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“Amazing vacation!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort

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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
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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Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Great Exuma
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Ayr, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Amazing vacation!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

This was our first visit to a Sandals Resort, and it was even more than we expected. The Resort was beautiful! Well cared for, with a lot of options for swimming, eating and relaxing. The staff there are incredible - not one single employee would pass by without saying hello - from the management to the grounds keepers, everyone was extremely friendly and professional. The rooms were clean and very comfortable - probably one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in at a resort. The bar in our room was kept well stocked - they even took our special request for a specific brand. The food was amazing....I cannot fathom those people who had anything negative to say about it. The breakfast and lunch buffets were plentiful and varied. The a la carte at the Italian, french and pub restaurants was excellent. My favourite was the french restaurant - the Lamb chops were incredible!
Drinks were tasty - strong, but delicious! Thanks to the drink masters - Martin, Denero, Aaro, Warrenique and the others (sorry...forgotten some of the names!),
I've saved the best for last... the dive operation... what can I say? But I've been diving for over 20 years, have dealt with dozens of dive operations, but have never received this high level of service. We were so catered to that it'll be hard to go back to 'doing it ourselves'. We bring our own gear, but if you need to rent, their gear was obviously well maintained and excellent quality. We would finish our dives, dismantle our gear and leave it on the boat. They would rinse it, clean it, dry it, and it would be nicely set on the boat for us for the next day dive. The boat itself was fantastic. Spacious, with an upper deck to sit on, a head below, fresh water rinse, liferaft. Between dives they provided fresh fruit and pastries. Our thanks to our incredible divemasters Bancroft and Lincoln, our First Mates Elton, Chakina, and Vano, our captain - Jaran and the women behind the scenes who kept them all in line...Nadia! You guys are THE BEST!
Thank you Sandals, for a wonderful holiday!

  • Stayed January 2014, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,401 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (868)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

There are several positive aspects to this property, but overall we cannot recommend it. Recently my wife and I spent six nights in a one bedroom suite with "butler elite" service. If this conjures images of Jeeves like efficiency, think again. Of our three assigned butlers, one (Cordero) was both friendly and competent. Another was also very friendly and seemed to try hard, but failed to secure us a cabana/pagoda in the desirable section of the beach despite requesting same over a day in advance; while the last bordered on outright rudeness when he escorted us to check out and never thanked us nor said goodbye, apparently miffed about his gratuity, which we thought more than adequate for the fairly minimal services he rendered.

Housekeeping entirely skipped our suite one day, something we have never experienced else ware. Furthermore, I believe they never once cleaned the sink in the second bathroom, which I was primarily using.

The food was acceptable (not more), but there were serious problems with both of their premium, RSVP, restaurants. The "French" restaurant was a farce. Upon arrival, we were made to wait to be seated, without cocktail service, despite perhaps one third of the tables being occupied. When finally we were seated, we discovered that apparently we were the only guests who had bothered to read the item concerning dress code. I had on a sport coat and tie and my wife an evening dress, while no one else was dressed similarly, and most people were attired in golf shirts and shorts, making me feel quite out of place. The food seemed pretty much the same as that served throughout the resort, only smothered in a bland sauce. The wine was the identical mediocre California served everywhere, and other options listed for purchase were not much better. Our butlers had a most difficult time securing a reservation for the "Italian" at a desirable time, despite there being many empty tables when we finally did get a coveted spot, much to the consternation of some other waiting guests. Service certainly was prompt, however, as our entrees were plopped down almost immediately, before our stater course and after about two sips of my cocktail. Their food warmer is evidently functioning well also, because when the plates were eventually returned they felt like a tile from the space shuttle after reentry.

My wife and I are both reasonably proficient golfers and have played many top rated courses, but the Greg Norman track they tout was much too difficult to properly be considered a resort course at a place such as this, plus it is quite poorly maintained. Fortunately, we were virtually the only people out on the afternoon we played (there was a brief cloudburst) or I fear that a three hour round could easily have turned into six. We had planned to golf twice but didn't even consider it thereafter.

A four hour key hopping boat excursion was scenic and entertaining. However, to paraphrase Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws, they need a bigger boat for the number of guests, and a head would have been nice for a sixty year old with a cooler full of beer beckoning him. Afterwards, the bus to return us to the resort arrived fifteen minutes late at a time of day when it was starting to get cool and most people were still wet.

Finally, on our day of departure we were shooed out of our room at 9:00 am, made to wait for an hour in the lobby for airport transfer, and arrived at the airport three hours early when getting checked in and through security takes probably twenty minutes. When you arrive at Sandals everything is conviviality and champagne flutes, when you depart you get the distinct impression that they can't wait to be rid of you, unless you want to hand them your credit card for a return trip.

On the positive side, the beach has to be one of the best in the Caribbean, a perfect mile long crescent formed by a picturesque bay with the most beautiful water you'll see. The "quiet pool" was a nice, tranquil, haven for the older set not wanting a day full of the wedding party antics at the main pool. Our suite was quite comfortable with a good view from the balcony, the property is well planned and laid out, lush and nicely maintained. And the Bahamian staff was nearly all extremely friendly.

On the whole, however, it was far, far from being the time of our life and we won't be back.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this review, February 15, 2014
Dear bphenry,

We regret to hear that we did not meet your expectations for service and quality during your stay at Sandals Emerald Bay. Our service has been the highlight of many reviews on Trip Advisor, which leaves us quite disappointed that your experience was not indicative of the norm. For this, we apologize. We do value all of your input
We want to make sure future guests do not have similar feedback and will take action by notifying the appropriate departments of your remarks - including our head Butler. We do request that while on resort you notify us of anything that does not meet your standards. We are always willing to work with you to make sure you walk away feeling like your stay was money well spent.

Thank you once again for your review.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

We started our trip january 23rd through january 27th This particular resort is very quiet and the grounds are nice. The staff is very nice and accommodating. The room are just average, they are clean. Main pool very cold three out of the four days, the Drunkin Duck pub was always way to cold and the food so so. The italian restaurant was very accommodating and the food was great, the French restaurant came in second. Staff needs to address the bug spray tractor and the sweeper that drove by our room every morning at 645 am waking us up. Pool drink service at main pool almost non existant, maybe we should be aloud to tip staff for better service. One of the staff took us out on the catamaran he was great, had a good time. Overall we would rate this resort a 4 out of 5 and the food 3.5 to 4 this resort needs more selection on its menu's. We travel all over, this trip was a little bit of a let down we expected so much more

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

I ment to write this review ages ago, but never did it. I did, however, keep a very detailed DAILY photo essay of our trip on the forums, which you can find here:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147429-i786-k5758856-LIVE_Sandals_Emerald_Bay_Photo_Review_Coming_Soon-Great_Exuma_Out_Islands_Bahamas.html

Please visit the link to see the many pictures of the resort that I posted and the comments about the individuals at the resort that make Sandals Emerald Bay our favorite Sandals property to date.

In short, the property is beautiful, the beach is AMAZING, and staff was very helpful and and went out of their way to make sure you had a great time. The food was good and this is probably the most laid-back resort I have visited. If you visit here, you will have a great time.

Room Tip: Beach front walk-out Butler rooms were great.
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  • Stayed September 2013, 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.
Alberta, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

Unfortunately, our 3rd Sandals experience did not start off on a very positive note when we were placed initially in the Prime Minister One Bedroom Walkout Beachfront Villa that was directly beside the noisy bar/pool and pub. We had booked this room specifically for the beach view, privacy and quiet location. Not in that room! After complaining immediately, we were then told we could move to another of the same villas in a different location 2 days later. We had to be moved again as the smokers next door had the smoke blowing directly into our villa, as they share the ventillation system. Not impressed! By day 3, we had moved again to a good location which was on the quiet side, except for the sand road a few feet from the patio behind the villa that has service trucks driving back and forth all day long every 20 minutes. This was very distracting from lounging on our beach chairs on our patio and having people in the trucks zooming by waving at us. Not much privacy unfortunately.

The butler service and all staff we encountered were very friendly and attentive. The golf and food were both acceptable. We were disappointed that this 10 day vacation did not meet our expectations and we have travelled enough to know that it was not worth the value.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

We visited SEB last year at this time, we were so impressed with the service, food and people that we are going again this year (we arrive Feb. 13th!!).

We had not a single complaint, and we did not have butler service. Food is excellent, the people are amazing, rooms clean and spacious, great drinks, beautiful waters and sunshine... what more?

True that there is not a lot of entertainment, but, if your not dull and have a low attention span MAKE YOUR OWN FUN (just like mother told you when you were young).
Remember, life is what you make it, not everybody has the means to be able to visit this beautiful place, count yourself lucky and ENJOY!!!

Room Tip: All rooms are great.
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, Mississippi
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

I am following other guests who were at Sandals at the same time. Perfect weather in high 70s to 80, a treat from the winter in the US. Some days were windier which keeps the sand fleas at bay.
We had butler service, which I realized from previous reviews, was the way to go. Thank you Cecil, Lallu, and Harris. You made our week like a second honeymoon. From the drawn bath, to the nachoes at the cabana, to prompt service, to the unrequested drinks that magically appeared. I hope you are still there when we return. Yes, you can request the same butlers on subsequent trips.
The food was wonderful and special thanks to server Shantall at the Italian restaurant. We had her both evenings. The food was hot, prepared without overpowering sauces and perfect portions. The lobster from the Barefoot restaurant was tops! Loved the coffee shop with french pastries. We had dinner in our room (patio) 2 nights, very romantic.
Although we spent every day at the quiet pool, the beach is great. Easy walking. But FYI, Jan. is not the month to plan on swimming from the shore. Red or yellow flag every day. We did not play golf, due to nursing shoulder injuries, but are taking the clubs next time-with LOTS of water balls. The snorkling that is offered is not at the resort but a 5 minute bus trip away. Nice to see live coral again. We did not partake in any excursions this trip for personal reasons, but I will admit that people who did take day trips, did them with outside companies, due to cost.
As for the sand fleas, there is OFF spray in every room. Spray liberally as they will give you another can if you run out. And take aloe gel with you on this trip for the bites. My husband who is an MD, recommends WD40 for the bites. Yes it works. And our butler was going to personally buy a can to keep for his guests to use.
We will use Sandals again just can't decide between another Emerald Bay trip or one to St. Lucia which everyone raved about.

Room Tip: we had 9210 on the beach. Right by the quiet pool and the coffee shop. Perfect location.
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  • Stayed January 2014, 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 2
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 Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort

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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 8 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 245
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 Golf, Tennis And Spa Resort Great Exuma, Bahamas

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