On Location: A slice of island life in Antigua

I couldn’t help but embrace the chilled-out Caribbean vibe on my idyllic trip to Antigua, known as “The Land of 365 Beaches”.

The gorgeous city of St Johns set the scene for the Sandals UK Top Sellers Trip as we prepared for a tropical getaway on the Lesser Antilles island. We stayed at the Sandals Grande Antigua resort, which is made up of the Caribbean Beachfront Village and the Mediterranean Oceanview Village.

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Leah Marshall, Director of Sales for Unique Vacations UK Ltd., sales and marketing representatives of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, hosted a group fam trip to Sandals Grande Antigua in September 2023. Attending Travel Agents included Neisha Shrimpton, Travelosophers; Gillian Ashwood, We Travel To; Gayle Chase, Travel Counsellors; Kerry Arneil, Hays Travel; Julia Coats, The Destination Lounge; Beth Speakman, Got2Go and Rachel Buffrey, Shore Travel. The group was also hosted by Sandra Goncalves, Sandals UK call centre’s Team Leader.

After an extremely smooth check-in, I was allocated to a Mediterranean Club Level Suite with a stunning view of the five-star hotel. The beautiful suite was well appointed with a huge, luxurious bed, a double vanity unit and a whirlpool tub. There was also a collection of spirits and signature Robert Mondavi wines. The cheerful staff never failed to smile and offer a helping hand.

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Our first day was spent inspecting the resort. As with all Sandals properties, there are three levels of rooms – Luxury, Club and Butler. The rooms on the Caribbean side are very much full of character and island charm, whilst the Mediterranean Oceanview Village offers modern decor with a European-style influence.

My two favourite rooms were the Mediterranean One Bedroom Butler Villa with Private Pool Sanctuary and the Caribbean Honeymoon Butler Rondoval with Private Pool Sanctuary, both of which offer complete privacy. The Caribbean portion feels more intimate and romantic, with quieter pools. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean section is where most of the action happens, with a larger pool and a cluster of activities available. We also discovered the resort’s impressive wedding locations, Red Lane Spa and sporting facilities.

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Sandals Grande Antigua is situated on the famous Dickenson Bay. At just under two miles long, it is a quintessential white sandy coastline with crystal blue waters gently lapping the shore. I would recommend walking along the beach in the evening to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking sunset. There are a host of water sports on offer too, including kayaking, paddle boarding, Hobie Cat sailing, snorkelling and diving – all at no extra cost.

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Adventurous travellers can make the most of the island with the resort’s excursion company, Island Routes. We went on a fantastic catamaran cruise and bravely swam with stingrays.

How could I not mention the cuisine? The meals were outstanding, with an elegant ambience at Eleanor’s, entertaining showmanship at Kimonos and sublime desserts at Mario’s. The a la carte breakfast at Eleanor’s was my highlight. I also enjoyed my lunchtimes at Barefoot by the Sea and Bella Napoli Pizzeria.

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The fun continued after dinnertimes in the form of a vibrant Caribbean band that really knew how to get the crowd going or a sing along at the Piano Bar, followed by karaoke at the Drunken Duck pub. There was never a dull moment!

It’s clear to see why Sandals Grande Antigua is voted the “World’s Most Romantic Resort” year after year.

Agents can book online or by calling Unique Caribbean Holidays Ltd Sales Executives on 0808 164 3459. For more information, visit sellingsandals.co.uk or call Agency Sales General enquiries on 0207 590 0210.

By Gayle Chase, Gold Travel Counsellor, Travel Counsellors