"Luxury, romance and idyllic beaches"Saint Lucia Review
Experience Sandals Grande St Lucian with Sabrina Chakici..
Think of Sandals and you’ll imagine luxury, romance and idyllic beaches which having now seen for myself would be the correct assumption but after visiting Sandals Grande St Lucian, I also witnessed that what lies at the beating heart of this beautiful resort is a real fun-loving character that young and active couples will fall in love with!
Having heard about her beauty from friends and family Mems and I were both eagerly excited to touch down in Saint Lucia. Mr C and I were invited by the lovely team at Sandals Resorts to spend at week at their famously fuss free and fabulous resorts. We were due to spend five nights at Sandals Grande St Lucian Hotel & Spa and one evening at Regency Le Toc, the best bit? Sandals resorts are all completely inclusive so our visit would be on the basis that we left our wallets at home.
It was our first husband and wife trip away to the Caribbean and being the active duo that we are I’m not sure we could have found a more perfect base for a week of adventures! Sandals famously brands their as ‘The Luxury Included Holiday for couples in love’ and whilst this may absolutely be the case, when it comes to Grande St Lucian Hotel & Spa they also throw in one hell of a party!
We learned early on that it was completely impossible to go through your day hungry (with 12 restaurants on site!) and that is was also deemed unacceptable to not have a drink in hand Being the largest of the three Sandals resorts on the island the Grande is well know for being the most lively of the trio and it certainly was a resort full of vitality and fun!
Perfectly placed on it’s very own peninsula in the North Saint Lucia, the resort itself is huge, with five swimming pools (one including a swim-up bar) four whirlpools and a lengthy white sandy beach. Lined with palm trees and saturated with comfy deck chairs the narrow but long beach was the showstopper of the Grande Saint Lucian with crystal clear water and unobstructed views of the vast Caribbean sea ahead. Plush cabanas were available to book (for an extra fee) but with such alluring water our time was spent mostly on Sandal’s unique and popular sea beds. Placed perfectly in metre deep water, a number of floating rings with comfortable nets attached provide a relaxing haven for couples to enjoy the sun in sea or a glass of wine together whist watching the sun go down into the water.
Stepping out of the sea and into the pool was a compete change of scene, we would switch from our romantic gazes and clinking glasses of bubbly in the waves to the daily pool-based rave. Every day from midday through to sunset the main pool would come to life! With cheeky competitions, a live DJ and often a guest fuelled sing-a-long in the main pool area where the swim up bar was based, expected scenes of canoodling couples were replaced with like minded fun loving travellers who were all in the market for some fun in the sun. It was awesome to see everyone getting involved and enjoying the free-flowing bar and it was our first indication that there’s definitely more to Sandals than romantic strolls on the beach!
As someone who’s never been keen to stay inside a hotel when travelling, what I absolutely loved about staying at a Sandals Resort was the ample amount of activities available as part of the all inclusive package.
The beach was lined with opportunities from sailing to kayaking, snorkelling trips went out daily and even scuba dives are included for guest as part of the package. I didn’t get to bust out my BCD but I did try my hand at water skiing for the very first time. The resort team gave me a quick lesson on the beach before taking me out to sea, to my surprise I’m pleased to say I managed to get up and skiing comfortably first time!
As well the water sports, of which we took full advantage of them being completely free of charge we hired a jet ski from the beach and rode out to a local sandy cove. The sea surrounding the hotel is known to be the calmest waters in all of Saint Lucia making it a great place to jet out and explore! We also hired a private boat for the day but more on that in my next post
The Sandals team booked us in for one of their signature treatments at the famous Red Lane Spa one evening and it was divine! Arguably one of the best spa treatments I have ever had, an hour long massage that consisted of a firm yet relaxing massage delivered whilst the night draws in. We had the treatment in a stunning outdoor gazebo so the sound of the natural billowing leaves and calming birds song was an additional delight. My masseuse was called Tamara and if I could have traded in Mem’s return flight for her i don’t think he would have minded, as soon as I stepped of the bed I re-booked in for the following day. On both occasions the treatment was incredible, worth me travelling back to the Grande St Lucian just to see her again.
As well as the activities available within the hotel, Sandals and their in-house excursions team Island Routes, offered Mems and I the chance to experience even more of the beautiful Island of Saint Lucia by organising two external adventures. One early morning we rode, horseback, to a beautiful neighbouring beach, it one of my favourite mornings spent in Saint Lucia. Not only were we waking up to another gorgeous day full of blue skies, we welcomed up the sun whilst bathing three gorgeous horses in the Atlantic Ocean. The team has organised a specially early morning ride so we were fortunate enough to have the entire beach to ourselves and it was a real pinch me moment for is both.
The island of Saint Lucia is truly stunning and even though small, there’s so much to see and do whilst visiting. Trying to steer clear of the more usual and obvious excursions Mems and I were desperate to venture deep into the rainforest so our second escape with Sandals was an afternoon spent in the North ** of the island. Once again heading out for a ride, this time however, trading in our horses for bikes.
Seeing the island from a completely different point of view and fully immersing ourselves in the rich nature of the island was incredible. The ride itself was quite challenging gearing through the muddy pathways and windy narrow forest, which Mems and I absolutely loved! We ducked and dove amongst the trees, riding over suspended bridges and we ended up at a towering waterfall which was not only a beautiful sight to see but a little slice of heaven after a strenuous ride in the heat, we dove straight into the cool water and it was bliss!
The hotel has 12 restaurants to keep any hunger pangs at bay and ensure that most people leave the resort with a few inches of extra ‘warmth’ As a gluten free vegetarian I can often find it quite difficult to keep well fed and enjoy the food on offer at a resort but I wasn’t ever hungry here! From gluten free pizza’s served on request from 11am-6pm to freshly roasted yams at the beach, I was content!
We were treated to a candle lit dinner on the beach one evening which was lovely, ourselves and a few other couples were perfectly dotted along the beach with the waves lapping a few metres away from our feet. The dinner was a pre-ordered three course meal with free flowing wine served as usual! It’s a lovely treat considering most couples who were staying at the resort were on their honeymoon and the service was great. We also really enjoyed the service and gastronomy of Gordon’s which is the most prestigious restaurant at the resort, situated it’s very own pier allowing you a really authentic island dining experience on the water.
Whilst staying at Sandals Grande St Lucian we were lucky enough to witness a gorgeous sunset on every one of our five evenings spent on the beach. As a little tradition of ours we would sit in one of the in-water ring beds or swoop back and forth on the cute wooden swings placed perfectly in the waves. It was these moments spent submerged in the Caribbean Sea with a glass of vino in hand that lead to me to easily see why so many couples we had met during our stay returned to Sandals Grande St Lucian year after year.
The original post appeared on Sabrina’s blog, Clutch & Carry On.