What to expect
- Sleep Quality
Last 5 reviews
Antigua, home away from home
This trip was amazing! We were treated so wonderfully from the second we got there to the moment we left. Everyone is so happy and friendly and was so wonderful to get to know. It was a beautiful place with even more beautiful people and I would go back 100 times over!
not sandals service
The resort was AMAZING but the service especially while dining was not sandals quality. Some staff was actually down right rude! Claudine however at the druken duck was by far the best Sandals staff member I have ever met!
TOP CLASS HOLIDAY
We are currently on holiday at the sandals all inclusive couples only Grande Antigua and it is just amazing in every way. We did have a couple of reservations after reading a couple of negative not so good reviews however it has definitely exceeded our expectations in every way please do yourself a favour and come here. I'll mention just a few points The staff are all so lovely - cant do enough for you and all acknowledge you when they see you we even had a phone call half way through our holiday just to check everything was ok and we also got asked on the beach to! And they bring you drinks to the beach which is an added bonus. The restaurants are all top class with again excellent service and they have a no tipping policy. The entertainment is very good with live bands etc bought in. The grounds are all lovely and very well kept. The beach is just perfect with a lovely see breeze with calm waters Were staying in the sunset bluff rooms of which are a lovely size with a good size balcony overlooking a pool and then the sea. Oh and the beach vendors are not a problem at all they are all very friendly and politely leave you alone if you dont want any man made hats or bracelets ... The sun beds which have been mentioned in previous reviews really are not a problem, we did jot get up early at all and had no trouble getting a lounger with an umbrella on the beach or by the main pool. We did a boat trip snorkelling with mystic cruises on the Caribbean side and it was amazing and a fun day and not too expensive, this can be booked either through sandals or o the beach with one of the reps based outside the hotel. We also booked a taxi to take us up to shirley heights on sunday where they have a party with live music bands and overlooking nelson/(English) dockyard thsi had 5he most amazing view and incredible sunset, well worth the trip. I could go on and on but I'll be here all day do we are very impressed and will definetely be recommending sandals and visiting other resorts in the future.
My wife and I recently returned from 9 days at Sandals Grand Antigua (January 1-11, 2020). This is our third visit to a Sandals resort (the first was Emerald Bay in the Bahamas, the second was La Toc in St. Lucia), and as with the first 2, we had a great time. Having said that, this was not our favorite Sandals for reasons which I will elaborate below. THE ROOM The resort is beautiful, the food is good (for the most part) and the beaches are the nicest of the 3 Sandals clubs we have visited. We stayed in the main (Mediterranean) building on one of the top floors and had a great view. Our room was nice and mostly clean (beyond the occasional dirty floor), but could have used some attention. There was no drain stopper on one of the sinks, there was a ceiling access panel in the closet that kept falling open, the makeup mirror was falling off the wall, and there were band aids on the smoke detector (not sure what for). Nothing earth shattering, and in the end, nothing worth reporting, but the room could have used some regular attention beyond vacuuming and changing the sheets and towels. The main problem with the room was the service. For the first few days, we only received a few clean towels (not the full compliment of towels, almost as of they gave us whatever they had left on the cart). So we frequently had to call for more towels. On about the 4th day, we came back to a clean room and NO towels of any kind. This happened twice! We called and requested towels, which were brought up right away, but again, we had to do it twice. However, in the end, they finally got it right and we received a full compliment of clean towels during the last 3 days. Also, the shower gel was NEVER replaced. We called to have it replaced twice, but finally just gave up and used hand soap. The shampoo and conditioner were rarely replaced, and when they were, they were replaced by HALF USED containers, and then only after we called! On our first day, I took a couple of bottles of water out of the refrigerator for my wife and myself. When I went to open mine, I found the top was loose, but did not think anything about it since my wife and I frequently loosen bottle caps for each other. But something that tasted like lime had been added to my water. At first, I thought the bottled water just tasted funny, but when I asked my wife about her bottle, she did not have that same problem, and of course, neither did any of the other bottles we had during our stay. Clearly the folks that service the refrigerator did not pay close enough attention when they restocked it prior to our visit. I heard worse stories about the rooms from other guests, but I can only account for my own situation, so take it for what you will. Again, clearly not very good attention to detail, or even to some of the bigger things!! RESTAURANTS Our favorites were Bayside (varied offerings), Barefoot (burgers and salads at lunch and fish at dinner) and OK Corral (Tex Mex). The food was really good in all 3 restaurants, OK Corral being our favorite (and one of 3 restaurants that require reservations). We also liked the food at Marios, but only had 2 meals there (one dinner and one breakfast). We had mixed reviews for Eleanors (French; also requires reservations). I enjoyed my dinner, but my wife did not like hers. Soy (sushi) was OK, but not great. Kimonos was the third restaurant that required reservations, but neither of us liked it. It was the typical teppanyaki performance (which was not that great), and the food was not very good (meat was tough and flavors were bland). Cafe de Paris had limited offerings (much less that the other resorts we have visited), Bella Napoli had pizza (which we did not try), and the Drunken Duck was typical of the pubs at the other Sandals resorts; not great offerings, but a good place to get a drink and something to eat if nothing else is available. We did speak with other guests during our stay that had varied opinions of the various restaurants, some agreeing with us, and others with differing views, so your mileage may vary. One last thing I will say about getting reservations at the various restaurants, make them when you first arrive or you may be out of luck. It appears that those with butler service seem to get all the tables (and certainly the best ones), and can make multiple reservations at each restaurant. In our case, we made all our reservations on our first full day at the resort and that was all we could get, although we were told that if we just showed up, there may be something available at the last minute, however, this is something we did not try. POOL, BEACHES & GROUNDS The main pool and beach were great! We spent most of our days at one or the other (or sometimes both). Service around the pools was OK, but not great, or should I say, not frequent. On the beach, there was virtually no service unless you had a butler. We did walk by some of the smaller pools and even spent an afternoon at one of them (and played water volleyball, which was fun), but otherwise did not spend any time outside the mail pool or beach. That being said, the smaller pools were much quieter, so if that’s your thing, they may work well for you. As has been said by other reviewers, the beaches are public and there are many vendors trying to sell you excursions, trinkets, etc. They are all nice and polite, and if you say no, they usually just leave you alone. But be aware that as soon as you go past the railing between the resort and the beach, you will be approached. It was nothing that discouraged us at all (certainly nothing like Mexico), and we never had a problem with anyone approaching us. But it can be a bit annoying if you just want to be left to enjoy the sand, water and beautiful setting. Oh, and just for the record, the lounge chairs on the beach and at the pools are NOT what are shown on the website. They are certainly OK, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t get nicely padded lounge chairs, or lounge chairs for two. There are cabanas, but you need to rent those at extra cost. The grounds were gorgeous! And very well maintained, which is typical of all of the Sandals we have been to. There were quite a few places to check out, and we often found ourselves in some romantic spot that was just perfect. I do have to say, these grounds are romantic. SERVICE Here is where I differ from so many of the other reviews. While no one was rude or mean, the service at this resort was not the best of Sandals. Most (but not all) of the people working in the restaurants made us feel like they were doing us a favor by even being there. While there were certainly some very nice and pleasant people working at this resort, the restaurants seemed to be the exception. Not all, of course. Some of the people were great, but that again was the exception. There were multiple times when our server never returned to our table to follow up, and we frequently had to hunt someone down just to get a refilled glass of water. And don’t wait for them to come back to get your dessert order, because you will be waiting until the restaurant closes. Having said that, while some guests we met shared our experiences, others seemed to have a different take. They were OK with the restaurant service, but not in other areas of the resort, which was completely opposite of our experience. Again, you will have to judge for yourself. SPA OMG, the spa was amazing! We usually have one massage when we travel, but this one was so good, we had do go back for a second! Absolutely fabulous! FINAL THOUGHT My wife gave me this trip for my birthday. She had arranged directly (via multiple phone calls) with the Sandals to have balloons and a "Happy Birthday" sign for me in the room when we arrived. In addition, she noted multiple times when visiting the website that we were celebrating a birthday. Unfortunately, the balloons and sign were not there when we arrived, and never showed up. My wife had arranged this as a surprise for me, and was very disappointed when they were not there. I asked her if she wanted to say anything while we were there, but she said the surprise was already spoiled so she just wanted to let it go. But she was heartbroken. SUMMARY I realize this review is contrary to so many other reviews of this resort, but it represents our honest experience and opinion. At Sandals Grande Antigua there was a definite lack of detail to many physical and service aspects of the resort, and many of the people that worked there, especially in the restaurants, were just plain unpleasant. This was NOT typical of other Sandals we have visited. As with everywhere we go, we go out of our way to be cheerful and nice to all of the resort staff. Unfortunately, that was frequently not returned here. That being said, overall, Sandals Grande Antigua is a nice resort, has great beaches and yes, it is romantic. I think many people would have a good time there. In spite of everything I have written, we had a lot of fun and are not sorry we tried it. But there are other Sandals resorts that offer far better service, food and attention to the rooms and other details. Of the 3 Sandals my wife and I have visited so far (and there will be others, because we really like the Sandals experience), we will likely not return to Sandals Grande Antigua. There are just too many other, better resorts, including the two we have previously visited. But then again, that’s just our opinion. As is frequently said, YMMV (your mileage may vary). Good luck!
2020 Sandals Trip
One of our 2 favorite Sandal's resorts. Great beach, pools, food and drink. Not overly crowded. Staff was very welcoming. The rooms were clean and quiet. Weather was great. Excursions were great. And finally, the rum was good.
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