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“spectacular location - major service issues” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Emerald Bay

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Sandals Emerald Bay
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Queen's Highway, Emerald Bay, EX29142, Great Exuma (Formerly Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay)   |  
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2 Rounds of Free Golf!
Ranked #3 of 9 hotels in Great Exuma
southern ontario
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“spectacular location - major service issues”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

We were at SEB for a week in November 2012. Here are a few of my thoughts on our experience at the resort.

Property - spectacular. The buildings and grounds are understated but elegant and luxurious.

Beach - beautiful water and sand.

Our room - beachfront penthouse - corner suite - awesome!! beautiful view, huge room, bathroom and bar/ closet area that separated the two. very good housekeeping - our room was always immaculate.

Butlers - Imran, Logesh and Deangelo - great guys who served us well!! we are not high needs guests - but whatever we asked for - they delivered with a smile and great attitude.

Golf - the course is EPIC. Both nines are beautiful in their own way - but the back night is jaw-dropping. Especially if its windy!! Very difficult (no room for error) so bring tons of balls!! Once they are off the fairway - pretty much impossible to locate.

Spa - amazing. definitely the best resort massage I've ever had. We were with a group of eight and everyone was pleased with their spa services. Above-average.

Entertainment - the piano bar was really fun - too bad they shut down at 11 pm. - even if everyone is having a great time. Pool / ping-pong etc was fun at the Drunken duck.

Food - at best was AVERAGE. Sometimes mediocre and sometimes OK. With a property of this calibre - the food should be well above average. It wasn't. Very little variety at the buffet for lunch and beakfast. Our dinners at Il Cielo and the French restaurant were ok - but nothing to write home about. barefoot by the Sea was a major disappointment. We went for lunch one day and most of the food was deep fried!! the conch chowder was good.

Restaurants - why are they primarily inside??? French and Italian are indoors and air conditioned beyond belief. I can be cold at home - I go south to be warm.

Restaurant Service - the service was generally poor in the restaurants. The hostess at the buffet for breakfast and lunch was rude 95% of the time. Never smiled - looked completely miserable on the job. It took ages to get cutlery and coffee - sometimes a few asks - sometimes never arrived. Where were the servers?? this happened daily. we had one awesome server at the buffet - her name started with an A (sorry I can't remember) and she was very friendly and responsive.

Our last night at the Italian restaurant was beyond description in terms of poor service. We were a group of 8. We didn't get our drinks together and didn't get our meals together. I'm talking 20 minutes to half an hour apart. We couldn't get refills because there were no servers in sight!! our table was never cleared. We had dishes piled up on the table during the half hour wait between courses. even when we asked for re-fills - they never came. When we finished our main course - the plates were never cleared. We waited almost half an hour for someone to come and ask us if we wanted dessert, coffee or another glass of wine. NO ONE EVER CAME!!!! they left us there with no service and a table full of dishes. We finally got up and left the restaurant.

Unfortunately - i could not recommend this resort because of the food and the service issues. It's too bad because it is one of the most beautiful and elegant resorts we have visited in the Caribbean and other than meal time - we had an awesome vacaton.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 2 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 Emerald Bay, responded to this review, November 22, 2012
We're glad you enjoyed the wonderful spa and golf facilities and our beautiful resort and beach. We're even more excited to read that Imran, Logesh and Deangelo were able to exceed your expectations and provide you with the standard of service that we strive for everyday. They will be so encouraged to hear of your kind mention.

Unfortunately, during your stay, the hospitality of some of our staff members did not meet the Sandals standard and for that please accept our apologies. Our service has been the highlight of many reviews on TripAdvisor, which leaves us quite disappointed that your experience was not indicative of the norm. We want to make sure future guests do not have similar feedback therefore, your comments have been passed on to the relevant departments for immediate evaluation and action as needed.

Thank you for your review.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (715)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Naples, Florida
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

Our first trip to Sandals. The resort's recruiting and training departments should be rewarded for turning out such fabulous staff. From the delightful girls in the Patisserie to the incredible Butlers; every wish was granted. The room was gorgeous, the view sublime, the entire experience was memorable. Il Cielo Italian restaurant was first class. However..... The French restaurant's food was poor. Barefoot by the Beach was the worst food we've experienced in any hotel we've ever visited. The flies made it intolerable to eat the food - the food itself was inedible. Surely Sandals can do something about this lost opportunity.
Luckily everywhere else was so wonderful that it offset these few problems.
As we live in South West Florida we plan to go at least 4 times a year - will be interesting to see the differences throughout the year.

Room Tip: Any with a Butler!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia, USA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

While planning our honeymoon we agreed that all-inclusive was the best option for us. We wanted a place that we could just enjoy ourselves and not worry about money. We were between Sandals Emerald Bay and one of the resorts in St. Lucia. We decided on Emerald Bay and are very happy with our choice.

Flights- we had to take 3 flights each way. Totally worth it when we got there! Flights weren’t bad. We did experience a little bit of turbulence going home, but that’s about it.

Room- We stayed for 5 nights in Bay House 6. It was beautiful- large room with plenty of sunlight. We were on the ground floor and would have liked to enjoy our patio, but one of the chairs was missing. I called the front desk on our first day and they said they would bring another one- never did. It wasn’t a big deal, so we didn’t mention it again. LOVED the bathroom- huge shower & bathtub.

Property- absolutely gorgeous. The grounds are so well maintained and are immaculate. The beach is just beautiful. We really loved all the fire-pits around the pool (although some people used them as trash cans- Sandals, might want to do a run through on those a night before you light them). We also enjoyed the hammocks around the property. The bugs (as other people have said) are pretty bad. They sprayed a lot, but that didn’t get rid of the no-see-ums and mosquitos completely. Use bug spray on yourself and you’ll be fine.

Restaurants- The first thing we did when we arrived at Sandals was make our reservations and we were told 9pm was all that was available for the WHOLE WEEK at BOTH restaurants. That was pretty disappointing, but we made the best of it. We were a bit frustrated when we arrived to Il Cielo at 8:30 and it was half empty. We asked if they could seat us and they said no. Suggestion here for Sandals: make more earlier reservation times available at Il Cielo and La Parisienne and if people don’t show for their reservation after 15 minutes, let the people who came early sit. None-the-less the food:

La Parisienne- the food was excellent. We were very happy with it. Our server, Sterling, and the manager, Christoph, were both very nice and we enjoyed our experience here.

Il Cielo- dinner was good, but not great. Dinner at Il Cielo was probably our least favorite; however the dessert bar was AWESOME. Make sure you try that at least once. Also, breakfast at Il Cielo was very good. We ate there at least twice for breakfast. Audley was a really good server- we had him for both dinner and breakfast.

Barefoot by the Sea- couldn’t get in the first time we tried. We were able to eat dinner here the last night of our trip. Food was excellent here as well and the atmosphere is so pretty. Lunch here was also excellent- we had the chef’s special for lunch that day (roast beef and cheese sandwich). The waitress we had for dinner was hysterical. I think her name was Tineka (I’m sorry we didn’t write it down!)

Drunken Duck- really enjoyed the food at Drunken Duck. The wings are a great snack (for those nights when your dinner reservation’s not until 9pm). We ate dinner here one night and both loved it! We both got soup and I had the Chili and my husband had the Shrimp dish. Very good and the server was nice too. The game room that is adjacent to it is nice too. When we went in for lunch we’d order, go play some games, and the server let us know when it was ready. Talk about service!

Bahama Bay- we ate dinner here our first night because we couldn’t get in anywhere else. We were pleasantly surprised! That night they had a steak with rice and grilled veggies and it was really good! We ate breakfast there our last morning and you can’t beat buffet style breakfast!

Dino’s Pizzeria- I wish I was exaggerating when I said we ate pizza about 5 times in the course of 6 days. It was really good pizza. We enjoyed the margarita and the diavolo. Best of all- you can order and come back to pick it up. Great for poolside! We also took pizza with us to the airport for our trip home!

Café de Paris- really good treats and coffee. We primarily went here for ice cream though. The staff here was really nice.

Activities (included)- There is a lot to do at this resort and we were never bored. Our biggest suggestion for Sandals here is to keep the towels coming throughout the day! By 9:30am all the towels by the pool were gone (people tend to hoard towels and chairs). We loved laying out on the beach under the umbrellas. We tried paddle boards (a first for both of us), kayaking, and the big water bikes. On land we played billiards, ping pong, darts, bocce ball, and the big chess set.

Scuba diving- We did the resort course for scuba diving (something my husband really wanted to try). Once we got in the pool, I realized it wasn’t for me. So I backed out (they didn’t charge me for the course, just for the wet suit), but I still got to enjoy the boat ride out to the dive site! My husband LOVED diving. He had a great time, saw lots of fish (and took a whole roll of underwater pictures!), and wants to get certified in scuba diving. I made friends on the boat with the Captain (sorry I didn’t catch his name!) and the co-captain (I didn’t catch his name either, but at the time of our trip he’d only been working there 2 weeks!). They were both really nice guys and I enjoyed talking with them.

Golf- You MUST play golf, even if you are terrible. The views are worth it! It was the most beautiful golf course either of us has seen. We played on a very windy day and lost a ton of balls, but that was perfectly fine with us! It is gorgeous.

Spa- we booked a couples massage for one evening. Even though it wasn’t advertised, they let me pick one type of massage and my husband pick another. We were still in the same room and they just charged us the per person price for each massage. We both agreed that the massages were awesome and the spa was beautiful.

One last person we want to recognize is Fernandez in the photo shop. He was super nice and very helpful! Overall, this was an incredible trip and we are looking forward to booking another Sandals vacation in the future!

  • Stayed November 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012 via mobile

We went to Emerald Bay for our honeymoon. Early 30's couple. It was awesome! The beach was incredible! When you arrive, be sure to book French and Italian dinners since you need reservations for those. The Bahama Bay was so-so for breakfast, skip that. Instead start morning at pastry shop, coffee is great. Then go to Il Cielo the Italian restaurant for breakfast everyday!!! Trust me on that! Barefoot by the Sea is very good for either lunch or dinner. Once a week they have a parade near gift shop in the orientation room....the best food besides at fancy restaurants we had. I think Sandals shud start serving local Bahamian food like jerk pork, seafood bisque, conch fritters at the show blew the others at barefoot away. Fried fish....GO MORE LOCAL MORE OFTEN!!!
For main pool, swim up bar...Warrenique, Marvin, and staff at swim up bar were great! If u want a cabana, u shud put a pair of flip flops and/ or books/personal items on chairs either late at nite or very EARLY in the morning.....like before 7am early! Get 4 towels asap! (they are like gold there and disappear fast!) 2 for the chairs and 2 for drying off.
Beach...lots of water activities. Triking, kayaking, wind surfing, etc. First come basis. Sand goes for chairs on beach as above with pool. Get personal things on chairs early! The color of ocean is breathtaking! I've never seen anything like it!
Sand so soft, just gorgeous.
Pool activities....get involved....we did and met so many new friends. Peter in entertainment ...a.k.a. Mr. Ok, ok, ok was hysterical! He organizes poolside games, beach and pool volleyball which wereso much fun! Definitely beach volleyball all the way!!
Staff...Georgette and dare I mention Jovall in photo (no we were NOT M.S.'s (fireman and firelady) Georgette was hysterical...great personality. Just like me. Yea, I said it! Great crew in photo. We joked with them all week! Mostly me.
Red Lane Spa....excellent. We changed there upon arriving and showered and changed before leaving. I used my spa credit and had the island breeze massage with Shaqti. She was awesome!! Very friendly and her along with the rest of staff were very professional and accommodating. Go early so u can shower and relax before massages. I came straight from beach and went 40 minutes early but I'm nuts. But it worked out b/c shaqti was able to start early.
We ended at Drunken Duck Pub most nights to shoot pool and hang with couples we met. Basically what makes the experience great is your attitude and what you want to take out of it. If u open ur mouth and start conversations with other couples, you're going to have a great time! If u stay to ourselves, you're going to pick the place apart. We would definitely go back! Of course hubby didn't listen to me and put giftshop jerk sauce in carryon and had to toss it at airport. So "G"....you reading this.....tell Jovall to ship us some jerk sauce and BBQ sauce upto NY!!!! I'll give him an even better review.....lol!!!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
toronto
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

My husband and I went to Emerald Bay last February. This review is a little late in coming but I've been keeping track of the reviews and I wanted to contribute my two cents worth.

First of all loved the short flight from Toronto. We were at the resort and having lunch by 1:00 p.m. We have been very fortunate so far with Sandals we were upgraded to a one bedroom suite with an amazing view over the wedding gazebo to beautiful aquamarine waters. Can't say enough about the beautiful colour of the water truly breathtaking. At the time that we went all the rooms were butler category. We had two butlers Paul and Myron. We loved Myron Paul had an attitude....not sure who wants a butler with an attitude but anyway....we chose Emerald Bay because we are avid golfers. The course is spectacular the views on the back nine unbelievable. We lost alot of balls with the sloping fairways we thought we were in the middle of the fairway and then couldn't find our balls the wind was a major factor. If there are golfers reading this review so you know our level of play my husband is a 7 handicap I'm pretty hit and miss....at the time that we went golf wasn't included so it was fairly expensive I think we spent about $600.00 extra on golf.

The food when we were there was truly hit and miss. We've learned our lesson a resort has to be up and running for a few years before it irons out the kinks especially in a remote area such as Great Exuma. Not alot of choice and the service was terrible!! I understand from reading current reviews that this has been addressed.

Now for the truly horrible part.....we had lunch at barefoot by the sea on our third day the next morning I woke up to legs covered in red dots I had been eaten alive by sand fleas or no-seeums as the locals call them. They were brutal I felt like my legs were on fireI had over 200 bites on my legs my husband who never gets bitten anywhwere had a few. My sister was arriving the following week with friends I told her about what had happenned to me we met at the airport and she nearly died when she saw my legs. She sprayed Off 3 to 4 times a day and stil lhad over 40 bites.

We weren't the only ones but I was embarrassed!!! It took over two months after we got home for the burning itchy feeling to go away. I am sitting here a year and a half later and I still have scars!!

I feel really bad writing this review because we love Sandals we have had amazing times at their resorts!! If there was no bugs we would go back in a minute we are going to Sandals Negril in Feb. and I know we`ll have a good time there.

To end this review Emerald Bay was my 50th birthday trip....my husband brought me a gift by the pool as a surprise...in a tiffany box!!!! that and the wine almost made me forget about the bites for a while....hope this helps......

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 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
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitby
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

Thanks for making our last night memorable now we have them forever in our photo album.
You got the best personality!! See you next year.
The views are beautiful and the beach is white with clear teal blue water.
Just remember to bring a carrie on, our friends didn't get there bags until late the next day. So make sure you have a bathing suite and a cute Black dress for dress code dinners. There is really no shopping on this ilsland. The staff are so happy and pleasant too.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cary, NC
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

After many months of wedding planning, we were looking for a place to honeymoon where we didn’t have to plan anything! The perfect place is Sandals Emerald Bay, where we stayed for 6 nights in a Butler room in Bay House 5. We are people who like to do things for ourselves, so we weren’t sure how we would like butler service, but for our honeymoon we figured we’d give it a try. While we had two butlers assigned to us, we interacted mostly with Darrion. He made it fun and easy to call him with requests, and he was pro-active about doing thoughtful things for us. He set up a spot for us wherever we wanted (usually the beach or the quiet pool), made all of our dinner and spa reservations, brought us snacks and drinks throughout the day, answered all of our questions and gave us little surprises throughout the week. We would highly recommend butler service, and we decided we won’t go back to Sandals without it!

Room choice: We spent hours going through all of the room options on the Sandals website and were torn between a beachfront villa and a bay house. If we go back to Emerald Bay, we will stay in a bay house again. We didn’t miss being right on the ocean because it was still very close and we could see the ocean from our 3rd floor room.

Food: For the most part, food at the resort is good, but not great (seemed like banquet food). We got exceptional food at the French restaurant (La Parisienne), and we loved the espresso drinks at the coffee shop hand-made from a real espresso machine. We also loved the calamari at Barefoot by the Sea, the fish and chips at The Drunken Duck and the lobster bisque at Il Cielo.

This was our first Sandals experience, and we already have plans to visit our next Sandals location!

  • Stayed October 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Emerald Bay

Address: Queen's Highway, Emerald Bay, EX29142, Great Exuma (Formerly Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Emerald Bay 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•NEW!! Jogging Trail on property - 2.6 miles long •Greg Norman designed 7,001 yard golf course with 6 signature oceanside holes•Three fresh water pools including the Caribbean’s largest zero entry pool with a central fire pit•24 hour room service to all rooms and suites•Seven exciting dining options to choose from•Red Lane Spa with sixteen extensive treatment rooms•Personalized off resort excursions arranged by our Island Routes Tour specialists•Sits on 1 mile of the Exuma’s best powdery white sand beaches•6 Har-Tru tennis courts including a sunken stadium court•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 Emerald Bay “Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All-Inclusive”•Awarded #9 spot in the 2012 Readers' Choice Awards "Top 12 Resorts in The Atlantic" ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Emerald Bay Hotel Great Exuma
Four Seasons Great Exuma
Great Exuma Four Seasons
Sandals Emerald Bay Great Exuma, Bahamas

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