We exchanged into a 2 bedroom unit from one of our timeshare exchange companies. We visited the resort the last week of April, 2013. Found the resort with no problems, the 45 min. drive from the airport went quick.
Upon arriving we had some terrible first impressions and we were quite worried that we would hate it and not want to hang out at the resort as we had planned. The view looking at the resort from the road, is very dumpy looking, so we were worried when we pulled into the parking lot and then the lobby was so underwhelming. We usually spend quite a bit of time at our resort so these first impressions made us cringe. After checking in quickly (quick is always nice) we went to our assigned unit on the 2nd floor. We were expecting modern appliances, furnishings and décor, as it was rated a Gold Premiere Resort, but to our disappointment it seemed dated and worn. Okay, not a Marriott or Starwood as are used to but let's keep an open mind. That's when we went out to our balconies, having a 2 bedroom, we had 2 balcony sections that were shared together (which would be awkward if we had not had a 2 bedroom and had to share with strangers). Looking at the view and the closeness to the beach and pool, we started to get excited!! We have never had a unit this close to the beach before, usually we are thrilled to have an ocean view, but beachfront, it was fantastic! This was going to be just fine. The next morning we enjoyed our coffee while watching the sunrise and any disappointments we had the night before started to fade away. We picked out which beach lounge chairs we would like to sit at, a perfect spot just under the palms trees, which we loved, instead of the usual umbrellas. After breakfast, we claimed our spot, which we easily had all week, as the beach was uncrowded and quiet, another great aspect. We were within steps to the beach, pool or snorkeling, this was going to be excellent. And it was, we loved it, so all of our first impressions, were no longer relevant, we loved our palm tree shaded lounges on the quiet beach, a few steps back to our unit or pool and the snorkeling so close with much to see. We really had a fabulous time, we all agreed that we loved the island and it was our best family vacation as of yet. We had the perfect amount of beach, lazy time, snorkeling and adventure on this trip and we hope to go back someday.
Mostly explained the positive things in detail above, but as a summary: The Island itself was very nice and we enjoyed all the areas we ventured to (including Seven Mile Beach, Stingray City, etc...) and our favorite island compared to other islands we have visited (Dominican, Jamaica, Turks&Caicos and Aruba). Local restaurants were delicious and we had many great meals. The resort's all beachfront units, location of our unit and our building, snorkeling onsite, White Sands Water Sports at resort (they are great, Sunrise Stingray tour was the best, highly recommend), spaciousness of our 2 bedroom unit, beach all to ourselves, pool within steps, convenience of a liquor store and small grocery store across the street, palm trees on the beach for shade, these all were the things that we loved about the resort.
There were some negative things, but things that would not deter us from returning: The lobby (small, plain, not a good first impression), the restaurant (we all ordered meals that were not very good, so we didn't want to return), the unit was a little worn and outdated, patio furniture needs replacing, the beach lounge chairs were so worn they were uncomfortable, a little TLC maintenance on the buildings were needed (and I think they were starting at the far end with painting), the beach needed more cleaning (they raked up the seaweed everyday but the amount of straws alone on the beach could easily be fixed if they included cleaning that up as they are doing the seaweed). Those were a few of the minor negative things, things that if fixed I would have given a 5 star rating. Just a side note worth mentioning: we also didn't like the whole Castaway Buildings section, pool and beach area, I do believe that if we were stuck down at that end, we would have had a different experience and I would hope if we do go back, that we would be going back with the intention of staying at the Reef buildings end of the resort.
So if you want simple, love quiet beaches practically all to yourself, enjoy a palm tree, some great snorkeling and want a beachfront unit, this is the place for you. If you have little kids that need a sandy place to swim, not a good choice, if you are party goer and want to be wild and dance and have a nightlife, not a good choice, if you like plush, luxury and want to be waited on, not a good choice. For everyone else, a fabulous choice!
Request a Reef Building Unit. If you want quieter, ask for a Reef building unit a little bit away f...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.