Here is a copy of the letter I have sent onwards to the Ministry of Tourism Antigua and Barbuda.
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 man.
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 couldn't 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 *** 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.
Review about: Resort.