Today I am sharing our Sandals Grande St. Lucian review that is real and unfiltered. What you need to know before booking this AMAZING resort for a fab trip! From the moment you step on the resort to the minute you leave, here are some key things you need to know for a great time.
This review covers the dates of stay from August 7-14 2021. At this time, there were Covid protocols in place, and that part is outdated. There are currently no Covid protocols(including any masking) in place, and all the most up-to-date information can be found at Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.
Disclaimer: This post is not affiliated with Sandals Resorts and I have not received any compensation for sharing my experience. All thoughts are 100% our own.
Common Questions About Sandals Grande St. Lucian
Before I get into the details of our Sandals Grande St. Lucian review, I thought I would answer a few of the common questions I have received when I do resort reviews on TripAdvisor.
Do You Need A Passport To Go To Sandals Grande St. Lucian?
Yes, of course you do since you are traveling outside the US! Be sure to confirm that your passport is valid for 6 months past your departure date.
What Airport Is Near Sandals Grande St. Lucian?
It takes approximately 90 minutes to drive to the three Sandals Resorts from the larger Hewanorra International Airport (UVF). The smaller George F. Charles Airport (SLU) takes approximately 10-30 minutes to drive to the three Sandals Resorts.
How Long Is The Ride From The Airport To Sandals St. Lucia?
Transfer time from Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) is about 120 minutes. Sandals provides a complimentary shuttle. We had a private driver and I can’t recommend that enough.
Can You Drink The Water At Sandals St. Lucia?
Sandals Resorts always has filtered water, so it is definitely safe to drink. You can also get bottled water in your room and at the bars & restaurants.
Ok, now that we have covered some basics, let’s move on the review.
After a pleasant ride from the airport to the resort (about 90 minutes), we were escorted to Club Sandals after our temperature check and cooling towel. Because we checked in online, we did not have to go through the check in process except to verify our credit card on file. Despite it being after 3 PM, our room was not ready at this time.
So instead of getting upset, we headed to the Jerk Shack for a late lunch. By the time we got back, we were ready to go. The staff at Club Sandals very clearly outlined the mask policy for all aspects of the resort. We didn’t find any of the mask wearing policy was too much to ask of guests.
We were escorted to our room by a member of the spa staff. This was the first not-so-pleasant experience with the resort. While I understand that it is their job to sell additional services, this person was persistent to the point of almost aggression. We were up at 4am, we were tired from travel. First, she wanted to schedule a spa appointment while my husband was golfing. When I explained that I wanted to go with him, she then said she would schedule something for Tuesday. Again, I said I would think about things.
She continued to push and say that appointments would get sold out. Again, I said I wanted to wait until we had our dinner reservations and other possible activities. She continued to push. We finally got to our room and caught our breath. Because of this interaction, I will never use the spa at any resort. Ever. This wasn’t a good way to start the trip, especially because I was tired and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Review Of Club Sandals & Dining Reservations
After we were settled in our room, I took a few minutes to call the lounge to schedule our dining reservations. From previous trips to other Sandals, I knew to make our reservations on night #1. I have read many reviews about not being able to get dinner reservations. I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to get all the reservations we needed.
Normally we tend to eat early because we know those are easier reservations to get. I was also excited that we were able to get some later reservations. All in all, Club Sandals made the process easy, and it was one thing that could be checked off our list.
Let’s Talk About The Restaurants
I can’t say that I had a bad meal at any restaurant. I loved Gordon’s because we sat right next to the railing, and had a beautiful view with a nice breeze. Our favorite though was Bombay. We first had it at Sandals Emerald Bay, and I couldn’t wait to have it again. Each restaurant had a signature drink that we tried (except for Barefoot since it was a spicy watermelon margarita. It just wasn’t our thing).
As noted by others, some of the service is slow. But we really had no issue with it. It was nice to slow down and not be rushed. And it was great to try things I wouldn’t normally have at home. Most of the serving staff was excellent, always asking if we had any dietary restrictions. There were a few that seemed to be less friendly than others, but it didn’t do anything to dampen our experience.
On a side note, most guests know that you cannot tip staff other than butlers or spa staff. On the Friday before we left, we had breakfast at Toscanini’s. I was distressed to see that a guest tipped one of the servers. And more distressed that the server took it. I do hope they did the right thing and turned it in. But it is so disheartening to see a guest deliberately do the one thing that they should not do. I don’t know why some think they are above the rules, but it makes it harder for those of us that do the right thing and follow the rules.
We loved the different options for lunches. You HAVE to try a crepe or waffle from Josephine’s.
We also had pizza from Dino’s as well as Jerk Shack. There are so many options to choose from.
Review Of The Sandals Grande St. Lucian Main Pool/Swim Up Bar
Before I say anything else, know this: you MUST meet Peter from the swim up bar and have his “Peter Special”. It turned out to be my favorite drink for our entire week.
Now as for the rest of the main pool, it was a great spot. Like many people have mentioned before, the chair game is in full force at this resort. I was up most mornings before 7 to get a chair. I am normally an early riser, even on vacation, so this wasn’t an issue for me. I was able to get a seat with shade each time, without too much trouble. There were many times we saw seats reserved with personal effects that weren’t used until later in the afternoon. People were sharing umbrellas because of that.
Now, some have noted that the service at the main pool bar was slow and they had to wait for over 10 minutes. We didn’t really have that issue until our last full day. Probably because Peter was off, and the servers in the bar didn’t seem like they were in too much of a hurry to serve customers with him not being there. Because we had our Tervis tumblers, we didn’t need to refill as much. But I can see how people would be frustrated if they didn’t have that option.
One other thing we noticed is that each day we spent at the pool, there was always someone coming around to take your drink order, asking if you wanted to order food, or to clean up dirty dishes.
There were several times that I was carrying our used towels back to the bins, when a staff member swept them out of my hands and thanked me for at least bringing them over. Lesson from this is, do your part. I had the watersports team that put out the towels every morning recognized me on my walks and asked if I need towels for later. When you are nice to them, they will knock themselves out trying to help you. A smile and thank you means the world to them.
The Beach Area
We spent one day on the beach. We were able to get seats with a palapa, and sat behind the fence. Others have mentioned beach vendors selling tours and that they could be a bit intrusive. We did not have any of that during our time on the beach.
The beach itself was clean, and the water was clear. We could not believe all the fish we were able to see right from the beach. We only spent one day at the beach because we are pool people.
About Our Room At The Sandals Grande St. Lucian
We stayed in the Swim Up Lover’s Lagoon Honeymoon Club Level room. We got this room on the 777 sale, and it was worth it. We loved that we could spend the day at the beach or main pool, and then come back in the afternoon and enjoy the swim up. We were in the Massade building, and we liked that you had sun during the day, but it was shaded in the afternoon so you could enjoy the water without having the blazing sun.
There were a few downsides to this room, however. The swim up areas did not have the crystal-clear water like at the main pool. There were several places where there were cracked tiles, and some of the spots did have algae on them. Probably because they were shaded during the afternoon. But the swim ups were great for night swimming too. It was fun to float around with a beverage and enjoy the evening under the stars.
Because we went in August, the pools were the perfect temperature, not cool like some guests had when they went earlier in the year. If we ever go back to visit and this room in on sale, I will not hesitate to book it again. I have a complete and detailed room review of the Swim Up Lover’s Lagoon Honeymoon Club Level room. Take some time to read it over, I know it will help.
A Review Of The Club Sandals In-Room Beverage Service And Room Service
With our club level room, we had an in-room bar at our disposal. Stocked with drinks and basic liquors, it is perfect to have. Normally we are never in our room long enough to use the bar, but having the swim up made the bar super convenient. One thing we noticed is that it was stocked on our arrival, but rarely attended to throughout the week. I sent a LOOP with our requests, and it wasn’t answered. We had to borrow Coke from our neighbors next door.
When Club Sandals finally did get back to us on the Thursday before we left, they asked if it was stocked (I thought it was and it actually wasn’t but at that point I wasn’t going to make a fuss) and asked if we needed anything else. I asked for some more bottles of Piton beer that we could enjoy in our swim up. Unfortunately, they never showed up on our last 2 days.
That was one of the things that we were counting on, and we were disappointed in that. There was obviously some disconnect between the Club lounge and the people that actually stock the room.
We never actually used the room service to order food, so I don’t have any insight on that aspect of our room.
A Little About The Resort Entertainment
I have to say, we only went to the entertainment a little bit the first two nights. Because we spent so much time swimming, we were pretty tired by the time the shows started, so we just stayed in our swim up. I know a lot of people that went and they enjoyed it.
Some Thoughts About Golfing
My husband golfed one day while on resort. We went to the Cap Estate course. The course was a bit rough, and wasn’t as meticulously maintained like Emerald Bay.
I have to say the only downside the day was there was a guy walking around collecting golf balls to sell. He managed to take the ball that my husband had in play for that hole, and then asked if he wanted to buy it back. So, make sure you bring lots of balls in case he gets to your ball. The carts worked fine, the clubs were adequate, and we even met a few animal friends on the course.
Yes There Are Beach & Resort Vendors At Sandals Grande St. Lucian
During our 7-night stay, there were vendors next to the beach selling items. They were pleasant and not pushy. The items were beautiful, and I wound up buying a wooden cat for a souvenir. Since we only spent 1 day at the beach, I had no real interactions with any beach vendors and the ones that we did encounter were fine with a polite “no thank you.”
A Shout Out To The Loyalty & Travel Office
This is probably my second favorite place to visit. Our L&T agent Bebe was great. Since we knew where and when we wanted to book, the whole process was super easy. She clearly explained the ins and outs of the Loyalty contract, so we knew exactly what all the terms and conditions were. We were able to apply our points to our booking, and we left happy because we had 2 other trips to look forward to in the future.
A Review Of The Sandals Grande St. Lucian Returning Guest Dinner
2021 was a milestone for us with the Sandals Select levels. We achieved Sapphire status while at the resort. It was really nice to have it recognized, and we got pins as a memento. The returning guest dinner itself was held outside at the Bombay Restaurant and the meal itself was delicious.
If you haven’t been to a returning guest dinner before, this is definitely the resort to do it.
Then It Was Time To Leave (A Sad Day Indeed!)
Our departure process was easy, no issues with that. We had private transport for the way back to the hotel, and they were at the front lobby area at the appointed time. It was once you reached the airport that things went completely downhill. By far, the St. Lucia airport is chaos. I realize that Sandals has nothing to do with this.
I just want visitors to be prepared. Get there early. The American Airlines desk was a complete disaster. The poor agents there are working short-handed, and there is just too much going on. By the time we got checked in, I just wanted to turn around and head right back to the resort.
We did use the departure lounge that was part of our package with Island Taxi and Tours, and it was a nice place to rest before departure. We had a small meal and some drinks, along with complimentary WiFi. I will definitely use them again!
All in all, we really enjoyed our stay at Sandals Grande St. Lucian. We felt no need to go check out the other two resorts, but it may be something that you may enjoy in the future.