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Reviewed January 31, 2011

We stayed at the Grande Antigua from Janauary 2nd to 16th, 2011. This was our second Sandals vacation; we stayed at the Grande St. Lucian last January for 2 weeks. The hotel property is beautiful and well landscaped, but the oceanview is nothing like we had in St. Lucia. We were upgraded from a Concierge Suite in the Caribbean Grove to the Grande Luxe St. Tropez Sunset Oceanview Suite in the Mediterranean Village. The suite was gorgeous; luxurious and well appointed. We were however, disappointed that Concierge Service at this resort DOES NOT include room service like it does at the Grande St. Lucian - this was quite a let down, especially when Sandals does not advertise to the booking guests or travel agents (we have informed our travel agent accordingly so other guests will not be surprised when they arrive and are told it does not include this service). The Concierge Service also did not include the little touches like we had at the Grande St. Lucian such as flower petals sprinkled on your bed each day, leather luggage tags, swans made out of towels, Snickers chocolate bars on your pillows when they turn your bed down at night (we had to inform them after 4 nights that our bed was not turned down - something that is include with Concierge Service), plates of cookies, etc. We also never received invitations to events such as the Repeat Guest party; we mentioned on numerous occasions that we never received these invites - they said it would be looked after, but never was. It also took one week to receive our Return Guest t-shirts; these were supposed to be delivered the first day - we had to keep reminding them that we never received them. Another thing that we never received was a formal send-off like we had in St. Lucia. The General Manager of the Grande St. Lucian and many of his staff held a very nice send-off for all of the guests (speeches, draws, etc.); he also had a draw for one lucky couple to be driven to the airport in the Mercedes Benz limo - there was nothing at all for the departing guests the day we left (something we will never forget).

The food was exceptionally good; there is a great variety to choose from - our favourite restaurants were Kimono's and Barefoot by the Sea. Barefoot had large lobsters every evening; something that should not be missed. Bayside was very good, but it was shut down three nights in a row which made every other place very busy. Cricketer's was nothing special; very limited selection of items on the menu. OK Corral and Elenors were just ok. Mario's had really good food and we highly recommend it. Be prepared for long waits to get into all of the restaurants except Cricketers and possibly Bayside (when it is open); you will wait 1 to 2 hours before you are seated. Three of the establishments require reservations; you cannot book more than 48 hours in advance. Management shuts down one or two restaurants on a rotation each week; this causes a huge backlog which in turn creates long wait times.

Management needs to focus more on service and the guests; it seems that they take too much pride in the landscaping - service is very poor. They also need to inform quite a number of their staff to be a little more friendly with the guests of the resort. Some of the staff were very unfriendly; it seemed like you were bothering them when you asked for something. One of the women that works at the Island Tours desk was very rude to me when I asked her directions on where we were supposed to wait for our tour (she loudly told me to go sit down in the bar and wait); she was texting at the time I asked her the question - quite a number of the workers can be seen texting while they are working which distracts them from their work (the pizzeria was a place that this happened often - they would put you on hold rather than take your order). I will not paint all of the staff with the same brush though; two of the staff in particular were very friendly to us and they deserve recognition - one is Sammi at Barefoot by the Sea, and the other is Generoy at Bayside (he works as the chef cooking omlettes, pancakes, etc.) - both of these individuals are very professional and have a very friendly and kind disposition. If only the staff at this resort were as friendly as the staff at the Grande St. Lucian, this place would be awesome.

Be aware of the sand flies; these critters bit my legs so bad that I had large welts that took nearly three weeks to disappear. I eventually spent $16 at the gift for a can of OFF; take some from home and save some money.

The island is beautiful and the tours are great; we saw the island by speed boat (called Extreme - 360 degree around the island); we saw it by helicopter (Caribbean Helicopters - something that everybody should do); and we saw it by land tour (booked through Luxury Safarri Tours - his name is Elmo - this tour was great!). We also took the power catamaran to the sister island of Barbuda; this was a great tour and we enjoyed it very much.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank lemieuxg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 31, 2011

Arriving at Antigua-going through customs and obtaining baggage was painless, however, once outside of terminal we located the Sandals kiosk for our transportation onto the property. This service was terrible and very unorganized with other guests arriving later than I, pushing themselves forward and getting service first. After waiting for 15 mins. to get transportation a complaint was issued and service was rendered promptly. (Tip: Stay away from Yellow Shirt Baggage Handlers.)
Once on the property, we were greeted in a very professional manner and escorted to our room where we found our room (despite needing upgrades) to be satisfactory.
The staff at the resort always provided great service to all guests and should be commended for their hard work.
I had only one bad experience on the property where at a BBQ the restaurant staff seated a few guests at certain tables on the beachfront...halfway through our dinner a fair haired gentleman and two servers came to our table and told us there was a mistake, that our table was for corporate and we had to leave.
I told the gentleman that this was Sandals mistake and I was very comfortable where I was seated, but did get up and move elsewhere...however, Sandals did not provide me or the other guests at the table with upgraded service or to find us another table, it was seek your own accomodations.
I did find the entertainment needing improvement, often there was no live entertainment to be had after 10:00pm...The Cricketeers Pub, described as a English Pub...was far from being authentic as the menu lacked most English Food & Drink items.
The Cricketeer Pub also needed more HD Televisions for sporting events.
Overall, i'd give Sandals Grande Antigua a 'B' rating.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Vegasgentleman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 31, 2011

Just got back from getting married at Sandals Antigua. I can not understand on how anyone could say anything bad about this place. It was a dream come true. It was the most romantic place i have ever been to. The wedding sandals gave us at not charge can only be compared to a fairy tail story. For those of you who said the help was rude you are out of your mind. All of the staff went out of their way to make our stay a happy one. The food was very very good with the exception of one meal but that was my fault as i ordered something i did not like and should not of ordered to begin with. The grounds were so pretty and clean it was amazing. We had a small problem with the photos of our wedding but the general manager took care of it right away. I suggest anyone wanting a romantic place to go then Sandals Antigua should be your number one choice.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RHONDA A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 30, 2011

This was our second time to this resort. Both times were in mid January. I must say that this year was not as enjoyable as last year. The resort was overcrowded with NO loungers available unless you got up very early to reserve one. The beach has eroded away because of the big sea swells that occurred in Nov & Dec. Last year, the beach was much larger with an abundance of loungers. The water sports has moved (sail boats,etc) down the beach because of a lack of space. We are scuba divers, but did not partake in scuba diving because the visibility was low & the boat ride was 45 mins to each dive. The eroded beach is not Sandals fault & hopefully the sand will eventually return because it was such a beautiful beach in the past. The food was delicious as always & the service was good. You can not be in a hurry, however, because it is not their culture to be in a hurry. The one thing that I was not happy with was THE BUG BITES...... The majority of our group (48 of us) ended up with 50 or more bites on our lower legs on the first night. We were not aware of the bugs (which you do not feel them biting, but know in the morning that you were bit because of the sever itching), so did not bring or apply bug spray for our first night reception event, held at the Reflection pool. The resort did their best in fogging most nights, but the damage had already been done. We did not have bugs last year when we were there. Some of the group ended up with bug bites all over their bodies.....not sure if there were bugs in our beds. When speaking to the manager about it, he explained that there were also sand fleas that deliver an intensely itch bite, again without knowing that you are being bit. You may want to check your beds closely before settling into your rooms.....
We went on the Monserrat helicopter ride for the second time. $240pp but very worth while. It is the modern day Pompeii. Do take the catamaran ride but don't do the one that goes around the island. The Atlantic if very rough. We also went deep sea fishing. This was not as enjoyable because the Atlantic was so rough & over half of the 8 people were seasick. We did catch Mahi mahi & Tuna. Tony at the beach set up the fishing trip with Captain Derrick. The experience would have great if not for the rough waters. Captain Derrick filleted our fish right at the harbor & for an extra fee, the Italian chef at the harbor restaurant cook up the fish in a spectacular 7 course meal. It was FANTASTIC. We needed time to settle our stomachs before the van ride home.
Overall, the people were friendly, the food was good, & the drinks were cold. The island is a beautiful island with fantastic beaches.
Your stay is what you make of it.....expect less & you will be rewarded with more.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank sunlover306
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 30, 2011

After a week at Sandals Regency in St. Lucia, we boarded the plane early in the morning on November 27 to start our second week of vacation at SAT. (First time ever we did two weeks.)
We knew we were going to have a butler room, but thanks to our wonderful Travel Agent,
Ruth Demuth (IrieLady) we were upgraded to the best room on the resort---a villa with its own pool AND hot tub--closest to the beach---villa #911.
SAT is our favorite Sandals as it is a lovely resort and we have become friendly with alot of the employees there who are like family.
Regarding butler service at SAT---if you are going there for something special---like a honeymoon, wedding anniversary or birthday, I highly recomment that if you can swing it, you splurge on the butler service there. We have been fortunate to be able to have had butler service at other Sandals, and we can honestly say that the best butlers are at SAT!!!
We prefer the breakfast buffet at Mario's as opposed to Bayside---we think the food is better there and the staff friendlier. And it is air conditioned and the Bayside is not.
Things you must do/have while at Sandals Antigua----you have to have the chocolate lava cake for dessert at Mario's, the lobster at Barefoot (along with the caesar salad--the presentation alone is worth it!!)
And the pork at Eleanor's. I don't like pork that much, but the pork there is delicious.
You have to check out Althea at the Med. swim up pool bar and ask her to make one of her speciality drinks---highly recommend the one she calls "Vacation".
And spend at least one day with Latoya at the swim up bar on the Carribbean side--ANYTHING she makes will be delicious!!!!
And whether you play volleyball or not, at least watch a volleyball game when playmaker Liz is there---VERY entertaining!!!!
If you do any or all of the above, you won't be disappointed!!
Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions.

Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
5  Thank GordonGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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