Antigua and Barbuda Hotels

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Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

At a Glance

    Pros

  • lively atmosphere
  • excellent spa
  • good dining options
  • huge online advance booking savings

    Cons

  • sprawling layout
  • too bustling
  • uneven service

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review

The sumptuous public spaces, lovely beach, glorious gardens, and plethora of facilities almost mask this resort's impersonal atmosphere. Renovations in the original section, dubbed the Caribbean Grove, are merely cosmetic and include repainting the buildings in shades of mango, lime, and saffron and adding plunge pools to garden-view rondavels (bungalows with thatched roofs). The few units claiming water vistas (Numbers 301–305 are best, whereas 401–404 lack views but open onto the beach) are cramped, poorly ventilated, and directly in the busiest foot-traffic path. Pluses include activities from cardio training to karaoke, romantic four-poster beds, and such extras as complimentary tennis lessons and scuba diving (only spa treatments and weddings incur surcharges). The all-suites Mediterranean Village expansion embraces 180 lavish units (starting at 500 square feet and matching marble, mosaic, and mahogany with such contemporary touches as flat-screen TVs); a swim-up bar; private check-in; butler service; two upscale restaurants; a delightful pub; and posh retailers. Architecturally it's a hodgepodge, yet many details impress, as do the various pre-designed wedding themes.

    Hotel Details

  • 100 rooms, 257 suites, 16 rondavels.
  • Rate includes all-inclusive.
Updated: 02-27-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Review

    We recently traveled to Sandals Antigua and without a doubt this is the very worst experience we have ever had at any resort anywhere in the world. We are extensive travelers and have experienced less than par service before however this place takes the award for WORST EVER.

    Here is our direct experience from staying there.

    Arrival At Airport - Airport is dilapidated and run down, smelled like mildew. The "Sandals Desk or Lounge Area" was a complete joke. There was a paper sign on a mall kiosk like structure out in the parking lot. The staff there were clearly confused and unsure of their duties. We did not feel welcome nor did we feel appreciated as guests. They ignored us for over 30 minutes while new arrivals were swept away in dirty cabs, finally after complaining about the wait we were thrown into a cab with 8-10 other guests. We were smothered together in a hot cab with windows that would not open and no air conditioning. We hoped for the best upon arrival at the resort and trusted things would improve, boy were we wrong.

    Front Desk- No drink upon arrival (this is their signature). We arrived in a group with other travelers and stood about in the lobby, there was only one person attending to about 10 arriving guests, other resort employees stepped around us without even a simple greeting. After some time we were taken to our room. Gee thanks, I know we are asking alot already :) sorry for being an inconvenience.

    The Room - AS THIS WAS OUR HONEYMOON we spared no expense, we had the best room on the resort. We were not impressed to say the least. The room was dirty, there was an odor in the room and it did not smell fresh. The bed appeared as though somebody had just taken a nap on top of the covers. The bathroom was stifling hot and the fixtures were literally falling apart. Our private pool smelled like someone had dumped 5 gallons of chlorine into it just moments before we arrived, it was enough to make you cringe. Our patio had not been swept and well....let's stop there as I can go on all day about the poor quality of this room.

    The Kimono Restaurant - The restaurant had a pleasant decor however the staff were disrespectful and outright rude. Our meal was served table side with 4 other couples present. During the preparation our "chef" made numerous sexual jokes, comments and gestures, to be honest it was a bit absurd and I wondered why he thought this was appropriate. Another couple at our table was visibly disturbed and even had an awkward moment when the chef demanded they kiss for a picture, they clearly did not show affection in public and were very uncomfortable with this. This made us and others at the table uncomfortable as well, looks were exchanged by all. I am not at all intimidated by others, especially those who intend to use others for their own entertainment. We stood up mid meal and simply walked out. Goodbye..

    The Butlers - I can only speak to the service we received from our Butlers, we had (2), one for the day and another for the evening. Our day Butler who we met only briefly upon our arrival was pleasant. The evening Butler named "Cecil" was a JERK. He made it very obvious he did not like me and I even questioned his attitude regarding this. He had no reply, just the usual roll of the eyes and shrugging of the shoulders. I wonder why he did not like me, we had only just met and I am polite to all unless there is a reason not to be....hmmmm I wonder... I am sure it will come to me. He was not at all professional and I question his "Butler" credentials entirely. By the time we experienced the negative attitude of Mr. Cecil I was at a breaking point with this resort. I promptly fired him on the spot, YES ...fired him...remember we paid $$$$$ Thousands for this trip and I was not going to pay to be insulted.

    Finally The Beach - The beach was the worst of all. The vendors on the beach are downright merciless in their pursuit of a buck. They patrol the beach like sharks scooping up helpless guppies. My wife and I escaped into the waters hoping that would keep them away. To my shock and surprise one vendor that kept trying to get my attention took off his shoes and shirt and actually swam out to speak with me. I could not believe this guy, it took several polite "No Thank you's" until he left us. When we returned to our beach chairs the vendors pounced, over and over I repeated "No, Thank you"....this repeated until one particular vendor decided he was not going to leave. For the record, I am 6'2 and weigh about 250 lbs, I am prior military, run several marathons a year and I can absolutely handle myself if need be. The vendor refused to leave and started making demands for a drink from our cooler, I promptly stood up. He decided at that point he should probably leave (good choice). He left but continued to insult us like the coward he was. he knew as foreigners we were out of place and highly outnumbered. The same guy would have never even talked to me in the states, not a chance :)

    We have every right to be upset with Sandals Antigua, they failed our expectations at every turn, we were on our Honeymoon and had high hopes for this trip. This WAS NOT our first Sandals experience either so as returning guests from another Sandals we expected more. I guess we were wrong, geez what were we thinking expecting SO very much after spending thousands. We should be happy they even let us land and drink the water on their beautiful Island.

    Sandals Grande Antigua has dangerous beaches and the staff and management treated us very rudely we do not encourage anyone to go there, this is our opinion and we are not afraid to tell others of our PERSONAL experience.

    by OnMyWay007, 6/13/12

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