Here is a copy of the letter I have sent onwards to the Ministry of Tourism Antigua
Dear Ministry of Tourism Antigua and Barbuda,
RE: Sandals Grande Antigua
It is with great displeasure that I contact you. Your offices
hold responsibility for the tourism product on Antigua and I thought you would
be interested as to why my wife and I will never return to your Island, nor
will we recommended your Island to any of our family members, friends or
associates. I truly wish we could say otherwise but unfortunately our
experience detailed below compels us to warn others away from your shores
rather than encourage their patronage.
On June 2nd I was married to my wonderful wife. Travel
arrangements for our Honeymoon were made well over 1 year in advance and were
well thought out, or so we thought. We decided on the Island of Antigua
and specifically Sandals Grande Antigua. We understand this resort
operates privately however as their actions can and do influence tourism this
matter should be of special interest to your offices.
I could spend quite some time listing all the countless faults of this
facility, I will however be brief and discuss just the egregious.
Sandals was and remains very deceptive in their advertising, tourists
are led us to believe that Sandals Antigua beaches
are exclusive, inclusive and very private. They are not private but in
fact very public. This is a fact I am sure you are well aware of.
Had we been made aware of this prior to booking we would have most certainly
cancelled. Public beaches throughout the Caribbean
are well known for their aggressive vendors. We have traveled extensively
and avoid these beaches at all costs.
Vendors use intimidation and
persistence to wear down tourists into buying whatever it is they are selling,
drug dealers take full advantage of traveling tourists illegally attempting to
sell their poison. There is absolutely no comparison between the
increased crime levels on a public beach versus a private, it is ridiculous to
even compare the two. We are well aware of these facts and conduct
ourselves accordingly, that is why we feel deceived and harmed by the Sandals
Resort in Antigua.
On day #2 of our Honeymoon and on our very first visit to Dickenson Bay Beach
we were harassed, heckled and bothered by the numerous vendors. One
particular vendor refused to leave even though I made more than 3 polite
requests for him to do so, this vendor threw insults at us and even solicited
other tourists as to how they felt about Americans. He demanded a drink
from our cooler and it was at this time I stood up and confronted the
This entire incident occurred not more than 10 feet from a Sandals Beach Guard who did absolutely nothing in our defense. Even our Sandals Butler,
named Cecil ignored our plight and when I questioned him about his
responsibilities to intervene he rolled his eyes and shrugged his
shoulders. Both the guard and our Butler stood with the heckling vendor as if they were long time friends, even as we gathered our things and left the beach insults continued to be spat out.
Again, this was day #2 of our Honeymoon and we were devastated, we
came to your Island for the Beaches and beautiful weather, we were now facing confinement in our suite until the end of our trip. Forced to stay off the beach to avoid another incident, the
very beach we paid thousands of dollars to Honeymoon at. Needless to say we
spoke with the management at Sandals, a Mr. Gerald Christ General
Manager. After listening to both my wife and I explain the details of our
beach incident he stated he did not agree with our feelings, our feeling of
being uncomfortable and unable to return to the beach.
He just could not
understand why we couldnt stroll back out onto the sandy beach and forget the
whole thing. I have never experienced such a high level of disregard or
lack of concern for our well being as I did with Mr. Christ. I told him
that Sandals practices were very misleading and that had we known their beaches
were littered with con men, drug dealers and over bearing vendors we would never
have agreed to come. Within 45 minutes we were at the airport awaiting a
flight off your Island.
Although we received less than a full credit from Sandals I intend to
pursue every last cent, regardless of our one nights accommodations their
misleading actions caused my wife and I to incur serious inconvenience and
hardship, we traveled for 8 hours unexpectedly and had to make rush plans at
the last minute to go elsewhere. Not only am I entitled to nothing less
than a FULL credit but I feel they owe me beyond this.