Sandals st Lucia
Our first time at a Sandals resort. And directly a top destination, the Sandals st. Lucia, where we booked the Sandals Grande st. Lucian.
Prices of the Sandals are normally prety high. $700 a night is not an exception. We found an offer an paid about €165.
We had very high expectations, given the website of Sandals and the reviews on Tripadvisor. All luxury included! Read about opinion and experience at Sandals st Lucia.
The location of the Sandals st Lucia
The location of the Sandals st Lucia is very close to the Pigeon Island. They organise on Friday`s a hiking tour to the Pigeon Island. From the main airport at the Island it is almost a 2 hours drive.
They offer the stay at 1 play at all concept. This means you can use any of the restaurants and bars of the other Sandals properties in St. Lucia, the Sandals Halcyon and the Sandals La Toc. This makes that in total you can choose of 27 restaurants!
The drive from the Sandals Grande st Lucian is about 20 minutes to the Sandals Halcyon and half an hour to the La Toc property. There are free shuttle busses between the different properties, but those are not running that frequent. We therefore only enjoyed one lunch at the La Toc property.
It is nice that the All-inclusive package includes 3 resorts, but the drive between the resorts and the not so regular scheme of the shuttle busses made it that we spent almost all our time in the Grande St. Lucia resort.
Saint Lucia Island
We expected a more luxurious island, but this is definitely not the case. In the contrary the Island looks really poor and very unmaintained. You see for example a lot of car wrecks in front of houses.
Also in terms of shopping there is not much. Most of the day trips offered looked to us a bit made up. On top most of the trips are on the other side of the Island, which can easily be a 1,5 hour drive or even longer.
What we heard from other people at the resort is that they were not to impressed by the excursions. On top excursions booked at the hotel are expensive.
Comparing St. Lucia to for example the Dominican Republic, we did not see a difference in the overall development of the Islands. In our opinion it is pretty much comparable. Martinique, Aruba and Curaçao are way better developed islands than St. Lucia, which was kind of a surprise for us.
When going to St. Lucia, we advise to choose a good hotel and preferable all-inclusive We did not see many places which were inviting to enjoy a dinner or lunch.
In our opinion St. Lucia is not an island to go sightseeing. It is a destination to enjoy the beach at your hotel.
For shopping we were referred to Rodney bay. At the end we only passed it when going to the La Toc resort. And what we could is see is that we did not miss to much. It did not look appealing to us.
Taxis are expensive. They work with fixed prices, but for a short ride, for example to Rodney bay which is just a few minutes drive we were quoted $12. Unfortunately Uber does not exist in st Lucia.
Sandals and the all-inclusive concept
It is one of the most extended all-inclusive concepts we have ever seen. Things included without additional charge are for example;
- Water sports
- Green fees for the golf course. Although you need to pay and rent a caddy and equipment.
- Room service. This is only for the club rooms and up, but we understood that this wills soon be changed and will be available for all room categories.
- Scuba diving but you need to be licenced.
The dining options at the Sandals st Lucia are the best you could ever imagine at an all-inclusive option. All restaurants have a gourmet dining standard. Our favorite restaurants at the Grande Sandals st Lucia resort were:
- Gordons: Our favorite. The setting of the restaurant over the sea is just amazing, On top you will have a seabreeze which makes it very pleasant. This restaurant should not be missed during a stay at the Sandals grande St. Lucian. Both the food and service is of very high standard.
- Toscaninis: This Italian restaurant has a very nice setting, when you are seated in the garden. The food served can compete against the better restaurants in Italy. It is also open for an a-la-carte breakfast, which we enjoyed most of the mornings. The staff is very nice in this restaurant.
- Josephine`s: Pancakes and waffles made to order. Just delicious.
- Dinos: A pizzeria where your pizza is made to order. You can also take your pizza to enjoy it at the swimming pool. The pizza`s are very tasty. The only thing is that the choice of different pizza`s is a bit limited. However, there was not a single day that we did not enjoy a pizza.
The English pub at the resort is a very lively place. Most of the times this kind of places in all-inclusive resorts are a bit of sad places. This pub has atmosphere. On top they have a good selection of food for the late hours.
The selection of drinks is just amazing. The Sandals Grande St Lucian is in our opinion the best of the Sandals properties in St. Lucia. On one side of the hotel you are facing the Caribbean sea and in the back of the hotel you will sea the Atlantic Ocean.
We did not try the red lane spa. Prices are pretty high. The staff is most of the time standing in front of the spa, asking you if you want a treatment. This could have been a little less in our opinion.
The swim up bar in the pool is closing pretty early (17.00). Most of the times it still full of people when they start closing the bar. It should be a small effort to keep this bar open a bit longer.
We were not impressed with the friendliness of the people in St. Lucia. On the contrary, we had a few situations the people were very rude.
When we arrived at the small airport in st Lucia, we were expecting a staff member of the hotel to be waiting for us. Therefore we ignored taxi drivers offering us a ride. This is one of the basics, when travelling, always ignore taxi drivers offering you rides as you step out of the airport. Just look for the official taxi stand. This is one of the most commons scam in almost all countries in the world.
After asking around, it appears that the taxi drivers at the small airport have an agreement with the Sandals to bring the guest to the hotel, where they will get paid by the hotel.
So we had to go back to the taxi driver waiting at the airport. And he very clearly showed his frustrations in an extremely rude way. On top he did not say a word during the drive, and was in extremely bad mood.
At the airport, when going back home, we ordered a simple sandwich. After first waiting in a huge line we finally managed to order. After waiting for half an hour, we asked about the status. This triggered the person at the counter shouting at us, that we had to wait and not to bother them. After the sandwich was ready it was kind of thrown at us.
Also the staff at the Sandals Grande st lucian, in charge of cleaning the beach at the end of the afternoon are rude. If you tell them you want to stay a bit longer, they will clearly show you that they are not happy with that. And if they have the chance they will still take away your towel.
The location of St Lucia makes it that there is a very small risk of hurricanes. During our vacation in June we had most of the days some rain. Some days just a few drops and on other days more considerable rain.
Sometimes the sky is getting dark and you expect some severe rain, but then it quickly passes. So, when the sky gets dark, there is no need to run directly to your room.
In the summer months you should expect to have at least some rain. The climate makes that it will not get chilly. Once it stops raining you can directly return to the beach. No reason not to enjoy Sandals st Lucia.
Getting to the Sandals st Lucia.
From Europe it is not to easy to arrive in St. Lucia. Direct flights are limited. We had to switch flights twice, in Paris and in Fort de France to arrive in st Lucia. On the other hand prices of flights are very reasonable and under 400.
The big advantage of arriving in St. Lucia coming from Fort de France is that you arrive on the smaller SLU airport. From this airport it is less than half an hour to arrive in the Sandals Grande st Lucian resort. On top customs is extremely light. They did not even check our passport. About 15 minutes after we landed, we were already out of the airport.
The main international airport is on the complete other side of the Island and takes you almost two hours to arrive.
On top the UVF airport is in our opinion one of the worst airports we have been. It is very small, while most international flights depart around the same time, which makes it extremely crowded, with little air conditioning. The options to have something to eat are very limited, very expensive and you have to wait forever. And the staff is extremely rude.
Because it is a long ride from the hotel, the shuttle bus from the hotel leaves very early, which makes that you have to spent a considerable amount of time on the airport. And it is an understatement that this is not pleasant. Airport lounges are also limited. For example Skyteam does not have an airport lounge.
Which Sandals to choose in St Lucia
When going Sandals st Lucia, we believe that the St. Lucia Grande is by far the best option. The La Toc property is way smaller and felt very crowded. We had to search quite a bit to find a chair on the pool. Also the beach is in our opinion uncomparable to the beach at the Grande hotel.
We could only look from the outside, but it seemed that many rooms did not have a balcony. This is something which you would not expect from a hotel in this category.
The price difference between Sandals st Lucia is not to big, and it is worth to spent the extra USD or EURO to book the Grande.
The Sandals Grande st Lucian is a perfect place to relax and enjoy your vacation. In our opinion also the best Sandals st Lucia. Food and drinks are the best you will ever find in an All Inclusive resort. You have the feeling you are every night dining in an exclusive restaurant. Also the lunch options are plenty. The island itself is not to great. The beach at the Sandals Grande is good. However beaches in for example Playa del Carmen, Fernando de Noronha are not less.
The hotel by itself was not what we expected. The outside ground are very nice and very well maintained. The beach is well maintained. In our opinion is renting beach cabanas for more than $100 a day to much. If you pay a price of $700 a night, or even more this should be included.
The rooms were good, but not spectacular. And there is some lack of maintenance. For example during an early morning thunderstorm we had the water leaking through the roof. You also could see from the balcony that the woodwork is lacking maintenance and is rotten. And with the prices they charge at the Sandals St. Lucian this should not happen.
Do we want to go back to Sandals? For sure. but for the right prices. Regular prices you find on the Sandals website are in our opinion overrated and not worth the money.