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Looking for an amazing, adults-only, all-inclusive, Caribbean getaway? Well, I just returned from an amazing three nights at Sandals Grande Antigua and this is an incredible resort worth considering for your next vacation. Perfect for your honeymoon, destination wedding, or anniversary trip, or anytime you want to get away without the kids. I had a fabulous experience at Sandals Grande Antigua and I am so excited to share my full review with you.
As a full service travel agent and Certified Sandals Specialist, I was invited to spend three nights at Sandals Grande Antigua. As always, all opinions are my own.
Sandals Grande Antigua Review
Why Choose a Sandals Resort for Your next Vacation?
Sandals is a brand of adults-only, all-inclusive resorts with properties in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada. My first Sandals trip was to Sandals Grenada in the Fall of 2019, and I’ve also been to Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica and Sandals Barbados.
You might also be familiar with their family friendly sister property, Beaches with two resorts in Jamaica and of course the amazing Beaches Turks & Caicos.
What really sets Sandals apart is their all-included luxury experience.
That’s right, you will want for NOTHING on your Sandals vacation, and the up-front all-inclusive price makes it easy to budget for this trip.
One thing I love about Sandals Resorts is there are so many different room categories (which is why you should ALWAYS book a Sandals vacation with a full-service travel agent such as myself). I can help you choose the perfect room that matches your vacation style and budget.
Another thing that sets Sandals apart is the impeccable service you will receive throughout your trip. AND NO TIPPING!
I love that so much is really included on your Sandals vacation – premium liquor, all of the restaurants, luxury accommodations, entertainment, SCUBA, and non-motorized water sports. Even your round trip airport transportation is included!
It’s not a nickel and dime resort, and the quality of food and drink is really five star!
Plus, no children make it the perfect haven for couples and friends to relax and indulge.
Why Choose Sandals Grande Antigua For your Next Vacation?
Sandals has 15 resorts on six islands, and each property has its own unique personality. It is worth mentioning that the Antigua resort is always in the top 3 of people’s favorite Sandals resorts. Here is what sets Sandals Antigua apart –
- Sandals Grande Antigua is only a 20-minute ride from the Antigua International Airport, ensuing you are on the resort just a short time after landing!
- Sandals Grande Antigua is situated on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, Dickenson Bay. This stretch of perfect white sand is what beach dreams are made of.
- This resort is gorgeous. With the Mediterranean and Caribbean Villages, it’s like two resorts in one.
- Great SCUBA dive sites nearby- again two dives a day are included for certified divers.
As a full service Travel Agent and Certified Sandals Specialist I can help you plan your next Sandals Vacation. My services are free (the cost of using a travel agent is built into the price no matter how you book) and I help you navigate everything you need to know – from choosing a room category, to preparing to travel – the best way to book a Sandals vacation is with someone you can trust!
Choosing an all-inclusive resort can be tough. Some are big, some are small, some are on the beach, some just near it. Some resorts have better food, more drink options, and more entertainment than others. Of course, there is your budget to consider as well!
For those reasons, it’s always best to consult with a travel professional to help find the perfect resort for you next vacation. And the best part? My services are free!
That’s right, you get full on, personalized, concierge vacation planning service, and it does not cost you a cent more! In fact, a package vacation with one of my preferred suppliers can often save you money on your trip!
Sandals Grande Antigua Rooms
Sandals Grande Antigua is divided into two distinct villages – Mediterranean and Caribbean. There are great rooms on both sides and guests have access to the entire resort no matter where their room is.
Each village does have different features and the best room to book depends on your budget, what kind of view you enjoy, how far you care to be from the beach/pool/restaurants and how large of a room you want.
There is definitely the perfect room for everyone at Sandals Antigua.
Sandals Grande Antigua Mediterranean Village
The Mediterranean Village is the all club level/butler level area of the resort. Most rooms are in the high rise building built up on the bluffs. There are also some one-bedroom private villas in the Mediterranean Village as well.
In the high rise, you will have the most amazing views, high above the resort. In the one-bedroom villas, you will have your own private oasis complete with private pool and jacuzzi! This room also offers Sandals amazing butler service.
The Mediterranean Village is home to the larger pool with swim up bar. Here you will find Mario’s and Barefoot restaurant as well as the Drunken Duck pub.
CHECK OUT: Pool Bag Must Haves
The high-rise tower is a little ways from the beach, it’s not too far, but this tower is set back from the water.
On our recent trip we stayed in a Club-Level Mediterranean Suite. The view was to-die for, but the balcony was a little small for my liking. The room itself was basic, with a king bed, desk, although we did love the rain shower/jacuzzi tub combo and large bathroom to get ready.
Sandals Grande Antigua Caribbean Village
The Caribbean Village offers rooms in all three levels of categories – luxury, club, and butler.
For couples on a tighter budget, there are some great lead-in category rooms on this side. I love the look of these little “gingerbread” houses and we also toured the poolside suites which are a great, budget-friendly category as well!
If you want a completely private sanctuary, you can consider a Rondoval Suite – some with their own private plunge pools, these little huts come with butler service and a very nice, updated bathroom. Some of the Rondovals are located right near the beach.
I also loved the beachfront one-bedroom butler suites. I can request for you a second floor room, with the best views on the resort!
Sandals Grande Antigua Restaurants
I loved the food at Sandals and I also love that all restaurants are included.
That’s right no upcharge for any dinners. Well except if you want a candlelight dinner on the beach, that is extra.
For dinner, there are many restaurants at Sandals Grande Antigua:
Eleanor’s – Located near the beach, this restaurant serves upscale Caribbean cuisine. We dined here on our last night and the food was delicious, as was the mango white chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
Barefoot– Located on the beach (actually on the sand), Barefoot serves seafood for dinner. We ate lunch here twice and you cannot beat the location!
Mario’s – Italian restaurant located in the Mediterranean Village.
Bayside – Also located waterside, serving continental cuisine. We ate here the first night.
Kimono’s – Hibachi restaurant located in the back of Caribbean Village. I ate here at Sandals Grenada but we could not get a reservation on our recent Antigua trip.
Soy – This is Sandal’s sushi bar and restaurant. We ate here on our second night and loved it! Enjoy Sake and all the sushi you can eat.
O.K. Corral – This restaurant serves southwestern cuisine
The Drunken Duck, the British pub at the resort, also serves food starting at 5PM. You can make this your casual dinner spot or stop in for a late night snack.
In normal times, only Kimono’s (hibachi) and Eleanor’s requires reservations for dinner. During our visit in October 2020, ALL restaurants (except the Drunken Duck) were requiring reservations for dinner, in order to control crowds and enforce social distancing.
If you are staying in a butler level room, your butler will make your dining reservations for you. If you are in the Club level, you concierge at Club Sandals will assist. If you are a luxury level guest, you can call dining reservations when you arrive and set those up.
Worth noting that club level guests can order room service until 11pm, and butler guests have that option 24 hours a day. Needless to say, we definitely took advantage of being able to order a pre-dinner snack brought right to our room!
Lunch at Sandals Grande Antigua
Daily, there were several lunch options at Sandals Grande Antigua.
We ate each day at Barefoot’s, with its beautiful location right on the sand, and great food. We had different dishes each day, there were lots of choices.
The other lunch options at Sandals Grande Antigua included pool side Pizza in the Mediterranean Village (which was also perfect for a late afternoon snack), the Courtyard (which apparently has amazing Philly Cheesesteaks) or over at Bayside.
The Butler level guests could have the butler bring them lunch poolside each day – a nice perk of having someone at YOUR service all day!
Contact me for more info on booking a butler level room – the cost may surprise you, it’s probably more affordable than you think and what an amazing way to vacation!
Breakfast at Sandals Grande Antigua
At the time of our visit, the buffet breakfast was not available – normally that is an option at Bayside restaurant.
We ate a sit down breakfast each day at Mario’s. They have an extensive list of options including steak & eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, smoothies and French toast. The breakfast menu is the same at Eleanor’s and Bayside, but with so many choices you can try something different each day!
PS Don’t forget to order a mimosa at breakfast!
Sandals Grande Antigua Drinks
When you remember that all food and all drinks are included in your Sandals vacation, and start to compare to what that would all add up to at an ala-carte resort, the price point for a stay at Sandals really makes a lot of sense.
At Sandals, all premium drinks, Robert Mondavi wines, and Caribbean beers are included in your stay. So, you can get a great drink, all included.
I love the Robert Mondavi white wines and the servers are always quick to refill your glass.
At the swim up bar, we enjoyed a variety of drinks (for research purposes of course) including strawberry daquiris, Pina coladas, Love in a Cup, a Bob Marley, and I even tried a Mudslide!
We also had quite a few Tito’s and sodas – which was a nice, light refreshing pool side drink.
At dinner, each restaurant offers a specialty cocktail which was fun to try!
Sandals Grande Antigua Beach
Situated on Dickenson Bay, this is one of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean. We loved swimming in the Caribbean sea – the water was so warm and calm!
Sandals provides little palapas for their guests, but the beach is technically public. That means that vendors do have stands on the beach and locals will come up to you to sell their souvenirs. We found that a polite, but firm, no thank you was sufficient to let them know we were not interested. And by all means, they did have beautiful shawls, bracelets and stuff to sell, not a bad way to support local merchants!
With that said, there are security guards stationed at the beach entrances, so no one is wandering onto the resort and we felt safe hanging out on the beach.
CHECK OUT: Beach Vacation Packing List
Sandals Grande Antigua Activities
A Sandals Vacation is very relaxing. The service is great and you will want for nothing your entire stay. However, if you are looking to do “something” there are some great options as well!
Sandals Grande Antigua SCUBA
It still floors my mind that SCUBA is included in a Sandals Vacation. Certified divers can dive TWICE a day (except on arrival and departure day) ALL INCLUDED. That is an amazing value, and we met a group of SCUBA lovers who said the dives in Antigua were top notch.
If you want to GET SCUBA certified at Sandals, you can do so for a small fee.
Other Water Sports around Sandals Grande Antigua
During our short stay, we did take out a Stand Up Paddle Board and then a Hobie Cat. It was windy out on the water so the Hobie ended up being way more fun than paddling!
Head down to the dive shop and you can also rent a kayak or go wind surfing. There are also complimentary snorkeling trips offered twice a day from Sandals Grande Antigua, just sign up the day before for your hour long trip!
Other Activities at Sandals Grande Antigua
Sandals Grande Antigua has a gym and a full service spa/salon offering massages, couples’ massages, facials, mani/pedis and salon services. Spa services do cost extra (and be sure to tip the person providing your service).
The spa does have a steam room, sauna, hot tub and cold plunge that is complimentary to ALL resort guests, not just those using the spa.
At Sandals Grande Antigua there are tennis courts, volleyball courts, croquette and pool volleyball, so if you are looking for some sport there are some great options.
In the evenings, there was musical entertainment each evening outside the Drunken Duck. We loved doing karaoke on Thursday and dancing to the band/DJ the other nights!
Excursions around Antigua
If you want to tour the island, you can book an excursion through the Island Routes desk located in the Caribbean Village lobby. Popular Antigua excursions include:
Sunset Catamaran Cruise
4×4 Jeep Adventure
You can also explore the island by rental car. Sandals can arrange that for you, and Antigua is a safe place to explore on your own. A popular spot to drive to is Devil’s Bridge!
ANTIGUA INSIDER TIP: Spend an afternoon at the floating Tiki Bar – walk down the beach, a guy will paddle you out (tip him a few bucks) and enjoy an afternoon of cheap, but strong drinks. My travel companion and some friends she met, went over and said it was a fun time.
Destination Weddings at Sandals Grande Antigua
During our visit there were four destination weddings going at Sandals Grande Antigua.
A Sandals resort is the PERFECT place for your destination wedding in paradise. It still floors me at how much LESS EXPENSIVE a Sandals destination wedding is than one in your hometown.
At Sandals Grande Antigua there are four beautiful locations for your wedding ceremony. On my recent visit, I met with the wedding coordination team, and they can help you design the destination wedding of your dreams.
I can help make sure your guests all have smooth traveling and the bride and groom get all the perks of inviting their friends and family to Sandals!
Overall Review of Sandals Grande Antigua
Bottom line is we had a super fun stay at Sandals Grande Antigua! The service was phenomenal and we spent four days eating, drinking and enjoying the beautiful beach and pool.
The crowd at Sandals Grande Antigua was a fun one. We met some great people who were down to relax and have a great time, which was awesome considering crowds were low as not that many people were planning trips to the Caribbean during COVID. In fact, this was my first time flying during the pandemic!
I very much enjoyed the variety of food, the wine and drinks, and being able to spend some time out on the water, and more time relaxing by the pool. We loved hanging out in the evening – dancing and singing karaoke! To me it was the perfect amount of nightlife.
For this reason, I think Sandals Grande Antigua is perfect for adult group travel, a destination wedding or any couple who likes to socialize and have a good time.
I would have loved more time to explore the island, and to sample all the restaurants on property- clearly, I need to go back.
Have you been to Sandals Grande Antigua? Did you love it? Who is ready for an all-inclusive getaway?