My wife and I spent one week at the resort in January, celebrating an anniversary.
Before the trip I had read all the latest reviews; some of them were exciting like “awesome and fantastic” while others - a little bit different, sort of “will never come back”. Wondering who was right or wrong, I think I got it right by the end of the stay. The thing is – it depends on the previous experience. If someone had not experienced anything better before, they will love Sandals Grande. If they had had better experience, they may react differently.
Flight: flying in BA economy is at your own risk. If there are some issues, do not expect BA flight attendant stepping in and sorting the issues out. Premium economy is much better.
Transfer to the resort was uneventful and quick, about 15 minutes.
Location: was nice, nothing to complain about; however - to be completely honest - I liked Negril beach in Jamaica better.
Grounds: beautiful and clean.
Sandals security: were a little bit annoying, especially during the last days of our stay; were checking on us every day, asking room number and names when we were coming back from the beach or simply wanted to get drinks from the bar.
Room at the Caribbean side: typical for resorts like this, OK; had to ask for shampoo refill but got it quickly without problem. Sometimes they do not have that type of room available that you originally booked so they upgrade you; however, it does not necessarily mean a better room.
Food: was not bad, but better to be aware where not to go. Had some interesting experience at the Bistro – their cheeseburger … I thought it was the most bizarre one I’ve ever had in my whole life. However other people enjoyed Sandals cheeseburgers … so I think I’m picky. My warning is just for the picky people like myself - stay away from this place.
We went to Bayside restaurant on our first night and never came back because of their food and service. Barefoot by the Sea was much better. Our favourite was Eleanors (thanks to Vittorio and Seanna). Sushi Bar and Kimonos were good; the Pizzeria and café de Paris were nice.
For breakfast there was only buffet option; we went to Mario’s every morning trying to avoid Bayside restaurant. Mario's breakfasts were not bad, but we were recalling and missing those wonderful à la carte breakfasts at Couples Swept Away in Jamaica Negril.
Overall, food was way better at Couples Swept Away. However, Sandals serves sparkling wine with no extra charge.
One unexpected discovery – there was a very limited selection of seafood. So, the 1st thing we did after came back home from Antigua we went to Marks and Spencer to get some fresh seafood.
Staff friendliness: our Antiguan experience was very different from Jamaican one. Sandals Antigua staff were polite indeed, however many of them were cold, reserved, not chatty, and overly busy. We’ve got the impression they were understaffed or that was a cultural thing.
Sandals Photoshop: very expensive (1 photo ~£10) but not bad.
Overall: not a bad resort; you will love it if you had not stayed at a better place before. But if you did, your holiday would not be ruined anyway.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •A European Hotel in the Six-Star, all-suite Mediterranean Village •Exotic Rondoval with private plunge pool and butler service •1,400 square foot Mediterranean villa with private plunge pool and butler service•Houses the East Caribbean's largest pool (1 of 6) •Offers 9 dining options and 8 bars including an English pub •Voted "World's Most Romantic Resort" 14 years in a row ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Grande Antigua Hotel St. John`s
- Sandals Grande Antigua Resort And Spa
- Sandals Antigua
- Hotel Sandals Grande Antigua
- Sandals Grand Antigua
- Antigua Sandals
- Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Saint John Parish