Long Bay | (formerly Allegro/Occidental Resort Pineapple Beach), 33442, Antigua
All-inclusive - 180 rooms in one, two, and three story buildings
Occidental Grand Pineapple Beach formerly known as Allegro Resort Pineapple Beach, is located on a beautiful stretch of secluded white sand beach, overlooking the turquoise waters of Long Bay on Antigua's northeastern coast.
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"This was the best winter vacation that we’ve ever taken"
Posted by: Brian05
on Nov 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
271 people found this review helpful
Getting There – From Saskatchewan, we traveled to Antigua via Toronto with Air Canada Vacations, overnighting in Toronto both ways. Allow lots of time to get through Toronto airport. The lineups are long, and for Antigua; departure was from a different terminal, with bus transportation after check-in and security. The Antigua airport is small, crowded, and hot. Getting through customs took at least a half hour, but we expected that. Once we got outside, Air Canada Vacations was right there, but it was just chaotic. They’d lost most of the welcome vouchers (or something), didn’t know who was who, nor where anyone was going. For Pineapple Beach, they generally herded us into one group, and finally got some vans organized for us. We met with Kim, the Air Canada rep a few days later, and she apologized and told us that a few heads rolled over the Saturday fiasco at the airport.
Although there were only about ten or twelve couples checking in, it was slow. Not a problem though. There was only fifteen minutes of daylight left when we arrived, so we just left our bags at reception and went for a quick look around. By the time we returned there was only a couple of people left, so we got our key quite quickly. They told us that the key for our room safe was stuck in the lock, but that maintenance would be around to fix it. There were safes in reception that could be utilized meanwhile.
We got to our garden view room quickly; it was the first room right across the road from the reception building. Despite booking and paying in full, five months earlier, I thought we had what is likely the pooriest garden view location (Room 220) of any room on the property. When we got inside the room and found two small double beds taking up most of the floor space, we went back to see if there was anything available with only a single queen/king bed. The only one that was available was in the upper oceanview section, and they wanted $40/day for the upgrade. We declined, but they did say that they would watch for something for us. It took a few days, but they did call and moved us to a beach front room with a single king bed (Room 117). Although this was an upgrade, they did not ask for any additional money. We swapped the nightly sounds of the tree frogs for the sound of the surf just 20 or so metres from the door. We loved this location. However, if you are fussy about your room, pay the extra money and get into the rooms in the 6, 7, 8, or 9 hundred blocks. There is no comparison in terms of quality and size. Most of the couples that we ended up hanging out with were staying in these rooms. One of them, who was a repeat visitor said that after staying in one of these rooms, they never go back to any of the blocks on the lower levels, and they’d stayed in most of them at one time or another.
Overall the food was terrific; far superior to any other all inclusive that we’ve ever stayed at although breakfasts weren’t anything special, but quite adequate. Breakfasts were only at the main restaurant (Topaz). There was always one pre-cooked egg choice that usually alternated between scrambled and poached egg. The bacon had a bit of an off flavor to it, and the sausage was a bit bland. Made to order omelets were always good. Waffles were also available, but I never tried any. Fresh fruit was always out, but was usually restricted to various melons and usually pineapple. Citrus fruits were almost never available. There was usually a bowl of bananas ( some we ate, some the turtles ate, and some got fed to the fish when snorkeling) The fresh tomatoes that were usually in the lunch/supper salad bars were a real winter treat, but not out for breakfast either. Especially at breakfast, it’s a good idea to go up to the buffet one at a time, leaving somebody at the table on bird watch. They like full glasses of juice or fresh water, or almost anything else left sitting on a plate. There were numerous options for lunch one of which was the Topaz buffet, but we only did this twice. We generally ate a bit lighter than buffet for lunch. The snack bar made good burgers and fries as well as good nachos and cheese in the late afternoon if we ate too lightly at lunch. Mary’s Outhouse on the hill lived up to it’s pre-billing reputation, with excellent ribs and chicken. I’m not certain that all those ribs were pork though; I don’t think I’ve ever seen pork ribs as long as some of those ones were; regardless they were good, the beer was cold and plentiful, and the view from her tables was like eating lunch in paradise. My wife paints a lot of folk art, so she pre-made a sign which we took to hang at Mary’s. She never heard the end of that from some of our friends that we had made.
One couple who had gotten married there had spent hours chiseling a sign out of driftwood using a nail, and filling in the letters with a ball point pen. He stepped back to admire it after pounding it to the wall using a rock, when he looked up and realized he’d hung it right beside this nicely painted sign of ours. There were several good laughs about that around the bar table that night. Stories about how strenuous the walk up the hill to Marys is, are greatly exaggerated. One other lunch option was in the Italian (Chef Pietro) restaurant, which offered a sit down menu lunch. I don’t remember seeing this the first week we were there, but it was available all the second week, possibly because the resort was so full. They offered items like BLT sandwiches, catch of the day, etc. Dinner was where the resort really shone with it’s food. On Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, the Topaz was open for dinner as buffet; on these nights there was no other option. On buffet nights, Chef Pietros was used for extra seating. The girls had arranged a table for eight on one of the buffet nights to celebrate Max’s 60th birthday, complete with a cake and the staff signing him Happy Birthday. On the remaining nights, Topaz offered a menu. Chef Pietro’s was open on Tuesday, and Friday. Pineapple grill was open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. I’m not sure how much variation there is to this a la carte schedule. Reservations are made one day in advance, by booking after 9 am at the tour desk. They did take your name down two days in advance if you were going to be away on a tour or something; but they didn’t really advertise or encourage this. We didn’t have one poor meal, other than a grilled fish selection that was dry and overcooked. There were always a couple of appetizers, two or three salad choices, a couple of soups, and maybe ten or so selections from the entrée list. Our favorite was the Pineapple Grill, although their Conch stew was unavailable all three visits. The shrimp appetizer can’t be missed; only three shrimp but each one was three good mouthfuls. Their salsa and guacamole were both very good, and I really enjoyed the house salad with an orange tequila dressing which I’ve already tried to duplicate at home. Two of the three nights that we ate at the Pineapple Grill included entertainment the most notable being two guys singing some humorous albeit racey ballads.
Beach and Grounds:
One of the reasons we’d selected Pineapple Beach this year was because of its size. We’d stayed at a massive resort on the Mayan Riviera last year and had found it to be very un-social due to the size. The entire resort of Pineapple Beach would have fit under the main lobby/dining room of last years resort. Despite running at 100% occupancy, we never felt crowded. The entire island was running well over average for occupancy, mostly due to a large influx of Brits who had planned to be vacationing in Thailand. The beach isn’t huge, but the sand was fine, white, and raked of seaweed daily. The water was warm and with the protection of the hills on both ends and the reef out front, it was never too rough for swimming. The weather for our two weeks was about as good as one could ask for over a fourteen day stretch. It rained twice during the night and there wasn’t a single day that could be considered as windy. The resort is very nicely treed, but doesn’t have the profusion of flowers that are often seen on the Caribbean resorts. There were lots of birds especially doves, and on a couple of occasions we spotted a hummingbird (Antillean Crested Hummingbird) checking out the flowers in front of our deck.
Around the Resort:
The resort was pretty laid back, not a lot of people did much of anything except relax. There were the typical resort activities; water aerobics in the morning and beach volleyball in the late afternoon. Bottles of rum were competed for in ping pong, ring toss, and kayak races. Our group of friends came home with three bottles from these endeavors. There was always someone available at the water sports area to take people out on the Hobie Cats. One of our friends was an experienced sailor, and he went out several times a day. They also had wind surfers, but I don’t think I ever saw one in the water. Not sure why. We have out own masks, but flippers were available after 9 am at the water sports center. The snorkeling was disappointing in the first few days, with the water really murky with fine silt. Apparently there had been a strong storm out in the Atlantic that had really caused the entire Caribbean to get cloudy water. However, after a few days conditions improved and the snorkeling at the resort got a lot better. The coral is a bit beat up, but on a really calm day you can see some better coral by going out past the marker buoys to the ocean side of the reef. Out near the buoys, inside the reef and a bit to the east there are two huge brain corals that are both about ten feet in height and diameter. The variety of fish is reasonable, the usual Blue Tang, Sergeants, French Grunts, and Parrotfish but also some less common ones like Squirrelfish. There weren’t many days that I didn’t go out snorkeling once or twice. We went on the Great Bird Island picnic and snorkeling trip that the resort offers five days/week from 10 am – 2 pm (US$30) Savage cooks up a good lunch and offers up his special drink (coconut rum and ginger ale) The snorkeling again is good but not great. The two beaches at Bird Island are popular stops. There were several boats on the beach and others anchored offshore with snorkellers. On another day, our “group of eight” all got together and booked the afternoon snorkel trip (US$15) that the resort offers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Because it was a really calm day, we convinced Savage to go to Green Island where the coral was impressive and the fish quite plentiful and seemingly less spooked. I would have gladly gone back here again, and although we tried to get it arranged, it didn’t happen. Fishing was also offered through the resort, but I don’t know anything about this.
Internet access is available on two computers in a small, air conditioned room next to the gift shop. You purchased an access code that got you logged on – US$5 for 30 minutes.
One night that we had an extra late dinner, we found ourselves still mobile at 11 pm when the Piano bar closes and the disco starts up. Our whole group went but were pretty much the only people there and I don’t think anyone stayed long. The air conditioning works very well in this building, which it shares with the Pineapple grill.
We walked to Devil’s Bridge twice, it’s about an hour and a quarter round trip. During the week it’s a nice peaceful walk. On the weekends there is a bit more road traffic but still not bad. There are a couple of side roads that you can take. One leads down to a small beach on the opposite side of the bay from Dian Bay resort, where several local families were relaxing. Took some great pictures of the surf roaring up through a small blow hole, the perfect situation to use the “burst” mode on my digital camera.
Between about 9 pm and 11 pm, every night but Sunday, there was entertainment at the main bar (Piano bar). I thought that it was quite good on most nights, even the Tuesday karaoke. Two or three nights were local bands, the best was the one that included two female singers. Steel band on Saturdays, fire eating limbo guy with about a twenty inch waistline on Fridays. The piano in the “Piano” bar was silent for the entire two weeks except for the afternoon that a tourist uncovered it and started to play. I only listened to him for a few minutes when I came to get fresh beach towels from the Activities desk, but he was a really good piano player. Music was played at the main pool during the days; but it was very quiet and enjoyable. We never spent much time around the pool other than to pick up a snacks at the snack bar or drinks from the main bar. By the way, the Aqua Bar, which is just at the edge of the beach and is open from late morning until about 4:30 in the afternoon, serves beer that is far colder than the main bar. Although we didn’t see many others; our large insulated mugs were put into use every day; a highly recommended accessory.
For US$10, vans run to St Johns leaving at 9 am and returning about noon. Doesn’t sound like much time, but it was long enough for us. We saw the cruise ship docks, the tourist vendors, museum of Antigua and Barbuda, St Johns Cathedral and stopped at a sidewalk café for drinks (one beer and one bottled water for US$4 – not bad). We missed Redcliff Quay; I don’t know how or why, we just did. Prices in St Johns were similar to the beachside vendors at the resort. T shirts around US$10, polo shirts about twice that much. If your going to take rum home make sure you get it here; the resort has nothing and the airport was much more expensive. Cavalier rum was US$4.75, English Harbour was about $7.
There is little to say that hasn’t already been said about this tour from the rave reviews that others have already posted. One thing to keep in mind though; guests from Pineapple Beach board the boat at Dickenson Bay, and the taxi fare is not included in the cost of the tour. A taxi from Pineapple Beach to just about anywhere on the Island was typically $30 one way, so this really adds to the cost. True to his word though; our driver came and got us for the return trip, arriving in the parking lot the same minute that we did. We went with another couple, one of our “group of eight”, that managed to get booked at the last minute after someone cancelled. Eli stopped the boat every 5 or 10 minutes to give a description of what we were seeing, be it geography, ecology, or history. His dialogue was a big part of the tour. Juices at Long Island, a hike up to the top of Bird Island, lunch on the boat from an anchor just north of Bird Island where Hawksbill turtles could be seen surfacing, snorkeling at Hells Gate (surf was a bit rough here and my mask fogged up badly), and then snorkeling a few hundred metres north of Bird Island (great coral here especially some of the fan coral). Out came the traditional rum punch (which the girls loved but it hit them hard and heavy), and then a slow boat along the mangrove coast of Guiana Island before heading back to Dickenson Bay at about 4:30.
Treasure Island Catamaran:
Again this departed from Dickenson Bay, but the cost of the taxi from Pineapple Beach was included in the price for US$5 extra. All eight of us went on the Treasure Island Cat. The Cat nosed into the beach at Dickenson Bay at the same time as the Wadadli Cat was loading passengers. We were quite happy to be getting on the Treasure Island Cat because the big Wadadli Cat looked very crowded. Our Cat just had a nice sized group. We got on and headed around the point to Blue Waters, although we didn’t load any more passengers there; we just seemed to be killing time for some reason. When we cruised back to Dickenson Bay, a few more passengers boarded via the rubber motorboat that would then be towed along behind us. We then set sail along the scenic west and south side of the island, on the way to Cades Reef. The water was pretty calm at Cades Reef, and although I didn’t see too many fish (should have gone straight out instead of left), most of the people we were with thought it was the best snorkeling of the entire vacation. A school of Spanish Hogfish were firsts for me. However we only got one hour in the water and then it was off to Ffryes beach for lunch. The BBQ lunch was good, as was the Steel band but then most of the guests just hung out while a couple of people played some beach cricket. The advertised limbo dancer was not present. Rum punch was included in the price of the tour, but a bit surprisingly anything else at the bar (at lunch and on the boat) was cash, although I don’t think they were charging very much. Back to the boat for the return trip, stopping in at places like Jolly Beach and Royal Antiguan to drop off passengers. Overall this Cat trip was a bit disappointing, in part because I didn’t get to the best snorkeling, but also because we could easily have doubled our time in the water rather than kill it on the beach waiting for a very few people to get finished with their cricket game. One of our friends that had been on a Circumnavigation Cat a few years earlier, thought that was a much better trip than this Cades Reef day. A video of the tour was also offered (two people had been aboard taping all day) for video US$40 or dvd at US$60 (I think that is correct pricing). Karl bought one and made a copy for us. It’s fun to watch but the quality is really poor.
This attraction is very convenient to Pineapple Beach, in fact you can see it out in the ocean from Mary’s Outhouse. They pick you up right at the watersports center and then it’s a very quick boat trip out to the Rays. You get into the water with the rays and probably spend about half an hour with them, getting photographs and feeding them some squid that they suck out of your hands like a vacuum cleaner. There is also a young hawksbill turtle, conch, and starfish. They take you back to their headquarters on shore to settle accounts and to offer you the option to purchase the pictures that they’ve taken of you holding a stingray US$15 for an electronic copy on CD and a similar price for a glossy print. Overall, a unique excursion but a bit pricey for what you get ($US40 each).
Spring Hill Stables, Shirley Heights, Nelsons Dockyard, Fig Tree Drive, OJ’s, Half Moon Bay – do you think we tried to do too much in one day?? Yes, but what a wonderful day it was. Spring Hill wanted us to get there early so we arranged for the jeep to be delivered late in the afternoon, so the four of us were ready to roll first thing the next morning. The five speed left handed stick shift looked intimidating at first, but I really didn’t have much grief on the roads at all. You quickly get quite adept at shifting because you never go much more than a few hundred metres at one time without shifting for one reason or another. Signage on the highways of Antigua in almost non-existent. We knew we had to be close to the turnoff for Spring Hill, and when we pulled over to ask for directions we found we were indeed right where the turnoff was. Karl and Karen hadn’t ridden for many many years. Karl mounted up and was good to go, but Karen only spent a minute in the saddle before she admitted that she couldn’t do it, so off she got. Karl and my wife went for an hour or so, riding through the lush valley and then down to a small beach on the west edge of Falmouth Harbour. The ride was nice and the horses were in reasonably good condition. US$40 each.
Back into the jeep and off to Shirley Heights which was quite close by. Took the pre-requisite photos from the hilltop and then drove back down to Nelsons Dockyard where we enjoyed a cold beer at the Admirals Inn sitting right next to the Boathouse Pillars. We strolled the dockyard for awhile, admiring the boats and doing a little shopping in one of the gift boutiques. We decided to drive Fig Tree and find OJ’s for lunch. Found the east end of Fig Tree drive without much trouble, but the first few miles of that road are in dreadful condition, but the road improves considerably in the more scenic section, which is the southern half of the drive. If I did it again, I would probably approach Fig Tree from the south and then turn around half way rather than drive the north end again. OJ’s was a very nice place for lunch, although at US$23 the lobster salad wasn’t worth the money. Our plan was then to get to Half Moon Bay, which is about as far away from where we were as you can get on Antigua. We needed gas, so instead of going back though Fig Tree, we went north as there was a gas station showing on the map. Shortly after filling up, we made our one bad turn, a right instead of a left, followed shortly by road construction and a detour that left us at a dead end on a dirt road in the center of Antigua. Asked twice for directions, and the second time this young fellow just grinned at us, and told us to follow him to the highway. Once there, we were fine however I would warn you not to take the “highway” past Potworks Dam. That might have been a highway in someone’s lifetime but it isn’t anymore. All the other roads in that end of the island are good, just avoid that one. We found Half Moon Bay, but only had time for about a half hour stroll on this beautiful beach. A few pictures and then back to Pineapple Beach. The rental rep met us there and we finished off the paperwork. They’d run out of forms for Antigua drivers licenses so that $20 was waived, took off a few more dollars because we’d put in $20 for gas, and ended up charging us a total of $60 for the days rental. Not bad but next time I’d rent for two days and spend a bit more time really seeing the island.
In summary, we have to say that this was the best winter vacation that we’ve ever taken, with nearly ideal weather, terrific new friends, great food, and lots of snorkeling. The number of people that we saw wearing T-shirts with “We’re Repeaters” on the back, is a testament to the popularity of this place although we did hear repeaters telling us that it wasn’t as good as usual because of the high occupancy. Personally, there wasn’t much to complain about, although there were a few things cancelled apparently due to staff shortages.
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"We found the staff at Grand Pineapple Beach to be very friendly"
GaryNorine on Nov 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
205 people found this review helpful
Gary & Norine are frequent contributors to our websites!!
We just returned from spending 14 nights (Feb 21-Mar 06, 2004) in Antigua at Grand Pineapple Beach Resort. This was our second trip to Antigua and on our previous visit; we had stayed at Sandals Antigua. We are “experienced” sun travelers as we have been going to the Caribbean, Mexico and South America for the past 25+ years, sometimes twice per year. We appreciate “good” dining, so when we travel, food and service are our top priorities and to a lesser extent the rooms of the resort as we like to spend our time enjoying the beach and what the resort/island has to offer.
This was our second time to Antigua and we were very pleased with this visit. If time permits in our very busy vacationing, we would definitely return to Grand Pineapple Beach. I know that I may get some criticism for this comment but Grand Pineapple Beach was much better than Sandals Antigua was for us! We booked this trip in September and we were offered a substantial discount on our stay if we paid in full no later than September 15, 2003. The rate that we paid also included airfare from Winnipeg to Antigua. This resort is miles ahead of the Sandals Antiguan property that we had previously stayed at from a cuisine, service, rooms and beach perspective. From our opinion, the Sandals Antiguan property does not live up to the Sandals standard of properties in Jamaica.
I would estimate that about a third of the people at the resort were British, another third Americans and the rest of us from Canada and other countries. We found the age group to be primarily between about 40-50 with some younger and some older. This fits us perfectly, which helped to add to our satisfaction with the resort. As this resort is NOT adults only, there were a few younger children (school break) and the usual few screaming babies. I will never figure out as to who enjoys the holiday when Mom and Dad take a “new-born” on vacation. It sure isn’t the other vacationers and when I see all the attention that the parents have to give to the child, anyway, I just don’t get it!
We arrived in Antigua at about 4:00PM on an Air Canada flight, direct from Toronto with Air Canada Vacations (a four hour flight). As it turned out, I had the only seat on the plane that didn’t recline because it was broken. So much for better service from a “real” airline and the food that they served was just barely edible.
We were put in a small van with 2 other couples that were supposed to go to Grand Pineapple Beach Resort. We arrived at the resort at about 5:00PM and the Taxi driver discovered that one of the couples was going to the St. James Club, another 20 minutes away! We were greeted by the staff with rum punch. As there was only us and one other couple arriving at this time, check-in was very civilized. No Problem with anything. Our room was ready and one of the Bellman took our bags up to our room.
As we have said, we look for service and food quality from our vacations so that is where we will concentrate on describing Grand Pineapple Beach Resort.
Staff and Service:
We found the staff at Grand Pineapple Beach to be very friendly and professional and very willing to help out in any way they could. With this resort only having about 180 rooms and the occupancy being about 70-80% when we were there, the service was excellent. I had read lots of reviews before going and there were a few that said that none of the servers would smile or it would take forever to get a drink at the bars or at dinner. We experienced NONE of this! Sure, sometimes the main bar (piano) was a little crowded but the drinks kept flowing in a very acceptable amount of time. Service throughout the resort was consistently good. The best service from a restaurant perspective was at Chef Pietros with the Pineapple Grill coming in a close second. At the Topaz restaurant, a couple of times our meals could have been warmer and they missed a few coffees and the occasional drink order. Drink service was good and you never had to wait longer than a couple of minutes for one of the bartenders to get you a drink. There was no waiter/waitress drink service around the pool or beach but for the amount that we drink during the day, it was no problem to get off our behinds and walk to one of the pool bars.
Beach and Pool:
Having been to Antigua before, Sandals Antigua, I did a lot of research into beaches other than Dickenson Bay where Sandals is located. The sand at Grand Pineapple Beach is pure white sand and the water is much clearer than at Dickenson Bay and with only one other hotel on the beach, minimal vendors and the ones that were there, were really friendly and not persistent. The water in Long Bay, where Grand Pineapple Beach is located, had better snorkeling than the trips that you had to pay for and around the coral, the water was only about 3-4 feet in depth which made snorkeling very easy for the novice. The 2 pools at Pineapple were more than adequate. If you are a pool person, you could be a little disappointed, as they are not as large as the Mexican pools or some of the pools in the Dominican. We spent the majority of our time on the beach, but we would always go for a swim in the pool and grab a few drinks every few hours. There were some topless sunbathers on the beach and they seemed to be more concentrated around the area closest to the main pool area. Everyone was respectful of this custom. During our second week, the winds got so strong for a couple of days that we had to sit by the pool or end up eating a lot of sand. During our second week, it was “red” flags on the beach all week. Actually, most of the island was under a “red” flag which actually stopped some of the fishermen from going out to sea
There were more than enough beach chairs to go around but the “saving of the chairs thing” still persists. The choice locations were the chairs under the palapas on the beach or under the umbrellas around the pool.
The food at Pineapple Beach was some of the best we have had at any “all-inclusive” resort in the Caribbean. The resort had a real chef from Jamaica (Peter) who had some control over the menu. Also, they had an Italian chef who looked after Chef Pietros. Reservations were required for both Chef Pietros and the Pineapple Grill. The only problem was that most people did not know when either of these 2 restaurants were open! For Chef Pietros, you could only reserve the morning of the day it was open and the Pineapple Grill could be reserved as many times as you wanted as long as it was open! The only area where there could be some improvement would be in the dessert area. We did have a couple of excellent desserts, but for the most part, they were uneventful. Also, when they do their two (2) buffet nights, it would be good idea to leave one of the a la carte restaurants open for people like us who do not enjoy “Buffet” dinning in the evenings
This is the Italian restaurant of the resort. This restaurant is actually part of the Topaz restaurant and is separated from the Topaz by some standing screen partitions. The menu did not change during our stay but we still ate here three (3) times in the first week to ensure that we tried everything on the menu at least once. All the entrees that we tried were well prepared and presented properly. With the fixed menu, they had a choice of three (3) entrees, veal scaloppini, chicken Marsala and the fish of the day. For appetizers, they had beef carpaccio, minestrone soup, Caesar salad and brushchetta. Also, full and half servings of many different pastas were available. For desserts, they had a decadent chocolate Volcano and Tiramisu which were the best deserts that we had for the vacation, as well as Crème Brule
This is the Tex/Mexican restaurant. We ate here three (3) times as well and all meals were excellent. We had the best shrimp cocktails that we have ever had. The shrimps were huge and even though they only gave you 3 of them, that was more than enough. Also, their chicken wings were good and so was their Caesar salad. For entrees, they had the usual Tex/Mexican stuff like seafood enchiladas, chicken and beef fajitas, grilled rib eye steaks, fish of the day, a seafood pasta and a few more entrees. This restaurant was air-conditioned (the only one).
This is the main buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Both the breakfasts and lunches were very good with for breakfast a great selection of breads, pastries, pancakes, French toast, custom make eggs, cereals, etc. For lunch, there were salads, a couple of pizzas, at least 2 different made to order pastas and the usual choice of hot dishes. We ate breakfast here everyday and most lunches. When I say most lunches, there is an area within the Topaz restaurant where you can order lunch from a menu. We probably split our lunches between the buffet and the a la carte service.
During the evening, Topaz is a la carte for five evenings with a BBQ buffet on Mondays and what they called their Gala buffet on Thursdays. Here the menu changed everyday and was very good. We did experience our entrees coming out not as hot as they should a couple of times but overall the choices were excellent with there always being at least one pasta, chicken, other meat and fish of the day choices for entrees with usual choices of soup, salads and appetizers.
This is the BBQ restaurant that is on top of a hill overlooking the resort. Mary, the cook, serves BBQ chicken, ribs and fish with a few salads and ice cold bottled beer! She is open from 12:30PM until 5PM everyday but she gets Fridays and Saturdays off, so don’t miss her. I was amazed that it was never that crowded up there but maybe the climb up the mountain (hill) was a little too much for most people. On most afternoons, we would go up a little later and just grab a couple of ice-cold bottles of beer and enjoy the fantastic views. I think it was easy for us because our room was already more than half way there!
The beverage selection was average for the “all-inclusive” resorts that we have been to. They had a few brands of Scotch (Teachers, JW Red, etc), Canadian Club, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Gordon’s gin, Smirnoff and Absolute vodkas, Dubonnet, etc and some liqueurs including Grand Marnier and Drambuie. The beer was Red Stripe and Wadadli on draft in the bars. There was Red Stripe, Heineken and Wadadli available at Mary’s Outhouse in bottles. I was disappointed that they had NO premium Scotch which I have come to expect at most all-inclusive resorts.
The house wines available were the usual red and white colored alcoholic beverages that they called wine. For the first 2 nights, they had a decent Italian Merlot and a white (both from bottles) from the same producer. After the first 2 nights, out came the “Carlo & Rossi” JUG wines! The wines for purchase were decent and we ended up buying at least 5 bottles from Chile, California, Italy and Australia. I am a wine snob, so I have to live with the house wines or get off my wallet and buy something better.
There has been a lot written about the rooms at Grand Pineapple Beach Resort. The smallest and darkest rooms are the “standard” rooms and there are very few of them. They have common balconies and no view. The next category is the “garden” view rooms which are larger and brighter and face the wedding gazebo and main lawn areas. Then there are the “ocean view” rooms, which we had (room 833), that were a few steps/stairs up the hill (quite a few stairs). These rooms are the newest and most modern and in our opinion, offer the best views. Then there are the “ocean front” rooms and “beach front” rooms. The “ocean front” rooms do not open onto the beach area but are the closest to the ocean. The “beach front” rooms face the ocean and are right on the beach. We looked at all categories of rooms other than the “standard rooms” and we thought ours was the best for what we wanted; quiet location, fantastic view and a little exercise every time you went to the room.
Up by the tennis courts is the fitness room which consisted of two treadmills, two stationary bikes (one was broken at the time), a stair climber, several weight machines and some free weights. More than adequate for the average person and the climb up the hill to get to it is half the workout.
There was nightly entertainment in the piano bar from about 9:00PM until 11:00PM. They had a band at least 2 nights, a disc jockey, Antiguan dancers, fire eaters and limbo dancers. For the size of the resort, the entertainment was good. They have a disco in the Pineapple Grill bar but we never stayed up late enough to check it out.
We normally don’t do a lot when we are on vacation, so the highlight of our travels when we were in Antigua was our one day trip to Barbuda. The trip costs $120US per person. The trip to the island is on a very large “power” catamaran. The boat‘s name was “Excellence” and they do the Barbuda trip twice weekly, on Fridays and Sundays. The trip over takes about 75 minutes and if you easily get sea sick, this trip may not be for you. On the way over, we saw a female whale and her calf and on the way back, there were many dolphins that were swimming along side of the boat. The island is incredible, seventeen miles of pure white sand and only three hotels on it. Princess Diana stayed at one of the hotels a few years before her death. The sand in the early summer is actually a pink color but at this time of the year, with the strong winds and wave action, most of pink sand is washed back to sea. On the island, in the mangrove swamps, there is a bird sanctuary where “Frigate” birds come year after year to mate and hatch their newborns.
We also did the shopping thing in St. John’s and we had to have a beer at Hemmingway’s Bar. He must have liked his drinks as there are “his” bars all over the Caribbean. We also rented a car and had one of the Pineapple staff (on his day off) drive us around the island. Had a great authentic Antiguan lunch at Turner’s Beach on the other side of the island and toured the rainforest and English Harbour.
"It was pathetic, but understandable......"
Tina07 on Nov 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
243 people found this review helpful
Regarding Pineapple beach hotel. It was pathetic, but understandable...... arrived at this resort, 3 months pregnant with first child. Our bags didn't arrive with us. Our rooms were not AC even though we were paying for beach front. The first day, after not sleeping the day we arrived due to lack of ac and my pregnancy, we were the first ones to breakfast. We were seated and then another couple was seated right next to us, despite that place being empty. He was smoking and I was tired, and pregnant, not happy to be breathing in his cig smoke. So we asked to be moved due to the smoke stream. What does the hostess do??????ah she tells the couple that is smoking that we are disturbed by their smoking and if they would move!!! The guy got irate and almost punched my quiet husband. It was horrible horrible horrible. It was right out of bizarre. The good news was later in the week, something happened and the smoker's finger swelled up and had to taxi into town (FAR) and had to get the wedding ring sawed off! The clincher is that it was not necessary, my hub new how to get it off her finger with a technique used by EMTs.
THe guy apologized after a week of us feeling threatened constantly.
OH I forgot we had to be confined to our rooms for 2 days with only ham sands. because of a #3 hurricane. It was powerful enough to blow off one of the restaurants roof!
How fun was this week! Of course it was our first time away at an expensive all inclusive, stay at one place, resort!
"Staff demanded a $75 cancellation fee.... ridiculous!!!"
Danny07 on May 1, 2007 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2007 | Leisure
179 people found this review helpful
We (6 of us) had read numerous mostly poor reviews of this resort. Deciding to try a new place rather than return to the Dominican (which in hindsight was a mistake) we took the plunge!
Great location, beautiful beach and flora, very tranquil, not much motorized noise and wonderful swimming and sun tanning.
The staff seemed unhappy and were mostly unhelpful. Our rooms (non-ocean views) were basic with the bare essentials (no fridge like the ocean view rooms) and very noisy air conditioners (think v8 engines). The washrooms are basic and the walls around the tub crack-filled probably to allow the insects a good in and out from the room. Our kettle broke on day 2 and although we asked for a replacement, this never happened... the doors are glass slats. One of our rooms had see-through slats and when we complained, the staff nailed some cloth on the inside of the door to act as a curtain. The food was mostly basic, bland and almost always the same... the first 3 days there was virtually no fruit until a truck arrived on the Wednesday and thankfully we enjoyed a day or two thereafter with some fresh food and fruit. If you have food restrictions (i.e. for religious reasons, etc.) chances are there will be evenings you will go hungry as they tend to serve pork, ham, seafood with crab or shell that restricts your choices). We had numerous other issues (cancellation of taxi within 5 minutes of asking for one resulted in an argument where the staff demanded a $75 cancellation fee.... ridiculous!!!).
To sum up, we wrote a letter of complaint to Signature via our agent. After a month of us checking in and no responses, we then wrote another to Mr. Michael Price, President of Signature Vacations. To date, no response...
So, overall, while the beach and environment were truly stunning, the overall vacation was spoilt by many issues that made the vacation far less than what it should have been. Like others have written, your money is better spent elsewhere. Needless to say, we will not be going back and do not trust Signature Vacations to live up to their side of the bargain either!
"I enjoyed my stay, but won't be coming back"
Laurent06 on May 1, 2006 >
1 contribution(s) BELGIUM
Visited on: May, 2006 | Leisure | Solo
161 people found this review helpful
I read of lot of bad things on this (and others) hotels, this is mainly because some people are never happy. I do not say this was the best hotel I've been in (far from it), but it's not so bad either. So, I'll try to make a short and fair description of my stay there.
To begin with the good points, our rooms was nice and well furnished. No fridge at first, but it came two days later (maybe the box of chocolates to the cleaning girl helped, I do not know). We took the ocean view type of room (the one on the hills, not front beach). The garden view are the same (but viewing the garden of course). I've checked the normal unit room and they were just ok (smaller and much less sunny).
The hotel itself is beautiful even if a little small. The beach is awesome. The pools are nice too.
The staff was very nice and helped when they could. We will remember them fondly.
Now, the bad points. Much too few animation. We stayed 11 nights, my wife got bored after 3. Evening show were crappy, the discotheque was empty all the time. Thus, nothing to do except sleeping, eating, tanning and drinking. Not so bad, ok. But one week is a maximum.
The worst part is surely the food. It's not really bad (even if better in Dominican Republic) but it's always the same food again and again. You got three restaurants "à la carte" (all in the same building in low season), one mexican, one italian and the main one (in fact mexican with less choice). On tuesday, no choice, it's italian buffet and on thursday, no choice, mexican buffet. Yes, you have it: you end up eating either crappy italian food (I'm half italian, and their idea of what is italian food is quite funny), either mexican food. I have nothing against mexican food, but it's always the same dishes. The only good point, is the snack bar (in the afternoon or quite late in the evening): damn good food over there. Ah, I nearly forgot, there is (in the afternoon also) a small hut over the hill (quite far but nice view) where could have BBQ chicken. It was good, but as my wife don't eat chicken, that was the end of it.
So to resume, a very nice hotel if you like your tranquility and are not difficult on food (which I'm not, but two weeks eating there in the evening would be a very courageous act). Dominican Republic's hotel are much better for cheaper, but you can't rent a car and visit like in Antigua. I enjoyed my stay, but won't be coming back.
"We paid for a standard room but were upgraded for free"
Posted by: Mary2825
on Feb 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
123 people found this review helpful
it was fine on a.a. except that they lost my husband's suitcase, he received it 24 hours later.
we paid for a standard room but were upgraded for free. we stayed in the 200 block, it was wonderful, we were close to the beach and had ocean views from the balcony.
the liquiors were outstanding, bailey's v.o. stoli ect. i am a bartender and this was one of the few island resort where i recognize many of the bottles.
the room service, bar and restaurant service was very good and friendly.
Restaurant's and food:
the breakfast buffet was bland the pancakes lacked something and the sauage and bacon didn't taste right lunch; mary's outhouse was good, but be prepared to wait for ribs or chicken even if you get there early, except on fri. and sat. dinner; the topaz was good, but it was the only option 2 or 3 nites a week. the pineapple grill was only open 3 nites a week and chief peitro's open 2 nites a week. and if you don't get to guest services early you won't get a reservation that nite.
it was a joke. since my husband's suitcase was lost he needed a bathing suit, he had to buy a kids suit (thank god he is very thin). also there were people with very large bug bites the gift shop was out of bug spray and suntan lotion. also it was very difficult to get change, even for a $20.00 bill
on a totally different note if there are any dog lover's reading this there are bright blue steps behind the beach vendors. we would go up there at nite to feed two stray dogs 1 female white with light brown spots, (she looked pregnant) and a black male, we took rib and chicken bones ect to feed them. if you whistle the female might come out she became friendly towards us. if not just leave it they come eventually. i would take plastic store bags to save food(ask mary for bones she saves plenty for her dogs) also there are stray donkey's up there.
back to the resort my husband and i are both in our 40's and we would rate this resort a 31/2 instead of a 5.
if anyne wants to e-mail me about the stray dogs my address is mary email@example.com
Other resorts visited:
allegro aruba, sandles jamaica,beaches turks &caicos,iberostar punta cana, cas del mar bayahibe, splash st.lucia, rui playa del carmen, 3xiberostar playa del carmen, st.thomas, las vegas,puerto la cruz ven., rio, brazil, alcopulco, costa del sol spain, canary island, hawaii, nassau, cayman islands.
"We have being going to The Grand Pineapple, Antigua for 8 years"
SheilaJeff05 on Jan 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Jan, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
99 people found this review helpful
We have being going to The Grand Pineapple, Antigua for 8 years and it will not be our last visit, we have already booked for 2005.
Well keep well maintained and very clean,always someone on hand keeping it to avery high standard.
3 of all of a very good standard, Topaz breakfast in the mornings fantastic,and Debbie cooks the best omelettes ever go girl.
12 noon till 5pm if you are feeling a bit hungry go and see Dolci she will do you a great snack and the icecreams are to die for. Miss Mary does a great B.B.Q.up the top of the hill.
Kevin the main man for keeping the bar well stocked Sheralyn and Vera for always smiling and keeping us happy and of course the rest of the staff keep the good work up. And to Dale Peter Richard Novela, we thank you all for making our stay in Antigua Fantastic.
"I felt we got what we paid for"
Susan04 on Nov 1, 2004 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2004
108 people found this review helpful
Well, we are back and not a bit happy about it!! I will try to keep this somewhat organized, but apologize up front if it turns out not to be.
We had previously stayed at the Allegro resort in Turks&Caicos (this resort had not been bought by Occidental and has since been torn down). We found the Antigua resort to be similar to that one in the set-up, food, etc. We both thought this resort showed signs of proper care - fresh paint, etc. Our room was fantastic (832) - the view was the best!! The hike up the hill to our room was never an issue (ok...maybe after a few drinks it was a little more taxing ...but...that was our fault!!) The common areas were fine - my only complaint was with the guests leaving glasses, etc all over the place. I will never understand why people cannot walk to a trash can 10 feet away but that's my personal pet peeve. The entertainment was fine...we enjoyed the 3 or 4 of the nightly shows. The night with the group (I cannot remember their name - had a male singer and two females) was great entertainment - best live band we had seen in a while (by that I mean bands that you would see in a night club). All of the staff we encountered were very friendly. The only staff that didn't seem quite so outgoing was the bar staff but that could have been because we never 'sat' at the bar and made conversation with them - so no blame on them! Ms. Mary (the Outhouse) are keepers!! What a great place and one you would not normally come across at an all-inclusive so a very nice change! We left the New Hampshire license plate swaying in the breeze! Overall, the food was fine. Our only complaint was that it would have been great to have snacks like popcorn, pretzels, etc available. Breakfast is always my favorite while on vacation because I never seem to have time when at home so I loved that! We never got into the Pineapple Grill but did enjoy Chef Pietros one night. The vendors on the beach were never a problem. At checkout we did experience a charge to our room for the internet that neither of us did. It was a charge for the morning we were leaving - was only $5 and they did remove it when they confirmed the signature was not ours. Our transfers from the airport were fine with no issues.
We took Eli's tour on Wednesday and had a great time. What a great day. Eli, Tony and Ebi were informative and helpful. Very relaxing day on the water. Lots of sun! The lunch was superb and watching the turtles surface for air while we ate was a new lunchtime activity for us!!
We had scheduled a sunset cruise for Thursday night but unfortunately it was cancelled due to lack of sunset :(
We did go into St Johns for shopping on Friday morning and enjoyed wandering around the streets of St. Johns.
Weather wise our week was not the best but it certainly beat the snow we drove through on the 13th to get to the airport. We had some overcast days with occasional sun, some rain, sun, lots of rain (at night and on Friday) but still enjoyed our time on Antigua!!
We would recommend this island without hesitation. I would also recommend the resort - I felt we got what we paid for and that's all I ever ask for. The people of the island were friendly and enjoyable to talk with. The goats made us smile. The roads were better than some back roads of New Hampshire, the driving not any worse than Boston :). We had a great time!
"The ocean was beautiful, small waves and refreshing."
KimMike04 on Jun 1, 2004 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2004 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
107 people found this review helpful
I thought I would send in a review as this website helped me out alot with deciding where my now husband & I would be married. After alot of choices and reading up on all the resorts we decided to go to the Grand Pineapple Beach.
A total of 15 people ranging from 22 to 63 (family & friends) went there for a week of relaxation and to watch us get married. We could not have picked a better place.
Upon arrival to Antigua we were in and out of the airport quite quickly. No problems, We hopped onto a bus to be taken to our hotel.
Lobby & Rooms:
When we arrived at the resort the gardens were lush and beautiful! The lobby was very HOT!!! no air conditioning but we managed to cool ourselves off with our welcome rum punch! Check in was slow but we were on island time and in no hurry. Our room was to quite ready so we just changed in my parents room and went to the beach. About 1 hour later we went to our room 221(Beach front). It was very large, clean & simple. The only issues were 1.No hot water once during the week and 2. Our toilet would to flush a few times.
My husband and I are avid travels. We vacation to all exclusive's 1-2 times per year. We ate at all the restaurants.
Topaz - (Buffet & Preset menu)
The food there was great. Dinner was very relaxing, not rushed and the proportions were nice. If you wanted more all you had to do was ask. Most of the time we were there for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. There are two sitting, the 6pm & 7pm. Oh as a note all men must were collared shirts for dinner, mandatory. Breakfast was also served here. Pretty much the same thing each morning, bacon, sausage, french toast, pancakes, waffles, eggs, potatoes, omelet's, fresh fruit, cheese, bread, danishes, cereal, yogurt, etc. It was good, we never went hungry.
Pineapple Grill (Caribbean Food)
- Only air conditioned restaurant The food there was good. Again off a menu but tasty! The entertainment at the restaurant was super funny! They had two guys with a guitar and maracas singing. People were laughing as they were making up each virus table by table. We video taped them and still laugh everytime were hear them.
Chef Piero (Italian)
All 15 of us ate there for dinner after our wedding. The food was fantastic! The service was great! Lots of selection on the menu. This restaurant is very close to the Topaz with a nice breeze coming off the ocean
Snack Bar by the Pool
Good snacks! Tuna sandwiches were really yummy! Nachos, Hamburgers. Good for during the day. This is where we mostly had lunch. The Topaz did have lunch just never went.
Disco - (Pineapple Grill at night)
Non existent. No one goes! BORING! We went there once but left after 30 mins.
Not as bad of a walk that everyone says. Good food, tender chicken and ribs, salads ,COLD beer & pop. Make sure you get a piece of wood and a marker so you can make a sign! There must be hundreds up there! Lots of interesting stuff , especially to see where everyone is from.
Slow service at first but once they get to know you they get faster! No one in our group of 15 complained about drinks being made properly. Everyone was there to have fun and party it up. If they did not like the drink the simply got another one.
Not as great as some of the other resorts that I have been to. The best night was Mr Moves (Fire eating limbo dancer) AMAZING!! They had a great band the night we got married and they made sure we got our own special song from them to us. They had name that tune which was fun & some Antiguan dancers another night. During the day was pretty quite, not alot of activities which suited me just fine. They had water aerobics a few times and they were also playing some games on the lawn.
Beach Towels & Chairs:
Make sure to get towels early in the morning. A few times we went to get new ones and they did not have any. As for beach chairs, you never had to fight for one! plenty to go around.
Pool & Beach:
Kept very clean! The water in the pool was very nice, not too cold. The ocean was beautiful, small waves and refreshing. Alot of people in our group went snorkeling a few times and said it was great. Just be careful as a few of them came back with cuts from the coral on there bodies
FANTASTIC!!! I would recommend it to anyone! Novella Bryan did a great job! It was so stress free and everyone had a great time. The hotel photographer did a beautiful job everyone compliment on our pictures. We also got a video done which was also top notch! >From the flowers to the decorated gazebo our day could have not been more perfect.
Kokomo Cat Cruise around the island - Was great! A bit rocky on the water at times so make sure to take gravol if you get sea sick! Shopping - Good, most vendor's have the same stuff, shopping for about 2 hours should be more then enough. Swim with the Stingrays - Most people in our group when and said it was amazing. (I was too chicken) Jeep Tour - Very interesting - alot of history about the island.
So to wrap things up this is one of the better resorts I have been to. If you are looking for night life and alot of activities this is not the resort for you!
I would return to this resort but not right away. I would like to visit other islands first .
Another resorts we have been to: Superclubs Punterana - CUBA , Paradise Bach Club & Casino x 2 - PUERTO PLATA, Bacelo Maya Beach Club - MAYIAN RIVERA , Allegro Cozumel - COZUMEL
Enjoy your travels around the world!
"The nightly 'entertainment' was High School Amateur Night"
RonSouthampton04 on Jun 1, 2004 >
1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Jun, 2004 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
105 people found this review helpful
Having just returned from a week at the Pineapple Beach I decided to check out your review site. To say I'm amazed to read those glowing tributes is an understatement. To explain:- This was my first foray into the world of ALL INCLUSIVE, although my wife has been A I on a number of occasions in Barbados with friends. If the fayre at Pineapple Beach is anything to go by it will certainly be my last. The food in the Topaz retaurant was, with the exception of breakfast, consistantly abysmal. The cocktails in the Piano Bar were unrecognisable. The nightly 'entertainment' was High School Amateur Night at it's worst ( there was even Bingo one night!!!!! )
My wife and I are in our early fifties, we have holidayed all over Europe, the Far East, America, Canada, and as far as Australia. This is the first, yes the FIRST, holiday spot I have ever felt the need to criticize in over 30 years of vacationing. Pineapple Beach did have it's good points-- the accommodation, the beach, the staff for the most part, and Mary's Outhouse ( the only properly cooked food in the whole establishment ).
For those of your reviewers ( mostly American ) who say the food was excellent--WHOA-- I've had better food in the lowliest truck stop in your own country.
For those who say the entertainment was superb-- Try comparing it to the finalists of Pop Idol, not the first stage hopefuls.
Finally, for those who say the drinks were good-- Get a cocktail book, follow the instructions for your favourite tipple, and taste how it should, and could, be made by even an amateur.
My advice to anyone thinking of going to the Pineapple Beach Resort for a holiday is DON'T, unless you are a tee-total, early to bed type on a starvation diet!