My husband and I just returned after spending a week at Sandals Emerald Bay to celebrate our 2nd Wedding Anniversary (we are in our mid-20s). There were many things we loved about the resort with a few things needing improvement worth sharing. It is worth mentioning that this was our first Sandals stay. We honeymooned at Secrets Capri in Riviera Maya, Cancun and wanted to try and experience "the Sandals difference".
Pros: The resort, water, and beach were absolutely beautiful.The ocean color was stunning. The staff at the resort were friendly and were always quick to say hello.The quality of food met standards of an all-inclusive resort; however the two reservation restaurants (French and Italian) were excellent in both food and service. My husband took the certification class for SCUBA at the dive center, and the staff (David, Gary, Jaran, Elton and the rest of the staff were excellent) there were very friendly and professional.The included water sports were good, and we did not have problems with access to the water or activities any day. We did not have butler service but did not have any problems getting Cabanas or poolside chairs (however, we did get up early, around 7AM each morning). The Bahamian night was the entertainment highlight, and the rest of the nights the music had good quality but was lacking in quantity. My husband played the back-9 of the golf course twice, and he found it to be in pretty nice condition. We were not sure what all the negative reviews were about. As long as you play decent golf and stay mostly in the fairways or greens, you should enjoy the course. Of note, we did not ride the front-9 because we heard about how beautiful the back-9 was (and boy was it beautiful). If you are looking for a very laid-back, quiet resort, these areas may definitely interest you.
There were definitely some hiccups that we would not expect for this class of hotel and price.
The Cons: We were disappointed with the seemingly poor communication among the different areas of hotel staff. We called concierge on the very first night to reserve dinners. Twice, we showed up at the restaurant to find our names not on the list. Fortunately the staff took care of us; however, we found this to be completely unacceptable. Outside of the reservation restaurants, the service was slightly below-average to average. On 2 occasions, our servers forgot to bring us things that we had asked for. On our first night at Barefoot, our server never brought us our desserts that we had ordered after the meal was done and asked us "is there anything else that I can get you" (we were full anyway, so just got up and left). The next night, they forgot to bring us additional bread that we had asked for at the Bahama Bay. On a subsequent visit to the Bahama Bay, my husband ordered a Coke to drink and the server returned to say "I'm sorry, we are out of Coke". Seriously, out of Coke?? He ordered a Ginger-Ale instead and was brought Sprite. Thankfully, the next server saved the day by going out the pool bar and getting us 2 Cokes. The pool bar has very limited hours (opens at 10:30, closes at 5:30), and they do not play much music. In the evenings, we expected the night activities to go later, but they generally lasted an hour or less and everyone then went off to bed around 10 or 10:30. The day activities had little participation by guests and so were a bit disappointing (we took a dance class and were 2 of 4 participants). On our 2nd to last day, we were told that points we had earned for participating could be redeemed for prizes upon checkout. The front-desk staff seemed to have no idea how this worked and had difficulty locating anyone to help with this (another example of poor communication). We had read on previous reviews that if you were celebrating something special that they may go out of their way to help you celebrate. My husband pre-checked in and gave them our anniversary night (on our 3rd night their). Upon arrival, this was left off of our check-in card so he added the date in their again. We had read that some guests had special things done for them on their special night - no such luck for us.
Overall, we did really enjoy our vacation at this resort. There were many great things for people looking for a relaxing, quiet vacation to experience. We felt, however, that there was not enough value for your money at this resort. For the price that you pay, we expected better communication and service. If you are looking for night-life, go to a different resort. If you are okay with a quiet, low-key resort with minimal activities, this resort may be for you. Without question the beach/ocean were beyond expectations so you will love these regardless. We would encourage anyone thinking about Sandals to consider their options as they may find better value at other resorts.
Rooms appear to all be beautiful. Don't think you can go wrong selecting a room. We were not the...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We're happy to read that your stay, overall, was very enjoyable. We always strive to offer amazing vacation experiences and anything less than perfect calls for improvement on our part. It seems we did not meet your expectations in a few areas of our service. We want to ensure that our future guests do not share the same experience. Therefore, your feedback will be sent to our General Manager for immediate evaluation and action as needed.
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Thank you for your review. We hope that you will afford us a chance to make things right during a future stay with us.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.