I'm Patricia Blackstock, owner and webmaster of funbeaches.com My husband Wally Snider and I have been taking yearly all-inclusive vacations since 1997.
As most of you Sandals fans jnow, after 72 paid nights at any Sandals Resort, Sandals rewards their loyal customers by giving them 7 paid nights at any Sandals of their choice. We chose Sandals Grande St. Lucia and we were very glad we did!
This was our 2nd vacation in St. Lucia, but it was out first at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. St. Lucia is a beautiful island and the Sandals Grande St. Lucian is a stunning resort!
UVF Airport Review:
I'll start with a review of the airport and get the bad news out of the way so we can move on to more pleasurable subjects. Our experience both arriving and departing from UVF was dismal. For both arrival and departure, the airplanes park somewhere in the big "front yard" so you have to walk a long way before you get inside the airport. Down the steps from the airplne, across the tarmac, around the other planes, and finally into the Terminal. Once inside the Terminal, it took 45 minutes (yes, I timed it) to get through the small room. It amounted to a back-to-back, belly-to-belly in the Immigration area.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Arrival Lounge Review
Once we finally claimed our luggage and and passed through Customs it was qa short walk to the big red doors that we knew would welcome us to Sandals Grande St. Lucian Lounge.However, these two read doors were guarded by two men wanting to assist with our luggage. These are NOT Sandals employees. It was just about impossible to bypass these people without being rude. A smile and "No thank you" does not get through to them. They even grab for your luggage handle. I was ready to slap them both upside the head, as we say in South Carolina. Somebody at that airport needs to tell these hounds to move away from the Sandals doors instead of allowing them to set up camp there. Later, on our way to the resort we talked to two couples who were on our bus to Sandals. They thought these hounds were Sandals employees and wondered why they immediately had their hands out for a tip, but tipped them out of fear they might not get their luggage back. This is just wrong on so many levels. The Grande St. Lucian Lounge was busy. We did nopt spot any beer, although we enjoyed a cool glass of local fruit juice. It was not long at all before we were called to board the transportation bus that would take us to Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
When departure day arrived, we realized this airport hass the worst acoustics we've encountered at any airport. People sitting all around us kept asking "What did she say?" And no one had an answer. Airline announcements could not be understood. As in our arrival days before, there were way too many people for a room that size to accommodate. Wally made a comment to one of the employees on our hike to the plane, nand we were old that major improvements are on the way soon.
Arrival at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Review:
The bus ride was about an hour and a half without stops. We had a good time talking with other couples on our bus and enjoying the local scenery. Upon arrival, we were ushered to the gorgeous Sandals Grande St. Lucian lobby and offered cold wash clothes and a glass of champagne by the friendly staff members. Ah…this was beginning to feel like our Sandals home. Let the vacation begin! After completing some paperwork, we were escorted to our room, along with our luggage.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Room review:
We were in a Caribbean Luxury Ocean View room #3202. The bathroom looked new with lots of light, a huge mirror above the double sinks and a roomy shower. This was the best-lighted Sandals bathroom we've ever had. The only problem with the bathroom is that it did not have stoppers in either sink. This is a dangerous situation for someone like me who usually puts on her makeup and earrings while leaning over the sink. I started putting a washcloth over the opening after almost losing an earring down the drain. Having no stopper also makes rinsing out your bathing suit more difficult and wastes water. The patio was a good size with a lovely view of the Atlantic Ocean. There was plenty of drawer and closet space. We immediately fell in love with this location as it was close to restaurants, pools and the beach. Many of you who have read our previous trip reviews know that Wally like to be be nearWatersports, and that was also convenient from our room.. Just to acclimate you, this resort is built on a man-made peninsula with the Atlantic Ocean off the front Lobby, and the Caribbean off the pool area.
On the first evening of our arrival at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, it was already getting dark as we set out looking for a place to eat. We decided on Barefoot Restaurant, since it was casual dress and located in the sand by the sea. No need to get dressed up or even change clothes. We walked around the main pool without seeing it, so we stopped in Josephine's Crêperies to ask directions. That's when we met Augustus. If you are familiar with Sandals, you won't be surprised that the first Sandals Grande St. Lucian employee we met exemplified what Sandals is all about. Augustus greeted us with a big smile, took off his apron and said "Come with me. I'll show you the way." Ignoring our protests that he could just point, he instead chatted with us and didn't leave until he was assured that we would be seated. All of us know that no matter the size of any business, each and every employee you meet represent the entire irganization. Augustus did that flawlessly. During our vacation, we ran into Augustus several times. He always remembered our names and asked if we were having a good time.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian while a non-Sandals group of business people were staying at the resort (Review) :
During our stay at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, several event schedues were changed and things got more than a little confusing.
There was a group of 175 plus or minus IGA owners/managersf rom Canada, visiting Sandals Grande St. Lucian for the week. None of the people we met from this group had been to a Sandals before, and several of them had questions, especially when I mentioned we were here for our free week. I referred them to the Soon Come Back desk so they could plan more Sandals vacations and begin accumulating paid nights.
A big negative here was that separate gatherings were held all over the resort for the IGA group. We never knew if an event was private until we followed the music and "Whoops....there's an IGA sign! This is not a resort event." This is the first time we've been to a Sandals where they hosted an outside group. I'm sure it must have been as confusing for the IGA crowd as it was for us. And I can't imagine how this impacts the staff members. Do they "guard" the special event to keep Sandals guests out? Do they ignore the Sandals guests and allow them to mingle at these events? Are there rules or stipulations? What do we need to know ahead of time? I never could find anything about this event on the Sandals pages, but it would be good to know ahead of booking. At the very least, someone from Sandals should let the Sandals guests know that they will be sharing space and events with an outside group. Or is it up to us to ask the time time we book? (Something else to rmember when we book our next Sandals vacation.) The feeling we both had was this was not "our" Sandals at all. As if we stumbled into an unpleasant dream
To add even more confusion, St. Lucia's Independence Day was celebrated the same week as our Sandals Grande St. Lucian vacation. There were street festivals throughout the island as we traveled to the resort from the the airport. The staff did their best to make sure all the guests were informed of date changes the regularly scheduled events such as the Returning Guest Dinner. We got a phone call, along with a knock on the door. However, we didn't learn about other changes until it was too late. For instance, we missed Chocolate Night! :-(
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Returning Guest Dinner Review:
The Returning Guest Dinner Sandals Grande St. Lucian turned out be an evening full of fun, excellent food and entertainment. Appetizer: Seared Scallop with Saffron Sauce and Caviar, Chilled Shrimp and Pepper Coulis Soup: Roasted Pumpkin Soup Entree: Grilled Langoustine, and Grilled Strip Loin with vegetables and Roasted Potato. Dessert: Coconut Torte
While we did not meet anyone we had vacationed with on a previous Sandals vacation, there was a feeling of camaraderie between the guests, and we immediately acknowledged each other as friends.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian couples Massage Review:
The Couples Back Massage was similar to those we've enjoyed on our many trips to Jamaica. Very relaxing and comfortable. The spa was clean and the staff was very friendly. Our massage was for 1/2 hour.
Sandals St. Lucian Restaurant Reviews:
You can view the entire list of restaurants here:
Gordon's Review - Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Our favorite restaurant was Gordon's which featured delicious seafood, artistic presentations, beautiful views in all directions, and of course the white-glove service. Our reservations were for 6:30 which was a perfect time to watch the dusk give way to a breath-taking sunset. The presentation was competent, and experienced. The food was extraordinary.
Toscaninis Sandals Grande St. Lucian is an Italian restaurant and it requires reservations. After our first dinner, we immediately made reservations for another night so we could again sample more items from the extensive Northern Italian menu. Delicious food, with lovely presentation and service.
We had lunch once and dinner twice at Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Barefoot restaurant. This is a fun restaurant, located directly on the sand along the lapping waves. Good variety on the menu. Just dig yout toes in the sand, close your eyes and thank your lucky stars you are at Sandals Grande St. Lucian!
Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Josephine's Restaurant serves delicious dessert crepes and other sweets, including pastries and ice cream. It is next to the pool and it's oprnopen 6 am - 10 pm, so you can indulge your cravings for something sweet all day and into the night!
Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Olde London Pub was a fun and friendly restaurant with an atmosphere that made us want to hang around long enough to have another drinl from the fully-stocked bar! We also enjoyed Fish & Chips as well as other tasty items and dark British beer.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Dino's serves six personal size pizzas that offer a variety of prices. Or ask for your favorite combination! The pizza is surprisingly good! Open 11 am - 6 pm.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian: The Mariner is open 11:00- 4:30 daily. Here's where you get your burgers (nearly half a pound of ground round) of many styles including a veggie burger, chicken breast and even grilled swordfish! Great fries, too!
Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Bars review
Sandals Grande St. Lucian has 9 bars, including a Piano Bar. No matter where you wander, any time between 10 AM and 3 AM, there will be a bar nearby. Our favorite was the Lobby Bar where each evening they mixed our favorite drink, the chocolate martini. The bartenders here were super friendly, and after the first day they remembered our favorite drink.
Evening Entertainment Review:
Sandals Grande St. Lucian offers various evening entertainment throughout the evenings. One night we stumbled into what turned out to be an IGA event and it took us a couple minutes to figure it out. However, the jazz singer there was quite good, so we stood outside the group on the sidewalk and listened for awhile. You'll see photos of other entertainment in our photo galleries, all linked below. The staff really puts their hearts into entertaining their guests, and we enjoyed the shows very much!
Wally and I usually love the piano bars at all the Sandals we've been to, but this piano bar was different. We went there for only one night, so I can't speak for the rest of the week. Have you ever been invited to a party where you think you might have entered the wrong room? That's the way we felt. There were two other couples there when we sat down. It was as if these couples already knew the piano player and we quickly deduced he was playing music he had written. They encouraged him to play more of this music which to my ear could have been an interpersonal communication through music. They talked between themselves, and we felt we were an interruption to this group. There were no familiar tunes, no oldies, no sing-alongs, and certainly no fun...at least for us. So we left about 30 minutes after being seated and did not return.
Internet connections at Sandals Grande St. Lucian have been free since Jan. 2015. Wally and I both brought laptops, and we logged on daily from within our room or from the patio. We experienced no problems whatsoever with the connections. Any of you who have been following our trip reviews for the past 10+ years know that wi-fi has always been a pet peeve, and I've complained to anyone who listened that wi-fi should be included, just like electricity and water. Thank you Sandals!
Sandals Grande St. Lucian: Snorkeling Review:
This is Wally's favorite activity at any all-inclusive resort. He especially enjoyed the clairty of the water and reefs. He looked forward to seeing Fletcher and Martin and appreciated the way they handled the boat as well as their knowledge of the fish and reefs. Fletcher would jump in the water with the snorkeling group and point out various fish. Everyone worked hard to offer a unique snorkeling experience at Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
The Exodus Adventure:
We seldom stray from our all-inclusive resorts. Although we knew about the busses that would transport us to and from Regency LaToc and Halcyon Beach, we opted to stay at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. However, we did meet some representatives from Exodus Adventures and opted to take their tour. You can find the review and photos here:
Review and photos from our Exodus Adventure
Wrapping it up:
In a nutshell, we loved Sandals St. Lucian, as well at St. Lucia itself. This Sandals property is as beautiful and lush as anywhere we have traveled. The staff could not have treated us any better. Delton Ebbin, thank you for slipping those bottles of Pinot Grigio into our room! We toasted you nightly from our patio. Junior Plummer, we loved meeting you at our Returning Guest table. This evening was very special for us and we were happy to be a part of it. Winston Anderson, we were glad we had the oppoprtunity to meet the GM of the beautiful Sandals St. Lucian. Augustus from Josephine's (photo above) thanks for making us feel at home upon our arrival at Sandals St. Lucian. Bob and Alanda, (our Sandals message board friends) We were so happy we caught up with you, and I'm sorry we didn't have more time. I captured some of the photos of your wonderful location and the views are in my photo groups below, but I will also send them directly to your e-mail. Wally thanks the Watersports Department for the fantastic snorkeling experience they provided. And many thanks to all the staff members who went out of their way to make sure we had the vacation that dreams are made of. We did!
Last, but not least, thanks to Amy McHugh and her husband Mike, with Dream Makers Vacation Services. Wally and I have booked many all-inclusive vacations with Amy. She is all you could hope for in a travel agent - dependable, responsible and reliable... and she always follows up. All this is all at no cost to you. If you don't already have a tgravel agent, do yourself a favor. Contact Amy, and tell her I sent you!
Our Photo Galleries of Sandals Grande St. Lucian:
How to navigate the photo albums: The photos rotate every 5 seconds. If you want to stop the automatic rotation, click on the enlarged photo. This wil allow you to right click on the photo and and save it to your desktop.
Returning Guests' Dinner Sandals Grande St. Lucian
People and Entertainment Sandals Grande St. Lucian
Beach, pools, flowers, landscapes, etc. Sandals Grande St. Lucian
The Exodus Adventure The Pitons, Waterfall, Nud Bath, Local Buffet and more
Goodbye, St. Lucia Goodbye...We love you