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).
Balmoral Tower is newly renovated - rooms are lovely, quiet, and have a great view.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.