Category Archives: Pilot Wife
After my first vacation at an adults-only all-inclusive Sandals resort, I naively thought that each of the resorts in the Sandals brand portfolio would be fairly similar.
Like visiting a Starbucks! Sure, the ones in New Mexico have a Spanish-style roof, but overall the experience is nearly predictable.
Sandals has 17 resorts spanning 7 Caribbean islands, and there two most popular are: Sandals Grande St. Lucian & Sandals Grenada. My husband and I have now visited both, and WOW they are not the same! It’s more like visiting a Starbucks & a Subway! Of course local flair will differ island to island, but I was able to keep a pretty lengthy list of things that stood out to us that made the two experiences very different.
*We visited both resorts in the month of June. Grenada in 2021, and St. Lucia in 2023. Both resorts at the time were not affected by the Covid pandemic; we could travel freely around the property and did not need vaccines or prior quarantining.
Okay, let’s get to the Pro’s & Con’s of each property! Below that, I will list things that are similar between both properties!
Sandals Grenada – Pro’s:
- Huge variety in styles of rooms and price-points
- Modern style and decor of rooms. The interior of the suites was more luxurious and modern than Grande St. Lucian.
- 5 minute shuttle ride from the airport (yet you don’t hear airport noise on the resort)
- A free/included daily harbor boat tour with views of the capital and neighboring beaches, plus a designated stop to jump in the ocean and swim/snorkel.
- Friendly, warm, personable customer service from all resort staff members (this really impacts your overall experience!)
- More wildlife – Grenada has monkeys & large iguanas, which St. Lucia does not.
- So safe. The entire island has very little crime, and is overall an incredibly safe place for tourists.
- Snorkel gear included – I didn’t realize this was a pro until it wasn’t included in St. Lucia. The snorkel gear is available to use whenever you would like
- Shaded lobby bar is open all day in a very central location.
Sandals Grenada – Con’s:
- No ocean-front or pier restaurants.
- Less water sports and land activities (no wake boarding, water skiing, or golf)
- No other resorts on the island to go explore.
- Nightly entertainment was repetitive and simple.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian – Pro’s:
- Better view from property – lush green mountains in the distance
- More watersports and activities – hobie cats (sailing), paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing, wake boarding, golf greens fees*, croquet, pool, life-size chess, volleyball.
- Three resorts on island with different features and a free shuttle to take you to each of them any day
- More restaurant options – 12 restaurants at this location plus 15 at the two nearby (some are repeats though)
- Gordon’s Restaurant is located over the water on a pier, with stunning 360 degree views, especially during sunset. Grenada does not have an over-the-water restaurant.
- Option to stay at over-the-water bungalows. Grenada does not have this room category.
- Nightly entertainment was more elaborate here than at Grenada, more of a production.
Sandals Grande St. Lucian – Con’s
- Very poor customer service from majority of the staff, as if they absolutely did not want to be talking to you. Not sociable.
- Less variety of room styles, and most decor is outdated and bland. Some exterior buildings weren’t what I would expect from a “five star luxury” property, and the main lobby was very run down in areas. Here are some examples:
- No daily harbor boat tour
- No free snorkel mask usage – a shame because they have plenty and there are SO MANY fish right there off the shore. Grenada allowed us to use their plentiful snorkel gear freely, but that was not allowed here. Guided snorkel tour sign-ups only.
- 2 hour shuttle ride from airport to resort through mountain roads – car sickness nightmare!
- “Free” golf greens still require you to pay for club rentals ($75 per person) and a mandatory golf cart ($50.) If you don’t show up in a collared shirt, you’ll need to buy one there which start at $110.
- Lots of large groups, less of a romantic couples’ getaway destination. Sandals is marketed as a romantic destination for couples, but we experienced multiple groups of corporate sales teams that earned this trip with 100+ other coworkers and detracted from the romantic vibe of the resort.
- Constant sales pitch to spend more money on add-ons: We were asked multiple times a day by several staff members to book excursions, tours, spa treatments, private boat tours, private dinners and other add-ons. This became quite annoying.
- Josephine’s Creperie (coffee and ice cream) is only open from 11am-9pm. I’d rather have coffee much earlier than that, and ice cream later! The open times seem silly.
- The lobby bar is closed during the day time and opens at 4pm. If you want a drink at any point during the afternoon before then, you have to walk to the main pool bar which is quite a ways away from some of the beach and the smaller heart-shaped pool.
- We noticed security guards walking around the property each day, which we never saw at Grenada. I preferred Grenada where we didn’t see uniformed security, because their presence made you wonder why it was necessary.
Here are some qualities that both resorts – Grenada and Grand St. Lucian – both offer:
- Swim-up pool bars have a good atmosphere.
- Great pubs with late night options.
- Beautiful beaches with gorgeous views.
- Huge variety of restaurant and food options.
- Both resorts require you to claim your beach or pool chairs early in the day, otherwise they are all claimed.
- Scuba diving included with interesting dives – my husband did scuba diving at both resorts and had good experiences at each of them.
- Daily entertainment activities at the main pool with little prizes
Overall, our experience at Sandals Grenada was much more romantic because the resort was full of other couples on honeymoons and vacations together, rather than a large corporate sales conference or earned trip. The staff at Sandals Grenada was so much more friendly to interact with, and we were not hassled constantly to sign-up for more costly activities. We would love to return to Sandals Grenada, but would not say the same for Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
Let me know if you have any questions I can answer in a comment below!
You might also enjoy my post on the primary differences between Secrets and Sandals resorts here!
We’ve been home from our St. Lucia vacation for two weeks now, and I plan to share a full travel recap post this weekend! I have quite a lot of information that I want to include in a recap of our vacation at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian resort, plus tips and a resort review so I’ve been type-type-typing away at that. It should be posted later this week, and in the meantime, here is a YouTube video of our trip! The day after arriving home in Boise, my husband and I were both back to work which meant finding another recipe to pack my pilot!
This is quickly becoming a little series of recipes I’m finding to pack my pilot husband on his 3-4 day work trips. For a brief recap, I try to make recipes that can keep for 3-4 days in a cooler bag and taste good (enough) hot and cold. For a full rundown of the requirements of packing meals on the go for a pilot to take on their 4 day trips, check out this post!
This week, I continued finding a lower-carb option for Zeb but this was my first meatless meal in this series. Though it could easily adapt to include chicken or shrimp. I made a Thai Peanut Pasta Salad that was the easiest recipe so far!
You might notice one missing ingredient from the photos of this dish. I bought shelled edamame to include as another protein source in this pasta salad, but completely forgot to add it. It would have tasted so yummy, but I’ll be making this again soon!
Thai Peanut Pasta Salad
- 8 oz Chickpea Rotini Pasta (I used Banza) or regular pasta is fine too
- 1 large cucumber , quartered
- 3/4 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 4 large green onions, diced
- 3/4 cup shelled edamame
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbs maple syrup
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbs minced garlic
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add your chickpea pasta. Boil until soft, drain the water, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, we will whisk together the sauce. Add creamy peanut butter, maple syrup, vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce and garlic.
- In a separate large bowl, add your cucumber, shredded carrot, shredded cabbage, green onion (white and green), edamame, and noodles.
- Combine in the Thai peanut sauce.
- Top with peanuts.
- Refrigerate and Enjoy!
This was a great lunch for Zeb on the plane during his long days, full of veggies and color! The chickpea pasta also has 50% more protein than regular pasta, and the edamame would have also packed a little protein punch if I would have remembered it, haha.
We also celebrated Father’s Day since the last time I chatted on here, and my mom and I made the most delicious homemade Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. I’d never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before, and definitely never had such a decadent cinnamon roll flavor! We celebrated Zeb and my dad at our house with these rich rolls plus a side of crispy bacon and coffee.
Our local splash pads have opened up and Brynnley is a total water baby! She gets “happy feet” when she sees the water streams, she can’t contain her excitement! It’s so cute to watch her stomp her feet back and forth in pure joy. She’s so animated, screaming and squealing and smiling ear to ear.
Another meatless lunch dish I tried out was a lemony quinoa salad, though Zeb made it very clear that this was too healthy for me to pack on a trip for him. I saved it for myself and a friend who came over to hang out with Brynnley and I while he was gone. I got the recipe here, and I didn’t tweak a thing! It was a good spring/summer dish!
I also attended my first country concert of the summer! We try to go to as many country concerts as we can get to during the summer, and there are typically a LOT of inexpensive ones in the area! There’s always 3-4 concerts at our county fairs. We have two different county fairs in the Treasure Valley of Idaho – both always bring really good music! There’s also lots of live music at a venue in the Boise area that I met my girlfriends at last Friday. The weather wasn’t too hot, we got close enough to the stage and I enjoyed my first ever High Noon with some tacos! We saw Kylie Morgan, Sawyer Brown Band, and Jake Owen. The atmosphere at a country concert is just one of the best dang things ever.
Alright I’m going to put the rest of my blogging time into working on my Sandals Grande St. Lucian Recap and Review post, I just poured a cup of decaf coffee (it’s currently 4:58pm, but I still crave something yummy while I’m working on my laptop).
See you back here soon!
Have you seen this trend going around the blog world of a Photo Per Hour? When I first saw it, it instantly reminded me of the new-ish app called BeReal. BeReal is the least “filtered” of the social media platforms because it’s all about no filters, no editing photos, no curating a feed that’s glamorous! The app notifies you at a random time during the day to post a photo of what you’re doing along with everyone else you’re friends with. I personally love it :)
To document my day through a photo per hour, I set an alarm to go off on my phone every 60 minutes from wake up to bedtime and capture what was going on in the moment. On this particular day, my husband was flying a “local” trip, which means he didn’t spend the night in a different city; he started and ended his trip in Boise on the same day….although he was still gone from 8:40am to 9:15pm.
Here we go!
We needed to be out of the house before 8:30 today, because we had some errands to accomplish before Brynnley’s first nap and my work. So even though I typically just let Brynnley wake me up, today I set my alarm for 7:30am and threw on a sundress and some 5-minute makeup. I recycled yesterday’s hair style and sipped on my (first) cup of coffee.
Brynnley and I are in Walmart for some necessities! This is the new pose she does when she wants me to hand her something and I love it. In this moment, she wanted me to hand her some scrunchies off the shelf….which I did and let her carry around until it was time to checkout haha.
I need to pause and make a mention – Walmarts in Utah & Idaho are very different than Walmarts in other areas. Growing up in Southern California, our local Walmart was very dirty and disheveled and not somewhere we would shop because it was just chaos. For whatever reason, Utah & Idaho treat their Walmarts like Targets. They are clean, organized, stocked well, and I personally don’t think they have the same “people of Walmart” stereotype of customers. If you’re from here, I think you’ll agree. And if you aren’t, you’ll have to check it out for yourself when you visit! 😅
It’s my mom’s birthday! Yes, that is my mother 🤪 She defies all laws of aging.
Brynnley and I surprised her and brought a little birthday goodie bag to her. Brynnley loved playing with the balloon at her Gigi’s desk!
We are home with about 30 minutes to kill before Brynnley’s first nap time! She plays with some toys and books while I start some laundry and fold the load in the dryer.
She’s asleep so now I get as much work done as I can! I am a part-time employee for an online company, and my title is Blog Manager and Copywriter. (It’s totally separate from Strong Like My Coffee which is just a hobby.) During my naptime hustle, I had a video call with the director of operations, and a couple of copywriting deadlines to meet. I also manage the company’s app and business Pinterest account so I worked on these as well!
I really wanted to squeeze in a run while Brynnley was snoozing so at 12:30 I hopped on the treadmill and turned on some music. I got in 2.5 miles and broke a good sweat! Then I logged back onto my laptop until Brynn woke up around 1pm.
I made Brynnley and I some smoothies for lunch – vanilla yogurt, banana, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate protein collagen powder and a splash of milk. So yummy! Brynnley sips hers in her high chair while I clean everything up and wrap up the copywriting task I was working on my laptop.
Time for some sunshine! We head outside for a 35 minute neighborhood walk. She loves to see any birds, dogs or cats along our route :)
We wind down before her second nap of the day. I usually put her down again around 4pm. Some days she crashes right away and other days she happily plays in her crib for half an hour before she falls asleep. I usually bust out another work session during this time!
The kitchen sink is nearly full from the days’ dishes and it’s not even dinner time yet! I decide to clear them out quickly for a clean slate at dinner time.
I throw together a salad with a bagged kit plus some extras we had in the fridge. This one came with a blueberry lemon vinaigrette! I made a batch of Mac n Cheese for Brynnley’s dinner which I’ll serve with some applesauce and black beans.
The BeReal. App notification went off just as we were starting a pre-dinner walk with our neighbor and friend Kat! She’s the one who introduced BeReal. to me. We walked and chatted until our bellies were growling and headed back to our homes for dinner time.
Dinner usually gets a little messy so we just go straight to the tub afterwards. Brynnley LOVES playing in the water and is always in the best mood!
The kitchen is clean again and I’ve prepped three bottles – one for her upcoming bedtime, one in case she wakes in the middle of the night and one for first thing in the morning to grab along with my cup of coffee. I usually put her to bed by 9pm, but I knew Zeb would be home from his flights at 9:15 so she stayed up with me a little later.
Baby’s in bed and I’m ready to relax for a moment! I had just a little bit left of this book left, which I really enjoyed! It was a gift from one of my book club friends & she picked well :) I sipped on a Peach Lemonade ICE water, which I have to buy in bulk at Costco because I love them so much.
And that’s a wrap! Not every day is the same so this was a fun little random glimpse into life currently :)