Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa is a huge all-inclusive resort on one of Antigua’s loveliest beaches, Dickenson Bay.
The property is comprised of two distinctively different complexes: Sandals Antigua Caribbean Village and the newer Mediterranean Village, which opened July 2007.
Sandals Antigua Caribbean Village sprawls across 19 beautifully landscaped acres dotted with hammocks, swinging chairs, outdoor sculpture, and two wedding gazebos. The villages contain guest rooms, five restaurants, five bars, five freshwater pools, five whirlpools, a fitness center, and the Red Lane Spa.
The Mediterranean Village consists of one five-story building and two seven-story buildings with suites, four restaurants, three bars, the Eastern Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, a shopping village, and spa facilities.
Together the two properties that comprise Sandals Grande Antigua offer a variety of land sports including volleyball and tennis on two artificial turf courts, as well as water sports such as kayaking, snorkeling trips, windsurfing, and Hobie cat sailing.
The resort provides abundant entertainment including nightly shows, singalongs, limbo demonstrations, midnight buffets, karaoke, and guest and staff talent shows.
With its emphasis on fantasy, the architecture is Disneyesque. Facilities are well-maintained but slick, and the atmosphere is that of a non-stop beach party.
Guest Rooms at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Before booking a room, it's valuable to understand the two sides of this large resort so that you can choose where you prefer to stay:
The Caribbean Village has 193 well-maintained rooms in nine categories. These are located in charming renovated buildings originally built in the 1950s and have tropical names including the Frangipani Block and the Anthurium Building. Options include honeymoon oceanview suites and honeymoon garden rondovals, which are round rooms with a cone-shaped ceiling.
The Mediterranean Village complex comprises 180 suites in six room categories, all with ocean views. These are housed in tremendous five- and seven-story buildings. The largest, the luxury ocean village one bedroom suite, covers 1,400 square feet and has a Jacuzzi and a private plunge pool. The smallest, the Portofino suite, occupies 450 square feet.
All rooms include air-conditioning and a ceiling fan, a four-poster king size bed, hair dryer, telephone, bath and shower, safe, CD clock radio, iron and ironing board, cable TV, coffee maker, and a mini refrigerator that is restocked daily.
Rooms in the Mediterranean Village also have marble columns, Italian tile flooring, plasma TVs, and custom-designed mahogany furniture, as well as bathrooms with Italian marble, Jacuzzi tubs for two, and separate shower areas with an overhead rain shower.
Guests staying in the top suites receive Butler Service, which ranges from unpacking suitcases to drawing bubble baths.
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa has a total of 11 restaurants and 7 bars, all serving unlimited cocktails. The Bayside Restaurant in the Caribbean Village overlooking Dickenson Bay offers candlelight dining. Il Palio serves Italian food, Kimono’s specializes in Japanese food, and the O.K. Corral is a western-style grill. The more casual Courtyard Bistro off the main lobby is open all day and from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., offering sandwiches and snacks.
The Mediterranean Village has four restaurants: an Italian restaurant, a British pub, a brick-oven pizzeria, and Barefoot by the Sea, an outdoor dining area.
The resort also features a specialty midnight buffet twice a week, such as a chocolate midnight buffet with pastries and a midnight seafood and martini buffet. Tea is served every afternoon.
(visit their Web site) extends the Sandals free WeddingMoon package offer to couples honeymooning at the resort for at least five nights.
The package includes the necessary documents, a marriage officiant, a wedding reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres for the couple plus two guests, a wedding cake, one photograph, a candlelight dinner for two, “Just Married” T-shirts, a bridal bouquet and boutonniere, and the services of a wedding coordinator.
For groups of 10 or more staying three nights or longer, Sandals offers special packages that include the WeddingMoon plus a private welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner, a manicure and pedicure for the bride, a 30-minute massage for the groom, and reception packages for an additional charge.
Couples who honeymoon at Sandals can choose either a set of Waterford stemware or Wedgwood or Waterford china. Any couple who honeymoons at Sandals and returns for their first anniversary receives the first and last nights of their stay free at any Sandals or Beaches resort.
The property has five swimming pools and five whirlpools at the Caribbean Village.
Its Mediterranean Village boasts the largest freshwater pool in the Eastern Caribbean and poolside cabanas outfitted with plasma screen TVs and wireless Internet access.
With the addition of the Mediterranean Village, the Red Lane Spa at Sandals Grande Antigua expanded to 6,500 square feet. It features two couples’ sanctuary rooms with large Jacuzzi tubs, two couples’ treatment rooms, and six single treatment rooms.
The facility also includes a lounge area, locker room, two beauty salons, and a fitness center.
The Red Lane Spa offers Lover’s Lane, different combinations of treatments and massages specifically designed for couples.
Special bridal and wedding packages are available, with services such as hairstyling and make-up.
Nearby Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Most couples who opt for an all-inclusive resort like (visit their Web site) do so because going off-site isn’t required. Sandals has anticipated this by including just about everything anyone could want right on the property.
In addition to the numerous restaurants, pools, spa, and water sport facilities, Sandals is building a 3,200 square foot shopping village with an art gallery, photo shop, and duty-free jewelry shop.
For those who do want to venture off-site, Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa is only a 20 to 30 minute cab ride to most tourist sites.
The resort can arrange excursions to such attractions as historic Nelson’s Dockyard, the Sunday night barbecue and breathtaking views at Shirley Heights, and shopping in St. John’s. The resort is 15 minutes from Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport.
What Could Be Improved at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
Facilities at the Caribbean Village have an island feeling, but those at the newer Mediterranean Village may be jolting to couples seeking a Caribbean experience like ones they’ve seen in movies.
The gigantic, impersonal building that looks as if it was designed by an architect who trained at Disneyworld. It could be anywhere — particularly Las Vegas.
While rooms in the monolithic five- and seven-story buildings offer wonderful views of the sea, actually reaching the water’s edge requires an elevator ride and a trek across the property. Consequently, lodging in these impersonal skyscrapers may minimize some visitors’ experience of being in the Caribbean.
Is the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa Right for You?
Honeymooning at (visit their Web site) is like going back to summer camp –- only this time with booze.
A frat party atmosphere pervades the activities, which range from limbo competitions to karaoke to raunchy games on the beach with teams named the 69-ers and the Camel Toes.
Some of the entertainment is directed by an overly-energetic DJ via a piercingly loud sound system, making it difficult to escape from the noise anywhere on the property.
Couples in their 20’s may feel most at home here, while those who have a few more years under their belt or are looking for a more private or more sophisticated experience may find the pressure to party annoying.
The Caribbean Village was originally built in the 1950’s and is quite charming. The newly constructed Mediterranean Village raises the question of why someone would go to the Caribbean for a Mediterranean experience.
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
P. O. Box 147
St. John's, Antigua
268-462-0267 or 800-SANDALS