Sandals Grande Antigua
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I have a hard time understanding some of the negative reviews I've read in the past (which worried me from time to time) but I think it's all a matter of expectations and perspective. We arrived at Sandals after an extremely present flight and were greeted with smiles both at the airport and the van outside. Be careful of people inside the airport as they make it seem as though they are with Sandals and they are not. The desk for Sandals is a little difficult to find but if you ask any of the people outside they will direct you. On arrival my only complaint was that we had to wait so long for our room - we got there at around 1:30 and it was close to 4:00 before we actually got our room - that is a little hard to understand since they have a lot of notice of when people are arriving and check out is around 10:00-11:00. Since they took our carry on, we couldn't change into a bathing suit and also our sunscreen was in one of our bigger suitcases since I didn't think sunscreen would get through Security. The only other complaint was that we paid for a Mediterranean Ocean View Grande Club room and the room they initially tried to give us was a walk out. It was a little funny because the person who took us to our room tried to convince us that because we could glimpse the ocean if we peered through the buildings, that this was technically an ocean view. Luckily my husband convinced him quite quickly that we weren't falling for that - I tend to be very non-combative and would have probably just accepted it but my husband was having none of it and told them that if they insisted on keeping us there, we wanted some money refunded to us - the Sandals employee told us he'd get back to us soon and within the hour told us we would be moved to an oceanview room the following day. Once we moved, the room was perfect with the appropriate view that we had reserved. We spent most days at the ocean and were thrilled with the surf, sand and view. The temperature of the sea was perfect and although there was a small amount of seaweed (it is the ocean after all), it wasn't enough to be bothersome. We did have to go down to the beach around 6 a.m. to make sure there was an umbrella and shade and also reserved an umbrella at the pool a couple of days. If you don't go early, you won't be able to find shade and that would be problematic for someone with extremely fair skin like mine. I would have considered a butler for that reason alone but we really wouldn't have used them for anything other than that. I must mention that the staff at Sandals are amazing and Mr. G is incredible. If you have any issues, just mention it to him (he is all around the resort so you'll definitely see him) and he will resolve it with a smile. I was really impressed when I told him how wonderful his staff was - all smiles and helpfulness and he didn't take any credit but simply stated they were the glue that ran the place and he was incredibly proud of them. I like a manager who gives credit where it is due. We ate at Mario's - the chocolate lava cake was to die for and the antipasto buffet was incredible. There is nothing there that isn't good but I loved their steak - it was perfect. Also ate at Eleanor's which was wonderful and at Bayside where the lobster and steak was amazing. I preferred Eleanor's for breakfast because I loved their eggs benedict and I didn't really enjoy the buffet breakfasts. We did eat at Kimono's for sushi and it was fantastic - I think you'll enjoy any of the places to eat - everything was really good. We went snorkeling one day and it was beautiful - a little cloudy but still pretty. Also went horseback riding which I didn't enjoy as much as it was very hot and the sea was rough so we didn't get to go in the water - it was approximately an hour ride and we rode through a lot of places that weren't super attractive but I'm glad I tried it. The only bad thing that happened during our stay had nothing to do with the resort but I ended up getting some sort of stomach bug with pain and constantly in the bathroom but they have a great nurse on staff and the doctor came in to see me. They gave me some meds which helped but I'm still dealing with it. The doctor was really good but the cost was quite expensive so I'm glad my insurance will reimburse me. My husband got it for a day but luckily for him, it didn't stay with him. I still managed to keep going but it made it more uncomfortable than if I hadn't come down with it. My only other unpleasant experience was after we left the resort. We didn't realize you had to keep the forms that immigration gave you and I'd lost one of them. The person at the desk was a little rude and told us to go back to the ticket desk and get another one and the ticket person said they didn't have any but then somehow got one and gave it to us to fill in. Then going through Security I was searched and patted down (first time in my life) and all my belongings were searched and my hands checked (for what I'm not sure). I wasn't concerned because I knew I didn't have anything on me that would be concerning but it was a little wierd. Anyway, I will definitely go to Sandals again - think I might try St. Lucia next as I've heard wonderful things about it. If you're going, have fun and enjoy.
My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at Sandals Grande Antigua and I wanted to write this while it was fresh in my mind. To say that our experience was fabulous would be an understatement! We booked a rondoval suite with a private plunge pool and butler service to spoil ourselves because we knew this would be a special, once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip. It did not disappoint. There is so much to cover here, so I think it's easiest to break it down by category. Butler Service: Do you really "need" it? Certainly not - and we know plenty of couples who rave about Sandals without it. Admittedly this was our first Sandals trip so I can't say for sure what it's like to not have the service, but coming back to our room to find bubble baths drawn, truffles awaiting us, champagne on ice, and flameless candles lit (among other surprises) made us feel utterly spoiled. Some additional advantages to having butlers are that they arranged all of our dinner reservations for us before we even arrived (we could make changes as needed) and would reserve a spot for us on the beach every day, with a cooler full of water and beer. Neil, Charmane, and Maureen (our butlers) were some of the hardest working and kindest people we've ever met, and it was truly a pleasure to have them. Ultimately, we probably won't do butler service again - the ONLY downside is how pricey it is - but we would highly recommend it to couples who are celebrating a special event and want to feel spoiled!Food: Interestingly, we felt that some of the best spots to eat on the resort were the "hidden gems" like OK Corral (a laid-back joint where you can get quesadillas, ribs, etc.) and Cafe de Paris, a spot that's open all day serving coffee, crepes, and desserts. (If you're a coffee fiend like me, definitely head there on your first day for lattes, macchiatos, iced coffee, etc.) As for some of the other spots that were touted as the best for dinner (Elanor's, Bayside) - we found that the menus were a bit limited. My suggestion would be to make a reservation for Kimono's (excellent hibachi) and Mario's (an Italian place with a superb antipasto/appetizer buffet) as soon as you arrive, as they require them in advance. Elanor's requires reservations, too, but we weren't thrilled by the menu so we skipped that one. During the day, both the breakfast and lunch buffets at Bayside have everything you could possibly want, and the pizzas from Bella Napoli are delicious, too. And the Drunken Duck is great for late-night drinks, too, with a lively atmosphere and pub food. The Grounds:Whether you're staying on the Caribbean or Mediterranean side, be sure to explore the WHOLE resort early on. We waited and only found Cafe de Paris, the hot tub by the spa, and other hidden spots a few days into our stay. Go out and see everything! Also, my suggestion would be to approach the resort as a whole with this mindset: in addition to doing your research in advance, don't hesitate to see things for yourself and form your own opinions. Some people disliked certain aspects of the resort that we absolutely loved. There are two swim-up bars on the property which are fun and convenient, and even during busy times, you'll never wait more than a minute for a drink. The beach is absolutely breathtaking, and the water is beautiful. The peddlers, however, can be exhausting. I'd have to say that this was my least favorite aspect of the resort. The beach is public, so the resort can't restrict access to peddlers. We did buy a couple of things from some of the ones who have name tags (an anklet, magnet, etc.), but by the end of our stay we actually preferred to stay by the pool just because it was exhausting to say "no" every few minutes. If you don't have any interest in purchasing anything, giving them a firm "no thank you" is usually effective. It's just a bit frustrating to have frequent interruptions when you're trying to relax. HOWEVER, don't rule out excursions/experiences that are being offered on the beach. As long as the sellers have name tags, they're trustworthy, and it's more affordable than going through the resort. Another couple recommended booking Sting Ray City through Eddie, which turned out to be fabulous. We also rented Jet Skis from Jason. Both excellent experiences!General Comments:One of the things we loved most about Sandals was how you have the option to socialize as little or as much as you want. If you're looking for a romantic getaway to be shared with just you and your partner, you won't be disappointed. But, if you prefer meeting new people, there are plenty of opportunities to do that, too. Everyone we met was so friendly, and the Beach Barbecue Night (held on Mondays) and dinner at Kimono's (Hibachi-style seating) allowed us to meet some lovely people. One thing we found interesting is that couples who have been to other Sandals and compared their stays there to Antigua said that the other resorts were better. Many said the staff members were friendlier, but we didn't encounter any unpleasantness from any resort staff whatsoever. If the other Sandals are indeed better, that's not to say that Antigua is lacking in any way! I think at any place you go, you'll find that some employees are generally warmer than others, but everyone who served us, helped us, or interacted with us in any way was superb. It's so nice to walk around the grounds and be met with a warm "hello" from every single employee you pass. We really don't have any complaints. A few very minor things could be improved. For instance, our room's plunge pool was just a little on the chilly side. There was one night during which we called for room service quite late and the order was forgotten, but considering it only happened once, we can't fault them. We called again and they apologized profusely and had it right out. Also, you may want to pack earplugs if you're staying in a rondoval. The night critters are exceedingly loud! I loved hearing the crickets at night and the birds in the morning, but when you finally do need to get some sleep, the earplugs are good to have :) Finally, if you've made it all the way through this review, one last tip: if you can avoid booking your flights through American Airlines, do so. We had never flown with them and they were by far the WORST airline we've ever flown. Our flight out of Antigua was delayed by 3 hours, which is just an inconvenience, but after we missed our connecting flight, they wanted to charge $200 to switch flights by the phone. The only way to avoid it was to wait on a massive line at the airport. Don't feel compelled to book your flights through Sandals - it may be convenient at the time, but it's worth exploring other options. Overall, we had a great stay at Sandals Antigua and hope to visit another location in the future!
Let me begin by saying that being on our honeymoon at 70 made me wonder if we would fit in. Forget about that.Now as to the trip.Restaurants. Excellent. Service prompt and attentive. Food fantastic. Spent many a dinner at Barefoot enjoying multiple lobster tails. Breakfast at Mario's was a treat.Activities. Do not overlook horseback ridding through the hotel rec desk. We were fascinated by "Fire" who owns the horses. But the highlight of the trip was bareback ridding in the Caribbean Sea.Accommodations Our room was excellent. We prefer the Mediterranean side above the 4th floor as the view is great. Noise was never a problem.Entertainment We found this a slight disappointment when compared to other all-inclusives we have visited.Negatives More of the restaurants should be air conditioned. The size of the complex necessitates some serious walking.Weather HOT HOT HOT Expect it.Prepare for it.Dress I found that most folks dress more to the nicer side than the relaxed attire I was used to.Transportation Our trip from airport to hotel started slowly due to the hurricane affecting other resorts which sent overflow to ours. However once on the transport we were moved to our hotel and checked in promptly.
We checked in to Sandals Antigua Tuesday, October 18th. Today was our first day here. We chose to not go with a butler room because on our last vacation we did not need to use the bulter. We travel every few months to a different location. At this property the butlers go out before 7 am and take all the shaded/umberella areas for their clients. We have fair skin. At 7:15 I went out to the pool and there was 2 chairs with partial shade that were not claimed. I went to front desk (we paid for meditarian club level) and we were told to check the smaller pools. They also were full when it came to shade areas. We explained our situation and finally paid $75/per day for guarenteed places to sit that would have shade. However there is not enough chairs even if you want to be in sun. There were people just putting there stuff on statues and the ground. This could easily be fixed with a few more chairs and umbrellas. People are paying over $4000/week to relax there should be enough chairs. This morning at breakfast I ordered a mimosa and it never came. My husband was sat under an air conditioner at Mario's. It dripped moldy water onto his food. We asked to move. No one helped us move or appologized. This could be an amazing resort.
Fantastically relaxed anniversary, highly recommendThis was our 3rd Sandals visit, having previously been to St Lucia (Regency La Toc, '05) and Jamaica (Ocho Rios, '09). We read the various Trip Advisor reviews, as every good traveller does, and as usual saw a mix of great / not so great reviews. We decided to focus on the positives and ignore the negatives, and I'm glad we did. As usual we found Sandals to be a fantastic resort, providing beautiful settings, great staff for the main, a good selection of restaurants and bars, and superbly attentive (when requested, else quietly in the background just as we like) butlers. We chose to initially stay in the butler beach front room, but upgraded at the last minute to the Penthouse Butler 1 bedroom suite. This was a smart move, our suite was great, a large lounge with wet bar, a large bedroom with 4 poster bed, dual vanities in the bathroom along with a large rainfall shower, large Jacuzzi bath and separate toilet. There was also a small "kitchen" with mini fridge, microwave and closet with iron and ironing board. The large balcony was accessible from both the bedroom and lounge, and had both a table and chairs plus 2 comfortable sun loungers. The view was great, looking down towards the sea, taking in views of the well manicured gardens and the main pool. We had no complaints about the room, it was superb, and my only minor criticism would be that the mini fridge did not hold enough supplies, and although we were able to get our preferred drinks switched around, and could get them replenished by room service / the butlers, I'd ask Sandals to consider supplying guests with further stocks as standard, as there was plenty of space where "spares" could be stored.The resort itself was really lovely, the ground staff were constantly tending to the grass and plants, touching up the paintwork and ensuring everything was just perfect. The layout meant meandering around the resort rather than perhaps taking a direct route, however that just allows you to take in more of the pleasant surroundings, although I'd suggest the resort could do with improved lighting as it did feel a little dark when walking through certain areas. We only used the main pool during our stay, although did walk by a couple of the smaller, more intimate pools which looked great. The main pool was fabulous, and we enjoyed the Butler perk of having our loungers saved each day, along with a cool box of drinks and flowers / towel arrangements. We were kept well supplied with drinks from the waitresses, although did make many trips wading through the pool to keep hydrated ;-). My only complaint about the pool itself would be the lack of depth in the water, it was fine for the many people who wished to float leaning on the pool floaters / using them as tables for their drinks, but you couldn't actually swim in the water itself as it was too shallow.We chose to keep our stay very relaxed, so didn't opt in to any of the activities, instead preferring to lounge around the pool or spend time enjoying our room / balcony. We did listen in to the pool entertainment each morning, which kept us entertained but I'd implore the quiz masters to repeat the answers so that those not actually right next to them could hear, and feel engaged even if not actually involved.We ate at all of the restaurants with the exception of the Sushi one, as neither of us like sushi. They were all good in our eyes, of course the standard of food differed between them in terms of the choice / presentation, but I feel you got what you would expect based on the restaurant's set up, although I have to say the Courtyard Diner surpassed our expectations with delicious snacks cooked to order. The only negative as far as dining is concerned would be the portion sizes, which I know has been mentioned by many others and to a certain extent I agree with some who say "so what, just go get something else, it's all free", however that is not quite as simple as it sounds when perhaps only 1 of you is still feeling hungry and doesn't want to make the other wait around while they find something else to eat. It was only on a couple of occasions, in the Bayside and Eleanor's, where the shrimp dish my wife ordered contained 5 very small shrimp compared to my nicely sized steak, and the coconut desert was the size of a melon ball! On the desert front, I do think that Sandals could improve the desert options, after all we are on vacation and don't mind overlooking the calorie content once in a while :-)With respect the weather, we were very concerned based on the forecasts as they showed heavy rain showers for the entire week, which was even repeated on the daily printouts left at our door. However, only 1 day did it rain heavily for several hours, otherwise with the exception of one or two small showers, the weather was glorious.A special mention has to be made to the Butler Service. Having been spoiled in our past visits we felt we just had to have them again, and again have no complaints. We had 3 assigned butlers, Shante, Daryl and Darren, and although some might feel the need for constant 24/7 service, we prefer them to be available should we need to call on them, else to be in the background, check in on us every so often, and throw in the occasional shout-out whilst we wandered around :-) We enjoyed the special treats they left in our room each afternoon, and very much appreciated the anniversary card and decorations left for us on our special day. As mentioned before, reserving our sun beds in our preferred location each morning was fantastic, and stocking the cooler with our preferred beverages was much appreciated. The butler choice is quite expensive on top of your standard cost, however we don't see us ever coming back without having this as part of our package, especially given the room choices are much improved over the regular rooms.Overall we had a fantastic experience once again, a most relaxing time where we were able to simply chill out and de-stress! I have no reservations in returning for a 4th time in the hopefully not too distant future, Thank You Sandals
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- 3 meals daily
- 24-hour room service
- All drinks (International brands, Domestic beer, House Wine, 10:30am - 2am)
- Non-motorized water sports: Sailing, Hobie Cats, Sunfish Sailing, Windsurfing, Kayaking, Pedal Boat
- Boogie Boards
- Scuba diving for certified divers
- Tennis with instruction
- Exercise classes (Aerobics, Step aerobics, Water aerobics )
- Language lessons
- Dance lessons
- Daily activities
- Evening entertainment
- Christmas and New Year's Gala Dinners
- Manager's cocktail party
- 193 rooms in thirteen 2-storey buildings & 17 cottages
- 1 buffet restaurant
- 3 a la carte restaurants (International, Grill/BBQ, Japanese, Italian)
- 4 bars including Swim up bar, Piano bar, Main bar
- Shuttle to nearby Casino
- 5 outdoor pools
- 18-hole golf course 5 minutes away
- Meeting facilities
- 2 tennis courts (2 lit) on-site
- Souvenir gift shop
- Complimentary property-wide WiFi
- 5 Jacuzzis
- Fitness facilities
- Exercise classes
- Scuba diving on-site (fee)
- Dive shop on-site
- A range of watersports available
- Beauty salon (fee)
- Spa (fee)
- Outdoor Wedding Location
- King-size bed
- Amenity kit (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, aloe vera and liquid soap)
- Private bath and shower
- In-room safe
- Clock radio
- Satellite TV
- Coffee maker
- Iron & ironing board
- Patio with garden view
- Max occ. 2 persons
- Same as above but larger with sitting area
- Mahogany four-poster bed
- In-room bar
- View of gardens and pool
Special Bonus - Guests booking a Luxury Beachfront Rondoval, Oceanview Honeymoon Suite, or a Garden Honeymoon Rondoval receive personalized butler service.
Wedding Bonus - Wedding packages available, please inquire for details.
Early Booking Bonus - This hotel may offer early booking bonuses at certain times of the year. If early booking bonuses apply to your vacation, prices shown online have already been adjusted accordingly. Please inquire for complete details.
Resort Location Map
Sandals Grande AntiguaAntigua,Antigua And Barbuda
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Dickenson Bay, St. John's Antigua
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.
Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges upon check-in to fulfil.
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