Sandals experiences & tips: Has anyone been to a Sandals resort for honeymoon or vacation??

I was able to gather some experiences and tips for someone who asked the following. As always, your comments are welcome too::

Question: My fiancé wants to go to St. Lucias resort for our honeymoon but I wanted to do a cruise. Guess who’s going to win that battle? I guess we are going to St. Lucia. Anyway if you have gone how was it? Our travel agent said we should book a regular room and when we get there show them our marriage license and they should upgrade us…do you buy that?

Experience 1: There are three Sandals resorts in St. Lucia: Sandals Regency St. Lucia, Sandals Halcyon St. Lucia, and Sandals Grande St. Lucian. I had my honeymoon at the Grande, loved it. My cousin has hers at the Halcyon, loved it. My wife’s cousin had hers at the Regency, loved it.

The Regency is big. They have a shuttle to take you from one end of the resort to the other. There are also shuttles to take you between the three resorts (we had reservations at Marios, the Italian restaurant at Halycon.

Stayed in a swim-up room, loved it. Enjoyed the swim-up bar as well, although there’s waiter service to the other pools as well.

There’s a long 2 hour drive from the airport to the resorts, cause the nearer airstrip isn’t big enough to accommodate large international planes. Mine was…interesting. You can pay extra for a helicopter ride, though.

Oh, and don’t bother with the drive-in volcano. You might imagine driving INTO a volcano. Well, it isn’t. Apparently a long time ago, a volcanic eruption caused an explosion of part of the crust. So you go to this spot, and look down at a crater where you see steam emanating from various points. THAT’S ALL. Kinda lame.

Experience 2: We stayed at the Regency. Great vacation. Regarding the airport, we connected in San Juan to a smaller plane and landed at the airport near the resort. Five minute ride.

It’s definitely worth flying through Puerto Rico so you can go to the little airport. I can’t imagine the 2 hours bus ride. The 15 minute shuttle from the airport to the Grande was key. And don’t forget that’s the case when you leave too.

Grande was a great time. I recommend the Crepe place, the Italian place (rack of lamb was out of this world), and the Hibachi over at one of the other resorts.

And remember this – all your food is paid for, so if you have trouble deciding between meals, bottles of wine, or desserts, just get both.

Experience 3: We frew from Newark all the way into St. Lucia. The plane was part of the Sandals experience. So they had free champagne. This one woman, a dental hygienist from Staten Island, got trashed. Once we landed and left the airport, we ended up on the same shuttle as her and her husband. We’re sitting in the shuttle, waiting for it to leave, and a local walks up to the window by her window and welcomes her to St. Lucia. Her response?

Crazy woman: “Fuck you!”

Local: “Excuse me?”

Crazy: “Fuck you and your whole country!”

We begin the drive. It gets dark. There are a bunch of couple-aged couples with up, and they strike up a conversation with the crazy lady and her husband. Eventually, the husband mentions that he’s got pot in his bag. The college kids promptly spend half the drive trying to convince the guy to open his bag, and I’m sitting there thinking (1) this is the longest 2 hours of my life, (2) I wonder how strict the drag laws are in St. Lucia, and (3) are we ever actually gonna reach the resort.

In St. Lucia, you drive on the left side. So the driver’s side is on the right side of the cars (and shuttles). So one of the college kids is riding shotgun on the left. The drunk, crazy woman starts FREAKING OUT because the kid riding shotgun isn’t paying attention to the road. She seriously thought he was driving!

Eventually we made it to the resort. Thank god.

Our travel agent got us the upgrade before we left. But I guess it can’t hurt to try that too. Part of would depend on when you go and how booked it is.

Loved the Grande. There’s an English Pub on site, as well as a French Crepe restaurant (delicious, I’ve spent the last six years trying to find crepes that compare, and I’ve been coming up empty. There’s snorkeling and scuba diving (you can take a short, two hour course that gets you scuba certified for your stay; it’ll expire after you leave). There are some other restaurants there as well.

If you like chess, there is a giant chess board. Lots of pools, lots of drinks (all free). The local beer is Piton Beer. I’m not a beer drinker, but considering the number of people who drink it there, it must be OK.

Use sunscreen. The last day, my wife and I weren’t happy with our tans, so we went without for a few hours. That night, we got our pictures taken at the English Pub. Our faces were as red as the walls of the Pub.

Experience 4: Avoid the bus ride in any Caribbean country. On our way from the airport to the resort (Sandals, Montego Bay Jamaica), the shuttle driver was hauling A$$ up the hills and around the curves. It was around dusk/twilight, so none of us in the back could see out the front windshield all to clearly. But we did clearly hear/feel three distinct thuds during that drive. The first time, we all looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders, weary from our flights. The next time, there were plenty of whispers amongst us, but we mostly passed it off for bad roads. The third time, I spoke up and asked the driver what those noises were. His answer….?

“Dogs!”

Experience 5: We honeymooned at Sandals Grande St Lucia. All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience.

There are two airports on St. Lucia, George FL Charles Airport (SLU) and Hewanorra International (UVF). SLU is a small airport, too small for commercial jet aircraft, but it’s near Sandals Grande and most of the other major resorts. If you fly into SLU, you’ll only have a fifteen minute or so ride to the resort, as opposed to the two hour plus journey from UVF, but you’ll have to take prop place for the last leg of your journey. We flew to Puerto Rico and took a 70 passenger prop plane from there to SLU.

There’s also a helicopter ride from UVF to SLU if you’d rather do that.

St Lucia is a beautiful place and the St. Lucians are generally friendly and very proud of their island nation. Their flag looks like something from Star Trek.

I can’t recommend the Sandals experience highly enough. You don’t need money for anything except the gift shop. Everything is included and there is no tipping. You can spend the whole day out at the resort with nothing more than your bathing suit, a t-shirt and your room key.

The food isn’t bad, but it’s not great. Each resort has several different restaurants with one being their upscale/signature place that requires a reservation. The Grande’s big dining experience is an Italian place called Toscannini’s. We ate there a couple times during our seven day stay and it was reasonably OK, but there are a half dozen better Italian places within walking distance of my house.

BTW, one of the eateries is a crepe/dessert place that we didn’t find until the third day there. Recommended!

We had a pretty basic room, but frankly we didn’t spend much time in the room unless we were sleeping, showering or having sex. We did have a balcony with an ocean view (through a fence and over a road, but still) which was a nice place to eat our room-service breakfast – fresh fruit, muffins, pastry, cereal and coffee.

Experience 6: The wife and I just got back from our honeymoon a week ago. And although we didn’t go to Sandals (we went to Excellence at Playa Mujeres in Mexico), the whole all-inclusive and adults-only thing was awesome. I’m not sure how your resort is going to be like, but I recommend you either have your travel agent call the resort or you can call the resort and tell them about it being your honeymoon. My wife set it up before we got there, and the resort went all out in setting up our honeymoon package for free (we just had to show up with a copy of our marriage certificate).

We also had a little longer drive (45 min or so) and drive through your typical Tijuana-type, run-down town, but when we got to our resort it was behind two security gates and very much away from any city. Oh yeah, it was during spring break, so we had a ton of college kids on our flight from BWI. It was rather annoying but funny to have three yelping college girls drinking Margaritas behind us in the shuttle talking about how drunk they were going to get and pointing out all the “hot guys” on the street that we were driving by. Thankfully we had no college kids at our resort although we did have a lot of mix-matching couples who were obviously old rich guys with either their mistresses or their young girlfriends…haha.

Experience 7: Did Ocho Rios for my honeymoon 19 years ago. An absolute blast and a fabulous resort. We did the midnight cruise one evening and what stood out to me was all the people from other resorts basically unhappy with their resort. All the Sandals people loved it in comparison

Experience 8: Honeymooned at Sandal’s Antigua and loved it – chose that resort because of the architecture – most of the other Sandals resorts are focused around a big hotel – at the time we went, the largest structure at the Antigua resort was 2 stories. A true little paradise, check your brain at the door. No need to carry anything but your room key – true all-inclusive, tipping disallowed.

Food is good – not great. Island is third-world but still worth taking day trips. And if the demon weed is your preference, just pay close attention to the beach vendors.

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  1. rick says:

    went to sandals at montego bay and negril several years ago. great place for younger crowd (under 30). food is medicare and they don’t serve the best booze. if you want a vodka martini, you won’t find the expensive vodka. Lots to do and you don’t need cash unless you go into town or buy something at the gift shop. we had a blast there.

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