What to expect
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Last 5 reviews
My review is based on the 10-day vacation (plus wedding/honeymoon) that my husband and I experienced at Sandals Grande St. Lucian in February 2019. I’ve tried to organize my review into a list of key topics and I’ve also included tips that I really wish someone had told me before selecting this resort. 1 | Airport Arrival & Sandals Lounge - The airport is fairly small. The Sandals lounge in nice enough, but you only get access to it upon arrival while waiting to be transferred to the resort. The doors to the lounge are located on the other side of the customs checkpoint after you pick up your luggage. There wasn’t any great signage that directs you to it when we were there and there was a group of luggage porters blocking the doors to the lounge. The porters are persistent on helping people with luggage – a bit chaotic; assuring you that they will happily take you to the Sandals lounge. The lounge is through the doors that they are blocking and down a very short hallway! You can’t get lost as long as you are able to find the doors that the porters block by sheer numbers. Tip: Take your bags and run – the luggage porters are looking for obscenely easily earned tips. I watched as couple after couple got swindled for easy money. Don’t take the bait! Take some snacks from the lounge for the ride to the resort. 2 | Transfer to the Resort - The ride is long! We had a very negative experience on our transfer. We arrived late afternoon and hoped that the 90-minute drive would still leave a little time to put our feet in the sand and see the sun. No such luck – the drive took over 2 hours! First, the driver pulled over at a “scenic look out” point; he shared with me that the reason we were there was because one of the passengers was a smoker that couldn’t make the ride and needed to stop for a smoke break! The same guest also requested another stop latter on in the ride to relieve himself (or in his word, “take a piss”) and we shuffled off the road to a sketchy gas station to address his needs. While at the ‘scenic look-out’ another coupled decided to place a food order at the jerk chicken shack on the road-side! We had to then wait for them to collect their order! Needless to say, the mood for the rest of the ride was subdued when the others realized that they unknowingly had been put-out by the inconsiderates on-board. After an early morning start and long flight I wasn’t prepared enough for the ignorance of others. Tip: Arrange for a private transfer or mentally prepare yourself for inconsiderate “people” that will likely kill the mood. Forget about any of your own wants or needs – the drivers are ill-equipped to deal with ignorant or unruly passengers. 3| Shabby Chic Rooms - Our room was in the Cap Estates building – we paid a bit extra for the “concierge” service; likely a few room grades below butler service. Bluntly, I’ve had better maintained rooms at all-inclusive-resorts at less prestigious resorts. The room carpet was dingy, the drains were incredibly slow, there were cracked tiles in the shower, and the faucet looked like it was being held on the wall by caulking. The pictures didn’t match the images that we had viewed on the Sandals website when selecting the room. The pics online had images of rooms will an all-shower facility and we were placed in a room with a standards tub/shower combination. I was so surprised by the condition, that I was sure that we must have been placed in the wrong room category for the money we paid. We checked with the concierge for a room that matched what we saw online and were informed that we had been assigned into a room that hadn’t yet been renovated. There were no other rooms in our category unoccupied at our arrival – the option that was posed was to move rooms the following day; seemed like a hassle to be put out in that way. We didn’t end up moving, but in hindsight I wished that we had taken the time to move, just to let them know that their false advertising wasn’t copacetic with me. Tip: Read the fine print of the room descriptions very, very carefully to manage your expectations. If you don’t get what you were expecting speak up immediately and follow through on the offer – it is the only way that you will get what you deserve. Ask if the room that you’ve been assigned has been recently renovated before you take the key and leave the desk. It feels much easier to keep you someplace once you’ve been accommodated even if it doesn’t meet your expectations. 4 | Waterless Ocean-view Rooms – Prior to booking our trip we compared the room options of “Beach View” vs “Ocean View” carefully. We looked at maps of the property to try to determine what was optimal for the price, etc. and we landed on an “ocean-view” room; felt like we’d get a great view. What could be better than ocean view? Turns out a lot of things are better then ocean view at Sandals. As mentioned earlier, by the time we arrived it was dark. Looking out into the darkness from our balcony gave the impression that there may be a nice view… we could hear the murmur of waves, but we could also see the occasional set of taillights from passing cards, which really threw us off. A more aptly label than ‘ocean-view’ is garden-view or roof-top view, because when daylight showed up the next morning the only thing that we could see was trees and roof-tops of the spa operation below us. Mid-week, a few trees were cleared and we saw some very thin slivers of what must have been water! Tip: For better views, look for rooms with “beach-view” at this resort. However, note that the building are not tall and you will need to be on the top floor (3 – 4 stories up) to likely see anything worth seeing. 5 | Beachy Businessmen – Persistent beach vendors come with the territory of being a sun worshiper and I have come across many persistent beach vendors over the years. I probably experienced the nicest vendors in the Dominican and most pushy in the Bahamas. And now, I’ve experienced the most disrespectful beach vendors in St. Lucia. We decided to hang out closer to the bar one day and also stretch out on the chairs beyond the wooden rails. A group of vendors selling boat tours, Jet Ski rentals, and parasailing congregated at one of Sandals’ famous blue chairs. One of the resort patrons decided that it would be a good idea to bring these “gentlemen” free drinks from the resort. They quickly littered the beach with their cups. They were loud, obnoxious, and weren’t selling anything. As guests started to slowly vacate the area, I asked my husband if we should move and he asked, “Did we really come all this way to not be able to sit where we want?” He had a point and after about an hour of the vendors’ shenanigans, my husband informed the bar of the negative experience they were creating with inappropriate comments about women walking by and their dislike of people from certain countries. Sandals’ Security eventually showed up for a quiet stand-off with them. An elderly couple were the last hold-outs with us and when they too got up to vacate, the vendors shouted at them that they are racist. What seemed to completely be lost on the group is that the reason why they are in business are because of the people they spent the afternoon harassing. Tips: The wood rail fence that extends the length of the beach marks Sandals’ property line. Stay back of the fence to avoid St. Lucia’s disrespectful and harassing vendors. 6 | Uncoordinated Wedding Coordinators - We got married! Yay! Sandals ruined it. Boooo. We experienced several issues with the wedding team. We asked one member of the wedding team how many wedding they do in a week. The answer was a minimum of eight and often more then one a day. With all of that practice, you’d wonder how a group with so much experience could have gotten so many things wrong?! Here are a few of the low-lights… the day before our wedding we were forced through some flower-drama when one of the team informed us that we’d need to select different flowers because our flowers had been bruised. Lucky me that I brought my own fake-flower bouquet. However, there was the matter of table centerpiece and flowers that were to go on the cake. I guess I could have got all uppity about the issue, but taking it in stride all I wanted was purple and orange flowers. I didn’t care about the variety, the cost, the size, the source (they could have gathered them from their gardens for all I cared). We worked it out; didn’t know what it would be, but was assured that it would be something purple and orange. The day of our wedding our Coordinator showed up in the salon to discuss flowers; not to worry… she had it all figure out and they were going to put white roses on everything! There seemed to be a great lack of communication and coordination between the wedding team members. We constantly had to do extra work to make our own situation right. We did get purple and orange flowers and we worked for them. I brought a cake topper with me and asked that it be placed in the top of the cake – no problem, I was told. Well, upon arriving at our reception – no cake topper on the cake. The Coordinator took off running to fetch it. It didn’t fit in the top-tier properly; stuck out too much and there were no wire cutters around. The team plucked sugar flowers from other locations on the cake to cover the wires. No matter, onward and upward. It’s just a wedding cake and they tried to fix it?! Tip: Just don’t get married here. 7 | $199 Candlelight Dinner - We bought the extra $199 private candlelight dinner on the beach for our wedding dinner celebration. I was served the wrong entrée – didn’t get what I pre-selected and was told that I would have been informed of the lobster shortage – no lobster on the island! I mean, we are on an island in the middle of the ocean where lobsters live and I wasn’t informed. Fine. On to dessert! The mango cheesecake I was served had strings embedded in it! I had to spit it out into my napkin. One of the Service team attempted to abdicate responsibility by trying to educate me about mangoes – his assumption being that I had experienced very fibrous mango. The resort’s Head Chef conceded that it was likely from the cheesecloth that they use to strain the cream cheese mixture. By this point, I was not happy, but I was also exhausted. Who knew that vacations could be so much work? Tip: There just isn’t a tip here. Don’t bother packing dental floss, maybe?! 8 | Top Tier Cake - On to the last item that I’ll mention about weddings… the resort freezes the top tier of wedding cakes to take home to celebrate the 1-year wedding anniversary. It is a tradition to use the top layer on the 1-year anniversary and known as an omen of good luck. Nice gesture! Well, it would be if they had sent us home with the right cake! Upon arriving home I noticed that the cake that was supposed to have been in a deep freeze for 4-days prior to our departure wasn’t very hard at all; not as it should be. We cut into it and discovered that the cake was not ours! It wasn’t our cake flavor that we had on the wedding day. I guess the bright side is that we didn’t save it for a year and relive the disappointment of Sandals on our 1-year anniversary. Tip: Meh. 8 | Say it Loud, Say it Proud – There were more issues and underservice that we experienced that I’m not listing out. I know that we didn’t get the expected Sandals experience. We dreamed about going to Sandals for a long time, we anticipated our wedding for over a year, so it is unfortunate that we got what we got. You might wonder what we got for our trouble. After a meeting with the General Manager of the resort following our wedding, we got an upgrade for a couple of nights to a suite that had butler service. We got a certificate for a complimentary couples massage at the spa. We got invited to a ‘redo’ wedding dinner with lobster and no mangos. We got a private transfer to the airport. We weren’t satisfied with what little we got and prior to leaving the resort one of the wedding team managers assured us that the conversation about our experience was not over. Continuing the conversation with Sandals Customer Service and asking for escalations after we got home we were offered a refund of about $750 US$ for our rental of the wedding chapel that was later converted into a 1-night credit stay. We declined it for freedom to write this review. Tip: Ask to speak to the General Manager – our meeting occurred in the lobby. Take full advantage of the public scene that you can make. We sat in the lobby with the manager having a quiet, respectful, and dignified conversation. I wish we had yelled at the top of our lungs to get enough to fix what Sandals did. They don’t care about you as soon as you leave the resort… so, get EVERYTHING you want while you are there. 9 | Sandals Customer Service & Social Media – It was difficult to deal with the 1-800 Sandals Customer Service department. I had to follow-up repeatedly. They were not proactive to respond to me. And their escalation process is a joke. A good indicator of how much a company cares about its customers is how they treat you when things don’t go right and when things aren’t going well. How you get treated then is so telling about the culture of the organization and how much value they place on you. Sandals did not take us seriously. They did not do enough to fix the horrible experience they gave us and shame on them for falling so short of any kind of 5-star experience. Tip: Join the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Facebook group before you go and use it to give feedback while you are on the resort. More importantly post to the main Sandals company page and also follow them on Twitter and tweet them your displeasure and issues in the moment. Unfortunately, I joined these groups and posted/tweeted after the fact. When I did post to the Sandals Facebook page, I was asked to message the privately in Messenger, which I did. They acknowledged that they got my message, asked if I was still at the resort – when I replied that I wasn’t at the resort any longer they said that they would look into my matter and never responded again. Good-luck and safe travels!
To the GM of Sandals Grande Your staff is OUTSTANDING, they get 100 out of 10. Very friendly, helpful, happy and all around awesome. I loved them. Food was delicious 100 out of 10 again, very good indeed. The chefs are amazing. The hotel is fabulous, fun and clean. My only complaint about the room was the sliding doors to the patio, they need to be cleaned so you can actually open the doors. They were very dirty on the bottom and would not slide open. We asked to speak to the GM of the hotel...TWICE. First day there, we couldn't get into out room. The lady that took us, had to run back down for another room key. Second day we had to go to the front desk because both our room keys stopped working. Five times in 3 days is a little annoying, I'm sure you would agree if you were staying in a hotel that did this. Third day there we had dinner reservations, go back to the room and NO WATER to wash or take a shower. You never bothered to get back to me. The lady at the desk took my e-mail address as well. Still no response from you. For that Mr. General Manager you get 0 out of 10. Not very professional at all. Customer service is everything. I as well work in a large hotel and when a guest has a problem you bet we fix it ASAP. It brings your client back.
Second Visit to Grande St Lucia
This was our second visit so obviously we enjoyed it the first time. It was also our 7th Sandals vacation. We arrived Christmas day and stayed for 5 nights. The grounds of this resort are absolutely beautiful! So many flowers and palm trees and the water and tower pool....it's insta perfect for picture taking and upload bragging. This resort is a little larger than medium. Everything is easy to walk to but there is also plenty of space. We never felt crowded and only had trouble one time finding a seat at the beach. You do have to get out there between 8-9 if you want a good in the shade. The service was good and we had no issues. Speaking of service, the best meal we had was at Gordon's and Hanna Banana went out of her way to make our night special. We had met her at the pub several nights prior and mentioned we we're going to Gordon's on Saturday. She not only remembered but the best table in the restaurant reserved for us an decorated beautifully. She really went above and beyond! The food was also the best dinner we had during our stay. Dinner at the Italian restaurant was good as well. We're from NY so bare in mind i'm saying it was good for an all inclusive in the Caribbean. Besides those two i would say the pub and Asian restaurants were the best for dinner. Pizza and the jerk shop were great options for lunch. The buffet changes daily with a different theme. The guys at the water sports shack were awesome! They took me water skiing everyday and were always happy to do it. Never made it seem like a bother. The pool is a good size and of the selling points of this location. The resort upgraded to a suite our last two nights without us asking and that room was awesome!! If they did it to try to convince to book suites in the future it just may have worked. We were just off the lobby with a double balcony living room 2 full bathrooms with glass showers and huge round tub and of course the master bedroom. Also had the best view of the resort and beach from the balcony. Thank you Sandals! The ocean at this resort is very calm and very clear. The beach is powdery. Vendors did not bother us at all. Negatives were the long ride from the airport and check-in. 90 minutes on Christmas day to the resort and 2 hours on a normal traffic weekday back. The ride itself didn't bother us but it is a bit hairy with sharp turns and up and down mountain roads. Once we arrived the check-in process was painful. They made us all sit together and asked for something with our names on it from all the guests. Not ID but mail, boarding passes etc. That was weird and unusual and annoying. It took too long and our room wasn't ready even though it was after 3 PM. They need to streamline that. Also we forced to sit there and have her explain things that are the same at all Sandals. I've been 7 times and I've been to this property before. Wasting precious time on Christmas day! Overall the food was okay not spectacular. We have found that the quality has gone down a bit since we first started going to Sandals or perhaps we've gotten more picky. The play makers at this resort were not as good as some of the other Sandals. Hardly around but one day they broke up a game of "keep the ball up" in the pool that everyone was enjoy to start some bad activity that excluded almost everyone. Again weird. These were mostly minor issues and we had a great time. I will say I can't recommend the over water rooms. They are too close to each other, you'll be seeing the couples in the adjacent room on your deck and the ocean floor is not cleared of sea grass the designated roped off swimming area. If you like tequila they have Don Julio but it's hidden, not on the shelf so you have to know to ask for it. Wish i knew that earlier in the trip. All in it's a great resort! Comparable to Sandals Antigua except smaller. If you decide to go here you won't be disappointed.
My husband and I stayed at Sandals Grande St. Lucian in the overwater bungalows and could not be happier with our experience. The butler service was top-notch the entire stay. Both Ellone and Zanius bent over backwards to make sure my husband and I were comfortable and that everything was taken care of. They both brought us breakfast and lunch to our bungalow every day and made reservations for us every night at the best restaurants on the resort. They delivered special drinks to us throughout the day and always provided an afternoon snack. They even were able to provide a bottle of my husband's favorite bourbon that was not normally available on the resort. Ellone and Zanius escorted us to every dinner and made sure we were seated right away with drinks in our hands. My husband and I barely knew our way around the resort because we were literally escorted everywhere. It really made us feel special. The bungalow itself was absolutely perfect for our honeymoon. Other than dinner, we barely left our bungalow the five days we were there. There was no need to! The deck was a perfect place to relax during the day and we would swim and snorkel right from there. The room was always kept clean, housekeeping did a deep clean twice a day which was much appreciated. If you are looking for a honeymoon destination where you can just relax and enjoy your time together without having to worry about anything, I highly recommend staying in the overwater bungalows at Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
Fun and friendly
The place is very friendly and staff truly enjoys making your trip fantastic. If u tip them they treat it like gold since it’s an all inclusive resort. The spa is very good, but the volcanic mud bath is a once in a life time experience. Very neat.
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