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“Honeymoon 2012”

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 16 Hotels in St. John's
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 June 2012

We went to Sandals Antigua for our honeymoon in June 2012 and had a wonderful time. The pros: The staff is very friendly, it is beautiful, the food is really good, alcohol 24/7 (We never had a drink that was light on the alcohol!) they are all about the rum there, the entertainment was good, they had something new going on every day, there are no bugs anywhere they fog everyday, the excursions are well worth the money! And a few free water sports. Cons: Since the resort is so beautiful it came with a small price..They were always doing yard work and most of it was not quiet. Cutting trees, mowing the lawn, Hedge clipping...The one thing that really bummed us out was that the beach is NOT private so all the locals came up to you every 10 min to try to get you to buy something. It was annoying. Other than that it was a really good honeymoon!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Stephanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,903 - 3,909 of 6,876 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2012

My wife and I spent our honeymoon at Sandals Antigua earlier this month. The decision to go to this particular resort was the result months of research. We chose Sandals for three reasons: 1. Excellent reputation and reviews; 2. Direct flight from Newark (EWR), which is only an hour from home, and 3. The resort is only a 10 minute shuttle drive from Antigua airport. First tip, beware the airport porters; They are very "proactive" -- they ask you if you're going to Sandals, then pick up your bags and walk away, assuming you are following them to the Sandals shuttle. They carry your bags without your permission maybe 50 yards and then demand a tip. The Sandals shuttle was fine, dropped us off after a short 10 minute drive to the resort and unloaded our bags. We were met by staff at the entrance, who led us into the very ornate lobby for check-in, where we were given champagne and cookies; all-in-all, a very pleasant check in experience. As far as the room, we had a Venetian Oceanview Suite in the Mediterranean Village. This is the newer addition to the resort and from what I hear, much nicer than the older section. Our room was very large with a nice, comfy bed, huge bathroom with a shower and jacuzzi tube as well as 2 sinks; There was a mini fridge stocked with water, soda, juice, beer and champagne. Bottles of liquor were also there and all were restocked daily. The resort grounds are absolutely beautiful and VERY well maintained -- not at all dirty. The Med. pool was wonderful -- every day after going to the beach we would hang out here and order their drink of the day from the swim-up bar, then drink it while floating on a raft in the pool. There were usually cabanas vacant for us to use at any time of day, as well. The beach is nice, not very wide, but clean. It doesn't get overly crowded, however you will need to get out there early, like before 9am if you want to reserve yourself chairs under an umbrella. It seemed as though people would go to the beach before breakfast, put their towels down on the best chairs, then go and eat. There were always chairs available at any time of day, however not under shade. Because the beach is public, there are many vendors and you WILL be solicited. Most vendors are licensed and very polite. If you say "no thanks" they leave without any attitude, but there are many of them and sometimes can get annoying. As far as activities, there isn't too much to do, unless you pay for an excursion. There is a boat that takes groups snorkeling twice a day that is included in the cost, however you must book it in advance or it will likely be full. We took an excursion outside the hotel on a catamaran named the Excellence. It was a circumnavigation tour of Antigua that included snorkeling/sunbathing on Green Island. I highly recommend this tour -- it was expensive ($110 each) however very informative and the snorkeling was great. A good price fora 6 hour excursion. Now, as far as the food.... There are a total of 9 restaurants at Sandals. 3 of them, you must make a reservation for in advance. We ate at every restaurant but Kimonos, a Japanese restaurant. I would rate the food as very good -- not bad, not average, but not amazing either. The Bayside Grill and Eleanor's have amazing atmosphere, being right along the ocean. Unlike other resorts that have several options for food late into the night, most food options end after dinner hours; There is no room service. If you are out late and want something to eat, there is only one option here, Cricketer's pub, however you have to go inside, sit down and order, can't just grab and go. The service at all restaurants, and even the rest of the resort staff, was excellent. I've read other reviews that claim that the staff is cold and unfriendly and some say that it has a reputation for this, however it was not my experience at all. The staff was extremely warm and friendly to us; To be so accommodating when they are not allowed to accept tips was impressive -- something I didn't expect. One staff person in particular, Darren, the manager at Eleanor's, was especial warm. When talked with us for awhile when we were finishing our dinner and when he discovered it was our honeymoon, he arranged for us to have a great oceanview seat at the restaurant we had reserved for the next night...which we were pleased to find was decorated specially for us when we arrived their the next day.
To summarize my review, we had a great experience here, wonderful atmosphere and very relaxing. The cost was paid as a wedding present though, and I would not have paid in excess of $6k for this trip out of my own pocket. They advertise a level of luxury that they don't quite meet. I've discovered that there is a difference between a 5 star resort and a 5-star hotel or restaurant; The former is far less luxurious then the latter. An all inclusive resort is not capable of delivering the level of service you'll receive at the Ritz-Carlton, so don't come expecting that. However, I do believe that this is as close as you'll come in an all-inclusive. Sandals Antigua is a great option for a special occasion, such as a Honeymoon -- you'll make some amazing memories and have a wonderful time, however it is not worth such a high price tag.

Room Tip: Get a room in the Mediterranean Village, the new section, not the Tropical Grove, the older section...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank George V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2012

Hayley at Beach Bum Vacation set us up with this awesome trip. Props to Beach Bum as they've never steered us in the wrong way. Sandals Antigua was by far the best Sandals resort we've been to - great service and a beautiful resort. The staff really is there to make you happy. We wanted adventure and relaxation and definitely got both. Great place! Highly recommend.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Andrea K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2012

We stayed at the Sandals Grande in June 2011 (I have finally gotten around to submitting a review!). We booked a one bedroom penthouse suite (ocean view) with butler service. The room was gorgeous and very spacious. Probably one of the nicest suites we have stayed in. I would recommend staying in the newer Mediterranean Village. The butler service was good but IMO not worth what you end up paying in the end - it was our honeymoon so we didn't mind. Our butlers were good but didn't go an extra mile to make it something that we would "definitely" book again. But then again, how can you put a price on getting a pizza and drinks delivered to you while lying on the beach??

The resort itself is fairly large and the grounds are beautifully maintained. The beach in front of the hotel is very nice with white sand and clear water. The restaurants on site had some pretty good food and we tried most of them. There is also a pub that is open late. With food being included, you may as well eat into the night!

The casino next to the hotel is very small and not comparable to what you would find at home - but if you get the itch to gamble, its convenient to visit.

We tried the spa one day. The service was good but pricey as one would expect.

As you can imagine, the typical clients at this hotel are honeymooners and older couples celebrating anniversaries, etc. Everyone was fairly friendly and just ready to have a good time.

Overall, a very nice property

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ToucanSm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2012

We stayed in the garden view rondovals. The plunge pool is great with the zero degree entry. The room itself is small but the accommodations are perfect. The cedar roof is nice during a short rain. We preferred the tropical garden side of the resort. The Mediterranean side is newer but much like a hotel and not as quaint. The butler service was nice but we rarely saw him. It is a beautiful property with very nice staff. The rondovals are worth the money.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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4  Thank poodlesmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2012

Trip Dates 6/14-6/20 2012
Weather: overcast 1st 2 days, but sunny & beautiful the rest of the stay, if it rains, its literally for less then 10 minutes, Bring some serious bug spray, we did & I still got eaten up.

Antigua Airport: Got in on a Thursday late afternoon, long wait to get thru Immigration.

Cab Drivers: Regular drivers not from the resort, and they drive like crazy. Didnt hit anything but there were some close calls. They'd make a killing driving in US major cities.

Check In: A bit of a wait, but cold towels and drinks. The Caribbean side lobby needed some work, but they were slowly but surely working on it.

ROOM: 707 Caribbean side, couldn't ask for a better spot, not a busy sidewalk, steps from the beach and a quick walk to the Caribbean side pool.

Grounds: Beautiful, wow! flowers, palm trees, more flowers, Walking around & exploring was so much fun. Loved it, especially at night. Beach is great at night too. Very beautiful. Watch the sunset, careful it goes fast!

BUTLER SERVICE: Pay the extra $$ and get it. was worth it to us. Natasha, the infamous Wendel, and Kevin were all great and on top of things. We had an itinerary when we got there and were able to change things around to included the other couple we were with. They were so good, when their phone would ring,they never wrote a request down, pretty impressive. We tipped at the end of our stay.

Beach: Vendors, vendors, vendors, very annoying,We did buy jewelry from the ladies, im still wearing my ankle bracelet and wrist bracelet, they do have nice stuff. but the Beach & Water were amazing!!!! Sand felt like baby powder. Seats for everyone! never felt crowded.

Mario's: LOVED IT, buffet and main course meals very good!

Barefoot by the sea: Great Jerk Chicken!

OK Coral: was okay. But had a group of little girsl dancing & they were super cute!

Eleanor's: Very good! Small portions.

Bayside: Great breakfast buffet, but watch your plate, the Birds are quick!

English Pub: Didnt spend alot of time in, but ordered food thru our Butler & was tasty.

Kimonos: HATED IT! We both got sick, me almost immediately. Worst food ever, service stunk! Waited forever for a drink refill & had to move our own plates out the way. Not so good :0(

Pizza: Pretty good, great for a quick bite. There is also a little to go place on the resort, burger, fries, fruit, chicken sandwiches, very good.

Monday Nights: Hit the beach bbq, great food, awesome buffet, great entertainment!

WEDDING: If you get married there, take presentable clothes to go to the Ministry's Office to apply for the license. this was very quick. We had a basic wedding, didn't want to pay $100 for seashells to line where I walked, or for some canopy thing on the beach. Brought our own music. Wedding office made things easy. They never got around to clean the gazebo for our reception, but the wedding office staff were quick thinkers & didn't give us time to dwell on little imperfections & made it an amazing event. Be prepared to spend more $$ then you want on wedding pics. They have a 18,24, 36, 48 or 105 pic package only, 48 was $900 and the 105 was around $2000. 90% of the pics we wanted to keep, it was hard to eliminate photos to get down to 48 pictures, but all the photos were awesome. Any additional pics beyond your package will be $24 each.

Beach DInner: We paid $170 for a candle lit dinner for our wedding night, and highly recommend this to EVERYONE. It was so beautiful, romantic & fun. Just be careful you dont get stuck paying extra for a bottle of booze, but the Moscato was still good! lol
We got back to our room & our butlers set up a romantic bath & put towel swans & hearts on our bed with flowers.

Main Pool with swim up bar: Busy, chairs are plentiful. Or you can ask your butler the night before to get you chairs you want. And they can set up a cooler of beer for you, or like our Butler WENDEL, came around occasionally with drinks to check in on us. The main pool is open ALL NIGHT, we were lucky enough to get it to ourselves one night with a bottle of champagne, Danced in the pool under the stars, WONDERFUL

Caribbean side pool with swim up bar: AWESOME, spent most of our time here, Latoya is AMAZING & FUN. But pool volleyball everyday at 230, we weren't interested. And unless you have a liver like a brick, don't take any shots Latoya gives you! lol.

The Cafe: Great Sweets!

Other Things: Snorkeling sucked, water was too rough & the captain had us freaked out before getting in the water. Photographers, just as annoying as the beach vendors, "Now Smile, look at each other, now kiss". You will understand when you go! lol Stray Cats, not a problem, Lizards EVERYWHERE & WAY COOL! Night time, you can hear all the frogs making noise & i loved listening to them. Almost caught one, they are fast! lol. HOT WATER ALERT. Always hot no cold and then the last night we were left with luke warm water to shower, the butler phones didn't work all the time, but the islands network was going from 2G to 4G, so there were some glitches. Room service order at least 45 min to 1 hour prior, you aren't the only ones they are getting food for. We took a shopping trip to St Johns. really not much to see, Rasta Pasta had good gifts, not very cheap, but if you walk around you can find the little flea market style shops, these ladies are pushy, but be firm, if you dont want it dont buy it. You can negotiate prices, got a $30 dress for $15, just start walking away & they will give you the price you want! Other stores had made in China stuff with the Antigua name on it, didnt want any of that. And we really didnt care about duty free diamonds or perfume that costs the same in Illinois! Oh and keep this shopping trip to under 1.5 hours, there isnt very much to see! The other couple we were with stayed on the Med Side, they did the land & sea tour, they were gone for around 8 hours, they enjoyed it very much. They did go back to their room to throw their stuff down & meet us at the pool, when they went back to their room their digital camera was gone. USE YOUR SAFE PEOPLE. Even if you think its not important, stick it in your safe. Also be sure if you book anything with a beach vendor that they have an ID Badge, of course dont fall for the "i need a $50 deposit for you tour 3 days from now" Yeah right!

Overall we had an awesome time, our wedding was gorgeous & I couldn't imagine doing it any different, except I should have set aside more money for pics, we hated to come home, & we look forward to another trip to this same resort. There were some ups & downs as to any trip, but to us, this was a dream come true. It was hard to believe we were really there, getting married on the beach & now its hard to believe its all over.

Room Tip: Spend the extra $$ and get the Butler service, its so worth it! We stayed on the carribean side and...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank Roberta W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2012

Wow is the first word you will say when you enter into sandals! My new wife and i wanted the most romantic place in the world to get married and everybody said sandals so we did and this place exceeded our exceptions. The staff is what makes this place so amazing. They treat you like kings and queens. Anything you want or need you can ask anyone of the staff and they make it happen. The wedding staff was amazing. The wedding went flawlessly with no rehearsal. If you want true service and hospitality with the most caring people in the world this is it. Our wedding photographer Marion went above and beyond to get the perfect pictures. When we left I felt like we where leaving our best friends so we made a promise we will be back soon!!! The place where memories are made SANDALS!

  • Stayed: June 2012
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4  Thank EdwardandKelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

Address: Dickenson Bay, St. John's, Antigua
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint John Parish > St. John's
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in St. John's
#3 On the Beach Hotel in St. John's
#3 Luxury Hotel in St. John's
#3 Family Hotel in St. John's
#4 Romantic Hotel in St. John's
#5 Business Hotel in St. John's
Price Range: $718 - $1,295 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 373
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•A European Hotel in the Six-Star, all-suite Mediterranean Village •Exotic Rondoval with private plunge pool and butler service •1,400 square foot Mediterranean villa with private plunge pool and butler service•Houses the East Caribbean's largest pool (1 of 6) •Offers 9 dining options and 8 bars including an English pub •Voted "World's Most Romantic Resort" 14 years in a row ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort And Spa
Sandals Grande Antigua Hotel St. John`s
Sandals Antigua
Hotel Sandals Grande Antigua
Sandals Grand Antigua
Antigua Sandals
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Saint John Parish

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