My husband and I just returned from our trip to Antigua. We spent 7 nights at the Grand Pineapple Resort beginning on September 29, 2012. Our experience at the Grand Pineapple however left us extremely disappointed. My husband and I have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and stayed at other all-inclusive resorts. We purposely chose this resort as it is presented as the “budget friendly resort” of the Sandals family. Because of Sandals worldwide reputation as being the best of the best for all-inclusive resorts, we assumed, while not a Sandals itself, that it would still be held to certain standards. What we actually experienced during our vacation was the exact opposite of these expectations. The service we experienced at the hotel was extremely disappointing. While we have listed specific issues below, overall, the service at the resort permeates with indifferent behavior. At any resort, we expect to run across a few bad apples as happens in all walks of life. But at this resort, the people who have excellent customer service are the exception rather than the rule. We felt so disappointed and uncomfortable with our stay at the resort. Perhaps we should have complained to the front desk staff but to be completely honest, they were not approachable or overly friendly. When we did go in to ask questions, we felt we were a disturbance to them and an annoyance. We chose this resort as it is the “budget-friendly” resort of the Sandals family who represent themselves as a step above other all-inclusive resorts. We have been to other, less expensive, all-inclusive resorts, and had the service, cleanliness and experiences we would expect from a several thousand dollar vacation. We hoped to experience equal to or even more from the Grand Pineapple and their staff. This was our first holiday together in four years. For the price of this holiday, we could have gone to Cuba twice! At least there, we know we would have received better service and had a more pleasant experience.
Arrival: Upon checking in to the resort on the 29th of September, we were not asked for a credit card imprint or advised of the “cashless” policy at the resort shop or tour desk. It was not until I went to purchase sunscreen the next day that I was advised of this. This is definitely something that we should have been told upon check-in.
We were led to believe that there was no tipping at this resort as it comes under the Sandals family. When our porter carried our bags to our room, he waited until my husband gave him a tip. Again, we believed this was a non-tipping resort.
Rooms: Issues with Room
Our room was dingy and in poor condition. The dresser drawers got stuck regularly and it was a fight to both open and close these drawers. The bedspread was faded and had tears in it. The bathroom was disgusting to put it mildly. The lighting, or lack thereof, at the top of the stairs to go to our room was non-existent and made it hazardous for us to come back at the end of our evening.
Restaurants and Bars: The Topaz Restaurant had bird droppings on the vast majority of the chairs and birds constantly picked at unattended food in the restaurant The birds even made their way to the actual buffet and would pick at the spoons. These spoons went in and out of the servers!!
Water glasses were rarely filled once emptied most of the time and the staff was very inattentive. Overall, the attitude most of the restaurant staff displayed made it very apparent they were not working for tips. On that note, there was a young man named Tony who was absolutely excellent! He was by far the best server at the resort. Unfortunately, he seemed to only work the evening shift. My husband is still waiting for his morning coffee from October 6, 2012.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Within 60 minutes of arriving at the resort, my husband was approached on the beach, near the pool area, by a beach “vendor” to purchase marihuana or “whatever else he may want”. This was done with the “Sandals Security” person standing by us. My husband said thanks but no thanks and the “vendor” continued for about 15 minutes. The harassment on the beach continued multiple times throughout our stay. To the point actually where we could not enjoy the beach front and chose to stay by the pool. It was not always controlled substances but tours, cigars, products, etc. In all of our visits, we have never been harassed like this. It was thoroughly un-enjoyable. The security staff all had the “Sandals Security” logo on their uniforms. This obviously was just for show. People were constantly being harassed on the beach and security just turned a cheek. The first “vendor” that approached us on the 29th said not to worry about the security or the room attendants because “if you slip them a couple of bucks you can do what you want”. Really??? That is not very comforting.
While we were there, four people cut their feet in the “loud” pool. After hearing and witnessing this, we stayed at the adults’ only pool – when seats were available. As a result of this and the constant harassment on the beach, we spent far too much time in a dingy room.