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Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort
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5,130 - 5,135 of 7,249 reviews
Reviewed 6 October 2011

Me and my fiance just returned from 9 nights at the Sandals Grande. Thank goodness we stayed that long since we lost almost a whole day in the beginning. We opted for the helicopter ride to the Sandals, which was great, but didn't save time as we initially thought...losing a day and all. We waited about 45 minutes to an hour for the helicopter to show up. You have to think, there are several airplanes arriving to the island around the same time. The customs line was majorly long, and the airplane only seats 4-6 people, so if others make it through all that before you...well you're stuck waiting for the helicopter, while the Sandals shuttle has already left to drive all the rest of the folks. The view was great though, and it was my first time in a helicopter as an adult so it was super nice; the ride was 15 minutes then a short taxi ride to the Grande. The taxi was already there waiting on us at the helicopter drop off. Now, the reason we missed an entire day in the beginning...you wait at the airport for the helicopter to show up for awhile, then a lady comes to pick you up in a shuttle to drive you a short ways to the helicopter destination. They allowed me 3 small bags on the helicopter, which the lady insisted on carrying and such for us. When we went to get on the helicopter, she forgot one of my bags and I didn't notice since she told us all to get on the helicopter and she would handle the luggage. We got to the helicopter drop off after the ride and I finally noticed that they didn't load one of my bags. The lady had also noticed and called the guy at that drop off. They did nothing to rectify the situation. "The best they could do" was deliver my bag to the resort the next day at 12:30. I wasn't happy with this, but I had no choice. In my opinion, the lady should have been held responsible for the mishap and been expected to drive my bag to the resort. I mean, come on...the island is only 27 miles long. The next day came I called the helicopter place a few times, and the guy kept saying the bag would arrive soon. Then the helicopter was running late AGAIN, etc. Finally, Sandals stepped in and the front desk person new the guy at the helicopter place, miraculously my bag arrived 15 min to 30 min later. It got there around 3:30 or a little after, which was not acceptable to me. Did we get a discount? Money back? Help from Sandals in the beginning? No. I mentioned to several people from the front desk people, to the guy out front that handles organizing the incoming shuttles, etc. The only thing I kept hearing was "I'm sorry." To my surprise, Sandals didn't even offer me (as a courtesy) a razer, shaving cream, or anything else I may have been missing from my luggage. Tip: we paid a little less for the helicopter ride ($125 each) because we booked it early online. Tip: The taxi ride was $50 from the helicopter drop off UNREAL! because the ride was super short. Tip: Keep an eye on your bags at all times when other people are handling them.

Next, we heard before going to St. Lucia to make sure you carry your own bags and don't let the man carry your stuff when you get to the airport. We had planned to carry our own bags in the beginning, however, my fiance is slow to speak so the man had already picked up our bags without our permission in like 2 seconds. Of course they expect a tip for carrying your bags 10 feet. This also happened on the way home, once again, my fiance was slow to speak and there again, the man ran off with our bags. Then he says "how bout a little something for my trouble?" and he stopped in line at every single couple that he had just transported their bags (ON A CART for 5 couples), like 10 feet. I told my fiance NOT to tip him under any circumstance but he did anyway. I wouldn't have, and if I had my say I would have told that man, "trouble? what trouble...it's your job". I'm sorry, I don't mind tipping where it makes sense, but I don't like being told or asked to by people, especially by the person receiving the tip. Heck he made about $5 a couple for 1 minute worth of work. Tip: If you don't want them transporting your bags in order to get away from tipping...ACT FAST, and demand that you will carry your own bags. Trust me, they know what they are doing and they act fast themselves so you don't even have a chance to realize what's going on. So out of these 2 issues, they were probably the only things that really peeved me.

We had a regular honeymoon beachfront room in the Bon Terre building. Room was ok, nothing extravagant, but it was clean for the most part. Furniture/rugs could use updating and replacing, that's for sure. Housekeeping was very good about replacing sheets as we requested, towels, toilet paper, etc. They never came to our room real early so that was nice to sleep a bit sometimes. They always came in the evening while we were out to turn down the bed, and would turn on romantic music for us. Tip: DO NOT assume you will see the beach or ocean just because you have beachfront or oceanfront rooms because you won't most likely. We were on the 2nd floor and all we saw was the lagoon pool out the window and trees. The resort sits back too far to see the ocean/beach, plus the trees are too tall as well. If you're concerned about view, I would just do some research to ensure you're not overlooking a parking lot. I heard the 3rd floor was all of the concierge suites and such, but I still doubt you could see much from the 3rd floor.

We spent most of our time in the pool during the day. I prefer pools, my fiance prefers beach. However, everytime I tried to get close to the beach I was bitten by misquitos and sand fleas. I had bites on my ankles, legs, and arms. I tried bug spray, but that only caused the bugs to stick to me, didn't really repel them. I didn't even use lotion or perfumes so I didn't attract any unwanted bugs, but that didn't work either. Most of the girls I talked to had this same issue, but the men never seemed to have any bites. Not sure why.

The location of the resort is nice, but it would have helped if it was down toward the middle of the island to some degree so it's not so far to all of the excursions. Some were close, but some were not. Here are the excursions we did:
-Ziplining in Dennery - This was my first time ziplining. George of the Jungle was our tour guide and he was great!! Really made the 1 hour drive to the excursion interesting. However, the drive was irritating just because it took so long. The ziplining was fun, but it's what happened in between that was super exhausting. In between each zipline platform you have a small hike up hill down trails or cement steps. With it being so hot and humid there, in the middle of the rain forest with no breeze, this wasn't real smart to do there for me. I couldn't finish all of the ziplines; there were 12 and I made it through 7 or so. You have to wear a helmet and your harness so that doesn't help with the heat. Also, if you do this...don't stay up late the night before drinking/dancing because I was dehydrated big time. This was $100 a person.
-Shopping Tour - This was fun, only a 2-3 hour excursion. You drive to the market and you get dropped off for 1 hour. The driver picks you up and takes you to another shopping place and leaves you for 1 hour, then you go back to resort. It's $30 a piece. Had I known how little time you would be left to shop, we would have paid a taxi and went alone so we could at least have had time for lunch in town, and to get souvineers without rushing. Tip: Be sure to figure out what you want to do at the beginning of the week and start checking with the excursion desk. We had something else planned for the day we went shopping, but cancelled it because we heard the shopping tour would only be on Tuesday. So, what they do for some tours is wait to see how many people they get to sign up, because there is a minimum that must go before the tour is confirmed. For example: at least 6 must sign up for the Rum Tour.
-West Indies Couples Massage - This was an 80 minute massage and was so awesome. I'm glad we got this unique massage rather than the regular one. They even rub sand on your feet for exfoliation. Very different. $140 each on Wednesdays. Check with the front desk, the Red Lane Spa has specials on certain days, and book in advance when you get there. Very romantic.
-Segway - This was a blast and only 2 people need to sign up. It's a super short drive (like 5 minutes) to the Segway place. A man picks you up out front in a super nice truck and drives you to the agency. Our tour guide, Shanga, was amazing. They teach you how to use the machine first and let you practice several times, then you go down trails and check out the view and even segway on the beach. We ended up hiring Shanga to do our tour of the island via car the next day. Super nice guy and he takes good care to make sure you segway safely. If I can learn how to do this, anyone can.
-Candlelight Dinner - SUPER good meal and our waitress Angel was really nice. This was very romantic except if it wasn't for those darn bugs that were congregated on our table near the tiki torches. That was only the beginning of my bug bites. My boyfriend at the time, had planned to propose to me during that dinner, but chose not to because of the ruined mood of the biting bugs. This dinner would have been better if it was done earlier in the evening so you could at least see the water. We did ours at 7 and it was dark so you could hear the waves, but not see them.
-Rented local for a tour via car - this was amazing to do. We drove to several places to catch great views and pics of the Pitons, fire station, police station, random animals, etc. Anytime we wanted to stop Shanga would stop for us. Threw a cooler in the back seat and we were on our way. I definitely think the tour guide/local is what made our experience so nice. He even took us to a restaurant where we got true authentic food. We had the catch of the day, Baracuda and it was awesome!

I was surprised I didn't wake up super early every day from noise at the resort, but it was surprisingly quiet where we were. The service everywhere from the pool bar, beach bar, to the pub and other restaurants was absolutely great. I figured being all inclusive and no tipping allowed would cause service issues, but not at Sandals Grande. Every place we went to we practically had 3 or more waiters/waitresses at all times....always asking if we needed more drinks or food. I was surpised. Tip: Toscanini's was the best food and most elegant, but slower service. Tip: The slushy fruity drinks have little alcohol in them, ask for 2 shots if you want, or just drink the wine or Piton Beer! The Pub also had really good food!

The Palladium, I was disappointed. We only went there one night, and there were actually people in there (night club), but most were sitting down. My fiance and I danced at least. And the only reason there were people in there is because one of the resort workers coerced people into going in there that were in the halls or at the pub at the time. Every night they show a movie in there on like a big screen tv with chairs all set up aka pretend movie theater. Who wants to do this on vacation to a tropical island??? Not me. This area of entertainment needs serious help.

As far as the other entertainment, it was ok. The Street Party was pretty good, but at that point I was over being outside because of all my bug bites that itched like no other. The Beach Party looked fun, but we didn't go to it because yet again, bug bites. I wish there was more entertainment at this resort. Some nights they had a band in the lobby, which we always attended and danced, but I don't know...something was just missing. Some people end up drinking all day at the pool and don't come out at night anyway, so maybe that's the problem. We had a good time on casino night. Also make sure to attend the coctail party early in the week. They will send a memo to your room giving times (it's in the morning). They give out prizes and we won a free spa treatment.

Tip: Beware of all the photographers in your face wanting to capture photos. You can turn them down of course, which we did quite a few times. They work for Sandals, and you can purchase the pics for like $15 a piece. I got pulled into this at the end, because there were some really great moments caught that I couldn't let go. They even sent a photographer with us ziplining which was nice because he shot us going down the lines and everything. We ended up going for a very pricey package deal (17 pics on CD and 1 photo frame for like $180). I know!! Totally outrageous, but I'm a sucker for pictures.

Take note that this resort is all open air. When we arrived I was surprised how HUMID it was in the lobby until I realized it's all open, and not much air flow unless you're outside. They have fans, but don't always have them on. The hallways are all open air too. The only 2 restaurants with AC are the Pub and Toscanini's. The open air has to contribute to more bugs and pests in the buildings. I didn't see any roaches thank God, but I talked to a few that did, and one was in a bedroom. Not cool. One person saw a bat in the hallway too. So as you walk out of your room the humidity hits you like a brick. I realize this is a tropical locale, but after being outside all day in the sun and heat, it's nice to have a break from it, without having to be stuck in your room all night. We spent a lot of nights at the Pub because of the AC, but I wish they had more places available for night life.

As for the food, it was ok. Not bad, but not magnificent, other than the candlelight dinner and Toscanini's. I personally would prefer a more Caribbean cuisine rather than americanized food. After all, we are there to experience their way of living, not ours.

Note: I never met one couple there that was just there for a random vacation. Also, I didn't meet anyone that was unmarried besides myself. Everyone was either honeymooning or on a vacation for their anniversary.

All in all, most of my review sounds negative, but that is what people remember the most...what went wrong. Don't get me wrong though. I loved St Lucia and would love to go back some day. Chances are though, we won't. We are the type to experience another place next time and so on. We had a great time and the weather was so perfect. We were worried about rain before we went, but we had no issues with that. I would still like to know why this resort is so expensive....I can only hope that the staff gets paid really well since we cannot tip because they are the ones that make the resort successful. Everyone was so nice.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Skipper2912
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2011

My new wife and I went the last week of September 2011 for our honeymoon. The weather was very nice. It never rained even though it was the rainy season. As long as the wind was blowing then it wasn't too hot.
The resort was very nice and very clean. I read many reviews before we went saying how dirty the place was and how everything needed to be renovated. I'm not saying they are wrong but it seemed to me the people were keeping it clean. I even saw one guy scrubbing tile grout with bleach near the lobby. The carpet and painting on the outside is a little outdated but the interior of the rooms are not and that is what counts.
Our room was great. We had a swim up room and it was nice to go out the back door to that pool to relax. We were pretty much alone each time we went out there.
The main pool is a little crowded but we never had to wait on chairs and we didn't get out there each day until 11 or 12. There was always enough people working the bar that we never had to wait on drinks.
The food was great. La Toc at the other Sandals was very good. Tuscanini's is very good too but the service is a little slower. Breakfast at Bayside was awesome because we love breakfast buffets.
The trip to the resort from the airport is worth it. The scenery is beautiful. It is very curvy and takes about an hour and a half but everyone should do it. I get car sick but I took a dramamine before we flew down there and I never got sick.
We took a tour with COSOL tours and it was so much fun. Everyone told us to use him and not go through Sandals to book the tour. I'm not sure how good Sandals tour is but I do think it would be hard to top COSOL. He knew everybody and everybody knew him. He also supplied local drinks and food on the trip.
All in all, I would recommend this place to everyone. We can't wait to go back. We are going to try and get a group to go with us next time because it would be a huge blast to have people you know that are with you.

Room Tip: Swim up room is away from the crowds and noise.
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Forrest T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2011

Sandals was a perfect way to relax after our wedding; the goal for our honeymoon was to relax, eat, drink and soak up the sun! And we succeeded =)

We stayed at the Grande for the last 4 nights of our honeymoon; after having stayed 3 nights at the Halcyon. The Grande was definitely our favorite. We wished we had stayed here the whole week (or had done the 3 nights at La Toc). We were worried that the St Lucia Sandals resorts might be a disappointment after having been to Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica (their #1 resort); but the Grande was beautiful and we also enjoyed La Toc.

Our room was basic, but was all we needed. We loved the location of this resort. It has beautiful views and I would definitely recommend spending the $5 to hike around Fort Rodney. The food was good, but I feel like La Toc had the best options. Barefoot had okay dinners, but we really liked the lunch. Bayside had a buffet breakfast and good dinners. Josephines was good for lunch and snacks. The Pub surprised us and was a favorite. Toscanini's was our biggest disappointment for dinner - we waited over an hour for our entrees, our beef was overcooked and the seafood pasta had 1 mussel and 1 shrimp... Toscanini's does however have a great champagne breakfast.

Here are some great tips I had collected on here before our trip and some I'd like to add:
- When you arrive at the airport, carry your own bags, the Sandals lounge is only just around the corner and it'll save you having to tip someone to carry your bags only a few feet!
- Book your dinner reservations for the week the day you arrive (and make 2 for La Toc!)
- You can ask for double shots in your drinks . . . =)
- Take the 'Joe Knows' tour!!! It was definitely the best day (and photos) of our honeymoon (it leaves from La Toc or Halcyon)
- Order 2 entrees at dinner (or go to 2 restaurants!) since portions tend to be small
- When visiting the other resorts, ask the front desk to use a room for the day (or they can at least give you one to use to shower)

Room Tip: We had a basic room, we didn't feel the need to have a butler or anything since the service was good around the resort
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank ChantalTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2011

We stayed at Sandals Grande for our honeymoon. I agree with many of the other comments, but here are some highlights.
- The island is beautiful. Lots of lush jungles. Of all the Sandals properties on the island, the Grande was by far the best location. 
- Take the helicopter. Thanks to those who recommended this in other comments. It is expensive but we treated it as an excursion. We sat up front with the plot. You get a great vie of the island and the jungle. The ride takes 15 min., then it's. Short taxi to the hotel. 
- Butler room - We liked our room, although we were disappointed we couldn't see the ocean. A couple of nights we walked into our room to find a few surprises (rose bath drawn, dessert treats, etc.). We were given a phone to contact the butler but didn't use it. It was nice to have. Cabana booked for us. I wouldn't pay for the butler lever room in future unless it was an ocean view or fancier room. 
- Excursions. I would recommend the zip lining tour and Simon Says Tour. Well worth it. Would also recommend the walk/hike to Ft Rodney next to the hotel. Great views. 
- Great Beach - I couldn't understand why so many people were at the pool. You fly all that way and the beach is beautiful. don't waste that at the pool. 
- Everyone is on their honeymoon. Like others have said almost everyone is on their honeymoon. The average age is 20-28 I would guess. 
- Food. The food was good. If you've been on a cruise it is similar. Gordons restaurant is the nicest. 
- Dress is casual. Thanks to others who recommended bringing lots of sun dresses. For guys, if you are planning to eat at Gordons, you have to wear close-toe shoes. No sandals. Lots of guys wore shorts, but they won't let you in if you're wearing sandals. 

  • Stayed: July 2011
    • Value
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1  Thank HMH60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2011

We put a lot of thought into choosing our honeymoon destination and chose the wrong place. We got a swim up room that was nothing special. People were smoking and floating around with bottles of alcohol like they were trying to relive their college spring break. Sandals La Toc was much more of a honeymoon atmosphere and we wish we'd chosen that one, or not gone to St. Lucia at all. The concierge service was not worth it. Our reservations were getting screwed up left and right. The room service food was not very good. The weather in September was not very good, way too hot, and during our first three days all our activities were cancelled. The beach was not very picturesque and the beach and pool were too crowded. The food was pretty good at the restaurants but the service varied depending on the restaurant. Tosconini's service was the worst. We spent way too much money on this trip for the quality of the resort. We won't ever go to another Sandals.

Room Tip: I would either splurge and stay in one of the butler suites or go budget and get the cheapest room possible. Their concierge suites are very average, small, and don't have a nice bathtub.
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Amber T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SRICS, Manager at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2011

Warm greetings from Sandals Resorts International! You are very important to us and we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Please e-mail us at (customerservice@sandals.com). We ask that you include your travel dates when corresponding with us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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