Monday, 4 February 2019

Sandals Grande St Lucia Review - 5* Caribbean All-Inclusive

The Sandals Grande is one of 3 Sandals resorts on the tropical island of St Lucia and is quite possibly one of the best all-inclusive hotels we have ever stayed at (sorry Royal Playa Del Carmen). Set in the North of the Island under the backdrop of Pigeon Island the resort just screams everything that you expect from a Caribbean escape, a long white sandy beach, beautiful clear water and an abundance of  paradise.

Sandals Grande St Lucia Club Ocean Room View, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(View from Ocean Club Room)


Quick Video

For those who don't have time to read the full review I have created a 5 minute YouTube video review of the resort.



Sandals Resorts 

sign at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

The Sandals resorts are a collection of 16 luxury all-inclusive resorts scattered throughout the Caribbean. Originally attracting an older crowd the resorts are now pursuing the younger market through various refurbishment programs, ditching the colourful 90's decor and replace it with a much more insta friendly look.

The brand prides themselves on offering a luxurious all-inclusive experience where everything is included (except spa treatments and excursions) including tips (staff are not aloud to accept tips) and water-sports (including water skiing & wake boarding).


The Sandals St Lucia Grande Hotel 

Hotel Grounds at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Hotel grounds)
Hotel Grounds at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

The hotel has recently gone through a refurbishment project which has seen the decor updated to a more modern and fresh look. The hotel is split up to various different buildings but are all pretty much inter connected with bars and restaurants in-between.

bar at at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Hotel lobby bar)
bar at at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Hotel lobby bar) 
entrance at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Hotel lobby bar)


The Rooms 

There are quite a few room categories at the Grande but can be slit up into 4 main categories with each one having a different location and view.

Top Tip when picking a room remember that the beach view rooms face the back of the hotel and can sometimes look onto a car park where as the ocean view look out onto the resort beach at the front, pools and the ocean. 

  • Caribbean Deluxe - Standard rooms at the resort 
  • Caribbean Club - Club rooms give access to club lounge, room service and are located at more premier view points than the standard rooms. 
  • Grand Rondoval Butler Suites - Your own private villa with Butler service, huge bathtub in the room and small private pool with separate hot tub outside. These villas are situated just in front of the beach and offer a more secluded feel but only a stone throw away from the action. 
  • Over Water Bungalow Suites - New to the Caribbean in 2017 these over water bungalows are a rarity in the Caribbean, in fact Sandals Royal in Jamaica are the only other resort to have them. This rarity comes at a cost, around £15,000 for a week so if its an over water bungalow you fancy and you come from Europe I would hold off and spend your money in the Maldives where the price of over water bungalows can be less than half this price. 

There are also a range of Penthouse suites which come in a range of sizes from suites to two story mansions, for a full list and details on the rooms click here. 

room service menu at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Club Room service menu)
Welcome Gift 2, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Club Room welcome gift)
Welcome Gift 2, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Club Room welcome gift)
Rondoval bath at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Rondoval Suite bathtub)
Rondoval private pool and hot tub at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Rondoval Suite private pool)
Rondoval private pool at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Rondoval Suite private pool & view)
Rondoval suite at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Rondoval Suite bedroom)


The Pools & Beach

Sunset and beach at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Sunset at the beach)
Chill out at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

Pool Bar at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Main pool with swim up bar)
Pool bed at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

There are a range of pools dotted about the resort, each one offering that quiet relaxing area to read your latest book to the entertainment at the main pool where you can drink piton beers in the pool bar all afternoon. There are waiters that will come round periodically at each pool and take your drink order though if you are in a hurry I would recommend heading to the bar yourself as it can take quite a while for the waiters to get all the way round and back with your drink.

Hotel fire pits at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(One of the many fire pits) 
Sunset at the beach at Sandals Grande St Lucia 2 , , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Beach bed at sunset)
Sunset at the beach at Sandals Grande St Lucia 2 , , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Watching the sunset again)


The beach is stunning and although is a public beach there is very little heckling and selling from local traders, we found that a polite no thank you suffices for them to leave you alone (all beaches in St Lucia are public to ensure the local people get to use all the beaches on their island). In the water the sand extends into the bay so you can swim here bare foot without the worry off cutting your feet, also there are some small fish but nothing spectacular for snorkelling (I recommend heading to Soufriere on one of the tours where there are some incredible snorkelling spots).  

Beach Swings at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Beach swings)
The Sandals Grande St Lucia Beach, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review


The Food & Drink 

There are 12 restaurants and 6 bars at this resort with the option if you wish to dine at any of the other two Sandals on the island (15 more at the other sandals). I'm not going to list all the restaurants instead you can click here to see which ones are available but instead I will tell you what I thought of them.

Beach at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

Starting with the drink as lets be honest that's the most important thing about all-inclusive, the 6 bars have Heineken on tap which I'm not really a fan off but they also stock bottles of Piton (local beer which was awesome) and also Guinness foreign extra stout. With plenty of top label gins and vodkas and a raft of cocktails there was plenty of booze to keep you going. Like most all-inclusive resorts we found the drinks were made light during the day (very sugary) which is perfect for all day drinking and stronger at night which was perfect for giving you that slight stumble on the way back to bed. If you like your drinks stronger then just ask the friendly bar staff and they will happily load your GnT until the taste of tonic is a thing of the past. For the rum drinkers there is plenty of spiced rum with Jamaica's Apple Town being the headliner and for Whisky there is a selection of bourbons, some Irish Whisky and also the un-aged travel statement Scottish Single Malt from Glenfiddich which was a nice dram to be included.

Piton Beer at Sandals Grande St Lucia, Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Local Piton beer)
There is a huge range of restaurants (12 to be precise) to choose from and we found the food exceptionally good for an all-inclusive, normally you have to drop the quality a little when you offer all-inclusive (or people will just keep eating and drinking until they burst) but at Sandals they really do try hard to make some truly delicious food. From a full breakfast spread in your room, Italian pizzas and jerk chicken by the pool to Japanese tepanyaki, sushi and fine French cuisine you wont get bored of the choices. 

Sushi Food at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

Food at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Club room service)
Room Service Food at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Club room service breakfast)


Activities

There are a range of water sports from drinking at the pool bar to water skiing in the sea which are all included at no extra charge. If you can sail there are six boats you can take out or if you prefer to oar yourself through the water there are kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. If you have a dive ticket then you can head off on one of the many local dives (2 dives a day are included), I don't dive so can't personally comment on if they were good but after asking a few people the reports were very positive. 

There is no golf course at this Sandals but if you fancy a game the hotel will arrange transport for free down to the other sandals resorts which have a 9 hole and 18 hole championship courses (golf buggies and caddy are mandatory and cost money). There is also an onsite Spa where access is included but treatments cost extra.

Spa at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Spa)
Spa at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review
(Spa)


Tours 

If you are visiting the island of St Lucia then I highly recommend a day trip down to Soufriere, a stunning little fishing village that is also home to the Pitons and some awesome snorkelling. We spent a week down there and to see what sort of stuff you can get up to why not check out our blog post and video.

Cal McTravels top things to do in St Lucia

Verdict & Cost

Beach at Sandals Grande St Lucia, , Sandals Grande St Lucia Review

Were a big fan of the all-inclusive model and sandals really hit it out the park with the Grande in St Lucia, we always find it odd when you get a menu to find that some things carry a surcharge or are not offered for all-inclusive guests so it was great to see Sandals offer a truly all inclusive experience where you can leave your wallet at home without the fear of finding some tip money.


Cost 

  • Caribbean Deluxe/Premium = From £450 per night 
  • Club Rooms = From £500 per night 
  • Rondoval Bulter Suite = From £1100 per night 
  • Over Water Bungalow = From £2200 per night

Official Rating   
My Rating          ★

Location            ★ 
Sleep                  ★☆
Amenities          
Food & Drink     
Service               
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