Last year my wife and I travelled to our first all-inclusive resort. Sandals Grande Antigua, from its luxurious images on the Sandals web site, to the wonderful DVD that we received upon showing interest in visiting, did not fail to live up to their reputation as the ultimate in all-inclusive couples vacations. Just take a look at the summary account of our experience at this amazing resort.
Booking the Trip
Once we booked the trip using their very slick online booking engine on their web site, we received a welcome package of information, tags for our luggage, a folio for all of our travel documents and more information about the resort and its amenities. We were even more excited than before.
Here We Go!
Then, on a cold and snow covered February day in Ohio, we boarded a plane for our romantic trip of a lifetime. After one simple connection, we landed in Antigua and were greeted by a quaint, yet efficient, airport staffed by very kind and welcoming people. We were escorted to our shuttle and had a lovely ride through the island to our destination. Upon arriving at the resort, we were greeted with champagne, an amazing upgrade to a huge room overlooking the resort, and another group of people who obviously love working for Sandals.
When we looked at all the amenities before our trip, we had determined to try every one of the 10 world-class dining options. While they were all amazing, our favorites were Bayside for breakfast, Barefoot by the Sea or Bella Napoli for lunch, Bayside again for dinner and the sushi bar for a late night snack. We also enjoyed the incredibly fast room service with plentiful options and several of the other eateries. Ultra-inclusive is a fitting description.
While we were there, we enjoyed several nights of live music, a beach barbecue, loads of water activities and constant attention by a five star staff who doesn’t even work for tips! Our room had a magically replenishing refrigerator and our bed was turned down each night with towels shaped into swans on the bed. Although we never saw our housekeeping crew, they took very good care of us.
I recommend taking one of the featured tours of the Island if possible. Our driver and guide took us on a half day journey through the island, stopping anywhere we wanted to for shopping or photo opportunities. We were able to see some of the old sugar mills, Admiral Nelson’s Dockyards and the famed Shirley Heights. If you go to Shirley Heights on Sunday, you will be able to take part in their weekly celebration with live music and incredible local food.
I had always heard stories about all-inclusive resorts and how you have to be careful about which you choose. Sandals Grande Antigua, while more expensive than some, really left us feeling that we got more than we paid for, a romantic connection in a beautiful place staffed by wonderful people. Our trip was much better than we even imagined it could be. And we will be going back.