Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sandals Grande Antigua - Part 2


I woke up early again and went out onto our balcony. A black and white kitty was sitting on the sidewalk below so I clucked at it. The next thing I knew, the cat was on the balcony! I was so surprised! It had jumped from our neighbor’s lounge chair to the top of the wall and then walked across the arbor. What a smart little cat. I petted it and it settled onto a chair for a bath and a nap. The resort seemed to have quite a few resident cats, many with a notch in one ear. Someone had mentioned in a Trip Advisor review that the notch meant the cat had been spayed. Good idea.

cat on balcony

When Ron got up, we decided to try the breakfast buffet at Bayside since we hadn’t spent much time in the Caribbean section yet. Bayside sat right on the beach, making it a great spot for people-watching and catching the sea breeze. Unfortunately, the sea gulls thought it was a great spot for stealing bacon. One of the kitchen workers had to walk around with a long stick to shoo them away.



After breakfast, we wandered around the Caribbean Grove, taking pictures. Unlike the Mediterranean Village which had two large multi-story buildings, the rooms in the Caribbean Grove were scattered around in cute cottages and villas with their own small pools. My favorite rooms were the “Rondovals”, tiny round individual suites with cone-shaped roofs. Ron called them Hobbit Houses - I wanted one! There were flowers everywhere, riotous cascades of bougainvillea, sweet-smelling frangipani and huge hibiscus. Sandals really does know how to garden.

While we were exploring, a lady came up to me and asked, “Are you Susan?” It was Sue from Trip Advisor and her husband Tim. Sue had posted a “roll call” in the Antigua forum and it turned out we would be at Sandals the same week. Before we left home, we had exchanged our descriptions so we could recognize each other. I was really glad she had spotted us and said hello.

Caribbean Grove cottages
Caribbean Grove cottages

small pool


Caribbean Grove lobby

After I had thoroughly photographed the Caribbean Grove, we went up to the 7th floor of the Cypress Building to take the obligatory picture of the resort. Ron had complained that everyone on Trip Advisor posted the same picture. But when he saw the view, all he could say was “Wow!” Now we knew why everyone took that picture. The water was ridiculously blue against the red pool tower and the waving green palm trees. Gorgeous! You could take a million pictures and they could never capture how pretty it was.

view from Cypress building

view from Cypress building

Then it was back to the beach where I saw that the paddle boards were out in front of the water sports shack. I had been really looking forward to paddle boarding since I had so much fun in Nassau last fall. But when I talked to the water sports guy, he told me that it was windy and there was a strong current. He said, “It’s up to you. You can try it.” So I can’t say I wasn’t warned, but I really wanted to give it shot. After all, Mary had told me that it’s almost impossible to fall off a paddle board. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can! I got up onto the board just fine but with the current and wind, I couldn't get the board to turn. I just kept going straight out! Pretty soon I started worrying that I would end up in St Kitts so I dug the paddle in too hard and, kerplunk, I was in the water. And that was the end of my paddle boarding. 

Sandals sailboats


Ron had a scuba dive scheduled for 1 o’clock that day so we shared a quick pizza from the pizzeria before I saw him off. Then I went back to Bayside to check out the lunch buffet. I was planning to just have some fruit and salad (really, I was!), but then I saw the fresh pasta station and had a huge plate of Spaghetti Bolognese instead. Yum! Unfortunately, the sea gulls had an eye on my plate. I got up to get some dessert and before I had gone four steps, they attacked! Food went flying everywhere. Note to self: Do not eat at Bayside alone. You need one person to stay at the table and fight off the birds!

After lunch, I read by the pool until Ron got back. He wasn’t too excited about the dive. It was a 25-foot wreck dive without much coral, although he did see some barracuda and a lobster. I told him the two-tank morning dives would probably be better since they went out to the better reefs, but he said he wasn’t going to bother. There were plenty of other things to do. Like hanging out in the pool! At the swim-up bar, we met a couple, Larry and Cathy, who were getting married at the resort in a few days. Then we ran into another couple we had met during check-in and they introduced us to some of their friends. Soon we had a whole flotilla of rafts and were doing the “floatie rotisserie”, standing in a circle and rotating periodically to get sun on different sides. Sandals Antigua was really the friendliest resort we have ever been to. We met so many fun people.

in the pool

pool drink

raft party
floatie party

We had dinner reservations that night at Eleanor’s, the Caribbean restaurant. This was the restaurant that everyone raves about because it serves lobster. But it wasn’t my favorite. The service seemed kind of slow, and then in the middle of dinner, a cell phone rang! It was such an unexpected sound, almost jarring. We had been “unplugged” from computers and phones for a few days and I had almost forgotten what a cell phone sounded like. The phone belonged to the lady at the next table and unbelievably, she answered it and then proceeded to talk on it for five minutes. There went the mood. We didn’t stay for dessert but went to CafĂ© de Paris for coffee and some excellent coconut cake. Ron was sleepy from his dive so we turned in early.


sunset before dinner

continued on Part 3


  1. You guys look so happy! Love the pictures! The resort didn't lie in the brochures, it looks like.

  2. Everything looks so pristine and well cared for at Sandals. Even the cats. The pool looks so good that it stands to reason you'd only get out to take a picture. I almost didn't notice Ron was in the center of the pool.

    1. Those cats had the good life. :-)