This year marks 40 years since iconic Sandals Resorts made its debut in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Since then, Sandals has brought its unique brand of all-inclusive island fun for couples 18 and over to its 17 locations throughout the Caribbean, and there’s a new Sandals opening in Curaçao in April 2022. There are many surprises planned throughout the resorts to mark the anniversary, as well as to honor Sandals’ founder, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who recently passed away. St. Lucia’s Sandals Grande St. Lucian, which I have had the privilege and pleasure of visiting, is gearing up for the festivities.
St. Lucia, located among the Windward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, is known for its lush scenery, and particularly the Pitons, the majestic twin peaks that have become the island’s signature sight. St. Lucia offers an ideal backdrop for a Sandals vacation. My direct flight from New York’s JFK Airport took approximately 4.5 hours. The island might not have been a world away from home; however, setting foot on St. Lucia, with its tropical beauty, and spending time at the Grande made it seem so.
My first Sandals experience definitely did not disappoint, and I was delighted to learn about the new experiences coming to Sandals St. Lucia in 2022, too.
1. Party Poolside
The Grande St. Lucian is aiming even higher in the fun and fabulous department to mark this milestone anniversary. “Not everyone knows this, but Sandals is the inventor of the swim-up pool bar in the Caribbean,” Winston Anderson, Managing Director of Sandals Grande St. Lucian, told me. “So, to get the party started, we’re throwing it back to where it began with a new 1981/2021 Swim-Up Pool Bar Menu that brings back some of our guests’ favorite cocktails with a fresh, modern twist.”
Visitors can expect to enjoy snacks such as smoked marlin escoveitch and six new specialty cocktails, including handcrafted Ginger Lemonade Lager. “We’re also debuting a Hand-Crafted Cocktail Experience with eight exclusive, handcrafted cocktails made from locally sourced, farm-fresh, and seasonal herbs,” said Anderson. The pool party continues with DJ-spun throwback ’80s music.
2. Tee Up
Sandals Grande St. Lucian boasts a world-class golf course, recently redesigned by championship golfer Greg Norman. “The Sandals St. Lucia Golf and Country Club at Cap Estate is something everyone’s talking about,” said Anderson. “This golfer’s dream is an 18-hole, par 71 championship course, rich in shot-making variety with remarkable backdrops and dramatic elevation changes. With only a five-minute drive from the resort to the course, guests will really enjoy hitting the links while on vacation!”
3. Fashion Statements
All Sandals Resorts will be commemorating the anniversary with an Established 1981-themed tee shirt and retail collection in their Beach House Resort Shops. “We’ll have 10 nostalgic and vibrant designs that we’re so excited to debut to our guests,” said Anderson. I still have the St. Lucia tee shirt I purchased on my visit; however, this special anniversary attire is sure to be a collector’s item.
More On My Sandals Stay
Sandals Grande St. Lucian has many delightful amenities, so it’s hard to choose just one. The Grande St. Lucian’s pristine, accessible beach was ideal for soaking up island rays and taking a dip in the clear water. The resort’s theme nights were especially enjoyable. During my visit, they included a beach barbecue complete with island entertainment and dining and a chocolate night. (Yes, that did involve tasting sinfully delicious delicacies!) Add to this the many island excursions available for guests to purchase (please note that these are not included as part of the Sandals package and are extra), which all add up to help create an ideal sojourn. The highlights of these were an island tour, complete with lunch at a local establishment where we sampled St. Lucia fare with the Pitons in the background, and a catamaran cruise, underscored by a glorious sunset. The Grande’s variety of restaurants, with their gamut of dining choices, made for very pleasurable mealtimes.
The resort doesn’t forget the importance of pampering, and to that end, I couldn’t resist splurging on a relaxing massage at the luxurious Red Lane Spa. I would be remiss not to mention the swim-up pool bars and the island drinks — creatively crafted by the resort’s bartenders — that go hand in hand. The staff works hard to make guests feel at home, which makes for a comfortable and memorable experience.
Anderson offered these tips for people visiting St. Lucia. “St. Lucia is majestic,” he said. “Once you are on the island and staying at a Sandals Resort, Island Routes has a slew of tours for you.”
“From the nearby Pigeon Island tour to the furthest southern-most point and many stops in between, St. Lucia is the destination that will fill your soul with fire. From nature hikes to the more vigorous mountain climb for the daredevil in you, it’s all here. From zip lining to sulfur baths, there is truly something for everyone.”
Please note that tours offered by Island Routes are not recommended for people with accessibility needs.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian has implemented COVID-19 protocols in a way that ensures safety doesn’t come at the expense of a fun St. Lucia visit. “We opened our doors to guests (with COVID protocols) in July of 2020 and have maintained a strong occupancy ever since, which we attribute to the trust our guests have with us, our brand over the last 40 years, and our Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness,” said Anderson. The resort still adheres to these safety measures, and they have been very effective protecting staff and guests. “As we approach the busiest time of the year and with travel booming again, we can honestly say that our guests and team members are all back to happy at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Resort.”
St. Lucia is a beautiful island with an interesting history and story to tell, and Sandals Grande St. Lucian helps guests enjoy all it has to offer in comfort and style.
For more vacation planning inspiration, consider all our St. Lucia content here, and learn about Sandals’ founder Gordon “Butch” Stewart’s story in “You Know Sandals Resorts, But The Story Of Sandals’ Founder Deserves Your Attention, Too.”