Review of our two-week stay at Sandals resort in Grenada, in September 2023.
Our morning flight out prompted us to book a stay overnight at the Hampton by Hilton hotel in Gatwick’s North terminal, just a couple of hundred yards in a corridor from some of the check-in desks. Thanks to the excellent APH for arranging this good hotel and the off-site car-parking, although the price seems to have doubled since last year. After checking out of the hotel in the morning, we hopped on the shuttle to the South Terminal to check-in for our flight.
An uneventful 10-hour BA flight in Premium Economy, with an hour on the ground in St Lucia while people get on and off, and the crew change over.
Sandals is just a five-minute drive from the airport in Grenada.
On the return journey, the Sandals staff sing you a happy “come back soon” song before the taxi to the airport.
A killer overnight flight back to Gatwick, again with an hour on the ground in St Lucia, followed by a bus ride to collect the car, and the M23 – M25 – M1 drive home. Tiring.
This was our sixth holiday at Sandals, Grenada – it’s one of our favourites. On a wild impulse, we’d decided to book a Butler room in the Italian block, so on checking in, we met up with Teddy, one of our team of three Butlers, who took us to our room. He provided us with a Butlerphone – we could call a Butler at any time to ask for something. We met our other butlers, Akisha and Ifori, later on.
The main advantages of having a Butler is to bag sunbeds and shades on the beach, and have a chiller box there with beverages of your choice. You ask your butler to bring stuff to your sunbeds – drinks, pizzas, etc, or to your room. You get preferential table reservations, ensuring you can jump the queue.
The weather was exceptionally hot and dry – 32 or 33 Celsius in the shade, and 38 or 40 on the beach, with just a gentle breeze. We saw not a single drop of rain the entire fortnight. The locals were shaking their heads and saying “but this is supposed to be our wet season...!”.
The first room we were shown to wasn’t what we’d asked for – on a lower floor in a different part of the block, without a good view - so we asked to change to a better room. A couple of days later, Teddy and Ifori arranged a move to a nicer room, 3303, with a good view over the swim-out pool on the floor below, and across to the beach and the sea.
The bathroom has a tub and a big shower. There is only one washbasin – despite there being plenty of room for his and hers basins. The room has plenty of drawers and hanging space. There’s a room safe, an iron, hair dryer, umbrella, dressing gowns etc. The huge bed was comfortable, but was supplied with a heavy duvet, which was unnecessary, and meant occasionally leaving the a/c on at night. There’s a writing desk, and both UK and US sockets around the room for recharging stuff.
There are a couple of steps down to the lounge area, with a sofa and two dining chairs round a coffee table. The bar was comprehensive, and you can ask your Butlers to stock it with your favoured beverage brands.
There are two ceiling fans and two enormous TVs (which stayed off for the entire holiday).
Outside on the balcony there’s another tub, a clothes-horse and a table and two chairs.
We’ve always loved the lunchtime menu at Neptune’s. The food is brilliant, and the view from the open-air restaurant across the bay to St George’s is great. So the big disappointment for us this time was that Neptune’s closed for re-thatching the day after we arrived, and re-opened the day after we left. The lunchtime menu was transferred to the Italian restaurant, so we could still enjoy Neptune’s food, but we missed the open-air feel and the view.
Since Neptune’s bar was closed, a temporary bar was set up on the beach next to it, and staff regularly came along the beach taking drinks orders.
Breakfast at Spices was good. Breakfast and dinner at Le Jardinier even better, but much slower and colder – take a pullover. We chatted to Laura in the excellent Italian restaurant, and discovered that she once worked on one of our favourite islands in the Maldives! I tried the Wagyu steak at Butch’s for the third time, and have given up on it – not meltingly tender as advertised. Stick to Filet Mignon and the Surf and Turf – much nicer.
Pizzas at Dinos were thin-crust and tasty, and the Skye coffee from the café a good hit after dinner.
The Noisy Pool bar was good for a quiet, relaxed evening drink after dinner, and a good opportunity to chat to fellow-guests.
The house wines were perfectly acceptable.
I did 12 dives this trip – six two-tank morning trips. The dive boat was really overcrowded – on one trip there were 30 divers on board, split at random into four groups. Dive times are officially limited to 40 minutes, or less if someone has run out of air, but if all is well, the leaders sometimes stretch this to 50 minutes. Most of the diving is over flat, pretty coral reefs at 15 metres, with no current, just a few minutes from Sandals – ideal for the second dive of the morning after the occasional deep wreck. We once went round to the Atlantic side to Shark Reef on a very calm day, which was fun.
I was once handed a regulator where the mouthpiece was half bitten through.
When I pointed this out I immediately had it replaced with a new
mouthpiece. On another dive, just like our last visit, I had a BCD that kept slowly filling up
with air due to a leaky inflator valve. Tip: If this happens to you, give the inflator button a short,
sharp, vigorous jab to ensure the valve shuts fully.
I hope these incidents aren't evidence of a lack of maintenance.
A few sting rays, nurse sharks, octopus, lobsters, crabs, morays, shrimps etc to be seen. No turtles this time.
Dive sites visited were:
- Black Forest: (twice) Nice reef. Huge Lobster.
- Veronica L wreck: Some fish. Nurse shark in overhang.
- Sponge Valley: Nice reef. Giant Moray mostly out of his hole. Huge lobster dragged from its hole by leader.
- Valleys: Beautiful Reef - series of valleys. Scorpion fish. Large school of the common Creole Wrasse swimming past us. Nice dive - v relaxing.
- Anina: Wreck dive. Not much to see.
- Shark Reef: On the Atlantic side, on a calmer day. Good dive. Lots to see. Lobsters, crabs, octopus, moray, flounder, Nurse shark.
- Purple Rain: 2 Sting rays - one big, one small. Octopus.
- Cojones: Huge stingray, Lobster.
- Tyrell Bay: Three wrecks. BCD inflator valve leaking - Tayne fixed it underwater.
Thanks to Tayne, Prince, Adrian, and the rest of the crew. Watersports manager Boota recognised me from previous trips and frequently came over to say hello.
Here's four pages of photos of the resort, with about ten to fifteen photos per page, totalling about five to ten Megabytes per page.
No underwater photos this time – the boat was just too crowded to manage a
Please see our 2019 report for plenty of underwater photos.
Sandals occupancy seemed to be very high – presumably people taking advantage of Low Season pricing. The beach got a bit crowded, and there simply weren’t enough sunshades to go round.
Our room was big and comfortable, kept spotless by Housekeeping. His and hers washbasins would be good.
Our Butlers looked after us very well. We didn’t place too many demands on their time, but it was great to have them book tables at restaurants, bag sunbeds and shades on the beach, bring pizzas or coconut shrimp or other lunchtime treats to the beach, and once or twice bring us breakfast in our room. Our Butlers occasionally left a plate of nibbles on our coffee table, but we were usually too full to face it. Butlers are expensive – we’re not sure we’d book Butler again.
The food continues to be a high standard, though don’t bother with the Wagyu steak at Butch’s. Why is the a/c in Le Jardinier turned up to 11? You end up shivering. Take a pullover.
Reliable quick breakfasts at Spices. The Mahi-mahi fillets from Neptune’s lunch menu are great. Good Italian food at Cucina Romana.