Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
16 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Cleaners Stole Money From Room
"My family and spent six days (Oct. 20-26, 2012) at the Sandals Grande Antigua, and had three separate rooms. Having travelled internationally on several occasions I was cautious and placed my valuables in the room safe. Unfortunately neither of my adult children have travelled all that often and did not. The three rooms were right in a row, and both of their rooms had money taken, $80.00 in one room $100.00 in the other. In both cases the money was not simply âleft outâ. In one room it was in a sock, tucked into a shoe, inside a suit case, the other was in my son's wallet inside his wife's purse sitting on the night stand (pretty silly, I know). The cleaners (thieves) were very cunning in that they only took a small amount of the money from both rooms as not to be obvious. When this was brought to the attention of management, it was a very short, simple conversation. First question: âwas the money in the safe?â Since in both cases the answer was no, their response was, âthe hotel is not responsibleâ, end of story. There was seemingly no concern that their staff is stealing from their guests. As a result of what appeared to be their standard response, I requested that they call the police so I could make an official report, which they did. I believe that as a result of this "formal complaint" they then agreed to provide us with room credits in the amount of the money stolen, which was a âgood resultâ. However, what was lost during the entire ordeal (which ended up to be three very long hours and ruined our dinner plans for that evening) was any concern demonstrated on their part that they obviously have employee's stealing from their guests. Very disappointing, Sandals.
All-in-all, the resort was a nice experience. The restaurants were pretty good, the pools great (although the pool bar service was VERY slow) and the beach was better than many we have visited in the Caribbean. There is very little to do off the resort, and the "night life" consists of the one pub on the grounds, Cricketers, where top-40 is played most nights along with karaoke several nights per week.
The older section (Caribbean side) rooms are tired and in need of renovation, which is underway. The Mediterranean Stay On The Mediterranean Side if possible. Newer and where most of the action is.
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of November 2012
our wonderful holiday
"our holiday was PERFECT every thing just as the brochure said and we are going back next year best holiday i have ever had and i can assure you we have had loads"
- Travel date: Tue 9th of October 2012
This is by far the best place I have eve...
"This is by far the best place I have ever been. The flights firstly were fantastic, Virgin staff were great, always handing out drinks and ice cream and crisps to make the trip seem quicker, it takes over 8hours but itâs worth it.
We stayed at an all inclusive resort and the food was wonderful, crab cakes for breakfast were gorgeous and I had an omelette for lunch every day cooked in front of me, tea was a posh affair with men having to wear pants and shirts, drinks handed out as you walked into the restaurant.
Many places to eat, disco at night, hot dogs and burgers at 2am.
Hot tub at 4 in the morning, would deff recommend, Iâm saving to go back now, perfect holiday, eleven out of ten."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of October 2007
We travelled to Antigua with Thomas Cook...
"We travelled to Antigua with Thomas Cook and flew with Virgin Atlantic. The flights out and inbound were faultless and there was nothing that was too much trouble for the staff.
They were friendly courteous and helpful at all times and an added bonus was the flights on both legs were only half full so lots of room to spread out.
The hotel when we arrived at Sandals the first thing that struck us was the building site next to the hotel which is to be there new super hotel (in time for the cricket) we were told this would be on target to finish by Nov 2006 but when we arrived they were only half way through.
First room was disgusting, cracked sink, toilet wouldn't flush and room smelt really damp, we had paid for a grand luxe room, we complained and the room was changed within an hour.
The hotel is looking very tired, peeling paint, broken areas and generally worn out in some areas. The food was limiting and even though they tell you to book the tables max 24 hours in advance you could never get tables in the popular restaurants. Only 4 restaurants and one was a burger bar equivalent. The bayside restaurant gave consistent food that was on the whole good.
Dining room staff were helpful, reception staff were quite hostile if you complained too much, and the managers were always in "meetings".
Water sports and general facilities were good and the water sports staff were very vigilant and safety conscious.
On the whole not a bad holiday but when compared to the prices Sandals charge I find their prices over the top and I do not think they warrant the 5 stars they are awarded
If you are going to spend that type of money on a holiday choose a less well known name and go for alternative 5 star accommodation
- Travel date: Sun 19th of November 2006
We really didn't know what to expect fro...
"We really didn't know what to expect from Sandals. Had heard and read a lot about them but this was our first visit and we transferred to here, rather than choosing it. I will confess we expected quite a tacky, very American resort and bits of it CAN be, but generally it was a very pleasant holiday.
My partner and I are in our early 30s and do not have children so staying in a couples only resort was actually very refreshing. The hotel was undergoing some work whilst we were there but great effort was taken to keep guests away from this so it didn't really bother us.
The beach is beautiful but there are no sunshades - you need to stay in the grounds for that and space is limited. The beach is public so you will get approached by hawkers - they go away with a firm "no".
The food was mostly very good - our favourite was actually the main restaurant, which is buffet style during the day but waiter service in the evening - with an excellent choice of dishes which changed for the 2nd week. The Italian restaurant was OK but the Tex Mex was greasy and the service terrible the night we went in. The Japanese was a shame for us - the food was fantastic but being seated at a table with 8 Americans was a bit too loud for us! Oh - for a private table!
This brings me to the evenings and the entertainment; karaoke very popular, as was embarrassing the newly weds - amusing to watch a couple of times but severely limited so most evenings we ate late and a bottle of wine kept us later. If you are contemplating getting married at a resort like this - be warned, it is like a conveyor belt - there was one evening where 6 newly weds were all having their first dance at the same time - quite a sight!
Other tips - don't pay for bottled water from the shop - the waiters are happy to give you a bottle when you leave any of the restaurants or there is a water cooler next to the bar you can take the water jug from your room to (we spent a fortune before we cottoned on!). Also, if you fancy a quiet night on your patio - the bar staff will happily give you a bottle of wine to take back.
Overall, I've stayed in better, but not bad."
- Travel date: Wed 8th of March 2006
Luckily I picked this up on a very cheap...
"Luckily I picked this up on a very cheap deal through the Travel Agentâs Travel Club - had I paid the Â£1600/week going rate I would have been disappointed.
The hotel is a lot older than you would think. From the outside the rooms look more like self catering accommodation in Greece, than a 5* hotel complex in the Caribbean. The facilities arenât bad - 5 swimming pools (although they are all very small), 3 a la carte restaurants (Italian, Tex Mex and Japanese), one buffet restaurant, 2 tennis courts, 5 Jacuzzis.
Whilst we were there quite a few of the accommodation blocks were being renovated (it doesnât tell you that in any brochure). It doesnât look very nice, some of the walkways are closed, and there is constant hammering, banging, drilling etc. Also, they have just started work on extending the hotel. Thereâs over 100 more rooms being built, and 3 or 4 more restaurants, including a British Pub, another Italian and a Seafood restaurant. When it's finished I am sure it will be great, but in the meantime the crane and noise are a bit of a nuisance.
We were upgraded to a Honeymoon Deluxe Concierge room which was lovely. Big four poster bed, mini bar restocked daily, bath robes etc. The maids were excellent too, and very friendly.
The food was pretty good in all the restaurants, although the buffet was a little repetitive and the food very greasy. The beach BBQ is well worth a visit. The best restaurant is the Japanese 'Kimono's'. The food is cooked in front of you on an open grill in a Japanese style setting - this is also the only air conditioned restaurant at the hotel. The Tex Mex OK Corral and the Italian Il Palio are both in the main hotel area and outdoor which would be nice if it werenât for the flies. The only eatery that we really didnât like was the Courtyard Grill open 10.30 - 5.30 and 11pm - 7am. It supposedly serves 'snacks' - we ate there once and didnât go back all week. It was filthy and the food was cold and dripping in grease.
All the a la carte restaurants require reservations - sittings are at 6.30, 7.45 and 9.00. If you want to eat at 7.45 instead of really late, or too early, book your reservations at the guest services desk in reception the day you arrive. We only managed one 7.45 sitting all week, as the seatings are quite small.
The staff are lovely, although if you are under 25, or look it, donât expect to be their top priority. We often found we were ignored or it took them twice as long for them to do something for us.
The hotel is 70% British and 30% American. All entertainment is in English, TV is all American channels.
The beach is the best thing about the hotel - apparently it was recently voted the 4th best beach on earth. Just beware if you spend the day on the beach, you will constantly be harassed by locals selling horse riding, jet ski-ing, coconuts, palm tree hats and drugs!
We were a bit upset when we learned that you can no longer swim with dolphins in Antigua. Excursions are available locally - through Sandals the sunset cruise is $50pp and a day trip around the islands including swimming with Stingrays is $160pp. We found that the Casino in St Johns was a good night out (unless you fancy braving the karaoke in the disco, or the sing along in the piano bar!). If you go to reception they will give you a free transfer voucher for the Taxi there - it's only 5 minutes away. Entry is free and if you are gambling, it's free drinks all night.
Overall we had a good time, it's a nice hotel in a lovely location, the weather was fantastic and the people were nice. The opinion of most of the couples we spoke to was that this was probably more of a 4* hotel than a 5*, and I would agree.
I'd definitely go back to Antigua, but probably not to Sandals.
- Travel date: Wed 31st of August 2005
We had a nice honeymoon!
"My husband and I honeymooned at Sandals Antigua from July 14-21, 2003. Firstly, Ill mention that based on reviews Id read on TripAdvisor.com, I was quite nervous about the week and we even looked into switching resorts a few months before the trip. We had a wonderful time though and would recommend the resort to other couples. I want to emphasize that this is definitely a resort for couples; about half of the couples we met had married on the same day as us and were honeymooning and another large portion were on trips for 25th Anniversaries or something of the like.Now, to give you some details. Firstly, we booked through 1-800-SANDALS and spoke with Giselle. We booked the most expensive level at the resort - the Luxury Seaside Beach Cottage. Giselle promised that we would be in one of the 7 beachfront cottages. This was not the case; we were originally put in the second row, where you cannot even see the ocean because the first row of cottages and trees completely block it. We explained the situation and requested to view the Honeymoon Oceanview Suite and liked this room much better. If you do decide to book at this level, the Honeymoon Oceanview Suites are ten times better than the cottages. The cottages were small with no sitting area and barely a bathroom. The Honeymoon Oceanview Suites, on the other hand, had a small sitting area and large bathroom with a big tub and 2 sinks. They also have a balcony or porch sitting areas. If possible, we recommend getting a room on the second level cause the view of the gardens and ocean are wonderful. We were in room 708 and we suggest that the following rooms are the best at the resort: 708, 709, and 710 (all in our same block with the lower level rooms being 705-707) and the front beachfront complex with rooms 711-714. We did have two complaints with the room: the air conditioning did not work well and there were small ants in the bathroom area. As far as the air conditioning goes, we heard and saw that other rooms were very cool, so we should have asked to have ours fixed rather than assuming that's how it was. And, the ants did not bother us too much; the maids continually tried to keep them cleaned up, but you will probably see some ants in your bathroom area.We did have the opportunity to view another couples room as we were hanging out with them one night. They were in the Honeymoon Luxury Concierge Room and there room was pretty comparable to ours - with the exception of the view and the balcony. They only had a view of the pool in front of their room - no ocean or gardens. However, they spent a fair amount less than us and received the same service, food, entertainment, and activities as we did - with one exception. With the 24 hour concierge rooms, you can order/request lobster and probably other fine foods that the regular guests cannot get. We learned at the very end of our week to ask for anything you think you want if youre staying at this level and they will try to get it for you.So, the resort itself was beautiful. The gardens and beaches were well maintained and practically perfect. We definitely noticed a difference in the beach when we walked down to the next resort - The Rex. The beaches in front of this resort were not nearly as nice. The pools at Sandals were also nice. There were smaller pools you could go in to get privacy. Or, the main pool with the swim up bar offered a lot of great activities and opportunities to chat with other guests. My husband and I actually enjoyed a lot of the activities, including pool and beach volleyball, name that tune, a newlyweds game, and drinking contests. We also tried to take advantage of the watersports; we tried sailing and snorkeling a couple times. Both were fun. We were not certified to dive, but those that did do the scuba diving said it was good. And you can get trained there, but it was a full day class, so we decided not to.The spa was very nice. My husband and I did 2 couples massages while we were there and they were absolutely fabulous. On the more relaxing side, we also enjoyed an occasion nap in one of the numerous cushioned hammocks around the resort.The restaurants were pretty good. We didnt care for the Italian and OK Corral as much, but both served pretty good food. The salad/anitpasta bar at the Italian restaurant was good, as were the grilled shrimp at Ok Corral. Our favorite restaurant was Kimonos though. The chefs cook right in front of you and are all very entertaining. The food was fabulous. You get a selection of appetizers, soup, and salad, and then they serve all 8 guests dining together the same selection of entrÃ©es: shrimp, mahi-mahi, steak, and chicken. All were very delicious. Ask for Conrad (aka Sugar) if you go. We also really enjoyed all the buffets at the Bayside. There was an excellent selection of food - enough to suit everyones tastes. And, Jackie from the Bayside grill cooked up some great burgers after hours. Our only food complaint was probably that there was not enough seafood - only shrimp and mahi-mahi were served everywhere. And, a second minor complaint we made the mistake of trying a bit of steak. Since were from the Midwest, the steak didnt even compare to our high standards.The bars were all pretty nice. At times, there was a bit of a wait and some of the bartenders were not the friendliest off the bat, but I found that if I smile and am friendly, they are too. You can get almost any drink you want. Although the inclusive wine selection is minimal, but we liked what they had, so it worked for us. You can ask any of the bars or restaurants for a bottle of wine or champagne at any time - which was nice.The entertainment through the week was great. We got a little wild a crazy dancing at the night club one night - all in good fun though. The entertainment staff was great - Antonio, Mikey, and Damion were all a lot of fun. And, we really enjoyed singing along at the Piano Bar with Duke. The resort also brought in a log of great steal bands throughout the week and even some local dancers. They did an excellent job of entertaining us.The weather was perfect. It definitely got warm during the days, but there was always a cool pool or ocean near by and it usually sprinkled cool rain for 5 minutes a couple times during the day. The sun rose about 6am and set by 7:30pm.We only did one tour away from the resort: the Heavenly Hills All In One Day Tour. Drivers took us around the island for an hour or so. To be honest, there was not that much to see on the inner part of the island though. It was pretty impoverished for the most part and thats always hard to see when you are staying at a nice resort. After the main land tour, they took us to another beach, which was supposed to be so much better than Dickenson Bay, but seemed the same to me. We had a big boat pick us up and we all went snorkeling. The snorkeling with Sandals was better though. The tour ended at the Heavenly Hills art museum with a big lobster lunch, which was fabulous, and a great steel/reggae band playing. We also got to check out and even bought a nice piece from the museum. The museum owner and tour manager, Terrance, was very nice.I should probably mention the beach vendors too they didnt bother us too much. I guess Id say just be friendly and firm with your nos.And the only other inconvenience is there arent waiters/waitresses serving alcohol on the beach or in the evenings. You kind of need to go to a bar yourself, but the walk is always good for you too. If youre in the room, you can, of course, order whatever. And, there were a few staff members that went above and beyond to bring you whatever you needed wherever so we did have some drinks and towels delivered to us at certain points."
- Travel date: Sun 3rd of August 2003
Not the best Sandals but a Great Beach
"My husband and I have been to Sandals Bahamas and Sandals St. Lucia.
This was our first visit to Sandals Antigua and we chose to go here because we were on our honeymoon. Since we are signature guests (repeat Sandals guests) and were on honeymoon and paid for the Grand Luxe Concierge room, we were expecting to get upgraded to a nice room. When we stayed in St. Lucia paid for a similiar concierge level and were upgraded to a beautiful suite (2 cat. from top level). When they took us to our room - I thought it was a joke or a mistake. We weren't upgraded and although the room we paid for was one of the top categories, this room was aweful. It was completely rusted out and there were ant all over the bathroom counter and sink. We spoke with management and we paid $500 to get upgraded to the highest level room.
This room was much nicer but still not as nice as our room in St.
Lucia. Additionally, we had just travelled from the Westin in St. John USVI and were spoiled from our great stay there. Nonetheless - after we were upgraded the room was great - close to the beach and very comfortable.
Antigua has beautiful beaches and the snorkelling package to Cades Reef was wonderful. The beach on the resort is about 1 mile long and very nice.
Overall, if you are looking for a great place to visit, and aren't picky about the rooms, you will love Sandals Antigua. The beaches in Antigua are much better than the beaches in St. Lucia. If you are looking for luxury rooms and the rooms are more important than the beach - then pay to stay in the concierge rooms on the bluffs at St.
- Travel date: Wed 23rd of July 2003
This was fantastic!
"We stayed at sandals the end of June and the weather was fabulous. We
arrived late because of some plane problems, but we were greeted warmly
and treated very special. We read the other reviews before we went and
when we arrived, it was a little cautiously. Our room was great, the
bath maybe a little dated?! But really not bad, we did not spend a lot
of time in there anyway. The bed was comfortable and the room spacious.
Our balcony was the best! Very private and we could see the Sea. Our
food at Bayside was really the best, but the Japanese Rest. was fun and
it was entertaining and good, but not great. I would go there again
though. The Italian Rest, was also good, but not great, however, it did
have the best service. The southwestern has a great way of preparing
lobster, but the steaks were really mediocre. We still enjoyed it. The
beach is stunning, and the pools were all clean and a lot of fun, too.
If we go again, we will definately get passports, (it was a hassle pulling out our DL and Birth Cert. everytime), we will buy from the beach peddlers rather than the gift shop. Much better bargains and they really weren't pests. I avoided them at first, but I spent $35 for a sarong in the gift shop and got 3 even prettier ones for $40 and she threw in a necklace! Take small bills and small traveler checks, you can never get change and the exchange rate varies from where you are! Even the hotel would not cash them and NEVER had ANY change. It was always going to be there in a couple of hours!! A lot of the tours / activities are extra, and certain wines and champagnes are extra, but we had plenty of other drinks to choose from.
All in all we will definately go again! Most of the staff were very helpful and friendly, but not all, and they do not communicate real well, so follow up on reservations and trip plans!!"
- Travel date: Wed 9th of July 2003
Worst Vacation Ever
"My husband and I just returned from a 7 day stay at this resort and it was HORRIBLE! Don't waste your money at this place. It's a dump, the staff is rude and the food is not edible. On several occasions the resort actually ran out of chicken, veggie burgers and bananas. One night I had a baked potato for dinner and management didn't care.
Although the resort was sold out, it felt like the place was going out of business. The Grande Luxe Beachfront Rooms with Suite Concierge Service are nothing more than cinder block jail cells with a view of the ocean. Save your money, don't bother staying here - a BIG disappointment!"
- Travel date: Mon 7th of July 2003
in need of refurb but loved it
"Slightly tatty.. on arrival have been to better places. however . we really ewnjoyed our stay. th e junior suites are a litle basic & not like the brochure at all. The food fabulous .. Bathrooms are terrible .. forget. a Romantic shared experience.. the staff do their very best with what they have .. not the best SANDALS for sure but we liked it.. A beach to remain forever in your hearts.. you must walk the full length.. trust me solitude nature tranquility & total at one with the elements.. we are widely travelled . I would go back .. BUT NOT AT BROCHURE PRICE > we paid Â£1200.. about right not Â£2500 as some had paid. we will visit Sandals again"
- Travel date: Sun 29th of June 2003
We loved Antigua
"We just returned from our honeymoon at Sandals Antigua. We had a great time!!! The grounds and landscaping were beautiful. Our room was very nice because we got upgraded to a Consierge Suite. We liked all the activities and water sports. The snorkeling trip could have been longer though we only snorkeled for about 30 minutes. The food was great. Although my husband didnt care for OK Corral. His lobster was overcooked. Kimonos was excellent. Some of the pools could use some renovations but overall they were nice. Try a banana slip slop at one of the bars- they are awesome!! Also try the piano bar its pretty cool. Overall the resort, the beach, and the food were very good. We had a fun and relaxing honeymoon."
- Travel date: Mon 16th of June 2003