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Reviewed October 8, 2017

After reading all the great reviews and seeing this hotel was voted the most romantic hotel in the world, I thought this would be the perfect place for a bit of R&R with my partner. The reality however was very different. Don't get me wrong, the hotel itself, the facilities, food, rooms and service were excellent. Our issues were more with the kind of guests that stay here. With it being an adults only hotel, I naturally assumed we were in for a quiet relaxed time. However within 5 minutes of walking down to the main swimming pool area, seeing the rows and rows of sun loungers, the giant speakers pumping out unbelievably loud music, people playing beer pong, volley ball etc etc, myself and my partner looked at each other with a silent "Oh no what have we done" smile. As a result neither of us used any of the 6 swimming pools during our week's holiday. The 2 biggest pools either had shouting drunk people playing volley ball, or music so ear deafeningly loud we couldn't stand it. The other 4 pools are very small and secluded with no views, so we didn't really see the point of hiding in a complex of apartments rather than have the views of the ocean. Thankfully we always managed to find a couple of sunbeds, but you do have to search for them. A lot of the clientele seem to be out at 7am and finished by about 1pm, so if you're like us and like to have a lazy breakfast, followed by a trip to the gym, a game of tennis or a scuba dive, then you'll be fine. However if you're there to laze by the pools or on the beach all day, you'll have to get up early!

We stayed in the Mediterranean Club section on the ground floor right at the end. Our room itself was very spacious, the terrace was only big enough for a small table and 2 chairs. Next door had a bigger terrace with sun loungers, but not sure if this is a grade of room higher than ours. The mini bar is great and stocked with full sized bottles of spirits and wines, including sparkling wine, replenished every day. The bathroom is huge, with a big rain shower cubicle, jacuzzi bath, large bottles of toiletries, bathrobes etc You really can't fault the rooms, however in the unlikely event that I return here, I'd go for the Caribbean section. The Med is just a ginormous hotel block, the Caribbean section are little bungalows or 2 storey blocks, which look much nicer, they're also closer to the beach and away from the main pool with all its noise. As an aside, if you book a villa with private pool be aware that some of these are right next to these giant stage style speaker/amplifiers that start with the terrible music from around 10am, so no chance of a lie in for those poor people.

Whilst there we used the gym and the tennis courts, which were great. I'm PADI qualified so dived for 3 days. Word of warning, you need your actual licence card, they seem unwilling to look you up on the PADI site if you forget it. The dive boat is very good and you'll go mainly wreck diving, however another word of warning. I've been diving for 20 years and never seen beginners treated in such a bad way. On my first dive there were 3 people doing the Discover Scuba course, not one of them actually made it on the dive. Speaking to them afterwards they said they weren't even told they would have to jump in from a boat! They were left to set up their own equipment (1 woman nearly jumped in with her air off), so 2 go in the sea and came straight out as they were so panicked. They weren't told how to descend slowly, this resulted in 1 poor chap shooting up and down top to bottom of the sea 3 times before he gave up and got out. On my second dive 1 man ascended too quickly after his regulator came out and got the bends, he was taken to hospital as soon as we got back. So if you do want to dive here, I'd recommend qualifying elsewhere before, I wouldn't let my partner, who has done 3 Discover Scuba dives, use these facilities.

So to the restaurants. All the food is good and you only really have to book at the Teppanyaki restaurant. The best food we had was at the sushi place, we hadn't booked so sat at the bar and watched everything being prepared in front of us. We also loved the beef ribs at the Tex-Mex place. I found the Teppanyaki restaurant only ok, to be honest the chef was really irritating whilst trying to put on his show. We'd have preferred it if he just kept quiet and cooked! However they cater for a certain clientele at this hotel and I'm afraid we weren't it! All the restaurants seemed very quiet in the evening, we presumed most of the guests got so drunk during the day they just ordered room service.

Now to the bit I've been avoiding. The reason we didn't find this hotel at all relaxing is because we are not Americans. There, I've said it! I'm used to Brits abroad being the embarrassing, loud ones, however our American cousins have taken it to a new level. It was like being on Spring Break with a bunch of 50 year olds. They started drinking at 7am with breakfast, their volume level was maybe at about 5 at this point. Not known for their drinking ability they seemed to persevere and by 7pm their volume had been turned up to 11. You could clearly hear their conversations from 100m away in the sea. They even brought their own thermos flasks so the bars could fill them with cocktails. Don't get me wrong, I love a good drink, but this was insane. The whooping, shouting and drinking games were just surreal. I've never been to a Sandals resort before, and I'm afraid to say that if this is the reality I won't be going to another one. The philosophy seemed to be why talk to your spouse when you can scream in their face. Oh and FaceTime behind someone trying to read a book rather than do it in your room. It drove us mad and there was no escaping it sadly.

On leaving the hotel you have to plan your pre departure shower carefully. We allowed 90 mins and glad we did because there are only 3 showers in each changing room and they were all being used by STAFF! Who certainly didn't rush. It was dirty, there were no towels and no shampoo or shower gels left, so take everything with you. I was livid! So much for a relaxing shower followed by a quick final cocktail.

So that's why this review only has 3 stars. It's a good resort run with military precision, but not at all quiet and relaxing, if you want a sun bed before lunchtime forget it, unfriendly dive instructors and staff using guest facilities. Not what I expect from a 5 star hotel.

Room Tip: Caribbean section for nicer low rise rooms away from the noise
  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
30  Thank JLCD2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jasmine J, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 16, 2017

Hello and thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua. I am sorry to hear that your stay did not quite meet your expectations. We have worked so hard to provide a consistent reliable product and a tranquil experience where our guests are valued and feel relaxed. Although our resort team takes all steps to see that our guests are assisted should a concern arise during their stay and reported, we will also be sharing your comments with the Executive Management for further consideration as we are continuously making improvements to better our service for our guests.

We are gratefully thankful that you took the time to share your concerns allowing us an opportunity to reflect on ways we can improve for you and future guests to know that you are valued and appreciated and that we genuinely care about your happiness. We only hope that you will allow us the opportunity to turn things around and regain your trust on a future visit with us as we will do our very best to see that your next stay exceeds all expectations.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 7, 2017

What a great vacation in a truly fantastic resort.

The airport shuttle was very comfortable and the ride over is quite quick.

Restaurants and meals are top notch. Lots of food choice! You have to do at least one dinner at the Japanese restaurant.

The staff is amazing and so helpful!! Within 2 days the staff at the coffee shop knew how I liked my tea latte and for the rest of the vacation, I would just walk in and they would start making it for me. Now that makes a person feel special!

The resort is large enough that we could go for walks around the grounds...but small enough that nothing is more than 10 minutes away.

We took advantage of the room service for a breakfast and one dinner...and of course a daily bottle of wine... always quick and friendly.

I swear our room was the one from the website. It was exactly as shown with the same balcony view.

Loved the pool area, but we ended up spending more time on the beach as the week went. The locals selling their stuff didn't bother us and they are actually amazing folks to talk to. We had planned to do some excursions, but in the end didn't go anywhere...could not get enough of just being pampered.

One of the most enjoyable nights was meeting other guests, having a few drinks and singing around the "Piano Man"!

We took advantage of one of the romantic moonlight dinners on the beach where I proposed to my girlfriend. It was the most memorable experience proposing on the beach while being served wine, steak & lobster. The resort sent out a photographer and we got some pictures there on the beach that we will always cherish.

Sandals Antigua will always hold a special memory for us and I look forward to going back for an anniversary in the future!

If I had any complaint, it would be that you need to wake up around 5:30am if you want to reserve good chairs with an umbrella by the beach or the pool. For me I had no issue with this as I loved walking the resort in the early hours with the lights and sound of the ocean.

  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
8  Thank pryt5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jasmine J, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 19, 2017

Hello and thank you so much for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua. We are pleased to know you enjoyed your recent stay with us. We offer a realm of chic sophistication with a vacation experience of a lifetime. We are here to satisfy your cravings, and a true aid to help you bask in luxurious accommodations. Your happiness is our #1 priority. We are happy you enjoyed a true Sandals experience and look forward to your return in the near future.

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Reviewed September 24, 2017 via mobile

We stayed for 9 nights in September, came back the week before the hurricane hit so we were quite fortunate.

We were a little nervous what we would find given the imminent closure but we needn’t have worried as we had the most perfect time.

We had a lovely suite which was first class in every way, litre bottles of spirits and butler service.

Can not fault anything about the whole Sandals experience, yes it’s quite expensive but you get what you pay for.

We are looking at another Sandals experience next year, perhaps St Lucia.

Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
12  Thank Claire and John J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 22, 2017

We were at the resort the week Hurricane Irma hit Antigua and Barbuda. Fortunately Antigua did not take a direct hit, but was pretty close. We praise the entire Sandals management team and staff for keeping us informed, safe, and as comfortable as possible during this severe weather incident. This was our first Sandals experience and we will be going other Sandals resorts in the future. The resort is very nice with great restaurants and beach. Staff are incredibly friendly, welcoming, and accommodating.

Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank Harry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jasmine J, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 25, 2017

Dear Harry B,

Thank you for trusting us to be your source for a top quality vacation experience. We appreciate your kind expressions of appreciation and are especially grateful for your recent stay with us. We look forward to creating more memories with you in the future.

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Reviewed September 21, 2017

If you are in a Wheelchair, go to another resort. The bed is way too high. The toilet is nowhere near adapted properly. I feel over in the shower as I was getting out. Made a video and will post on you tube. Promised 3 days back gratis from the owner of Sandals. 5 days back that we didn't use. I also want 2 days back for be made a hostage in my room because the lifts had stopped working. 3rd trip with sandals. Treated like a caged animal. So where are theses vouchers for three nights stored? The UK rep dealing with this doesn't appear to give a t€$s about it.

Room Tip: You will to take Alf responsibility
  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Gary W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jasmine J, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2017

Thank you for your review of Sandals Grande Antigua . First, I would like to apologize for the troubles and frustration that you may have experienced. I want you to know that your complaint and feedback will give us the chance to resolve any problem that may occur and assist us in making our services better.

We also observe some crucial information in your complaint concerning our products and services as well as the degree of our services. To help us resolve your concerns, we would be grateful if you could provide us with your booking details and review title on trip advisor by emailing our Customer Relations department at customersupport@sandals.com. Once again, we are sorry for the inconveniences you may have experienced.

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