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“Grand Isle or Sandals on Great Exuma?” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Isle Resort & Spa

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Grand Isle Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   PO Box EX-29253 | George Town, Great Exuma   |  
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Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Great Exuma
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Grand Isle or Sandals on Great Exuma?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014

In planning our trip to Great Exuma, we were torn between booking at Sandals or the next highest rated property - Grand Isle. We wanted to try Sandals, particularly because it was adults-only. However it was also a lot more expensive, so we tossed a coin and booked at Grand Isle. As we drove from the airport we were apprehensive that we might have picked the wrong venue.
Wrong. Grand Isle is THE place to stay. It shares the same beach as Sandals and based an a reciprocity arrangement between resorts you can still go over to Sandals if you want.
But why would you? The Grand Isle resort is beautiful and (at least when we were there) very peaceful and uncrowned. No problem getting your favorite beach chair in the sun. Good restaurant and bar overlooking the pool. We walked over to Sandals and could hear the poolside rock music hundreds of yards away. No thank you. Back to Grand Isle and the solitude of a beautiful, quiet resort with all the amenities.
Grand Isle is a condominium community so all units are privately owned and in a rental pool. The unit we were in (1521) was lovely - new-looking Caribbean resort style furnishings, fully equipped kitchen. We couldn't have asked for more. However another unit we looked at had more tired furnishings and cheap deck furniture.
Our tips: pick Grand Isle over Sandals unless you like big crowds and loud music by the pool. Specify that you want a modernly furnished unit, We were told 1521 and 1522 were the most requested units. Also there is very little restaurant choice unless you have a rental car and the nearest decent grocery store is 25 minutes away by car. So you may want to bring your favorite cereal etc and pick up perishables on your way from the airport.

Room Tip: 1521, 1522 the most requested units. Make sure to ask for a condo with more up to date furnishings.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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479 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (119)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014 via mobile

My husband and I just returned from a week at the Grand Isle. We are fortunate to be able to take a beach holiday most winters, but this was our all time favourite, by a large margin!

We stayed in villa 6203. It is a one bedroom with stunning views of the marina and open ocean. The resort sits on a point between Emerald Bay (with the beautiful turquoise water) and the ocean, so there are villas with bay views and villas with ocean views (also villas with garden views). We loved the open ocean view. The villa itself is stunning, with a full kitchen, huge living/dinning area with ocean view, bedroom with ocean view, balcony, and bathroom that is bigger than our master bedroom at home. We really enjoyed having breakfast and lunch on our ocean view balcony and waking up to the sound of the ocean from our open bedroom windows. There was a professional grade hair dryer in the bathroom (amazing). Also, the room comes with your own golf cart, which stays in a specially built golf cart garage. Too fun. I cannot say enough good things about this villa. It truly felt like a home away from home, with all the amenities.

The resort grounds are immaculate. Beautiful tropical landscaping. The beach on Emerald Bay is the nicest beach I have ever been to. Powder fine white sand and water a colour I have never seen. The bay itself is sheltered from the wind and waves of the open ocean so is ideal for paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling. The bay is also an ideal length for a walk - about 45 minutes end to end and back. The resort also has a beautiful, warm infinity pool with gorgeous views of the beach.

The staff are all very friendly and go out of their way to make sure you are having a fantastic stay. Mal at the pool hut even volunteered to play a game of beach volleyball against us, solo, and won, much to our shame.

We rented a car and bought groceries in George Town for the week. The villa kitchen has everything you need to make delicious meals. We also ate dinner at the Palapa Grill twice (very good food and service. Try the Bahamian Buffet night for amazing chicken and ribs). We also ordered room service one night, also fabulous.

We were looking for a relatively quiet, relaxing holiday, and we got it! The resort was only about 40% full so there was never any issue with beach or pool chairs or water sports equipment. The concierge will help you set up any excursions (we did a full day tour to see the swimming pigs with Four C's - good times) and give you recommendations for restaurants (try Santana's) and self guided driving tours. The island is not very developed so there is a lot of authentic Bahamian sight seeing to be done.

Overall, this is the first beach holiday that I know we will be repeating. The quality of the accommodations at Grand Isle combined with the natural beauty of the island of Exuma cannot be beat. Book it!

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
glen ellyn
Top Contributor
222 reviews 222 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2014

I was travelling with my wife and parents, and this place was ideal for us. The lodgings are really beautiful and spacious, and our view was terrific. The staff was friendly, but really every Bahamian we met was. This area of the beach gets a lot of grass washing up, and was not as pretty as Three Sisters or Coco Plum beaches.

We dined there three times, for dinner and once for lunch. The dinner buffet was very good, and although there were things I wasn't impressed with, they had enough other choices that I really enjoyed (the ribs and sausage, plus the sides). I ate the lobster there twice and would get it again if I was there right now. My dad had a steak and thought it was excellent. There were a lot of families with small children, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. All in all a very nice visit.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

We had a nice experience. We stayed for 16 nights. It felt just like home. Everything was great; the weather, the property, the staff. All of the employees were so friendly and hospitable. The spa was very relaxing and the food was simple but excellent. We will definitely be back!

Stayed December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

The resort is lovely. The room/villa we had was wonderful. It was roomy, clean and well-appointed. Contrary to some of the other reviews, our kitchen was fully stocked with everything we needed.

The beach is nice and private. The pool is quite small and abuts the dining area.
The downside is that the resort, while next door to Sandals, is far from town and other restaurants. Town is a $100 cab ride, return. As well, there are no grocery stores nearby so we were not able to use the kitchen as we would have liked.

The main problem with the resort is the restaurant where the service is excruciatingly and inexplicably slow and servers are sometimes rude. We found the food to be mediocre.

Many of the other restaurants only take cash so bring lots of cash. The nearest ATM machine is at the airport.

If you go, I would highly recommend renting a car to avoid spending a large amount of money on cabs and to eat elsewhere.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland, Illinois
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

The resort is extremely nice, the villas are wonderful! Everything nice that has been previously said is true, that being, I saw some things that need to be improved on that made our trip not as enjoyable.

We brought lots of food with us, expecting to cook in the room, this is where we ran into issues. Having a full kitchen in the villa, we expected it would be well stocked with cookware.There was absolutely nothing to cook anything on in the oven, we had to ask the staff to look in the storage room, which they did nicely look for, but only came back with a broiler pan. I would hope that if you are given a full kitchen, you would also be given something to be able to use the lovely kitchen.

The staff is overall extremely nice, on the morning of my flight the bartender was extremely nice and wished me safe travels, she made me glad I decided to stay at the Grand Isle. I wish I could say all the restaurant staff was this nice, one of the restaurant managers was extremely rude and did not want to help us or serve us at all, he even referred to the staff as "his people" which I found very demeaning.

The beach needed to be cleaned more often but I understand they don't have much control over what is in the water. We found the restaurant to be very tasty, the rib eye, fish tacos, shrimp wrap, and lobster were some of our favorites. The restaurant is slow, they cook food one table at a time, so you can almost tell when your food is being cooked based on what other table you ordered after, the kitchen is just too small for the size of the resort.

Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

We spent seven nights at Grand Isle in the two bedroom villa and loved every minute. This is the 4th Bahamas' island we have visited and Great Exuma is now our hands-down favourite. The villa was beautifully decorated (the golf cart was a nice touch and appreciated by our seniors). All of the staff were friendly, courteous and always helpful. The food was delicious. The fitness room and spa were well appointed. The pool is gorgeous. And the beach is perfectly located on a picturesque bay. We appreciated the complimentary snorkeling gear, kayaks, boogie and wake boards. If you want to do any cooking in your villa, we recommend pre-ordering your groceries. Cheaper than the cab ride into Georgetown. Grand Isle exceeded our expectations. If you're looking for shopping and nightlife, this is not the place for you. But if you're looking for a beautiful and relaxing get-away, we highly recommend Grand Isle Resort. We can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Isle Resort & Spa

Address: PO Box EX-29253 | George Town, Great Exuma
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Isle Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 78
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is a stunning ocean front resort. The exclusive gated community comprises 78 luxuriously appointed 1- to 4-bedroom villas that range from 1,250 sq. ft. to 5,200 sq. ft. and offer a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, high-end amenities, and extraordinary views. Getting around the resort is quick and convenient, as every villa is equipped with a personal golf cart. Grand Isle is one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean and is ideally suited for family holidays, romantic getaways, destination weddings and honeymoons, or for simply enjoying the beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Isle Resort And Spa
Grand Isle Hotel Great Exuma
Grand Isle Resort & Spa Great Exuma, Bahamas

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