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KVR Nov 18th, 2005 06:43 PM

Review Sandals Grande St. Lucia with Pictures
Sandals Grande St. Lucian - Nov. 11 - 17, 2005

We flew American Airlines from Midland, TX to Dallas, TX to San Juan, PR to the smaller airport in Castries. Was so glad we didn't have the 1 1/2 ride from the airport to the resort after that long flight. We left Midland at 7am and got to the resort at 9pm. No problems getting through all the airports on time, recieving our luggage upon arrivals coming and going or going through customs/immigration.

Room - We booked a Premium Lagoon Room and was in the Rodney Bay Building (#3) on the 3rd floor. It was a corner room with a 2-sided balcony. We had a view of the lagoon pool, the front entrance and we could look over the connecting bridge from building 3 and 5 and see a small portion of Rodney Bay in the front of the resort. It was a nice typical hotel room with tile floors, king bed, small sofa with table, desk with coffee pot, armoire with TV and small frig (stocked with water and sodas), bathroom with double sinks, closest with safe, hair dryer, iron and board. Maid service was late in the day between 3pm - 4pm, so a couple days we didn't get the room cleaned. They also provided turn down service. All the electrical outlets are for European plugs. There was one plug by the desk for American appliances. We brought a extension cord with 3 additional outlets and that worked well.

Dining - The food was hit-and-miss. We've been to several all inclusive's including Sandals Royal Bahamian and have to say the Grande was by far very disappointing concerning the overall taste of the food. Though there was plenty to choose from, there was not anything served that we could really say was wonderful or outstanding. We chose not to go to any reservations required restaurants. Too much of a hassle with our tour schedule and didn't want to take the time to shuttle over to the other resorts. Approx. 20 minutes to the Halcyon and 35 minutes to the Regency.

Toscanini's for dinner - First, the service was terribly slow. The antipasto bar was good. DH had the navy bean and bacon soup, which he liked. I tasted it and didn't care for it. I ordered a salad with balsamic vinegar and garlic dressing and was served a plate of tossed greens with no dressing. The sauce on the cheese ravioli was inedible. DH had the penne pasta with meat sauce, which was good and we shared that. Dessert was supposed to be creme brulee, but instead was vanilla custard with strawberry drizzle topped with a slice of watermelon.

Toscanini's for breakfast - The breakfast here is much better than the buffet at Bayside. We had the steak and eggs and Tex-Mex skillet. Both were good. They also served Mimosa's. Service was better.

Bayside for breakfast - Typical breakfast buffet with fruit, cheese, cereal, bread and pastry selections, omlett station, eggs, bacon, sausage links, and a few Caribbean breakfast choices that we didn't care for.

Bayside for dinner - We ate here twice. Again typical buffet with a variety of Caribbean style selections. They had a couple of carving stations with roasted pig, jerk pork, fried fish and make your own stir-fry selections. The dessert bar had real creme brulee, which was good and a chocolate fondue area with assorted fresh fruits and pieces of cake. Bayside was supposed to had ala cart dining, but the 2 nights we went were buffet style.

Barefoot by the Sea for lunch - The fish and chips were very good. DH had a hamburger, which he liked. Also got the chips with cheese, guacamole and picante sauce, which was OK. The cheese was typical nacho canned cheese and the picante sauce tasted like Pace. The guacamole was fresh. Due to the rain, this restaurant was closed most nights for dinner, so didn't get to eat here.

Olde London Pub - The cheese, spinach and artichoke dip was interesting. They used the nacho cheese, put in thawed frozen spinach and served with tortilla chips. Never saw any artichokes, and it was luke warm. The chicken pot pie with puff pastry was good. The beef pot pie was not. The savory sauce had a slight twang taste to it.

Josephine's Creperie - We have not had crepes before and did not like these. We had the spinach, mushroom, and garlic crepe and the chocolate crepe. We liked the fillings, but the crepe part was doughy. Also had the vanilla milkshake. Their ice cream/milk products just tasted funny to us.

Room Service for Breakfast - We ordered twice due to early morning tours. They leave a door card on your pillow with turn down service. Breakfast consists of juice, coffee/tea, cereal, fruit or breakfast pastries. The first time we ordered it came right on time. The second time, they didn't make it before we had to leave for our tour. Since the other breakfast restaurants don't open until 7:30am, it would be nice if the had a continental breakfast station open for the people who are early risers, have early tours or are leaving early for the airport.

Armando's for lunch at the Regency - Good antipasto bar. They had stuffed grape leaves, which I really like. DH ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza that he liked.

Midnight Seafood/Martini buffet - Actually it started at 11:15pm. Get there early because once the food they set out is gone, they don't refill. Nice selection of cold shrimp, cold lobster tails, California rolls, sushi, crab puffs, and desserts like chocolate, fruit tarts and mini cheese cakes. The martini bar had a menu you could choose from or they will make any combination that you like. They also offered a chocolate midnight buffet on Tues. that we didn't wait up for, but was told it was the same basic desserts that they serve at the Bayside evening buffet.

SSG Return Guest Dinner - We had cocktails and appetizers at the Padillum Night Club and then went to Bayside for a pre-chosen dinner. Appetizers of tuna tartar and crab meat mixed with water chest nuts. Salad consisted of baby leaf spinach with some type of orange colored dressing. Cold lobster tail with steak, broccoli and cauliflower, and a mashed potato floret. Dessert was a chocolate type cupcake with ice cream. We liked the dinner and the dessert, but not the appetizer or the salad. We prefer lobster served warm with garlic butter. They gave us leather sandals necklaces and a Sandals tote bag. The champagne was free flowing.

Bars - All bars serve any drink you like. Ask for the champagne. They had a alcoholic fruit punch every night, which was good. They only have Piton and Heineken beer on tap. It was difficult to get lime and salt, which I like in my beer. There is only one bartender per bar so it got congested and service was slow. The swim-up pool bar closes around 5pm even though there are still several guests sitting there. They tell you to get out of the pool and go to the beach bar instead. I found the bartenders not to be as friendly as some of the other employees in different areas. Hot and cold appetizers are set out around 5pm.

Pools/Beach - Great that there is a variety of pools to choose from. The main pool/hot tub was usually crowded and had lots of rowdy guests. We enjoyed the Lover's pool with hot tub, which was closer to our room. The beach was nice. Rocky until you actually get to the water and then it's sandy. The water is very cloudy and not worth snorkeling no coral or sea life to see. The tubing and skiing looked fun, but the lines were long so we didn't wait around.

We also visited the Regency. Their pools were nice and not as crowded. The guests there seemed a little more tame. We spent time at the main pool and hot tub and at the Bluff's pool and hot tub. Their beach was long and narrow and the water quite rough. We were glad we chose the Grande over the Regency. Did not go to the Halcyon except for tour buses to pick-up/dropped off guests.

Spa - Booked an appt. at the Spa. Chose the wrap-sody at $100 and the Foot Massage for $75. The wrap was a waste of money. They paint a mud mixture on the skin with a paint brush and then wrap you up in a cocoon for 30 minutes. Then you have to walk down the hall, in front of everybody waiting for their treatments, wrapped up in cellophane to go to the locker room to rinse off in the shower. I did not like that. The foot massage was nice, but not worth $75.

Tours - The whole point of going to St. Lucia was to see the natural beauty of the Island. The Island is gorgeous. Lush with greenery, waterfalls and plantations. It's actually the prettiest Island we've been to so far.

We did the shopping tour, Land and Sea Tour and the Jeep Jungle Tour. Highly recommend all three, but the Jeep Jungle Tour was the best. If you can handle being bounced around through the inner Island with no real roads, hike to a gorgeous waterfall, go swimming at a black sand beach with very rough water then take this tour. It was great. The Land and Sea Tour was fun except by the time we got to the Catamaran it starting pouring down rain. The snorkel stop was not worth it as the water was dark and cloudy and we couldn't see a thing, but the trip as a whole was fun. We also hiked up to Pigeon Point. Was a nice walk with great views. But, by the time, we reached the top it started pouring rain, so didn't get to enjoy as much as we wanted.

Weather - Was not the best. We had 1/2 day of full sunshine, the reminder of our time it rained on and off through out the day. At night the rain seemed to pick up. It really didn't cause us any problems. We still swam in the pools and ocean and did all the tours with the rain coming down. It just would have been better with some sun.

Over all we had a very nice vacation, though probably would not return due to the expense and distance. Definitely, see St. Lucia once even if you chose a different hotel.

Pictures at or email questions to [email protected].

owa Nov 19th, 2005 09:33 AM

Hi, If my memory serves me correctly, wasn't this trip on hold because your husband was ill? He must have recovered. Fantastic!!

We are going to St. Lucia in May so it was great to read about your tours. Thanks a lot for posting such a detailed report. Owa

KVR Nov 19th, 2005 09:57 AM

Yes, it was on hold until Nov. 2006. DH was DX with colon cancer in Aug., so we rescheduled. By Oct. he was doing good and his chemo isn't too bad, but makes him quite tired. His Dr. said he could go if he wanted. Since we already rescheduled, we decided on a short trip to Cozumel. 3 weeks out, Cozumel was hit by hurricane Wilma, so we decided just to go to St. Lucia as orginally planned. DH did well, but was tired after dinner, so we went to bed early every night. We are both glad he was up to the trip, we had a great time. St. Lucia is beautiful.

brenandg Nov 19th, 2005 05:21 PM

Wow, Owa, I'm impressed by your good memory. Very thoughtful of you. Kelly (KVR) and I e-mail, so we have been discussing our travel woes right along. I too am very happy she and DH got to go.

mah1980 Nov 19th, 2005 06:37 PM

I just read the original trip report. A note about the body wrap- it was highly unusual that the spa made you walk down the hall in cellophane. Every wrap that I've ever had involved washing off inside the treatment room. Usually there are rooms reserved specifically for wraps that have a shower (to prevent the situation that you described).

KVR Nov 19th, 2005 07:25 PM


I agree with you. Spa treatments I've had in Mexico and Las Vegas either had a shower in the room or a seperate door to get to the shower area. My experience with Sandals, both the Royal Bahamian and the Grande were very different. I guess their defination of modesty if different than mine.

Though we plan on staying at other Sandals resorts in the future, I will not be using their spa anymore. Their prices are outragous and the treatments are sub-par.

caribtraveler Nov 22nd, 2005 08:31 AM

Hi. Thanks for sharing your photos. A lot of them are similar to ours!
Glad you enjoyed but can't believe the length of your travel day!
Wishing your husband and you the best with his treatment.

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