If you’re looking for an unforgettable Caribbean vacation then you might be trying to choose between Sandals St Lucia and Sandals Antigua.
I’ve stayed at both of these resorts which is why I thought I’d put together this guide comparing them.
This post will compare Sandals Antigua and Sandals St Lucia to help you decide which one is right for you.
Sandals Antigua vs Sandals St Lucia
In case you didn’t know, Sandals is a luxury hotel brand that specializes in all inclusive resorts for couples located in the Caribbean.
In fact, they are one of the most popular resorts in the Caribbean due to their exclusive and upscale reputation.
All Sandals resorts are located in a beautiful, tropical setting and come with luxury amenities, gorgeous suites and top-notch service.
The Sandals resorts in Antigua and St Lucia are among the most popular ones but which is better?
Note: This article will mainly be comparing the Sandals Grande Antigua resort with the Sandals Grande St Lucian resort as these are the resorts I’ve visited.
Here’s the key differences I noticed between Sandals Antigua and St Lucia:
- Antigua only has 1 Sandals resort whereas St Lucia has 3 Sandals resorts.
- The St Lucia resort is better for an active vacation whereas Sandals Antigua is better for a relaxing vacation.
- Sandals Antigua is bigger than Sandals St Lucia.
- The Antigua resort has better beaches with whiter sand and blue waters.
- Sandals St Lucia is much better for snorkeling and scuba diving.
- Sandals St Lucia is newer and was more recently renovated.
- Sandals St Lucia has overwater bungalows whereas Sandals Antigua doesn’t.
- A stay at Sandals St Lucia gives you free access to the 2 other Sandals resort’s amenities and restaurants.
- Sandals St Lucia has more restaurants to choose from compared to Sandals Antigua.
- Sandals St Lucia has a golf course but Sandals Antigua doesn’t.
- The Antigua resort is quieter and more peaceful than the St Lucia ones which is located in a busy area.
- Sandals Antigua is close to the airport (15 minutes) however Sandals St Lucia is far from the airport (90 minutes).
- The Antigua resort is cheaper than the St Lucia one.
The rest of this post will go into much more detail on each aspect to help you decide between Sandals St Lucia and Sandals Antigua.
Which Sandals is Better – Antigua or St Lucia?
Sandals Grande St Lucian is often ranked as the no.1 best Sandals resort overall due to the impeccable service, stunning views, relaxing spa, numerous beach activities and more.
Sandals Antigua easily gives the Sandals St Lucia resort a run for its money though as it’s often ranked as the no.2 best Sandals resort for similar reasons.
After staying at both of these resorts, I personally thing that Sandals Grand St Lucian is the best overall.
I found that the St Lucia resort had way more things to do to keep me busy. I do love spending time relaxing on the beach but after a while, I need to do something active and the St Lucia resort offered that.
I also liked that the St Lucia resort had more restaurants to choose from as I get bored eating at the same places every day.
In Antigua, we regularly left the resort to eat out as we were bored of eating at the same restaurants over and over again.
I did love how quiet and peaceful the Antigua resort was, it was definitely way quieter than the St Lucia one.
The pool was often packed in St Lucia and it was really loud so I didn’t spend much time there.
It was the exact opposite in Antigua, I spent a day or two just relaxing by the pool as it was so serene.
Below I’ve compared the two resorts to help you decide which one is perfect for you.
Things To Do
Overall Sandals St Lucia has a better range of things to do compared with Sandals Antigua.
St Lucia definitely felt a lot more adventurous and there were tons of active things to do nearby to the Sandals resort.
You can take part in activities like an ATV tour of the island, ziplining, biking, waterfalls, volcanoes and hiking through the rainforest. You can also hike the famous Piton mountains like I did.
The Pigeon Island National Park is also within walking distance from the resort. I loved this spot as it was filled with tons of history including old forts which used to be used by pirates to spy on passing ships.
If you’re into golf then St Lucia would be a better choice as Sandals themselves operate two golf courses. Sandals Antigua doesn’t have a golf course.
Antigua does also have plenty to do nearby but there aren’t any great hiking trails at all and the most popular activities are less active. This was disappointing for me as I love hiking.
Antigua is most well known for its stunning beaches and the resort itself stretches along one of the best ones. In fact, the island has 365 different beaches in total – that’s one for every day of the year!
I definitely can’t say anything bad about the beaches as I really enjoyed spending time there. I thought the beaches were super stunning and very tranquil.
Antigua does also have some interesting historical sites to explore too but you won’t be adventuring through the rainforest or climbing volcanoes here.
As a whole, Antigua is more ideal for couples wanting to rest and relax whereas St Lucia is better for anyone who prefers an active vacation with tons of things to do.
Snorkeling & Diving
Snorkeling and diving is much better at Sandals St Lucia compared with Sandals Antigua.
In fact, St Lucia offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in the entire Caribbean!
The water is crystal clear and you’ll easily be able to spot tropical fish and vibrant coral right in front of the resort itself.
I can’t tell you how many beaches I visited in St Lucia where I snorkeled with turtles and other marine life. It was really magical to say the least.
The resort even offered me free snorkeling gear so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own.
There’s also many other famous snorkeling and diving spots across the island.
One of my favorite places is the snorkeling spot at Sugar Beach which sits at the base of the iconic Piton mountains! I saw about 3 sea turtles within minutes of arriving!
You can still go snorkeling and scuba diving in Antigua but it’s worth noting that Antigua is not really well known for it.
There are still some great spots to enjoy though where you’ll see a few fish and some coral. You can also swim with turtles in Antigua if you know where to go.
I definitely didn’t see as many turtles in Antigua as I saw in St Lucia but I did see a few and the snorkeling there was still really fun.
Another thing to note is that Sandals Antigua doesn’t have a dock which means you will have to wade through the water to get on and off the boat if you choose to go diving.
Sandals St Lucia does have a dock which makes things a bit easier.
In Antigua, I noticed that the water can be a bit choppy so if you’re not a confident swimmer, you may not want to venture too far out into the ocean.
The waters at Sandals St Lucia were much calmer so you’ll have little to worry about.
One of my favorite things about both resorts is that you can become PADI certified in scuba diving. In fact, Sandals offers one of the most comprehensive scuba diving programs on the planet.
And the best part? It’s completely free with your all-inclusive package so you won’t have to pay any extra to get certified.
As a whole, Sandals Antigua offers a more relaxing and calm atmosphere compared to Sandals St Lucia. It also feels much more intimate and romantic.
The St Lucia resort still offered a quiet and peaceful atmosphere and it definitely didn’t feel overcrowded but it just wasn’t quite as peaceful as Sandals Antigua.
This is mainly because the Sandals St Lucia resort is located within the bustling Rodney Bay area of the island which serves as the main tourist center.
The resort has done well to make itself feel like a secluded island paradise and definitely escapes most of the hustle and bustle of the area though.
Neither resorts ever feel too busy and it tends to be pretty easy to get dinner reservations, a sun lounger on the beach or a spot by the pool.
As both resorts are adults-only, there will be no kids running around. You don’t have to worry about being hit on the head by a beach ball at all!
In addition, I though that the St Lucia resort also felt a bit more upscale compared to the Sandals Antigua resort.
Sandals Antigua did have more of an authentic, Caribbean feel to it though.
Overall Sandals Antigua is cheaper than Sandals Grande St Lucia.
To put this into context, you could stay in a more premium suite in Antigua for a similar price to a standard suite in St Lucia.
Take a look at this example I found:
For a 5-night stay in Sandals Antigua during high season, you’ll pay $4,425. For a similar room at Sandals St Lucia (for the exact same dates), you’ll pay $4,590.
I checked several different dates (both in high and low season) and every time, Sandals Antigua showed a lower price.
This also means that rooms that come with a personal butler are cheaper at Sandals Antigua compared with Sandals St Lucia.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the room or are really wanting that personal butler then Sandals Antigua could be a better choice for you as you’ll save a little bit of money.
Both Sandals Antigua and Sandals St Lucia have a great range of amenities on site that won’t leave you wanting for anything.
One key benefit to staying at the St Lucia resort over the Antigua one is that you get access to the other two Sandals resorts in St Lucia – Sandals Halcyon Beach and Sandals Regency La Toc.
This means that you can use all of the amenities and restaurants at the other resorts for free.
Sandals even offers a free shuttle service to take you between the resorts so it couldn’t be easier to explore and enjoy the other two St Lucia resorts.
Try out some new restaurants (there are 27 in total!), hang out on a different beach for the day or enjoy a different pool.
I did visit the Halcyon Beach resort whilst I was there to try out one of their restaurants and it was nice to be able to see something new even if it was only for an evening.
As Antigua only has one Sandals resort, you’re more limited to just this resort and its amenities.
The main pool is larger in Antigua compared with the one in St Lucia however it doesn’t have an ocean view.
I loved that the main pool in St Lucia had views of the ocean and a swim-up bar. What’s not to like?
Overall, the Sandals Antigua resort has 6 pools whereas the St Lucia one has 5 pools so there’s a little bit more choice in Antigua.
Both resorts have on-site spas with a range of services on offer like massages, facials, body scrubs etc. Both resorts also have a state-of-the-art fitness center.
One unique feature of the spa at Sandals St Lucia is that they have a eucalyptus steam room which no other Sandals resort has.
Layout & Size
Sandals Antigua is bigger than Sandals St Lucia as a whole. The St Lucia resort has just 311 rooms whereas there are 373 rooms at the Antigua resort. The grounds are also larger in Antigua.
Sandals Antigua is split into two sections: the Caribbean Grove and the Mediterranean Village.
This means you have two options to choose from when it comes to where you want to stay and each has a unique atmosphere.
The Caribbean Grove features beachfront cottages whereas the Mediterranean Village offers poolside suites which are set further away from the beach.
I personally opted for the Caribbean Grove as I really wanted to be close to the beach.
As the buildings in the Mediterranean Village are high rise, you’ll still get views of the beach and bay.
I noticed that the Antigua resort was much more spread out as it stretches along the entire beachfront, on the other hand, the St Lucia one was much more compact.
It took around 20 minutes to walk from one end of the Sandals Antigua property to the other but took way less time in St Lucia.
Take a look at the layout and size in the images below:
The grounds at Sandals Antigua were simply beautiful. It felt very lush and tropical and the staff take really good care of it.
The St Lucia property also had a similar feel with lush, well-kept grounds.
Both locations offer top-quality rooms and suites however the rooms at Sandals St Lucia were more recently renovated so feel a bit newer.
Sandals St Lucia has some absolutely stunning rooms including some beachfront villas which offer mesmerizing sunset views over Rodney Bay. This is where I personally stayed.
One unique feature of the Sandals St Lucia resort is that they have a select few overwater bungalows!
It’s rare to find overwater bungalows in the Caribbean and Antigua doesn’t have any at all.
I would have really loved to stay in one but there are super expensive so I went for a beachfront villa instead.
Ocean view rooms are available at both resorts. Book a room in the Mediterranean Village at Sandals Antigua for guaranteed ocean views.
Sandals St Lucia has various different ocean view rooms. Choose between a view of the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean!
I personally think the rooms which face the Caribbean Sea are better as the ocean itself is much closer. In addition, you’ll also be facing the sunset on this side!
The Atlantic-facing rooms have great views but the ocean is further away which makes the view less impressive.
It’s also worth remembering that Sandals St Lucia is a newer resort and was more recently renovated so it has a newer and more modern feel to it than Sandals Antigua.
As a whole, I thought the beaches at Sandals Antigua were much better than the beaches at Sandals St Lucia.
As St Lucia is a volcanic island, it naturally has darker sand. Antigua, on the other hand, has more naturally beautiful white sandy beaches although it is also a partly volcanic island.
The beaches as a whole are way more picturesque in Antigua, the water appears bluer and the sand is whiter.
I also noticed that the water was much calmer at the beach at Sandals St Lucia compared with Sandals Antigua.
This means that you’ll be able to go swimming and do water sports much more often at Sandals St Lucia.
Watersports on offer at the resort include sailing, scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and more.
Sandals St Lucia would be the better choice if you aren’t a strong swimmer.
All the beaches in both locations are public by law meaning that, even though they form part of the resort, anyone on the island can access them.
This does mean that both beaches tend to have vendors selling snacks and souvenirs as well as tourists from other hotels but neither gets ridiculously busy.
The beach at Sandals Antigua was slightly busier than the beach at Sandals St Lucia. It was less peaceful and quiet overall.
There are limited umbrellas on the beach in front of the Sandals Antigua resort which means you’ll have to get up early to secure a shaded spot. If you get the butler service then they’ll reserve one for you.
Both Sandals St Lucia and Sandals Antigua have a good selection of restaurants on site.
There are more on-site restaurants at Sandals St Lucia than at Sandals Antigua.
Sandals Antigua has 11 on-site restaurants whereas Sandals St Lucia has 12.
Staying at Sandals St Lucia does also mean you get access to all the restaurants at the other two St Lucia Sandals resorts so in total that’s 27 restaurants.
Both locations have a range of dining options, from authentic Caribbean classics to pizza and steak.
They are also more than happy to cook dishes to your dietary requirements.
The Sandals Antigua resort is much closer to the airport than the Sandals St Lucia resort which makes it slightly better located.
It takes approximately 90 minutes to travel from the airport to Sandals St Lucia. In contrast, it takes just 15 minutes to get from the airport to Sandals Antigua.
Although the drive to Sandals St Lucia is long, it is very scenic! You’ll cross the entire island going past several small villages, the rainforest and the city.
By opting to stay in Antigua, you’ll spend less time traveling from the airport to the resort and you’ll have more time on your vacation.
Sandals St Lucia is located on Rodney Bay right in the heart of the action. This area is popular with tourists and there’s several other large resorts nearby.
Sandals Antigua definitely felt a bit more rural and out of the way as it’s located in Dickenson Bay. The area felt a little less developed as a whole so it’s more peaceful and less touristy.
There are still plenty of restaurants and several other hotels but as a whole, it’s a much quieter area than Rodney Bay in St Lucia.
Best St Lucia Sandals Resort
There are 3 Sandals resorts in St Lucia however by far the best one is the Sandals Grande St Lucian resort.
This beautiful, expansive beachfront resort is full of activities and amenities to keep you busy.
It provides not only beautiful scenery but a great place to unwind. It’s often rated as the top Sandals resort in the Caribbean and is a top choice for honeymooners.
Out of the 3 St Lucia resorts, the Grande St Lucian is the largest and has the most restaurants and activities. It’s also the only resort in St Lucia with over-the-water bungalows.
Check out what Sandals Grande St Lucian has to offer in the video below:
And that’s it!
Thanks for reading this post which compares Sandals Antigua vs St Lucia.
If you’re looking for a memorable getaway then there’s no better choice than a Sandals resort.
Hopefully, this comprehensive guide helped you decide between the two.
If you’re looking for a luxurious stay with exceptional service then it may be worth considering booking a room at the Royalton St Lucia with Diamond Club as you get your own private butler!
Still not sure where to visit?