* Prices may differ from that shown
My husband and I married and honeymooned at Sandals Grande Antigua in summer 2008. As another reviewer has mentioned, it was next to other resorts, which I'm sure are lovely, but Sandals is just so amazing it made everywhere else look a bit dull.
We arrived and were treated to champagne whilst it was explained that as we were marrying at the resort, they'd upgraded us for free to a concierge suite. Apparently, they also do this for couples who aren't marrying there if they have rooms free anyway.
The resort is divided into two main areas: Caribbean Grove and Mediterranean Village, both of which have their own accomodation and restaurants but no matter which part you're in, you are free to use the pools and restaurants anywhere in the resort. Sandals call their resorts 'ultra all-inclusive'; this means that unlike other all-inclusive resorts where only local spirits and buffet restaurants are usually included in the price, Sandals includes everything. Want Jack Daniels instead of local rum? No charge. Three course dinner instead of buffet? No charge.
The main pool is the largest in the Eastern Caribbean and has a well-stocked pool bar in the middle offering any drink you want. The staff are super-polite and helpful and will make drinks off menu at the drop of a hat. Every restaurant in the resort, even the basic buffet 'Bayside' offers beautifully cooked food. Aside from the buffet restaurant, there is an Italian, Carribean, Seafood, Steakhouse, English Pub (loads better than your local!!) and a Pizzeria. The only time you'll pick up a charge for eating or drinking is if you care to order wines from the premium list.
Entertainment is regular and usually involves wine or cocktail parties, beach BBQs and beach games. The entertainment staff are also superb. You get the feeling that they would bend over backwards for you and there is never the least bit of insincerity. Tours and trips out can also be arranged by the staff on your behalf.
The rooms are pristine, as are the grounds and beach. Our minibar was re-stocked daily and the wonderful cleaning staff turned down our covers nightly whilst we were out partying. The staff are absolutely trustworthy and security is second-to-none. The beds are all kingsize and each catagory of room comes with an amazing view, whether you choose garden or oceanfront. The gardens themselves are amazing and the staff will cut down coconuts for you to be filled with rum or whatever you like at your request.
We were thoroughly spoilt and would return there tomorrow if we could but there are some disadvantages. The first one being that Sandals resort holidays are more expensive than most other all-inclusives. We reasoned that all the 'extras' like premier spirits, etc. made the cost more than worthwhile but the initial outlay is still steep.
The second major disadvantage is that Antigua is now fairly difficult to get to. 2008 was the last season of BMI flights from Manchester. Now if you want to go to Antigua, no matter where in England you are, you will have to fly from Gatwick.
Finally, I should also point out the heavily restrictive entrance policy: All Sandals resorts insists that only heterosexual couples over the age of 18 will be admitted. No singles, no children, etc. Sandals resorts are part of the 'Beaches' family of resorts and everyone who would not be admitted to Sandals would be allowed in Beaches, ie. families, groups of friends, etc. but Sandals will not budge on their entrance policy, so check before you book!
I stayed at the Antigua Sandals resort in the Summer of 2008. It was beautiful.
Although it is not set on the nicest beach on the island (I think the hotel one the most perfect beach you will ever see is called the Jolly hotel or something, but it is certainly not as nice as the Sandals one), Sandals' private beach features pure white sands and a lovely stretch of green blue water which is actually warm.
The Barefoot Restaurant (so called because it is located on the beach, in the sand) is the nicest of them all, and is the perfect setting for any meal of the day. Watch the sun rise there at breakfast, relax in its shade at midday, or watch the beach lit with candlelight at night. Heavenly.
The pool is massive and has a swim up bar. The staff are more than friendly and the rooms are spacious and well catered. I will definitely be returning.