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“My honest review .. Just got back this evening” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island

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Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   West Bay Street, Cable Beach, Nassau 13005, New Providence Island   |  
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Ranked #2 of 33 hotels in Nassau
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“My honest review .. Just got back this evening”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012 via mobile

I've read tons of reviews on here before going and I know these reviews helped me so I hope mine help you.

Stayed from: dec 26-29 (3 night trip)

Room: We booked a cable beach ocean view balcony room in the balmoral tower. They gave us a room that had half an ocean view (not a 180 panoramic view as they advertised on the site) and it backed up onto their garbage disposal area. You could hear the trucks arrive every morning. This was room 521 (no butler or concierge). We called front desk right away and the lady said they didn't have ours available and said that they couldn't do anything about it. This was a huge disappointment. The floor was also sticky when we arrived like it wasn't mopped after the previous people left. We talked to another couple who said they found blood on their door .. What?!

Location: beach.. Very nice. Bugs... Not so nice but there weren't many so it didn't bother me. The water is amazing.. I don't have any complaints with the water and beach.. The island as well... It's amazing. We loved it.

Food: very mediocre for me.... Nothing you won't get back home... The fruit was the most dissapointing part... I was surprised they served canned fruits . However, GO TO THE CRYSTAL ROOM! That was the best food out of all of them.

Staff: some were amazing some weren't.. But overall it was fine..

Activities: ask for their nightly activity guide.. It's worth it. Go to their events and have fun. I enjoyed the lovers games, the dance off, the Junkanoo street party, the music was always good, the live bands. Also.. GO SNORKLING!!!!!!! It was amazing amazing amazing. The fish swim so close it was so cool. It's free too!!!

Likes: it was very calm and NOT crowded at all... Lots of room and privacy everywhere you go. The pizza was amazing. Waters were great. Locals are soooooo awesome and so nice and welcoming. The country is super safe. The resort was nice and small, making it an intimate setting. Lots of choices for food. SNORKLING is a must do.

Dislikes: room, manager was 'too busy' to resolve our issue of the room, cleanliness in room, fruit selection.

Overall, it was a good vacation. We expected more but we made the most of what it was and had an amazing time, for that reason it was worth the money but I do think that the room issue and it not being resolved before I left makes me angry just thinking about it. I don't know if sandals will be in my plans in the future..

& BUTLER SERVICE? Not worth it. We made it on our own just fine and there was nothing that I couldn't do. It's more fun doing it yourself together anyway... That's my opinion! & 3 days was enough for us... Another day would have been boring .

Also.. Go out to Atlantis for a day .. You'll have fun!

We paid in total 3500 for 3 days from toronto. Was expensive....and we didn't even get the room we paid more for. Dissapointing and still mad.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
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  • Rooms
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  • Service
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NYC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

All in all we had a wonderful honeymoon. We stayed at the Royal Bahamian from November 17-24, 2012.

Resort: Everything was new and clean - extremely important. We stayed on the 5th floor of the Balmoral Tower. Since that building is newly renovated everything was new and clean, just how I like it. Room was extremely spacious including an ensuite bathroom, bar area, sitting area, and an oceanfront balcony. Bathrooms were clean everywhere, including pool bathrooms and bathrooms on the offshore island. The grounds were nicely kept, however since we traveled after a hurricane the grounds weren't as lush as we anticipated.

Pools: There are two pools, one near Balmoral Tower, and one near the Windsor Building. The Balmoral Pool was quieter and lower key. The Windsor Terrace Pool was more upbeat and lively. The entertainment staff sets up there and keeps everyone entertained and in a good mood. My only recommendation would be to have the pools heated. Even though we were on vacation it wasn't extremely hot. The pool water still felt too cold to swim around in. There are many hot tubs around to lounge in.

Beach: Beach was very nice, but it was livelier at the pool so we stayed there mostly (and the ocean was cold after the storm). The water sports were closed most days due to winds (unforeseeable, we were not that disappointed). We did, however go jet skiing, but this was not Sandals' activity, we did it with the locals.

Food: Overall food was very good - a few slight disappointments.

Restaurants: Make sure to make reservations on the first night... and make them for the duration of your trip. This was my third all-inclusive trip, but my husband's first. He didn't understand why we needed to hurry up and make reservations, but quickly learned. You won't be able to go to the better restaurants until the end of your trip due to already booked reservations! Avoid not getting into a restaurant you want to try or getting stuck with times you don't want by making all of them on the first day.
*Bacarrat: Very nice and modern decor, intimate setting. They lost our reservation at first but it was quickly sorted out (Good thing... because then we would have not had reservations for Thanksgiving!). My husband had a snail puff pastry appetizer and I had something with mushrooms, both of which were very good. We both had lobster tails, his had a cream sauce on top which is not typical (or very common) for seafood. I had mine with butter and it was delicious. My husband had a chocolate cake which he loved, and since I am allergic I had crème brule which was phenomenal!!! I have only had better crème brule at a small French restaurant in Florida years ago. Delicious!
*Crystal Room: We went here twice. They have a bar where you can wait for your table (no reservations required). Appetizers we had were shrimp cocktail and hummus with pita, both good. We both got crab legs in a butter sauce for our main course which was delicious but did not stay for dessert. We went a second time to have crab legs again... but they ran out which was disappointing. Instead I got a chicken breast stuffed with mango and it was no crab legs, but quite good as well.
*Casanova: Italian Buffet... not my ideal but served its purpose on our first night when we did not have reservations. I had chicken parm which was decent.
*Spices: We only went here for breakfast where they had a decent amount of selection. I mostly had French toast which was good.
*Kimonos: Typical Hibachi restaurant where you sit at a table with 5 other couples (12 people total). Everything was good but the beef was amazing. Our whole table loved the beef and the sauce it was cooked in. SO much food but the dessert didn't look good... didn't even try it.
*Royal Cafe: Ate here for lunch on our first day... burgers did not taste very good so we never went back.
*Cricketer's Pub: Pub food is not my choice of good eating but we went here for the "tailgate party" which might have been on Thanksgiving. Food was okay, not great (nachos, chili, wings, fries, etc.)... but I was not disappointed because I did not expect anything great. Turkey and cheese wrap was good.
*Bella Napoli Pizzeria: Coming from NY I was scared to try the pizza... boy was I wrong! It was so good! Everyone was eating it - I loved the Hawaiian!
*Cafe Goombay: The offshore island was closed the night of our reservation (due to high winds the ferry was not making the trip over) so the menu was being served at Spices. I believe I had the filet mignon which was good. Cheesecake with guava was delicious and my favorite dessert of the trip (there were not many desserts and among them not much variety).
*Gordon's on the Pier: Although this restaurant is included if you are staying in a room with butler service, we had to pay extra ($170) to eat here but it was worth it. The restaurant is literally located on the pier overlooking the beach/ocean. It is a very intimate setting with about 12 tables, but only about 4 occupied while we were there. Our server, Shavvaro, was extremely nice and accommodating. I had the signature drink, the Lady Diana, which was wonderful and similar to a rum punch, a perfect girlie drink. When I couldn't decide between shrimp with cocktail sauce or fish chowder as an appetizer Shavvaro offered to bring me both - perfect! They were both delicious, the fish chowder was prepared perfectly and you could taste the fish and the spices. We then had surf & turf which was delicious. The filet mignon was cooked exactly to my liking and was seasoned nicely. The lobster tail was delicious. We had the same scenario where my husband's was in cream sauce (a bit weird) and mine was with butter. Shavvaro was extremely accommodating with my food allergies, moreso than other members of the wait staff at other restaurants. We finished the evening with desserts and a handwritten card from the wait staff thanking us for dining with them which was a nice personal touch.

Spa: During our stay we had a couples massage and it was lovely. The spa was clean and relaxing and the spa staff was very friendly and made you feel important. The masseuses did a great job. They serve white ambrosia tea which smells and tastes heavenly!

Gym: Did not visit... why would I go to the gym on vacation?! :)

Entertainment Staff: Our entertainment staff consisted of Kelvin, Bullet, Popo, Tanya, Jason, and another girl that was only there for a day or two so I cannot remember her name. The entertainment staff was phenomenal! They were upbeat, fun, and kept the guests in a good and light mood. Their dances were great, and their demeanor was perfect. They really got to know the guests by name, even myself, and I didn't participate in any activities, but my husband did. My husband played beach volleyball every day and participated in Beach Olympics, Name that Tune, Darts, and Walking on Water (where they line up pool floats to see who can run and make it to the bar... hysterical). Since my husband participated we got tokens and at the end of the trip traded them in for a little pair of leather sandals... small enough to hang off the review mirror in the car, they are cute. I have nothing but great things to say about the entertainment staff - wish they taught us how to dance while we were there!!

Resort Staff: Almost all of the resort staff was friendly. While walking around, everyone says hello, asks how you are doing. There was one girl who had an attitude, and unfortunately she was our first server (then again for breakfast twice) but other than that everyone was great.

Bars: Bartenders were great, we didn't have to wait long and everyone was nice. Servers often came around the pool area to get drink orders, deliver drinks, and clean up. Shelly was the best - makes the best banana daiquiris. The hummingbird was our favorite drink! We are trying to recreate it at home!


Nightlife: The nightlife is a little bit lacking at this resort. I understand it is a couples resort and most people want to relax, but it could have been a little bit more exciting. The DJ they had at night was a few months behind in the latest music, but would play our requests so that was good. The other nights' themes were okay... but reminded me a little bit of Kellerman's Resort in Dirty Dancing... for the older crowd. Junkanoo night was very cool, it was nice to see all of the traditional Bahamian clothing and hear the traditional music.

Guests: Almost all of the guests were so friendly and nice. We made friends while we were away and plan to get together with them soon! We went from November 17-24, 2012 and the resort was busy, but not completely booked. There were empty lounge chairs and lots of space on the beach (different from other resorts I have been to where it is so crowded people are holding their spots at the pool at 7am). It was very nice to have a crowd, but not worry if you wouldn't get a seat!

*Recommendations for resort:
*Update the online menus to reflect what is actually being served in the restaurants because it can be misleading.
*Add more desserts (especially non chocolate for those who are allergic).

Room Tip: Balmoral Tower is newly renovated - rooms are lovely, quiet, and have a great view.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

I created an account just to write this review. I just came back from a 5 day trip with my gf. This is the first time I've ever felt this compelled to write a review because the experience was so bad and I want to make sure other travelers are informed of this. My gf graduated from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and her parents have both been in the hotel industry for over 15 years so we know high quality service when we experience it, and let me tell you, this place is not even close. Let me provide you with some details below.


CHECK-IN: When you check in, they make you leave the luggage with the bell staff so they can bring it up to your room. Unfortunately 2 hours in, we still did not have our luggage. I called down concerned and they said they didn't know who it belonged to and that they tried calling me, despite the fact that I did not get any missed calls and I specifically told the bell desk which luggage (and there was only one!) was ours. And you might think they were busy which is why they got confused, but the truth is, there was only one other couple there. There were also 3 bell staff just standing around, clearly not even doing their job correctly, a very sad sight to see.


RESTAURANTS: Restaurants are misrepresented on the website (as of 12/29). All of the menus have been updated...with worse items. For example, the Cafe Goombay menu on the website boasts a huge selection of conch dishes. At the actual restaurant there was barely any seafood. The Italian restaurant was supposed to have pizza and an assortment of specialty pastas, but instead they only have the most bland public school cafeteria pastas – spaghetti bolognese, penne with tomato sauce, etc. THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISEMENT. We booked the trip based on the fact that we liked their food, but they didn't much of what they advertised and everything they did have tasted over cooked or smothered in cream sauce, not tasty or classy at all. Now let's go by each restaurant:

Spices: Good breakfast omelets, that's it. Lunch was embarrassing. I saw a seafood pasta one day and got so excited, only to see it was just pasta with cream sauce and maybe 2 pieces of shrimp chopped up in tiny pieces. Sandals is in the middle of the Caribbean, the fact that they are so stingy with seafood is seriously annoying and cheap to say the least. The burger patties were also nasty, soaked in oil, not edible. I am also a HUGE dessert fan and was so excited to go crazy on desserts, but unfortunately there were NO GOOD DESSERTS, everything tasted disgusting and made from a box. The cheesecake was awful, the cupcakes tastes MUCH worse than Betty Crocker and I almost cracked a tooth trying to bite on the ginger bread cookie.

Baccarat: They claim this is their high end restaurant…HORRIBLE. I had the lobster which tasted like heavy cream and was so hard, my gf’s beef was a nasty section of the cow and did not taste good at all. The presentation of the food is gorgeous, and photographs very well but the taste is much worse than Applebee’s or Fridays. Also they kept forgetting who ordered what…what kind of white glove service is that? The only highlight from this meal was the one dessert I enjoyed on the whole trip—the chocolate decadence cake. That was actually really good but we didn’t pay over $600 a night to eat just one chocolate cake.

Crystal Room: Nice décor, didn’t have to wait too long but food again was AWFUL. I had the salmon, which was SO hard…why is everything here so overcooked? The chefs have absolutely no skill, my little brother who is 11 can cook better than they do. I mean they clearly just put it in the oven, don’t watch the time and let it get overdone. My gf got the steak hoping to give it another try since Baccarat was so poor, but guess what, it was even worse. We then shared the crab legs, and that was actually decent…though I don’t see how you can even screw up steamed crab legs. The dessert was the same dessert they had at lunch that was repackaged and tasted very bad. For someone who loves dessert, I am shocked that they make it so difficult to like any…I am the type that loves most dessert but boy was I wrong.

Casanova: Where do I begin? They told us there was a 30 minute wait even though half the restaurant was empty and it was Christmas night. I didn’t even bother asking why there was a wait because it was towards the end of our trip and I had lost total confidence in the resort. The pasta there was probably on par w/ the food in an elementary school cafeteria, yup it was that bad. Dessert was buffet style, I had the tiramisu and it was average. I ate the fruit because it was the only dessert that wasn’t awful, since all you have to do is wash fruit.

Pub: I had cheesecake there…not delicious at all, surprised there is actually cheesecake in the world I didn’t like, it was that bad. My gf had wings and said it was average. One night we went, we waited 30 minutes for our food and the waiter comes by and says “gas in the kitchen was out.” I’m not sure what that means…the hotel has no gas and it can’t cook food? We decided to leave and just not eat.


SERVICE: My gf tripped down two steps of stairs by accident and admittedly wasn’t the resort’s fault. But of course when I asked for an ice pack, their immediate response was “No, we don’t have ice pack.” I was highly surprised they didn’t even take a minute to think about an alternate solution…like putting ice in a plastic bag. In hospitality, your goal is to make your customers happy, workers at Sandals don’t even think of simple solutions to help you. Extremely disappointing.

There was extremely loud music coming from Casanova or that area until 1am and I couldn’t fall asleep because all we heard was the bass of a stereo system. If I wanted to go to a club, I would have…but we wanted to relax and certainly did not relax with the crazy music. We talked to other guests in the hot tub the next day and they had the same complaints. We asked for a room change but the receptionist said “the system was down” and they didn’t even know which rooms were vacant. What does that even mean? Does this establishment that calls themselves 5 stars not have any back up? That is so ridiculous and completely unacceptable so we basically didn’t get a room change (even though hotel occupancy was only 50% since it was Christmas weekend and we confirmed with a housekeeper who said the resort was about half full). Can you imagine even a Motel 6 not knowing which rooms were occupied?

We talked to management on the last day of our trip not to get anything out of it but to share our frustration and awful experience. We doubt they're going to do anything to change. It's such a fundamental flaw in the resort. BOTTOM LINE: Terrible food, incompetent staff, and overall a huge disappointment especially given the amount you pay.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, responded to this review, January 8, 2013
We regret to hear that we did not meet your expectations for service and quality. We have many guests who feel the direct opposite and have boasted of our luxurious accommodations. As hoteliers we realize that there is always room for improvement and feedback is crucial in this process so we thank you for your review.

We strive to meet our motto: Luxury All-Inclusive Vacations for Two People in Love. We are in a constant state of evolving our resorts and updating our amenities so I will be sure to send your feedback to the relevant departments.

Thank you, again, for your feedback.


Kind Regards,
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Overland Park, Kansas
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Recently stayed at the Royal Bahamian. We stayed in a Penthouse Beachfront Butler Suite which was really nice. It wasn't the largest room (for instance a sofa wouldn't fit in this room), but was in the remodeled tower so everything was new. It had a nice balcony with two chaise lounge chairs. This was really nice to just lay out on in the evening and listen to the music being played below along with the waves lapping up on the shore. (Always opt for the balcony if you can...we think it is well worth the extra expense)!

It was pretty windy while we were there and as a result, the island was closed for a couple of days. We were able to go out to the island our third day and really enjoyed it. It's really a nice break from the main resort. Easy to find a private spot and you can still get drinks, lunch, a massage or just read and relax.

While the resort is pretty large with tons of amenities, it's easy to navigate. There is a "cut-through" spot to go from one tower to the other so you can hit a number of bars, restaurants or pools without having to walk too far.

The fitness center has a great view and plenty of equipment. The free weight area is a little tight, but it works.

The fire pits created a very cool atmosphere at night and the hot-tubs were nice to have too.

The Villas section is very cool. While it's the furthest point from the beach, it's really not that far and if you're looking for something quiet, this would be the section. The landscaping is really nice and the small pools dotted around this area make it seem like it's own private resort. I don't think they have pool service for drinks in the Villa section, so that may be a negative for some.

Our disappointment was with regard to the food. While it was decent, it certainly wasn't 5 Star. We had steak and lobster one night at Baccarat and would recommend that restaurant. We went to Gordon's on the Pier, but it was too windy to stay. The Pub was a fun spot, but the food just wasn't good there...thought you couldn't go wrong with a sandwich and fries, but have learned otherwise. The Royal Cafe was decent...again not great. Same for the restaurant on the island. When we were done with our lunch, we asked the waitress what they had for dessert. I'm not kidding, she said "it's up there, go get it yourself." My wife and I laughed. They were small desserts up on a tray.

The staff was friendly, but I wouldn't say they went out of their way to make you feel welcome. We're used to even the landscaping crew saying hello at other resorts and that just isn't the case here. It really has a feel of staying at a resort in the U.S. Not a bad thing, but other than the staff assigned to your specific task, they just seem too busy doing their own thing to take time to recognize the guests....doesn't have a real Caribbean hospitality feel compared to some others.

My wife used the spa and said it was great. If they can get the food straightened out and the staff a little friendlier, this will be a great place to vacation.

Room Tip: Opt for a beachfront room or oceanview with a balcony.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

My husband and I were debating on where to go for our honeymoon and finally decided on The Bahamas. We got married on August 20, 2011 and left the morning of the 22nd. Hurricaine season is from June - November so basically if you are travelling at these times you are taking a chance and probably saying "Ah it won't happen to us" Well let me tell you, it happend to us!
We arrived on Monday, the resort absolutely beautiful and ocean AMAZING! Exactly what we thought it would be. Tuesday morning we were advised that hurricaine Irene may be heading our way. All the locals assured us saying they only ever get the strong winds and it passes because Nassau is protected by the other islands.They had tv's set up and updated posters watching the storm path along with a meeting in the ballroom to discuss storm planning etc. We attended the meeting with high hopes that Irene would pass. Tues evening our hopes were crushed because Irene was coming right our way. They started to prepare by boarding up all the windows and clearing the beach/pool decks. It was a ghost town Tuesday evening. We enjoyed the day/evening on Wednesday as much as we could with not alot open for us. It was windy as heck and got windier as the day went on. We stayed in the room most of the day watching tv to see where Irene was heading. We got really scared at one point and went to the airport to come home but no such luck. The airport was packed with no flights left on Air Canada. Wednesday morning around 5am I woke to our balcony doors shaking and the wind just blasting (we were on the 5th floor) As we were leaving our room, the staff were coming to evacuate everyone to the ballroom. The ballroom is downstairs with no windows etc. It's almost as if you are in another world down there which was the point. They had an emergency meeting, Irene was heading right for us :(
The ballroom set up was AMAZING. They were definitely prepared.They had breakfast and tables set up, all kinds of entertainment, a movie set up in one of the rooms, games, and a full room of cots for sleeping. We were treated like royalty. The scariest thing was not knowing what was happening outside with at some points the HUGE beautiful chandelier shaking and the power cutting out. We were stuck in the ballroom all of Thursday with many updates from the manager who was quite comical I might add, and were allowed back in our rooms at 9pm that night. It was still VERY windy and rainy outside but the worst of Irene had passed.
Friday morning we discovered the biggest mess. The beach was a disaster, pools full of sand and junk, it was very sad to see. Cleaning was under way and the staff worked around the clock. We decided to go to downtown Nassau and what a mess too. Huge trees up-rooted, the market was completely destroyed, Senior frogs torn apart, windows blown out. We have before and after pictures and it was heartbreaking. So all in all our honeymoon sucked and was definitely not what we expected. We got to enjoy 3 nice days out of the trip with the last day not even counting because of the mess Irene left, but we made it fun and tretched through the messy beach into the ocean.

With all that being said, the main thing is everyone was safe and THANK YOU to the staff and management on what a great great job they did in keeping all of us safe. They were so prepared and made us feel as comfortable they could with continuous ballroom meetings. On our way to the airport we spoke with another couple who were staying on the other side of town. They didnt get half the treatment we did and said they would definitely go to Sandals next time they visit The Bahamas, and NOT during hurricaine season lol but who's to know right. It's such a large timeline.

I would 100% go back (probably not for many years though due to price :( and would highly recommend it to anyone. I have no complaints even though we only got to enjoy 2 days of the experience and what an experience it was.

THANK YOU AGAIN TO ALL THE STAFF AND MANAGEMENT THAT KEPT US SAFE THROUGH SUCH A TERRIBLE TIME.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Hopefully this review helps some folks who are trying to make their travel decisions!

Overall we enjoyed our stay at Sandals Royal Bahamian. We were able to relax and make the most of our stay - however there are some things that need polishing at the resort for the prices paid. We traveled 12/21-12/26. We opted for a penthouse room in the Balmoral Tower with butler service. We decided to go all out on this vacation, and overall we were mostly satisfied with the experience. As Americans, sometimes we have to remember that we're on island time and in a different country, so things don't work quite the same as they do at home... but in the end... you are on vacation and you're away from reality. How bad can it be?

Booking & Pre-Check In
We booked with Funjet because they had the lowest travel insurance costs at $119 a person, fully refundable up to the day before travel. Great experience with Funjet, all documents were received on time. I did have to call the toll free number for Sandals to get our booking number for the resort so we could complete online check in. Once I got that number, we completed check in online and also filled out our butler preference form.

Arrival at airport
The Nassau airport is a dream come true. Very easy to navigate, looks brand new, clean and modern. Customs and baggage are a piece of cake. Walk right out of customs and there is the Sandals desk. Someone was waiting there for us, and within 5 minutes we were in our private car being driven to the resort. Very easy process. Compared to previous arrivals at the Cancun airport for beach vacations, the Nassau airport is a walk in the park! I love the Bahamas for their airport alone!

Transportation to resort
Being that we had the butler service, we were driven to the resort in a private Rolls Royce. We were so excited for this because when else would we ever be in a Rolls? Unfortunately the vehicle needed some work. The A/C was not functioning (and it was pretty warm outside) and the window buttons were broken. Not a great initial impression. On the way back, we were driven in a Mercedes and it was much nicer. The resort is SO close to the airport - 10-15 minute drive max. If you are looking for easy travel from the states, this resort is your ticket. And request the Mercedes! :)

Check In
Check in was easy and fast. We arrived and were escorted to a private area where they check in the butler level guests. We were given cool towels (which was nice after the hot ride over). After check in, our butler came to meet us and gave us a tour of the resort. We were then shown to our room, #609 in the Balmoral tower. The room was on the eastern edge of the tower, and overlooked the ocean and also some other small homes that were kind of run down. We also overlooked some trash cans, air conditioners etc. For the price we paid, I was really expecting a better view. When we asked about changing rooms, the butler told us the resort was only 65% full, so he was able to get us a room with a better view. We moved down the hall to room 614 which was right in the center of the tower and it had a spectacular view. No complaints! Luggage arrived about 2 hours after check in.

Room
Rooms in the Balmoral Tower were renovated about a year ago and the finishings are beautiful! Comfortable bed, spacious bathroom, loved the canvas prints of the Carribean sea on the wall. Soft robes and slippers are provided. Our balcony was big, about 8' x 18' and it had 2 sun chairs, two regular chairs and a table. Plenty of room for a nice meal outside! There was a mini bar with beers (their local beers are Kalik and Sands), wine, champagne, rum, vodka and gin. Most of the booze was not brand name but I'm sure we could have requested other bottles if we wanted them. There is a large flat screen TV with quite a few American channels plus local news from Miami. There is also a Bahamian channel as well. It would have been nice to have a DVD player for nights in, to watch a few movies from home for entertainment, but that was no big deal. The only negative about this room was that it is right underneath the fitness center and we could hear, very clearly, any time that someone was using the treadmill. That wasn't so cool. We probably would have enjoyed a room on the 5th floor a little better without the treadmill noise. But overall, the room was gorgeous and the view was a highlight of the trip. True paradise!

Butler Service
The best advice I can give with butler service is to be very direct about what you want and when you want it. I was not used to having people do things for me and at first I felt kind of snooty asking for things to be delivered (like lunch at the pool) when I could easily get them myself! But, this is what the butlers are there for. We did have a negative experience with one of our butlers not too long after arrival. When we arrived, all of our dinner reservations had been made for us. A nice gesture, but the reservations were for 6pm and we prefer to eat later around 7:30 or 8pm. I called our butler to change a few of the restaurants and the reservation times and got a lot of attitude in return. I really didn't think I was asking for a lot considering the resort was only 65% occupied, plus we had really planned on making our dinner reservations upon arrival. After some back and forth, eventually our other butler stepped in and said that she would take care of everything, which she did. This is really the type of service that I expected. Once that was ironed out, our experience was much improved. Our two butlers did some nice things for us during our stay - we had a cheese plate in the room each day when we got back from the beach, chocolate covered strawberries in the evening, shrimp cocktail, etc. If we go back to a Sandals, it's tempting to have the butler service again... but you really need to make use of it. We didn't make great use of it the first few days and if we had it to do over again, I'd change that.

Restaurants
We are foodies, so we went into this experience with average expectations of the food considering that these resorts are mass marketed and not really known for true 5* restaurants. I would say the expectations were met. The food was tasty and we did not go hungry, but it was not 5* gourmet by any stretch of the imagination. House wines are included and they are Beringer wines - anything else is an upcharge. The house wines are cabernet, merlot, pinot grigio and chardonnay. Wine prices for anything other than the Beringer house wines were fairly reasonable. There is no shortage of choices around the resort for where to eat. Some highlights:

Baccarat - French restaurant, ate here the first night. We had the Caribbean lobster. It was cooked nicely, but covered in a white cream sauce that was a little heavy. Very nice servers. We had breakfast at Baccarat twice and enjoyed the experience. Champagne and caviar for breakfast, what a treat!

Kimonos - below average experience. The chef didn't entertain us at all and the grill stopped working halfway through. Everything was doused with a thick brown sauce. Not so good on the food side, but we met some other guests that were really nice.

Gordon's on the Pier - ate here on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Had the steamed lobster and requested drawn butter. One of the better meals at the resort. We had a few questions for the server about some of the drinks/food on the menu and he couldn't answer them right away - had to go ask someone.

Bella Napoli pizzeria - tasty little pizzas make for a nice lunch or snack on the beach.

Cafe Goombay lunch - wraps, burgers, etc. Pretty standard fare, nothing too exciting. Same with the Royal Cafe.

Spices buffet - we mostly ate here for breakfast and were happy with the selection. We had lunch here on our first day - large salad bar and lots of other things to choose from. Pretty typical resort buffet.

Entertainment/Activities
We were given a schedule of activities when we arrived. We wanted to do 2 of the activities that were listed (on separate days), however when we showed up, no one was there and nothing was set up. We asked around, but weren't given much of an answer, so eventually we just kind of gave up. We did take a Hobie Cat out one day and that was tons of fun.

Private Island
Definitely a highlight of the trip. We went over twice and had a cabana reserved both times. Soooo relaxing and barely anyone was there! We preferred the side facing outwards into the ocean. Very peaceful. Vivek waited on us at the island and his service was great. We had lunch in our cabana both days and he brought champagne for my husband's birthday and other drinks we requested. The water was calm on both sides and just lapped at the shore. Very nice for swimming or snorkeling.

Pool
We mostly hung out at the Balmoral pool which is the quieter one. The Windsor pool has the music and is more of the party pool. As the other reviewers have said, the pools are not heated. They are pretty cold in December. The hot tubs were quite nice though :)

Beach
While it's not huge, the beach is clean and has plenty of chairs and cabanas. There are staff members out there each morning raking up the seaweed. They do a good job of keeping the beach nice and neat.

Overall Condition of Resort
This resort is about 15 years old and it's starting to show its age a bit. The room renovations in the Balmoral tower are fabulous, but there are some other things around the resort that could use a good scrubbing. Also... there are Sandals logos EVERYWHERE. On the buildings, doors, in the concrete sidewalks, across on the private island, at the bottom of the pool, everywhere you look! It's sort of annoying and very much overkill.

Overall Experience
I'd say we were happy with this vacation because it fit what we were looking for - an AI resort in the Caribbean that was easy to get to, no long travel times or layovers. We had no need or want that went unaddressed. The staff members are very hard working and so friendly! Sandals Royal Bahamian is really nice on the surface, but needs just a bit of polishing to be truly spectacular.

Room Tip: Rooms on the 6th floor center of Balmoral tower are spectacular, however choose a 5th floor room to...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed from December 21-26 at this resort and booked another stay at Sandals Halycon in St. Lucia for our anniversary. This was our third stay at a Sandals resort. This resort is smaller compared to Sandals Grande Antiqua and has an active side with more entertainment (pool near the Windsor Building) and a laid back side (pool near Balmoral Tower). There are cute, quiet villas if you want to be away from the crowds. The beach is a private cove which is small but well maintained and gorgeous. There are many free water activities you can take advantage of while there. Parasailing and jet skiing is available but is not part of Sandals so you will have to pay a private individual for these activities if you are interested.

Room: We booked a concierge level, which I did not see the benefit in this room category at all. Unless, you just want the stocked mini bar, I did not see the value in this room when you can get alcohol at any of the bars or restaurants 24 hr. a day. Also, the concierge did not book any spa treatments or dinner reservations for us. Maybe, I didn't take full advantage of the concierge. The only thing the concierge did during our 5 night stay was check us out. In my opinion, the concierge level room is not worth it. We stayed in all 3 categories so far (standard, concierge and butler). So, I would advise you to save your money and book the lowest level category or the Butler level.

Food: All the food was good. Spices is good for breakfast and lunch (buffet style). Royal Cafe is a good place to eat for lunch if you want to grab something quick. Crystal Room's crab legs are amazing. Baccarat's baked lobster is great and this restaurant requires a reservation. So book this restaurant as soon as you get here. Cassanova is also very good and the pizza place is okay for a quick snack.

Things to Do: Lots of water activities and entertainment at the resort or choose to be a beach bum if this is what you like Go to Sandals Cay (Sandal's private island). The ferry will take you over. It is a quick 7- 10 minute ride. The ferry runs every hour from 10- 4 and you can also make dinner reservations at Cafe Goombay. The island has pools, lots of seating, a spa, a restaurant and is peaceful since it is away from the main Sandal's property. Bring your towels. Also, jump on the # 10 bus right in front of Sandals to check out downtown and the "Fish Fry', which is a strip of local restaurants. We tried Oh Andros and is was delicious and the bahama mama was a refreshing delight. The bus was easy to catch and downtown and the Fish Fry is only 10 min. away.

Room Tip: If you are low maintenance. Book the lowest level category.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island

Address: West Bay Street, Cable Beach, Nassau 13005, New Providence Island
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > New Providence Island > Nassau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Nassau
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Nassau
#1 Luxury Hotel in Nassau
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Nassau
#2 Family Hotel in Nassau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•New, extra comfortable, ultra luxurious Day Beds added poolside on Sandals Cay •Sandals Cay now has Zen Spa and Fire Pits.-----•Butler Service, 24-Hour Room Service, and Rolls Royce or Mercedes Transfers for select suite categories. •Over 10,000 sq. ft. of the Island’s most impressive Freshwater Pools•Sandals Cay – Nassau’s only resort with Private Offshore Island & Restaurant.•Ten Dining Options featuring an array of cuisine from French to Bahamian. •Minutes away from excellent duty free shopping in Downtown Nassau on Bay Street and world class gambling on Paradise Island.•Weekly Late night decadent Chocolate Buffet offering specialty coffee •Voted Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row. •Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row. •Voted Sandals Royal Bahamian “Bahamas’ Leading Spa Resort”. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island Hotel Nassau
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort And Offshore Island
Sandals Bahamas
Sandals Royal Bahamian Cable Beach
Sandals Bahamian
Sandal Resort Bahamas
Sandal Royal Bahamian
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island Bahamas/Nassau

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