Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa

5.0 star rating

Exceptional accommodation with superior facilities and services.

    What to expect (based on 8693 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4.5

    Location

    Location-4.5

    Rooms

    Rooms-4.5

    Service

    Service-4.5

    Value

    Value-4

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    Relaxing Antigua stay

    Reviewed by Emma C(Newbury, United Kingdom) on Sep 29, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    This was our first visit to Antigua but not a first timer to Sandals. We had a good flight across during this current climate and the new requirements that are now required to enter Antigua. On landing we were briskly shown where to go throughout the airport/immigrations/Covid test checks and were soon onboard our shuttle to the resort. On arrival at the caridean side of the resort we were met by customer services whom did a temperature check and then we were met by our butlers (Nkosi + Wendel) whom then escorted to our room which was located in the Poinsettia buildings. Room - was nice if a little dated and could do with a refurb as some of the furniture was a little worn. We expected some sort of Oceanview given that was the name of the room category but from our room as it was tucked back was not possible. Did not impact our stay as was only a short walk to beach from our room. Housekeeping - This was a little disappointing for us as we had to ask each day for more coffee, refreshments and there was some delay with carbonated drinks being located for our room on some days too. Seemed to be a shortage of Coca Cola. Not a dealbreaker, but frustrating when you have to ask for same thing each day rather then them seeing what's running low. Restaurants - We tried as many as we could during our stay. Some were OK but some we enjoyed more and went back again. Our favourites as has been in each resort we have visited has to be SOY. A must go to! Next was Mario's and also Kimono's. Reservations need to be made for all apart from one - Bayside. Our Butlers took care of this for us as beginning of our stay so we got to try them all. Bars - In the day you have option of 3 bars around pools or by oceanfront. In evening there are only two open, one being bar by oceanfront & other being the Pub. Drinks in day namely cocktails were so good! In evening we tended to try wines or liquors. Which were also good. Availability of Carib beer was like gold dust. Could not get one for any amount of asking in any of the bars. This is the beer my husband preferred so we asked for it to be stocked up in our bar each day as wasn't available in the bars it seemed. Staff - Overall the staff were very friendly and always passed by and said a hello. Management also take time to speak to their guests and come around by the pool with hydration shots most days. On a particular day of the week they all come out including GM and they are introduced to all the guests, which is a nice touch. Whilst most of the staff go out of their way to be helpful and assist you with your requests, some were not so affective and it felt like you were hindering them by asking for a drink etc.. A tad of a shame given that most are gracious and thankful for you visiting their hotel/island at moment. Spa - we booked two couple massages - and they were amazing! Highly recommend them for some you time and relaxation. Butlers - our first butler stay, and i must say our set the bar. We had the pleasure of the dream trio - Wendel, Nkosi + Vakesha. They are a great mix and we definitely were looked after well. Nothing was too much trouble for them and we have fond memories we have taken away because of them. Overall Hotel Impressions - a beautiful resort with immaculate kept gardens, but for us some of it was dated and in need of a refurb. Lets hope in the future it gets the TLC it so needs. All in all apart from a few things that could be improved we had a lovely relaxing holiday that was very much needed in these current times. Would we return to Sandals Grande Antigua... Yes, one day we will return once we have visited a few more of the Sandals properties.. :)

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4

    Location

    Location-4

    Service

    Service-4

    Wonderful holiday

    Reviewed by DebbieW0196(Surrey, United Kingdom) on Sep 28, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    This was our first Sandals experience and it won't be our last. We are already planning to stay in other resorts in the Caribbean and we will most certainly be back in Antigua next year for longer. We were made to feel so welcome by the team and the staff were just beautiful people. We felt totally safe with all the protection measures in place.....thank you for the peace of mind. You can enjoy your holiday at your pace here.....the big pool was for those looking for entertainment and the beach for a quieter holiday. There are vendors on the beach, and some US dollars are handy if you want to support them. There are also small pools dotted around the grounds for peace and tranquillity, which we enjoyed some days. The food was stunning and the menu's varied. The chef's cooked us a special meal one lunch time and nothing is too much trouble...just ask. Our favourites were Bayside, Barefoot and Soy. We look forward to returning next year to hopefully see everyone's smiles which are currently hiding beneath masks. I could have stayed longer than the 15 days...and the leaving song made me cry! See you again.

    Individual ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-5

    Rooms

    Rooms-5

    Service

    Service-5

    Great stay, but not 5 star for us.

    Reviewed by woffer73(Cheshire, England) on Sep 28, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    Having read many reviews with avidity, we decided to book. Moreover, travelling from the UK, our holiday choices were dwindling rapidly, and this resort appeared to be offering what we needed. Even before we arrived, it was abundantly clear that Antigua took safety very seriously indeed. They seemed to have an excellent grasp of the COVID situation, with practically zero active cases, and a mandatory negative test policy to gain entry, which was very reassuring. We received an extremely warm reception upon our arrival. Our bags were whisked away to our rooms,( Although that’s what we were lead to believe), as our temperatures were checked, and we completed check in at the club lounge. During the check-in process, we were given a glass of rum punch, which was delicious. We were then escorted to our walkout beach room, which was situated on the ground floor of the frangipani building on the Caribbean side. We were disappointed that our bags hadn’t arrived at our room, only because we were desperate to change our clothes, and waste no time in getting into pool mode! A quick call to concierge was all that was required, to expedite the arrival of our luggage. The room was very clean, had a very comfortable bed and pillows, the air conditioning was wonderfully cool throughout our stay, and the minibar was religiously restocked after depletion. The minibar consisted of a bottle of Prosecco, cold beer, soft drinks, tonic water, fruit juices, and bottled water. Above the fridge, there was a bottle each of Whisky, Rum, Vodka, Gin, and Red wine. If I’m being totally honest, our room did look a little dated, and there were signs of wear on the bed posts, cupboards, furniture, and carpet, which didn’t impact on our enjoyment, but when you’ve booked to stay at a 5-star resort, these are the little things, for me, anyway, that start to chip away at that rating. The patio was a lovely place to sit and admire the wonderfully-landscaped gardens, and enjoy sumptuous sunsets, or to enjoy your breakfast. Of the many pools on offer at the resort ( I believe there are at least 7), we visited 4 of them, the 2 most popular of which, were the Main pools of the Mediterranean and Caribbean sides. The former, is huge, and certainly one of the nicest resort pools I’ve been to. The pool bar has 4 access points, 3 of which are directly accessible from the pool. The Caribbean pool was much smaller, but had a cosier, more relaxed air, with a lazy river, and a central swim up bar. Most of the pools we visited had separate hot tubs regulated to 100-104 degrees. All of the staff at both pool bars worked tirelessly throughout, and were a credit to the resort. The wearing of face masks is a tedious, although necessary endeavour at the best of times, but to do so in 90 degree heat day in and day out, is thoroughly commendable! We never struggled to get a spot around any pool, although, during our stay, I don’t believe the resort was ever above 45% capacity. Had this been full capacity, I’m sure ‘bed reserving’ would undoubtedly be more of a necessity. Being food lovers, we had high hopes, having perused the menus on the Sandals website. However, based on our 8-day stay, it’s fair to say that our dining experiences were very much hit and miss. Dining was a popular topic of conversation amongst friends we met whilst there, and our hit and miss evaluation seemed to be shared by many. We spoke to maybe half a dozen other couples ( And overheard many more ), who had disliked restaurants that we had liked, and vice versa. It’s also worth noting, that due to COVID, the restaurants are operating on a rotation system, so that reservations are mandatory at all bar a couple of restaurants. For this reason, I would recommend choosing your restaurants for the majority of your stay, and reserving them in advance. Concierge did this for us, and they were great. Special thanks to Alesha for this. I don’t believe any of the food we ate could be categorised as stunning, so here is a quick summary, and I do apologise in advance if the food reviews appear to be over critical, but, for us, dining is a big part of our stay, particularly at a 5* all inclusive resort. I also appreciate that this area is hugely subjective, however, I’ve tried to review as accurately as possible, based on our experiences; Bayside- Lovely breakfasts, very nice lunch and dinner. Barefoot by the sea- Terrible grilled shrimp roll lunch, excellent surf and turf and blackened salmon dinner. Special, special thanks to Ken, who went above and beyond, not just at barefoot, but throughout our stay. You sir, are a wonderful human being, who made us feel so special! OK Coral- Wonderful bbq taco starter, quite good grilled shrimp starters. Lovely steak mains, and good, but not amazing desserts. Mario’s- The breakfast we had, came with tasteless, horribly arranged scrambled eggs, weird tasting sausages, and greasy grilled ham. For evening meal, the Pasta carbonara was ok, the steak, pretty good, nicely cooked, but overpowered by cheesy garlic topping. Antipasti just ok. Tiramisu absolutely woeful, which was a shame,as the consistency of the sponge was excellent, but there was no flavour. Wished we’d opted for the chocolate lava cake, but as we were attending the themed chocolate evening, we opted for something lighter. Eleanor’s- Fishcake starter, ok, lacking flavour, dreadful steak- how a medium-cooked steak with lovely pink centre could taste so chewy, I can only assume that it was thrown straight from the fridge onto an infernally hot grill, and shown no love whatsoever. The chicken was also rubbery and lacking in seasoning. I left most of my steak, and that is a first in over 30 years. Major, major disappointment, as this was one of the hardest restaurants to obtain a reservation for. The Drunken Duck- really nice buffalo wings and good pub food. The late menu served between 11pm to 2am was a great way of assuaging the late night munchies. The quick food options seem to offer a great deal more consistency. The hotdogs, served between 12-3pm, by the Mediterranean pool, were all lovely, and delicately constructed by the cart attendant. The ingredients were all tasty, the onions beautifully caramelised, and the sauces and mayos brought everything together. If hotdogs taste this good, why so much inconsistency in the restaurants? Cafe de Paris was just ok- the coffee wasn’t up to much, and the breakfast pastries and muffins barely so so. Maybe the gourmet cakes and ice cream would have fared better, but we felt disinclined to try. The deli grab and go courtyard- some lovely, lovely food here, loved the burgers, Cajun chicken wraps, coleslaw, and hotdogs. Lovely food, marred only by a few members of staff, clearly not too happy to be working there. Most noticeable, as the staff everywhere else, and I mean everywhere, were simply wonderful, charming, and unfailingly obliging. Room service- mostly great, as the breakfasts came from the Bayside restaurant close by. The chili cheese nachos were also excellent, as were the salads, but the pasta offerings, and mac n cheese, were buffet mediocrity at best. The desserts, which seemed to be a recurring theme, were all wonderfully presented, just lacking in flavour. The nicest meal that we had, by some margin, was the candlelit dinner arranged separately ( $199 ) for our anniversary. Under normal circumstances, this would have been on the beach, but due to a government-imposed curfew ( Totally understandable), our table was set out in the wedding Gazebo very close to the beach. This was all explained to us beforehand by our lovely concierge Nelly- special thanks to Nelly! We had a wonderful meal, with the standard of food we were kind of expecting throughout the resort. Wonderful scallop starters, superb beetroot, goats cheese, and candied pecan salad, and equally wonderful surf and turf. The only slight disappointment, was the lobster tail, which was a tad overdone. The desserts continued their disappointing theme, but we didn’t really care, as the rest of the meal was so delicious, and we’d had a great time. If I could just suggest one thing. The chairs were solid which made prolonged sitting a bit uncomfortable. Cushions would have been perfect. Throughout our stay, we saw lots of cats around the resort. We even learned that the resort has a cat cafe within the grounds. I can only assume that they have taken stray cats in to re -home them. One even came into our room, through our open patio doors, which we didn’t mind, but some may object. The cats were all very friendly, and didn’t outstay their welcome. They are quite happy drifting around the resort, basking in the sun on the outer fringes of restaurants, or napping around the grounds. Once, during a rare, tumultuous downpour, a couple of cats sort refuge on a vacant sun lounger, and hunkered down until the storm passed, which was kind of cute. As I say, some don’t like cats, but we didn’t mind them at all. At least they didn’t attempt to sell you anything, or try to engage you in romantic photograph poses! One of the many things I read about whilst perusing many reviews, was the presence of beach vendors. We read all reviews, with interest, and whilst some enjoyed engaging and purchasing many items from them, others found the experience anything from mildly annoying, to quite intimidating. We were well aware that the whole world has been suffering in one way or another, due to COVID-19, so we fully intended to do our bit, and to support them, after many months of resort closure. We found the vendors to be mostly very polite, and great to talk to. It took less than 5 mins of stepping out onto the beach, to be approached by one. We happily bought 2 necklaces for my my wife, and a necklace, and volcanic metal band for myself. We had barely walked another 100 feet, when we were approached by a second vendor. This time, we politely declined, explaining, and showing what we had already purchased, and that we would be happy to buy from a different vendor each of our days spent on the beach. We met our 3rd vendor literally minutes later. This happened practically incessantly for the first couple of days, by which time, we’d spent over 100 dollars. To say that the vendors are relentless, isn’t an exaggeration. Some were even insistent that we could take items and return later the same day with payment, or even the following day. Some would ask for drinks, either from your beach cooler, or they would lean over the railings whilst you were sat at the sundowner bar, and ask for drinks. It was actually quite sad to see, but also, at many times, crossed the boundaries of acceptability. The vendors were also a popular topic of conversation with the many people we chatted to throughout our stay, and most echoed our sentiments. Some actually said that enough was enough, and retreated to the pools, which is an unspeakable shame, as Dickenson Bay beach is absolutely stunning. Maybe, if the vendors had a separate area of the beach that people could visit, to view, and purchase goods, this would be a good compromise. My only other Caveat, is the presence of Samson and Delilah in reception. Birds are complex animals with specific needs-they’re not decorations. Caging them takes away everything that makes their lives worth living. Some might revel in their entertainment, but I think it’s just cruel. I will summarise by saying, for the most part, we very much enjoyed our stay here. It wasn’t perfect, but many things were done extremely well. The resort is gorgeously maintained, spotlessly clean, and the staff are some of the most dedicated I have ever seen, working in very challenging heat. The room, although a little dated, was wonderful for our needs, and close to everything we enjoyed. The entertainment was very good, and the compares were all excellent and engaging. The cocktails were all fantastic, and served with a smile. House keeping ran like clockwork for us, twice each day, including turn down service. As an island, Antigua is fabulous, and we’d love to return. However, due to the issues outlined above, it probably won’t be to this resort, as there’s just too much missing, to leave us wanting more.

    Individual ratings:

    Location

    Location-5

    Service

    Service-5

    Value

    Value-3

    Good, but not amazing!

    Reviewed by Me_events(Winchester, United Kingdom) on Sep 28, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    This was our first time staying at a Sandals resort and we had high hopes, but I have to say they were not fully met. The good bits, the food is amazing, don’t forget to try Bayside in the evening, the French food is fantastic, the lamb and steak were lovely. Good range of drinks on the bar, and great pours, especially if you like your drink strong! Gardens and grounds are lovely and very well kept. The bad bits, the service was hit and miss, some restaurants were great but on balance some were pretty poor. We had to wait over an hour to get served in Mario’s for breakfast, this happened on two separate occasions and we never went back, also the dinner in Mario’s was cold. The rooms are the worst part, very tired and unkept, they need a full refurbishment. They smell musty and we had hot water coming from our cold tap for the full two week vacation, we asked on a number of occasions for it to be fixed but found the staff to be surprised that we actually wanted cold water from a cold tap and subsequently it was never fixed, this was also the same issue for our neighbours. If you can afford it go for the butler option as there is a BIG, noticeable difference between club and butler level. I found the club level to be slightly lacking in service, depending on who was in the office made a major impact on the quality of service, some days we would make basic requests around booking restaurants and found it to be a very painful experience, so overall I would question why we paid more for a club level room. It’s worth noting that the hotel was 40% full during our stay and we struggled to book restaurants 3/4 days in advance at times that we wanted, around 7-8pm. The daily snorkelling was great, but again depending what team was on the boat makes the experience, some days the team came across disinterested, but some days they were fantastic. Overall in my opinion not a 5* resort and needs some work around room quality and service standards.

    Our Second Visit

    Reviewed by Carolina1222(Clover, South Carolina) on Sep 27, 2020

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    From the moment you step off the transfer to when they sing goodbye to you, the guest is the center of their attention. Mr Leighton is truly a leader and fellow hard worker on this resort. Our team of butlers were great. Ms June, LaLa and Hunter were amazing. We don’t get butlers for what they can do for us. We appreciate the relationship we build. Securing our supper reservations was must and they did that with ease. And the lounges by the palm will always be our seats. We loved these folks. Our bar experience was Grande with Marie-Louise leading the team. And her staff like Mario, Delano and several other great folks can sure mix a cocktail. We took a garden tour with Bobby and La Donna was always eager to give us floral tips. About our 311 rondaval. It was our first rondaval and again it did not disappoint. One little creature I am not fond of is the snails. The island acknowledges there is a tiny bit of a problem. You learn to disregard them after a bit. We loved our little plunge pool and the all the beautiful Bougainvillea on our privacy fence. I do think there needs to be a welcome center reception area like the other islands airports. It was confusing when we arrived as there was no signage for the shuttles to the property. We made it though. That’s being stated it is Grande and we will be back. We have made friends forever there. The Covid procedures were nice and they know how to manage this new part of hospitality. We thank you SGA. ??