Replacing old tiles with new countertops?

Hello. Newbie to DIY home improvements, hehe, advise needed.

The kitchen is currently all tiled up (the work table, sink area) It is unpleasant to see the stains, dirt, slime building up on the grout, and they can’t be removed thoroughly despite tedious cleaning. And the tiles being 6×6 inchers there’s a lot of unsightly grout seen. We’d like to replace it with either a laminate counter top or stone (but leaning on laminate to cut on costs) for sanitation & maintenance reasons and for aesthetics .

My questions:
1. Is it possible to not remove the tiles when putting in the new counter top? Height-wise, the added inch or so won’t be a problem.
2. Stone tops- they say if you get low grade ones, it’s prone to staining etc.. well, we want a black counter top so does it even matter? lol am i being to simplistic about this? It is dark black, so staining would be at best unnoticeable?

@ fraz- The front tiles (4" height) and its base cement will be removed. So we’re just covering one long rectangular top that has walls on 3 of its sides. So that’s basic already– meaning we don’t have it customized anymore?

@deren – we’re trying to stay away from tiles because when you chop on top of it, it can crack, right? but for the backsplash, great tip. The grout will be black to be inconspicuous.. can the spacing be less than1/8"? Like 1/16"?
@chicagirl, yes, I meant chopping with a board. I’ve never done that with the (current) tiles either, worrying the impact might crack it or something. And I’ve never put anything hot directly– I have that melamin?silicone? mat, because I’m not sure if tiles can take high heat. The black grout suggested, yes, I’ll be using that for the backsplash.

@TUDT, yeah, removing everything would be best, but everyone wants this to be finished the fastest time and cleanest way possible without having to remove/clean everything in the area if we chip the old tiles off. Affirmative on moisture on the underside. The stubborn muck comes from food prep, water drips from pans, etc daily use. It’s dry below.

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