We absolutely loved it. Everything was perfect. The travel to there (from Baltimore) was grueling. We had a 7 hour layover in San Juan on the way there and then on the way back we had some late flight issues (no fault of Sandals).
We went with the ocean view honeymoon suite with butler service and I do not regret it one bit. We picked the butler service because there was no way to get room service in those rooms without one and after the cruise, we’ve become big fans of room service. At first I was concerned about feeling awkward having a butler but I got over it pretty quick. They are not a servant who stands there waiting for you to ring a bell, they are more like a friend who is there to make everything go smoothly for you.
First, the room service is a great feature and with the butler, you aren’t limited to the room service menu. We were craving BLT sandwiches one day for lunch but it wasn’t on the room service menu. We happened to be talking with our butler at the time and he went off and had them made for us. After that, we didn’t care what the room service menu said was available, we just told the Larry, our butler, and he made it happen.
The next great thing is he would bring us a cooler full of beer and water to take to the beach . This makes you instantly popular since you don’t have to walk to one of the bars to get refills and you’ll find that you make friends fast. Larry would come by from time to time while we were on the beach and ask if we needed anything. He would get us books or sunscreen, or shirts if we forgot to take them with us. If we wanted to eat on the beach, he would go and get the food for us. Sabrina was a fan of the frozen drinks so Larry would stop by from time to time with fresh one’s for her.
Larry also made all of our dinner reservations for us. Which you wouldn’t think would be a big deal. However, you can only call the day before to get dinner reservations so if you didn’t think about it or plan ahead you wouldn’t get the best times. With the butler, we told him where we wanted to eat throughout the week and he would remember to make the reservations. It’s just one less thing to worry about so that you can relax and enjoy each other even more. They also have “connections” so they can sometimes can get you squeezed in even if it’s booked. We noticed a lot of couples who didn’t have a butler
that were frustrated because they couldn’t get in when they wanted to or they forgot to call in time. He also recommended a few restaurants that were off the resort and made us reservations there (more on that later). We didn’t use the packing/unpacking service that they advertise with the butler but everything else was great.
As far as the room goes. It’s a simple room. The tub was very nice even though we never took advantage of it. The air conditioning was adequate, It wouldn’t get the room like an ice box but it would get the room comfortable. As far as the view, it was barely ocean view. There is really only one building that is ocean view but we were happy regardless. The in-room bar was very well stocked. Beer, wine, champagne, soda, and fruit juices in the fridge. Then there is more liquor in the bathroom: Absolut Vodka, Johnny Walker Black, Tanqueray Gin, a local rum (English Harbour) and some other stuff. If you wanted something else all you had to do was ask the butler and they would find it for you.
The food was good. If you’ve ever done a cruise, the cuisine on a cruise is much much better. They had three restaurants for dinner: OK Corral (Bar-B-Q and tex mex), an italian place, and Kimono’s (a japanese hibachi place) . I was a little dissapointed in the selection because I love food and I was expecting a little more Caribbean. There was plenty to eat at each of the places though, you did not go hungry.
The OK Corral was our favorite. The Chili was awesome, and the ribs and sirloin were great. Highly recommended.
Kimono’s was pretty good too. There isn’t a whole lot of “show” to the preparation but the food is pretty good.
We heard bad things about the Italian place so we skipped it.
There is a bayside restaurant that serves breakfast and lunches. That was our favorite place to eat. It’s buffet style and I’m pretty sure there is something there for everyone. That’s where you’ll find some of the Caribbean food but there is still a lot of “American” to please any taste buds. Again, you won’t go hungry there. The best thing
about this place is the view. You are sitting right next to the beach and it’s just gorgeous.
There is a small bistro that serves lunch and afternoon snacks and then re-opens at night to serve late night snacks. The food there is very american (BLT, Burger, hot dogs, cheese sticks, etc) but is very good too and they have ice cream, including coconut ice cream.
We went off the resort one night for dinner because I was intent on getting some real Antiguan cuisine and Larry recommended the “Coconut Grove.” This place was by far the best place we ever ate!! The view was fantastic, we were sitting 4 feet from the surf and less than a foot from the sand on the beach. The food was fantastic, we started off with an appetizer of coconut shrimp that was unique. Most coconut shrimp that I’ve had has been rolled in coconut just before frying. These shrimp had the coconut ground into the batter. I had an Antiguan Lobster Thermador and Sabrina had it was a 2 minute walk down the beach from the resort.
The beach is a public beach so there are vendors/street merchants walking along it. However, they are extremely polite and if you just say “No thank you,” they won’t harass you, they just walk away and say “Okay, maybe later.” There were only about 4 vendors on the beach throughout the day, some sell jewelry, t-shirts and scarfs; some sell excursions and tours; and some sell wood carvings or palm leaf weavings.
We did not do any of the tours because we were really just there to relax and enjoy each other. Our hardest decision every day was to go to the pool bar or the beach first (and in the afternoon we switched). But I heard pretty good things about the tours offered through Sandals (at additional cost).
The resort itself seems a bit outdated and could use a face lift. The pictures that were taken online seem like they were taken when the resort first opened. But it’s still real nice. There is some construction going on near the honeymoon suites but if you get the room I suggested above, you should be far enough away from the noise.
Before we went, some people warned us that since it’s all inclusive, they go light on the drinks. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The bar tenders would load your drinks with as little or as much alcohol as you wanted. It was hard to get refills at the restaurants but that’s because the bar usually wasn’t near where you were eating so they had to walk some distance to get the drinks.
The weather was gorgeous. 85 degrees and fairly humid. It wasn’t a shock to your system when you got in the ocean, instead, it was refreshing. The resort wasn’t too crowded, but I wouldn’t have wanted there to be any more people there, it was just right. The locals told us that next month will start their busy season. They are really busy when it is our winter. Then during our summer things really slow down there because it can get up to 115 degrees according to our Larry.
We stayed Sunday through Sunday. We got there so late the first day that we just had time for a glass of champagne and room service so we missed a day. By Saturday though, everyone that we had met while we were there had left and it was all new faces. We kind of felt like we had overstayed. If I did it again, I think we would try to get a late flight Saturday.