We stayed at the Royal Bahamian from June 5th through June 9th 2005. We had booked this vacation 6 months in advance, so not only were we very much looking forward to it for a long time, but also had a lot of time to read reviews and look at pictures. Upon arriving we were greeted and ushered to check in and met with champagne and a cool towel. Very nice, however, the building did immediatly have a musty odor. That being said, the check in was good and we were toured the facility and brought to our room by a very friendly staff member. When we went into our room, which was in the Windsor tower, my wife almost immediatly saw its flaws. I think that the first place a woman looks at in a hotel room is the bathroom. She said that the bathroom was very drab and dirty. She noticed mold on the bathtub fixtures, dirty caulking on the tile work, dead flies in the light fixtures, no liner for the shower or trash can, and the sink faucet was leaky. OK, so be it. Im trying to stay positive here, I worked hard all year for this vacation. Remember that Sandals bills itself as being a 5 star resort. So far not true. The included stocked room mini bar was a nice touch! Anyway, our bags arrived and we went to lunch. We went to Spices and were met with a decent buffet with everything from BBQ ribs to pan fried catfish, to salads and deserts. After lunch we decided to relax beach and pool side. The beach was ok, the pools were beautiful and quite clean. We were "lucky" enough to get a reservation at the "highly praised gourmet" French restaurant Baccarat. The dining room was very classy and the staff was very, very nice and professional. We thought for sure that food that was to follow would be equally exquisite. If you want a good bottle of wine, you pay extra. The house wine is a very average cabernet. The rolls were stale and hard. I ordered duck and my wife had beef. I could have sworn I was eating pieces of pork, and her meal was very average. The desserts were average, certainly not made by a pastry chef. We left Baccarat wondering if that was the finest restaurant, what would our remaining dinners be like... Each morning we had breakfast at Spices (buffet) and actually this was the high point of our Sandals eating. Suprizingly enough neither my wife or I are big fans of buffets. The staff was always very cheery and pleasant. They would make you fresh omelettes to order and had a wide variety of pastries, fresh fruits, and everything from french toast to hash to grits. No cream for your very sub par coffee though just milk.
Laid by the pool all day, nice swim up pool bar with very enthusiastic tenders and a very large creative drink menu. Quite a schedule of pool side activities daily including beach/pool volleyball, trivia, and aerobics. The sun is very intense even through the many clouds that week. We went to Kimonos hibachi restaurant that evening and that was quite fun. We had an opportunity to meet and talk with a table full of other guests. The food was quite good, but the dessert was shipped right from the previous day's Spices buffet lunch. Went downtown Nassau the next day which was easy. Simply jump on the #10 bus. We found downtown to be less of a shoppers mecca than we had expected, however the people of Nassau certainly know that tourists are their livelyhood and are very nice, welcoming and pleasant.
The final dinner we had at Sandals was at Cassanova which is Italian. We had reservations for the the "fancier" Crystal Room, but canceled for Italian cuisine. Could Sandals screw that up? Oh boy. Again if you wanted a decent wine, get out your room charge card, otherwise dip into the premium red again. I had swordfish and my wife had clams with red sauce. I would bet that my "swordfish" started its day in a frozen Van de Kamps box and was tossed into a microwave just prior to being served to me. Not that its not good eating at home when you need a quick bite, but certainly not a "5 star" resort restaurant. My wife did not know what to make of her meal either as it was very bland and the sauce watery. I was very curious to know how the tiramisu would be for dessert. Either Sara Lee works in their kitchen or they simply unwrapped one from a local store, that is what we got.
To summarize, Sandals Royal Bahamian calls itself a 5 star resort and is supposedly the best in the Bahamas. If true, I cant imagine what it would have been like at another hotel. That being said, the Sandals' staff were always very pleasant and always greeted you with warmth, smiles, and passing hellos. If only their product measured close to their service the week would have been much more enjoyable. We left the resort with much dissapointment in not only the resort, but also didnt think that the Bahamas were as beautiful as we were expecting. We did tour Atlantis on Paradise Island, and although we did not see a guest room, the facility was amazing. Very classy and impeccibly clean. You could eat of their bathroom floor. I wonder if we should have stayed there. I dont believe that we would return to Sandals or to the Bahamas. For the money, Hawaii is much much nicer in every way from the resorts, beaches, shopping, and scenery. Even our vacation to Cancun offered much more in all those respects. I am very sad to say that we were dissapointed in Sandals, and the Bahamas.