For families on a budget looking for an all-inclusive resort that won't break the bank, the Grand Pineapple in Antigua fits the bill. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of sister properties Sandals or Beaches (dozens of restaurants, swim-up bar, etc.), but it doesn't carry their price tag either. The resort was at full occupancy when I visited and the guests I spoke with were happy with property and the price. Located on the Atlantic Ocean on Long Bay beach, arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua, Grand Pineapple is only a 30-minute drive from the airport.
Grand Pineapple: Guest Rooms
The top two room categories--the Tropical Waterfront and the Beachfront--are the way to go. They've recently undergone complete renovations. The Tropical Waterfront rooms are located right above the water, so the private patios overlook the ocean. Request the second floor for the best view. If you and your family want to be right on the beach, the Beachfront rooms are a good fit. It's literally steps away from the sand and great for families of small kids who have to run back and forth to their room throughout the day.
Grand Pineapple: Recreation
The main pool is the setting for kids' play, water volleyball and groups of families meeting up. The adult pool, located on a quiet spot just across from the beach, is a nice place to go for a bit of respite. The beach is one of the main draws of the resort. Long Bay beach has nice snorkeling--plenty of colorful fish and some nice coral--and although located on the Atlantic, the beach has beautiful blue, calm water.
For those who like to stay active while on vacation--like me--the gym will come as a nice surprise. It's a good size for a Caribbean resort gym and had everything I needed--bikes, treadmill, elliptical, weights, water and towels. It was always in use during my stay, but never overcrowded. The tennis courts are located next to the gym and were in excellent condition. Other resort activities included pool tables, shuffle board, board games and a plethora of water sports including kayaking, hobi cats and snorkeling.
If you want to be pampered, head to the spa. It's small--just two rooms--but the therapists customize each treatment and they are very good at their job. After I filled out my questionnaire, the therapist talked over my concerns and "problem areas" and went right to work. As requested, it was a firm full-body massage and the masseuse hit exactly the right spots, kneading away all my knots. I would definitely recommend a treatment here.
The resort also has a library with a great selection of books. Guests are free to take any books on the shelves and can leave books once they've finished reading them. There were a lot of best sellers and beach reads perfect for a relaxing vacation. Wireless internet works throughout the property and I had a strong connection on my iPhone as well.
The hotel has a partnership with Island Routes which offers a variety of off-site activities including sunset sailings, ATV tours, snorkeling trips and deep-sea fishing. We did the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Adventure tour and I would highly recommend this option. We zipped through about 19 canopies and ended up doing an obstacle course with ropes in midair. It was a great workout and also a lot of fun.
Grand Pineapple: Restaurants
The property has three bars (Aqua, Pineapple Disco and the main bar) and three restaurants, plus a snack bar. Topaz Restaurant is the main dining area and has beautiful views of the beach. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and dinner is a la carte. The Outhouse is a unique outdoor BBQ restaurant only open for lunch. It's located up a hill--a bit of a workout getting up there--but nice views from the top. The Pineapple Grill requires reservations and is located indoors. There's also the Pelican Snack Bar, a favorite with the kids. They serve burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream and cookies.(Reviewed 4/30/2012)