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“As close to perfect as it gets!”

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Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Rodney Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 January 2010

We stayed at the Grande for a week at the beginning of January for our belated honeymoon. We booked a rondoval suite with butler service which, although pricey, was definitely worth the money - we were treated like royalty for the entire week by Giselle and Wendell, our butlers. Champagne every day, bubble baths, snacks brought to our room, dinner in our room and so much more. We got 2 reservations at the best restaurant, Gordon's, because Giselle said she thought if we went once we'd want to go back again - she was right! We also had a chance to go to the Regency resort further down the coast and try their Kimono restaurant, where food is cooked in front of you whilst you are treated to a bit of showmanship from the chefs - fantastic!

Some tips and pointers:

Don't worry about travel sickness tablets for your ride from the airport (some reviews have suggested them). It does take just over an hour and in a couple of spots the road is a bit winding, but there are road improvements going on, most of the road is in good condition and if you don't normally get travel sick, you won't. We got a private car each way which is probably a little better than the bus, but make sure you take a good look around you on the journey as there is so much to see.

Don't hesitate to book a Simon Says tour if he approaches you on the beach (and he probably will!) - they are not afiliated with Sandals but they are well worth it - make sure you take $200 in cash (about 540 EC dollars) with you to pay for this. You have the chance to go snorkelling, to a mineral spa, the volcano and a local town. Simon's wife will also cook lunch for you and she is a fantastic cook! If you know anyone at the Halcyon resort who is planning on taking this tour too, tell them to get the shuttle to the Grande to pick up the boat as there is no pier at the Halcyon, making boarding the boat "interesting" to say the least!!

Make sure you do take plenty of cash - it is all inclusive but you will find things you want to spend money on, and there is no ATM at the resort. You can only get one cash advance on your card of up to $100.

Don't let anyone offer to take your bags when you come through customs at the airport. They simply take them about 50 yards and then ask for a tip!!

If you don't have a rondoval or swim up room you will have to get up pretty early to reserve a sun bed! If you have booked a swim up room, check which way you are facing, as we noticed some of the rooms facing away from the beach never seemed to catch any sun.

If you have a spa credit or are feeling flush, definitely try the couples massage at the Red Lane Spa - both of us nearly fell asleep!

Try the "No pressure, no problem" cocktails at the beach bar, and if Mark is around, ask for a "Mark 10" - his speciality, which is fantastic!

Our favourite meals were: Breakfast at Toscanini's, Lunch at Barefoot by the Sea and Dinner at Gordon's (Gordon's is only inclusive if you have butler level but the food is AMAZING!) - Bayside also has a fantastic choice on their buffet.

Top Tip: Take mosquito repellent!! You will get bitten - mosquitos usually don't like me but even I got a few nips!

Overall, I would definitely recommend this resort - we had a fabulous time, and after only arriving home yesterday we are already planning another Sandals holiday!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank ericai77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,541 - 5,545 of 6,957 reviews

Reviewed 11 January 2010

My husband and I got married on August 22, 2009 and he told me he had planned a honeymoon but wouldn't tell me where. It wasn't until we arrived at the airport I knew where he was taking me and I couldn't have been more excited! In 2007 we had stayed at the Sandals Royal Bohemian and absolutetly loved it. I've only heard great things about the Grande in St. Lucia so I was very excited! Here is a breakdown of recommendations/warnings for future travelers:
- As others have stated, be sure not to hand over your bags to random people at the airport in St. Lucia. They seriously tow/carry your bag for five feet and expect a tip. Luckily we hadn't done this but saw it happen to other people.

- You MUST book a private car to take you to the resort if you get car sick easily. My husband, beining the thoughtful man he is (and knowing how car sick I get) booked us a private car to take us to the resort. Total time was about 1 hr 15 min of windy roads and no pit stops. Make sure you go to the bathroom at the airport!

- During the first half of the trip we had a concierge - it wasn't really worth the money. The second half we moved to a rondoval suite and had butlers - best decision ever! If you can afford it - do it. They brought us food, cold beers while next to the ocean - and it just made our experience 100x better.

- The pool and the ocean are wonderful. We never really went off the beaten path as far as other pool goes but it wasn't really necessary.

- Food: It wasn't the best food every - but it definitely wasn't the worst. I was addicted to the crepes (At Josephine's) for lunch and the plantain chips for snacks (to replace french fries). The drinks were good and when you made friends with the bartender then the drinks became stronger ;)

- Spa: I wouldn't really get a spa service here if I had to pay for it. We had a credit so I booked a hot stone massage - it wasn't that great.

- Wear tons of sunscreen if you are prone to getting burnt. If you don't you 'll end up like me and have a sunburn so bad my legs turned purple and swelled up. I saw the on-duty nurse and she was wonderful!

Overall a fabulous and wonderful honeymoon. I will never forget it as long as I love and every time I see a Sandals commercial I can't help but smile because it brings back so many wonderful memories!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Nonee12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2010

We stayed at the Grande in February 2009. We really enjoyed the resort and had a great time, although we did feel it was a little overpriced compared to other resorts in the Caribbean.

FOOD: (7/10)

The food was for the most part very good. The breakfast buffet at Bayside’s had lots of options for everyone. Service was quick. The café had good coffee and pastries. At lunch the pizzeria beside the café served a great assortment of tasty pizzas. For dinner, our favorite restaurant was Barefoot by the Sea. It’s set up right by beach. The tables are right in the sand. At night it makes for a great atmosphere to sit with your feet in the sand and have a great meal. The English pub actually had very good food. The fish and chips were great. Bayside’s was also good for dinner. Try the sesame chicken skewers! The only restaurant we didn’t overly enjoy was the Italian (Toscanini’s). The food was okay, but if you are an Italian food buff, you may be a little disappointed.

ROOM (7/10)

Our room was nice. A little small but well appointed with 4 poster bed, clean white linens. A/C worked well, and there was a ceiling fan as well for when you don’t need it so cool and just want a nice breeze. There was also a good sized safe which easily fit a fullsize SLR camera, iPod, passports, wallets, jewelry, etc. Housekeeping was always on schedule and did a great job. Turndown service was nice in the evening.

The bathroom was also nice. Very clean although a little dated. Again not overly big. We never had a problem with either water pressure or temperature in the shower.

We stayed in the Honeymoon Grande Luxe Beachfront room category. I’d recommend this choice if you want good views of the beach and Rodney Bay. The resort is on a peninsula/causeway, so there is ocean on both sides. The beachfront rooms face the resort’s beach and beautiful Rodney Bay (West). The oceanfront rooms face the back of the resort and look out onto a more rugged beach and the Atlantic. I’d definitely recommend the Beachfront view for the sunsets alone.

BEACH (8/10)

The beach is gorgeous with fine sand and very calm turquoise water. Great for swimming and relaxing. Not a great beach for snorkeling if this is your thing, although we did see some fish.

Finding a beach chair was sometimes a problem, although we generally we okay up until about 9:30. Part of the problem is guests from the other 2 resorts take the day-bus to the Grande and it gets a little crowded.

Our only minor gripe with the beach is the amount of peddling going on by the locals. Beaches in St. Lucia are public (which is only a good and fair thing for the local people), however the result is that you get quite a few locals walking up and down trying to sell necklaces, hats, shells, etc. Many were very friendly and would talk to you about the Island, which was great, but others were a little pushy, and would lose the friendly façade and walk away mid sentence if they realized you weren’t going to buy. We had some guys even asking us to go up to the resort to get them free food from the restaurants. As I said it wasn’t a huge problem, but it got a little tiresome to be stopped every 3 minutes when walking the beach or to be hassled when you won’t go fetch food for them.

The other result of the public beach, was at night when you walk to dinner along the boardwalk just up from the beach (resort/private property) you sometimes get locals on the beach at the private/public threshold yelling up to you to some see them (“I just want to talk to you for a sec..”, etc.) It made the experience seem a little unsettling even though I’m sure they were harmless.

POOLS (7/10)

There are three nice pools in the resort. One main pool with swimup and two smaller pools that are quieter. There was something for everyone in this respect. The only thing we found was it was again sometimes hard to find an open chair. All three pools have a nice whirlpool for when you want a later afternoon warm up or evening dip.

GROUNDS (9/10)

The grounds of the resort are gorgeous with tons of healthy Palms, flowers and greenery. This was one of the best features of the resort. It was great for evening walks, etc.

SERVICE (8/10)

Staff were friendly and helpful. We never really had any bad experiences with anyone. The pool staff was especially friendly and would stop to talk if you started a conversation. It was really great to feel welcomed by everyone there.

EXCURSIONS

Land and Sea tour – Highly recommended catamaran tour of the island. A full day tour where you spend the morning sailing down the coast to see the Pitons (2 famous mountain peaks). You get to see a sulfur spring / volcano, and botanical gardens in the morning. For lunch they take you to a small restaurant perched up in the hills overlooking a small fishing village. The food is just okay here but the view was well worth it. On the way back by Catamaran again in the afternoon they make one final stop to snorkel in a small inlet. We say lots of fish and a sea turtle which was fun. We booked through the tour desk, although you can also book through “Simon Says” on the beach – a local tour operator not affiliated with the resort. I’ve heard good things about his tour as well, although I’m not sure whether it includes catamaran or is just by bus.

Pigeon Island – Just beyond the resort (2 minute walk) is Pigeon Island, a national park you can hike around. It was only $5 USD each to get in. We hiked the hill to the British military ruins and to Signal Point. Talk about a great view of the bay and ocean. We’d recommend this for sure, although if you’re not sure-footed or afraid of heights you may want to skip the Signal point part.

Snorkel Tour – We snorkeled through the dive shop one day and it was fun. They take you around the bend by boat to a rock/coral formation. The weather wasn’t the greatest when we went so we couldn’t see very much, but I think on a clear day it would have been good. It’s included so no cost. Reserve days ahead of time at the dive shop to make sure you get a spot.

Heli-transfer – We chose to use St. Lucia Helicopters service on the way to the resort. It was pricey ($165 USD pp) but was worth it just for the view. When first landing at UVF airport, you go through customs and get your luggage and check in at the heli desk. They handle your bags and shuttle you out to the heli pad and you’re off. 12 minute ride straight up the center of the island. Beats the 60 minute bus ride! We booked directly through the Sandals tour desk before heading to St. Lucia, and they arranged the helicopter and taxi transfer for us. Search for St. Lucia Helicopters on TripAdvisor for reviews of their service.

All in all we’d recommend the resort. It’s in a great location and St. Lucia is a beautiful country. We do feel for the price you can get better value elsewhere, but we’d still recommend the resort – especially if you haven’t visited the country before.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank KPTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2010

My wife and I, along with my in-laws, spent a week at the Sandals Grande, our first Sandals visit. We went in with extremely high expectations and found ourselves extremely disappointed.
The hotel is at the opposite end of the island from the airport and requires an hour drive through winding roads.
Upon our arrival, we found ourselves in our "upgraded" room. This villa was dated, unkept and disappointing in comparison to other all-inclusives. My father-in-law, also in another villa, turned on his A/C and had a cockroach land on him. After complaining, he was moved to the modern "hotel" complex. We spent a night in the villa before being moved into the hotel as well.
The pools were very nice, although, the more secluded one's were not being well taken care of. Later in our stay, we discovered the hotel at the top of hill. This pool was less cluttered and very beautiful. The view was nice.
The food was the most disappointing. Again, we had high expectations being a Sandals, and found the food wasn't anything special. Just typical all-inclusive fair. The restaurants had nice decor and atmosphere, as well as views, but the food itself was just ok.
The hotel was extemely accomodating, once we complained, and tried to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. Unfortunately, they could do nothing about the poor weather we had.
Overall, given the added expense of staying at a Sandals compared to other all-inclusives, I'd say save your money and choose another hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank EricToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2010

Overall good experience. Hotel OK, beach fantastic (but don't forget bug spray, we think there were sand fleas). Food OK, staff friendly, drinks good - try the BBC. Cost OK, though it was on sale, about 40% discount. I would not recommend paying full price. Took one day trip with "Charlie" (he is not affliated with Sandals and is on the beach selling his trips. We had a great time and thought he did a really good job.

Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
3  Thank ClaireD5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort

Address: Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Gros Islet Quarter > Rodney Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Rodney Bay
#1 Romantic Hotel in Rodney Bay
#1 Business Hotel in Rodney Bay
Price Range: $782 - $1,718 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 301
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•301 room, 17 acre resort combines historic British & French flavor•Pigeon Island, home to our annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival, combines historic British & French flavor that unfolds at Sandals•Offers exotic island & international culinary temptations at seven dining options •Ocean & beach view accommodations •Caribbean Sea•A lagoon swim-up pool where guests can swim right up to their patio ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Hotel Gros Islet
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa And Beach Resort

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