We love the beautiful island of Antigua. The locals are so friendly on the island and at Sandals Resort. Every single person from the cleaning people up to the managers always greet you with a smile and hello. I loved hanging out with the locals and learning about the culture. Don’t be afraid to walk to the huts and make a new friend or two.
Arrival: We stayed at Sandals Antigua from Sunday 7/21 to Sunday 7/28. Upon arrival customs was very quick to get through no wait at all. When we got outside I was very shocked that they didn’t have Sandals transportation vans. I traveled to Beaches Turks and Caicos and they have beautiful vans marked sandals on the outside. You have to show your voucher and the lady was trying to put people on the van according to what side of the resort you were staying. It may have seemed like she was unorganized but I realized that’s what she was doing. The ride was quick and the driver was friendly and told us a little about Antigua.
Check-in/Room– Sandals requires you to leave a credit card deposit of $300 which they will draw on your card at check in . You can not pay for anything in cash at the shops or spa in the resort. Everything is billed to your room and at the end of your stay you can either use the card on file or pay your balance with cash. They will credit your card back anything you do not use.
If you stayed at any other property including beaches you are considered returning guest. We were offered an upgrade to concierge level for free because of that. We originally booked the Honeymoon Orchid Grande Luxe Poolside Walkout Room which is on the Caribbean side. They showed us the upgrade room and then our room we opted to keep our room. I liked my room the bathroom was updated the room was a nice size. We stayed in Room 607. The bed was hard but it didn’t bother me. The fridge was stocked with sodas and water and juice each day.
Our Housecleaner was awesome she came twice once to clean and 2nd to turn down the beds. She also left a newsletter for the next day activities. She did a wonderful of keeping our room clean no complaints from me. We never had 1 single bug in our room. Some people eat in the room and leave the food or plates around . If you are nasty and don’t clean after yourself of course you will get bugs.
We received our welcome package which included a map of the grounds a welcome letter , an invitation to the manager’s cocktail party and invitation to the returning guest cocktail party and dinner. You will have to RSVP at Soon Come Back desk. They also gave us free tee shirts there.
Restaurants: There are two restaurants that require reservations and long pants for men. Eleanor’s the lobster restaurant and Kimonos the Japanese restaurant. You should make reservations at the restaurants as soon as you arrive. We did this and all time slots were available.so like any resort as soon as I got there before I even went to my room I made reservations for the week and every time slot was available.
I am a foodie I love to eat and when I read reviews I was nervous but to my surprise the food was delicious.
I mostly ate Breakfast at Bayside because it was close to my room and it was buffet style. It was very good made to order omelets plenty of other food bacon sausages and much more. Each day they had different side dishes. They also had mimosa each morning for breakfast which I enjoyed. I also ate breakfast at O.K. Corral. This is a made to order breakfast.
Each night is a different theme night at the resort. Below are some of the themes.
Sunday was steak night. The steaks was perfectly cooked and delicious.
Mon was beach night which was a blast. They served grilled fish, jerk, chicken rice and beans and much more. I was in heaven it was beautifully decorated and the entertainment was fun and engaging. They had dancers, a fire show and couple games.
Tues was white night so bring your best all white outfit. They have prizes for best dress couple and different games and activities. It’s also chocolate night. Chocolate was everywhere including a chocolate fountain and chocolate martinis
Wed was the returning guest cocktail party and dinner which was the highlight of my trip. It was beautiful you had to be on the guest list and they took you to a reserved area that was decorated nice with signature cocktails. Everyone got dressed up and took pictures. They gave out awards and acknowledged guest who was on there free week and told us more about Sandals and how to get free vacation.
The managers also sat at the tables and dined with you. They were engaging asking about your stay what you liked and didn’t like. We had Timothy I think his title was Jr manager in training but I’m not sure. He was such a nice well spoken young man I know that he is going to do well as a manager at Sandals. Hopefully next time we visit a Sandals he will be the manager there. He was taking notes on his blackberry and when we told him we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary he made sure that our dinner at Ellenor’s was special. They reserved a table for us with a card and a cake that said happy 20th Anniversary. That special touch was awesome. They didn’t have anymore lobster so we ordered the surf and turf steak with shrimp. It was cooked and seasoned perfectly. The coconut soup and coconut ice cream is a must try. Our waitress Lisa was awesome. It was busy and she still did a fantastic job.
Dining We ate Jerk chicken and Jerk pork at the Barefoot restaurant each day for lunch which was so good. You can eat there or order to go. They will wrap it in foil. It was soo good. Anytime my husband ordered he would order himself two dinners and it was never a problem. We ate dinner at Barefoot on Saturday night. Service is extremely slow which people complained about but the food was delicious. We just sat and enjoyed the Caribbean view.
There are several birds and the cats everywhere. I don’t know which was the worst. The birds will take food right off your plates and I never ate anything that wasn’t covered because I didn’t know if the birds was eating off of it before i arrived. I think Sandals should buy oversized clear plastic lids with openings to put over all the food. I saw one bird eat a chic pea right from the salad bar. One ate a fry off my husband’s plate. The people are there to shoo them away but they are determined creatures. Then at night while you’re trying to eat dinner cats are roaming around, I’m allergic to cats so I would shoo them away. One lady gave me a nasty look.
The bartenders are nice this one guy would tease my husband each day. We don’t drink much but I did order a few drinks piña colada with coconut rum was my favorite drink.
The mango ice cream was delicious at the coffee shop.
The resort: the resort itself is nice I wasn’t really wowed at first but I soon fell in love because the people that worked at the resort is very friendly and accommodating. The place lights up at night . They bend over backwards to make sure you’re ok and some of the guest was still rude and felt like they can scream and belittle the workers. I witnessed this man scream at the top of his lungs at a waitress at Eleanor’s and had her in tears. He claims she didn’t speak to him fast enough. I was so angry I told the manager. And another couple was about to get up and address this nasty man. It was down right disgusting how he spoke to her, then the next table the waitress asked if he wanted a refill of wine and asked him which white wine he was drinking and he got nasty with her because she had to ask. Really I thought what is wrong with these people on vacation I’m not sure if they are taking this butler thing to there heads or if they think these people are there personal slaves but you do not treat people like that. I don’t care how much money you’re spending. I met some nice guests and also witness some guest who was rude to the staff.
Walking around the resort at night is nice but bring bug spray. I purchased 2 cans of 3 oz bug spray and sprayed myself at night.
Beach– the beach is absolutely the highlight of the vacation it is beautiful, gorgeous, picture perfect. The ocean is clear and calm. I went to the beach everyday around 10:00 am and stayed most of the day. There was always beach chairs and never had to go out early on the Caribbean side to reserve the little white huts. They are always available.
The vendors will bother you all day. I told them that I will call them over when I’m ready to buy something. They may or may not leave you alone. I actually had fun with them I would call them over and say hi my friend. Then after the third day they started looking for me just to say hi. I did eventually buy two cover ups dresses, jewelry and a pocketbook. They are relentless though I sat and watch them run about two couples off the beach. One person would come and try to sell you when you say no then the next will come, then the first one will come back. My husband and I put on our headphones and laughed. They already knew not to bother us. The guy who sells the horse rides or boat rides asked my husband to do it. He told him in a nice way that we are only doing what is included in our all inclusive package. If it’s included sign us up. The guy laughed at that and left us alone the rest of the vacation.
I also rented the jet skies twice. The red one is new and fast I flipped it. I didn’t give it enough gas when I was turning and in the ocean we went. It was so funny. You can negotiate how much you pay. I gave him 40 dollars for 40 mins the next day 25 for like 25 mins.
My husband is a certified diver and went scuba diving everyday. He like Sandals Resorts because Scuba is included. A videographer took a video of the afternoon dive and my husband brought the video for $45.00. He customized it to show mostly my husband. See video
I met a nice guy named Darryl on the beach. He is an older man that comes to the beach everyday. He makes bracelets and rings. I purchased four for $20. He gave me 3 free rings. He gave me one for myself and one for each of my daughters. He liked my husband too he made him a bracelet to wear for free. On my last day he made me a beautiful necklace. It seems like he watches and make sure the guest are ok and comfortable. He don’t bother people though. We talked everyday about different issues he gave me a lot of knowledge about the island. I actually liked him a lot and I noticed that basically everyone liked him. He is sorta respected on the beach by all of the locals. When the vendors have their personal issues they sort out Daryl. I heard him tell one vendor not to say a certain thing because it could be offensive to guest at Sandals. He take pride in Sandals as a resort.
Daryl looked for me everyday while my husband went diving and I would look for him in his usual spot. He arrives early morning and leaves around two. He don’t bother people just say hi and ask if your having a great vacation. I asked him if he lived in town he said he didn’t have a home anywhere but stays in St. John. I didn’t know he was homeless I just thought he just hung out on the beach.
Pools– The main pool is on the Mediterranean side it has a swim up bar and is the lively pool. This is where the entertainment and games are played. The floaties are at this pool. Their are never any chairs because the butlers reserve them and people get up early and put things to old the chairs.
Every morning I would wake up and swim laps and exercise in the pool outside my room before I went to breakfast. Both sides are nice but you have to decide if you want a hotel feel or island cottage feel. A lot of people had butlers but I had a terrific time without one.
Spa– The spa was very relaxing. I did a spa special called The jet lag recovery on Monday which was a body scrub and massage and I added on an eye treatment. Because I was a returning guess they gave me a 100.00 spa credit. I had to ask though because I read the sign of the benefits for returning guests. I did a foot massage and pedicure on Friday. I felt the spa was overpriced. They should have some massages for under 100. I would’ve done more. I made an appointment to have a massage on the beach but I cancelled it. I wanted to spend my money on the gift shop and the vendors instead.
We had a nice romantic and relaxing vacation. You’re on island time so if things are a little slow paced then what you are accustomed to, don’t get upset. Relax and enjoy the beautiful island of Antigua. You will be back to work in no time.
Tip: Bring bug spray if you want to sit out at night.
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