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“Quiting work, moving to Stocking Island---I wish.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of St Francis Resort

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St Francis Resort
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Stocking Island, Great Exuma   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Great Exuma
Texas
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Quiting work, moving to Stocking Island---I wish.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2010

My wife and I just returned from the most wonderful 10th wedding anniversary trip. It was the kind of get away that seems to be only for the privileged. Not because it is expensive or luxurious, rather the rare opportunity to disappear into an island paradise without breaking the bank. The St. Francis Resort is indeed a special place that allows its guest to feel more like family then customers. George, Jill and their son Greg have indeed worked overtime to turn their slice of paradise into your very own experience. I had taken a rather big chance having talked my wife out of Hawaii and into a trip to Exuma accompanied by a short boat ride to Stocking Island.

The trip into Exuma was rather uneventful. It started in Houston to Miami and then over to the Exuma International Airport (Don't let the name full you, it is your typical small Bahamian Airport). We got a good chuckle at the "International" part. The airport is small but clean. The customs agents were friendly and quick. We picked up our bags, hailed a taxi and off we went. The owner’s son, Greg, picked us up at the local dock net to the Exuma Market. While we waited, my wife purchased 2 gallon jugs of imported US fresh water for only $2.95 each. The market does have provisions, but as mentioned by others it can be expensive for certain items. That would be expected as most everything in the market is imported. We packed several snacks in our suit case and that turned out to be a great idea. Greg picked us up shortly after and ferried us across the beautiful Elizabeth Harbour.

What can I say that hasn't already been said in previous reviews, St. Francis occupies a beautiful location on Stocking Island with direct access to wonderful beaches and CRYSTAL clear water. This was the slice of ocean/beach paradise my wife and I had been looking for. We originally rented a boat from Minn's for two days. That quickly changed to four days and gave us access to multiple beaches where we rarely encountered another soul. We motored around until we found a spot that seemed to call our names. The problem is, with so many fantastic beaches it seemed as if they all called our names! We literally spent the entire vacation sitting on the beaches sunning, reading, snorkeling and perhaps taking a nap or two. If you plan on staying at Stocking Island I would say a boat rental is a must. I haven't driven a boat with much frequency and the last time that occurred was over 15 years ago. Needless to say, the 17' Boston Whaler was a joy to drive and quite simple. If you can drive a car, you can drive a boat. After one day you will feel at ease. We docked every night at the St. Francis pier. With out the boat your access to the beaches on the Northern and Southern sides of Stocking Island will be limited. Some are accessible by walking but, it would be a long hike through thick brush. I didn't post any pictures because I noticed just yesterday (6/22/10) that the St. Francis website photo gallery had been updated. There are more than enough photos between Trip Advisor and the resort to give you an idea of the beauty.

Back to the resort. Our rooms were large and clean. We did have a few bugs visit us throughout the stay but, that should be expected. The four duplex type units sit in the middle of the natural foliage. The sand and brush come right up to your back patio so, nature’s creatures are near by. It wasn’t anything terrible, and this is coming from someone who’s fairly picky about that kind of stuff. It is more of a reminder that you are in a relatively undeveloped place, which is a good thing! With that said, as so many have pointed out bring bug spray with Deet. We applied it every morning before venturing out. We also used it in the evening before heading to dinner. I returned with no bits and my wife only had only two or three. The bugs weren’t bad on our trip but, a good rain storm can change that. I want to say one thing about the quality of sleep. I won’t down grade it on the rating because it was more of a personal issue. I am a light sleeper. The sound of the ocean along with the wind coming off the water did tend to wake me up at times. My wife had no problems but, you should be aware of that in case you are a light sleeper. Otherwise I’m sure most persons would find the sounds to be quite soothing.

The grounds are well maintained and certainly give you the feeling of being on an island. The bar/restaurant is a great place to eat, drink and meet new people. My wife and I enjoyed several conversations with other guest and especially with Jill and George. They are very interesting people and a delight to talk with. They may be two of the hardest working persons I’ve ever met. Jill delivers breakfast to your room every morning between 7:30 and 8:30am. We found the breakfast very filling and a great way to start the day. The lunch menu consist more of bar food type selection i.e. buffalo wings, Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, fresh tuna wraps etc. With that said, the lunch food is excellent. The dinner menu is more expansive with Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Grouper and other dinner selections. We enjoyed every meal we had. Do yourself a favor and try the Bahamian beer, Kalik. It is a great beer and I’m not much of a beer drinker. Also, Jill makes a mean Penis Coladas, inside joke :) What can I say, they don’t have ice cream so it was the next best thing!

If you are a true beach person that wants the opportunity to just slip away, this is it. If you require shopping, restaurants, spas etc, look elsewhere. St. Francis and Stocking Island give you the chance to visit paradise. I can definitely see why Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on Exuma! Which brings up a point, we never visited the Tropic of Cancer beach or other southern portions of Exuma. After talking with other guest, they told us the beaches around Stocking Island were some of the best in the area. I’m sure the beaches on Little Exuma are nice; however, I can’t imagine they would be any nicer than the beaches on Stocking Island. We definitely will return and the next time ours kids will be old enough to go. I knew things went well when the wife said it was the best vacation ever! And she’s been to Hawaii already! Thank you Jill, George and Greg for a fantastic vacation!

  • Stayed June 2010, 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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137 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
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English first
Sarasota
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2010

The St, Francis Inn is a quiet little inn on top of a hill over looking the beautiful Atlantic ocean and the crystal clear harbour. The rooms are incredibly clean and bathrooms are large and modernized with lots of hot water and great water pressure, which can be unusual for the islands, large Kohler sink and lots of closet space. We found the beds were comfortable, but the sheets are not what we are used to back at home or traveling to a five star hotel. Food at the St. Francis was never a bad meal, even the spaghetti was good if you just want some comfort food after having your share of fish, in fact I am sure they use the black angus beef that is used for the best burgers they serve for lunch. Keiva the chef takes pride in her dishes and wants to make sure everything is to your likings. She makes each dish with an amazing sauce, would like to know her secrets. Conch fritters, mahi mahi and burgers are a sure pleaser. Our only complaint was the desserts, a chef inspired pastry or chocolate muolton would of been a nice ending. By the way keiva was a chef at the FourSeasons prior to the St. Francis so that tells you meals were always good. Bahamians are nice people not wanting to sell you anything just giving good hospitality. Sand was beautiful light pink and feels like a massage on your feet it is that incredibily soft., water is as clear as a swimming pool with beautiful fish to see as well as a tame stingeray to feed at Chat and Chill which is across the harbour , which by the way you can kayak to. Snorkel with the beautiful fish and barracudas, which by the way won't bother you if you don't pose a threat to them and leave your shiny jewelry back at the room. anyone who loves sea life and water sports are sure to be pleased. Rent a boat at Minn's water sports for at least a couple of days to explore on your own. and a nice way of transportation. Do get a at least 90 HP engine and pay a little extra for the larger boat and have O'Neil clean it up for you before using, we gave him a small tip of about $3.00 to get it clean for us, well worth it. great way to see the cays and snorkel and such. Anchor in at Hamburger Beach Sand Bar, used to be called Peace and Plenty and see Alvin for the best hotdog and burgers as well as clean bathrooms and neat resting place for a nice lunch and cold Kalik beer. Bring lots of cash no one really accepts credit cards other than Minn's water sports. About $100 a day for two food and drinks. Taxi ride is pricey $30.00 one way from airport to dock. Bring your bug spray, sun flys bite like mosquitos and loved me and my husband. also bring your own snorkel equipment to get the right fit and comfort.
Chat and Chill is a nice place to listen to some island music over speakers and chill out and swim with the loving stringrays and beautiful water but save your $20.00 a person for the pig roast on Sundays, Have a lunch else where and just come for a cold Kalik. and you won't be disappointed. Incredible sea life and water and light pink sand on your feet you feel like you stepped back in time about 50-60 years ago the way life was, even the airpot customs in Georgetown was a breeze and a nice clean bathroom like a family condo on the beach to use, one stall. Take it easy and enjoy God's creations and the simple way of life................

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Provo, Utah
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2010

So like many of the other reviewers, I learned about St. Francis from Trip Advisor, and after corresponding with the owners, decided on this locale for our honeymoon.

It was amazing. We were looking for beautiful beaches, peace, relaxation, and privacy, and we got all of that and more. After shopping around for several other vacations at all-inclusive resorts, I am so glad we made the decision to opt for more privacy/seclusion over amenities. The beaches were beautiful, pristine, and so serene, and the owners were so accomodating. The food prices were very reasonable considering that everything must be imported, and the continental breakfast every morning was delightful (yogurt, cereal, some type of bread or pastry, and something else light). Our room had a little fridge, which we kept our leftovers in in case we got the urge to snack in the evenings.

At the end of the day though, what was most amazing was the privacy and isolation that I felt like we had. One of the days we literally saw noone else on the beach at all, but most days we would usually see/pass 2 or three other couples. If you're looking for privacy and relaxation, definitely check out St. Francis.

Just remember your sunscreen!

  • Stayed May 2010, 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.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2010

I chose St. Francis because of it's location on stocking island, and heard many people want to come to the island, so I said, why not stay here?

We arrived in Georgetown airport, got a taxi to the Market dock...$30. He called St. Francis and they were waiting for us. The caretaker's son Greg picked us up and we rode to Stocking Island which took about 7 minutes.

We were promptly greeted by Jill, who owns the place with George. She always greeted us!
We had room 6. There are only 8 rooms! It is quiet, CLEAN and simple! No loud parties (NAssau) or anything like a SANDALS. But that's it. Coming to a remote and tropical island, don't you want to be secluded a little, and enjoy nature all to yourselves?

There was a breakfast included EVERY morning. She would come around 8:15. It had some of everything--see photo.
You can Kayak to the CHAT N CHILL for the PIG ROAST on SUNDAY where there are a handful of people having fun on the beach...I included a photo to show how far it is. Not at all walkable--BUT totally kayakable!

There is a blue hole where you can snorkel to--follow the land all the way to the right from the main dock, pass a second dock and then rocks jet out. You can see tons of fish hiding in the cave opening about 80 feet down!
*Note: St. Francis has flippers on loan!
They also had 2 hobie cats BUT we didn't use them.

There are about 2 2-person kayaks and maybe 3 single ones.

LUNCH MENU--
salads, burgers, soup

DINNER--
Make a reservation before 4pm, wider selection than the lunch menu, fresh fishes, lobster--see photo, vegetables and more! If you don't get a reservation you can always order off the lunch menu till 6:30pm...kitchen closes at 7pm.

Monday was a poker night...people came off of boats etc for this. People come to the restaurant from other places--georgetown, boats etc...

We snorkeled, walked around the island, looked for shells (the secret is do it low tide on sand dollar beach)...We also went with dive-exuma for a morning snorkel out to a reef--elizabeth reef and more.

SFR was a hidden GEM. People were all friendly there (guests) and Jill was exceptional, looking out for us in what we needed and always greeted us when we came back on shore either from Kayaking, boating, water taxi etc...

The water was warm--not as warm as Mexican water, but it was May...The fish were best seen out near that blue hole or on a snorkeling trip. Though there are rays that hang out in front of the CHAT N CHILL, because people feed them conch guts. We pet them.

There was no rain whatsoever when we were out...It was great weather.

The rooms were fine. We had 2 beds--the shower had hot water with great pressure if we needed it. There was a coffee maker, toaster and fridge. Water from the tap was drinkable--bring a waterbottle and just refill.

We left EARLY (645) and Jill made sure we had breakfast and she boated us back to Georgetown where she had arranged out taxi the night before (JJ ROLLE).

I would totally recommend this place for the price, friendliness, location and wonderful time!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Toronto
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2010

We stayed at the St Francis Resort for 5 nights in mid-March. We are so glad that we stayed here instead of on the mainland. We originally considered staying at Palm Bay but we loved the St Francis and have no regrets. It is a small hotel with 8 rooms and they are quite new. The view from the rooms is stunning. The rooms are fresh and clean and have classic furnishings. The meals are great in the dining room and the breakfasts are plentiful.
The owners are friendly and we had some great chats with them. They are very helpful and have lots of knowledge of the area. Also you don't have to buy bottled water as they have the best water system in the region and the water is great from the tap.
We rented a boat from Minns for 3 days (online booking) and highly recommend that especially if you are into snorkelling. Bring your own gear too as I think it would be easier. Everyday we went to different spots on the harbour side of Stocking Island and we saw lots of marine life. Large starfih and large crabs in one area and then near the coral reefs we saw lots of colourful fish, conch, plentiful coral, eels and a turtle. Ask George how to get to the second cut reefs....behind the island with the black gazebo on top.
We also came across 2 dolphins near February Point. They were quite friendly and sort of greeted us by swimming right beside the boat.
We also went for a lot of hikes on the island and the trails were amazing. Lots of greenery and the trails were very easy to follow and great for exploring. If you are into photography ...you will not be disappointed on this island.
The beaches on the island were out of this world. Mostly deserted with white sand and gin clear water. The water was very shallow at most of the beaches and perfect for wading in. Some people swam on the ocean side of the island when the waves were calm but we mostly swam on the harbour side.
If you enjoy hiking and exploring, swimming and snorkeling...then you can't go wrong with this wonderful hotel on beautiful Stocking island.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2010

The St. Francis is a great place for a quiet relaxed vacation. It's obviously not a 5-star resort, seeing as it is on a small island off of Exuma and off the beaten path. One downside of this is that they do not take credit cards so you will need to bring cash or traveler's cheques. There is an ATM by the Exuma market but you can only withdraw $500/day with a $15 fee each time.

The proprietors are very friendly and accommodating and there are plenty of sailboaters in the area. The place was packed for poker night and we participated in Trivial Pursuit another evening. Rooms are very clean and spacious, with high ceilings.

Breakfasts were nutritious, large, and varied. Food at the resort was pretty good, although eating we got tired of eating french fries by the end of our stay. There is a market by the dock where you can pick up sandwich fixins and snacks.

If you ever wanted a pink sand tropical beach all to yourself this is the place to go. It is absolutely gorgeous and the weather when we went in February was delightful. The island isn't huge but there are several miles of hiking trails to explore. Just don't try to do the Tiki Trail in your flip flops. I would recommend looking at Google satellites to see where the trails are, although exploring unmarked trails is quite an adventure.

You can go kayaking and also snorkeling. The water is clear and you can see plenty of big fish if you go to the right places. One of the highlights of the trip was watching a red moon rise over the horizon and stargazing without any light pollution.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Roswell, Georgia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2010

My Wife and I were looking for a place for out first real getaway in awhile. I came across St Francis here on Tripadvisor and was immediately intrigued. It is a truly unique place and is one of the first locations we intend to return.

St. Francis is owned by George and Gillian who were exceptional hosts. Their son Greg was helpful as well.

The Island has miles of beaches, nature trails, and places to explore. They have several kayaks as well as two small sailboats available for the guest at no charge. We took the kayaks throughout the harbor and explored different snorkeling locations. The rooms face the ocean side and it's about a 100 yard walk through gardens to the harbor side where the restaurant / bar is. On the first night, we arrived in time to take part in a friendly poker tournament at the restaurant that attracted 50 people. They mostly sailboat owners who were anchored in the harbor for the season.

It was clear that this was a truly special location for the cruisers in the harbor. It was nice of them to let us "borrow" the lifestyle for a few days.

St. Francis is truly a hidden gem and an exceptional value.

  • Stayed February 2010, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about St Francis Resort

Address: Stocking Island, Great Exuma
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — St Francis Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
St Francis Resort is located in a pristine location on Stocking Island. Enjoy miles of whitesand beaches, diving and watersports, sailing, dining, and much more! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
St Francis Hotel Great Exuma
St Francis Resort Great Exuma, Bahamas

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