Brief Overview of Our Stay in Sandals Grande Antigua
Let’s just get this out of the way first: we had a fantastic time during our stay at Sandals Grande Antigua! Travel can seem like a tricky thing right now, with everything going on, but we found that our trip to Antigua was relaxing and stressfree.
Check out our podcast episode on Sandals Grande Antigua for a more thorough review on our stay below. However, now that we’re back, we wanted to share a brief overview of our stay and what you can expect on your visit.
Arriving in Antigua
Due to Covid-19, the arrival process in St. John was a bit intimidating and chaotic. We both brought a negative PCR test result with us, which was required to enter the country. This test is the one where they go all the way up the nasal cavity with the special q-tip.
The process is very strict, but once you get through it, you feel super safe, as if there is a 0% chance of getting Covid during your stay in Antigua. Health officials check your temperature and your paperwork, then make you wait in a containment room while a doctor reviews the test results. All of the staff wear what looks like hazmat suits, which can be a little jarring.
We recommend trying to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible to get through the process quicker. Airlines charge extra for the closer, comfier seats, but it’s worth it to get to your resort faster. We were in first class and it still took us an hour before we were finally through to the health officials since another plane arrived just before us.
Ironically, everyone is forced to wait in narrow hallways and a single containment room, which is likely safe since everyone should have a negative test result, but it’s still an odd thing to take part in.
Our Resort Experience at Sandals Grande Antigua
During the trip, we wanted to get a feel for the property, the service, and the amenities at Sandals Grande Antigua. We booked five nights, giving us four full days of fun and exploration. The drive from the airport to the resort took 20 minutes with only six people allowed in the shuttle.
Sandals Grande Antigua has two main sections: the Caribbean Village and the Mediterranean Village. Typically, you are able to check-in at either side, but Covid restrictions require check-in at the Caribbean Village. We stayed at the Mediterranean Village on the opposite side of the resort, which was a bit of a trek. With 373 rooms in 28 categories, Sandals Grande Antigua is a massive resort!
Our guest room was a Mediterranean Oceanview Club Level Suite which had a tremendous view and perfect layout in classic sandals fashion. However, the rooms in the Mediterranean Village definitely need updating. While the area is very clean and nice, it falls just short of modern sensibilities. The Caribbean side has received a bit of an upgrade in recent years, unlike the Mediterranean side.
We loved the Mediterranean side! It’s perfect for watching sunsets and the beach has zero waves, letting you lay in the shallow water and run your hands through the white, almost powdery sand. The water, as you may have expected, is crystal-clear and in varying shades of blue.
We took advantage of the resort’s eleven restaurants which are almost all open-air and near the beach. It took us about 10 minutes to walk to get breakfast from the Mediterranean village to the more centrally located Caribbean Village. Walking throughout the resort is always gorgeous; the property is very lush and green, with massive palm trees towering over everything around. They look like ancient oaks, they’re so big!
We love swim-up bars and Sandals Grande Antigua has two, a quieter one in the Caribbean Village (maybe too quiet, with a smaller pool) and a livelier one closer to us, with a great view of the beach.
All in all, we only left the property a couple of times, once for snorkeling and once for a great visit to an off-site tiki bar for drinks with locals and the bar owner.