the hotel could not be blamed for my lost luggage and that it happens all the time. He stated that it happens several times a week.
What kind of excuse is "it happens several times a week". I guess he felt that would justify their operations. As far as we are concerned, Sandals Antigua does not have it together and they always put the blame on other people. I made the reservations through their website for everything. Therefore in our eyes, they are responsible.
My husband and I decided to come back to the US and complete our honeymoon in Raleigh, NC. We had more fun in Raleigh than we did in Antigua. The hotel was a huge disappointment. We would not recommend Sandals Antigua to anyone.

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"Accommodations were absolutely terrible."

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

Posted by:  Kevin06  on Jul 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jul, 2006 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
75 people found this review helpful

Just returned, July 29th 2006, from our honeymoon and all I have to say is "NOTHING "GRANDE" ABOUT THIS RESORT!!" Accommodations were absolutely terrible. The private rondoval with plunge pool was not so private. The pool was dirty upon arrival and I wouldn't allow a homeless person lay on the lounge chairs around the pool because the cushions were so disgusting. The pillows on the bed (there were only three) were, no kidding, about two inches thick (no worries though, they did bring us eight extra pillows that together equaled the four pillows we have at home). There was a dirty square thing (still don't know what it was) that ran the width of the mattress, two inches lower than the mattress level, that was tucked between the mattress and the headboard to "take-up" the extra space due to the mattress not fitting the bed frame (I threw it on the floor so they would take it away). There wasn't enough water pressure in the shower to whisk away the sand and NO HOT WATER! The bathroom (at least in our Rondoval, #308) had no air conditioning so, to keep the other rooms cool we had to keep the bathroom door closed. Well, as you can imagine, that made the bathroom feel like a sauna. To top things off, upon returning to our room after dinner and wanting to spend a couple relaxing, romantic evenings in bed...we found lizard droppings on top of our sheets on two separate occasions. I also killed two roaches, two crickets, and caught (and released) a frog that had found its way into our bathroom....no kidding.

Arrival:
Just returned, July 29th 2006, from our honeymoon and all I have to say is "NOTHING "GRANDE" ABOUT THIS RESORT!!" Accommodations were absolutely terrible. The private rondoval with plunge pool was not so private. The pool was dirty upon arrival and I wouldn't allow a homeless person lay on the lounge chairs around the pool because the cushions were so disgusting. The pillows on the bed (there were only three) were, no kidding, about two inches thick (no worries though, they did bring us eight extra pillows that together equaled the four pillows we have at home). There was a dirty square thing (still don't know what it was) that ran the width of the mattress, two inches lower than the mattress level, that was tucked between the mattress and the headboard to "take-up" the extra space due to the mattress not fitting the bed frame (I threw it on the floor so they would take it away). There wasn't enough water pressure in the shower to whisk away the sand and NO HOT WATER! The bathroom (at least in our Rondoval, #308) had no air conditioning so, to keep the other rooms cool we had to keep the bathroom door closed. Well, as you can imagine, that made the bathroom feel like a sauna. To top things off, upon returning to our room after dinner and wanting to spend a couple relaxing, romantic evenings in bed...we found lizard droppings on top of our sheets on two separate occasions. I also killed two roaches, two crickets, and caught (and released) a frog that had found its way into our bathroom....no kidding.

Dining:
Dining experience left a lot to be desired. On their website they advertise, "At Sandals, dining is a symbolic fusion of culinary art and warm, personal service that makes every meal an unforgettable experience.".....art?....NO! warm?....NOT the service but the white wine, champagne, beverages, and all meals (supposed to be served cold or hot)....ALL WARM! personal?.....only remember one person smiling....that's a big HELL NO! unforgettable?....absolutely, I'll never forget it!! They also advertise, "Lunch is a sumptuous selection that is as endless and varied as your imagination."....okay, here's reality, at the grill, they serve chicken sandwiches (paper thin chicken); chicken wraps; chicken pitas; cheeseburgers; turkey sandwiches; week old, stale nachos; stale soft pretzels; greasy pizza; spoiled condiments; and stale desert cakes and cookies. We watched them prepare a couple's order in front of us as we prepared to order and we saw they use tongs to put raw chicken on the grill and used the same tongs for the wrap and the buns...then they put the tongs in a tub of water with the other utensils they were using. My wife snarled, grabbed her stomach as we walked out. When we arrived at the resort, 10:30pm on Monday night, we were both starving and wanting a light snack so we decided to share a plate of fresh fruit. We called room service (our personal butler that was going to lavish us with unparallel service had gone home for the evening so we were on our own) and found out we couldn't get fruit...we had to order off of the room service menu and could only order from the grill (you can see where I'm going with this). My wife decided she would eat a chicken sandwich and a couple of fries so we ordered. Promptly, our food was delivered....paper thin chicken breast, two shreds of lettuce, a cucumber (it was supposed to come with tomato), and a bottle of spoiled (curled) ketchup. Again, she snarled, grabbed her stomach and went without. Restaurant service (the decent ones) is not around the clock and on your timetable as they advertise and lead you to believe. THEY WILL ACTUALLY CLOSE DOWN A RESTAURANT OR TWO IF THERE IS NOT ENOUGH OCCUPANCY AT THE RESORT TO SUPPORT ALL FIVE RESTAURANTS...IF YOU HAVE A RESERVATION AND THEY WANT TO CLOSE THE RESTAURANT....TOUGH LUCK. WE FORGOT TO MAKE RESERVATIONS ONE DAY AND WANTED TO EAT AT THE ITALIAN PLACE (can't think of the name) BUT WAS TOLD THEY WERE FULL FOR THE EVENING...HALF OF THE DINING ROOM WAS EMPTY AND LATER, A COUPLE WE HAD BEFRIENDED SAID THEY HAD DINNER THERE AND IT WAS ONLY HALF FULL. NOTHING THERE WAS ON OUR TIMETABLE OR AT OUR SERVICE!!!!! Breakfast was served in only one place every morning....same food every morning.....an outdoor buffet. All they food was exposed to the outdoors and it tasted like it too. Oh yeah, almost forgot about the seagulls....they will attack your plate once you stand up to leave or make another run to the buffet....my wife was attacked by hovering birds after I got up to get some fruit. The staff "shoos" them away by clapping their hands then promptly throws them some scraps out onto the beach.....of course, this only encourages the birds to increase their numbers and aggressiveness. Don't go for the "private dinner for two on the beach with your own, personal wait staff for $200"......we counted four couples camped, 15 feet apart and 20 feet from the deck of the Bayside restaurant, under sticks with palm leaves tied with ribbon and one candle that wouldn't stay lit under a gentle breeze. They all shared the same waiter as well......not so elegant, romantic, or personal, huh. We didn't think so either.

Kudos though to the chef at Kumodos on the evening of July 26th. He had a wonderful personality, very entertaining, great presentation, and a concern for cleanliness.

BEACH:
was okay but if this beach, Dickenson Bay, is the best beach on the island and one of the best beaches in the world as they advertise, then beaches around the world are in serious trouble. This is a public beach so vendors are all over the place and they don't let you forget it either. Forget about peace and quiet here unless you lay out within the Sandals borders and even then the vendors will come over and solicit you...not only to peddle there goods but to beg for something to eat or drink. I can tolerate all of that because the resort has very little or no control over that but what I was very disappointed in was they did not have any service on the beach....no one refreshing your drinks.

BARS:
were nothing special......and forget about getting a nice tropical drink served in a tall hurricane glass with an umbrella. They had two sizes for drinks.....small and smaller. One served in a glass if you were on resort grounds and one served in a 10oz plastic cup for the beach...you know the cup....the ones you find in every small family owned diner across the country....yeah, those cheap cups. Bartenders were very unpardonable, unfriendly, and sloppy. Don't expect them to put the straw in the cup or offer you a napkin either....you are on your own. Beach activities were okay but were designed more for family activities than couple activities...beach volleyball wasn't played on the beach. T

POOLS:
The swim-up bar was very small....I think it had 5 stools. The main pool was very small....only accommodating about 20 to 25 people before it became extremely crowded. The other pools were very, very small.

Entertainment:
Entertainment was very boring unless you are into talent shows, mock game shows, and karaoke. The local entertainment was nice but you get tired of it after about two nights of the same rhythm. Most of the "Daily Activities" advertised on the website were not offered.

WEATHER:
was not that great for us and you can't control that but, the point I want to make is this.......if the weather is bad there is NOTHING to do. The more adult oriented activities (excursions, boat tours, etc.) were canceled because of the inclement weather so we were stuck with nothing to do (not a bad thing on a honeymoon).

Resumé:
Overall, I was very disappointed with Sandals - Antigua.....way over-priced!!!!! After experiencing, I would price this 5 day value at no more than $2k. Good news is we will re-do our honeymoon next year although this one was great....because we made it great.....just highly suggest you look elsewhere for your honeymoon destination.

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"Believe me, there is nothing grand about it"

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

Posted by:  Doug07  on Apr 1, 2007  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2007 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
86 people found this review helpful

My wife and I just returned from our honeymoon at Sandals “Grande” Antigua (April 2007) and, believe me, there is nothing grand about it. I will not go on and on but please DO NOT book your vacation here. The way I describe this resort is “veiled mediocrity”. Their grounds and their website are terrific (the veils) but the service and overall experience was much less than we expected. The website had us so excited before our trip but when I look at it now it’s just a joke. It is criminal for them to use words like 5-star. We know 5-star and this was average at best. The service is simply bad. I mean almost mean. We did not get one smile all week. To get a drink from a bartender was like asking for a miracle. They even ran out of towels at the beach. How does that happen? I think the staff must be trained to always say hello to guests in the hallways and along the paths, so what you get is a mumbled sarcastic greeting from someone wearing a scowl on their face as they quickly pass you by. Just one more thing, we even paid for concierge service and we still did not get one single dinner reservation that we requested. We would call as early as possible (8am of the day before) and we were still given 9:15 reservations. Not good. For this kind of money you can do much much better. Good luck on your future vacations!

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"Our room was nice, but very old"

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

Posted by:  Katie07  on Jul 1, 2007  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jul, 2007 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
81 people found this review helpful

My husband and I went to the Antigua Sandals for 8 days in the beginning of July 07. We were very excited because Antigua was advertised as the best honeymoon spot, and our travel agent just raved about this location. We had booked our room in the new addition to the resort, which was to be ready in February of 07. Due to some foundation complications, this part of the resort was not ready. We were compensated very nicely by being upgraded to a butlered room with a plunge pool, $250 toward the spa, and 7 free nights at any Sandals resort to be used within the year. We were greeted very warmly when we arrived, and we enjoyed the nightly entertainment. These are the only positive things I can say about this resort. Our room was nice, but very old. The lock on the door was close to falling out completely. The idea of a plunge pool was wonderful, but it was always dirty and COLD. The plunge pool was cleaned twice out of the 8 days, and we had to request that someone come out and clean it. We were told that it would be cleaned every day. This brings me to customer service. Our rooms were cleaned at 11 some days and at 5 on others. The bartenders often seemed bothered to help you, rarely smiled, and were completely uninterested in holding a conversation. They also, surprisingly, couldn’t make many drinks. The water sports area was the only place you could get beach towels, and they ran out of towels 3 times. They had no sense of urgency to get more towels, but had at least 15 people waiting. The food was just okay, which really surprised me. The only great service was found at Kimonos. Now, my husband and I are not picky vacationers. We can adjust to most environments, which we did. We were surprised by the overwhelming amount of complaining heard by most guests. Most guests did not know the new resort wasn’t ready until they showed up that day. This was something we did not expect. I can say the butlers were outstanding, but were surprised that we had to tip them. We were upgraded to this room because Sandals did not have an entire resort area ready. We found it very annoying that they would upgrade us to a room that had an additional cost. The beach was a very interesting event. We would find our chairs, lay out our towels, and lay down to relax. We would then have numerous vendors walking by trying to sell us items. If you told the vendors no, they were very good about leaving you alone. The problem was that we had to constantly tell vendors no. My one question about this resort is, what makes it the top honeymooning place? We will be returning to Sandals, but there is no way we will be going to Antigua. We heard the employees at Dunn’s River are very nice and helpful. We will be using our 7 nights there.

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"Unlimited sailing every day!!"

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

Posted by:  KarenTimOntario  on Oct 1, 2007  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Oct, 2007 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
91 people found this review helpful

We were at the resort from Oct 27 to Nov. 3 and had a great time! We have read numerous (other negative) reviews, and can't agree with them. We had an opportunity to be up-graded to the new section and we declined due to the perfect location we had. Any problems we had were dealt with. Our biggest problem was that we had used all of our bottled water, and the front desk staff delivered it promptly with an additional bottle of wine for the inconvenience. NO PROBLEM!
The beach is awesome, and the food is great! Unlimited sailing every day!! Touring the island was amazing! Great history and incredible scenery!!
We have traveled extensively, and we have always had a great time when we relaxed, got into the local culture, and chilled. Go with the flow. This was our first trip to a Sandals, and we found that it was very relaxing, and a great adult resort.

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"It is detailed and written with our emotions"

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

Posted by:  Skye07  on Oct 1, 2007  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2007 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
84 people found this review helpful

I am writing this complaint as seen through our eyes. It is detailed and written with our emotions and thoughts expressed. I feel this is the best way to express our experience on our honeymoon, in hopes that you will understand where we are coming from and what we experienced. The staff at the Mediterranean Village did not understand our concerns and issues when we expressed them. In fact, they seemed a bit condescending and like they were belittling us when ever we had an issue. We are pretty laid back people and it did take a good amount to re ally u pset us, but once we were upset it was all downhill from there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 I:
Upon our arrival we found the Sandals desk in front of the Antigua airport. We gave them our name and showed them our reservation slip. A guy with a Sandals badge grabbed our bags tagged them and quickly ran across the street and threw them into the back of an unmarked box truck. Then we were rushed into a cab and off to The Mediterranean Village. We were a little nervous that we were separated from our bags with no explanation. It was a very unorganized hectic whirlwind that we were in. You couldn’t do anything but just be herded in the direction they pushed you in.

When we arrived at The Mediterranean Village we exited the van/cab and a staff member (******) had greeted us and asked where our baggage was. We told her that it was taken by a man at the Sandals desk at the airport and thrown in the back of a box truck. The expression on her face was not a positive one. So of course I said “Are our bags OK?” She responded in a not so sure tone, “I’m sure they are fine. Yes, they will be here shortly.” Then she brought us to one of the couch areas in the lobby and said she would be with us in a moment. Another staff member came over and asked if we wanted some champagne. I asked for water and Greg asked for a beer. We sat waiting to be checked in. **** came over with an envelope and had us sign some papers, sign our membership cards and asked for my credit card for any incidentals. We were then told that our room was not ready yet and it would only be a minute or two, **** left with the envelope & my credit card. We waited a few more minutes and still had not gotten our drinks. We stopped the staff member that originally took our order and asked if we could have our drinks. At this point we had seen the people we road with in the cab receive their drinks and be taken to their room. Not to mention, people that c ame in after us had received their drinks and were brought to their room too. About 5 or 10 minutes later **** came back and said our room was ready and we could go now. Greg and I refused, we had not gotten our drinks yet and I was dying of thirst and wasn’t about to wait another half hour for some water seeing I had already waited that amount of time or more since we arrived. **** said we could get our drinks in our room. We told her that we were not moving until I received my water, we didn’t even care about Greg’s beer now, I just wanted my water. **** walked away and seconds later our drinks came over (she must have said something). She waited for me to chug down my water (that took about 3 seconds) and came over to bring us to our room.

When we got to our room she told us to put our key in the slot to activate the electricity for the room and pull it out when we leave to save on energy. She pointed to our bathroom and then showed us our patio. I mentioned that we did not request a ground level room and she said that we were upgraded because our room was not ready. OK….I asked about our bags and she said they would be delivered to our room shortly. She left and Greg and I turned on the TV and waited for our bags. 30 minutes went by and we called the front desk, they told us they were on their way. Another 20 minutes goes by and still no bags, so we call again, they assured us our bags were on their way t o our room that very second. Needless to say, 20 minutes later they still were not there. Mind you, the last time we saw them was when a stranger came, grabbed them from us and threw them in the back of a box truck that did not say Sandals on it. So both Greg and I went to the front desk to find out what was going on. Now we are nervous that our bags have been stolen by the box truck guy and the staff members are just trying to stall us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 II:
We walked into the lobby and ran into ****, Greg had said, “I don’t know if you remember us but we checked in with you over an hour ago and we are still waiting for our bags to be delivered to our room.” (about 2 hours since we got to the hotel). **** said they had a group of 200 coming in and got a little behind (later to find out the group of 200 was actually a group, Shaw Industries. This was in addition to the couples that were coming into the resort that day and the group of returning Sandals guests. This should not be a big deal for a resort such as Sandals. I know from experience being a corporate function coordinator for 5 years and working with many hotels and resorts for our groups ranging from 100 to well over 300. I know it can be done and be done seamlessly to the group and other guests). So Greg and I said we would wait in the lobby for them to find our bags and bring them to us. About 5 minutes later **** called us over to the balcony looking down on the floor below and asked if those were our bags. We identified them and went to our room to wait for them. A minute or two went by and we received our bags.

Greg and I unpacked, changed so we could start our honeymoon. We decided to chalk it up to confusion and the staff not being ready for so many people coming in at once. Plus we were not going to think of the problems our friends Kara and Jon had two weeks previous at this resort on the 8th of October. Jayne (our honeymoon planner) had spoken with her contact at Sandals in Miami and had spoken with the GM at the Mediterranean Village and we were assured that everything would run smoothly and that they treated honeymooner very well. This was just a bump in the road and couldn’t get any worse; so we thought.

We looked at the paperwork that was in our envelope (a different envelope than we received earlier when we signed the paperwork and our membership cards) we looked at the map to get our bearings and looked at what restaurants were open. We were going to go to Barefoot by the Sea for seafood but it is closed on Tuesdays, so we decided on Italian and to go to Mario’s that night. We would go to the Barefoot Wednesday night.

We looked at the map that was provided to us and couldn’t find Mario’s on it or Barefoot by the Sea or the Cricketers Arms. We remembered how Kara had told us they had an old map and nothing was on it. So we decided to just explore and find it on our own. It was almost 6:30 and dinner service would be starting. We walked down towards the pool area and looked around. We saw what looked like a restaurant that was encased in glass atrium doors, but no sign telling us what it was. We saw next door was the Cricketer and we walked further around the corner and saw a boutique and a gift shop. We walked up to there and saw that the resort ended; there was a walk way to the rest of the rooms. So we turned around to see if there was something we missed. Mind you, by 6:30 it is dark there and there wasn’t much lighting on the resort. We walked past the pool and found what looked like an outside restaurant and because it appeared to be closed we came to the conclusion it must have been the Barefoot by the Sea. We walked around a bit more, but all we saw were the rondavals and the beach. So we walked back to where the Cricketer was and asked a person walking by in a uniform if they could tell us what restaurant, if it was one, the place with all the atrium doors was. They said it was Mario’s, “yay we foun d it”. (now just to find which door to go in.) So we asked the person in the uniform where to enter at.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007:
Start of a new day….We were awoken by hammering, electric saws and drills and other construction noises at about 8:30/9:00 am. Ah, just like home, with both us and our neighbors doing major construction on our homes for the last year and a half, I thought we would be able to get away from construction noise for at least one week. I guessed wrong. With the tile flooring and the stone walls in the hallway and the general architecture of the building everything had an echo effect, so the construction noise was amplified. So we turned the TV up loud and lay in bed for a bit to try and relax before we got up to shower. We saw that t he Bar efoot opened at 10:30 so we took our time getting ready. Greg was the first to take a shower, he noticed there was no shower door; but being new to Sandals we thought maybe this is a thing they do. It is a resort for lovers. He also noticed that the exhaust fan was broken in the shower too; which made the mirrors fog up whenever we showered. After we were dressed we still had time till the Barefoot opened so we decided to explore the resort in the daylight. Again we couldn’t find the rest of the resort, we walked down to the gift shop and boutique area and I said to Greg, well we have time until the Barefoot opens, lets just go look at the grounds. So we started walkin g down the path through the cottage like rooms (looked like New Hampshire cottages just pink). We continued on the path and looked at the exterior of the rooms, found another pool w/ a swim up bar and continued on the path, then we saw a building archway and walked though that and found the rest of the resort. We looked around for signs as to what was what; we saw a sign for Eleanor’s, Crystal Lounge, Ok Coral and Bayside. Now we are feeling better that we have found more restaurants and more of the resort. We got a drink and walked the beach back to the Barefoot for something to eat. Just after 10:30 we arrived at the Barefoot gave them our room number and they sat us. The waitress came over and took our drink order and we sat looking around. About 10 minutes went by and still no drinks. We are beginning to see a pattern here. So I got up and walked over to the pool bar, figuring that maybe I could get a drink before the waitress came back with ours. While I was standing at the bar, I couldn’t even get service there. There were not many people sitting at the bar in the pool but still no one would wait on me. They just walked by. I would see someone swim up, call the bartenders name and they would go right over to them not me who had been patiently waiting. I would look back at our table and Greg was still just sitting there no drinks, no waitress. After about 10 minutes of standing at the pool bar Greg waved me to come back to the table. So I did, we sat for a couple more minutes and then finally the waitress came over with our water and bloody marys and took our order. The food came out and we ate and were off to get our bathing suits on and try out the ocean.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 II:
Later we went and played chess on the large chess board over by the Grande Antigua main area and saw a staff member in full gear with gloves and a respirator on fogging the area with chemicals for the bugs we guess. “That couldn’t be too healthy if he is wearing protective gear and a respirator.” He just did his thing not minding us and fogged us out. We held our breath and stepped closer towards the beach away from him for a minute or two and waited to the cloud of insecticide to clear and went back to our game.

That evening we went down to the Barefoot for our seafood dinner a little before 6:30. It seemed like they were decorating the restaurant for a special occasion so we asked one of the people that were directing the staff what was going on. She told us it was a private party for returning Sandals guests and that the restaurant would be closed to all other guests for the evening. “Well that was nice that no one told us.” There was no note or call to our room or anything of the such to inform us that the restaurant would be closed yet another night. Looks like Mario’s again.

Thursday, October 25, 2007:
Woken up again by construction going on, turned up the TV, took showers and headed to the Barefoot for something to eat. This time we got there just as it opened. There was only one other couple sitting down. “Yes, we will be sure to get served in a timely manor today.” About 20 minutes went by and no one else entered the restaurant, there are a few waitresses standing at the food prep area, one is waiting on the only other couple in the restaurant and we are still waiting for our waitress to come over to the table. I see one of the waitresses talking to the guy that sat us, then she goes back to chat with the other waitresses at the prep area. Still no one comes o ver. I finally had enough and went to the guy that sat us and said, very sternly and angered, “What do we have to do to make our waitress actually come over to our table today!” He said she would be with us in a minute. I said, “No, she will come over immediately we have been waiting for almost a half an hour!” So he went to get our waitress while I was walking back to our table. She came over and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I thought he already took care of you. Can I take your drink order?” In my head I thought well he’s not the waiter so why would he have. So we gave her our drink order and our food order.& nbsp; The food came out quickly, and we were to soon find out why…..I had ordered a hotdog and the chicken quesadea and Greg had ordered a hotdog and a burger. We at our hotdogs; no problem. I started on my chicken quesadea and Greg took a bite of his hamburger. I noticed that Greg was not eating his burger and looked like he was hiding something in his expression; he had only taken a bite. I figured there was an onion on it and he was waiting for the waitress to come back and order another one or something minor like that. So I kept eating. Then Greg looked at me, smiled, slightly shook his head, picked up his plate, and brought it over to show me. It was raw ; they didn’t even cook the burger. They just put raw meat on the bun and put cheese and lettuce on top of it and served it to him. “Lovely! How’s your e-coli burger!” We’re not in the USA; that is not USDA prime beef sitting there on his plate. Who knows if it was properly refrigerated; or how many flies may have landed on it previously to it being put on the bun. So Greg brought it to the guy that sat us and showed it to him. He took it back to the kitchen; the waitress came over and offered Greg something else to eat. But Greg said no, he did not want anything el se. Which is understandable, he was just served raw meat, that kind of turns your stomach and makes you loose your appetite. He bit into it and swallowed it, so he’s now nervous if he has e-coli or some kind of food poisoning. Mind you, Greg’s bites are not your average bite size; his bites are like 3 or 4 of mine. So that was quite a lot of raw burger he ingested. The restaurant manager came out and offered Greg something else, he again said no and told her that the raw beef had ruined his appetite. This was the straw that broke the camels back you could say.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 II:
We went directly to the front desk to speak with the manager. They had us sit down at one of the tables in the lobby to wait for the manager. **** came over to take our complaint. We told her that everything that had happened had just built up and the raw burger was what set us over the edge and we had to complain about the service. It was now the beginning of our third day there and it just seamed to be getting worse, not better. We told her that Greg received a raw burger at the Barefoot by the Sea restaurant and expressed our concern about that. Telling her that people could really get sick over that and we couldn’t ignore it.&nb sp; She asked if they offered us something else and we said yes, but that is not the point; any other place that you were paying for a service that they were working for the payment and the tip, if you were served a raw burger or had to wait a half hour before your waitress came over to your table to introduce herself you would not have to pay for your meal. But seeing that we already paid prior to our arrival the impression they gave was, oh well, we got your money, you have to deal with it, you are at our mercy and we will take care of you when we get around to it; we don’t care, you already paid in full. We are not used to this type of service, especially from a so called 5 Star resort and find it unacceptable. She said she’d talk to the Barefoot’s manager. We told her we already spoke to the Ba refoot ’s manger and it’s great that she is going to speak to her again to make sure this does not happen to anyone else. But our other issue is that we are not receiving the service we were told we would receive for our money. We are very dissatisfied in what we have experienced and were at the point that we wanted to leave the resort. **** just didn’t seam to get our point. She again mentioned that they had a group of 200 that came in the same day as we did. We then proceeded to tell her all of our complaints hoping that she would understand our experience and understand how dissatisfied and disappointed we were with Sandals. We told her about the shower door, the nonfunctioning shower exhaust fan, the missing ligh t fixt ures in the room, not knowing where to go, missing signage. This was not the resort that we were told we would be at by the website, CD, commercials on Coast FM, the Sandals Honeymoon presentation we went to at the Sheraton Braintree or our Honeymoon Planner. There was no quality control, no organization, the resort was not finished, we were woken up every morning by construction going on in the rooms around to us and across the hall in what we think may have been a utility room (not too sure, we got a glimpse in there and there was a ton of wire, pipe and construction stuff in there). Still we don’t think that she really understood. She said she’d talk to the Barefoot’s manager and have our room checked for the shower door and such. So we tried to make h er und erstand that it wasn’t just one thing that had happened that made us upset and displeased it was a plethora of things and that we were to the point we wanted to leave. She again said she would look into our concerns and compensate us for our troubles. At that we ended our meeting and Greg and I went to the room for a bit to relax because Greg was not feeling well. We did not know if it was nerves or the burger.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 III:
After we relaxed in the room for a bit and Greg started feeling better we decided we had done all we could, Greg was not showing any food poisoning symptoms and would just try to make the best out of our honeymoon, on our own. So we went down to the pool for some drinks, sun and cool water. We enjoyed ourselves while there and things seemed to be looking up. I was getting a little water logged in the pool so I went to lie down in the lounge chair and get some sun. Greg was still in the pool floating around. As I was laying there one of the pool boys/water sport boys (he was wearing one of the red and white water sport uniforms) came over to me while picking up the towels and said, “Nice tattoo.” I said thanks and went on sunning myself. Thought nothing of it, he was just being friendly, couldn’t have been more than 20 years old. He came by again and made a comment on how he liked my tattoo and then proceeded to ask me if “it was a press on tattoo.” I kind of looked at him perplexed and he said, “Yes, is it a press on tattoo. If I pressed myself against you would it come off on me?” I just dismissed his comment and he walked away. He came by again a moment or two later and asked again if he pressed himself against me if the tattoo would come off on him. This time I did not dismiss it and told him to leave me alone. Thank God Greg was not there to hear this or he may be in an Antiguan jail right now. I told Greg what happened when he got out of the pool and we decided to let it go. We had already complained about our experience and were not taken seriously and the gravity of our complaint was not seen. Not to mention, we don’t know who he is and who he knows. For all we know if we complained about it, they would have spoken with him, slapped him on the wrist and then he’d have a vendetta on us. Not hard to hide the tattoo on my leg when I’m wearing shorts and a bathing suit all week. People talk, friends are tight. We have documentation saying not to trust t he loc als on the beach, you know the ones that come up to you on the beach and try to sell you conch shells and jewelry and then marijuana; the shady characters. The majority of the staff are all locals from the island. They know each other and seeing that he was just a kid and VERY unprofessional I wouldn’t put it past him to do something to get back at a guest that complained about his actions.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 IV:
When we got back to our room we had a message from **** saying to call the concierge desk she has a message for us. So we did and they knew nothing about our message. So I called the front desk and asked for ****, she was not in her office. So we changed and went to the front desk hoping to speak with **** in person when she got back. The front desk said she was away for the moment and would be back soon. So Greg had already sat down at the checkers board in the lobby because we were going to play after I spoke with ****. I told them that when she got back please send her over there so we can speak. When she got back she came over and told us that she had spoken with the manager at the Barefoot, she had spoken to someone about our room and said that we had a high level room and those rooms do not have shower doors, the pictures we saw and the people we talked to must have had a lower level room (that I found comical, but that was a minor detail and wasn’t something that in and of itself was ruining our honeymoon, it was just something we had noticed and brought to ****’s attention after she said she “Was happy we complained, because they wouldn’t know if anything was wrong if no one brought it to their attention”.) She told us she was going to compensate us with a free spa treatment. I thanked her and told her that we already had a $250.00 spa credit that we didn’t think we were going to use anyways.&nbs p; She again, did not understand what I was trying to tell her (or was just ignoring me) and said, “We give you a free spa treatment for your troubles.” That when we realized all we have is each other, there is no point in trying to make them understand us. They don’t care, they had our money and have no intention of compensating us in any real way or making our Sandals experience anywhere close to our expectations which are based on Sandals literature and what the Sandals representatives had told us. Oh and again she brought up the point that they had a party of 200 people that came in the day we did. That was clearly stating to me that they cared more about their party of 200 than they did about their couples, specifically their honeymooners. It is adv ertised as a couples only resort; but in reality they cater more where the money is and during our stay it was with the party of 200 not the couples that had worked very hard to save up for their vacation or honeymoon.

Friday, October 26, 2007:
When we were woken up this morning by the construction we immediately got up and went to breakfast at Mario’s. We were avoiding the Barefoot like the plague. After breakfast we went over to the Grande Antigua lobby area for the concierge orientation. We had seen on the chalkboard the night before that it was at 11:00 am in the Piano Bar. We told the girl that we were able to find most of the stuff on our own, but we couldn’t seem to find the fitness center or the spa and had some questions as to how the whole concierge thing worked. Well she told us that our concierge will call us to see how our stay has been and give us all of the information we needed for our stay.< SPAN s tyle="mso-spacerun: yes"> We told her that we have not heard from our concierge at all and it was our 4th day there. She couldn’t believe it and said we should speak to the manager at the Mediterranean Village. She showed us the fitness center which was more a hut with some exercise machinery, I myself wouldn’t call that a fitness center. Oh well just another amenity of the resort I won’t be using. Then she brought us to the spa in which we were told was booked through Sunday. “Great! Even if we were to use the comp’ed spa treatment **** had given us for the raw burger or our $250.00 spa credit we could n’t; w e’re leaving Monday.”

After we left the spa area Greg and I walked over to the lobby of the Med Village to speak to **** about not hearing from our concierge. We spoke with **** and she said she was going to find out who our concierge was and have them contact us. We also told her that the spa was booked through Sunday, so if we wanted to use the spa treatment we couldn’t. **** again said, “We have a party of 200 that came in and they all had spa treatments.” I swear that time I almost went through the roof; that excuse was getting real old. She said she would contact the spa manager to see if she could fit us in. ; At this point, I felt that if **** could get us an appointment I’d go.

Saturday, October 27, 2007:
The pool was closed. Now we just lost any hope of salvaging this vacation. Still hadn’t heard from our concierge.

Sunday, October 28, 2007:
Pool still closed. Counting the seconds till we can check out and go home. No call from our concierge.

Monday, October 29, 2007:
Yay! We are going home today. Still no call from our concierge. “Our room may have been “upgraded” but our service was defiantly downgraded.” When we checked out we spoke with the front desk to clear up an unauthorized charge on our room from the gift shop. Then they told me there was a charge on our room for the spa and some lotion from there. I did get a little loud in the lobby at that moment. It was the last straw, I couldn’t hold my composure anymore. I told the girl loudly that “The spa visit was comp’ed because we were served a raw hamburger at the Barefoot and we had a $250.00 spa credit that we were told we could use on anything at the resort. So they had to correct our account immediately to reflect that and no charges better show up on my credit card.” If we did not have the unauthorized charge on our room receipt I would have had the spa charge, the lotion and a gift shop charge all on my credit card and they would have just ignored the $250.00 spa credit that we had. Good thing I caught it before we left. I couldn’t imagine trying to make them understand their error over the phone; it is difficult making them understand in person.

Sidebar:
The staff at Sandal’s Antigua couldn’t grasp the fact that we had a legitimate issues and an apology just was not good enough. We have been to a lot of 5 star restaurants and hotels (and 3 star establishments too) and when we make a complaint (which we have never had so many as on this trip, if any at all) they listen because we haven’t paid yet; they work for the payment, they work for the tip – good service is rewarded with a good tip. At Sandal’s Antigua it was blatantly shown to us they didn’t care about us and were not interested if we enjoyed our stay because we already paid; they were not motivated to give good service because they were already paid for their service a month prior to our arriva l, the y weren’t working for payment or tips. Through out our trip we got the impression they were thinking, “We will get to you if we feel like it. Oh you ordered a drink, well we don’t feel like serving you that drink right now, who cares, you aren’t paying for it.” “Well we already paid for it, in September, we prepaid for our room, our food, our drinks, a 5 star service.” We aren’t paying post the service so we get the shit end of the stick. And they know this so “Oh well suckers!!!” And they laugh all the way to the bank. This, in both of our opinions, is not a 5 Star hotel as advertised. I don’t know who gave them the 5 Stars. It may have something to do with the exchange rate. You know, “5 Stars Antiguan is equal to 1 Star American.”

The excuse was that they had a party of 200 that checked in. Obviously they couldn’t handle that type of volume of guests. The Sandals advertisement said they had two staff members per guest. Well I don’t think the Med Village had 1 staff member for every room.

They are not ready to have guests at the hotel yet. Their staff isn’t trained properly. They don’t even know not to complain about their jobs in front of the guests. While waiting to give my pizza order at the Bella Napoli Pizzaria I had to listen to the cooks bitch to the waiter how there are too many orders for the restaurant, room service and take out. That is not something a guest should be hearing.

The hotel is not finished yet. Friday they started drilling the holes for the railings on the main entrance to the courtyard which is tile. Most likely because it rained heavily the day before and many, including myself, fell down the stairs because there was nothing to hold on to as you walked down the slippery stairs. Putting a sign up saying it is slippery does not help you from actually slipping even when you are being real careful. Well they didn’t have the railings to put in the holes they drilled so they just left the wholes there, right in the direct path of traffic. We knew the holes were there cause we saw them drilling so we avoided them but if you didn’t know they were there it could be very dange rous.< SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> Saturday late afternoon, they filled in the holes with cement (someone must have caught the heal of their shoe in one of the holes). Monday before we left we saw them putting one of the rails up.

We saw exposed wires hanging out of pillars and walls throughout the Med Village. They must have been live because the other sconces around them were working or the light on the pillars around them were on.

This was the worst vacation ever:
It eased our pain when we heard others complaining about the service and the miserable time they were having. At least we knew that we weren’t the only ones this was happening too. On Friday we were walking back to our room and overheard one of the guest speaking to who we think was the grounds manager and heard him say to her, “Well that is just a minor problem.” Her response was, “Minor problem. It’s a major problem when you paid to have a room with a pool and you can’t use it!” There was a major storm on one of the nights and everything got flooded and they had to pump out all of the rondaval pools or something. So we think that she was complaining about t hat ca use it was about to or three days after the pools were drained and they still couldn’t use them.

On the way home, I sat next to a girl coming back from Sandals St. Lucia, she had a great time. She also met a couple on their honeymoon that had a horrible experience at The Mediterranean Village and they refunded their honeymoon and sent them to Sandals St. Lucia. I guess we didn't speak to the right person.

All in all, this was the worst vacation ever. The sad thing is it was our honeymoon, we had concerns prior to leaving and we still received problems throughout our honeymoon. We were assured that we wouldn’t have any problems because the GM was contacted and told of our concerns we had because of the report we received from our friends that had arrived at the Med Village on the 8th of October and checked out the following day. By Thursday we were ready to go home, but couldn’t afford to spend the extra $200.00+ to change our airline tickets or loose the money we spent on the honeymoon at the Med Village.

I hope after reading this, someone will understand the horrible experience we had on our honeymoon. A honeymoon is a once in a lifetime event and is suppose to be something we will remember for the rest of our lives; unfortunately it is something we will regret for the rest of our lives.

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"Absolutely stunning is all I can say."

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

Posted by:  USA08  on Jan 1, 2008  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jan, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
81 people found this review helpful

Arrival - We arrived on January 26th on USAIR with no problems. It was a little hectic at the airport and the lines were long at Immigration but they processed everyone quite fast for having 4 huge aircrafts arriving at the same time. Customs was a breeze. It took about 15 minutes of waiting for all the shuttles and then we were on our way. You just can't get all bent out of shape because you have to wait a little bit.

Arrival:
We arrived on January 26th on USAIR with no problems. It was a little hectic at the airport and the lines were long at Immigration but they processed everyone quite fast for having 4 huge aircrafts arriving at the same time. Customs was a breeze. It took about 15 minutes of waiting for all the shuttles and then we were on our way. You just can't get all bent out of shape because you have to wait a little bit.

Rooms:
We were upgraded from The St. Tropez suite to the Penthouse One Bedroom Suite in the New Mediterranean Village. All I can say if anyone complains about this new Village they need to stay home. It was absolutely fabulous. The grounds were immaculate. I would suggest spending the little bit extra to be in this side of the resort though because it is spectacular.

Restaurants:
Eleanors fabulous, Marios equally great and Kimonos was the best of all the Sandals I've been to. I do highly suggest that you make your reservations the day you arrive for the whole week though because they do get booked up. OK Corral the ribs are awesome and Barefoot by the Sea is awesome and gorgeous at night. The small steak with shrimp was yummy and don't forget the coconut pie for desert.

Bars:
The Pub is lots of fun and the bartenders in there are really entertaining. We unfortunately didn't eat in there but everyone said they had a wicked burger.

Beach and Pools:
Beach is not private and yes they do have vendors constantly walking up to you but if you're polite to them and just say no thanks they will not pressure you. They are just trying to provide for their families as we are. They are actually fascinating to talk to if you give them a chance. Beware of Darrel, he'll talk your ear off but very sweet. I do agree however that there needs to be a few more chairs around the pool because people actually get out there at 6am and start saving chairs. We always just went to the beach and came back to the pool later. Easy, if you see chairs sitting there with towels longer than an hour they are free game.

Grounds:
Unbelievable is an understatement. I have never seen such beauty and the gardeners never stopped working. Absolutely stunning is all I can say.

Activities:
Plenty to do unless you wanted to just be a lazy bum like we were and enjoy the beach and pool.

Tours:
We hired a private driver "Sammy's tours" and Sammy was fabulous. He took us all over the island and even went over 2 hours and didn't charge us. We tipped him well just because he didn't try to rip us.

In conclusion DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ. If you start out being so miserable it will ruin your trip, we met a few like that. Remember you are in the Caribbean, treat people with respect and you will get it equally in return. I will definately go back again.

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"Just what a vacation should be."

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

Posted by:  BarbWisconsin  on Feb 1, 2008  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
85 people found this review helpful

Arrival - We left February 6, 2008 ... just as an 18" snowstrom was coming into our area. Fortunatly we were able to get out (after a 3.5 hour wait on the run way). The delay actually helped because then we didn't have such a long layover in Puerto Rico. 10 night stay.

Arrival:
We left February 6, 2008 ... just as an 18" snowstrom was coming into our area. Fortunatly we were able to get out (after a 3.5 hour wait on the run way). The delay actually helped because then we didn't have such a long layover in Puerto Rico. 10 night stay.

Rooms:
Very spacious ... very clean ... excellent view ... well stocked refrigerator at all times. We loved our room ... although when we are on vacation, we try not to spend time in our room. Too many other things to enjoy!

Restaurants:
Restaurants were ok. Thought the best was Kimonos. The returning Sandals special dinner was one of their largest they have hosted on Wednesday, February 13TH .... this shows how people love Sandals and keep coming back !!!

Bars:
There was never a lack of places to get drinks. the service was always quick and you could have anything you wanted.

Beach and Pools:
WONDERFUL ..... NOT MUCH MORE TO SAY. We spent more time on the beach than in the pools. Vendors were around, but very poite when you said 'no'.

Grounds:
Stunning .... Perfect

Activities:
You can do as much as you want ... or just lay back ... just what a vacation should be.
We renewed our wedding vows on the beach February 14th (it was our 20th anniversary). Everything was done to perfection. Flowers, photos, champagne & wedding cake. We also had a private lobster dinner set up on the beach for us that evening/ Couln't have been more romantic!!!

Tours:
WE WENT ON THE FOLLOWING TOURS AND WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE:
ISLAND SAFARI (with Sting Rays), guide was excellent and told us much about the history of the island.
EXTREME CIRCUMNAV (speed boat around the entire island ... swam with sting rays again). This was a good way to get a feel for the size of the island.
ANTIGUA ZIPLINE CANOPY TOUR (What an adrenaline rush).

Conclusion:
WE THOUGHT THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT RESORT ... LOVED EVERY MINUTE. LIFE AND VACATION IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. PEOPLE THAT COMPLAIN USUALLY COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYTHING ... SO IF YOU READ NEGATIVE REVIEWS ... REMEMBER THE SOURCE AND DON'T LET THIS HOLD YOU BACK FROM GOING TO THIS EXCELLENT RESORT.

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