More about Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Rex Halcycon Cove - Sandals Resort
Located right next door to The Rex Halcyon Resort and sharing the same beach.
We visited Sandals Resort to book our Jeep though Dollar car rental who were based there.
The level of quality is most definately superior to The Rex Halcyon but at more than twice the price you would expect it to be.
If you are not on a budget this is a great place to stay
You get what you Pay For!
Sandals in Antigua was all inclusive. The chain certainly does its best to live up to its reputation. The food was heavenly and the service second to none.
We were upgraded when we arrived and were pleased to find that the room was clean and made up twice a day!
The resort is catered to Honeymooners which can get annoying if you are not honeymooning...but the amenities allow for plenty of drinking and eating.
Couples Only Resort
We stayed in this hotel five nights and could have stayed forever. This was our first experience at an all inclusive resort, and we loved it.
They met us on arrival with a glass of champagne and a cold cloth. Then they immediately gave us a free upgrade.
The rooms were beautiful; the grounds were beautiful also.
The complex is divided up into clusters and each cluster has a swimming pool. Some of the most prime spots even have their own private splash pools. The pools were nice. There was a very nice workout facility with a cold water pool and a warm water pool.
There is a Japanese restaurant, an Itallian restaurant, and a Steak House restarurant. All were open air restaurants except the Japanese; they were all very good. There is another restaurant that has absolutely everything to eat and, it's all good.
There was food and drinks at all times.
There was always something entertaining going on in the open air lobby--bands with steel drums, dancing etc.
One day venders came and set up tables at the hotel, so you wouldn't even have to leave the hotel to go shopping.
Also local islands came onto the beach crafting baskets and such.
Sandals Grande Antigua
“Great Honeymoon but with better room accommodations our trip could have been FANTASTIC”
We just came back from our honeymoon at the Sandals resort Grande Antigua. We consider ourselves positive people and can find the silver lining in most situations and we hope our review will help out your vacation enquiries.
The quick summary is that w/ mold and leaking bathroom fixtures in our room and poor service upon our arrival we asked to be moved from the Caribbean side to the Mediterranean side. After many days we finally moved to a fabulous room (for an additional $100 a night) only to find out the A/C didn’t work and never got fixed in the 3 nights we stayed there. If you get a great room on the MEDITERRANEAN side you will have a blast but if you don’t you are risking additional stress over an old, poorly maintained room.
Here is the breakdown of our experience from Saturday to Saturday.
SATURDAY: We finally arrived (due to thunderstorms and delayed flights immigration at the airport was backed up and we stood in line for over 1.5 hours) at Sandals around 5:30 and became disappointed quickly. No one welcomed us as we came in to the openair lobby and we stood there with luggage in tow for 10 minutes with no instructions on how to check in or what to do next. Finally a waitress told us to take a seat and someone would be with us shortly. After 15 minutes a staff member gave us a cold washcloth and asked what we would like to drink. We waited another 10 minutes with no contact or check in. Many staff members were either standing around or whizzing by us with not even a hello. A staff member finally asked if we had been helped and took our names.
We had registered ahead online but when he came back we still had to fill out a registration form and give him our credit card info again. We waited about another 30 minutes as he processed our registration at which time we went to the desk to let him know we were on our honeymoon and were interested in an upgrade. He informed us that he did see that on registration and in fact we did receive a complimentary upgrade. We paid for a Garden of Eden Deluxe (DL) and upgraded to a Honeymoon Luxury Concierge (HL) room, which we were very excited about.
We left our luggage and headed to our room with another couple. As we walked the staff member oriented us to the resort, which we really appreciated. As we arrived at the other couples building the staff member realized he didn’t bring the keys so we had to wait for him to go back and grab them from the front desk. We arrived at our building Anthurium Building room 802. The staff member struggled to open our patio entrance because it was stuck and we struggled with the door all week (had to put a hip or shoulder action into the door several times to get in or out).
The room initially seemed very nice and looked just like the pictures we saw at the Sandals website. The staff member explained the concierge service and then realized we didn’t have beach towels. He said he would send housekeeping up w/ the towels. (we also realized later that we were missing hand towels and wash clothes).
We looked over our room more and started to notice MOLD above our bed, in the vanity area, as well as the bathroom. The toilet was leaking all over the floor along with the faucet in the bathtub was dripping. The first 1.5 hours at Sandals definitely didn’t meet up to our expectations and we were deeply disappointed.
As we headed to dinner we stopped by the front lobby where the staff member who helped out earlier was working and we let him know about our problems and we would like to switch rooms. He stated that the resort was booked solid, but the manager might be able to help us in the morning and to come back around 10:30 the next day.
We ate at the Bayside Restaurant and really enjoyed our dinner along w/ our spectacular view of the beach. Unfortunately our night ended with us looking up above our bed at mold on the ceiling and not being able to take a proper shower since we didn’t have wash clothes or hand towels.
SUNDAY/MONDAY: After making reservations for dinner with concierge at Kimono’s and Eleanor’s (and picking up beach towels) we headed to breakfast at Bayside, which was pretty good. We toured the rest of the resort and realized quickly what we were missing out on at the Caribbean side. We stopped by the front desk at the Caribbean side and encountered a staff member who was rude and not empathetic about our room concerns. We asked for the manager, Christine came out and was very empathetic and listened to our concerns which carried through out during this whole process. She said they again were booked for the next couple of nights but would keep trying to find something for us and to check in with her in a couple of hours.
We went to the beach, enjoyed some cocktails, and ate some lunch at Barefoot, which was amazing. We checked back in w/ Christine and she let us know she checked out our room and understood our concerns but the resort is booked, but she would meet w/ the reservations manager on Monday to see what she could find out.
We ate at Kimono’s and were disappointed but many couples enjoyed it. Monday was very similar to Sunday but w/ breakfast at Marios, lunch at Bella Napoli, and dinner at Eleanor’s we were amazed w/ the quality of food, presentation (at Eleanor’s), and service.
TUESDAY: Christine let us know that we could move Wednesday afternoon with a $100 charge per night. Again we enjoyed the beach, pools, bars, and nice couples we met throughout the day, had a fabulous dinner at Mario’s that night, enjoyed the resort games and chocolate buffet, and finished off our night with playing pool at Cricketers.
WEDNESDAY: We had a great time snorkeling in the morning (free) and beach time. We went to talk to Christine in the afternoon and she let us know our room was ready and that the bellman was leaving now to grab our luggage (that was already packed) from our old room and move it to our new room. We were taken to our new room 7116 a Portofina Suite (PF) in the Cyrpress Building. We LOVED the new room with its fresh clean look, gigantic bathroom w/ whirlpool tub, and fabulous patio w/ lounge chairs. We stayed in the room for a bit to check it out and wait for our luggage, but quickly realized it was stuffy and the A/C wasn’t working. We called the lobby to let them know and they said they would send someone up. An hour had past and we had no luggage and no maintenance man. Finally after 2.5 hours we went to the lobby in the Cypress Building where they found our luggage in the holding room and said they would send someone up about the A/C. It was so hot in the room so getting ready for dinner was miserable and a process that included many breaks to go outside to cool off.
We ate at the OK Corral and it was okay. At the end of the night we went back to our room in hopes to enjoy a romantic bath, but quickly realized the A/C hadn’t been fixed and it was too hot to take a bath. We made one last phone call that night and the operator said she would send maintenance who of course never came.
THURSDAY/FRIDAY: We called about the A/C first thing in the morning and a maintenance man came and said he had to check with something and would be back and he never came back. This continued for the rest of our trip and the A/C never was fixed.
We ate at Bayside for “Steak Night” Thursday and at Mario’s Friday night and enjoyed the dinners very much. We saw Christine at the resort and she had just left us a voicemail on our room phone. She was inquiring about our room so we let her know about the A/C and she said she would take care of it for us before she left. She also informed us she had Friday and Saturday off and was very friendly and accommodating.
When we retuned to our room Friday night we had our next day departure information waiting for us, and a note that Christine had left for us. The times were wrong for our departure and the note was from Thursday afternoon.
Needless to say our room situation was a nightmare. We are very disappointed that we had to pay an additional $100 for a room with a broken A/C, which left us unable to get a good nights rest or enjoy the whirlpool tub. The only bright point of the room situation was Christine. She not only was professional, friendly, and empathetic, but also constantly kept us updated and always asked if there was anything else she could take care of for us. We saw Christine several times through out the resort and she always stopped to talk to us.
We hope our review will help you make your choices for your honeymoon or next vacation.
We will not return to Sandals Antigua and will deeply hesitate to ever visit any of the other Sandal/Beach resorts in the future.
We had a great time!
We stayed at Sandals Antigua Oct. 13-20, 2003 for our honeymoon.
Overall, it was a great experience...nice staff, beautiful spa, lovely beach & pool areas. The only complaint we had was the food -- really poor quality. We ate a LOT of burgers at the grill, and found the best dining was at the most casual of the restaurants. So, the food was disappointing, since we are "foodies", but otherwise, I highly recommend Sandals Antigua.
Oh, and be sure to say hi to Joyann and Mercedes (the Merciless!) at the Watersports shack -- they MADE our trip!
Paradise on Earth
We got married in Sandals Antigua on 09 November 2000 and it was absolute paradise. We could not fault it at all. Our wedding co-ordinator Lydia was absolutely fantastic as were the concierge team and management. They made our wedding day even more special. We even had a sunset champagne cruise afterwards which was heaven. The staff could not do enough for you and you felt as if you were the only people staying there as they remembered your names and made you feel so welcome. Our accomodation was top class as we were upgraded to the Honeymoon Suite which was a few steps away from the beach and you could hear the water lapping the shore of a night as you drifted off to sleep. It was very spacious, very clean and we certainly didn't want to come home we could have stayed there at least another two weeks! We thoroughly enjoyed the food but our favourite restaurant was the Bayside as the food was always so tasty, my husband particularly enjoyed the deserts of which he had many. The cocktails were also to die for. So if anyone is considering getting married in the Carribean please go to Sandals Antigua as I can confirm your day will certainly be one to remember!
Great time on our honeymoon
My wife and I went to Sandals Antigua for our honeymoon in November 2001 and had a wonderful time! Our travel agent actually helped us by recommending a lower priced room that was really the only block guaranteed to face the ocean. We met a couple that upgraded to the "better" room and ended up requesting to come back! The concierge service was worth it from the standpoint of having a stocked fridge in your room. Alcohol or not, they replenished what you used daily and tailored it to what you wanted. We even had bottles of vodka, rum and scotch in our room(we never even got to them)! Don't fret the negative reviews, this is a great resort. Enough to do to keep busy, but definitely ok to do nothing. We stayed "on campus" for everything except we did the horseback ride on the beach at twilight. Definitely worth it. As for service, you have to remember 2 things. The no tipping policy is great from the standpoint of no need to carry money or feel pressured, but the downside is relying on the staff to provide good service on their own. It is hit or miss with mostly friendly service.
(The local staff is more apt to look right through you, but the kids on internships from overseas are great). The other thing to remember is you are in the islands! Things move slower and are more laid back! Take off your watch, grab a cocktail, take advantage of the activities and enjoy! Your vacation is what you make of it- all the ingredients for a great time are at Sandals, but it's up to you to have it!
Do not pay attention to bad reviews of this resort! My wife and I honeymooned for 9 days at Sandals Antigua in September 2003 and had the most relaxing, fun, and entertaining trip ever. Having traveled extensively through the US, Europe, and Asia, I highly recommend this resort for a relaxing get away. The food was excellent; especially the fried calamari and smoked salmon. We also had a free mimi-bar in our room that was restocked daily. The room was spotless and the staff very friendly and helpful. Several cable channels in the room as well. I highly recommend taking advantage of the free SCUBA diving. Neither my wife nor I had ever dived before yet it was one of the many highlights of our trip. Sign up early though! It's very popular with the guests because of the clear warm water and abundant sea life (we saw an octapus, crabs, fish, a nurse shark, pucker fish). Don't worry, the shark was harmless. All in all it was a perfect honeymoon.
Downsides: Outside gym. Nice equipment but very hard to work out in the heat. Stick to water sports to burn off all the food you eat. Other reviewers complain about the vendors but it's not that bad. They recognize you after a few days and a "no thanks" turns them away. The Japanese restaurant is not very authentic. Basically steak with some teryaki sauce. Still good but not great. The sun is like a lazer beam!
Take lots of sun screen!
We got married here-great for honeymoons!
My husband and I got married here November 2001. A lovely resort-very American and a bit OTT but romantic and luxurious in a lovely beachfront location. We had a Honeymoon suite which overlooks the ocean and gardens. It was superb-sunken bath, secluded patio, living area with satellite tv and best of all a fully stocked minibar with Henri Marchant champagne, cranberry juice, coca cola, water and 2 litre bottles of Stolichnaya vodka and premium whiskey and rum! The bed was a mahogony four poster which you needed to do a run and jump to get on to as it was so high up! The grounds are lovely-beautiful fragrant flowers and secluded hammocks rocking beneath trees. Theres a lovely wedding Gazebo in the gardens which I would definately favour over the beachside gazebo where my husband and I married simply due to the fact that it was more private and definately a lot prettier with no beachsellers or people by the pool gawping at you! One thing I will have to deter any brides to be from is the hair salon in the resort.
The surly stylist there made a right mess of my hair (to be honest I don't think she had a clue what she was doing) and that was just the start of a long list of wedding day disasters that plagued me on my own wedding day. But that was my wedding and I won't say that your wedding will be the same if you choose to marry here. Otherwise Sandals Antigua is a lovely, romantically located hotel with no kids to bother you (except on the beach, which is not private). The food is lovely in all the restaurants-I will especially recommend the OK Corral Texmex restaurant overlooking the beach which serves extra spicy dishes such as Chicken fajitas and cream cheese encased in chillies then deep fried. Mmmmm! The Italian restaurant is lovely too-they serve a mean pizza. The Bayside restaurant overlooks the ocean and is very romantic in the evenings when the tables are candlelit. Our favourite was the Teppanyaki Japanese restuarant, which does not serve sushi!!! Good job, awful stuff. The chefs here cook cubed meat and fish with vegetables on a hot plate before you, chopping away at lightning speed and throwing knives up in the air. Fantastic.
Antigua is okay insofar as the resorts are concerned.
I didn't leave the resort, but the rest of the island is as you'd expect. Especially if you've been in the in-roads of Jamaica.
They say there are 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. What they usually don't say is that many of them are very, very short. The one at the resort was maybe 100 yards long, as I recall.
So if you like long walks, bring scuba gear so you can resume your trek on the other side of the bluff.
Sandals was very nice though....if you're into that sort of thing.
Sandals Grande Antigua. View from patio.
Restaurant across from the cruise ship docks
Traditional carnaval figures in the museum
Need advice on Sandals Antigua....experiences? Tips?
My fiancee and I are thinking of booking our honeymoon at the Sandals resort in Antigua. We'd love to hear if anyone else has experienced this all-inclusive resort and what you think of it. It's fairly expensive but it is our honeymoon....we want to be pampered, too!
Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated!
RE: Need advice on Sandals Antigua....experiences? Tips?
I live here in english harbor on the "other side" of the island. sandals is undergoing some expansion but the main resort has not been effected. For antigua it's upscale but certianly not near the top of that scale but then the rates are not $2000 per day. I was up there on busniss the other day and it seemed that there were not many people there. the weather is finaly starting to cool a bit it was 92 f in the shade a couple of days ago but I belive that most of the rooms are air conditioned. The beach looked nice but as always the best beaches here are no where near the resorts. I've heard that the all inclusive is by far the best way to go and if you want to check out the real caribbean food you can always get a taxi and go on an adventure. I've lived here for awhile and will never move back to the states. it's a great place to honeymoon and many find themselves back here yearly. I think it's a very good choice happy honeymoon. Aaron Ramsdell Cay Electronics.
I am getting married at the Sandals in Antigua in April. For my reception (18 people) I would like to charter a houseboat for the evening, have munchies, drinks and music and float around for about 4 hours. Does anyone have any idea's of who I can contact for this?
Re: Wedding reception
First congratulations are in order....d:o)
Well, not to much in the way of house boats, but not to worry, there are some alternatives. Remember this is a tropical paradise so tropical boating is in order.
This is probably your best bet as Antigua Boat Charter has a cat(amaran) that has room for your magic number, - 18 passengers.
These are additional cat/yacht rentals as well.
You may want to contact the Barbuda Express, and ask for a private charter for a few hours. Or they might be able to point you to a similar rental.
Hope this gives you a place to start, and good luck with the nuptuals.....d:o)
Re: Wedding reception
What dates will you be in Antigua? I am getting Married at Sandals Antigua in April too, I leave March 31 and Stay til April 10th. We get married April 3 :) Anyway If you type "Elvis George Antigua" He offers private charters/sunset cruises that offer munchies, music, and champagne at a very reasonable rate per person. You can specifically design your own trip if you would like as well, very accomodating..
Hope this helps!
Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort
I am planning a trip to the Bahamas in April of 2005. I am considering the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort.
I am looking for a clean, safe place loaded with relaxation, good food and great service. We have stayed at other Sandals Resorts. This time we are booking a room and not a suite...can anyone tell me anything about this resort?
Thanks in advance.