Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort
16 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We arrived on time to a dinky airport in St Lucia. Our flight left from Philadelphia at 11 am and they gave us a bagel right away on the plane; but by the time we landed at 4pm we were starving. So my advice is to take something to eat on the way. Once you get to the airport, it takes another hour and 1/2 to get to the resort. I got to resort hot, carsick and extremely hungry. All was forgotten when I got out of the car; the resort is beautiful. The scenery included flowers, the Pitons, and Pigeon Island. Pitfall: If you want a fancy room this is not the place.
Our room was a normal hotel room and it seemed that all the rooms looked the same including the concierge service. The only good thing about the concierge room is they got a full bar stocked daily and room service. With a very limited menu.
The Food: Was decent. We went to a variety of restaurants our favorites, Barefoot on the beach and the English pub. Our least favorite was the Italian restaurant at the Grande. We did not try the one at the other resorts but I heard the Italian food there was better.
Got tired of the same old lunch menu and Bayside was not very tasty.
The trips. We took the land sea tour. Lots of fun!! We should have taken the rain forest tour but we did not. Our friends took the shopping tour and said that was not worth it.
The one thing that was not good was that our flight had a 2 hour delay.
Sandals, I feel, should have made sure the flight was on time so we were not sitting in a hot small un-airconditioned airport for 4 hours.
All in all I would recommend the Grande to anyone. The other two are not as nice. Hardly any beach. I would stick with the Grande."
- Travel date: Tue 11th of November 2003
Not all it's said to be!
"Went here for part of our honeymoon in Sept. If you want a college scene atmosphere with no privacy, this is your resort. Their website is very misleading with the room descriptions, not knowing this, & based on the website, we chose a room & booked. Never have we been that disappointed. Our "ocean-view" room turned out that we could see the ocean, right after you looked through the trees and the fence, over the road, and past the rocks. Not exactly the ideal ocean view. We approached the FD mgr. who was very unconcerned with our problems. The food was decent and the staff was okay. No one gets in a hurry, even if your food is getting cold. The only good experience is the snorkeling, the staff and the trip, was the only pleasent experience at the resort. We spoke with 5 other couples who had less than enjoyed their vacation due to miscommunication problems with staff. We wouldn't visit this resort again, but this is the perfect resort for couples who can't entertain themselves. It's a perfect party atmosphere."
- Travel date: Fri 7th of November 2003
Wonderful Honeymoon spot
"My husband and I just got back from the Grande after a 7 night stay. We stayed in a conceirge room that was very average. It was beachfront, which I recommend since oceanfront could overlook a parking lot. The conceirge is nice for the room service and the bar but as far as a nicer room I don't think you get it. The food was very good and service was very impressive. They seat you right away and you never have an empty glass. Food comes out in proper order and very timely as well.
Our favorite was Barefoot on the beach and Josephines for a dessert waffle and ice cream. The resort was very clean and I think had the best property on the island, from what I saw. There were quiet areas to escape and just lounge in a hammock or to be alone in a jacuzzi. As far as off resort tours we did the day sail to Souffrie (sp?), and the ATV adventure. Both were a lot of fun. The day sail is a must if you want to see the real beauty of the island. All and all the resort met our expectations the only downside was the room wasn't what we expected but that's about it."
- Travel date: Thu 6th of November 2003
Perfect honeymoon spot
"We went to The Sandals Grand St. Lucian for our honeymoon in September and had a fantastic time. First, let me start by saying, The Sandals Grand and The Anse Chastanet are the best resorts on the island. I was not impressed with the other 2 Sandals resorts. The golf resort was run down and the water was extremely rough. The Halcyon was nice but really small. If you are a nature enthusiast, Anse Chastanet resort is the place for you. It is very quiet and authentic, and not as commercialized as the Sandals resorts. However, if you want luxury, tons of restaurants selections, and lots of beach activity, The Sandals Grand is definitely the place to be! It is the perfect beach and honeymoon resort with breath-taking views everywhere you look! The grounds were very well kept and the flowers were absolutely beautiful. The water is clear and a deep turquoise color. The water was also calm, like a pool and the water trampoline was so much fun! We loved to water-ski and tube, and we also really enjoyed scuba diving and snorkeling. It was so nice to not have to pay for a single thing during our honeymoon, everything was included! Definitely invest in an under-water camera. It was great to take along on the hobie cat and snorkeling trips. We stayed in the penthouse honeymoon beachfront concierge room, which was wonderful! The bar was stock everyday and we ordered room service every night! They had 15 different restaurants to choose from between the 3 resorts. Our favorites for lunch were Josephine's CrÃªpes and Barefoot by the Sea at The Grand. It was so much fun to get dressed up for dinner every night too! We loved Mario's at The Halcyon and La Toc at the Golf resort. You must have reservations and formal dress for both of these restaurants. We also loved Barefoot by the Sea's surf-n-turf for dinner at The Grand. The steak and Alaskan crab legs were wonderful, and you are seated on the sand right beside the ocean. The pools on the resort were huge and the swim-up bar was great. I recommend getting a refreshing BBC. I loved the steel drum and Reggie music they played by the main pool. However, the lagoon pool and the other small pools were very quiet and private. We did not go on any of the expensive excursions off the resort since there was so much do to on the resort. However, I highly recommend hiking up to Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island Park is on the end of the peninsula that The Grand is on. Its about a 25-minute hike up from the resort. It only cost $5 dollars to go up the mountain and the view is spectacular from the fort and Signal Peak. The U.S. and British actually had forts there at one time, and the history information boards were fun to read. We only had a few complaints at The Grand. One was that the dinner service was extremely slow at times. Second, the food was really good but definitely not gourmet. Thirdly, the hour and a half bus ride to and from the airport to get to The Grand was very bumpy and scary at times. The road was very narrow and steep, however we did get to see a lot of the island. You can also charter a plane to the resort. I heard that they fly you over the famous Piton Mountains, and we met several couples that just loved it. All in all, we had a fabulous honeymoon at The Grand. The scenery, people, beach, and facilities were excellent. It was the perfect place for a honeymoon."
- Travel date: Tue 4th of November 2003
Just what the name says
"I don't know what some of these people are complaining about, but the Grand is the best thing that has ever happened. My husband and I went to the Grand after seeing it on our honeymoon back in September 2002 (We stayed at the golf resort-would recommend if you are into partying 24/7). We could not wait to stay there. Upon arriving we were treated like a king and queen. They gave us a triple upgrade for being a signature guest. The grounds are clean and the drinks started flowing the moment we got there. Everyone was nice and helpful. The staff would go out of their way to make sure we were having a good time. If you are looking for a dream vacation, look no further than the Grand."
- Travel date: Mon 27th of October 2003
Didn't love the Grand... didn't hate it either
"My husband and I stayed at the Grand for over a week for our honeymoon- September 2003. We were disappointed... we had started off our honeymoon at Anse Chastanet for four nights which was absolute heaven (see my review for Anse Chastanet). We took a water taxi to the Grand and as we approached, we were feeling depressed. The property looked cheesy, especially after staying at A.C. where everything is very natural.(I am fully aware that other people have written very positive, glowing reviews of the Sandals Grand and have criticized negative reviewers, describing them as "complainers" however I am simply writing about our experience which are our perceptions and opinions of our stay here. I am also including some tips which I hope are helpful.)We had no help with our suitcases- my guess is because we did not come through their main entrance. And as we were walking through the property, it was so loud and crowded at the main pool; it felt like college spring break.Check in was nice with the concierge service and we did get upgraded for free which is always a plus. Our moods brightened as we got into the room to see a fully stocked bar and fridge- liquor, beer, wine, champagne, soda, bottled water. We thought, "alright! This is cool." The room did have a musty smell as many have previously noted.The food was not very good which we expected. We're spoiled by great restaurants in NY and there's no comparison. Although we did really love the croissants at breakfast and the nacho bar at Barefoot by the Sea. There are dishes here and there that were pretty good and others that tasted like cafeteria food. Toscanini's was ok (pasta overcooked)- the antipasto bar is the best part of Toscanini's. We would go there to get cheese and crudites with wine and sit out at the Piano Bar before going for dinner somewhere else. Josephine's was good for crepes. In our opinion, the best breakfast: Bayside for huge buffet or the Concierge room service; the best lunch: Barefoot by the Sea and the best dinner: Barefoot by the Sea.We went to the Regency and to the Halcyon to try the other restaurants. Armandos- pizza is all bread- yuck. Le Toc- completely overrated. We had a 6:30pm reservation and they made all the guests wait outside in a big line until 6:50pm before even opening their doors. The food was not gourmet but they do try. And if you want the fine wines, you have to pay extra. Kimonos- entertaining but the food was mediocre. The sushi appetizer was awful- rice was mushy on the outside and crunchy on the inside with no trace of rice wine vinegar. We noticed that many of the dishes at all the restaurants were way too salty. You can always add salt but can't take it away. The chefs seemed to also overcook the steaks everytime so be sure to ask for it less than what you normally order. At the Halcyon, the outdoor pool grill was good.Keep in mind that if you don't like a dish at the place you're dining, you can always go to another restaurant. Don't force yourself to eat it. And you can order as much as you want. You can also get stuff to go and take it back to your room.The drinks! "No pressure, no problem" looks and tastes like a firecracker popsicle- yum! Banana daquiries, the Coco Loco's and the Dirty Bananas were also very delicious. The swim up bar is awesome. Although I did notice that some of the guys did not get up from their seats throughout the day and they were pounding those drinks. One would think that they would have to use the facilities. Test the pool water.The service was inconsistent. Some of the staff were so friendly while others were nasty with attitudes. We found one of the playmakers to be extremely annoying (won't name names) but he acted like he was on drugs. Apparantly some people found him to be amusing. Not our thing.The Towel Situation: everyday, they ran out of towels by EARLY afternoon. How can they run out of towels? It's a beach and pool resort! We did notice that many people would take two-three towels per person which explains it... a royal pain if you happen to be without a single towel... which explains why people would take multiple towels in the first place... to ensure that they would have a clean one for the next day!We participated in some of the extra offered activities. We did the two hour horseback riding tour. Neither of us ever went and although we're glad we experienced it, we would never do it again. I was scared and paranoid that I would land in the muddy poop that seemed to be everywhere. I have a new respect for equestrians as it is not easy to stay balanced, especially when your horse decides he wants to lean over and eat the grass. When we reached the beach, the guides took the saddles off the horses so that we could ride them bareback into the water. Oh my gosh! The horses spine rides right up your butt and crotch and it hurts. My husband got a blister on his rear and then to top it off, his horse pooped in the water and everyone was scrambling to get out because horse poop floats and it was touching everyone. We've never felt so dirty. Honestly, half the people that went loved the experience and the other half hated it. It's not for everyone.We also did the shopping excursion for $20 per person. If you go, make sure to book it on a Saturday for "market day". The shopping wasn't that great. The Castries Central Market offered food, spices, and the touristy stuff like t-shirts, baskets, wooden bowls, trinkets, etc. We are foodies and so we were more interested in the food section of the market and bought cocoa sticks (grate into boiling water and mix with cream and sugar), cinnamon sticks, sea salt and coconut oil for moisturizing. Do NOT buy the local hot sauce at the market- it is a rip off! It is half the price at the supermarket which is right down the street from the market. The hot sauce is GOOD! Don't forget to bargain with the vendors. Although when we inquired about the hot sauce and were told the price, we would respond with "but it's half the price at the supermarket" to which their response would be "then buy it at the supermarket!" which of course we did! The duty-free shopping wasn't worthwhile (it's much better in St. Martin) as there weren't any bargains (jewelry is much cheaper in NY's diamond district).Another option for the shopping tour is to catch the free shuttle to the Halcyon and then take a taxi to the market and the duty-free shops (they're very close to the Halcyon). That way you can go at your own pace.We did the Couples Massage at the spa. My husband did not fully enjoy it due to the fact that his masseuse neglected her personal hygiene and had an odor which kind of ruins the whole relaxation experience.The gym at the Grand is awesome! We tried to go as much as possible. They have a scale there and I found myself getting depressed at the 6 pounds that I gained (despite the mediocre food!... must've been the frozen sweet girlie drinks).The Halcyon and the Regency are very different from the Grand and are worthwhile to see. There's free shuttle service to and from all the Sandals resorts- they provide you with a shuttle schedule upon check-in. The Halcyon is small and homey. The Regency rooms are all spread out and they provide shuttle buses which can be crowded and hot at times. The views at the Regency, in our opinion, are the nicest of all three. But we were glad that we picked the Grand.Also, the resorts provide "courtesy rooms" so you can hang out at another resort for the day. You just bring a change of clothing, leave it at the front desk, pick it up when you're ready to shower. They give you a room (bring necessities like shampoo/conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste), you shower, change and then go for dinner. Very convenient.One outing that I HIGHLY recommend is Pigeon Island National Park which is right down the street from the Grand. As you walk out of the Grand, you turn left and it's at the end of the road. It's $5 per person to enter and it was the best five bucks we spent on the island! Wear sneakers and bring a bottle of water as well as a camera and lots of film. The views are spectacular! You can see the entire resort as well as incredible views of the island- absolutely stunning! We hiked to the top which wasn't too difficult- it's just somewhat rocky. The forts are very interesting and it is so peaceful there. We got some of our best photos on that hike.The last thing about Sandals is that due to their "no pressure, no problem" motto, things are at their pace. None of the scheduled events start on time and we found that waiting around was annoying.In summary, we enjoyed our stay at Sandals as there was alot to do and the unlimited drinks were great however, if we were to do it again, we would probably stay at Anse Chastanet the entire time or try another resort that is more quiet and relaxing."
- Travel date: Tue 21st of October 2003
Fantastic New Year's Eve
"Paradise revisited. Our first trip was Christmas 1999 and we stayed at the Halcyon. It was wonderful and we thought it couldn't get any better than that. December 2002 we stayed at the Grande. It was incredible.
Beautiful. Service and people great. Busy place over New Year's. Bring "dress-up" clothes for the party. Many people from the island and neighboring islands came to celebrate here...probably because it was the newest, grandest resort on the island. The women wore long dresses and the men wore suits. I had taken a black cocktail dress...I'm glad.
Husband--a shirt and tie. Island wear would have been much too casual.
The best part of the evening was after midnight...we asked for and received a bottle of champagne. We walked down to the beach and sat on lounge chairs and looked at the sky, ocean and lights reflecting in the water from the sailboats. Very special and romantic. By the way, we are "middle aged" and were a little concerned everyone would be young and newlywed. I'd say at least 50% were in our age range... a little younger a little older. So, I felt very comfortable that this resort is for all ages. We did go back to Halcyon to "The Pier" and walked the grounds. Ohh..."the crickets"! Beautiful memories. The two can't be compared. One is small and intimate and a bit more "island like". The other is much bigger and less cozy. I loved each one. You won't go wrong either place if you can live one week on "island time" with "island sensibilities". Disregard reviews with harsh criticisms...believe the many other positive ones!"
- Travel date: Sat 18th of October 2003
Honeymoon at the Grande
"I just want to start out by saying we had an amazing time. Although we thought the Grande could make some improvements, we would return to a Sandals for a future vacation. That being said, there were some good and bad points to our vacation.
First the bad........When we arrived after 12 hours of travel, we not impressed with the Concierge service check in. The concierge told us "They could not find our booking"--can you imagine how it would feel to hear this when you arrive for your honeymoon on an island at 10pm after 12 hours of travel? It just did not seem like they had their act together, the valet downstairs had our name on a list and we had a voucher, so obviously we had a booking. She found it after about 10 minutes of searching...but did not apologize and was rude.
When we got to our room (Honeymoon Luxury Beachfront Penthouse Concierge) we were a little disappointed. It was spacious, with an amazing view---but the room itself was a pretty standard hotel room (like a Hyatt). It also smelled musty.
My parents had booked us a $300 credit at the spa thru Sandals as a gift, and we never heard about it until we got back home. And some little things--room service usually took an hour, the NY Times fax did not arrive at our door the last 3-4 days, and we had to practically beg the maid for some extra towels. When we got our bill at the end, there was an extra $175 charge that was a mistake.
Overall, we were disappointed with the Concierge service. The only benefits we found were the 24-hour room service and the in-room mini bar. Beyond that, we were unimpressed. We called a few time to book restaurant reservations, tours, etc....and they were always slow to get back to us. I tried to get them to help me plan something nice for my husband's birthday, and they were not helpful at all--they left a v/m about it and ruined the surprise, and basically said there was nothing they could do unless I was willing to pay extra.
To me, the absolute best part of the Grande is the property itself. It is absolutely stunning, and is set up conveniently so its easy to get to the pool, beach, watersports, restaurants, etc. It is truly a beautiful spot, and we loved each day we spent at the pool and beach.
The view from our room was breathtaking, and I loved having sunset cocktails on the terrace.
As far as restaurants, my advice is to book reservations for Marios, Le Toc and Kimonos the FIRST night, or as soon as you can. We booked them the first night and got all three---but many couples we talked to waited and did not get reservations anywhere. Marios and Le Toc were excellent, white-glove service restaurants with great menus, be sure to order champagne, after dinner drinks---the works! Plus, its fun to take the van over to check out the other hotels. At the Grande, I loved "Barefoot by the Sea" for dinner (get the surf & turf and conch fritters!). The bars are also great, good frozen drinks to try are Nutty Colada, Love Potion and Hummingbird. A few other tips---the Grande has appetizers set up in the lobby every day at 5pm, and serve all-you-can-eat lobster on Friday nights at the buffet (we didn't know this and missed it, we had a reservation elsewhere).
We did the Soufriere Day Sail, the Couples Massage and the hike on Pigeons Island. These were highlights, I recommend all three!! We also went shopping at Castries market (take the shuttle to the Halcyon and a cab from there) and got some good bargains.
Overall, the Grande has a few things to work on (mostly service)....but we still had a fabulous honeymoon!
- Travel date: Sun 5th of October 2003
No pressure, no problems !!
"Today is my first day back at work from our wonderful honeymoon. My husband and I stayed at the resort from 9/21-9/26.We flew into the smaller airport closer to the resort and took the 20 min. shuttle to the resort. We arrived to find an upbeat great staff to great us, cool cloths and champagne and were whisked up to the concierge lounge. Our wedding was on 9/20 and in all the hustle and bustle, I had inadvertently forgotten all of our travel documents with the exception of our identification. Nonetheless, Sandals had no problem checking us in. The concierge staff guided us through a brief orientation and took all the other couples to their rooms. A kind, young lady by the name of Sammy told us that our swim-up room wouldnt be ready until the next day and downgraded us to the ocean view room. My husband and I are very laid back, thus had no problem with that. She also told us that we would be refunded the difference in the cost of the room and gave us a $150.00 gift certificate to the Spa. We really felt like this was a win-win situation. No pressure---no problems. Sammy promised us a great view of the ocean. Being that our swim-up room didnt view the ocean, we had the best of both worlds while we were there. Sammy was our concierge the entire week and we cannot sing her praises enough. Andrea (the concierge manager), Sammy, Leah and the rest of the staff were more than accommodating. They went way above and beyond all of our expectations. One examplethe resort does not have American Beer. They only have two kinds; Heineken and their local beer, Piton. My husband hates Heineken, so he tried Piton. He compares it to Corona and really liked it. Sammy proceeded to re-stock our entire wet bar with only Piton beer, and made sure that all other maids and assistants knew that, as well. She arranged all of our dinners, our tour and even recommended things for us to try at the restaurants. We miss Sammy the most. Upon spending some time with her and talking with her, she became one of our friends. We were really glad that we chose the room category that we did. The move to our swim-up room went off without a hitch. We were very pleased with that room. A lot of people have suggested that you dont need a swim-up room because of all the other pools. However, we found it as a place to relax and have some alone time. There was rarely a time when someone else was in the pool. We were also glad that we had concierge service. Like I said, the concierge staff really made our vacation better with all of their assistance. The 24 hour room service was great. It could have used a few more menu choices, but we usually just ordered breakfast and maybe a late night snack. Our wet bar was always fully stocked (with Piton, of course). And we were pleasantly surprised to find our bed turned down every night. We really enjoyed the beach. The water was crystal clear. (Even when we were in water up to our necks, we could still see our feet.) The actual beach was very clean and there were plenty of chairs and umbrellas.The only thing we could even think of to complain about was the food. And it wasnt even that bad. I dont know about everyone else, but being from Texas we dont like a lot of fancy stuff. Give us a steak and were happy. We could do without all the sauces, garnish, etc. Our first night, we got in so late that we had to eat at the Old London Pub (it was the only thing open). My husband and I shared an order of cheesesticks (you must try thosethey are AMAZINGjust tell them to cut the raspberry sauce). I had fish and chips (it was pretty good). My husband just had dessertapple pie, which he raved about. Like I said, we had breakfast in the room most every day. The French toast was my favorite, while my husband opted for the omelets. We also enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the Bayside. We ate lunch at Bayside a few timesit was just okay. It took us a few days to find our favorite lunch spotBarefoot By The Sea. We loved to eat there for lunchand once we found it, we ate there every day. I really liked to go to the fancier places. My husband finally talked me into going to Barefoot. We both LOVED it !! Like I saidwe like normal food. My husband was delighted that they offered nachos and pizza at the appetizer bar. He had the jerk chicken wings every daythose are obviously his favorite. I always ate the steak sandwich without the bread. So basicallysteak and french fries. We also ate there once for dinner and we both had surf & turf and then split the garlic shrimp. Both entrees are amazing. It didnt take us long to figure out that you can order two entrees or mix-n-match the items from two entrees. I highly recommend doing that.We didnt make it to the Halcyon. To be honestit looked like a dump. We heard horrible things about the Pier restaurant (i.e., slow service, bad food.) One couple was seated there at 6:00 and didnt even get their drinks until 8:30. We are laid back and all, but we just felt like that was a little much.We ate at the Regency twice. We tried Armandos and didnt like it at all. We heard others really enjoyed it, but it just wasnt the Italian food we were used to. (i.e., the Chicken Alfredo I ordered was not fettuccini pasta. It was rotini corkscrewsthe different colored kindred pepper, green spinach, etc. and they just dumped a grilled chicken breast on top--rather than sliced or chopped chicken). We enjoyed their desserts and my husband said his beef tenderloin was okay. Again, just not our style. We ate at Kimonos our last night and had a good time. I felt that it was not all it was cracked up to be--The food lacked a little but the atmosphere makes up for it. Our waiter and chef were a lot of fun.After visiting the other resorts we were EXTREMELY relieved that we had chosen the Grande. It is ten times nicer than the others. The Regency is too spaced out and is older. The Halcyon is just ugly.We played golf one day. The golf course is challenging, but we had a great time. It is set in a mountain and some parts are really steep. I would definitely recommend paying the extra $20 or whatever for a cart. Caddies are recommended, but they are not paid by the resort. I thought that was crappy on the resorts part. However, we had a young man by the name of Donovan who was very funny and helpful. We paid him his highest tip ever for 18 holes--$51.00. Be sure to tip these young men well. They are all super nice and work really hard in the heatall day--for tips only.We also had a celestial bliss massage at the Grande spa. It was AMAZING. The celestial bliss includes a beachside couples massage. I recommend to schedule it around sunset (5:30-6:00). We had the ocean, the sunset, and a romantic saxophone player (he just happened to be playing at the pool that night).We went on the shopping tour. Be sure to bargain at the local craft market. They WILL come down off those prices.We even signed up for a photo shoot at the resort. Gemma takes great pictures. We got them all put on a disk. It was expensivebut who caresyou only go on your honeymoon one time, right ??I was a little apprehensive after reading some of the reviews on here. However, I quickly came to the conclusion that the people who complained are just looking for things to complain about. I am so glad that we chose St. Lucia, the Grande and Sandals. We didn't have any problems with anything. Everyone was so nice and so courteous. We didn't pass a single employee the whole time that didn't speak to us. Overall, our trip was absolutely amazing. I wanted to stay, but my husband was ready to come home.Here are a few tips:1. Go all out--especially if it's your honeymoon--spoil yourselves and opt for a concierge room. We found it to be well worth it. And request Andrea or Sammy as your concierge.2. Don't go there with the attitude that you're getting gourmet food.3. Schedule a photo shoot with Gemma.4. Take a day to just enjoy the beach and the pools.5. DEFINITELY fly into the smaller airport.6. NEVER ride in the front seat of the Taxi. =)7. If you go there with a laid back, relaxed attitude--you will do fine.The island motto is, "No Pressure, No Problems." Give them a break--they don't get in a hurry about anything. I wish I could be more like that. Take everything with a grain of salt and just enjoy your trip. We sure did."
- Travel date: Sun 28th of September 2003
A Grande Honeymoon
"We went to the Grande on our honeymoon Sep. 9th-17th and it was a wonderful trip overall. A few snags but nothing to spoil a great time.
We flew into the bigger airport and it was about an 1 1/2 hour trip to the resort. Yes, traffic was bad and the drivers were scary but you get to see soo much of the island as you drive through the mountains. Palm trees, banana groves, small towns, private beaches, etc. We had the Penthouse Beachfront Concierge room, so upon arrival at the resort we were taken to the Suite Concierge Office which has a nice balcony overlooking the beach and main pool and were given champagne and an orientation. We were then told that they didn't have any of the Beachfront rooms that night, that we'd have to take an Oceanfront room but that there would be a Beachfront room availiable the next day. For compensation, we were given a coupon for a FREE couples' massage! (I know some previous reviews said that they'd only been given spa discounts, but I guess they got enough complaints that now they offer free services for compensation). The next day, we were given our Beachfront room, no problem. The rooms are nice, but pretty much the same regardless or what category you're in. The Beachfront view is MUCH better than the Oceanfront in my opinion, however. Overall, the Concierge service was good, with the staff helping us almost every day booking tours, settling charges, and retrieving faxes. The service overall is keeping with the typical Caribbean SLOWNESS. Room service will come about a half hour AFTER the requested time block. We needed our marriage certificate faxed over to the Grande, and it was faxed numerous times but the staff said they never received it until the last day. The Concierge had to go down to the main desk to see what was going on, and came back with a pile of our faxed marriage ceritficate!!
So, the moral is just be patient and persistent and watch your bill for expenses.
The day after we arrived we paid $5 and hiked around Pigeon Island up to Fort Rodney, then went the extra mile and did an intermediate hike (a little rock climbing involved) to get to the taller peak. The views are fantastic, you can see Martinique, the resort, the western coast, Rodney Bay, and much of the interior. You'll also see a lot of interesting plants and animals on your way up and back down. There are also old buildings and signs explaining their use during the long war between the British and French for St. Lucia.
The beach was fantastic, although a little rocky, but the water was nice and warm. The watersports area is nice, you usually don't have to wait for hobbie cats, kayaks, etc. My husband also really liked the ocean trampoline. We went snorkling a few days after we got there.
Unfortunately due to a distant hurricane the water was rather murky and rough, and there were also jellyfish. The staff assured us that that is usually not the case tho. We still saw a lot of fish, sea snakes, and the occasional eel. The highlight of the trip was the beginner scuba lesson!! I have been to the Caribbean before and you NEVER get scuba for free. The course (this is NOT the certification course, although it can be counted as a dive session towards it) was VERY comprehensive.
Our instructor was very thorough and kept us in the certification pool until she had led us through everything we needed to know for our first dive. She let us practice breathing, swimming while controlling the weights, and did emergency procedure practice such as if your mask fills up with water or the regulator is knocked out of your mouth.
Right after the class is over, you get to go on your first dive, which lasts about 2 hours and is about 25 feet deep. The view is amazing!!
The water clarity isn't much of an issue if you can swim right up next to the reef. My husband loved it so much he went on a dive 2 days later and wants to get certified.
The restaurants are very good at the Grande and at the other resorts.
In fact, our favorite restaurant was The Pier at the Halcyon. We also went to Kimono's at the Golf Resort. The transfers are easy to manage IF you keep track of the time!! Bayside was our favorite for dinner at the Grande, offering a wide selection. Toscanini's has good food (especially the antipasto bar) but the service is VERY slow and confused (we got the neighboring table's drinks and desserts a few times). Barefoot by the Sea is a good choice for a casual lunch, and the dinner surf and turf option is delicious! Again, be prepared for slow by American standards service. Josephines was ok, we only went there once. The crepes are good, but they cannot alter the choices in any way as the mixture is pre-prepared, folded into the crepe and cooked. The pub was very good, with a hearty selection, and I wish we had had dinner there more often. The breakfast and lunch buffets at Bayside offer a decent selection, although the food quality is mediochre.
We took two tour trips, the shopping trip and the Soufriere day cruise.
The shopping trip was nice since you don't have to worry about cab fares, etc. it's all once fixed price. Also, it gives you a chance to buy some cheaper souveniers. If you're a good bargainer, this is a great option for you! My husband got a wooden carving reduced from $20 to $8.
The Soufriere day cruise, although a little pricey at $90 pp is worth the money. The trip is fun with music and a bar and nice scenery. You go to the volcano in Soufriere and see the Pitons, then have lunch in a hotel with a gorgeous view of the whole town, great photo op!! On the way back you can go snorkeling as well. Again, the visibility at St.
Lucia isn't as clear as some Caribbean destinations, but the fish are beautiful.
The spa services are excellent, definately worth the money!! While I was there I got severely sunburned and had the Water Lily Treatment.
VERY cold, but I felt much better for days afterwards. The couples' massage is also very nice. You're in a candlelit room with two massage therapists. The staff is very courteous and professional, and the overall spa atmosphere is very relaxing and peaceful.
All in all, I'd have to say this was a wonderful trip for both of us, despite some service problems. If you can take it easy and don't come in with unrealistic expectations, then the Grande can definately offer you a small piece or tropical paradise on earth!!"
- Travel date: Sat 27th of September 2003
not worth the money and noisy
"Jack hammering in our building ridiculous paying all that money for a holiday in a construction zone then noisy carts and staff in the halls yelling to each other, industrial weed eaters to cut lawn every day so beach not peaceful, then noisy blowers, just so ridiculous. Restaurants nothing special for breakfast more like cafeteria food. Been to a lot better resorts for a lot less money. Wold not recommend bothering with sandals."
- Travel date: Tue 22nd of March 2016
"When we decided to get married we wanted a honeymoon to remember for ever. We were recommeneded Sandals Grand in St.lucia by a friend.We booked it and couldn't wait to go.
We had booked the helicopter flight from the airport to the resort thinking all out luxury.
Must admit we arrived at the hotel a lot quicker than other guests on our flight, however if you transfer this way I would recommend taking some beach wear in your hand luggage, as we were unable to go for that long awaited dip in the gorgeous blue sea as we had no swim wear with us. Hadn't thought about that when getting on the helicopter. It is easier and gives you a fantastic flight across the rain forests.
I was expecting total luxury for 2 weeks, however the constant rain we had, put pay to that. The hotel is fantastic when sunny but not alot to do when having heavy thunder storms daily!!! Don't go in the rainy season, very humid and very wet!!!!!!
Hotel overall was nice and I must admit the hotel gardens and beach were immaculate. The snorkelling was fantastic and there were lots of other water sports available at the hotel.
The evenings were quiet but lovely especially for the romatics out there!!!! The pool was open all night and a swim in the early hours is a must!!!
The restaurants were all lovely. However they did not stick to a rigid dress code as we had thought they would.!!!
Overall we had a fantastic time but feel that was due to the friends we made there. We thought as honeymooners we would feel a bit special and maybe get a little special attention! Nearly everyone in our resort were on their honeymoon so we were pretty much the norm!!!!! Not really our sort of holiday but glad we went.
PS we flew premium economy with virgin. the flight was fantastic. Try and get the exit seats in the bubble if on jumbo their just the best. loads of room!!!
- Travel date: Tue 7th of April 2009