We spent ten days over Easter at the Grand Pineapple. It was our first visit to the Caribbean, and we weren't disappointed. It has very much a family vibe. We had upgraded to the Beachfront rooms, which, to be perfectly honest, needed a little updating...we had a few problems with our toilet continually flushing, but the maintenance guys came quite quickly to fix it. It was also sometimes challenging to get the time right for a hot water shower...But the views were stunning, the rooms were kept scrupulously clean and, despite the best efforts of some playing Shuffleboard at nearly midnight, it was also very quiet. The standard rooms are a hard uphill walk, so no good for those with mobility problems.
The beach is lovely. You needed to be up with the lark to get a sun bed with an umbrella (I rarely sleep late on holiday) and being on the beach at 6am just after the sun was up was stunning.
You get approached on the beach by trip vendors. We chose to go with Garth to Nelson's Dockyard (I found very cheap rum there in the local currency Crab Hole Liquors off licence/ grocers) and Shirley Heights (much less busy on a Thursday than a Sunday) and on the stingray trip (if you only do one thing, do that, it is amazing). There are other vendors too selling aloe vera (excellent if you have sunburn...we bought ours from "Love Sponge"), jewellery and massages. There are are guards on the beach too belonging to the hotel, so there is no trouble.
The food was good...I have to say that the buffets were a lot better than the various themed evenings, but they were fine. We had one meal up at the Caribbean restaurant, which was different. Note though that their idea of fish cakes is about half to a third of the size we would have them. The one thing that jarred slightly was the hotel's insistence you be seated at mealtimes. I can understand it during busy times, but at times we were left waiting for a good while before being able to sit down. They really need more waiting staff too.
The shack up the hill above the wedding pergola does a good line in ribs, chicken and salad. Good to go up there of a lunchtime (get there in good time to get a table in the shade). The mongoose population is more visible up there, especially if you happen to have some chicken skin...they vie with the cats for your leftover treats.
The staff were very nice, but particular mention must go to Mykayla on the entertainments team. She went the extra mile to include our daughter in activities and made her feel really special. It made all the difference to her holiday.
The water sports were good, although the current is quite strong at times. My daughter was caught out by the sun on the first day, mainly by being in and out of the sea without reapplying suntan lotion. The sun is incredibly strong and we didn't underestimate it again after that.
Would we go back? Possibly, if we knew the rooms had been upgraded a little. Maybe, if the rumours about Sandals buying it are true, that might happen. But I hope they don't lose the spirit of the place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •Situated on Long Bay – the best secluded white sand beach on the north-eastern coast in Antigua•Thirty minutes away from the V.C. Bird International Airport and from St. John’s, Antigua’s capital city•An all-inclusive resort that caters to everyone…singles, couples, families and groups•Houses 180 deluxe rooms with bright and colorful buildings and perfectly manicured gardens •Interactive and family oriented…where warm and friendly staff refers to guests by name ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua Hotel St. John`s
- Grand Pineapple Beach Hotel
- Grand Pineapple Antigua
- Grand Pineapple Beach Club
- Pineapple Beach Antigua
- Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua Saint John Parish