Review of Grand Pineapple Resort in Antigua

First off, I want to start by saying this resort is such a hidden gem!  We sadly didn't have the chance to stay here, but did do a walk-through of the property with our group of travel agents who were visiting Sandals Grande Antigua.  I was going into the tour expecting not to really like the property as I’ve been to many Sandals and Beaches Resorts and didn’t think this resort would live up to the reputations of its “big sister” properties.  But I was surprised when it exceeded my expectations.  This property was a complete and refreshing change of pace from what we had become used to at Sandals Grande Antigua.  It was quieter, smaller, and a lot more laid back, which is more our travel style.  It only has 180 rooms and 5 room categories and truly the price can’t be beat.  It is excellent for families, especially ones with small kids who don’t want a huge resort.  But it’s also great for couples who want to relax.

Grounds:  The grounds are beautiful!  The first thing I noticed driving in was the beautiful trees with the red flowers hanging overhead.  

As I walked around the property I noticed that the colors were just beautiful.  There were flowers everywhere and the grounds were maintained meticulously.
Beautiful foliage everywhere.

When we pulled up we received a warm welcome from the staff.  There were cold lemon grass scented towels to wipe our hands and faces with and the staff was handing out bottles of water and glasses of fruit punch or iced tea.   After a quick and refreshing break, the staff got us into groups and we went on our tours.

We began by walking towards the beach.  At first I wasn't sure where the beach would be, because it's a little cove-like beach and I didn't see it when we were pulling into the resort.  But after a short walk down the path way we saw it and it took my breath away. 

Rooms: Before we had a chance to enjoy the beach our tour guide took us to a beach side room to look at.  These rooms weren’t my favorite as they appear to be the smallest of the beach view rooms.  But it was just enough space for a double bed and a small sitting area.  This room was great for beach lovers who wanted to be just steps from the ocean.  But it was a bit of a walk from that room to the main pool area.

Building by the beach

Steps up to the room and the patio

Dresser and TV


View from the room's patio

The second room we saw was up on the hillside.  It boasted views of the ocean and much of the property.  This room was bigger in comparison to the first one we viewed and also had a view of the main pool area. 

View from the room

View of the pool area from the room
Cute little gazebo behind the room block building
King sized bed

Spacious bathroom area


The third room was by far my favorite.  It was the top suite on the bluff over looking the ocean.  The view was completely unobstructed and the best part was, it was so close to the path to go up to Mary’s Outhouse, which I’ll talk about under the “food” section.   If I were staying on property, this would be the room I’d choose.  However, for those who have a tough time going up and down stairs, I’d recommend a garden view of beach side room instead as it would be much easier to get to.  *Note, there are no elevators anywhere on property, so keep that in mind if you have trouble walking or climbing stairs.

Panoramic view from the balcony

View looking towards the balcony

Beautifully updated bathroom

King sized bed

Beach:  The beach here is gorgeous.  I loved the beach at Sandals Grande Antigua, but it’s so public.  The beach here is also public, but it isn’t as busy and there is a lot more space to spread out and avoid being hassled by locals.  

There is also a lovely little shopping village right next the water sports department on the beach, so the vendors stick to that area.
Yellow building is the water sports building, the others are all little shops.

The best part about the beach is the snorkeling.  We didn’t have a chance to, but we were told that there are natural reefs there and that it makes for great snorkeling.  There are water sports, but they are non-motorized-- so hoby cats, kayaks, paddle boards, water bikes, and snorkeling gear is provided for guests.

Pools:  There are two pools.  The first is an adult’s only pool which is small but overlooks the beach.  
Adult pool
The second is the main pool which I thought looked very inviting.  I was ready to jump in.  There were two peaceful waterfalls and the music around the pool wasn’t too loud, so it was very peaceful.  There seemed to be plenty of chairs and there was a snack bar where everyone could get snacks and drinks all day and late into the night as well as an activities desk where you could sign up for games and other resort activities.  

Panoramic view of the main pool

Fun for all ages :)

The only thing I wish it had was a swim up bar, but I noticed the bars weren’t too far from the pools so it wasn’t a huge deal.

Pool bar for drinks and snacks

Food:  We unfortunately didn’t get to eat much here, but we did walk through the restaurants and there seemed to be plenty of options for everyone.  The main restaurant is opened night and day for guests and appeared to be buffet style for lunch.  The other two restaurants were opened for dinner and one was open air seating in the main dining area and the other was indoors by the library/departure lounge.   That restaurant was very big and could house a lot of people.  It also had a stage which made it great for nightly entertainment and parties for groups like weddings.

Main Restaurant overlooking the water
The only Indoor restaurant
Second open-air restaurant
People hanging out by the lobby bar.

There is also Mary’s Outhouse that is available for lunch.   We did get to eat there and it was fantastic!  Excellent BBQ chicken!  Mary is a local woman who has owned this little food shack she calls “The Outhouse” at the top of the hill for decades now.  When Sandals (the Grand Pineapple parent company) bought the property they made her a permanent restaurant for the property so now all guests can dine there during their stay.   *Tip:  Make sure to bring something to hang on the wall and a marker to write your names and a message to everyone on it.  We forgot to bring something but there was everything from flip flops to boards of wood to flags hanging everywhere.
View walking up the hill to the Outhouse
Welcome to Mary's Outhouse
One of the many picnic tables for dining
Messages for Mary left behind by past guests.
A mongoose scurrying around looking for handouts.

Someone even left their flip flop!
View from our picnic table
Feral cats looking for handouts
Delicious BBQ chicken, ribs, and chicken sandwich!!

One thing I loved about this property is they grow their own herbs and vegetables.  They have a garden on property up by the gym and that is where many of their herbs, spices, and veggies come from.
The garden of herbs on the hillside

Activities:  The gym was very nice, even though it was small.  I was also surprised to see so many tennis courts for such a small resort.  There was a volleyball net in the sand too and ping pong and shuffle board too.  There appeared to be plenty to do.   

Playing billiards in the lobby

There is an activities desk by the main pool where you can sign up for the games and different land sports.

We weren’t there for the evening entertainment, but like I said, the resort is laid back and I don’t expect it to be too crazy at night, but there was a stage in the lobby by the main pool so they definitely do shows there.

There is also a Island Routes tour desk there for booking your tours (though I recommend booking ahead of time online or with your travel agent so you don’t miss a spot on the tour you want).   There is also a rental car desk if you plan to rent a car and check out the island on your own-- though remember, if you’re from the US, they drive on the other side of the road and it can get confusing. 

Service:  From what we saw, the service was excellent.  The staff was all smiles and the guests seemed very happy too.  Sometimes I walk through a property and see guests complaining or looking upset, but here everyone was smiling or relaxed and the staff always greeted guests with a smile and a “Good Day”.  

One staff member was cutting open coconuts so we could drink the fresh coconut juice!  That was very refreshing after all the walking around we did. :)

More Tips:  There is a web cam on one of the buildings so for those who have garden weddings, your friends and family back home can log in and see the wedding through the 24 hour live web cam.

Bring bug spray!  It’s brutal.  The bugs ate me alive while we were walking around that day and while we were at Sandals.  It’s best to carry a can of OFF or natural bug spray with you just in case.  

Transfers aren’t included, so when you arrive I was told to have my clients take a taxi.  The airport isn’t very far, but make sure to get the information on transfers from your travel agent, or look it up online before you arrive.  When you get to the airport everyone will want to take you in their taxi because they want the business, so see if you can arrange a transfer with others or with a company ahead of time.  If not, make sure to agree on a price BEFORE you get in the car.  If you have a problem, tell the resort as soon as you arrive.  The resort will call for a taxi on your return.

The gym is a real hike up the hill so if you’re only going up there for a quick workout, the steps will be workout enough!  It was dozens of steep steps.  If you’re not a gym person, don’t bother going up there.  

But the spa area is nice.  It’s 2 rooms, just a few steps up the hill and the prices are really good.

Relax, enjoy, and remember all the amazing inclusions that you’re getting for such a great value.  I was shocked to see what a great resort this is for such a great price.   

For couples looking to visit, go during the “down” season when the kids are in school in the US.  Antigua will be hot all year long and the water will be nice and warm.  The resort was very quiet when we went during early June, and it was perfect.  I’d recommend not going during the summer or during peak travel time (holidays and spring break weeks).  Our tour guide told us they have on average 80 kids on property during the high season, which isn’t too bad, but then you have to take adults into consideration too, so it’s definitely going to be quieter during the off season.

Antigua is beautiful.  There are 365 beaches on the island, and the locals say there is a beach for every day. :)  You’ll be staying on one of the best beaches in Antigua so I am sure you’ll all enjoy it there!  Definitely give Grande Pineapple a chance.  It truly is the best kept secret in Antigua!   

We love you Grand Pineapple Antigua!!

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