Note: As of Apr 4th Day 1 thru Day 5 have been completed

Main Trip Report
(March 19-26, 2005)

Kate and I planned 7 days at the Grande. As we usually have done, we flew to Toronto from Ottawa the night before so we weren't faced with too early a start. We stayed over in Toronto and proceeded to St Lucia landing at the Hewanorra airport at the south end of the island, a 4 1/2 hour flight.

Pre Night in Toronto (Friday):

We had booked our trip through our agent with Air Canada Vacations, flying to Toronto at 4:30 with a leisurely night at the Hilton (Paris was not on premises - yah I asked), a mere 2 minute drive to Toronto International! We had a great dinner and pre-night drinks in the bar. Lookin good so far!

Day 1 - Off to St Lucia! (Saturday):

Our flight was at 10:30am so it was a full nights sleep for us. We picked up the Hilton shuttle for the airport at 8:00am. Lots of time to check in, shop for a travel pillow and clear customs. Arriving 2 1/2 hours before our flight gave us plenty of time.

Arriving at Hewanorra (UVF) about 4:20 St Lucian time, we zipped through customs and over to the Sandals desk. Within a few minutes ourselves and another couple (Neil and Val) from Alberta were off in an air conditioned van headed up the east coast past the fishing village of Dennery then over the mountains to the port of Castries. Rodney Bay is reached in another 15 minutes or so for a total shuttle time of about 1 1/2 hours. This is a great way to see the island and we enjoyed the views, especially at Dennery.

As a point of interest, Sandals Grande is actually built on a man made sandy causeway which connects Pigeon Point to Gros Islet turning the island into a peninsula in 1970.

Upon arrival at the Grande (about 6:30pm?) we were immediately presented with a great view of Rodney Bay from the reception area. No wonder they call this 'the Grande'. The reception and lobby area is huge! A table of cold champagne awaited us and a few others that had arrived at the same time. We were escorted with our baggage to our room which was on the same level as the main reception, 2nd level, room 3208 in the Bonne Terre building. I was initially disappointed not to be on the Rodney Bay side... oh well.

Our room was pretty much as expected with a balcony and a fridge with soft drinks, juices and water. It was very new looking which made sense since the Grande is only about 3 years old now. We would have to wait until morning to check out the view as it was too dark to see a thing by this time. As far as a safe goes, our room had an electronic keypad instead of a key. Nice! Simply enter your favorite 4 digit code and you're all set.

We had dinner with our newly found friends, Neil and Val at Bayside. Bayside is the main restaurant, open on two sides and adjacent to the main pool. The food and service was excellent. Kate enjoyed a sefood medley while I ordered on a chicken shish kabob. As was the case most nights, a Jazz player entertained from the 2nd floor balcony above the main pool swim up bar which was a nice touch. Afterwards we walked around the resort a bit to see what we could see. This was the first time we have arrived at a resort after dark, and we knew we were in for some great surprises in the morning!

After a bit of a walk we tried one of Louis Special's at the Jacquot's Lobby Bar. Twas a hit! Next we checked out the Palladium Night Club which was carrying on a karaoke contest. There was a younger crowd there that night, and this was probably the most well attended night for entertainment during our stay. Unfortunately I couldn't convince Kate to enter the contest so I have no photos to offer :-)

After a few games of pool in the main hallway, it was off to sleep in our comfy king size bed. Good night!

Next Up: Day 2 - Lets Get Burnt Day! (Sunday)

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