Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sandals Regency La Toc vs. Sandals Grande

One of the many confusing things when choosing a resort in St. Lucia is comparing the Grande vs. the Regency. Truthfully, I couldn't find any "concrete" information, and now I understand why. Besides the pretty big price point difference, these are my thoughts on the other differences between the Regency & the Grande. Hopefully this will help a wayward soul or two make the big decision. :)

We, of course, stayed at the Regency, but visited the Grande, and here are our ratings on what we could personally rate. I’ll also note a few things based on research I conducted before booking the resort.

Pools: In my opinion, the Regency has the better pools, so if you are a pool person, The Regency is probably for you.

Beach: The Grande, hands down, so if you prefer beach to pools, you might want to stay here.

Water Sports: The Grande. Much of the time, the beach was “red flagged” at the Regency, which meant no water sports, etc. It wasn’t a huge deal to us b/c we are not windsurfers and aren’t into hobbie cats, etc, but if you are, you may want to stay at the Grande.

Diving: What I can say from experience was that we felt the dive staff of the Regency were EXCELLENT. One of the dive masters had been instructing at sandals since 1993 and was the very first dm at sandals in St. Lucia. The sites we had proximity to from Regency were great (except for the orientation dive). I cannot speak from experience on the Grande in those two categories, but the Grande does have one advantage in our eyes—you can board the dive boat from the beach, so there are no (sometimes traffic-ridden) rides to the harbor to dive.

Dining: *From research* Much of the research I did, including major guide books/hotel critics indicated that the food was better at the Regency. We dined at Gordan’s at the Grande, and it was excellent, but that is for butler category guests only (unless you want to pay $100 for your dinner).

Feel of the Resort: While the Regency was large, we felt like it felt more subdued and, strangely, more intimate. I guess the sheer size of it leads to the illusion of being only 1 of 50 other people (unless you are at the main pool). The Grande felt more Luxe and was definitely more compact and easily navigated. However, it also felt more crowded and rooms felt very close together in comparison to the Regency. The Regency felt more private, due to the layout of the resort and positioning of the rooms in the buildings.

Nightlife: It seemed to us (and this is from limited experience) that the Grande had a bit more nightlife.

Landscaping/views: The Regency, hands down.

Golf: We’re not golfers, but the course was beautiful, and if you’re looking for convenience the Regency is definitely the place for you (its right on property).

Proximity to town/castries airport, etc: The Regency. The Grande is actually quite a bit further North. I beleive transfers between the Regency and the Grande were about 45 minutes.

Ultimately, we would choose to stay at the Grande next time. Not because there was anything wrong with the Regency at all—we loved it! But, simply because of the dive convenience and beach. :) Personally, though, I do not think either resort well exceeds the other—it’s just personal preference and what is important to you.

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