Sandals praised over handling of Grande Antigua Resort closure

Press Release:-The trade has commended the actions of Sandals Resorts after the sudden announcement that its Grande Antigua Resort & Spa will close for three months, initially throwing the plans of holidaymakers and wedding parties into disarray.

It emerged last week that the resort would shut from September 20 for “important maintenance projects”.

Despite the initial shock, agents have praised Sandals’ handling of the issue. Clients impacted can choose to return to the resort within one year of their original travel date and Sandals will honour the original rate and pay any airline change fees or penalties (including for guests booked to stay at the Grande Antigua); or they can choose to travel on their original dates but to a different Sandals or Beaches resorts and again, the airfares will be covered.

“No one cancelled… As a small independent travel agent, it could have been a horrendous week for all concerned.”

Sandals will also offer impacted clients credit nights (depending on the length of stay) as a gesture of goodwill. The resort will reopen on December 17. Go Travel had a wedding group of four, eight other clients and one of its colleagues, who needed to be rebooked. Sara Baker, sales consultant at Go Travel, told TTG that Funway and Sandals set up dedicated teams immediately, with all rebookings concerning Go Travel clients completed within 48 hours.

“No one cancelled… As a small independent travel agent, it could have been a horrendous week for all concerned,” she said. Among the other wedding parties having to rebook their trips were British couple and Blue Bay Travel clients Mark Ingham and Sharon Osbourne, who were due to wed on September 21.

Stuart Wilson, chief executive of Blue Bay Travel Group, confirmed to TTG: “Mr Ingham and Ms Osbourne’s holiday and the wedding has been protected at no additional cost and they are delighted to be relocating to another Sandals Resort for their wedding ceremony in time for their reception in the UK.”

Sandals has insisted that the resort is being shut for refurbishment, but Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua, has described the decision as “an act of hostility”. Last week the Antigua Observer reported that the hotel chain had demanded a waiver on food and alcohol duties but the government had refused.

A spokesperson for Sandals would not comment on this point. It said in a statement: “As soon as UK representatives for Sandals Resorts had received confirmation on the details of the closure and of our global re-protection policy, we endeavoured to contact customers and our trade partners, by calling directly and following up on email, as quickly as possible… everyone is being dealt with fairly.”

Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Sandals Resorts International chairman, added: “Rest assured Sandals Resorts is dedicated to delivering a holiday of a lifetime that our customers deserve and we will ensure that nobody is out of pocket.”

3 Comments

  1. John
    August 2, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Sandals did not handle this well. I booked 9 months ago. No one called. I just saw the email. Pretty much everything else is booked up. This is really poor of Sandals to decide on ‘maintenance’ as I was told. Good job guys!

  2. Anonymous
    August 11, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Nothing about this situation was handled well. At no point was I ever called or did I receive an email about this situation. I was lucky to have seen an article about it and had to reach out to Sandals to reschedule everything. While I was able to reschedule to another resort I also had to call and change flights and was again lucky that there was a similar flight to the new location. It took almost 4 weeks to be reimbursed for the flight changes and I still don’t know if we are getting credit for a free boat tour of the island that we were given for staying at the original location. Those free credit nights that they give you are a joke. They can not be applied to the current reservation unless you can add on more nights to the current stay and they have an arbitrary value associated with them to which no one has made a confirmation of how much they would actually be worth.

  3. Tony
    September 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I did receive the email and Sandals rebooked us in January and held our November prices. Personally, I think it was handled well. Now did they know about these renovations before I originally booked, I don’t know. But the new timeslot worked for us and gets us out of here in the middle of winter. Nice. There is one remaining question — what happened since Irma? Have not heard anything about that as yet.

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