This is a chronological recollection of our stay in Sandals Antigua from Sept 25 through Oct 3, 2007. Hopefully others find it useful and keep as far away from this resort as possible.
Part I: 9/25 – Safe in room doesn’t function. We requested to have it fixed, no one ever showed up. 9/26 – We schedule dinner for 4 with the concierge at Kimonos for the evening of the 26th, which is confirmed. 9/26 – My wive’s spa appointments aren’t there. When they reschedule, they refuse to do her trial makeup. The beautician that does her hair has a very, very bad attitude, painfully tearing at her hair the entire time. When she confronts the spa receptionist regarding her trial makeup, the receptionist literally puts her hand in her face and tells her "if it’s not in the computer, there is nothing I can do for you". When I arrived to pick her up from the spa, she was in tears. 9/26 – The concierge leaves a message stating that there was a mistake and we do not have dinner reservations at Kimonos, however they reschedule it for the evening of the 28th. We expressed that this was not acceptable as our family was leaving the morning of the 28th. They indicated there was nothing they could do. 9/26 – An international long distance call is made on our phone for approximately $150 worth of charges. The call was made at 7:37pm, while we were at the OK Corral eating dinner with my parents. 9/27 – While exchanging rings we notice the diamond from my wedding band has gone missing. It was accounted for first thing in the morning (8:30am approximately), and was never taken out of the box prior to the presentation of rings during the wedding ceremony. Unfortunately our surprise is clearly visible in the wedding video, as is the missing stone when they zoom in on our hands. 9/27 – During our first dance after the wedding the music skips multiple times. This isn’t the end of the world… but it certainly adds to our frustration. 9/27 – Late evening we notice our "member cards" are not on our keychain anymore. That said, our swipe card to enter the room still works, so we assume the cards fell off or something similar. 9/28 – When my parents check out on the "old" side they are charged $4+ per minute for room to room calls. The person working the front desk says this is a typical charge, and my parents pay over $100 in room to room fees. They checked out at 10:46am, verified by their credit card charge.
Part II: 9/28 – We check with the concierge on the new side, whom tells us the key we have is not the room key. He says the key we have is "902", then says he cancelled any other key access to our room and reissues us a key. This was at approximately 12-12:30pm. We assume, but are definitely not certain, that we accidentally left our room key with housekeeping and accidentally took theirs in passing as they were cleaning our room on the 27th. We didn’t notice until the morning of the 28th, when we tried to make a purchase at the gift shop. We still don’t know what the 902 means. 9/28 – We speak to the concierge and reserve a hobie cat sailboat for 2pm, which they confirm. 9/28 – The spa manager gives us a free "Island Bath" due to the spa issues. It is a far cry from trial makeup, certainly doesn’t account for the attitude issues previously, and is nothing more than a drawn bath and champagne, both of which we could have easily had in our room. It was still unpleasant, as they checked in every few minutes, and the receptionist still had a bit of an attitude. 9/28 – We arrive at water sports to take out the sailboat, and they tell us that they cannot be reserved, contrary to what the concierge told us. We have to wait ~45 minutes for one to become available – they even let multiple people go before us even though we were their first, simply because they didn’t even take names or make a waiting list… they just took the person that butted to the front of the line and forced their way in. 9/28 – We return to our room at approximately 4:30pm to find all my cash, my cell phone, and my cell phone charger are missing. It was $82 cash, a Cingular/AT&T 8525 cell phone, and the associated charger. The police come and spend maybe 2-3 minutes looking over the room and requests us to meet with them in our room at 2:30pm the next afternoon. Hotel security also arrives and takes our information. 9/28 – The concierge tells me I will not be charged for calling internationally to cancel credit cards. They were not stolen, however if they took the cash out of my wallet and went through all of our belongings, who knows if they wrote down the credit card numbers. 9/28 – Someone finally arrives to fix our safe. 9/28 – We go to the ‘internet cafe’ to look up phone numbers so we can cancel my phone service. We are told the internet is down, yet there are people in the cafe actively on the internet. This is all after a long conversation regarding getting the internet charges covered by the hotel due to the robbery. 9/29 – We arrive back at our room at 2pm to meet with the police. By 3:30 they have still not arrived. 9/29 – We meet with Mr. Stuedmann (hotel manager) and Mr. Martin (hotel security manager). During the 5 minute meeting Mr. Stuedmann repeatedly asks us to hold as he takes phone calls. It is very apparent that his priority during this meeting is not with us. They indicate they are investigating the robbery and ask us some cursory questions regarding what times we came and went into the room. During this meeting Mr. Martin questions us on a room entry at 10:43am. I assure him it is not possible we were the ones that entered the room, as we were with my parents on the other side of the resort at 10:46am. Mr. Stuedmann also points out that he has authorized a $250 credit due to the construction noise. 9/29 – At dinner we meet 2 couples that came together. We warn them of the room to room charges. After dinner they check in at the front desk, and are told there are no such charges. I confront the front desk worker – whom is the same person that told my parents there was a room to room charge, and he says there is no such thing, that there was a computer glitch earlier. This is the EXACT SAME PERSON that apparently lied to myself and my family not 1 day earlier!
9/30 – While walking through the resort my wife falls due to excessively slippery walkways. It was not raining.
Part III: 10/1 – We have a meeting with the video team to review our wedding DVD. It is scheduled for 3pm. We show up at the TV room in the crystal lounge, as told, at 2:45. By 3:30 no one has shown up, so we go to the front desk and ask. They call the video team and tell us we need to come back tomorrow at 1pm. 10/2 – Mr. Martin calls us at approximately 9am to schedule a meeting with us, Mr. Stuedmann, and the general manager. I request a time of 11:30am, which is confirmed. He calls me later that morning to indicate the GM is still in a meeting and we’ll have to meet later. He assures me that even though we have plans for the day, he can track us down anywhere on the resort, that all of us will sit down and get this resolved. 10/2 – We show up at 12:45 in the crystal lounge again to wait for the video team. By 1:10 they have not shown up, so I check with the front desk. They call, and tell us someone is on the way. At 1:25 we were still waiting, so I check in again. They call, and about 5-10 minutes later they show up. When we arrive to view the video they still haven’t finished it, so we wait another 5-10 minutes for them to finish before we review the video. 10/2 – We check with the concierge to see if Barefoot by the Sea is still serving food, they confirm with us that they are not open. We go to the main pool to relax, only to see people dining at Barefoot. We walk over to barefoot, get a table, and eat. 10/2 – We go to the front desk, as nothing has been conveyed to us regarding the meeting with Mr. Stuedmann, Mr. Martin, and the GM. We meet with Mr. Stuedmann, who indicates that Mr. Martin was confused and my wife and I weren’t to be included in that meeting. He believes that Mr. Martin had myself and the GM confused and was calling me thinking I was the GM. I convey our overall dissatisfaction with the resort and their responsiveness, using the issues we recently had with the video team. He tells me he will work on getting us a credit to cover the costs of the video (approx $250). He also tells me that the video team conveyed to him that they waited from 3-4:30pm for us the original day, which simply is not true. The phone records should verify this, as the front desk called them at about 3:30pm that day. 10/2 – While returning to the room my wife falls again. This time, unfortunately, she hits her arm and chin abruptly on the ground. Luckily nothing serious, just some bumps and bruises. Once again, it was not raining. 10/2 – We return to the room to find the checkout invoice. Noted in it are numerous long distance charges, which we were told would be covered. I confront the concierge desk, whom tells me that is not the case, only the internet would be (mind you we never used the internet). I express this is not acceptable, and she says she will speak with management. 10/3 – We check out, and are told our balance is $0. I question this, as we had a $250 credit due us. She says it was to cover any charges on the room, at which time I point out we had no charges to the room. She checks, and 5 minutes later comes back to tell me that it isn’t a credit, but a service credit, and is only valid against room charges. This is contrary to what was expressed to me by Mr. Stuedmann previously. Additionally there is no credit for the video.
10/3 – While waiting for the taxi to pick us up Mr. Stuedmann passes. He apologizes to us regarding our stay, and assures us that all will be resolved – he will continue to be in touch and he will continue to internally escalate our issues. Oddly enough, this is the first time anyone apologizes.
Resumé: In general, we have absolutely no faith in anything anyone at Sandals says. As you can see, we were repeatedly lied to, given misinformation, and easily spent 1-3 hours EVERY DAY waiting for people to show up for meetings, which they scheduled. Not a single person was willing to work around our schedule, all times were given to us without opportunity to negotiate. This caused us to miss a multitude of events, anything from snorkeling to group events at the resort. During our entire stay there was heavy construction immediately outside our door. I do mean immediately – within 5-10ft of our door. Everything from jackhammers to landscaping equipment was in use starting at approximately 8am, every morning. We additionally met multiple couples that had similar issues – a couple which had their passports and $1600 stolen, another couple that had their cell phone stolen, another couple had an extremely nice camera stolen, and a massive amount of people that had been continually misled or lied to by the resort staff. A couple we flew back to the US with had long distance charges placed on their room as well – incidentally they were staying on the same floor of the hotel as us. I would also recommend anyone that doesn’t plan to drink in their room to avoid the additional charges of the concierge level room. Only Kimonos requires reservations, all other restaurants are walk in. The walkway from the new Mediterranean hotel to any pools/bars/dining is extremely dangerous due to how slick it is… we would have been much better off staying on the old side with a non-concierge room. Not only would we have saved money, it would have been quicker to get to activities and, more importantly, it would have been safer. The service we received doesn’t even compare to a $40 a night motel, and we paid substantially more. Antigua is beautiful, and we will happily return – with anyone but Sandals. A tent and kerosene stove would be better.
This was my wedding and honeymoon. We will carry these memories with us for our entire lives. When friends and family ask us how our trip was, what are we to say to them? Nothing will ever make this right.