Just returned from 17 fabulous nights at the Grand Pineapple. We had read many reviews & went because of the rustic/plantation like ambience so well documented on Trip Advisor. We were aware that it was owned by Sandals & that it wasn't likely to be like many of their other resorts.
Happily, it was exactly as expected. A great welcome (although the reception could do with air con after an 8 hour flight from chilly England!) & the room was exact;y as requested. We decided on ocean view rooms (one for my wife & I & one for our two sons aged 20 & 17). They were on the 2nd floor (as high as it goes) & had terrific views. The rooms are very large with an enormous & high bed in our room & an identical bed plus another good sized double fold away bed in the boys room, which still left plenty of room. The view was fantastic.
The good thing is that even up on the hill, the whole resort is very close & the walk down to the beach & restaurant took no more than a couple of minutes. We arrived mid-afternoon in time for a shower & a bit of an explore before dinner.
The food was largely very good but after 17 nights it did become a little repetitive but no problem if you vary the venue. The Italian is good as is the Pineapple Grill (Air con a bit chilly in there) &, on the whole, the selection in the Topaz was always just enough. The ribs & chicken at the Outhouse were always excellent in my experience & this must be the mos relaxed, lovely place to chill out with an ice cold beer. There are rumours that Sandals want to close this place (I assume due to health & safety & it not suiting the Sandals brand), but this would be a big mistake. I admit that sometimes I couldn't be bothered to make the walk up the hill (it is the furthest flung part of the resort) but people must keep visiting Mary because this is a unique & special place. Make the effort, it's worth it.
The weather was reliable for the first 2 weeks with the exception of a couple of days where we had the swift 15 minute downpour & then back to normal.
It's not fair to single out specific staff so I won't but I have to say that almost all the bar staff were helpful, topped up your drinks without being asked if we were at the bar & happily provided branded drinks (which did occasionally run out but were replaced pretty quickly). The staff were fun & interested in the guests & I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the hotel just because of the staff.
I did a number of the water sports & we got involved with the volleyball daily, it was all so easy & relaxed, no pressure to join in but great fun when we did.
Some have said that it isn't much of a place for the young but our 2 befriended others & after a very short time we hardly saw them! There isn't much civilisation locally but that didn't seem to matter to them because they were so laid back but it didn't stop them having a great time either.
A couple of things needed attention while we were there, we didn't have a fridge & we didn't always get the coffee in the room replenished enough but, I called reception & in both cases these things were sorted out pretty much immediately.
Credit to the on site nurses too. I got a nasty sand fly bite that made my hand swell up like a boxing glove but the nurses helped me, got a doctor in & got me the correct drugs straight away & my hand was fine in a couple of days. Make sure you are insured though because the Doctor's call out fee alone is US$200!
We all felt that we were properly relaxed by the end of day one, something I've never experienced before, & we certainly want to return.
As long as you don't expect the last word in luxury (after all the restaurant is open to the beach & birds do fly in, expertly shooed away by guys with canes) & generally, even at the Pineapple Grill, it isn't exactly fine dining but it really is a fabulous place to relax.
I would suggest that Sandals carry out a few repairs & a lick of paint wouldn't go amiss especially on the beach side of the restaurant but we just loved the old world charm & wouldn't want it changed. The shop is a little expensive (US $7.50 for a large packet of crisps!) & is normally charged to your room so watch out!
Trips? I would suggest the circumnavigation catamaran trip & the swimming with Stingrays but beware the Shirley Heights hype, if you want to see a sunset & steel band, get a taxi to St Johns. The big party is OK but pricey (US $10 for a burger on its own) & booze equally so. That might be my age though!!
Don't worry about booking trips through the guys on the beach, they are usually cheaper. We used the legendary Marvellous Marv for a couple & Wesle for another & all trips delivered what they had said.
We made good friends & had a very sociable time. Everyone is so polite &, believe me, get up early & walk the beach before 7am. I'm amazed but we did every day & it's great meeting the locals in the sea having a pre-breakfast swim. Fabulous.
Well done GPB, a great stay & we will be back.