My Wife and I have been to 2 other Sandals Resorts in Jamaica, and after reading a lot of Trip Advisor reviews, we decide to spend our 38th Wedding Anniversary at the Sandals Royal Bahamian resort in the Bahamas, and made reservations through my travel agent in February 2013 for the week of 29 June - 6 July 2013. I specifically reserved an Ocean View room in the Balmora Towers on the highest floor they could put us in, so we had a great view of the Ocean, but I had to pay extra to get an Ocean View room with a Balcony, which was weird, because after we arrived, we noticed that all the rooms with an Ocean view had balconies. I assumed (incorrectly as it turned out) that since I made my reservations 4 months ahead of my vacation, there wouldn’t be a problem getting the room I reserved. We arrived at the resort at about 3:30 PM and the staff greeted us with a warm, moist, face cloth to refresh us, and a glass of Champagne, which was great after a long journey. Our check-in was very fast and all seemed to be in order until they took us to an older building that was not the Balmora Tower. In fact it was on the opposite side of the resort. I stopped the individual escorting us to the room and asked if she was taking us to Balmora Tower and she said “No”. I told her that my reservations were for the Balmora Tower, at which point she immediately called the registration desk, who asked to speak to me. The individual proceeded to tell me that the room we were given was considered an upgrade, at which point I said that was not what I reserved and not what I paid for and that I wanted the room in the Balmora Tower I had reserved 4 months ago. She proceeded to tell me there were no rooms in the Balmora Tower, which absolutely infuriated me. She asked me to at least look at the room they wanted us to stay in and see if it was acceptable, since they considered it an upgrade. I agreed to look at it. The room was larger but older and overlooked the roof of the Casanova restaurant and the back part of the pool. Yes, you could see the ocean but not even close to the view I paid extra money for from the Balmora Tower. I asked to speak to the Manager, who told me there were no rooms available in Balmora Tower until the next day, which meant we could not unpack our clothes or really begin our vacation until the next day when they moved us to the Balmora Tower, which didn’t happen until after 1 PM. There are 6 floors in the Balmora Tower and the room they gave us was on the 2nd floor. I asked the Front Desk Manager for a higher floor and was told there were none available. Nice way to start a vacation!! We were told the room had Concierge service but never heard from the Concierge. The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. PROS: On the plus side, the food was great in all the restaurants we ate at, including Baccarat, Crystal Room, Casanova, Gordon’s on the pier (Fantastic), and the Japanese Restaurant. The employee’s, were very friendly throughout the entire complex, except for the female cook in Spices restaurant who made Omelets in the morning for breakfast, she never – ever smiled, always had a scowl on her face (She needs some customer service training). The Piano Bar was great fun and the entertainment on the beach side at night was very good, especially the “One Man Band”. Drinks were plentiful and definitely not watered down, however, there was very little beach service for drinks, most of the time we had to get our own drnks, as did most everyone else on the beach. TIP: If you want to reserve a Palapus or Canopy cover on the beach, you must reserve them between 0630-0715. The rooms with Butler service have the Butlers reserve them between 0630 and 0715. Also, if you want a cup of coffee before 7AM, you have to either make it in your own room or go to Spices to get a cup. They do not have it put out anywhere before that time. If you decide to take a trip to Atlantis, be aware that it cost approx. $22 each way for a cab, plus tip of course. If you ride with another couple and share the cost, it will save about $20 per couple RT. NOTE: Once you get to Atlantis, the only thing you can do is walk into the Casino, you cannot walk around the property or go to the Aquariums without paying $45 per person. If you want to use the pools and the water slides, etc., it cost about $130 per person for a day pass. Another PRO is that when you leave the Bahamas, if you are returning to the USA, you actually go through US Customs and Immigration at the Airport in the Bahamas, before you board your plane, so when you arrive at your USA destination, you don’t have to go through Customs again. It’s really great getting home and not having to spend another hour or more going through Customs! CONS: #1 - If you like to take long walks on the Beach; this is not the place for you. There is only about 100 yards of beach front that you can walk on. #2 - I called in a report to the front desk that the message light on the phone in our room kept flashing but there was no message and after 5 days it was never fixed. #3 - Electricity went off one day for a short while and on our last day the water went off completely, at 7AM, just as we were getting ready to clean up and go to breakfast. #4 - If you want a room with Ocean Front view that looks directly out over the water, it costs quite a bit extra and is a separate category of room that can be reserved. I told my Travel Agent that there was an Ocean Front view category of rooms that I wanted to reserve and was told me that there was no such category in the Balmora Tower. They were wrong. There is Ocean View and Ocean Front category of rooms. If you want an Ocean View room with a Balcony in the Balmora Tower with a great view, request a room on the side that faces the Pool, because the rooms on the other side of the building over look several private homes and roof tops of these homes and the view is just not that great.
Let me say that I am a big fan of Sandals, as this is our third visit to a Sandals resort, and even though I enjoyed our stay at this Sandals resort, overall, after losing a full day due to the screw up of our room reservation, I will try a different Sandals somewhere else and hope they get it right next time. As a side note, we met a couple while we were who arrived the same day we arrived, but a few hours earlier, who made their reservations 3 weeks before they arrived, and got a room in Balmora Tower with Ocean View and Balcony, facing the pool on the 6th floor……hmmm, makes you wonder doesn’t it!
High floors with ocean view facing the pool areas have much better views. Gordon's Restaurant o...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.