While I have shared three posts so far on our St. Lucian holiday today I wanted to share a full hotel review of the all-inclusive resort we stayed at, the Sandals Grande St. Lucian. Hopefully by the end of this post I will have answered all of your questions and you will feel like you were right there in the tropics with us at this adults-only, couples resort. We stayed for eight days and eight nights but it did not even take half that time to realize why 40% of guests come back to the resort. My favorite features were the the activities, rooms, food, expansive size, and true all-inclusive nature! Let me break it down for you:
ACTIVITIES We spent nearly every morning of our stay scuba diving, which you can read about in this post, but the fact we did 11 dives with PADI® certified scuba instructors and did not have to pay a surcharge for the equipment, tanks, divemasters, boat rides, or anything else as it truly is all-inclusive was certainly a highlight. And our afternoons nearly always included a visit to the water-sports hut. The hut is the home of the life jackets and clipboards where you can sign up or sign out for water sports and we took full advantage going waterskiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing the bay in HobieCats!
If water activities aren’t your thing you could spend your entire stay on a beach lounge chair (or in the pool at the bar) but the resort also schedules a full day of activities if you are interested. I found this intriguing but it makes sense if guests are coming from jobs and lives with high stress levels and like to be busy. Mark and I took part in a number of these activities – form a casual couples water balloon competition on the beach to the nighttime poolside fire show. But if that is not your style, there is certainly no forced fun and the very attentive staff wants to make sure you have the best time possible. Take a look at some of our water adventures:
ROOMS | The Sandals Grande St. Lucian has 301 rooms and suites which range over 16 different categories and while I am not going to cover them all I did want to share more details around two. We stayed in a beautiful room on the East side of the property and I could go on for paragraphs about Swim Up Lover’s Lagoon Honeymoon room but our favorite aspects were the king-sized, four-poster bed, the plush robes, the sitting area, and that you could jump in the pool right from our ground floor balcony! And while it was truly tropical outside the combination of air conditioning and a ceiling fan kept the room quite cool despite the heat and humidity just outside the door. On the other hand, Mark’s favorite feature might have been the in-room bar that was restocked daily with unlimited local Piton beer, which he became quite fond of, and Coke Zero.
However, if you are really looking to go all out the hotel has nine over-the-water honeymoon bungalows that are certainly Pinterest worthy. These bungalows are situated at the edge of the resort, over-the-water as the name implies, with some facing the sunrise and some the sunset. They are the highest tier room the resort has and they come with everything you could imagine including a personal butler to attend to all of your needs (including unpacking and repacking to drinks service and securing you the best beach chairs). I had the chance one afternoon to take a tour of an over-the-water bungalow and my favorite feature was the over water hammock from your personal dock. You can take a look at a few photos and let me know what yours would be, but first, our room:
And now for a closer look at the over-the-water bungalows:
(In the over-the-water bungalows you have a window in the floor to see the fish!)
FOOD I was curious what the food would be like and if we would get bored with the options, however, with 12 restaurants were were never at a loss for variety! Not all of them are open all the time (some only do lunch, others only dinner) but we tried every single on and had so many delicious meals it was hard to choose my favorite. My top three would be the surf and turf at Gordon’s Pier Restaurant, the seared tuna tataki roll at the Japanese restaurant Soy, and the fresh snapper at our preferred lunch spot, Barefoot by the Sea. I was also particularly impressed with how attentive the staff were of dietary restrictions or preferences. This is not something I have ever considered before but as my fiancé found out earlier this year that he is gluten intolerant it was so lovely that the staff went above and beyond to accommodate this!
During our stay you could see subtle elements of the COVID protocol in place, from all staff in face masks to automatic hand santizer machines at the entrance of all doors, however, in general it did not distract from our experience in any way. One element that did effect our dining options is that during normal circumstances you can visit any of the three Sandals resorts on St Lucia with free shuttles between the . This Stay at One, Play at Three Exchange Program opens your dining options to 27 restaurants, the 12 at this resort and the 15 between the Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort and Sandals La Toc Spa and Beach Resort. However, when we were there at the end of August the two other resorts were closed (the island is slowly reopening post-COVID) but we never felt like we were at a loss of options!
EXPANSIVE PROPERTY While this may seem like an odd one, the actual size of the resort made our stay patricianly enjoyable especially as there was never a need to be close to other guests, making us feel very secure in this COVID-era. The resort is located in Rodney Bay, just next to Pigeon Island, and one side borders the Caribbean Sea and the other, the Atlantic Ocean. This is possible because the resort is located on Northwest coast of the isalnd, about six miles from the capital of Castries, which means it takes a bit of time to get there from the Hewanorra International Airport in the South. However, the 90 minute drive through the rainforest is gorgeous and from the second you enter the driveway of the Sandals Grande St. Lucian you understand why people stay for 14 days and still are not ready to leave!
All around the property there are hidden gems including day beds, croquet, hot tubs, gazebos, quiet pools, fire pits, a giant came of chess, hammocks both in and out of the water, bocce ball, and more! There is also a good size gym which we visited a few times and while I had originally planned to take part in the daily free fitness classes – I had beach yoga and HIIT tabata training on my list having a frozen cocktail in the pool won out. You can check out the full resort map on their site to really get a picture of what I am talking about or take a look at more photos of the property:
(Under the tower you can see the swim up bar!)
TRULY ALL-INCLUSIVE Sometimes when you hear the term “all-inclusive” there are hidden charges around every corner and it was incredible that this was not the case! I actually went eight days without spending a single penny which was such a lovely feat. Even things like roundtrip airport transfers are included as well as tips, taxes, and gratuities. The three main things you can spend money on at the hotel are excursions outside the property, treatments at their award winning spa, and the exclusive wine list (i.e. if you want to buy a bottle of high-end French champagne, though all others drinks, including unlimited premium liquors, are included).
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If you have any questions please drop them in the comments section below but what I always want to know after reading a post like this is would we go back? And the answer is 100% yes. So much so we already spoke about the possibility of returning for our mini-moon in May (a few days of honeymoon immediately post wedding).
Would you want to stay at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian?